“Charla!” Ms. Clark’s voice called out to her from one end of the hall as the councillor made her way over in quick strides passing a number of students who were rushing to class.
“Morning, Ms. Clark.” Charla said as the Student Councillor made her way over with a worried expression. “Is something wrong?”
“I should be asking you that,” Ms. Clark told her and Charla merely looked at her confused. “After what happened yesterday when you collapsed…”
“Oh,” She shifted her bag on her shoulder. “I’m sorry about that, when you told me that my Dad spoke to you about my condition I automatically assumed that you also knew about my blackouts. It doesn’t happen often though…”
“No you shouldn’t apologize for that, I should have done a better job and checked everything first. It was only your first day but I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed as a Councillor to you Charla.”
“You only showed me around the school.” Charla said. “Not to mention I’m still new here and you still don’t know me all that well. Its fine…” she then shook her head changing the topic at hand. “Anyway, I need to head to class or I’m going to be late. If you want I can come and talk to you during lunch or after school.”
“No that’s alright, but Charla you know if you’re feeling down or worried about something you can come and talk to me.” she placed a hand on Charla’s shoulder and offered her what looked to be a worried smile. “You can trust the people here that much I can promise you.”
Charla merely nodded. “Thank you,” she turned and headed down the hall only to stop and look back to add. “I’ll see you later.” And then continued on her way, though as she walked Charla could feel Ms. Clark still watching her, she knew that the woman wanted to ask her something in regards to her blackouts. But the timing was bad, what’s more, with what Alex had told her about speaking to her two nights ago, and the question early this morning she could only guess that at some point or another she had spoken with Alex last night as well.
As she walked to class Charla tried to mentally recall images for last night but nothing came, it was always like that from time to time, she would be able to remember bits and pieces from one night and yet remember nothing from others. Even when she mentioned it to the doctors they had nothing to say in what it could have been. If anything just wanted to push more expensive drugs on her instead, drugs that Charla never took.
It always seemed to be the answer with some doctors, an issue with headaches, take some drugs, blackouts happening more, have more drugs, memories not returning from said blackout have a ton more drugs. It got to the point where she flat out refused to have them.
Because of that she hated dealing with Doctors, and other then her blackouts it made her glad that her immune system was as strong as it could be. But then that might have been due to her physical straining that she took two years ago…
A dark memory began to resurface and she shook her head, she didn’t want those memories to run her life, even if some would say that those instances were small in occurrences and it shouldn’t matter. But those feelings and memories had deep roots, ones that entangled her heart, and ones that forced her to start learning how to fight so that one day she could break free from it all, even if it was nowhere in sight.
She reached the class and noticed a number of students staring at her before whispering to each other, a few asking if she was okay in which Charla told them with a faint smile that she was fine and believed it might have just been the change of atmosphere that caused her to blackout. And though Charla expected more questions a number of them actually just seemed rather relieved at this and then simply left her alone.
Huh… was all Charla could think, that was the last thing she expected.
“Good to see that Jack didn’t keep you back.” Alex said as she sat down next to her.
“Yeah, though he did ask me some odd questions. Has anyone else gone through that here?”
“Huh, oh yeah it’s more of a psychological test thing, Jack’s known for doing that for students that have had some problems in the past. Some questions gives him a better idea what he has to deal with in regards to some students.”
I thought as much… but Charla didn’t want to come out and ask him openly, but she had felt something slightly similar before when she was little. “I guess some students don’t like that kind of thing then.”
“You’d think that but some of the students here are actually okay with it. Doing that kind of test gives them a chance to get some things off their chests they didn’t even know about. Though are a few who calls it a type of brainwashing.”
Charla frowned. “You’re joking, how is asking questions brainwashing?”
Alex shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe they read too much of the news.”
Charla was about to call that absurd when the teacher came and spoke in that same annoyed tone.
“Sit down and shut up I’m starting rollcall and I don’t want any of you causing any problems!” his gaze then went to Charla. “Liebert!”
