It was the first day of term at my new high school and I was predictably nervous. I arrived in the noise and the crowds of the corridor and the first thing I did was find the room where I'd be taking attendance each morning. I know I should have concentrated on making at least one friend first but I was shy and scared and everyone seemed to have someone to talk to.
The problem of being alone was solved by the teacher who, after taking attendance, announced that I was a new student, beckoned me to the front of the classroom and selected a girl called Cheyenne who looked almost intimidatingly tall in her near-dangerous-looking stilettos to be my 'buddy' until I made some friends of my own. We walked over to her desk and I sat beside her. She didn't seem very interested in me: she picked up a celebrity gossip magazine and started to read it. When it was evident that I was just going to sit there awkwardly and not try to communicate with any other human being, she gave an exasperated sigh and put down her magazine.
"Do you like reading magazines?" she asked, as if she was talking to an alien.
"Not really, no," I admitted.
She rolled her eyes, like this was to be expected of the newbie.
"Do you have a favourite actor?"
"I do, actually," I told her, slightly defensively because her tone was still a little insulting and I didn't consider myself massively abnormal. "Terry Tanner."
Cheyenne looked surprised. "He's actually quite hot."
I smiled, perhaps feeling a little triumphant.
"I know, right? I'd love to stroke his hair. And I could drown in his eyes."
Cheyenne nodded. There was a hint of suspicion in her eyes as if she wondered if I wasn't just saying these things to appear normal.
"They're a gorgeous colour," she agreed.
"I'm so jealous of Sam Lyner."
Cheyenne nodded again.
"She is so totally not good enough for him."
"Well, I don't know about that..." I blushed. "Actually, I'm not really jealous. Jealousy's never a good thing. But ... I wish I was her, you know."
"Girl, it's normal to be jealous," Cheyenne told me. "He's a hot guy. You want him. He has a girlfriend."
Internally, my heart dropped at the word 'want'. It made me think of the word 'covet'. But ... it wasn't so bad to occasionally imagine a situation was different and a hot actor was interested in you, ... was it? Besides, I was very much aware of the purity ring on my finger and remembered with pride the way that I had chosen it before my parents had even had the opportunity to talk to me about relationships with men.
"I ... guess you're right," I replied non-committally.
"Hey, what did you say your name was, again?"
"I didn't. It's Lauren."
"Laurena. Well, you know this but hey: I'm Cheyenne."
I smiled. "I think it's a pretty name."
She shrugged. "I don't. But thanks anyway."
So maybe the new school wouldn't be so bad after all.