2. Last Day of School: Helena
Friday’s were always hectic in the Smith household but nothing was worse than Monday mornings, those, they tested your patience. On Monday’s Matthew Smith a highly skilled brain surgeon was gone even before a cock could crow, then Elizabeth Smith a high powered attorney was in her office talking with clients over cold cases or ones that she was recently working on, and the children were giving the maid hell. She was the only light that ever came from the Smith house was from their maid, Emma Ryder, a 42 year old, 5’5, short haired blonde with green eyes who always seemed to brighten a room. She had worked for the Smith family for more than six years and had earned the trust of all four Smith children, specifically Helena Smith. The oldest daughter and third oldest sibling, she absolutely adored Emma from the moment Emma stepped foot in their house when she was only 10. Emma had 5 children only one though was near Helena’s age, Ethan, he was notorious at her school to be just as much of an ass as his father was before he was imprisoned. But she hadn’t even spoken to him after her mother put his father away for life-a burden Helena had held for three years now; due to her sister’s actions and due to this she believed she was eternally in debt to the Ryder’s. The iPhone 5s on Helena’s bedside rang loud in Helena’s ear as she slept. Moan escaped her lips when she finally decided to move after snoozing the alarm for what she thought had only been five minutes but in actuality turned out to be an hour. She was late it was a Monday-the Monday to be exact that ended junior year of high school. Meaning school let out at 12:30 rather than 3:30. The great part about it however was the fact that Helena could work extra hours this summer for work without school or homework stopping her from working. “Just get straight up Lennie just get straight up and you won’t go back to sleep and miss the last day of school,” Helena repeated to herself in a soft mumble. Lennie, was a nickname her dad had given her because he thought ‘Helena’ sounded too formal and old sounding. “Lennie, mom’s going to kill you if you don’t get up you’re an hour late,” Arthur, her oldest brother shouts from the other side of her door. “Okay,” she mumbles back but so low he couldn’t even hear her. Helena’s phone suddenly buzzes making her jump if it was Zach he was going to kill her for being late for yet another day. However if it’s Sarah she’d be in the clear because Sarah herself arrived at school even later than herself. Helena looked with squinted eyes at her phone that showed she had a text from Zach. “Shit.” Helena jumped from bed and quickly slid on a pair of jeans and a LSU sweatshirt before hurrying into the bathroom. When she got to the mirror her appearance shocked her, her hair as in mats, there was dried drool on her face, and because she forgot to take off the makeup she wore for church her mascara and eyeliner smeared down her face. With a sigh Helena ran water and grabbed the soap from a small purple bin on the counter and scrubbed off the excess makeup. Afterwards she decided she didn’t have enough time to put any on so the natural look it was. Finally she ran the bathwater and dunked her hair in to wet it so she could detangle it without any problems. She had to admit she looked extremely terrible but it was the last day of school-most kids either won’t show up or will be either too high to function or too tired to care about the way she looked. Helena, after twenty five minute finally walked out the bathroom with her wet hair pulled into a braid. She looked around her lavender painted room for a sign of her book bag. Of course it wasn’t there why would it? She always throws it somewhere completely random after school and has to hunt it down so she can leave. Only trace of school even in her room was a pile of book she has never even touched and come to think about it has to return today or they’ll hold her back a year. Sighing she grabbed all six heavy academic books and swung open the door to find her house unbelievably quiet. Helena walks down stairs to see her siblings are already gone and Emma and her mother standing by the door. “Mom what’s going on?” Helena asks putting down her books on the table near the door. Her mother was dressed in a reddish pants suit with her hair pinned up in a bun she was obviously not staying home today. Sometimes the office lets her work from home but most of the time they’re calling her into the office for paper work that can only be done there. “Lennie, I am glad you’re still here um we’re letting Emma go,” she replies folding her arms to her chest and eyeing Emma. Who was fiddling with her fingers in her normal attire; a light blue t-shirt, black sweatpants, and Nike running shoes. Confused as ever Helena folds her arms as well only not at Emma but her mother. “Emma wouldn’t steal anything from anyone. I should know she won’t even accept two dollars from the bus.” “Yes well it would seem honey that your sisters charm bracelet, the one nana gave her, has gone missing.” “And you think its Emma because why?” “Because I confessed,” Emma interjects, “I needed the money I am so sorry, Helena, please you have to forgive me,” she pleads grabbing Helena’s hands and rubbing them. Taking a step back shocked Helena shakes her head, “We trusted you. Get out.” “Helena please,” “I believe my daughter asked you to leave now please don’t make this harder than it already is just go,” Elizabeth says taking a step in front of her daughter so Emma would