"Welcome," a heavy, musical voice said, causing the twenty-four students to look around the room in wonder. Rea had to admire the new teacher a bit; sure, the room was a bit too decorated with stars; fake, sticky, glowing stars had been glued to the ceiling, zodiac signs posters hung on the wall along with constellation posters as well. The lights had been turned off, only the fake stars and the many candles lit around the room giving off light.
But, of course, that the teacher had been able to get Rea's attention, with her...odd appearance, even though Rea's dreams had kept her up all night again. She had the same nightmare as usual, but last night's had a violent twist.
"This is Astrology class." the voice, coming from nowhere again, snapping Rea back. A figure stepped into the candlelight, and Rea couldn't help but agree with what Alice had told her; this lady was a Professor Trelawney. "And in this room," she continued, adjusting her half moon glasses, "you will find your destiny."
Rea shuddered. Something about this teacher gave her the creeps...but at the same time, she felt the need to listen to her.
"Today, we will start what will be one of the most important lessons in your life." The teacher said, stepping into a better light this time. Rea expected her to turn on a light switch and say So get your notebooks out and write down these notes. But the Teacher simply continued to run and dart in and out of the candlelight. "We will be put together in groups of three, and explore each others signs..." A murmur rippled through the room. "You don't know of the mighty signs that rule the heavens and Earth?!"
Rea almost squealed; finally, a class that was talking about something she loved: zodiac signs. As a kid, she use to peer up at the sky through her window on cold, clear skied nights, her mom pointing out the constellations. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Aquarius, Capricorn, and all the others.
She felt a poke to her back, and turned around to see Victoria nodding her head to Alex across the room. Rea giggled, remembering the conversation of earlier.
"How was it?" asked Alice, wiggling her eyebrows up and down, the three still walking down the new hallway, that was now filling up with students. Victoria had been gone in the morning, not even stopping to say a hello to Alice, as she had described it, in rush to meet with Will.
"Great," the platinum blond sarcastically had said. She took a double step so she was by Rea. "The new teacher is weird, though." Victoria had been helping Will and the new teacher set up the classroom, which must have included glue, Rea had thought, looking at her friend's sticky hands. She understood now.
"What do you mean?" Rea asked, tugging on her hair. Victoria pulled the sleeves of her Nike sweatshirt down; the AC had been chilling her to the bone.
"How would you say it, with your nerd language...A high class Professor Trelawny." She said simply, trying not to grin at her friends gasps.
"That weird?" Asked Alice.
"See for yourself," smirked Victoria, as they stopped at the classroom door. She sauntered into the room, being a leader as usual, and turned around. "Try not to knock Alex out, Rea. He's been talking about how much he misses you without actually seeing you."
Of course, Rea couldn't help but have her heart beat faster as Alex smiled at her in the dimly lit room, now. They had just started going out; a feat in which Rea had never guessed would happen. But it had, and she couldn't have been happier.
"Please, you," The Teacher said. "You, Taurus." Rea's head snapped up, causing the Teacher to smile. "So you recognize your sign then," Rea blushed a little, the stares of twenty-three other kids freaking her out a bit.
"My mom was an astronomer," Rea mumbled, looking down at her desk, hopping the other kids would stop looking. Even Alice, who was sitting next to her, wouldn't stop looking.
"Was." noted the Teacher, refusing to look anywhere else but the girl.
"She had cancer," Rea said, her head still lowered, hating the situation she was in.
"And Cancer is what?" asked the Teacher. Rea looked up at her, blankly, before realizing the real meaning of the question.
"The third zodiac sign." Rea answered a bit louder, happy to be off the subject.
"Good," the Teacher said, nodding her head. "And please, call me Melanie." her eyes trained on Rea a minute longer, before pointing at Alice, and asking "What is Cancer's symbol."
"Um, a crab." Alice said, as if it was obvious. The Teacher, Melanie, continued hoping around the classroom, weaving in and out of lights. As questions about different zodiac signs were asked, Rea set her head down, wishing she could disappear.
Of course, "Melanie" must have known about her mother's death, and her birthday, which would explain the Taurus comment. Of course, how she had known that would have gotten her attention was a wonder to her...
"Taurus," Melanie said, snapping Rea back...again. "Please pay attention. I want you learning more about your signs. You will be with the Aries and Gemini," pointing at Will, Alex's best friend, and a girl Rea had never actually talked to; June.
June was a part of the Queen Bees (that's what they liked to call themselves). Rea had never really fit in that crowd; at a point, it was unclear if she was going to join, but then Alice, Victoria, and Aspen had came around and there really wasn't any question after that. And then there was the fact Kylee was still with the Queen Bees...
"Hi," Will said, slamming his book down next to Rea, making her jump. Alice had disappeared to her group, being replaced by June. Rea looked at how the two had changed over the summer.
