I Won't Be There

Julie E. Miller

2002

Chapter 1: Expelled

I sat in the principal's office, drumming my fingers in my lap. I didn't need this. It was eighth period and all I wanted to do was go home! I didn't need to be stuck in the office, getting blamed for God knew what.

All right, so I knew what I did and maybe it was a bit on the overzealous side, even for me.

I don't see why going into the boys' locker room while they're showering is such a big deal though. I mean, it's not like I saw anything. I was only in there to steal their towels. It's not like I was trying to peep in.

My parents arrived in the office, shaking their heads and I knew I wasn't getting out of this easy. Mr. Dopson, the principal, called us in and I stood up, ready to be judged again.

"I'm sorry," I whispered, to my mother, hoping to calm down the storm of anger raging in her.

"It's a little late for that," my mother said, showing no emotion.

I sighed and took a seat between my parents. "Hailey Harrison," Mr. Dopson deadpanned.

"Yes sir?"

Mr. Dopson sighed. "Hailey, your behavior is simply awful." I knew what was coming next. Your academic as well as dance skills are beyond amazing, but your attitude in the school environment is simply irresponsible. "You get amazing grades and you've helped the dancers in this school more than you will ever know, but your attitude is simply a pain." What did I tell you? Was I right, or was I right? "If this was your first offense, I would just give you in school suspension for a week, but since this is your eighth offense, I'm afraid I have to do the worst."

Okay, eight offenses? Maybe there were eight now…

There was the day that I took the masking tape and ran it all around the school, trying to see how far it could go, the time that I dumped ranch dressing all over the head cheerleader's head, the day that I skipped classes and spent the whole day sitting in front of my locker, the school dance where I got in a fight with the Homecoming queen, so on so forth, with my new offense being the boy's locker room incident.

"What needs to be done Mr. Dopson?" my father asked, clearly stressed.

Sometimes I felt bad for everything I put them through, but school was boring. I felt it was my duty to keep it fun and interesting. I did what I had to for the sake of fun.

"After the incident with the gerbils in the chemistry lab, I really should have expelled her, but I didn't have the heart to."

"So what's going to be done?" I asked. "Come on Dop. Spill it."

"I know what prestigious positions you have in the town, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, but I'm afraid it's come to this position. I have to expel Hailey."

My mother let out the breath she had been holding. "For how long? She asked. "A week? I can handle a week."

"I'm afraid for the year."

Silence followed. I burst into laughter, however. "What? Funny Mr. Dopson," I said. "You got me. Good one."

"I'm afraid I'm being serious here, Hailey."

The words got caught in my throat. "You're kidding…"

"Hailey we are only a month and a half into the school year and you have eight offenses. This technically should have happened a few weeks ago."

I felt tears rush forth to my eyes. "No," I told him. "I can't be expelled. What am I supposed to do? This is my junior year, Mr. Dopson! What the hell am I supposed to do?"

"You have a few options," he said. I looked at my parents. My father was shaking his head in shame and my mother had begun to cry silent tears. You can just sit the year out or you could go to one of two different schools." I nodded, as if I was telling him to continue. "One is a boarding school, but I don't see you getting along much better there. Then you would probably goof off outside the classroom too." How rude! He was presuming I was a trouble child at home too! "Or…you could go to Palm Beach Grove High School. It's about three hours away."

"Why that school, Mr. Dopson?" my mother asked.

"Because that's the closest school outside of the district here that will accept a girl with these records, Mrs. Harrison. I'm sorry, but I had no other choice here."

No other choice, my ass, I thought. Last year when some boys came to school with an entire pound of pot, the school ignored the 'Zero Tolerance' rule and let them stay.

We wrapped up the proceedings to the school. The final bell rang and I headed off to my locker to clean it out, with my parents in tow. Kids were looking at me like was some kind of bug under a microscope. A few people said hi, but most of them just stared. I cleared the locker out and walked out of the building, my head hung low.

My parents had been quiet the entire time. We got in the car and I expected to get myself a new asshole torn. It never came though. They were both silent.

When it became intolerable, I just let everything burst open. "Start yelling, will you?" I shouted.

"I'm not going to yell at you," my father said. "Neither is your mother. We may be disappointed, Hailey, but that doesn't mean we're going to shout about how irresponsible you are. You know what you've done is wrong, but now we need to solve it."

Sometimes I hate my dad for being a psychologist.

"Hailey," my mother began, wiping her face of tears. "You know we love you, don't you?"

I nodded from the back seat. I loved them too, even if I didn't show it. "Yes mom," I told her.

"Honey, the only choice we have is the school in Palm Beach."

Man. I didn't want to go to Palm Beach. They're all rich and prissy down there. "Mom…" I started. "Please don't do this to me."

My mother shook her head. "We aren't going to yell at you, but you're going to Palm Beach so that you aren't setting yourself back a year. When I get home, I'm calling up Kathy to see if you can stay with her and her family. We'll arrange to take you down this weekend so that you can get started right away."

We arrived home and I stormed inside. I didn't want to move to Palm Beach! I didn't want anything to do with Palm Beach! I stomped up the stairs to my room and turned my computer on. I logged online and headed for a chat room.

I was pleased to see that Mia, my best friend, was on.

*

MamaMia: What did you go and get yourself into now, Harrison?

Glorygirl182: Expelled.

MamaMia: WHAT? For a week, right?

Glorygirl182: Try an entire year, Mia.

Mamamia: No way!

Glorygirl182: Way.

Mamamia: So what's happening?

Glorygirl182: I'm getting shipped off this weekend.

Mamamia: To where?

Glorygirl182: Where's the worst place ever that a girl like you or I could go?

Mamamia: Palm Beach. But they wouldn't ever send you there.

Glorygirl182: think again. I leave on Saturday, so Friday we have to party. Alrite?

Mamamia: Yeah. I'm out of here. This sucks!

Glorygirl182: Tell me about it. Later Mia.

(Mamamia has logged off)

*

I sighed and logged into my online journal. May as well see what everyone else had to say about my bitching.

User: Glorygirl182

Journal: Useless and retarded thoughts that I come up with…

Date: October 3

Subject: Think life could get much worse? Think again.

Well I know that I of all people tend to bitch excessively, but today I do have good reason to bitch. I mean, how would you feel if you found out that you had to move three hours away because of a simple little prank gone wrong? Maybe I should explain myself here.

It was only fourth period and I was bored. So instead of sitting in study hall like I was supposed to, I took a hall pass and left in search of something to do. I went to the bathroom and imagine my surprise when I found out that I actually had a good prank to pull. Okay, so I promised that I wouldn't have anymore pranks after the last stint. But this was too good to pass up.

Let's just say that girls aren't welcomed in the guys' locker room. Need I say more?

I'm now expelled for the year. I'm going to some high school in Palm Beach, FL though. Anyone cool from there interested in meeting me so I don't make a total ass out of myself?

--Hailey

*

My mother was thrilled that Kathy was willing to take me in. She had two kids, a boy a year older than I was and a four-year-old daughter. The little girl I'd be able to handle, but the son? God save me now.

Dinner went quickly and my mother announced we'd leave early Saturday to get me there early.

I wasn't nervous, but why was I suddenly dreading this so much?

Author's Note: Okay. So I was hoping that I wouldn't start anymore stories before I finished the other two, but this one was eating a hole in me. I like it so far and I've got…oh…five chapters done on it already. I am lost for thought on Change for the Better and I am probably gonna go write more in Starting Over when I finish uploading this. Read and respond. Lemme know what you think. --Julie