Taking Chances

For the Young Movellist of the Year - Moving was part of Beatrice 'Bea' Howard's life, but what happens when this time it's the last time she has to do it while under her mother's roof?


3. Chapter 3

                                                                Chapter three


My mom had easily settled into the new house and our new life. I hadn’t, not as much as she had, anyway.


We had been moved in for two weeks now and I still had some boxes that needed to be unpacked but I left them stacked in the corner of my room. I knew I had to sort them out soon but I felt like I did before we stopped moving every few months; there didn’t seem like a point in doing so.


“Bea,” mom called, her voice echoing through the mostly empty hallway.


Checking my reflection one last time and flashing a small smile, I realised that it didn’t matter what I looked like, if I didn’t gain friends in the first week of school, why would I now?


I picked up my converse on the way downstairs and swung around the banister, my feet landing on the carpeted floor in the dining room. “Yeah, mom?”


She looked up from her art pad and smiled at me. “Are you almost ready to leave?  You don’t want to be late on your second week of school.”


I showed her the converses that were dangling by the laces. “Yeah, just need to put these on then I’m going. Will you be home later or are you going to be at the studio?”


Another reason my mom loved it here, she managed to get a studio cheaply since it wasn’t going to be sold for the price they wanted – that, or my mom knew how to haggle the prices down to almost nothing.


“It depends on this drawing, sweetie,” she told me, bending back over her work.


I watched as her pencil flew across the page, black lines following and blending with the others, creating something I knew was going to be beautiful.


“Okay, mom.” I flopped down onto a chair and pulled my shoes on, tightening the laces so I didn’t have another accident like last week – my first History lesson and I stepped on my laces, sending me toppling down the aisle. Luckily there were only a few people in there so not many witnessed my mishap.


“What do you think?”


Lifting my head, I came face to face with my mom’s art pad. My eyes adjusted to the image and I smiled. “It’s great, mom,” I told her honestly, running my eyes over the image of the beach that was just a few minutes down the road from us. “It’s honestly amazing. Are you going to paint it?”


She nodded and beamed. “I’m going to repaint it on a bigger canvas. I thought we could hang it upstairs once it’s finished.”


“That would be great,” I told her, smiling back. “Upstairs is really bare.”


She placed the art pad back down and leaned back. “It’s taken me two hours to finally finish this.”


“It is amazing,” I said, kissing her cheek. “I better get going. I’ll possibly see you later.”


“Bye, sweetie,” she called after me.


The sun was shining brightly as I slid into my car. My mom had decided I should have my own car – it was cheap and it ran, good enough for me. It was an off navy colour and I knew once I had saved up enough money I would get it repainted.


Good morning, everyone! This is Adam Garner and you’re listening to the best DJ on the radio. Today we have a few songs people have sent into us, telling us we just had to play them. I hope you like them,” the radio host exclaimed, making me wince and turn the volume down.


Since I had gotten my car and not been able to work out how to turn the radio off when I turned the engine on, I had realised that the radio hosts in this area were very chirpy, considering the time in the morning. I couldn’t be that chirpy even during the day.


This first song is called Paper Hearts, and it’s by a local band that goes by the name of Chasing Sky. They consist of four local high schoolers, all in their last year and hoping to get a record label so they don’t have to go to college. This is their song, enjoy!


A slow guitar riff filled the car and it was soon followed by drums, and even a hint of keyboard. I found my fingers tapping against the steering wheel as I came to a stop at the lights. It was good, and when the voice joined in, I knew I liked them.

They weren’t quite pop but they weren’t quite rock either, they were getting the balance just right.


The song lasted me until I reached the car park of the local high school – my new high school.


“Your song was on the radio!” someone shouted, causing a cheer to erupt amongst the student body that was waiting by their, or their friend’s, cars.


I tried to locate who was being shouted compliments at but I had no such luck, so I hitched my bag higher up my shoulder and walked towards the school building, wishing I was already at home.



The hallways were dying down as people made their way to lessons after lunch. I had spent it in my normal spot – the library.


