After reading the text, I put my cellphone inside the jeans pocket and gulped down the remaining cereal. Collecting my bag and wiping my hands on jeans, I stormed toward the front door.
“Mom, Addison’s here!” I yelled back at the kitchen.“I’m leaving. Bye!”
“Good luck on your first day!” I heard mom shout back as I closed the door behind me.
Addison, my cousin, was waiting for me inside the car. Her mahogany skin shining beautifully under the sunlight, and curly brown hair tamed down in a high ponytail. I tucked my shirt down a little bit making sure my belly was covered. Shirt that I wore today was longer than usual, yet it didn’t hurt to check twice that it covered what it needed to cover.
“Hey,” Addison greeted when I sat down at passenger’s.
“So are you excited? Today’s your first day,” she chirped and started the engine, “you’re going to be the new girl Keily.”
“You’re talking as if I’m in some teen show, where hot guys are going to jump at me and cheerleaders will claw me.” I giggled, her good morning vibes rubbing on me.
“Hey! My girls won’t claw, they’ll punch.” Addison smirked.
“Oh, if that’s the case remind me to clip my nails and join boxing lessons,” I joked back.
Our back and forth helped me calm down my jittery nerves. Today was going to be my first day at Jenkins High. All 18 years of my life were spent in suburbs of Remington, so moving here and starting last year of my high school in a completely new town was, least to say, overwhelming.
Moving wasn’t really in our plan, but when mom’s company decided to open their new branch here and asked her to be the project manager, refusing wasn’t an option. Bradford was mom’s hometown, where she had grown up and spent 21 years of her life. Plus, it was a good hike in her pay. My dad didn’t mind either, to be honest he wouldn’t mind if you moved him to another corner of the world. He was a freelance software and website designer, moving for him wasn’t a big deal.
But it was for me...
I didn’t want to leave the comfort of known place and familiar people (even if those people were quite harsh) behind. It was supposed to happen a year later when I moved to college, not now.
We had arrived here as soon as my school year ended, so I got almost two months of preparing and strolling around this town before joining Jenkins.
Addison, my mom’s brother’s daughter, had been a great tour guide and a really good friend (or cousin). Thanks to her, my dislike for this whole ordeal of uprooting our lives went down a notch. We hit it off right at the beginning for our love of animes and Taylor Swift. She was a really fun person and easy to be around with. She had introduced me to couple of her friends too, making this loner feel very welcomed.
She even promised me rides to school since her house was only a few blocks away from mine. My theory was she felt compelled to do so because I was her cousin, however I also couldn’t refuse. Hitching a ride from my cousin felt more appealing than to shoving my body in small seats of bus and receiving condescending looks and jibes from other teenagers every morning.
I had a fair share of them in Remington.
“We’re here.” Addison honked, dispersing the crowd around the parking lot, making way to a spot.
I looked at the big building standing high in front of us, a heavy feeling pressing down on my shoulders. My nerves hit back with full force.
“Welcome to your new hellhole, missy,” my cousin teased. She got out and I followed like a lost puppy (a very big puppy). Once again I pulled down my shirt, feeling uneasy walking right next to Addison.
My cousin was not only in cheer-leading team but also in track, one of their best sprinters, according to her friends. It was no wonder she had a body that every woman craved for. She was lean, yet beautifully curvy and muscular, only a couple of inches short of six feet. Dressed in a skinny jeans and a crop top, giving only a hint of her sculpted belly, she looked as if she had walked straight out of a fashion magazine.
I, on the other hand, barely reaching her shoulder, had big belly, flabby arms and trunks for legs. Only assets worth considering okay were probably my breasts and hips. But sometimes even they were a bother when shopping for clothes. Today I was clothed in a flowy top - to hide my flab - and black jeggings. Even though I considered these to be my best casual clothes, next to Addison I felt under-dressed, also very badly in shape.
Look at her, she was gorgeous.
“You got your schedule, map, and locker code right?” She asked, as we reached stairs leading to open doors of hellhole.
“Yeah, I got them on Saturday. You don’t have to babysit me, no matter what my mom told you.” We entered the hallways, and immediately I was surrounded by the familiar bustle of high school.
Addison pouted. “Keily, I’m not with you because your mom or my dad told me to. I really liked spending my break with you. I officially consider you more of a friend than cousin.” That made me feel guilty for my jibe.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t want to trouble you. You’re already giving me ride to school, I don’t want to be a burden.”
“What are friends for if not to be a burden on you?” Addison quipped, making me smile. She is perfect.
“Now that you’re saying it like that, I can see the point.” I replied, unable to keep up with her witty remarks.
