I lean my cheek against my hand, doodling on the piece of paper in front of me.
Just five more minutes.
I look up at the clock, which may I add, seems to be ticking slower than usual, then look back down at the paper in front of me.
Hearts. It’s about all I’m capable of drawing effortlessly, allowing my fingers to comfortably glide across the paper.
“Alright little badgers, you now have permission to be released into the wild. Have a great weekend everyone!” My teacher calls out to whoever is still listening and to whoever else is not sleeping.
Almost instantly, I slam my binder, popping out of my seat like a jumping bean.
“Don’t forget your phones!” She motions to her desk, as if to show off the phones that sit there on display.
I watch as everyone runs for their phones, frantically checking and answering their notifications.
I, on the other hand, slip my arm through the crowd, grabbing my phone and bolting out of the room. I already know I have no notifications, why disappoint myself in checking and seeing a blank screen? Useless.
Getting down the hall is basically hell. If hell were a place on earth, here it would be.
The people in front of me are walking as slow as zombies. No, scratch that, zombies would win at this point.
It’s a Friday, could they possibly go any slower?
I decide to slip past them the moment I get a free slot. It’s like trying to slide into a room without touching the door before it closes. You only have so many seconds before another flood of people walk in the opposite direction, closing your chances.
I swing open my locker, shoving my binder in my bag, not even being concerned about if I have homework in any other classes. If my books are in my bag from other classes, I do the homework, if not, I guess I suffer Monday.
I sling it over my shoulder and feel it hit someone behind me, “sorry,” I automatically blurt out. “Watch where you’re going!”
Rolling my eyes not even wanting to deal with people, I quickly shut my locker, popping the lock back on.
I push through the crowd that now starts to clear up, and make my way down the other wing, finding my best friends locker.
My fingers fumble around the lock, trying to remember the combination. When I do finally get it, I see her bag still there.
Checking my phone and realizing the time, I shut her locker darting down the hall.
“Brooklyn, where are you going?” I look up to see Ellie walking towards me, books in hand, “aren’t we hanging out today?”
I give a slight smile and hold onto the strap of my bag, “I got a bunch of homework. If I get it done tonight, I’ll text you and we can hang out tomorrow?”
She nods and smiles back, “good luck with the homework!”
I laugh, “Good luck with the art mural! No more procrastinating on homework after that, aye!” She shoots me the finger playfully before we turn in opposite directions.
I push the door open going to catch the bus with the little muscle I have.
Our school really needs to grease those up or something because I don’t have enough muscle to continuously push it open everyday, and I don’t plan on working out anytime soon.
I see my bus beginning to pull out onto the road and gasp quietly to myself.
“No, no, no!” I run after it, adrenaline building up through my entire body and chase it down the street.
It hits a red light, slamming on the brakes (thanks goodness, I don’t think my lungs can take anymore) and I catch my breath, slamming the door with my fist. It opens and I smile relieved, taking one step up.
“Sorry sweetie, no room!” She motions me off and I take a step back as she shuts the doors and continues driving.
Are you kidding me?
I watch as it turns the corner and fades into the rest of the road. It takes every part of me to ignore the burning through my lungs and pain from the dryness in my throat.
“Miss the bus nerd?” I turn to see a guy from my English class skateboarding towards me. “Yeah,” I mumble. He stops with me at the stop light and adjusts his cap, “hm. Well, that’s pretty shitty.” I nod, biting the inside of my cheek and he looks me up and down, “whatever, see you tomorrow.” He skates across the road and continues straight, while I turn.
The rest of the walk home is basically the most boring thirty minutes of my life. Also, the longest thirty minutes.
“How was school?” I glance at my mom in the kitchen giving her a ‘don’t even get me started’ look and drag my bag up the stairs behind me. I toss it in my room as my big brother Joshua passes by, “hey dork, how was school?” He ruffles my hair and leans against the door frame, stuffing his face with the rest of his sandwich .
“It was fine.”
He chews and brushes his hands together, “make any new friends?” I stare at him in disbelief and unzip my bag, “Josh, I’m literally almost done high school and now you’re asking if I’ve made any new friends?”
“Well, I don’t see many people coming over to hang out and I just think you need more friends.”
“Yeah, and you need a job.” I shoot out quickly, looking back into my bag.
“You missy, need an attitude adjustment, that’s why you have no friends.”
“You missy, need an attitude adjustment,“I mimic in a deep voice, “oh, piss off. I watched you wipe your nose with your shirt, then proceed to eat crumbs off that same shirt ten minutes later. You’re twenty two. I need reasons as to why you have friends, more than I need an attitude adjustment.”
He crosses his arms and stares me down, “well played little sis, well played.”
I squint and do a little head shake as he makes his way down the stairs. I pull myself up from my bed and shut my room door behind him.
It’s about an hour (Maybe more like ten minutes) when I get tired of staring into the deep dark endless book of history and finally take time to go outside. I don’t really know why I took history again to be honest. It happens to not only be a subject I suck at, but also a subject I take no interest in.
“Where are you going?” I stuff my headphones in and begin scrolling through my music, “I’m just gonna be out in the back for a bit.”
My mom peeks from behind the wall, “not singing too loud this time, we got new neighbours and it’s their first week here. They’re a very lovely family, please don’t scare them away.” My brother chuckles from the living room and I roll my eyes picking a song.
