James and I strutted out of class when the bell rang, still talking about our favourite bands. We had an earbud each as we listened to his favourite Powerwolf song. I leaned down a bit though, as I was significantly taller than he was, and walked at his pace.
He then told me he had rugby practice as he usually had on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays after school. We finished the song and parted ways after he gave me his phone number and facebook.
Seemed like I had made myself a friend.
I was glad enough, to say the least. I didn’t want to forget my gang back in the States, but I didn’t really want to be alone here.
I walked out of the schoolyard, out the gates, down the street, through the park and then back into my street, my headphones propped on my head as I fiddled with my phone.
Once I got home, I turned the key in the lock of my house’s front door and pushed it open. Dad was still at work and Mum would surely come back home from her school sooner or later.
I scooted off to my room upstairs, kicking my shoes off before I slumped down on my bed.
I closed my eyes and sighed, deciding that I should laze off for a while… Until I remembered that Soo Yun would probably be online at this time. I got up and sat at my desk, in front of my computer, and turned it on.
My friend was still online, which was weird, considering that it was 4PM here, which meant that it was 5… 6… 1AM where she lived… Then I remembered that Soo Yun worked her butt off at school all day and played video games all night. I never understood how or when she ever slept, but I supposed that as long as she was available to chat, I could go bother her. I messaged her first, as usual, accompanying my message with the usual emoticon. She replied, asking me how my day went, I told her everything was just fine and dandy, that school was school, y’know, boring stuff.
I told her about what the school looked like, I told her how gross the food was and how, finally, I felt like I’d fit in, for some reason. Then she asked me to see if I had a uniform as she initiated the Skype video call. I stood there, showing off my ugly school uniform to her; a simple white shirt, a forest green jumper with the town’s crest on it, a black tie, and a pair of grey trousers. Soo Yun just laughed, commenting about how ugly my uniform was compared to hers.
Other than that, we spent the next hour talking about random things until she started yawning. I told her to get her arse off her computer and go to sleep. She had school the next morning, did she not?
Regardless, I had to turn my computer off because Mum just got back home and I had to pretend to be doing homework.
“’Night, Soo.” I told her, giving her a small wave before I cut the call and pulled my books out of my bag before I put them on my desk, turning off my monitor while letting the computer run. Then I got up and walked downstairs to greet my mother with a small wave. She had just entered the house with two big bags filled to the brim with groceries and started sorting them out on the kitchen table. Then she started by asking me how school went, I just said ‘meh’ and made a so-so motion with my hand.
“It was bearable.” I told her as she was taking the groceries out of the bag to put them in the fridge. I picked up a can of beans and put it in one of the cupboards under the counter “I mean, it was a first day of school, you know? I met my teachers, made some friends…”
“Oh, friends?” she asked, putting a bottle of coke in the fridge before she got back up and smiled at me “You, making friends on the first day of school? I’m impressed.” She told me. I had to refrain myself from rolling my eyes at her. Sure, I wasn’t a social butterfly, but hell, it’s not as if I were the one who made the first move. “What are their names?”
“Well, there’s this girl called Molly who was the one who introduced me to most of the class… Then there was her lot who let me eat with them at lunch. ” I told her as I grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl my mother had just filled up. Mum just nodded at that before she closed the fridge’s door.
“What’s she like? How old is she?” she questioned, taking a pack of spaghetti to put it on the counter “Do you want to eat some pasta tonight?” she asked me.
“Pasta would be nice, yeah.” I replied before biting into the apple. “Molly’s my age, and she’s nice. Is that all you wanted to know?” I asked her with my mouth full.
She looked back at me, a hand on her hip “I just wanted to know more about your first day at school, David, no need to get aggressive.”
“I-I’m not aggressive!” I snapped back, frowning a bit before I sighed “Sorry, you know I’m not pissy on purpose.”
Mum sighed and smiled weakly “I know, David, I know. Do you have homework?”
“Not really, I just have to finish reading Oliver Twist for my English teacher tomorrow.”
“What’s your English teacher’s name?”
“Uh… Mr. Marsh, I think?”
“Right. When do you start French class?”
“I have French classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Mum. The teacher wasn’t there today so they’ll be there in two days.”
“Well okay, then.” She said simply . Before she could speak again I had left the kitchen and walked back up to my room, eating the apple and finishing it when I got there, throwing the apple core in the bin.