“Speaking of burdens, let me introduce you to some.” She started walking toward the group of girls, all of them skinny, pretty, and tall. One look and anyone could tell I didn’t belong in that crowd.
I mentally reprimanded myself at my thoughts and choked down those gnawing insecurities. If not for Addison, I’d a complete loner here. I should be grateful that I wouldn’t be spending my first day awkwardly trudging around this big premise.
So, with a excited smile I followed Addison, letting her be my mentor.
“How’s all of your first day going?” Our teacher asked. This was today’s third class.
A collective groan was his answer with some ‘boring’ and ‘fine’ in-between. Obviously, these students didn’t share his enthusiasm.
“Is it in your job description to be always this angsty?” He sighed, and began writing on board. ’Joseph Crones’. “To any new students here,” his gaze lingered on me for a tad longer, “I’m Joseph Crones. You can call me Mr. Crones.”
I nodded when he looked at me again. Am I the only new one in this class?
“Since it’s our first day of English, why don’t we-” he was cut off when the classroom door opened.
A boy walked in and handed a slip to Mr. Crones. I couldn’t help but study his features. He was tall, easily over six feet, and built like an athlete. By the bulging muscles of his arm you could easily figure out rest of his physique was just as sturdy and muscular.
His eyes fell on me, and I realized I was checking him out. I immediately looked down, my face becoming flushed. I hated how my face easily showed my embarrassment, turning red at any given opportunity.
“Mr. Haynes tell the coach to either let you go early or keep you at the field with him,” Mr. Crones reprimanded Haynes.
“Tell him yourself,” I heard Haynes mutter as the sound of footsteps got louder. Our teacher didn’t hear him, or even if he heard he decided to ignore.
My head was still down so when a pair of Nike shoes appeared my brows furrowed, and without my knowledge my head moved up. Haynes was getting comfortable at the desk just beside me. Couple of desks were still free besides the one next to mine. Just my luck he has to take this one! Oh god...
I knew I was overreacting, but the guy just caught me checking him out. It was embarrassing. If I looked anywhere near like Addison, I’d not be freaking out this much. But it was me, a fat girl, and we didn’t have the right to go after beautiful men like him.
“As I was saying,” Mr. Crones began, “it’s our first day, so I’m giving you all an assignment that you have to submit by the end of this semester. Sounds good?” He gave a sweet smile.
Another collective groan was his reply.
“Very good.” He wanted us to write a five thousand words thesis or essay on any of the works of Shakespeare. We needed to do in-depth analysis of his work and also present how it was affected by the politics and culture of Elizabethan period. Honestly, I was excited about this assignment. I liked literature, it was fun.
“Hey!” A hand slammed down on my desk, almost making me jump. Mr. Haynes had his hand on my desk. My eyes first snapped to teacher Crones - who was busy writing on the board - then they moved to the boy beside me.
Strands of his dark brown locks were falling to his forehead, and somehow it made him look dangerously handsome. I could make out a calculating yet taunting look in his pitch black eyes. His pink lips were twitching, he was trying to hide a smile. Even though this boy looked like incarnation of Adonis himself, the look he was giving me screamed trouble.
“Yes?” I hated how whimpery I sounded. My face was already burning up. Stop being this weak already!
I saw his eyes scanning my body from head to toe. I didn’t know if my mind was playing tricks but his stare reminded me of all the stares I received throughout my teenage life. I could already feel him passing judgement: fat and lazy.
“So,” he said, bringing me out of my daze.
His lips pulled upward in a teasing smirk. My face flushed harder.
“I asked if you can lend me a pen. I forgot mine.” Oh.
I moved to pick a pen out of my backpack, but my gaze fell on his jeans pocket. Two pens were already peeking out of it.
What was he trying to pull?!
“No.” My voice came out harsher than I intended. I was trying to not sound weak, but I ended up sounding like a snob. Good work.
I turned my head back to Mr. Crones, who was still busy writing. To be honest, I didn’t want to be anywhere near this Haynes, or any reason to associate with him. I didn’t want to give him my pen. His face, body, attitude, heck even the way he was seated on his chair like a king, reminded me of all those entitled kids who thought they owned the world and ridiculed people like me at every given chance.
I might be overthinking this, but it was better to be safe than sorry.
A scoff came from my side, and without even looking I knew he was glaring at me.
“With all that fat jiggling out of your body, you sure got an attitude.” His words crushed the little confidence I had gathered.
I really wanted to bite back but like always my tongue froze, and instead I peeked a glance. He was writing on his notebook with a pen - which nobody gave him. I turned back, my fist tightening.
It was better to stay away from him, because in the end, no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t fight assholes like him.