“Whittman. Abby Whittman.”
For the next few minutes, all that could be heard were the sound of papers being shuffled while the secretary searched for what she was looking for. I shifted my weight from one foot to another, hoisting my backpack a little bit higher on my shoulder.
“Ah, here it is,” she exclaimed, quietly. She reached out the paper towards me with a smile. “Have a good year, Abby.”
“You too, Ms. Snow,” I replied, giving her a nod. I walked out of the office, my eyes scanning the sophomore year schedule that she had handed me.
Year two in the hellhole that everyone liked to call school—or in my case, James McKinley High. People really weren’t kidding when they said freshman year would suck—it did. Majorly. Between dodging assholes, trying to keep good grades, and being at the top of my game, those three months of summer break didn’t seem be nearly enough time to get away from it all—
Unfortunately, I was never able to fully do that. After one incident ten minutes into a summer party, it seemed that I had become the school’s new teenage girl counselor overnight.
The smell of beer, pot, and marshmallows wafted through the air as I stepped out of Kara’s car. She wasn’t supposed to be driving—she didn’t even have her permit—but knowing her, such a trifle thing wouldn’t stop her from taking a chance to break the law.
“I thought you said we’d be going to the movies!” I exclaimed, frowning at the sight before me. I stayed out of high school parties—I thought they were stupid. After all, it was just a bunch of stupid kids either getting high, drunk, or laid. And most of the times, police would show up and card everyone that was there. This wasn’t the right type of scene for a typical honors student like me.
“Yeah right, as if I’d waste all that effort to steal a car just to go to the movies,” Kara snorted, hopping out next to me. “C’mon and live a little, Abbs. Let loose.” On the other hand, Kara was the complete opposite of who I was. She was all about being outgoing, taking chances—and didn’t give a damn as to what the consequences were. Sometimes I wished that I could be more like her.
“But…” I looked around me. People were chatting animatedly with each other while taking sips of their beers. A campfire was roaring with marshmallows cooking above the flame—still not my type of scene. But maybe it would be better than a movie?
“But nothing!” Kara pushed me into the crowd. “Go have fun!”
“But Kara!” I stopped and craned my head backwards. She was gone. She had left me all to myself in a party where I knew absolutely no one.
Letting out a sigh, I trudged through all the bodies, trying, (and failing miserably) to find a face that I would know. It was no use—people like me didn’t end up in parties like these. I groaned, finding a seat on one of the unoccupied logs and burrowing my face into my hands.
I can’t believe she would leave me here alone like this…
And that’s when I heard it. Soft sobs resonating from somewhere in the forest. I perked up in my seat, wondering what could be the source, and most importantly, did I care? I peered around me again—no one else seemed to notice a thing. Most likely, no one really would either. My head snapped back towards the direction of crying as it grew louder. Well, it was worth a try. Besides, it was probably going to be a lot more interesting than watching teenagers suck faces off each other.
I got up from the log, treading carefully through the forest. “Hello?” I asked softly. “Is anyone there?”
“Go away!” the voice pierced through the silence, making me jump in surprise. “Get the fuck out of here!”
“I was just wondering if you were okay,” I murmured. “I mean, why cry when there’s a party going on like two feet away, right?”
“Just get out of here!” the voice shrieked again. “I don’t need your fucking help, okay?!”
Normally, by this time I would’ve just quit. Called it all off and headed back to my lonely log. But for some strange reason, this girl’s cries kept my interested. Why was she so defensive in her retorts? What could have happened to her to make her this angry?
“I’d love to go away,” I answered, walking forward. “But I’d also love to know what happened to make you act this way.” As soon as I finished saying that sentence, I was finally able to come in contact with the girl.
She sat on a rock, wearing a cocktail dress, with flaming red hair and black mascara streaks running down her cheeks. I knelt down in front of her, trying to get a good look at her face. She stared at me, fresh tears dripping out of the corner of her eyes. She was pretty—shame that she had to be crying on a night like this.
After a few more seconds of silence, I decided to ahead and introduce myself. After all, that was the polite thing to do. “Hi, I’m Abby.”