I slide open the door to the backyard and examine a place to sit. This is pretty useless since I always end up sitting under the big tree, which provides me the perfect amount of shade in the summertime to help me read and keep me cool.
I lay in the grass and tap my foot to the rhythm, closing my eyes, ”So tell me how you feel, cause I can’t read your mind"
I turn the volume louder and jam out to the chorus , ”I have no clue what it is you do, but all I know is I be lovin’ you."
High pitch squealing interrupts my music and I sit up slowly, examining the other side of the fence. What a surprise. A little figure runs across on the other side. New neighbours have to be the worst. I liked our old neighbours better. They brought me chocolate and food and let me go over whenever I wanted. Now seeing that the new ones have a little girl is just the cherry on top of it all.
I take a deep breath, rubbing my eyes and pause my music. I might as well go do homework since apparently I can’t listen to music in peace anymore.
I watch as the figure runs back across, but take a double glance when a taller figure catches my eye. Dark brunette hair bounces across and I quickly look down at my phone. Shit. I can’t go in now. They saw me. They know I exist. They’re going to know I’m avoiding them. I guess you could say that I’m never the first to start a conversation.
The brunette hair stays put and a hand waves over the fence as if the figure is trying to get my attention.
And so it begins.
I rip my headphones out annoyed (as if I’m actually listening to something). Standing up, I dust my hands on my skinny jeans and make my way to the fence.
“Can I help you?” I ask in the most annoyed tone I can, crossing my arms.
I peek through and see deep blue eyes staring back at me, which to be honest, takes me by surprise and make me jump slightly.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to stare,” his voice is deeper than I expected. I do a quick examine of his face. Meh.
“I accidentally kicked my soccer ball over and I was wondering if you could toss it back to me.”
I turn to see an actual soccer ball sitting in the grass. Judging by my inability to play any sports, or move in general, you can see how spotting any type of sport equipment on my lawn is a shock to me.
“Yeah, sure,” I mumble, making my way to it.
If this becomes a regular occurrence, I think I’m going to have to move. Not the soccer ball thing, although that would be annoying, I mean the social thing.
I stand on my tip toes and roll it over the top of the fence, hearing it hit his palm on the other side.
He smile showing straight, white teeth, through the spaces I can partially see him, “thanks.”
I nod and wrap my headphones, getting ready to walk back in.
“Wait,” I slowly turn on my heel and raise my eyebrows slightly, waiting for him to continue.
“Thanks for keeping us motivated with your singing. We were going to grab the radio, but I told my sister I thought we should give you a chance first.”
“Thanks.” I bluntly say, obviously forcing a smile onto my face.
He keeps his stare and chuckles, “you know I’m just messing with you?”
I scoff, “no, I had no idea. You know, I was becoming quite confident for a minute there. I was actually considering going to audition for The Voice after hearing you say that,” I say sarcastically, crossing my arms.
His eyes tear away from mine to glance over his shoulder, “sorry to wreck your dreams neighbour. I’m Jaxon by the way.” He waits for me to introduce myself, but instead I lower my eyebrows.
“And I am going back inside. Nice talking to you.”
He opens his mouth to say something else but is quickly interrupted.
“Jax! Hurry up, I wanna play!”
He flashes a quick smirk, “I’ll talk to you soon.”
Before I can respond, he runs, and tosses the little girl over his shoulder, “Jax!” She squeals again as he carries her towards the pool. I watch herhands grip onto his shirt as he swings her over the pool, “Jaxon! Stop! MOM!” She screams.
I realize that, A, I look incredibly creeping continuing to stare through the fence, and B, this is finally my chance to run inside before I have to deal with anymore social interaction.
I take my opportunity and casually (not really) walk gracefully (more like run) back inside.
“Going to finish your homework?” My mom asks.
“Yup, just gonna finish it before I have to go back to hell on Monday.” I run my hand up the railing, dramatically pulling myself up as if every step is a struggle.
“Hey, watch your language! I certainly don’t want to hear it when the neighbours come over for dinner!”
I stop dead in my tracks halfway up the stairs. Did she just say what I think she said? I look over the railing, “did you just say our neighbours are coming for dinner?”
“Well, not really dinner... more of a lunch dinner. Tomorrow at about three o’clock!”
“But I thought we hated the neighbours?” I tease, referring to the ones on the other side of us.
“You know I’m talking about the new neighbours. I’m also almost positive they said they have a son your age.”
I roll my eyes, then close them, taking a deep breath.
“Hear that Brooke? A guy your age,” Joshua teases. I stick out my tongue and he does the same back from the bottom of the stairs.
“Shut up,” I say annoyed
“Hey, I’d rather be a nerd than a mommas boy!”
My mom puts her arm around him and he smiles innocently, “it’s not bad to love your momma!” She jokes.
The front door opens and in walks my dad, “What the hell is happening here?” He raises an eyebrow at my mom and Joshua.
“Mom and Joshua are teaming up on me!” I complain.
“Sweetie, you always think everyone’s out to get you, nobody’s after you.” My mom laughs.
“Maybe everyone is out to get me,” I squint playfully, raising my eyebrows convincingly.
“Then where are all these people you speak of?” Josh looks around, pointing out that I never have anyone over.
“Piss off,” I mumble, I stomping up the stairs.
“Hey! Easy on the stairs!” My dad shouts at me from downstairs.
I sigh and slowly shut my room door.