leave. Emma nods and walks out the door, after a couple minutes of silence Elizabeth turns to her daughter. “So is the new fashion out with you kid’s slippers or are you forgetting shoes today?” Helena frowns and looks down at her feet noticing her fuzzy pink slippers still on her feet. Her laugh fills the room and her mother joins. “Okay honey how about you go put on some shoes, we can grab some breakfast, and I will take you to school.” “Okay mom.” “And Lennie?” “Yes?” “I know you really cares about her but I would have a better peace of mind if you didn’t contact her. Okay?” Helena looks at her mother’s worried expression and nods. “Yeah okay mom.” ☯ ☯ ☯ ☯ ☯ “Hannah Owens?” “Here.” “David Riddle?” Coach Thompson continues to take roll as Helena slips in and takes her seat at the back of the class. When she slides into the seat Zach turns around locking his blue eyes with hers and shakes his head. “Late again? Why am I not surprised?” “Because I’ve been late every day of my life since birth now shush before she screams at me for missing morning practice.” “Ah, Helena Smith, late, and missed morning practice.” Coach Thompson looks up from her computer and eyes Helena sitting in her seat. Her brown hair was surprisingly down today, the freckles on her face were covered in foundation, she wore a black skirt and a white tee with a blazer, and she looked almost like a girl. “You see Coach I just don’t get the point of morning practice at the end of the year.” “Well Helena when you’re perfect enough to not need morning practice you won’t need to come,” she remarks making the class ‘ooh’, ‘ah’, and laugh at our encounter. “Anyway it the last day do whatever you want I have things to do.” Zach took that as his cue to turn in his seat and face me with knowing eyes. “Let me guess you snoozed the alarm, ran to get ready, and probably left your phone on the white messy night stand by your bed because you don’t ever remember to pick it up.” Helena gave him a finger telling him to hold on as she rummaged through her pockets and bag to find any trace of her phone. Of course there was nothing. This was like routine for her she had been late so many times the school thought about holding her back a year just because. “Oh and let me also guess your book bag is about to tear because instead of coming with Sarah and I to the book room last month to return books you decided to wait until the last minute.” “Are you done?” “Yeah,” he smiles in content. “Okay so yes I forgot the phone and may now have to wait in a line filled with annoying underclassmen but its okay you guys go ahead to Sarah’s I can walk there.” “You sure?” “Yeah I might not even make it to Sarah’s as long as this line is going to be so you guys go and I will meet you there.” Zach nods as the attention of everyone turns to the door where the two senior English teachers stood. Mr. Hartman and Ms. Lyon, they were said to be two of the greatest teachers here in Monterey, California. “Excuse us Coach Thompson can we talk to your class about summer assignments,” Ms. Lyons asks flipping her red hair behind her and giving her a sincere smile. But earned a gruesome moan from all the students. “Go ahead your students now.” Ms. Lyons nodded and stepped further into the class room with Mr. Hartman trailing behind. “Now as you guys know last week we partnered you up with other seniors for the summer project and-,” “Excuse me?” A voice from the back of the room made everyone turn their heads. Ethan Ryder, with his hand raised looked nervously at the two teachers. “I was absent all last week I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Mr. Hartman looked at his clipboard and whispered to Ms. Lyons. Her gaze landed on me as I tapped my pencil and watched as Zach tried to throw paper balls in Thompson’s hair. “Yes Mr. Ryder you’ll be partnered with Ms. Smith.” Helena’s eyes shot up and Zach ceased another blow at Coach Thompson to look at her frozen state. “Excuse me but I was partnered with Alexa Underwood.” “Yes well she checked out so the only other senior without a partner is you Ms. Smith.” Helena let out a sigh and nodded her head as they continued to explain the entirety of the project. Apparently the goal is to spend a certain length of time with your partner even if you have to go out of town make time to get to know them. You must write your first thoughts on them, you can let them know what you wrote, or wait until presentation day, then collect information about them and write an essay and present to the rest of the seniors why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Once they were done the bell sounded for the day to be over and there is honestly nothing louder than a room filled with kids going on vacations. Zach and Helena waited for the room to clear out before standing. Zach gave an annoyed look past Helena but before she could turn and see a hand tapped her shoulder. “Um Helena can we talk?” Zach rolled his eyes dismissing himself from the room and leaving Helena alone with Ethan Ryder. “Ethan yeah what’s up?” Ethan stuck his hands in the pockets of his black jeans, his brown hair was messy, he had on a white t-shirt, a jean jacket, and his eyes were fixed on his shoes. He looked back up at her and swallowed. “Look I uh I noticed you have loads of books and I have loads too so we can you know walk to the book room together and uh talk about this whole English assignment thing.” Helena smiled and nodded, “Sure lets go.” “Wait,” he replies and grabs her book bag and not letting her protest as they walked out of class.