East Side Academy

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Chapter 2 - You’ve Got a Friend in Me

“If you’ve got troubles, I’ve got ’em too / There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you / We stick together and can see it through / ’Cause you’ve got a friend in me” – You’ve Got a Friend in Me, Randy Newman


I take my time leaving the classroom, no one comes up to talk to me. They all just leave in their little cliques that have probably been established since Grade 9. But I can feel them look at me and I know they are talking about the new girl.

“It’ll get better,” Ms. McGonagall says, and I turn and see that I am the last one left in the classroom.

“Thanks, I’m sure it will,” I say, not believing it.

“They’re not bad kids but being from West Side they just automatically assume that you think you are better than them,” Ms. McGonagall says.

“I don’t think that, Ms. McGonagall,” I say.

“I know,” Ms. McGonagall says, “Although I am curious as to why you would transfer to East Side halfway through Grade 11.”

“There were just some issues at my old school, so I ended up transferring here,” I say. I’m not going to go into the details of why Mia and I are now at East Side Academy.

“Okay, well if you need anything, just let me know,” Ms. McGonagall says, “Personal or class-related, I’m always here.”

“Thank you, Ms. McGonagall,” I say, “I should probably head to my next class.” and with that, I leave the class and head to my locker.

“So, you must be my new locker mate,” I hear as I start turning the combinations of my lock.

I look and see a beautiful tall girl with dark skin, curly black hair pulled back in a ponytail, and beautiful brown eyes. “Yes, that’s me,” I say.

“You must be new. My name is Diana,” she says.

“Arya.” I say, “It’s nice to meet you.”

“You too,” she says, “What grade are you in?”

“Eleven,” I reply.

“Oh okay, same as me,” she says, “What school did you come from?”

I hesitate slightly, “West Side Academy.”

“Oh.” she says, “Well I guess this is quite the change for you then.” She doesn’t say it rudely, more as a matter of fact, because it is true. A West Sider coming to East Side is a big change.

“Yes, it took me so long to choose an outfit this morning, not used to having so much choice,” I say.

Diana laughs. “Did you like wearing a uniform?”

“Honestly, yes,” I reply, “Just because it was so much faster to get ready in the morning. I didn’t even have to think about what I was going to wear. But I haven’t done back to school clothes shopping since elementary school, so my closet is lacking.”

“Makes sense,” Diana says.

“Sup Diana,” a tall guy with dark skin and short black hair says, coming up next to her.

“Hey, Teddy!” Diana says, “Meet my new locker mate, Arya.”

“Nice to meet you, Arya,” Teddy says with a friendly smile, “You must be new here.”

“Yeah,” I reply, “First day.”

“She’s from West Side,” Diana says.

“Oh,” Teddy says, a little surprised, but not judgmental. “Well welcome to the dark side, there are plenty of people here who will bite, but I promise we won’t.” I laugh and he smiles. “What grade are you in?”

“Grade 11, same as us Teddy,” Diana says for me.

“Would you please let Arya talk, Diana?” Teddy says jokingly. “She’s not going to want to be friends with us if you don’t let her talk.”

“Oh, shut up, Teddy,” Diana says, “We were getting along just fine before you got here.”

“Maybe to you, you were getting along, doesn’t mean Arya feels the same,” Teddy says and then turns to me. “You can tell her to shut up anytime Arya, she talks far too much and asks too many questions.”

“Hey!” Diana says, slapping Teddy on the arm. “Don’t listen to him, Arya. But feel free to tell him to take a hike whenever he annoys you. Like now.” Diana eyes him.

“Sorry, hun.” Teddy says, “You’re stuck with me for the next period. And your favourite class too!”

“Shut up. Minus Lisa and the other two barbies, I love Chemistry,” Diana says.

“Chemistry?” I finally interjected, “I have Chemistry next as well.”

“Ms. Lockhart?” Teddy asks. I pull out my schedule and confirm that yes, it is with Ms. Lockhart. “Great! You can sit with us then.”

“What other classes do you have?” Diana asks.

“Physics, Ancient History, and English,” I reply.

“We’ll see you in English as well then,” Diana says, “Mr. Trelawney?” I nod. “Would be in Physics with you as well but decided to take it last semester. Already taking Math and Biology this semester.”

“Why do you do this to yourself?” Teddy asks.

“Getting into training for my Asian six-pack,” Diana says while patting her stomach.

“Asian six-pack?” I ask.

Teddy rolls his eyes. “Grade 12 - Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Advanced Math, Calculus, and Data Management. Three sciences and three maths.”

“Wow. Impressive,” I say.

“You’re probably able to go for it as well,” Diana says. “We can do it together.”

I laugh. “That’s a no to Data Management,” I say, “I’m not taking any more math than I need to.”

“Finally, a logical person,” Teddy says. Diana hits him again. “Ow!” Teddy rubs his arm.

“We should get to class so we’re not late,” Diana says.

Chemistry went fine. I got looks from all the students in the class but having Diana and Teddy with me almost acted as a shield. Ms. Lockhart seems like a decent teacher; she loves the subject she teaches so that generally is a good sign. I saw Lisa and the other girls that Diana had mentioned before. And yes, they did look like your classic barbies, with Lisa having blonde hair and the other two having brown. I saw Lisa glare at me initially but then diverted herself to talking to what looked like the popular guys in the class.

I looked for my sister at lunch and when I saw her in the middle of a group of people talking and laughing, I thought ‘maybe things would be okay here’.

I sat with Teddy and Diana at lunch and they introduced me to their group of friends, George, Lincoln, Eleanor, and Sarah. They were all very nice and very welcoming to me, but then Eleanor and I just lock eyes. “You’re the captain of the West Side soccer team,” she says flatly.

“And you’re the best defender on the East Side soccer team,” I say. Eleanor looks at me, it feels like she is sizing me up as everyone around the table looks at us. Eleanor is gorgeous. Caramel skin, curly hair almost the same colour as her skin, and hazel eyes.

“Wasn’t able to stop you guys winning the past two years,” Eleanor says.

“Well, now you’ll be able to beat them now that I’m not there,” I say.

Eleanor looks at me and slowly starts to smile. “I like the confidence. It’s about time East Side takes the title back. It’ll be nice to have a new central mid.” Soccer is a sport I love, I always looked forward to the season starting. This is the first time I was dreading it. Having to start over with a new team. A team that I had beaten before. And then to go up against my old school. Captaining West Side for its third straight victory was something to look forward to. Being a newbie on a different soccer team trying to take that third victory away from West Side was not something to look forward to.

“I knew you looked familiar,” George, a fit, blondie with short hair and grey eyes, says, “I remember watching the final last year. I don’t know soccer, but you dominated that game.”

“It was only 3-1,” Eleanor says.

“Should have been like 6-1 if you hadn’t slide tackled me so many times,” I say.

“Couldn’t stop you every time apparently,” Eleanor says.

“Eventually learned to keep as far from you as possible,” I say. Eleanor laughs.

“Enough soccer talk already!” Diana says, “We should all tell a little bit about ourselves for Arya.”

“So, she can find out what she’s getting into and run,” Teddy says. Diana just glares at him as he sips his drink.

“I’ll go first,” Diana says.

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