The next day I woke up to the sound of my phone blaring ‘1741’ by Alestorm. I quickly shut Christopher Bowes’ gob by sliding my thumb across the screen to stop the alarm. I should never put one of my favourite songs as a wake-up alarm. Ever. Again.
The day started smoothly, I walked to school hastily as I was late, when at the corner of one of the buildings on my way to the educational torture house I came across the girl Alex had been dissing and one of the beefcakes. They looked alike, so I assumed they were brother and sister. I gave them a quick, awkward grin as a somewhat greeting. The girl smiled back just as awkwardly and the guy just stared me down- figuratively speaking, of course. He was shorter than me, though not as short as his sister who already seemed tiny compared to him. He didn’t look all too pleased to see me for some reason.
I took in a quick breath, averted my eyes and walked away ahead of them, hands in my pockets.
I quickly arrived at school though the bell had just rang, the twins came in a few seconds after me, and we all hurried quickly to our first class of the day: geography.
The hours passed slowly enough. I had Geography, Maths, Science and English today. Yawned through Geography, slept through half of Maths. My year was starting off swimmingly.
At noon, I ate with Molly, Alex, and Kelly. Molly and Alex were bickering about something again; from what I heard it was about how Molly didn’t do her homework in English and who was trying to leech off Alex who was furiously refusing. Kelly was eating and doodling away in her sketchbook, trying her best not to get any of her sandwich’s mayonnaise on her paper. I looked around and saw James sitting at a table where three other guys and two girls had sat down for lunch.
The first girl was tallish and skinny, had long blonde hair tied in a braid, and wore oval glasses. The other girl was the chubby girl from this morning who was walking to school with her brother.
The guys all looked like James, body-wise, they were all quite burly. One had long curly blond hair, another was black and had broader shoulders than the others, and the last one, little miss chubby's presumed brother, was pale with black hair and a light stubble.
James sat between the curly-haired guy and the chubby girl who was chatting excitedly with the other people at the table. The more I looked at her, the more I asked myself why Alex had been badmouthing her yesterday. I didn’t want to bring that up, though, talking to that goddamned hipster was the last thing I wanted to do today.
The bell rang and I headed off to the labs for science, getting up from where I was sitting and waving back at Molly. I noticed the black-haired guy from James’ table got up as well, leaving his gang to walk in my direction. He walked past me, then ahead of me, his black messenger bag slung over his shoulder. We walked through the courtyard and up the stairs that lead to the building where all the science labs and computer rooms were. We walked up the flight of stairs together, then he stopped right in front of me and turned around to face me.
“You’re friends with Alex Parkinson, aren’t you?” he asked me, frowning a bit.
I didn’t really know why he was asking me that. I guessed that he didn’t like Alex, as the bastard was always talking crap about his friends behind their backs. To be honest, I thought he was a pompous idiot who didn’t deserve the attention he got from Molly and the others.
“Nah, not really.” I replied as I adjusted the strap of my own schoolbag “I’ve known him for two days and I’m already sick of him, though.”
When I said that, the guy’s glare softened and he stepped back “Right… Could you do me a favour?” he asked me, his deep voice tainted with his mild French accent.
I shrugged at that. “Sure.” I replied, wondering what this guy who barely knew me wanted from me.
“My sister has English with you next period. Do you mind sitting next to her?”
I blinked. What? That was it? Was this some sort of joke? Not that I’d mind, but this seemed kind of stupid. Did his sister admit that she fancied me or something? Nah, that probably wasn't it.
“I guess so. I don’t really know where to sit most of the time, anyway. Why, though?”
The boy in front of me chewed on the inside of his cheek, his blue eyes looking down, as if he were searching for a suitable answer on the floor before he sighed, crossing his arms “I just don’t want that asshole near her. You’ll understand why sooner or later.”
“Right.” Was all I said. Damn was this guy heated. “Meanwhile, can I sit next to you?”
“Depends, what’s your name?”
“David. Wait, what does that have anything to do with--”
“No, no, your surname.”
“This teacher always has us sit in alphabetical order. I’m way too far from you.” He said as he walked up a few more steps and went into the corridor. I followed after him, pushing up my glasses.
“And what’s your name?” I asked him dully, hands shoved in my pockets.
“Why do you want to know? It’s none of your business.”
