A New Life


4. Why my life really stinks part 4


Just a quick reminder: This part of the story is attached straight after the last one so if I were you I would read back on the last sentence of the last chapter and then read this chapter just for a re-cap.

* * *

"Hi," she said.

"Hi," I answered.

"I went to camp all summer and there was no electricity and no real toilets."

"Sounds awesome," I said, not sure if that was awesome. Talking to Diana always made me feel uncomfortable. She was just so weird.

The older kids who had gone of to middle school before us were clumped together a few yards away, talking and laughing and ignoring us. No parents had come to the bus stop.

Once we got on the bus, it was totally like usual, just me and Franklin on our own, in our own seat, having our own conversation. That was how the whole school day always used to go. We didn't really need to get to know other kids because we had each other.

Franklin, of course, didn't comment on my yucky legs. It was like he couldn't see them, even though I couldn't help but stare at them the whole time, thinking about how messed up they looked. He was suddenly Mr. School Facts, telling me all these things that could go wrong in middle school. You could be placed in the wrong math class, be picked on by eighth graders, fail to conjugate verbs in language class (whatever that means). . . . Then he moved on to all these worries about our middle school, which has three different elementary schools feeding into it. There would be hundreds of kids there we didn't know. And then he actually calculated how many that would be by taking the average number of kids per grade in our area's elementary schools and multiplying that by the number of grades in the middle school and multiplying that by the number of feeder schools and by the time he had gotten the answer I was definitely Not Listening.

It didn't matter how many new kids there were at school. It only took one to ruin my life.

* * *

When I sat in homeroom, my backpack scraped against my legs.

"Ouch," I muttered, running my hand over my skin, getting blood on my fingers. I hoped no-one had noticed and quickly wiped my hand on my shorts. The girl next to me made a disgusted face, rolled her eyes, and shifted away from me.

The teacher handed out sheets of paper with locker assignments. There are so many middle schoolers at our school that sixth graders have to have partners, which is, apparently, totally okay according to teachers, because sixth graders' textbooks aren't as thick as seventh and eighth graders' books. So while I can look forward to one day having my own locker, I also get to look forward to having really humongous books and backaches from carrying them all around.

The locker assignments seemed to be alphabetical, because across from my name, Elise Bertrand, was Amanda Betterman

We were given twenty minutes to set up our lockers. In the hall, I followed the numbers until I found 2716, and who should show up at the same time but the girl who'd sat next to me in the homeroom. I recognized her long, streaky brown hair, held off her forehead with two clips, and her tiny white skirt.

"Oh, gag. I have to share with the Bloody Queen of Scabs." Several kids standing around her looked at my legs and laughed. Then Amanda said to me, very seriously, "Please don't get blood on my things. I don't want to catch any weird diseases."

"I don't have any weird diseases."

To make everything one hundred time better (not), who should turn up but Sir Franklin, needing to stick up for me. "It's no big deal, she just got hurt playing Knights."

"What's Knights?"

"It's a pretend game."

Amanda smirked. "Playing pretend. That sounds really cool."

But the way she said it meant the opposite: so not cool.

The other kids started laughing at me and Franklin. Kids we didn't know, but also a couple of kids we'd known since kindergarten.

Apparently cool sixth graders don't play. They defiantly don't play Knights. They have streaky hair and short skirts.

But there I was on the first day of school with scabby knees like a kindergartener, and my best friend got me pegged as a baby. 

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