Her head snapped up to him. “Yes sir?”
“That goes for you too, just because you’re the new kid on the block doesn’t give you a free pass to do whatever you please. I know your family partly runs this town but don’t let all that go to your head!”
“My head Mr. Emerson?”
“Exactly! Like your little fainting incident yesterday your father says it’s some medical condition you have but I don’t buy it, don’t think it’ll give you sympathy in my class. And remove your headphones too! You think this is some party going on?”
She removed her headphones but remained quiet; Alex on the other hand didn’t take those remarks lying down.
“What the hell is your problem teach!?” Alex snapped as she stood up. “Who the hell fakes fainting for three hours huh?”
“Yeah!” another student added in as he stood up. “You can’t say that kind of crap, she just got here give her a brake.”
“That’s right!” a girl said next. “You can’t just say whatever you want just because you’re a teacher!”
A flood of other students added in, their words blurring together, this was also something Charla didn’t think would happen, in her old school no one would stand up for her, she would always be left to her own devices, but here it was like the school in itself was a type of community.
The teacher tisked and barked out. “Alright I get it, pipe down already god.” Then looked to Charla once more. “I guess it could be seen as you unaccustomed to the place but try not to faint in my classroom, I don’t care where else you do it.”
Images of red flashed in Charla’s mind as she did her best to ignore it. “Yes sir.”
“Good, now you lot sit back down and shut up, I’m calling names and I better not miss anyone.”
As Alex sat back down she noticed how Charla seemed a bit pale. “You okay?”
“Yes,” Charla said softly as those images flashed in red before she gripped her headphones and let out a slow breath. “I’m fine.”
Those images, they were in bits and pieces, but she looked to her left hand and balled it into a fist before the next image was that of someone being punched. Was I… in a fight? Or is it a past event that happened?
But as soon as those images came in her mind they vanished all the same, great, last thing she needed was for herself to be in some kind of brawler in this town.
The next class was gym, as the girls were in the change room one girl whistled drawing Charla’s attention. “Dang girl you’ve got some muscle on you.”
She looked to see a tanned girl with short almost reddish orange hair in a pixie cut. The girl seemed to be staring Charla’s body in particular, but the girl herself was rather tall and had a very athletic build herself.
“What kind of sports do you play?” the girl asked with a big grin.
“Uh… you mean like clubs? I don’t really have any, at least at my old school I mainly just did self-defence stuff is all…”
The girl placed her hands on her hips and nodded in agreement. “Right, right that makes some sense a girl has to protect herself in the big city. That’s smart of you.”
“Geez Sam,” Alex said with a tired breath. “Can’t you at least wait till school is over when it comes to trying to hook people into your club?”
The girl named Sam shrugged. “Alex you know what I’m like, besides I’m still trying to get you to try out too.”
Alex merely looked board at what the girl said. “No way in hell, you know I have no interest in that kind of thing, now if you don’t mind we have gym now.”
Sam threw on the rest of her uniform. “Okay fine, but I’m still going to try.”
When the girls from the other class were gone from the changing room Charla looked to Alex with a confused expression. “What was that all about? And who was she?”
“That was Sam Winters, same year as us, different class and a total exercise nut. She’s been trying to get me into joining clubs, like baseball or soccer, and swimming to martial arts since grade school.”
That is a lot, the girl must be pretty determined. “So you’ve known her a long while huh?”
“All my life practically, we don’t hang out much but she’s a good person. A lot of people like her. But she is right about something.”
Charla tilted her head slightly. “What’s that?”
Charla arched a brow. “Me?”
She nodded. “Yeah, you’re a bit smaller then me, and you do have some athletic build to you, I know you said you didn’t join any clubs but you are pretty fit. What’d you do back in the city, join an underground fight club?”
She scoffed at Alex’s question. “No, I didn’t join any underground fight club, this was just… something I felt like I needed to do.”
“When did you start?”
“When I was fourteen.”
So not after the accident. “Mind if I ask why you started?”