The only people left in the corridor were the teenagers that didn’t want to go to class, the newbie’s that didn’t know where their classroom was and a girl, I noticed, blocking the way of another student – whether they actually knew each other or not was a different story.


“Look, I just need to know for my test!”


They knew each other, but it didn’t seem like a friendly relationship.


“I can’t keep doing this for you, Lindy,” the girl squeaked, holding her books tighter against her chest – an obvious attempt to shield herself. “It’s not right.”


“Right or not, if I fail this test I’m going to be held back!”


The girl winced and looked down. I felt sorry for her, I really did.


“Look, just tell me what I need to know and I’ll leave you alone.”


The girl, who I noticed looked too young to be in the last year of school, nodded her head and sighed. She clearly wasn’t happy.


Curious as to what she needed to know, I closed my locker and slowly walked towards them, my gaze lowering to focus on my phone.


“Okay, fine. The only thing you will need to know is the year and the state that was last to vote for the amendment for women’s right to vote. You will have to explain what you’ve learned in class about why they were last.”


“Right,” the older of the two said slowly. “What state was the last to vote and when was it?”


As the girl fidgeted with her books I saw something spark across her features but the other girl was too busy with her hair to notice. She could lie or tell the truth, either way the girl would be onto her again, wanting more answers that she didn’t want to give anymore.


“New York was the last state,” she told the bored blonde. She was obviously going for lying then. I just hoped she knew where to hide. “It was in 1918.”


“Thanks, Nicky,” the blonde said, smirking at the younger girl.


“It’s Nicole,” the girl whispered but she was already scuttling away.


As I watched the blonde girl – Lindy – huffed and ran her fingers through her hair before her eyes connected with mine. “Can I help you?” she asked, raising her eyebrow.


“No,” I said, shrugging. “Just watching the exchange.”


“Did it amuse you?” she asked, a frown taking over her features. Even with the downwards curve of her lips she was still beautiful – except for the fakeness of her blonde hair.


“It didn’t,” I told her, my own eyebrows raising. “Why would bullying a younger girl into telling you the answers to a test amuse me?”


“Excuse me?”


I shrugged. “I think you heard what I said.”


I’ll admit, this wasn’t the best way to make friends. And this girl seemed like someone I didn’t want to get on the wrong side of – especially if my mom decided to stick around until I finished my final year.


“Look, I need to pass this test or I’m going to be stuck here for another year.”


I really did need to make friends. I didn’t want my last year of school to be wasted in the library, knowing nobody. I knew my mom wouldn’t want to move us again, especially in my final year where I had tests and would fail if I didn’t get enough study time.


“She gave you the wrong information,” I told her, sighing.


“What?” she asked, looking slightly taken aback. “She knows better than to do that.”


“Tennessee was the last state to vote for the amendment. And it was in 1919 not 1918.”


Her nose scrunched up. “Are you lying to me to throw me off?”


“Ask anyone – well, not that girl. She clearly gave you the wrong information.”


“You’re new, right?”


“Bea,” I told her, stuffing my hands into my coat pockets.


She hummed for a moment before nodding. “I’m Lindy. Thanks for that. I have to go take this test. Sit with me tomorrow at lunch, okay?”


Before I had a chance to say anything she was already walking away, her high heels clicking against the marble floor.


I stared after her, confusion cursing through me. Had I just made a friend?



The following day I detoured from the library and headed towards the canteen.


I had only been in there once, and that was my first day. I remember thinking that it was like a zoo, in a small way. There were the small students that didn’t quite know how everything worked yet so they stayed near the back – like the animals just put in the zoo with the larger animals that could kill. The girl I met yesterday, Lindy, seemed like she was part of the big cat family. She was the top of the food chain.




I looked away from the food choices and saw Lindy standing up from her spot at the middle table. Her arm was waving above her head and I noticed a bracelet was wrapped tightly around her wrist.


I awkwardly waved back to her before grabbing a sandwich from the cart. “Thanks,” I said to the lady behind the till. She smiled in return before I quickly walked over to Lindy’s table.


