New Start, Same Story

When Elisabeth Jones moves from England to America she doesn't expect her disastrous childhood to leak into her new life. When a violent attack puts her best friend in hospital, her life hanging in the balance, everything takes a turn for the worse.

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1. Starting Anew

Come on Lis, you can do this!” Even I can’t fool myself, it’s just a weak attempt to egg myself on. I stand in front of my new school utterly bewildered, not once in my life have I felt this lost for words. Frantically, my mind races as I look at the daunting, large school, it looks like a building that was state of the art in the 40s, the pale, faded blues and yellows of the outside walls are now peeling away and covered in years and years of graffiti. The cracked brick work looks like the victim of many violent outbreaks and most of the window frames are empty, presumably because they have been subjected to numerous breakages over the years.

Stumbling, I make my way to the slightly less tatty entrance, my new red Converse trainers treading on several feet accidentally as I go. “Elisabeth, breaking people’s toes won’t help you make any friends.” I tell myself sternly. Clumsiness has always bothered me, I have never been the most delicate girl around and I fall over at least once a day. With sweating palms I pull open the heavy, fireproof door and slowly make my way to the reception desk.
“Hello, my name is Elisabeth Jones, I’m new here. Do you know where I should be?” I murmur nervously to the secretary on the desk.
“Of course, the principle has told us to expect a new student today. Just fill out these forms then your first class is down the hall.” She smiles at me sweetly in an attempt to make me feel more comfortable, however she is unsuccessful.
I take a seat next to the desk. “Come on, what is wrong with you?” I think to myself as I doodle aimlessly in the corner of the form to make my completely useless pen work. “This isn’t like you; you’re never lost for words!” I know I’m lying, I can think of numerous occasions when I have been scared or nervous. On the outside I may appear confident and clever but behind the act I’m not confident at all and I’m only intelligent because it was forced upon me. With sprawling handwriting, I finish filling out the lengthy form that was handed to me by the receptionist and pass it back over the desk.

As I sit back down in the firm, plastic chair I notice a small girl a few seats along looking out of the large, heavy-duty, plastic window behind the chairs. She has wavy ginger hair that hangs delicately past her shoulders. Enviously, I twirl a lock of my own curls in between my short, stubby fingers; my hair is more like a lion’s mane of ringlets, each their own individual shade of brown or blonde. I have no definite hair colour because it is so hard to determine due to the variation in shades which is one of the several reasons why I hate drawing self-portraits, that and I loathe having to look at myself in the mirror in order to get my features right. All of a sudden the girl spins around in her seat; she has seen me looking at her. I cast my hazel eyes down in embarrassment as she gives me an analysing stare to determine who I am.
“You’re new here, aren’t you?”  Her cocksure voice doesn’t quite fit her sheepish appearance. As she continues to stare at me I can’t help but feel a slight bit taken aback at her nerve. In England you would never address a stranger like that, then again I suppose this isn’t England and I should know that by now, it has been two weeks since me and Mum immigrated to America yet it still feels like I will never get used to it.
I nod my head slowly as she says. “What’s your name, kid?” I look behind me subconsciously to see if she is talking to anyone but I’m the only one around.
“Elisabeth, Elisabeth Jones. What’s yours?” I say confidently, I even convince myself this time and that takes a lot to do.
“Molly Cooper. Elisabeth, that’s a long name, mind if I call you Lis?” She asks boldly, for someone that I have just met she sure seems intent on being my friend. Her bright, wide, emerald eyes look at me excitedly, as I hesitated and said,
“Of course, everyone else does.” Only now that I have got into a conversation do I realise how much my strong British accent stands out, great, just another thing to make me feel different in this crazy new country.
“Nice to meet you Lis, what’s your next class?” Clearly she isn’t going away any time soon, I suppose that’s good, I’m bound to get lost in this never-ending labyrinth of a school.
I reach into one of the large pockets in my skinny jeans and pull out the crumpled timetable that I had stashed in it a few hours earlier. It has several tea stains on it and many of the words now prove hard to read, it serves me right I suppose for trying to memorise it while drinking tea. “Geography, you?” I say thinking that I may as well make the most of someone that is willing to be my friend.
“Geography. Looks like we’re in the same class, let me show you around, it’s not nice being lost, let alone when you’re a newbie.” Beaming, Molly pulls herself up from the old, rigid chair and gestures for me to follow. Something tells me that despite her confidence she isn’t the most popular girl in school.

Obediently, I follow Molly down the hallway; every single wall we pass is covered in motivational posters and team spirit banners. As we near the geography classroom a high pitched ringing sounds throughout the school, end of first period. Stumbling, I find myself being shoved around defencelessly in a sudden outburst of students, my timetable crumpled in my hands; I look around slowly like a young child looking for their mother. Where has Molly gone? She probably got lost in the crowd. It takes me approximately five minutes to find my locker, which had been hidden in amongst the herd of stereotypical American students. Only now do I realise how accurate all of the TV shows like Glee were, as I glance around anxiously I realize how much attention I am receiving and why shouldn’t I? The new kid always ends up spending the day being gawped at embarrassingly waiting for someone, anyone, to come and talk to them. Everyone’s eyes seem fixated on me, every sporty kid, and every popular girl, even the kids that usually kept themselves to themselves were looking at me. I fumble around with the code on my locker for a while hoping that if I don’t pay attention they’ll forget about me but it doesn’t work, all the way to my first class I can’t move without my every step being analysed. I know what they’re looking for, they’re wondering which group I fit into but I’m determined to be in any of them, I’m going to be myself.

 

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