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Chapter 8

Today was my first day back to school. I was not looking forward to it at all. I had failed miserably last year and had to repeat my senior year. My father wouldn't let me switch schools. Now I had to deal with everyone knowing I failed and their gossip on why.

I spent my summer like I spent last year. Laying around, getting high, and avoiding my life as much as I could. I didn't want to have to go back and face my reality. My plan was to stick to myself and get my work done. That way I'd graduate and have to deal with people as little as possible.

As I went downstairs, I smelt breakfast. Our housekeeper Rita must be cooking. I sat at the island and loaded up my plate with pancakes and sausage.

"Good morning Cade," Rita greats me as she brings more pancakes to the counter.

I give her a small smile and return to eating. As if he sensed I was enjoying myself my father walks in.

"We need to talk before you leave. I expect you to behave yourself this year. No more getting in trouble or failing assignments. This is your one do-over."

"Yeah, I know," I tell him as I stand up and go to put my dishes in the dishwasher.

"I mean it, Cade. You have brought shame down on this family. Both of your brothers have never had trouble like you. Kyle was valedictorian and is now doing great at college. And Noah was in the top ten in his grade last year. What went wrong with you?" He asks while grabbing my arm, so I turn to look at him.

My whole life it's been like this. My older brother Kyle was great in sports and school. He got a scholarship to play soccer at Arizona state university. He was starting his third year this week. He had gotten many offers but chose to stay in Phoenix to be close.

My little brother Noah was also great at school and was good at acting and singing. He was going to be in grade 11 this year.

I was only ever good at getting in trouble. My grades were always low, and I never liked extracurricular activities. I used to try though. I played sports and was actually pretty good at them. My grades were good enough to go to college but that all changed last year. Some stuff happened and I just gave up. What's the point of trying to impress my father? I will never be enough for him anyway.

As my dad is staring me down Noah walks into the kitchen, "Morning." He says while getting some food.

"Do you understand?" My father asks while still gripping my arm.

"Yeah, I got it!" I tell him as I pull my arm away.

"If you don't like it you can leave. Your 18 if you want to try living out there be my guest. If you want me to support you, you will do as I say." And with that, he leaves the room.

As I put my dishes in the dishwasher Noah starts to talk to me, "I have a drama club meeting after school. It's for the leaders in the group so we should drive separately unless you want to wait around for me."

"No separate is fine; I'll see you at school." And with that, I leave.

On my way to school, I stop to buy a pack of smokes. I need something to get me through this day. After chain-smoking a couple of blocks away from the school I decided that I better go, or I'll be late. Not that I'd mind but my dad sure would.

I pull into the parking lot. Nothing has changed since last year. Same rich kids with their fancy cars and designer clothes.

As I get out of my car, I feel their eyes on me. I ignore it as I walk to the entrance. I hear the crowd of students grow silent and begin to whisper. I look up and see an old beat-up car drive into the lot. I decide to watch to see who's driving it. Like the rest of the students, I'm intrigued.

A skinny brunette gets out of the car. She has long shiny hair. She's wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a well-used backpack is slung over her shoulder. She sticks out in the crowd of wealth that is my high school. As if sensing everyone's eyes on her she rushes into the school. As she passes by, we quickly make eye contact.

Everyone starts talking again so I decide to head into the school. I go to the office. Since I was "unsuccessful" last year I have to meet with a guidance counselor twice a week as well as having meetings with the administrators.

As I stroll into the main office, I see the new girl talking to the secretary, so I take a seat. Once she is handed some papers, she sits down one chair away from me.

"I'll be with you in one moment Cade." The secretary says.

I look over at the girl. She is nervously fidgeting with her schedule. She was really pretty and looked overwhelmed. Old me would have talked to her but I decided against it.

I wondered why she decided to come to this school. She wasn't a freshman since she could drive. I had a feeling she'd have a hard time fitting in.

I was snapped out of my thoughts by the school counselor, "Lola Sanchez? Hi, I'm Mr. Garett. You can just follow me to my office."

That was weird, new students didn't usually meet with the school counselor. That was reserved for troubled students such as myself. Maybe she- Lola was also troubled.

The secretary then called me up to her desk. "Here is your schedule. You will be meeting with Mr. Garrett 2 days a week. It is in your schedule. Have a good day and let me know if you have any questions."

I went to my first class, English. I got to the room right after the first bell rang. I grabbed a seat at the back of the class and kept my head down. Just when I thought I had avoided having to talk to anyone I heard a girl ask, "Is this spot taken?"

I looked up and saw the girl- Lola from the office. "No, it's free," I grumble out then look out the window as she sits down.

The second bell rings, the lesson begins and I zone out. After the teacher has gone over the syllabus, she hands out papers.

"Now I want you and the person beside you to read and then discuss what you think the ravens symbolize in the passage."

Ugh, work already. I skim the paper once it reaches me. Instead of making an effort I draw some birds smoking on the paper.

People start to discuss with others, but I keep looking down. I feel that new girl looking at me, but I keep my eyes on my paper. I don't want to make any friends.

"So do you think the ravens symbolize smoking?" I hear her say.

"No," I grunt hoping she'll get the hint.

"Well, I have no idea. Maybe they represent escaping because they are flying away."

"Yeah, could be."

The bell rings and I book it out of there. I go to my Spanish class. When my teacher spots me he asks to talk to me. In a hushed voice he beings talking, "I know you had a lot of trouble last year with Spanish. You need a second language credit to graduate, and I was thinking you may want a tutor. It would be best to start right away so you don't fall behind. We have a peer tutoring program I was wanting you to check out. Would it be alright if I put your name on the list?"

I didn't want to say yes but I was really bad with languages especially Spanish so I decided to try it. "Yeah, sure I'll try it out."

"That's great to hear Cade, and if you have any questions or need help just come to my office." He says.

The bell rings and I sit through another boring lesson.
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