I stared at myself in the mirror and heaved a heavy sigh. This was as good as it was going to get. My family moved to this rinky dinky little town a little less than a month ago for my father’s job. I’d stayed inside or in my backyard the whole time while the other kids went on all sorts of adventures. Today was the first day of school. The first day of my senior year. Moving to a new school for my last year of high school was less than ideal.
The school bus honked outside and I gave myself one last once over before I grabbed my backpack and ran down the stairs. ‘Why aren’t you driving to school? You’re a senior. Riding the bus is a little embarrassing.’ I had a car until the start of the summer. I was driving home from a day of wandering the forest when something huge jumped out of the trees in front of my car, causing me to swerve to miss it, flipping the car and slamming against a tree. Thankfully, I walked away with a couple of cuts, only one needed stitches, and a little trauma. I hit my head pretty good when the car made contact with the tree and stayed the night in the hospital. Things haven’t been the same since the wreck.
I got onto the bus and took the last empty seat near the back of the bus. A few fellow riders would look back at me and whisper to their seat mate. Feeling nervous, I put my headphones in and kept them in until we got to school.
My first stop of the day was the office, which didn’t seem the best. No one wanted to start their day off in the office. In trouble or not. I took one of my earbuds out to talk to the secretary who didn’t look much older than the students. She kindly gave me my schedule, my locker numbers and a map of the school. The school wasn’t huge, but a map would probably be helpful. I said my thanks and headed to find my locker.
Students lined the halls and lockers, mingling before the school day started. There were only a few minutes left before the first bell would ring before I was able to find my locker. It was nestled in the back of the school in a small dimly lit hall near the theater. It was a small section of lockers that didn’t really look used.
The first bell rang and I hit my head on my locker. I’d tried so many times to get it open to no avail. “Having troubles?” “You have no idea…” I mumbled, head still firmly pressed against the locker. The voice chuckled. “Here,” I looked up to see bright blue eyes and a friendly smile. He hit my locker door with the side of his fist just above the dial and it popped open. “These lockers are as old as the school. They need a little nudge if you want them to open.” He laughed and did the same thing to the locker next to mine and it popped open. “I’m Alex by the way.” He extended his hand to me. “Nova.” I took his hand in mine, feeling a warm surge go up my arm causing me to drop his hand quickly. I gave him an awkward smile and pulled my black cardigan closer around me.
Since I didn’t have anything to put in my locker yet, I shut it and pulled my schedule out of my pocket. Alex snatched it out of my hands and looked it over. A small smile crept onto his lips. “We’ve got the same schedule. If you’re nice, I’ll show you around.” Alex said with a wink and a smile as he handed my schedule back to me. I shoved it in the back pocket of my ripped black jeans. Before I could come back with a witty come back, he led me out of the dark hall to first period English.
The two of us walked in together and all the students’ eyes landed on me. I couldn’t tell if the reason was because I was the new kid or that I was with Alex. I made eye contact with who I was guessing was the queen bee around here. She was skinny with a full chest, perfectly curled auburn hair and eyes that could kill with a single look. She looked like she could be Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls little sister. “Who’s this bitch?” I heard as she looked me up and down. Her mouth didn’t open but I heard her as clear as if she’d said it. This has been a reoccurring situation since my accident. I wasn’t sure if hitting my head actually gave me the ability to hear others thoughts or if it made me crazy and I just thought I’d heard their thoughts. I was voting the latter. Alex and I took a seat near the back and the girls head followed us. “Is this new bitch really going to try to steal my man?” I looked away from her and stared at my hands, chipping away at my already chipped nail polish. “Good morning, class.” A man who looked to be in his mid-30’s eagerly greeted us as he walked into the room. Only then did the girl in front of me turn around.
“Welcome to senior English.” The teacher grabbed a marker and started writing on the board. “My name is Mr. Conner.” Once he wrote his name on the board, he handed out a few papers and called roll. “Sophie Michaels?” the girl that had glared me down raised her hand, said ‘here’, and looked back to Alex. Sophie? At least I knew the name of the girl I had no doubt would be my enemy. “I bet you have a stupid name.” I twisted my platinum hair around my fingers nervously. My mother and I both had platinum white blonde hair that was too thick and somewhat wavy. I’d been made fun of it for my entire life, but mom refused to let me dye it any other color. “Alexander Varlett?” Alex lifted his hand lazily. “Lastly, Nova Chevron?” I raised my hand but said nothing. “Nova? That’s stupid. I knew it would be.” Sophie looked over her shoulder haughtily at me.
The rest of the class period, we went over the syllabus and handed out text books. The bell finally rang and Alex and I headed to the next class. Sophie came up behind me, knocking into my shoulder. “Hey Alex. How was your summer? I didn’t see you at all!” Sophie whined as she touched his upper arm. He continued walking towards our lockers. “It was fine. Excuse us.” He pushed past her and she got lost in the busy crowd.
“Someone likes you.” I joked as I hit my locker to open it. “She’s been that way as long as I can remember. She just doesn’t get the hint that I’m not into her. At all.” Alex dropped his English book in his locker and slammed it closed. “Ready for dissection?” “Excuse me?” Alex shoved his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket and chuckled. “Senior Biology lab; the first day is always frog dissection. Coldwater tradition.” If my stomach didn’t feel bad already, it certainly did now. We walked into the room and my nose was filled with the smell of formaldehyde and latex which caused my stomach to flip-flop even more than it already was. Each table had a frog pinned to a tray. “Sit with me and we’ll be lab partners. Then you won’t have to deal with cutting up Kermit.” I let out some sort of nervous chuckle as we sat at a lab table.
