I made my way through the crowds of students stood in the hallway, talking, laughing, throwing things into their lockers. I couldn’t help but feel the regret of my wardrobe choice now I saw what everyone else was dressed in.
They were all dressed in stylish clothing you’d find in a typical high street fashion store, while I wore tight-fitting black pants, a black tank top covered by a black leather jacket, with black military-style boots. Even my make up matched my wardrobe, all black, including my lipstick, I felt as if I stood out like a sore thumb as I seized the book I was holding to my chest and kept my head down as I pushed through.
I thought college had been daunting, but high school seemed a whole other level. Before, we’d stuck to countries and towns where being sixteen meant you started college, so I’d never been to high school before.
“Heads up!” A boy’s voice called from further down the hall.
Before I could blink, a football soared over my head, causing me to duck quickly and I felt the breeze the hurling equipment caused as it flew an inch above my head. I had to be thankful for my quick reflexes; otherwise, it would have crashed right into the back of my head.
I silently cursed Alicia and Emmett for making me come here, I’d barely started, and I hated it. There were too many people, and it was loud, it was hard for me to shut all the noises out.
I lifted my head a little as I read the locker numbers. 134, 135, 136, 137 until I found my locker, 140.
I sighed as I noticed a group of jocks in lettermen jackets, tall with muscles standing in the way.
“Excuse me,” I spoke quietly, feeling intimidated by the group of four, all laughing and standing tall.
I missed Elise and Daisy more than anything, and I wished Masato had been able to come with me. I didn’t know anyone here, there were far more students than I’d expected and it seemed the rocker/goth look wasn’t as common here either.
“Oh look, fresh meat. Hey, new kid.” The biggest jock turned and grinned a perfect boy next door smile.
His dark hair had natural blonde highlights to it and he styled it so it was short and spiked. His body was broad and muscular under his too tightly fitted white t-shirt and black letterman with white sleeves. His light brown eyes felt as if they were piercing my skin as they glimmered in amusement.
The smirk on his lips sent shivers down my spine, unaided by the soft stubble surrounding his lips and jaw. He was your typical, high school jock, handsome, and he probably knew it.
“Can I get to my locker, please?”
“I could, but there’s one condition.” The boy’s smirk deepened and left me feeling uncomfortable, “You let me take your cute little self out on a date, I always fancied me a goth girl, I heard they like it freaky in the sheets.”
“First, I’m not a ‘goth girl’, I just like this style. Second, no, thank you because I have a boyfriend. Can I please get to my locker?”
“No date, no locker. All you pretty things say you have boyfriends.”
“Well, I do have a boyfriend, so can you please just move?” My voice was returning, coming out stronger as the boy annoyed me. His arrogance and persistence left me feeling irritated, and I wasn’t in the mood.
“And why should I do that?” The boy challenged, folding his arms across his chest while his friends beside him stood there, snickering.
“Hey asshole, leave her alone, will you? Take the day off from being a jerk, Eric.” A girl stood there with her arms folded against her chest causing the boys to snap their heads in her direction.
The boy I assumed was called Eric, held his hands up in defense, instantly recoiling under her glare, “Your loss, Silver. See ya.”
I watched as the boy and his friends walked off as my body sank in relief they’d gone.
“Ignore him. He’s your typical high school football jock who thinks he’s the bee’s knees. He’s just an ass with daddy issues. I’m Mahala.”
My head turned to the girl. She was taller than me, maybe around five foot nine, slim, with short blonde hair styled into a bob. She wore glasses over her soft blue eyes and dressed casually, but with a rocker style with her black tank top, blue and black checkered flannel, dark denim jeans and boots similar to mine, except with a small heel.
“I’m Hallie. Thank you.”
“Ah, no worries. Sadly, he’s my cousin. Generally, he runs when I tell him, too, though. You’re new here, right?”
“Um, yeah, we moved here last week.”
“Well, you’re welcome to hang with me if you’d like? I was new last year, so I know how much it sucks. It’s just me, and Hannah, who is chill.”
I shrugged my shoulders softly; she seemed kind enough, and god knows I would not survive this alone. “Sure, thank you.”
“What’s your first class?”
“English Literature with Mr. Merrick.”
“Oh, hey me too! Throw your things in your locker, and I’ll walk with you. It can take a little while to get to know where everything is.” I gave her a small smile of thanks before I sorted my things out and followed her down the hall.
“So, where are you from then?” Mahala asked as we made our way towards the classroom.
“Pheonix, but we moved to Japan when my dad got offered a job out there when I was seven.”
“Wow, what was that like? Can you speak Japanese?”
“It was amazing, busy mind you. I was sad to leave, but my dad got offered a huge promotion, so here we are.” I sighed, feeling a little guilty for the lies. I always did, even if it was for the best, “My boyfriend moved with us after his dad died. And I speak a little. Where we lived, they spoke a lot of English, so I know the basics, plus Masato is Japanese. Well, half Japanese, half American.”
“He’s not here with you?”
“Oh no, he’s twenty-one, so he’s at work. I’m seventeen. How come you moved here?”
“Older guy, hey? Smart lady, guys our ages are such children I swear!” She chuckled quietly, ” My Ma got sick. We were living over in one of the big cities, but she wanted to come somewhere a little more modest to recover. She’s okay now, and we’d planned on moving back, but she loves it here, so we stayed. Did you say your boyfriend’s name was Masito?”
“Masato pronounced Mas-a-toe but said quickly. Some opt to call him by his English middle name, which is David, but I don’t think it suits him.”
“Mas-a-toe.” She nodded, sounding his name out slowly. “Got it, I bet he’s cute, right?”
Mahala nudged me gently with her arm as she shot me a wink.
“I think so.” I giggled, feeling my cheeks warm a little as I thought about the smile he left me this morning as he dropped me off.
“Mahala! There you are! Oh, a new friend, we like new friends! I’m Hannah.”
“Hannah, this is Hallie, Hallie, this is Hannah. Hallie’s just moved here from Japan and has a smoking hot Japanese boyfriend.”
Hannah’s almost gray eyes went wide as the mouth on her slightly rounded face dropped. She was shorter than Mahala, not far off my height, although she was a little larger than Mahala and I, who were both slim.
However, she equally held a similar dress style, which caused me to relax knowing I wasn’t the sole rocker chick in the school, and despite her larger frame, she was beautiful and her long blonde hair flowed like a waterfall.
“I am so jealous!” Hannah gasped, “I’ve wanted to go to Japan since I was little, you must tell me all about it.”
Suddenly a high pitch ring tore through the air, causing me to flinch and my hands to fly over my ears as the sound deafened me.
“You get used to that. It’s pretty loud, but it means the class is about to start, so we better get in there.” Mahala shot me a reassuring smile before she flicked her head towards the wooden door. “This one. You can sit next to us. We sit in the back.”
“Sure.” I nodded as I followed Mahala into the classroom to see various single tables with chairs spread throughout the room with a large pine desk and blackboard at the front.
As we took our seats, waiting for Mr. Merrick to arrive, I couldn’t help but wish I’d never left London.