“Guys, this is Bea. My saviour,” she said, grinning. “If it wasn’t for her I would have failed that test.”


“You passed?” I asked her, sliding into the chair she was patting next to her.


She looked at me like I was stupid for thinking she wasn’t going to. “Of course.”


My eyebrows rose slightly at her tone. “I thought I was your saviour? Doesn’t that mean because of me you passed the test?”


Her lips pursed and her eyes ran over my face before she smiled. “I guess you’re right. Let me introduce you to everyone.”


When I casted my eyes around the table I noticed four people staring back at me. Two of them were boys – twins, identical – and the other three were girls. I noticed only one of the girls had a smile on her face. I guess newbie’s were really welcome at their table.


“Guys, I want you to meet Bea,” Lindy said, pointing to me. “She’s new and we met yesterday.”


“Nice to meet you,” one of the boys said, smiling at me. “I’m Fabian and this is my brother, Aiden.”


“Fabian and Aiden?” I repeated, my eyes flicking between them to notice any differences.


“Blue is my colour,” Fabian told me, “and red is his. We wear some form of it with our clothes so people stop messing us up.”


“Nice,” I commented, feeling my lips tug.


“This is Alex,” Lindy continued, shooting a scowl at the boys.


I looked at the red haired girl she had pointed out and smiled. “I like your hair.”


“It’s not real,” the girl next to her told me, smirking at her friend.


“Thanks, Bobby,” Alex said dryly, sighing.


“I’m Bobby,” the girl said, sticking her hand out. I shook it gently and managed a small smile back.


Lindy rested her elbow on the table and looked at the final girl. “That girl there is Claire. Nose in a book most of the time.”


Claire lifted her head and rolled her eyes at Lindy before smiling at me. “Hello,” she greeted, and I could detect a hint of southern accent in her tone.


Out of the three, I think Claire was going to be the nicest.


“What’s your next lesson?” Alex asked, putting her spoon with yoghurt on it in her mouth. “This is the best tasting yoghurt yet.”


Lindy looked over at her friend with a raised eyebrow. “Isn’t yoghurt fattening?”


“My next lesson is English,” I told Alex, leaning back in my chair and ignoring the silence that settled over the girls. “What about you guys?”


“I think I’m in your class,” Fabian commented, tapping his chin. “You sit next to that girl with glasses, right?”


“Her name is Annie, I think,” I told him. “You sit in the back, empty seats either side of you?”


Fabian nodded. “That’s me. Evan should be in class today.”


The girls burst into whispers and I looked at them in surprise. “Who’s Evan?”


Aiden snorted and looked at me. “How new are you?”


“New enough not to know who Evan is,” I pointed out, my lips tugging up in the corner.


“Have you heard of the band Chasing Sky?” Bobby asked me, raising her eyebrow. “They’re really popular, as of lately, that is,” she added, looking at the boys next to her and smirking.


“It’s not our fault it took us a while to get on the radio,” Fabian grunted.


My head cocked to the side as I looked between the boys. “You’re in the band that I heard on the radio this morning?”


“Guitarist,” Fabian said, pointing to himself then his brother, “and he’s the drummer.”


I smiled at them. “You guys were amazing.”


“Duh,” Bobby said, rolling her eyes and looking at the guys. “You really are great, Fabian.”


Aiden cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes at Bobby. “And his brother?”


She shrugged and smirked. “I guess you’re okay.”


Against my leg I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. I slid it out and looked at the screen, MOM flashed along with her picture – a goofy one she insisted we should have for each other.


“Excuse me, guys,” I told them, getting up and walking towards the exit of the canteen. “Hey, mom.”


“Hi, sweetie,” my mom greeted. I could almost hear her smile through the phone. “I was just phoning to let you know I’m going to be at the studio tonight and whether you wanted to drop by with food?”


I balanced my phone between my shoulder and ear as I tried to tug my planner out. “What time are you staying until?” I asked as I found today’s date. “I don’t know whether I have to catch up with some work I missed.”


