The City Girl

New Girl in Town

Riley's POV

Lip gloss? Check.

Cell phone and ear buds? Check.

Matching shoes and purse? Check.

Lucky clover pin? Double check!

I am set to go. I needed to make the best first impression on the first day. Back at my old school, everyone liked me, including the teachers. I was the cheer captain and head of the school dance committee. It was pretty much a perfect life. A whole new school meant a whole new game plan to become popular again. I didn't know what high school was like at the bottom of the caste system and I don't want to find out. New kids are fresh meat. I wasn't like Regina George, I was actually nice to everyone, but the last thing I want to be is an outcast. That meant no friends, no after-school activities, and no social life. I liked being surrounded by people and social activity and fun; it meant my life was full. I wanted to make sure that moving to a new town did not shift my world, that everything would still be intact.

I step off the bus and took a deep breath before walking into my new school, Meadowbrook High. The red brick building was surrounded by various cliques, like the jocks and the geeks. It wasn't that different than my old school. Texas fashion had a few differences to New York fashion: bigger hair, wilder clothes, and daring accessories. Jeez, how many cans of hairspray can a girl own?

No one noticed the new girl enter the scene. I went into the principal's office without talking to anyone. Principal Adams was tough and strict, talking about the "bad crowd" Meadowbrook is plagued with. He's being kinda dramatic about it.

"There are many troublemakers here thinking that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. They're animals, anarchic creatures. New students like you always get tangled up their shenanigans. I hope you make the right decision and stay away from them," he states.

Of course I would stay away. I'm a good girl, a girl that plays by the rules and donates to charity. My parents gush about how well they raised me.

"Well, hope you feel welcome at Meadowbrook High, home of the Wolves. Now where is your tour guide? He's late," Principal Adams says.

"I'm here!" a voice cries out and I turn my head. A boy with light brown hair and blue eyes enters the office and closes the door. He's cute in a nerdy way with his bowl-cut hair and colorful sweater but not cute enough to swoon over.

He stares at me for a minute and says, "Hello my name is Farkle Minkus and I'll be your tour guide. Sorry Principal Adams, I was busy with debate practice."

"I'm Riley Matthews," I reply and we both shake hands. After a few more words with the principal, we both leave the office and Farkle starts our tour.

"So there's the cafeteria, the gym, the science lab, and the library. Word of advice: do not try the spaghetti in the cafeteria," he deadpans. He turns to me and adds, "Are you from New York?"

My jaw drops. "How do you know?"

"It's just the way you're dressed. Obvious city girl," Farkle answers.

"Don't judge a book by its cover," I say.

"Only girls like Missy Bradford would wear patent leather shoes," he says. "Please don't tell me you're one of those shallow, vain girls."

"No of course not," I blurt out. Can't a girl just dress nice and be social without everyone thinking she's snobbish? I add, "These are knockoffs, anyway."

"You're pretty cool," Farkle says. "How about you sit with us at lunch? New kids don't have many options when it comes to the unofficial cafeteria seating chart."

"Sure," I say and I smile to myself. I have already made my first friend.

At lunch, I was sitting with Farkle and his friends. Most of them were in the AV club and some were gamers. None of them even had the confidence to look me in the eye.

"Sorry, my friends have never seen a girl sit at our table," Farkle whispers.

I can't believe I'm sitting with the nerds. Okay, that sounds totally rude but these guys can't look up from their handheld games for one second. They're completely immersed in fantasy and sci-fi and some of them don't even interact with the real world. I like Farkle, he's really nice and all but he doesn't realize that he is sitting at the bottom of the social pyramid.

"As you can tell, we're the cool kids at this school," Farkle boasts and all the nerds nod along with him. I secretly roll my eyes.

Everyone sat in their own group. There was a table filled with musicians, a table for jocks, and even one for the outcasts. I noticed one table. Four kids sat at a small table in the far corner, three boys and only one girl. The girl stood out the most with her bright blond hair and loud voice. She was laughing at something her friends said. Then I realized who they were: the "bad crowd" Principal Adams talked about. I couldn't see the other boys but they were cute in my opinion.

"That's Maya Hart; the prettiest girl in school," Farkle says dreamily and I could already tell he had a crush on this Maya girl.

"She's not the prettiest girl; that's just your opinion," one of nerds chimes in.

"To me, she's way hotter than Missy Bradford and her mean crew," Farkle defends.

"Why don't you talk to her?" I ask.

"Are you kidding me? She doesn't know I exist, plus my dad wouldn't want me to hang with her type of people," Farkle gasps.

One of the nerds adds, "She and her friends are the rebels of this school. All they do is make trouble. Her friends are Brandon Mitchell, Zay Babineaux, and Lucas Friar."

I remember what Principal Adams said about them. They're animals, anarchic creatures, and the bad crowd. Maybe the nerds were right.

I poked at my chili, which is more like a glop of hot sauce and cold beans. Seriously, none of the food here is edible. Haven't the cooks ever heard of flavor?

"I'm gonna get some napkins," I announce even though none of them heard what I said. Oh well, it's not that important.

I navigate across the maze of tables, trash cans, chattering people and floor litter while carrying my tray of mystery slop. I almost didn't notice him.

A tall guy with green eyes and shaggy brown hair was sitting with Maya and her crew. He was obviously a part of them. He was the most gorgeous guy I ever saw. I couldn't tell for sure but it looks like he was smiling at me. I don't know his name but it could either be Brandon, Zay, or Lucas. But I don't care what his name is, he's totally swoon-worthy.

That's when the biggest mistake of my life happened. I was so distracted by that guy's hotness that I didn't see the greasy napkin that was about to trip me. Well, I slipped on it and worse, I collided into another girl. A pretty girl with long brown hair wearing designer clothes, who Farkle said was the mean queen of Meadowbrook: Missy Bradford.

It was just a puddle of gross chili, spilled milk, green beans, and two food-splattered girls. My clothes were ruined, plus this skirt cost me two weekends of babysitting. Worst, everyone was staring. Now I'm that girl: the girl who had the biggest cafeteria wipeout in school.

"UGH!" Missy screeches. "Didn't you watch where you were going?"

"Oh my god, I am so sorry, I'll pay for your dress!" I cry.

"You're such a loser!" Missy yells and she throws a handful of chili at me.

I was infuriated. Farkle was right, she is a mean queen. I grabbed a half-empty carton of milk and squirt it at her. But instead of hitting Missy, it hit the vice principal, Mrs. Darwin. And she was not pleased with having her pantsuit ruined.

"Detention, Ms. Matthews," she commands.

"But it wasn't my fault-" I start.

"No buts, DETENTION," she yells.

Missy smirks as she goes off to clean herself. What a—wait, I promised Dad I won't curse.

Everyone was staring at me. Some even took pictures. It's official; I am the biggest loser in school. Farkle shot me a sympathetic smile but it didn't work. I touched my pin for a bit of luck but it was no use. My luck has just run out.

Fun fact: That cafeteria incident was taken from a short story I wrote in elementary school about a new girl having the worst first day ever. Will things start to turn out right for Riley? Will she ever meet that cute bad boy? Find out in the next chapter!

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