Authors: Dewayne Haslett
I turn around to face the source of the voice, only to find a boy with cropped black hair, brown eyes and a lanky figure walking towards me.
"Yeah?" I ask.
"Are you new here?" he asks.
Oh, man. My worst fear has arrived.
"Yes," I reply.
"That's awesome," he says. "We don't really get many new kids around here often. I just had to make sure." He offers me his hand. "My name’s Jack. Jack Colfer."
I reach out my hand to shake it.
"Troy Connor," I say to him. It sounded weird actually, having both names put together.
"Sweet. Well, the bell's about to ring, so I guess I'll see you around."
He leaves and walks towards a guy who’s been waiting for him since we started talked, who seems to be his only friend. He must be one of the nerds.
The bell rings and everyone starts to enter the building. I look back to the wall to find the girl, but she wasn't there anymore and with disappointment, I walk inside, hoping to see her once again.
The office was not very small, but it wasn’t large either. It was a little waiting room with four chairs, awards mounted on the walls, and a large clock that was five minutes behind its current time, the tick of every second reminding me of church bells. Taking up most of the room was a counter. I walk towards it and behind it were a few desks, one of them occupied by a rather large woman with glasses. I couldn’t see why she needed them. Her face was already an inch away from the screen, squinting at it as she typed.
"Excuse me?" I say.
The woman looks up. "Yes, may I help you?"
I explain to her that I was a new student, and when she asked for my name, I told her. She goes on the computer and after a while, she nods her head. She grabs some papers and puts one of them on the counter to show me. It was a map. She explains where all my classrooms are, and then hands me another piece of paper—my schedule. After that, she hands me a late slip to give to my first period teacher when I walked into class.
"Thank you," I say when she’s finally finished.
," she says. "Have a nice day."
I nod to her with an assuring smile, and then I grab my papers, and leave the room.
Every muscle in my body quivers, my breathing heavy as I stand in front of my first class, Algebra. I don't know why I'm so nervous. I don't want it to show on my first day. That I was scared. So I give myself a few moments to relax, taking in a few deep breaths, and then slowly twist the cold, golden knob, opening the door.
The class stops before I can even get my foot through the door. I give my teacher, Ms. Rockwell, my late slip, and she introduces herself to me.
Thank God, I didn't have to introduce myself. To her, or the class. She just sent me to a seat at the corner in the back. Some of the kids look at me as I place my backpack on the floor and take a seat. I try to ignore them by looking down at my lap for a few seconds, until finally Ms. Rockwell tells them to stop bothering me and actually pay attention.
As the teacher proceeds with the lesson, I was wondering what Brad was doing. Probably at work, I suppose. I knew that.
Running low on topics, my mind then focuses on the girl I saw this morning. I smile at the thought. She was pretty, I'll give her that. I wonder what she was writing in that pad of hers. A girl like her must have friends. So why was she alone, writing in some stupid, little pad? Was it a diary, writing about the daily events of school? And what about when she saw me? Did she write about it afterwards?
But before I can even come up with any more questions, the bell rings again.
I was the first one to arrive to my next class. I met my History teacher, Mr. Martin, and asked him if I could sit in the back like I did before. After considering it for a moment, he said I could, but only if I paid attention.
Students started to enter the room; their faces unfamiliar to me as pass through the door. Except for one—the girl from earlier.
I felt as if I was going to pass out, my head now weightless at the sight of her presence. I then pull myself together and try to act as casual as possible.
I watch her as she walks towards a seat in the front and sits down. Now I wished I’d sat there.
I ignored the teacher this time, too. But instead of daydreaming, going back into my empty, repressed mind, I stare at the girl.
What an interesting period that was.
After class, I remain seated at my desk; putting away some of the papers Mr. Martin had given me into my bag. The girl stays behind also, explaining to him that her textbook was misplaced, and asks if she
could bring home another one left behind in the class until it was recovered. He agrees, of course. She grabs a book from the nearest desk, places it against another book she already has in her hand, and heads towards the door. But before she even passes the threshold, the book slowly slips from her fingers.
"Here, let me help you," I say, picking up the book for her.
The girl, who was in the position of leaning over to grab the book before I got to it, stands up in a startling motion, and soon after, she relaxes, looking at me with a smile, her magnificent hair blowing in the air even though there was no wind. I hand the book to her, and as she grabs it, our fingers touch, an electric current running through my hand, stunning me. I wanted to explode with joy.
"Thank you," she says, her velvet voice sounding as though it belonged to angels.
"No problem," I say, polite and assuring.