Class started immediately after the last bell rang. “Gloves and goggles on.” The old man ordered. On one of the white boards read ‘Mr. Coleman’. He was already in a clean white lab coat, gloves and goggles. He looked like Colonel Sanders twin. Instead of chicken, it was frogs. He had projected one of the frogs up on the board. “We’re going to spend this week on dissection and learning about the anatomy of your little froggy friend. And no, kissing him will not turn him into a prince.” No one laughed but Mr. Coleman let out some sort of noise I was guessing was a chuckle. “Each of you have a sheet you need to fill out as we dissect. You’ll turn it in at the end for your grade.” He picked up a scalpel and cut straight down the middle of the frog’s belly. “Let’s get started, follow along and keep up. I don’t like dawdlers.” Alex gently cut our frog open and peeled back the abdomen. “It’s ok. You’re ok.” Alex’s voice echoed in my head. I forced my eyes away from the frog to catch his gaze. “Watch me, don’t look at the frog.” I scrunched my eyebrows. Was he talking to me? Was I hearing him? No. That can’t be right. He can’t be talking to me. His mouth isn’t moving. But I could hear him so clearly…
“Miss. Chevron, I know your lab partner is very attractive, but if you could pay attention, you’d actually learn something.” Mr. Coleman didn’t skip a beat on what he was doing as he said this. The class snickered and I felt my face grow bright red. Alex didn’t seem fazed. If anything he looked a little sympathetic and sincere. Not wanting to draw any more attention to myself or get in trouble, I forced myself to look back down at our cut up frog. All the organs were on display now and my stomach lurched. My face went from red to green. I was going to be sick. Mr. Coleman removed the lungs and I lost it. I raced to the trashcan and emptied my breakfast into it. Mr. Coleman stopped and heaved a heavy sigh. “Why does this happen every year? It’s just a frog people!” Now majorly embarrassed, I ran out of the room to the nearest bathroom.
Thankfully, the nearest bathroom was right across the hall. I locked myself in a stall and was sick one more time. I flushed and sat on the floor. Today was a nightmare… “Yeah, she’s all over him, Amber!” I knew that voice… “Like who does she think she is? Just because she’s new she thinks she can steal my man?” Through the small crack of the stall, I could see Sophie fixing her hair and makeup in the mirror. “Technically, you’ve never been together.” Amber said, digging through her purse. “Shut up! He’s mine and everyone knows it. He’s just waiting for the perfect opportunity to ask me out. I mean, why wouldn’t he? I’m perfect.” She pushed her boobs up as she said ‘perfect’. “Like… she’s not even cute. The white hair? Lame. And what is she wearing? Black ripped skinny jeans, a plain black T-shirt and black cardigan? Can we say emo?” They both laughed. I looked down at my clothes. They weren’t emo. I didn’t like to wear color because everything washed me out. I was super pale and colors just didn’t suit me. “Maybe Alex just pities her. She’s pretty pathetic after all.” “Good point, Amber.” The two continued fixing themselves up. After debating on what to do, I got up and unlocked the door. I walked over to the sinks. “Ladies,” I started washing my hands and Amber dropped her lip gloss into the sink. I glared back at them as I turned to leave.
By the time I left the bathroom, the bell had rung and people filed into the hall. Alex handed me my backpack and biology book as he left the class room. “Feeling better?” he asked sincerely. I shook my head. The next two hours passed without incident thankfully. I grabbed my lunch out of my locker. “I know a place we could go.” Alex leaned against the lockers, hands in pockets. Was he going to be with me all day? Not that I cared… He brushed his black hair out of his face. “C’mon.” I followed him down the dim hall our lockers were in and we took a right through some creaky old doors into an even dimmer staircase. “I think this used to be storage or old class rooms or something. There’s all sorts of old stuff down here. I hide out here on the stairs. No one comes back here so it’s a perfect hideaway from the rest of the student body.” Alex walked down a few steps and plopped himself down. I stayed put, staring down into the darkness. The dim light fixture overhead only lit about halfway down the staircase. Alex patted the stair above where he was sitting and I made my way down to him. “So, Miss. Nova, how is your first day at Coldwater?” He popped an orange slice in his mouth. The dim light chiseled all his features. It made his high cheekbones prominent and his jawline sharp and cast little shadows under his bright blue eyes. It was easy to see why Queen Bee was so obsessed with him, he was gorgeous. But why was he taking such an interest in me?
“Uh… it’s been interesting to say the least.” “I bet uprooting from wherever you’re from wasn’t easy. Senior year is a big deal for a lot of people. I’m sure coming here was rough.” I looked at the stairs below us I chewed the inside of my lip. I brushed my hair away from my face and leaned against the wall. “What happened?” he asked, leaning closer to me. “What do you mean?” “The scar,” he brushed his thumb over the scar next to my hairline above my left eye. Just like this morning, a warm wave rushed over me and I pulled away. “Sorry-” I gave him a weak smile, “It’s ok.” I guess the lighting made it stand out more or something. Or maybe he was just really observant. “Uh, when summer started I got into a pretty bad car accident. This was thankfully the worst of the damage.” I ran my fingers along the scar. It had healed a light pink and was still raised. “Oh, I’m sorry. That must’ve been really scary.” I looked into the dark below us, remembering the night. I had been knocked unconscious and I woke up, upside down in pitch blackness. My left eye was sealed shut with drying blood. I hit my head the hardest and since then, weird things have been happening. For one, I can hear what people are thinking. There have been a few times where I predicted something happening before it actually does.
I was pulled from my trance when Alex put his hand on my knee. “I’m sorry for prying. I’m glad you’re ok.” We spent the rest of lunch talking and laughing. The rest of the day was uneventful until last period gym class.
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