Will was taller, his hair still shaved down and a sandy blond, his eyes blue. He was as pale as ever, nothing new there. He was sill built the same; a mix between a wrestler and a basketball player. June had long, thick, blond hair, that fell to her mid-back. She had pale skin, like Will's, but her's was complemented by the rosy blush on her cheeks. Her brown eyes were outlined in black, her eyelids in a sparkly gold. She looked as if a china doll had a growth spurt, with a bit more muscle that came from her competitive cheerleading.
"Hi," Rea replied, her head down, feeling June stare at her. "So when are your guy's birthday?"
"April 12th." Will replied proudly, leaning back in his chair.
"Really?" Rea asked, looking at June quickly, to see her staring back. "That's Victoria's birthday too. I'm May 12th."
"June 12th," June said, quietly.
"Guess that explains your name," joked Rea, earning a slight smile from June.
"Weird our birthdays are all on the 12th," Will commented.
"And in a row," offered June. They all thought about this, before talking more about their project.
If only they knew it was no coincidence their birthdays were on the same day. Perhaps they could have saved one of their own if they knew who they were earlier on. Perhaps if they knew why they were all in the same group, same class, same school, they could have saved many.
"Heeeeey," Aspen Myers said, bumping her hip up to Rea as she came by in the hallway. Rea stopped for a moment, turning to face Aspen.
"Hey, chica!" she exclaimed, pulling her in for a hug. It had been a week since Rea and Aspen had properly seen each other, aside from quick phone chats and random text messages. Both had been busy the week leading up to school: Aspen had been killing for some sweet converse, perfect for racing to the next shop over, while Rea had been making plans all for the school year. True, she wouldn't be the first person to volunteer to show the new person around, but once she opened up, it just got busy from there on out.
"How did you like Astrology class?" Aspen asked, a bit quickly. Rea smiled; she was pleased to know her friend had made it in.
"It was good. Kinda weird though," Rea commented. "What about you, young Capricorn?"
"The teacher is kinda insane," agreed Aspen, giggling. "But it was fun. I wish that we could have gotten more into class though-"
"Oh look, it's the nerd two," a high voice chirped. Rea knew the voice all too well, but looked over to her left anyways, where Kylee and two of her right hand women stood. They all wore matching mini skirts, white blazers, and navy plaid ties. Each wore a gold linked bracelet around their left wrist. And each wore a pair of navy blue knee socks with five-inch black heels.
"Kylee," Rea greeted her old friend the way she would have when she was younger: with respect, and a shadow of sarcasm. Kyla rolled her nose up.
"How's little Annie doing?" She said, dropping her lower lip into a fake pout. Rea's blood boiled, but long ago had she conquered her temper; Aspen, however, never had.
"Look up, Princess," Aspen spat at the black headed girl. "I don't give two flying craps about what you and your little posse of barbie dolls walking around here like the prissy girls you are, but if you got your panties in a twist, go figure it out in the bathroom instead of screaming at us about it."
She proceeded to stomp away, her frizzy hair in a ponytail swinging back and forth. Rea put on the most formal face she could, mock bowed to the girl, tipping her head.
"Have an awful day, ladies." she said, rushing after her friend, leaving the Queen Bees standing there in shock.
"Oh my lord, Aspen," Rea bursted out laughing, as the two of them pushed the doors open to the cafeteria. Long, rectangular tables were set in the room, each being able to see eight on each bench.
"I just quoted Pretty Little Liars...with a twist of my own." She smirked, grabbing a tray and stepping in line. Rea shook her head.
"You're pretty much Hanna Marin 2.0."
"Look, there's Alice and Victoria," Aspen pointed out, handing a five dollar bill to the cashier. Rea smiled, grabbing a brownie from the line at the end, handing exact change to the cashier, and continued on to their table; the one in the corner, close to the middle, far enough away to hear themselves think, but close enough to the middle that no one would notice they were gone if they sneaked out.
"I told you-I told you!- she's insane!" Victoria was saying, Rea sitting next to her, Alice and Aspen on the other side.
"Melanie?" She asked. Alice rolled her eyes.
"In our last five periods, she's the only new insane teacher." Alice smirked.
"You'll never believe who Aspen just roasted in the hall," Rea laughed, letting Aspen take the spotlight, anticipating when her friends would laugh, and joining in when they did, while her mind wandered elsewhere...
"Hey beautiful," a kind voice said, and Rea couldn't help but blush when he gave her a kiss on the cheek, sitting down next to her.
"Hey Alex," she said, smiling, but focusing her attention back on her friends.
"Do I get a hello," Will said, making his voice high-pitched. Rea rolled her eyes, smiling.
And her day continued on. Different classes, same routine. Rea couldn't help but wish she was back to the beginning of the day, when there was a little flare in the classroom. She wished something would make her life...a little extraordinary.
If only she knew how true her wish would come.