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In the Beginning – by Rebecca
I stared at the ceiling, crashed on my bed. All I wanted to do was sleep, but that wouldn’t happen anytime soon. School was in an hour…maybe I could get a few minutes in? I flipped over to look at my clock. Nope. No sleep till after school. Well, I could always crash in Geometry and History. Those are pretty easy subjects. Sighing, I sat up and looked at the newspaper clipping next to my bed.
“Hi Dad. Hi James and Celia. Hope you hear this, wherever you are.” Then I got up and checked the mirror. Running some fingers through my hair, I hoped that it wasn’t going to be hot today. Dark hair didn’t work for sweltering days like the past few weeks had been.
I threw on some clothes, hardly paying attention to what I wore, and washed my face. Ignored as I am, I really didn’t need people commenting behind my back on my complexion. My mom called up the stairs. “Lauren! Breakfast!”
“OK!” I called. Honestly, though, maybe I should just skip. I mean, I’m gonna be late for school anyway. Besides, it’s not like I’m hungry.
I sighed and headed downstairs anyway. If she was happy…well, that made one of us.
I managed to eat breakfast in silence-almost. Really, I picked at my food while Mom tried to get me to eat more. Then, she coughed. I looked up when she didn’t seem to be able to stop. “Mom? You alright?” She waved me off and finally got it under control.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a tickle in my throat.” I squinted, trying to decide if she was lying or not. She was always good at hiding stuff from me. I gave up and stood. As I headed out the front door, Mom reminded me, “Remember, you have an appointment right after school! I’ll pick you up at the front door.” I sighed loudly and slammed the front door once I was through, not bothering to reply. Mom knew I hated those appointments. My therapist always talked in that annoying, ‘This is what you have to do’ voice. And they didn’t exactly work, either. I headed to the bus stop and waited. When it came, I stalked on and headed to the very back. Everybody knew to not talk to me. If they tried, all they got was a stony glare and silence. With my hair covering my face, I pulled out my headphones and played Adele.
After the twenty minute bus ride to school, I walked to Geometry. Mrs. MacDonald took roll and asked for the homework to be handed in. I slumped over my desk. I forgot again. Stupid counseling. When she came to my table, she paused for a second. I didn’t move, and she eventually sighed and walked to the next table. The hour passed slowly, and then I was in the halls again. Thankfully, public speaking didn’t normally have homework. Mr. Richards droned about the importance of eye contact–really, everybody knew that–until he was interrupted by the door opening. I raised my head. Was there a late student? I felt sorry for him. Nobody wanted to be late to Mr. Richards’ class. The principal, Mr. Kennedy, came in and beckoned to somebody outside the door. A girl entered and smiled shyly at us.
Mr. Kennedy cleared his throat. “Mr Richards and class, this is Kiana. She just moved here from Washington State. Kiana, do you know anybody in this class?” The girl–Kiana–shook her head no. I noticed that she looked a bit overwhelmed, and I remembered when I was the new girl. But Kiana should be all right. She looks like a freshman, maybe a sophomore. Yeah, she’ll be fine. I put my head back down, barely registering Mr. Kennedy’s next words. “Kiana, why don’t you go sit next to Lauren? I’m sure that she’ll be very friendly.”
“OK.” Kiana half-whispered. She shouldered her backpack and headed to where Mr. Kennedy was gesturing. Wait…me. Why did he tell her to sit next to me? I glared at Mr. Kennedy. He ignored my death stare and turned to leave. “Oh, Kiana. I’ve scheduled a person from each of your classes to get you to where you need to be. Your first period is Biology, correct?” She nodded.
“Then it’s Catherine Wilburn. And in this class…” He scanned the room, his eyes thankfully passing over me. “I believe it’s Jade Morgan.”
Or not so thankfully. I cringed inwardly. Jade was one of the meanest girls in the school. Why did she volunteer to show the new girl around? Kiana looked to where Jade was smiling and waving. I shuddered. If there wasn’t a teacher around, I doubted she’d be doing that. Probably the opposite, in fact. Kiana sat down and smiled at me. I plopped my head down on my desk again, refusing to return the smile. I felt her gaze boring into the side of my head, but I didn’t acknowledge it. Mr. Richards continued speaking, and I drifted off into my own little daydream until it was time to go. Jade smirked at Kiana, going over to introduce herself. I told myself that Kiana will be fine. She wasn’t my responsibility. But I still got a nagging feeling. I watched as Kiana’s next guide entered the room. I didn’t know her name, but I’d seen her around school before. She seemed nice, if not a bit airheaded. I turned to leave, but a voice called my name.
“Lauren! Wait!” I stopped in my tracks, barely believing my ears. Kiana caught up to me and said, “I never really got a chance to introduce myself properly. I’m Kiana Nicholls.”
I stared at her, dumbfounded. Walking away, I surprised myself by shooting over my shoulder, “Lauren Baxter.” My last glimpse of her was a smiling but confused face.
Categories: Critique Group