The first day. The day that determines it all. It felt good pulling back into the parking lot in my brand new red Mercedes, to walk down the familiar tiled hallways, lined with lockers and riddled with gossip. God. I’d missed the parties and making out with Dylan in the locker room. And of course I’d missed my girls too. I hadn’t seen them all summer, due to a sudden job opening in New York.
"So...What do you think?" Madison walked up alongside me, blonde curls bouncing.
I stopped at my locker. She gave me a confident smile and twirled in a hideous neon purple dress. As she spun the skirt fanned out, giving me an even better view on how terrible the getup was.
"Just got it on Sunday at American Eagle." She said with an expectant look.
Now don't get me wrong, Madison is a sweet girl and all, but someone had to tell her how bad this thing looked.
I examined it for a second longer and gave her my verdict.
"I think it looks like shit." I grabbed my pre-calc and chemistry books from my locker and turned to face her.
"What is this? Nightmare on Cyndi Lauper Street?" The dress had sleeves that left her shoulders exposed and had a puffy mess of tule protruding from the bodice. If you could call it a dress. It was more like a monstrosity. I'm seeing American Eagle in a whole new light.
Madison blinked hard, studying her feet.
I scanned her up and down. "Seriously Maddie, if you want to be my friend you need to not dress like a freak. You can't sit with me at lunch today unless you change out of that thing."
I shut my locker and slung my backpack over my shoulder. When I looked back her eyes were glassy and rimmed with red.
"Did I say something?"
"What the fuck, Emily?" Madison stared at the ground, blinking hard. The ocean of tears that had been collecting in her eyes spilled out.
"You asked for my opinion, and I told you." I told her, raising my shoulders defensively.
I laid my manicured hand on her shoulder and gave her a small shake, "God, don't take it so fucking personally. Hello! I'm helping you here! Your impression on the first day determines the rest of your school year! Do you want to join the losers?!"
I groaned in irritation. Why did people always have to be so difficult? She just didn't understand how socially degrading wearing something like that can be. It's like asking to be preyed upon. And I'd like to maintain my spot in the high school food chain: right at the top.
"Your mascara is running!" I called after Maddie as she shoved through a group of sophomores and disappeared down the hall.
Since I still had some time before next period, I went to the bathroom and checked my hair in the mirror. I had curled it myself today. My stylist said I basically looked amazing in any hairstyle-which I couldn't agree with more-but there's something I simply loved about how the light chestnut ringlets framed my face. Everything was perfect as usual. I touched up my makeup, applying another coat of pink lipgloss.
As I blotted my lips, a girl with a big mane of dark hair appeared in the mirror. I met her hazel eyes in the reflective glass.
"Alyssa!" I exclaimed, "Hey girl!"
"Sup bee-otch?" She ran a hand through her wavy hair.
I swiped on another coat of mascara. "Not much, typical summer. I feel like I haven't seen you in forever though! Like what the fuck, it's only been a couple months. Looks like you got a killer tan. How was Cali?"
"Fuckin' amazing. You should've seen all those sexy American guys." She gestured with her hands for emphasis. "It was like Hollister models, like in the ads, like everywhere, but like in real life..." She stared off dreamily.
"Earth to Maria?" I waved a hand in front of her face.
She snapped back to reality. She grew excited. "Oh my God, yes. So there was this one guy who wasn't like from around there or anything, so he wasn't American, but he had these amazing green eyes that sparkled when you looked into them and this smexy curly like dark brown windswept hair and the most incredible body ever."
I wondered how the hell she managed to spew all that out in one breath.
Once Maria got on a roll it was hard to stop her. It was like she was on sugar high twenty-four-seven. One time she blabbed to me for like three hours. She only stopped talking when she realized I'd fallen asleep.
"But he was like soooo hot. Like hot enough to melt a low fat Greek yogurt gluten free popsicle..." She sighed deeply and then took out a tube of her signature red lipstick.
"Well, did you guys hook up?" I asked, actually a bit curious.
Maria finished fixing her lipstick and turned to me. "Do even know who you're talking to?" She widened her brown eyes and rested a hand on her hip like she was explaining something to a two-year-old.
She definitely had quite the reputation with the men. In other words she could basically get a guy to do anything.
"I got him alone one night, and we fucking made out so fucking hard like my lips were fucking sore afterwards."
I raised my eyebrows. "I didn't know it was possible to use fuck that many times in one sentence."
"Those were the only words that could possibly describe the activities that went on in that shack. Like, I still have chapped lips from all of it."
We both got our backpacks and walked out of the bathroom down the crowded hall.
I tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. "Wait. Did you say shack? Isn't that like unsanitary or something?"
"No! It was actually like so hot. He was like a lifeguard, so I was out at the beach one night and we like made out in the hut with all the floaties in it."
I tried to picture the situation in my mind, but nearly laughed out loud at how ridiculous the image was.
We stopped at Maria's locker. "So, what'd you do over vacation?"
"Nothing nearly exciting at your steamy summer fling. I got to fly to New York for a couple weeks for another photo shoot." I said offhandedly, recalling the busy paved streets, innumerable shops and overlooking Empire State Building.
We both knew that my luxurious two-week trip was much better than her three-day excursion to California, but it remained unsaid. Like anyone could top me. I saw the hint of a frown tug at the corner of her lips for a second, but she quickly conjured a smile.
She grabbed a notebook. "Want to know the best part?"
I looked at her intrigued.
"He said he just moved here, like, he'll be going to school at Cedarwood now. Like, what are the chances of that?" Maria zipped her backpack.
"That is so fucking weird. Maybe he's your stalker." I suggested playfully, "Just couldn't get enough of dat ass."
"Oh yeah," Maria slapped her behind, receiving a few whistles from some seniors.
"You gotta point this guy out to me. See you at lunch?" I asked her as we parted ways.
She nodded and blew me a kiss. "Love ya, Alex."
"And because I believe in hard work, I think we should start right away. None of that we-just-got-back-from-break-so-we-shouldn't-do-anything nonsense or any get-to-know-you exercises. You are juniors in high school for crying out loud. Pre-calculus requires effort and focus."
The whole class moaned in unison. Blah, blah, blah. Two minutes into my first class of the year and I already wanted to kill myself.
I took out a nail file and started shaping the ends of my nails. I occasionally heard a couple words break through my filter, like triangle, cosine, and tangents, but that was pretty much it.
I scanned the room to see who was in my class. There was some weird new emo girl with bright blue hair sitting in the back and a nerdy boy I'd never seen with thick glasses. I scowled upon seeing Madison in her horrid dress a few seats in front of me.
There was this cute guy with brown hair sitting directly to my left. He sat with his head down and intently sketched on the top of his desk with a pencil. He looked up at me when he realized I was staring. I batted my green eyes at him and smiled, giving a small wave. He glanced up at me without expression and then went back to his doodling.
Like a stupid desk could be more exciting than me. It was still pretty hot that day, so I'd worn this black low cut crop top. All the guys couldn't take their eyes off of me, so I was slightly offended when this guy dismissed me like I wasn't even there.
After pre-calc, I made my way to chemistry. When I walked in everyone was sitting in their seats chattering. None of my friends were in this class either. Wonderful.
I recognized the boy with the dark brown hair at one of the lab tables in back. I plopped down in the empty seat next to him, deciding to give him another chance. He leaned back in his chair with his arms folded across his chest, not even acknowledging my presence in the slightest. He just kept staring up at the ceiling like it was the most interesting thing in the world. Who did this guy think he was? He let off this arrogant kind of vibe, like I wasn't good enough for him.
If there was any girl he'd want in this entire school, it'd be me. All the guys wanted me. I was rich, beautiful: the whole freakin' package. So why the hell was this kid giving me the cold shoulder? I mean, I had a boyfriend, but didn't this guy at least have the decency to check me out?
"I'm Alex." I said smiling. "You're new here, right, cutie?" I flipped my hair over my shoulder. It was a trick I had perfected and always worked with the guys.
I saw him glance toward me, but his eyes quickly slid back to the Sheetrock panels above. He ran a hand through his curls and let out a sigh. My hair flip had never failed.
"Hello? You know it's kinda rude to ignore people?" I got a few looks from some other kids, and realized I had raised my voice. I began to get irritated now, wondering what I could’ve possibly done to offend him.
"There's no need to yell, sweetheart." He finally answered me with the hint of a smirk. I didn't like the way he said 'sweetheart'; almost like it was an insult.
"You know, you should just stop acting so desperate while you still can, before you make an idiot out of yourself." I saw the people at the table in front of us snigger. "Just because your chest is falling out of your shirt doesn't mean I'm interested, okay?"
The whole room was dead silent... aka everyone in my chem class just heard that. I felt my face get red hot.
Usually I'd have some clever retort, but no words came to mind. I shrunk down into my seat wanting to die. No one had ever talked to me so bluntly; no one had ever turned me down. I was thoroughly embarrassed.
"Nice to meet you though, Alex. My name's Harry."
The bell rang, signaling the start of class. My heart sank when I realized I'd have to be lab partners with this douche bag for the rest of the year.