An image of that man came back to her mind and Charla shook her head. “No real reason, that was around the time those incidents started and my Dad wanted me to be safe, so that’s why.”
Alex felt like there was more to it but didn’t question it. “Nice bra by the way.” she said with a hinting smile which caused Charla to quickly put on her gym shirt. “So it’s true what they say about city girls? They always go for the high end undies huh?”
Charla’s face flushed red as she tied her hair partly back. “Shut up, you don’t hear me talking about your underwear.”
Alex grinned. “Oh come on, we’re all girl’s here whose gonna care? Anyway we have track today so I hope you’re a good runner.”
Charla finished getting dressed. “I think I’m pretty good.”
“Alright girl’s, so as you may have heard we’ll be doing track and field today, we’ll be starting with laps first so start warming up for it you’ll be doing seven laps.” the gym teacher said and the girls began to complain. “No complaining, come on you need to stay in shape, I thought you girls cared about that.”
“Not if it means we have to run so much!” one girl complained as the others started too as well but then teacher merely shook his head and clapped his hands.
“Think of it as a goal then, now get to it.” he then turned to Charla. “Charla Liebert, come here a second.”
Charla had just finished re-tying her shoe before heading over to the teacher. “Yes Mr. Rockwell?”
“I spoke with the other teachers over what happened yesterday, you don’t need to run if you don’t feel up for it.”
“But I’m fine,” she said to him. “And it’s rare for me to even faint, I’ll be okay. If anything I just feel bad about causing everyone to worry.”
Mr. Rockwell frowned. “Don’t think that way, as teachers it’s our jobs to make sure you kids remain alright within the school, especially when it comes to someone’s health.”
“I know, but I’ll be fine.”
He folded his arms across his chest. “Okay, just don’t push yourself.” He then spoke loudly so the students would hear. “Alright boys and girls you know the drill, do seven laps then we’ll have you all split off in groups for other things we have planned. And no sneaking off, yes I mean you Will.”
The guy in the beanie cringed and then laughed. “Aw come on Teach I only did it once.”
“No excuses get running.”
“Man, this sucks,” The young man named Will groaned but did what was asked as Charla started off with a slight jog. Will then looked to Charla. “Hey aren’t…” he looked to Alex. “Isn’t she, you know?”
A tall young man smacked him in the back of his head. “Don’t be vague about those you’re talking about, especially if they are close by to hear it,” he then looked to Charla. “Jason, O’Collen, Alex’s friend.” He said as he offered her his hand.
“Charla Liebert,” she said taking his hand and shook it. “Nice to meet you Jason,”
Alex just gave them a blank look. “You guys are really doing introductions now while we’re in track?”
“Isn’t it better to introduce yourself regardless?”
Alex sighed. “Ugh, you are so weird sometimes…” she then joined up to Charla’s side. “They’re my friends, I would have introduced them during lunch yesterday but you know…”
Charla smiled at her. “Yeah, it’s okay, your friends seem nice.”
“Glad someone thinks so…” Alex said as she looked back at the two boys who were now talking about some TV show, or at least the one named Will was, Jason looked as if he didn’t really care that much. “The one with the beanie is Will Bram; his folks own a liquor store while Jason’s runs a fabric and clothing store. Even with that big mall the stores on the strip do pretty well all things considered.”
“So everyone knows everyone pretty much right?”
“With a town like this, yeah that’s kind of how it goes here. Though we do have our own occasional assholes too, actually now that I think about it I heard that some of the thugs here have ended up in the hospital something about getting there asses kicked.”
Just then a girl screamed, those running came to a halt and looked back to see a girl grasping her leg as tears threated to fall, the teacher ran over as did a number of students to see what was wrong.
“Looks like a sprain,” Mr. Rockwell said before assisting the girl on to his back. “I’ll be taking her to the Nurse, the rest of you keep up the running you have one more lap, when you’re done there are a number of soccer and volleyballs by the track, use your time with those until I get back.” With the girl on his back he headed off.
