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Eve Under Pressure

By EmmaSchmid All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Romance

Blurb

Eve James is not a risk taker. As a creature of habit, she's comfortable in her routines and does not appreciate change. Instead she pushes herself into the world of books and schoolwork to stay away from people; especially now that Liv, Eve's best friend, has moved away to Atlanta. Left without friends for her senior year in high school, Eve's constant anxieties tug at her. However, when Jack, the exciting new kid at Maplewood Preparatory Academy, takes an interest in Eve, she decides to take an interest back, leading her on a journey that helps her open up and explore her self in a way she's never been able to before.

Chapter 1

Here are the things I like about libraries: They are extremely quiet; none of the preps are ever in here, (and I mean never; especially not during summer vacation) and finally, I can read as long as I want, and no one (cough, cough; my mother) tries to get me to put on a poufy dress and parade around like a poodle in a dog show.

Bitter? You could say that. My mother seems to think that I need to get my head out of my books and start thinking about things like “my future”, and “what sorority I’m going to join”. I’m not kidding, sometimes she uses air quotes. It’s extremely irritating.

Contrary to popular belief though, I actually don’t want to be a Delta Nu, or whatever the hell they’re called. My dear mother, though I love her to pieces, seems to think that that is exactly what I need.

“You’ll never make friends with your nose stuck in a book,” she says. It’s one of her favourite lectures to give me. Being the youngest of three daughters (all whom are extreme joiners), she expects me to be exactly like Bridget and May, my sisters.

Bridget is the oldest. She’s at Harvard (third year) for her law degree. I don’t mean to say that she’s almost Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, but she’s pretty close.

May is in second year, also at Harvard; she wants to be a doctor. High standards are set for me, and I’m only a senior.

Mom keeps going on about how I should “embrace my senior year,” and “try to make more friends”. She doesn’t actually use air quotes that much. Mainly I imagine them floating around her head while she’s talking, like some weird version of wasps. Except these wasps really want me to make friends.

I have friends. Let me correct myself- one friend. Her name is Olive, but she prefers Liv. She’s completely amazing, and has been since she was seven, when we met. Liv moved to Boston from Atlanta, and still has a little bit of an accent. Not that she likes to be called on it. She’s been known to hit people that bring it up.

In August, before the school year started, Liv told me she’s moving back to Atlanta with her dad. Apparently he doesn’t realize that she’s going to miss senior year with her best friend. Nor does he care. Liv’s kind of annoyed, but I think she’s kind of looking forward to living with her dad again. Plus she promised to email at least once a week (no cell minutes), and tell me the details of her new school. Even though she has it worse- getting ready for her first day at an entirely new school, I’m still here, moping in the library, trying to decide what to do with my life.

“Hey, Eve.”

I look up- the first time I’ve looked up in hours (my neck is extremely stiff) to see one of my fellow band kids from school. He’s cute in a geeky way, tall and lanky, with short, dark blond hair and glasses. His name is Mark, I recall. I haven’t really talked to him before.

“Hi.” I smile. “How are you?”

“Good. Joining band again this year?” he asks.

I nod at him, and he smiles. “Good. I heard we’re getting some newbies in class this year. Maybe they’ll join too.”

“New meat. Interesting.” I give him a smile, adjusting the glasses that are slipping down my nose.

Mark grins back, raking his hand through his hair. “See you later, Eve.”

“Later,” I echo. Boston is a huge city, but normally we don’t get many new students at my school. That’s mainly because it’s a “Preparatory Academy.” Maplewood Preparatory Academy, to be exact.

My dad, although not a Senator, or the President’s body-guard’s sister, or any big-ish positions like that, is a cardiologist. The head of the school has had some trouble with his heart, and my dad has been his doctor ever since I was little. That merits a full scholarship to Maplewood, apparently, for my sisters and me.

My phone buzzes loudly in my pocket, and I take it out to see that it’s almost five. Apparently I’ve been reading longer than I thought. My head is on auto-pilot while I pack up my things and head out the front doors of the library.

I walk down the front steps, relishing the feeling of the September air on my cheeks. After so long indoors, it’s nice to have some fresh air. I should probably get out more.

It’s not cold exactly, but I’m still happy when I get to Austen, my white Chrysler La Baron. She’s named after one of my favourite authors; Jane Austen. I think most people think my dad bought Austen for me, but in reality, I bought her with hard earned funds from working at the bookshop downtown.

The drive isn’t busy- it’s a weekend after all, so I take the long way home. My family lives in a quiet neighbourhood that’s lined with trees that are perfect for climbing. As I’m pulling into the driveway, I hear my name being called.

“Eve!”

I turn around, squinting in the sunlight. I wish I’d brought my sunglasses with me.

“Hi Andy.” The seven year old boy that lives next to me grins- he’s missing two of his teeth.

“I lost my teeth!” He yells, running over to me. His black hair is dripping wet.