“I’m just curious. Jesus, don’t get pissy.” I told him. He rolled his eyes and walked ahead with me tagging along as we got to class and got to our places given by the teacher.
An hour later, I walked out of the classroom and out the building, walking through the old-fashioned courtyard, up the steps of the other building before I climbed more steps to get to my next class. Mr. I’m-too-cool-to-give-you-my-name’s sister was sitting at a table near a window and, hopefully, there was a place next to her. She had the same ink black hair as her brother, though while it was wavy like his, it was longer, and there was a green polka-dotted bow clipped in it to match the jumper of her uniform.
I walked over to her table and offered to sit down next to her. She said yes as she quickly looked up from the book she was reading, giving me a small smile. I settled down next to her and looked over at her book curiously. She seemed like she was cramming in some last-minute information about Oliver Twist. The teacher hadn’t arrived yet and neither did most of the students, so I thought I might as well chat with the girl next to me, if she’d let me.
“So, uh… Your brother told me to sit next to you.” was all I managed to say. Great.
She closed her book and looked up to me with the same blue eyes as her brother “Oh? Oh, right, I get it now.” She said as she looked over my shoulder. I looked back as well and saw Alex glaring at me for some reason. Wow, I thought that douchebag hated her, why would he want to sit next to her?
The girl bit her lip and looked back down at her book, trying to concentrate on something else.
“So, uh, yeah…” I started, turning back to her.
“I’m David, by the way.” I told her, trying to lean over to block out Alex’s view, though my skinny body wasn’t really a good shield.
“Marie-Ange.” She replied. I didn’t quite understand what she said at first, though then I guessed it was probably her name. It was a nice name. It sounded sweet enough, even if I knew I couldn’t say it without violently butchering it with my gross pronunciation. I tried though, out of politeness
“Maree-Ownge? Is that right?” I said clumsily. She bit her lip and grinned, shaking her head.
“You can call me Angie, if my name is really too hard to pronounce. I could teach you though, if you wanted.” She told me with the same accent as her brother’s, only in a softer, mousier voice.
“Yeah, that’d be great. I suck at french, by the way—you’re French, right?”
“Yeah, heh, it’s the uh, accent.” I said clumsily “What’s your brother’s name?”
“He didn’t tell you?”
I shook my head.
“Grégoire. But just call him Greg.”
Then the teacher came in, greeting us with a stiff ‘Good afternoon’.
Angie closed her book and looked forwards before she looked back to me “You’re friends with James, right?”
James, James… Right, the James who likes metal. I nearly forgot his name. I’m fucking stupid.
“Yeah! Yeah, yeah, I guess? I just met him yesterday.”
She nodded and fiddled with her pencil for a moment. I looked at her for a moment. She wasn’t exactly slaggy or ugly like Alex was letting me believe. Sure, she looked heavy, but she had a pretty face to compensate. She looked rather childish, though.
She looked back to me. I looked away, not wanting her to think I was staring. Angie smiled at me and spoke up:
“Well, my brother and James and the rest of their friends are on the local rugby team. They’re training tonight. Do you want to come?”
I blinked. She was inviting me to watch some burly guys run after a ball. Really, Angie, really?
“Oh, please! I always go to watch my brother play, but my friend can’t stay with me this evening. “
“So I’m a replacement?” I asked, quirking a brow.
She blushed at that “That’s not what I meant— I’m so sorry. It’s okay if you don’t come.” she stammered before she looked away.
I thought for a second. She looked slightly uncomfortable right there. Maybe she was one of those girls who couldn’t really deal with being rejected. Then I remembered that the beefcake that was her brother told me to keep an eye out for her.
God damn, why me? Why me of all people? She’s sixteen, she doesn’t need a babysitter. I sighed and looked back to her.
“Well… I don’t have anything to do tonight. I guess I could do homework later tonight…”
It was mainly a reason to get closer to James and his gang. That, and I didn’t mind rugby all that much. Actually my dad had gotten me into it when I was a kid, but that was just it.
I supposed that Marie-Ange was a nice girl. She looked very sweet. Cute, too. She didn’t seem to be as bitchy as Alex had let me believe.
The class went by and the bell rang to announce the end of the day. Marie-Ange packed her things back into her bag and got up, waiting for me to be ready.
I sighed and gave her an awkward grin, running a hand through my hair.
“Sure, I’ll come.”