We let go of each other and begin to walk out of class. Together.
"Are you new here?" she asks.
I pause, waiting for the question to fill me with dread, but for some reason, I smile, finding delight in it. "Yeah. I kind of thought it’d be obvious. What, you don't follow your fellow peers?"
"No," she laughs. "It's just hard to keep track of them all." She stops talking for a few moments and then looks at me. "I'm Taylor," sh
e continues. "Taylor Morrison."
"Troy. Troy Connor," I say. "So, how
"What do you mean?"
"Why can't you keep track of them all? The students?"
"Oh," she says, her tone expressing surprise. "I write for the school paper. Focusing on one person
one day and moving onto the next is kind of my thing."
"Wow," I say, amazed as I discovered the reason behind her notebook. "You must at least know half of the school then."
She laughs as she shakes her head. "No, not really."
She then stops and tells me she has to get to her next class, which is in a different direction than mine. Sadly, we say goodbye to each other and she walks away, disappearing into the pool of students.
My heart races, my mind unconvinced that I actually talked to her. She seemed so nice and was all so beautiful up close. It only makes me glad I helped her with her book.
Then my mind goes back to a few minutes ago, when I was sitting in my desk when Taylor dropped her book. I couldn't remember walking over towards her. All I remembered was her dropping the book, me seeing it as an opportunity to help her, then me picking it up. It doesn’t make any sense.
Then, in almost an instant, I disclosed my thoughts. It probably wasn’t even that big of a deal. And if that was the case, there was simply no reason to go any further with it.
When I walk into my English class, the image of Taylor’s hand touching mine lingering inside my head, I head towards a desk in the back and without warning, an invisible force shoves me into the nearest one.
My stomach aches from the blow, my lungs unable to project oxygen. I turn around to see a very tall, burly guy laughing at me, with two other guys repeating the same action. For some reason, the first thing I notice is his hair, which is slightly gelled and dark, dark brown, though it could easily be mistaken for black.
"Welcome to school, Newbie," he chuckles.
Behind him, I see the guy from earlier—Jack—pushing his way through the other kids
and walking towards the leader.
"Come on, Rick," he says. "Can’t you at least give him a brake today?"
The big guy, Rick, pauses for a second, then smiles as he turns to Jack, slamming his fist into the palm of his other hand, causing him to flinch.
wanna be next?" he asks. Jack simply shakes his head. "That's what I thought."
He turns back to face me for a moment, then goes up to his desk in the front, shoving Jack with his shoulder as the other two guys follow his direction.
I walk towards the back in silence, rubbing my stomach and calming myself. Jack walks up behind me.
"Are you okay?" he asks.
"Yeah," I answer, gesturing toward the big kid. "Who is that guy?"
"That's Rick Evans," he explains. "He's the star player of the football team—wide receiver. He also basically runs the school, so I wouldn'
t mess with him if I were you."
Great. I have a bully. And to make it more worse and cliché than that, he was a football player.
"Thanks for the intel," I say to Jack.
Jack nods his head, and then quickly walks to his seat as the teacher walks into the room and begins the lesson.
The remainder of the morning was dreadful. I was thinking about Rick Evans the entire time. The guy doesn't even know me, but yet he attacks me. Maybe he's one of those kids who bully people just because they know they can do it, hoping to have some fun along the way.
I sat with Jack at lunch. We talked for a while, him asking me questions about where I was from and everything else that I was afraid to answer. Since I didn't know half of the stuff he was asking, I pretty much let him do all the talking. Either way, I wasn't paying much attention. My focus was on Taylor, who was sitting only a few tables away from us, talking to four other girls, their laughter filling the room.
I started to grin as I notice Taylor laughing. Her facial expressions weren't weird or anything, but shockingly mesmerizing, as if her face were sculpted by the most ingenious artist. It was amazing, actually. I was beginning to become so wrapped up in this girl that I could actually feel the warmth simmering across my cheeks. There were simply no words to describe this feeling, how her face mentally refuses to leave my sight, how her name pops up numerous times without it actually being said. Surely there was a name for this kind of emotion, but at the moment, I couldn’t seem to put my finger on it, not even one. But there had to be. There just had to.
Brad was waiting for me in front of the school like he said he would. I got in the truck and placed my backpack against the floor. When I look up at him, he faces me with an eager expression.
"So," he says. "How was it?"
"It was interesting," I say. "I met a girl, a new friend, ran into a bully-"
Oh no. I said the wrong thing.
"It's not that big of a deal," I explain. "We didn't fight or anything."