“That’s cool! Are you and Masy playing in the sprinkler?”

Andy nods, looking over our conjoined lawns. I see the water sparkling as it shoots towards the sky. “When are you coming to play with us again?” he says.

“Soon. It depends on when your mom needs me again.” I look up across the lawn and see Masy, a three year old with lots of baby fat. Her arms jiggle as she waves at me.

“Is it because of the baby?” Andy frowns at me. “Don’t you like him?”

I laugh, and Andy looks confused. “Of course I like the baby. But your mom doesn’t need me again just yet. I’ll come over soon though, promise.”

Andy smiles. “Okay. See ya!”

Andy runs off, jumping back into the sprinkler beside Masy, who giggles. Their mom, Jenny, just had another baby- a boy named Lenny, so she’s on maternity leave right now.

I’ve been babysitting for them since Andy was two, but since their mom is home, they don’t need me for now. It’s kind of a bummer- they’re fun kids.

When I get in my own house, I immediately hear my mom yelling, “Genevieve? Is that you?”

“Yeah mom.” I dump my stuff in the hall, and attempt to sneak to my room. My mother has other plans however- she spots me as I pass the kitchen. “Genevieve! In here!”

“Eve, mom.” It’s not that I dislike the name Genevieve, but it’s incredibly long. I stop in the doorway, suppressing a sigh.

“Honey, your name is beautiful. Don’t cut it down.”

We have this argument a lot.

“It’s too long mom.” I enter the kitchen to see my mom, a tall woman with blonde hair and green eyes, standing on a step stool to clean the top of the cupboards. She’s a bit of a neat freak. Mom is beautiful, just like my sisters. I’m the only one in my family who takes after my dad- black hair and blue eyes that slightly resemble the colour of Windex.

I start looking through cupboards, searching for food. Unfortunately, I’m not tall enough to reach the high places- like the Pop Tarts I know May hides behind the popcorn machine in the cupboard above the stove...

Mom steps down from her stool, taking in my appearance. She knows, as she always does, where I’ve been, and yet she still asks.

“Been at the library?” She’s unusually chipper. I’m about to ask why when I see the pile of coloured plastic shopping bags on one of the kitchen chairs.

“Yeah.” I start to inch out the door before my mom can tell me about the bags.

She notices my escape attempt and frowns. “Evie, you need a new wardrobe. I bought some-”

“Mom, I told you I’d buy my own clothes this year.” And the year before, and the year before that… My mom has a bad tendency to pick out clothes that she likes, not clothes that I like.

“At least try them on.” My mother does an exceptional eye-roll.

I nod and lug the bags to my room. There’s really no fighting with her. It’s better just to give up. At least she left the receipts in the bags, so I can take them back later if I need to.

When I turn on my computer, I find an email from Liv. She moved back out to Atlanta a couple weeks ago.

Message Recipient: <eviej@hotmail.com>

From: <livliv19@hotmail.com>

I am (surprisingly) not completely horrified by Atlanta. Since dad and I got here, he’s been a lot more chill than normal. Then again, mum’s not here to make him freak out, so I’m gonna guess that’s helping. I’ve seen many a cute boy since my arrival- get this, a kid I knew when I was little recognized me. Like actually came up to me, and was like, hey, what’s up! And of course I was like, dude, what the frig are you doing? Anyway. We both have school tomorrow, so we should probably get prepared for that. It sucks that we can’t be together as seniors! Tell me everything when you have time.

Cheers!

Liv

That would be Liv. My best friend is a total boy magnet- something about her personality I guess. She also has tendencies to talk like a British person, the accent and all, so I guess that explains her choice of words. Her obsession with Doctor Who is unreal.

I send her a quick email and, true to my word, try on the outfits my mom bought. Surprisingly, three of them actually look good. I choose a periwinkle shirt and dark-wash jeans to wear as my outfit tomorrow, and head downstairs to dinner.

Most of the time it’s me, mom, and my sisters for dinner, since dad works, but tonight it’s quieter than usual. Bridget and May are both out, so mom and I eat together. When I tell her about the clothes, she’s ecstatic.

“I told you you’d like them,” she beams. To humor her, I don’t mention the other outfits. The ones that don’t suit me. They’re all bright colours and tight fits. Not exactly my style.

That night when I head to bed, I place the books I brought from the library on my dresser. More than anything, I want to read them. This time I’ve got Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass, both by Lewis Carroll. I’ve read them before, but they’re light reading, and that’s what I need right now, especially since the school year is starting.

I place my glasses on my bedside table and press my face into the pillow. The only thing I don’t like about having glasses is reading with them. I can’t lie down or they get crushed against my face!

I roll over and stare up into the darkness. There’s a small shaft of moonlight coming from the part in my curtains, but not enough to keep me awake. First days of school have always given me a bit of anxiety. This time though it feels worse, especially since Liv isn’t here with me.

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