The girl continued to look at me in disbelief, probably annoyed that I hadn’t had the decency to leave her alone yet. Unluckily for her, I was known to be quite persistent. With a sigh, and a sniffle, she also introduced herself. “Kathy. Kathy Evans.”
Kathy. Kathy, alone out here with no one but herself, crying her heart out. What could have gone wrong? I cleared my throat a little, giving her a smile. I guess I just had to find out.
“Nice to meet you Kathy. Now, if you don’t mind me asking, why are you crying out here alone like this?”
And it was there that I found out about the most notorious player in McKinley High—Justin. Drew. Bieber.
I had always thought that players were kind of funny. What was it about them that made it impossible for them to stick to one person in a relationship? Were they just too horny? Or were they just commitmaphobes? As I started meeting all the girls that he had burned, I began to wonder which category Justin fell into.
Granted, I never met the guy—and I sure as hell didn’t want to. My goal was to just make it out of high school alive, and I didn’t need a cold-footed, pigheaded jackass to complicate things even more than they should’ve been.
But even I sometimes wondered what appealed the most about him…
“Abby Whittman, is that you?!”
I stumbled out of my reverie and into the arms of my now beach blonde—and tan—best friend. Damn, the Bahamas sure did wonders.
“Kara!” I laughed, squeezing her back. “I haven’t seen you since July! How were the Bahamas?”
“Hot, hot, and hot!” she laughed, pulling back to look at me with a smile. “I don’t think I’ve seen so much hotness anywhere else in the world!”
“Well don’t catch Oliver hearing you say that. I don’t think he’d be too happy,” I teased. Oliver was Kara’s boyfriend. They had met over the summer at the same party where I had become known as the school’s psychologist. He was a lacrosse player, and a total sweetheart—perfect for Kara. It made me feel better knowing that my best friend was smart enough to fall for a guy like Justin Bieber.
“Oh please, he should know that there’s no competition when it comes down to who I’m better off with in the end. There is no need for him to be jealous…” her sight caught onto the schedule that I had still gripped in my left hand. “Hey, do you know your classes yet?”
“Yeah,” I replied, giving the paper another once over. “Chemistry, AP English, AP History, AP Calc AB, Lunch, Photo, AP French, and Study Hall—nothing too interesting.”
“Aw poop,” Kara pouted, glancing down at her schedule. “We just have lunch together.”
My smile faded a little bit. “That’s okay, it’s better than not—
“—with Oliver,” she interjected, her face drawing together into a sheepish expression. My smile immediately dropped.
“Oh, don’t look at me that way, Abby!” she complained, averting her eyes from me. “We’ll still have time to hang out like always—Oliver will just be there sometimes. I mean, that’s okay, isn’t it?”
No, it isn’t. Call me selfish if you will, but I didn’t want to have to share Kara with Oliver. I respected the fact that they were crazy in love and all that, but I hadn’t seen my best friend in ages. I wanted to spend time with her, not with her and her boyfriend. And besides, when Oliver was around, Kara had the tendency to ignore everyone else around her. I knew it wasn’t Oliver’s fault that she was like that but still…
“Okay,” I responded. I didn’t want to tell her how much this actually hurt me. I’d rather have her around, than not have her around at all—and I knew that confronting her about this would only make her leave.
Kara hesitated, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”
“Yeah,” I responded, giving her a fake smile. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“But— The bell cut off the rest of whatever Kara was going to say. My eyes scanned my schedule to find the room number for my first period class. I looked over my shoulder, raising my voice above the chaos the five minute bell had caused in order to be heard.
“I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
Kara nodded her head slowly, her smile disappearing as she watched me leave. She seemed sad—but I couldn’t imagine why she would’ve felt that way. She had Oliver, and she thought she had me—what in the world could she be miserable about?
I shook my head to clear those thoughts. It didn’t matter, and I would just deal with it later. It was a new year, and I was starting fresh. Things would be different—really different.
And as I walked into my first hour class, little did I know how different things would really end up being.