“I’ll probably be here until six, maybe,” she told me and I could hear rustling. “Or I might be leaving earlier. I’m almost finished that picture the lady down the road wanted so I might drop it off to her.”


I snickered, imagining my mom’s face when our neighbour asked if she could paint a picture of her cats from a photograph. Originally my mom had said no but when the lady had put up the amount she was going to pay, she knew she had to agree – this was her first job in a few months now. I didn’t know whether that was on purpose or because she couldn’t get any work.  


“How do her cats look?” I asked teasingly.


She let out a sarcastic laugh but it soon turned into her real laugh. “Oh, sweetie, I don’t think I can keep a straight face when I give it back to her.”


My laughter echoed through the corridor and I quickly sobered up before someone heard me. “Poor you. I better go, lesson starts soon. I’ll see you tonight.”


“Bye, sweetie!”


I put my phone back in my pocket and went to walk towards the canteen but a crash made me turn around. I scanned the empty hallway but there was no one there. A frown spread across my lips as I walked away from the double doors.


“Hello?” I called as I rounded the corner. I spotted the source of the crash – a boy was bent down near the lockers, picking up books and a guitar case. “Are you okay?” I asked him, walking closer and picking up the pencils that had gotten away from him.


“I’m fine,” he said, sighing. “I should have learned by now not to juggle all of this stuff.”


My eyes ran over the sleek black body of his guitar and my lips tugged up. “You play guitar?”


“In a band,” he said, nodding.


Dragging my eyes to his face I realised his voice was familiar even though I had never met him before. “I know you from somewhere.”


He blinked down at me before his lips tugged up. “Chasing Sky?”


“The band I’m already hearing so much about?”


“That’s the one,” he said, grinning. “I’m Evan.”


I chuckled and nodded. “I thought so. I recognised your voice from the radio.”


Evan put his books in his locker before zipping the case up on his guitar. “I heard about that. I didn’t know we got an airplay until I had someone shout it in my face.”


“I kind of imagine it’s Fabian.”


“You’ve met him?”


“That’s where I was just coming from,” I told him, watching as he put the bag on his shoulder then take his books out again. “I’m Bea, a newbie.”


Evan nodded. “I thought I recognised you from one of my classes.”


Resting my shoulder against the locker next to me I ran my eyes over his face. “You aren’t what I pictured you to look like, really,” I admitted, smiling slightly. “I pictured you as blonde and blue eyes.”


“Half way there,” he told me, pointing to his blue-green eyes. “I was blonde as a kid, if that helps?”


I laughed and shook my head. “Afraid not. You need to be blonde now for it to be the right image I had in my mind.”


“Do I disappoint then?” he asked, his eyebrow raising as he shut his locker and looked at me. He mimicked my movements and leant against the locker next to me – except he looked more casual in the stance. His height probably helped him as well.


For a moment I just looked at him before running my eyes over him slowly – he was good looking, we both knew that, but it was fun to pretend otherwise. Some boys had big egos to begin with.


“You’re okay,” I told him but even I could hear the teasing tone in my voice.


“Only okay?” he asked as we started walking down the hallway. “That’s a bruise to my ego.”


“I bet it’s already too big,” I said, smiling up at him. “What with you being in a band and all that.”


“It’s more the band than me,” he mumbled, looking down at his feet. “People tend to like the idea of the band but not being with a guy in it.”


My eyebrows tugged together in confusion. “What do you mean?”


He flicked my nose lightly as we reached our classroom door. “Don’t worry. I need to leave early – gotta practice and help my mom out.”


“Wait, you’re leaving early? You’re allowed to do that?”


He nodded and an unrecognisable expression crossed his features. “Yeah. I’ll see you around, newbie.”


Hitching my bag higher on my shoulder I nodded. “See you around.”


“It was great to meet you!” he called over his shoulder with a wave.


As I watched him walk through the double doors that led out to the parking lot I had a feeling I had just made a friend – something I knew I didn’t want in case I moved again.


With a sigh I walked into my classroom and sat down – fifteen minutes early but I was already hiding from the people that wanted to be my friend. 

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