I was sitting in media, filming random classmates for my project. I had been restless for all of last night because no matter how many keywords I tried, no results came up about the mysterious cave. It seemed like I was the only person who knew about it. Part of me was okay with that. It was like I had my own little place, somewhere to escape to when I needed the space. The other part of me was not okay, though, because I just wanted some goddamn answers.
I didn’t know why this was so important to me. I should be excited about a secret hideaway under my house. The thing was, though, I was sixteen, not six. “Secret hideaways” weren’t exactly my forte anymore. I was more interested in how it came to be and what it was used for, not how I could utilize it myself.
After class I headed to my locker to grab the books for my next class. As I put the old ones away and pulled the new ones out, I started thinking of the friends I had made already. Well, it was really only Tomas. Elliot was nice enough, except he didn’t speak much, Luke didn’t talk to me at all, and it wasn’t news to find out that Alice didn’t like me. What was that girl’s problem?
I turned to go to my next class…and smacked straight into Elliot.
“I am so sorry. You guys are everywhere, I swear. I bumped into Tomas yesterday, and Alice is in two of my classes, and here you are…” my voice trailed off when I realized he was laughing, “What?”
“Coincidence is a funny thing. And no, we’re not everywhere. For instance, we’re not over there,” he pointed to the end of the hallway.
“Har har, wiseass.”
“I actually came to get you. It’s your first lesson of IT next, right? We’re in the same class.”
I looked at my timetable that I clearly had not yet remembered. Sure enough, I had IT next, not math like I had thought.
“Thanks, Elliot. You really saved me from an embarrassing moment there,” I stated as I put my textbooks away, “I was just about to head to the wrong class.”
“Haha, yeah. That actually happened to me when I first moved here. Walked straight into English, and you could tell by the size of the kids that I did not belong there. Most embarrassing thing ever,” I looked at him incredulously, “I was a transfer too.”
“Oh, really? Where did you move from?” I asked as we made our way to class.
“You moved from Idaho all the way to Michigan? Jeez, I just moved towns.”
“Well some people move to the other side of the world. It wasn’t a big deal for me. I used to get bullied a lot,” he said by way of explanation.
He gave me a quizzical face, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but “tech savvy” guys aren’t normally the most popular of students. That’s why I’m so happy here – the group took me in without a moment’s hesitation.”
“Was it Tomas?” I asked as we walked into the classroom and sat down at a couple of computers.
“No, it was Alice, believe it or not.”
I gave him a skeptical look and he laughed.
“Alice is actually the nicest person I’ve ever met – which is pretty hard to believe considering how accepting Tomas is – but she’s just so caring. She’s like the mother hen of our group, you know? Don’t worry,” Elliot gave me a little nudge, “She’ll warm up to you eventually.”
Elliot and I spent the rest of the lesson talking and getting to know each other. I found out that his favorite color is green, the same shade as his eyes. I told him mine was orange. There was no reason for it; it just happened to be the color I liked the most. We share the same favorite flavor of ice cream, which is goody-goody gumdrops. He can play the guitar! I was surprised about that. I didn’t mean to be stereotypical about it, but I thought he spent most of his time on the computer. He loves designing websites, and wants to hopefully become a software engineer.
“Big ambitions for a small town man,” he gave me a determined smile.
“Pfft, you’ll get there easily.”
“I hope so.”
Suddenly a tall and menacing shadow fell over us. “Class is nearly over. What work do you two have to show me?”
Prepared for this thanks to a prior warning from Elliot, we switched our screens to our documents, which showed massive amounts of research on website designs and detailed comments on their attributes.
“Hmm. Well, at least you’re doing the work. But keep it down. You have all lunch time to get to know each other,” the teacher glared at us, “Oh, and Margaret? Welcome to the school.”
“Thank you,” I said as the teacher turned away.
Quite immaturely, Elliot stuck his tongue out at the teacher’s back. It seemed so out of character compared to his normal calm and quiet demeanor that I couldn’t help but laugh.
Everyone else was already at the table when Elliot and I emerged into the sunlight.
“Ooh, what were you two doing?” Tomas teased as he stuffed a handful of fries into his mouth.
“Providing in depth research on different website layouts and present positive and negative aspects of each of their attributes, and how they affect the aesthetic of the design,” Elliot recited our statement of intent.
Alice threw a chip at him, “You’re such a geek.”
She just glared at me as I sat down. I tried not to take any notice.
“So what movie are we going to see on Friday?” I directed the question at Tomas.
“Uhh…well I was thinking about Lillian Returns,” the phrase was a sentence but he said it like a question.
“The cyborg action film?”
“Yeah, I thought it looked pretty good,” he gave me a small smile.
Alice rolled her eyes and a chip landed squarely on the side of Tomas’ cheek. Luke was sitting across the table looking very please with himself, so Tomas decided to throw a chip back. Within seconds all of the guys were in a chip fight, and the only time Alice didn’t scowl was when she looked at me and gave an exasperated sigh.
Later that night, after having combed out the rest of the chip that I hadn’t known was in my hair, I was lying on my bed thinking about everyone. I was thinking about Elliot mainly, and how he had said that he loved moving here. He was a good friend, and so was Tomas, but if I was given the choice I would still move back home. I clearly didn’t belong. Elliot and Tomas were nice enough, but Alice didn’t want me around, and Luke? Well he’s just weird.
I ended up falling asleep thinking of my old life back home.