Thanksgiving follows Halloween. While Halloween is all about the spooks, Thanksgiving is more about family and sharing the fruits of the earth. It was also the time of year people start playing Christmas music and every shop puts up a tiny Christmas village in there display windows. And considering that was in the south, I think the fake flakes of snow that piled high on the display tables, is the closest thing we'll ever see to a "White Christmas".

Main Street Benton was already taking on a holiday air. With cardboard cut out turkeys being found at every corner and every shop window displaying smiling indigenous Americans handing wicker baskets of fruits and veggies to starving English settlers. You know that famous "First Thanksgiving".

But enough of that, Thanksgiving was good news to us, students. Many of us were having to buckle down for final exams. And with quarter reports peeking around the corner for many, it was one last chance to pull up that less than stellar grade. For me that included bringing up my sagging English and Math grade up. Now I can understand basic math, basic math is simple and used pretty much every day.

But come on now algebra. I had barely passed pre-algebra and my sister demanded at least a "B" in every subject. Anything less than a "B" meant either a scolding or a spanking. Or worst being grounded for the weekend. Sometimes I think Kayla forgets I'm her younger sister and instead treats me like her daughter. Then again she kind of had the role of mentor/mother/guardian thrown on her shoulders. So I guess she doing the best she can do.

Now, with all that being said it was your average morning in Benton High. Breakfast was over, the first-period class had just ended and the hallways were filled with students rushing to there next class. And for me, that was "Introduction To Aquaculture". See beside having a large number of fields under the plow, Benton also had a number of large ponds for the production of farm-raised catfish. Plus, some of the lessons for this class were held in the open. And I liked being around nature.

"Hey, Madeline." A voice called out behind me as I pushed the door open and turned around as I heard a voice call out my name. My cheeks flushed with color as I beheld the source of the voice. The voice belonged to a young man with sandy brown hair and two deep blue eyes. I swallowed hard as I started to smooth out my skirt and play with my shoulder-length brown hair that was pulled back in two cute pigtails.

"Hey Matt," I said smiling as I moved toward him. "Been looking for you all day. Looked for you at breakfast. Normally you're the first one in and the last one to leave." I joked as I started to shift my weight from one foot to the other. Matthew was my boyfriend, we'd official started dating at the Halloween Carnival held every year.

"I know, I was looking for you too. So can I walk you to class?" He offered as he held out his hand and gave me a small smile. "Since it seems we're going to the same place?" He gave me a smile.

My heart skipped a dozen or so beats as I reached out and wrapped my fingers around his strong hands. "Sure," I said as I peered into his eyes, they were like two deep pools of water. I could get lost looking into his eyes. And I often did.

"So, have you heard?" He said as we started walking together down the concrete pathway.

"Heard what?" I asked as I titled my head to the side. "I've been too busy with extra credit lessons. Like real talk now. My current grade in Math is so low, the teacher feels sorry me. And Its not like I'm trying either. Do you know those after-school tutoring sessions? I've been going to everyone she's had. And I'm still a few points away from that dream of finishing this quarter with a solid 'B'." I whined.

"I feel you." He paused. And pulled me in a little closer to his shoulder. "But anyway, they're going to do some kind of charity fundraiser for the Thanksgiving Holiday. You know.. Something about raising money for sick children." He said shrugging his shoulders.

I drew close to him and smiled a little. Taking a deep breath, I shivered as I smelled his tropical scented body spray and felt my cheekbone resting upon my cheeks. It was a wonderful feeling, to be this close to him and to walk with him as the leaf's on the tree's changed colors and the whispers of autumn blew through the tall brown grass.

"Oh, you're talking about the Benton PTA," I said as I closed my eyes. "The same people that wanted me gone and confined to Whitfield or better yet, give me a full ride to Chamberlain-Hunt Academy," I said rolling my eyes as placed my chin on his strong arm. I could feel his muscle moving through the fabric of his shirt.

"Yes, those.." He said clearing his throat. "There is a need of somebody to get slimed for charity. A willing volunteer if you wish. Right now they're collecting names. Right now. There at zero and thinking about scrapping the thing." He said giving me a knowing smile.

I felt my cheeks flushed with color as I gently slapped his shoulder.

"Hey? I'm just saying you're going to look cute covered in slime. Plus you kind of missed the last vote." He said blushing a little as he started to rub the back of his head. "Like I had no idea all the old ladies in the church would rush forward to save you at the end." He stated in an honest tone of voice.

I felt a fresh wave of blush color my cheeks again as I peered toward him. After giving him 'The Look' for a few minutes I sighed and nodded my head.

"Okay, I'll do it... It's for a good cause right? Like the money collected is not going to pay for Fr. Thomas gambling debt.." I said raising an eyebrow toward Matthew who cracked a smile. Of all the people I knew, he was one of the few who really understood my humor.

"Heck if I know. I just know we raised something like four hundred or so dollars and Fr. Thomas never turned on the A/c or none of those projects he mentioned doing where ever started or finished. Maybe your right, maybe he needed a quick 'Blessing' to keep the mop off him." Matthew said shrugging his shoulders as we drew closer to the classroom. He paused and leaned over and kissed me on the forehead.

"Love you." He said smiling as he removed his arm from around me and gave me a goofy grin. I felt my heart skip several beats.

"Love you too!" I called out as I watched him run off to class. I took a deep breath and turned to peer into the clear blue sky. It seemed my life was getting better and better. And even though it might seem a little vain. I loved being Madeline.

"Ms. Brewer." A voice called to me. The voice belonged to a middle-aged woman. "Would please be so kind as to join us inside for the lector." She said stepping inside and nodding with her head toward the entrance of something that looked like a greenhouse, but instead of smelling manure and strong chemicals, I was smelling nothing but the fresh scent of clean water. "And then maybe after school. You could stay and help me clean the fish tanks. You know for extra credit." She said raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, ma'am," I said bowing my head as I moved passed her. I knew what she hinting at. Mrs. Lobster had a policy of not starting the lesson to all of her students were accounted for. She was just an old school like that. And if by chance you held up her class for say like I just had. Again using me for an example, talking with your boyfriend or your friends. Then she'll use one of her own clever ways to punish you, and it would always be under the guise of "Extra Credit".

"Very good. I'll see you after school, for say an hour or two." She said smiling as she watched me take my seat and flop out my textbook. Once I was inside, she closed the old wooden door and locked it and the lesson started.