A number of students were talking amounts themselves before going off and grabbing the balls, saying to hell with the laps.
“Think we should grab a ball?” Alex said only to see Charla turn and continued to run on the track ignoring the others.
“Is she really going to finishing running on the track?” Will asked. “Seems kind of redundant now that the teacher’s gone.”
“She seems the type of person to finish what she’s started something.” Jason said softly. “It’s an admirable trait.”
“Admirable or not I’m tired.” Alex said as she stretched her arms above her head. “I think I’ll take a nap under that tree.” She then cupped her hands over her mouth. “Charla we’ll be by that tree over there when you’re done alright?”
Charla merely waved in response and kept on going. As she ran though she kept note of her surroundings, and what some of the students were doing. Some were hanging out in the shade others were goofing off playing with balls; some seemed to be doing gymnastics or a thing they had seen in a show. That was until one particular girl caught her eye, it was the girl from yesterday, the one that had been watering the flowers.
Sarah “Roza” Finnegan.
Charla slowly came to a stop and looked at the girl, why was she out here by herself now? Shouldn’t she have been in class? But then she noticed that the girl was carrying what looked to be both her desk and chair. With a slight frown Charla ran up to her. “Need help?”
“Huh? Oh, you’re the girl from yesterday, how’s your head?”
“Its fine, but I should be asking you as to why you’re carrying a desk. It’s not yours is it?”
Roza shook her head. “No, it’s one of our classmates. I overheard some students talking about how these guys in my class have been pestering one student. They’re mean to a lot of people though.”
“Has anyone told the student Councillor about it?”
Slowly she shook her head.
“Because the one doing all that stuff is the city, and is parents have a lot of money too. You know that mall that was built; his family owns it and that burger place too.”
“I see…” that explains her comment about those who come from the city. “But it shouldn’t stop you from telling someone. The teachers here all really seem to care about the students.”
“They do, and we all know it, but we also know that guy, and his older sister, have a lot of money and influence. It’s not that we think the teachers won’t listen it’s that we fear that these people might try to ruin our businesses because of it.”
Charla was quite, she knew all too well as to what Roza was talking about, had seen it number of times in the city, it didn’t surprise her that it could happen here. “Here,” Charla said as she grabbed the desk from her. “I can carry this, it looks heavy for you.”
“N-no, I mean you’re in class right now and I can manage myself.”
“Its fine,” Charla told her. “The lot of us are goofing off since the teacher had to take a student to the infirmary, besides if he asks where I went I’ll just tell him the truth. I was helping a student. No harm done.”
Roza hesitated. “O-okay then, but I’m taking the chair. I wouldn’t feel right if you did all the work you know.”
Charla smiled at her. “That’s fine with me.”
The two carried the desk and chair back to Roza’s homeroom on the first floor, a woman teacher was giving a lecture while standing, Charla noticed that a rather thin boy was sitting at the teacher’s desk taking notes.
“This is my class; I can take it from here.” Roza said to her. “Thanks again for the help Charla.”
“No problem,” Charla then left but paused when glancing into the class to look at the student’s faces, since she didn’t have many friends she observed people frequently and could spot a number of people out in a crowd, this was no different. In the middle of the class she spotted three boys who seemed to be smirking as if trying to hold back their laughter. It reminded Charla all too much of the people at her old school…
Some things in school just never seemed to change no matter where you went, even if it was the case Charla couldn’t help but feel a sudden spark of rage.
But there was nothing that she could do at least not now.
“…but Charla you know if you’re feeling down or worried about something you can come and talk to me… You can trust the people here that much I can promise you.”
Charla stopped mid-way in the hall recalling Ms. Clark’s words, and then frowned.
Maybe there was something that could be done, but would it be the right choice to do so?
It had nothing to do with her, but deep down she knew damn well she couldn’t just leave it alone, but for all she knew it could just make things even worse, that’s how it normally was. But this school wasn’t like her old one; she didn’t know how things would go.
But that didn’t mean she didn’t know anyone who’d know what to do…