Naomi Shardis, a 16 year old female from Pensacola, Florida, finds herself in a rather unsettling predicament when she is forced to move from her luxurious life with her father, to a severely dumbed down life with her mother in a poor neighborhood of the fictional city of Lake Side, Vermont. It's Naomi's first day at her highschool, Lake Side South, and she's already made a new friend. Caroline Matheson, seems to be the nicest, friendliest person you could possibly meet. However, in her Drama 1 class, Naomi encounters a boy by the name of Alexander Campbell. She already begins to fall in love on the night at the cafe, but what will she do when she encounters a girl by the name of Lexi Alan, who captures her heart in the same way?
“Naomi! The school bus will be here soon!” My mother yelled from the other side of the house.
“I’m finishing packing my backpack, mom!” I responded, shoving my notebooks in my ratty backpack my mom had bought me for the new school.
My name is Naomi Shardis. I just turned 16 and moved in with my mom in the scary big city of Lake Side South, Vermont. My parents got divorced 2 years ago, and since then I'd been living with my father in Florida right on Pensacola. It was nice, we had a 3 story house with a back porch that opened up right on the beach. I had tons of friends, and we all liked to hang out during open mic night at the coffee shop nearby. My school was smaller than Lake Side South, but everyone knew everybody. Today was my first day at LSS, and I had mixed feelings. Walking out of my room and down the hall, I was met with my mother in her nightgown at the door, probably watching for the bus.
"Good morning, sweetheart. I hope you have a marvelous day." She pulled me close, brushing my ginger hair out of the way and kissing my forehead.
"Yeah, mom. Thanks." I pulled away to hear a machine rumbling in the distance. Great, the bus was almost here.
"Make friends! Don't talk to strangers!" My mother waved at me as I opened the racket-y screen door, leaving it to slam shut.
Although I went to school in a wealthy city with a wealthy school district, my mother and I were anything but. We lived just outside the suburbs in Lake Side, almost near the ghetto. My mom owned this little single level house, that barely scraped by at 1100 square feet. The walls gave the impression it was built in the 60s or 70s, which I found pretty cool. Standing at the edge of my driveway, I kicked at asphalt that had found its way out of a crack. As the yellow death trap rattled closer and closer to me, I swung my backpack onto one shoulder and awaited the smell of exhaust.
The bus finally rolled up, coming to a screeching halt. The two doors folded apart to reveal a man that didn't represent happy-go-lucky in any way. He had a beer gut, with greasy black hair that curled downwards from his bald-spot ridden scalp. Scaling the few steps and making the turn to get to the seats, I was met with a nearly full bus. Walking down, I could already tell these boys and girls outdid me in the money department. Girls with Uggs and Northface, versus boys with Aeropostale and American Eagle. No one would let me sit with them, so I came to the grim reality I'd have to sit in the floor. Walking to the back, I threw my bag down and propped my back against the door at the rear of the bus.
"Today's already going to be hell..." I muttered, pulling my torn beanie over my face.
"You can sit with me, if you want." My ears picked up on a voice. Looking up, I found a girl with pixie cut blonde hair.
"T-Thanks." I responded, using the seat to help myself up.
"I'm Caroline Matheson. Nice to meet you! What's your name?" The girl now established as Caroline shook my hand, a huge smile plastered on her face.
"Naomi Sh-Shardis..." I smiled back, unsure as to why someone was being so kind to me.
"Are you new? I've never seen you here before." Caroline tilted her head in curiosity, still looking at me.
"Just transferred today." I didn't feel like talking, so I brought out my phone and popped my earbuds in, putting my music on shuffle.
The rest of the ride, Caroline didn't speak to me. I indulged in my music, closing my eyes and losing myself in the beat.
One last thing, I beg you please,
Just before you go...
I've watched you fly on Paper Wings,
Halfway around the world until they,
Burned up in the atmosphere, and sent you spiraling down,
Landing somewhere far from here with no one else around,
To catch you falling down,
And I'm looking at you now...
The bus ride was roughly another half hour or so. Once we arrived at LSS High, Caroline walked me to the doors. This place was multiple stories high, and covered a vast amount of land. I stood back, attempting to take in the sights of my new school.
"Come on, Naomi! I'll show you to the office to get your schedule." Caroline took me by the wrist and began running inside to the office.
Luckily enough, they already had everything I needed. The secretaries gave me my schedule, and welcomed me to the new area. As Caroline was inspecting my schedule, she noticed we both had 1st hour chem together. I was extremely relieved, since I considered her my friend already. Stuffing the paper into the pocket of my hoodie, I allowed her to lead me to our class. Our class was on the second floor, so we had to take the stairs. The bell rang right as we were walking down the hall, which caused us to run a little faster.
Apparently, the doors lock after the bell rings. There was a slender glass window on the door, allowing us to see inside. The professor turned his head, noticing us. He walked over and turned the handle, allowing for the door to open and us to enter. Caroline went and sat in her desk in the middle of the room, as I stood motionless in front of everyone. The professor cleared his throat, placing a hand on my shoulder.
"Class, as you all know, we've been expecting a new student. Yes, I'm aware school started last week, but people are still filtering in. Miss, if you would, introduce yourself." He stepped aside, giving me space.
"N-N-Naomi Sh-Shardis...I'm from Pensacola, Florida." I felt my face blush.
"Hi, Naomi!" Caroline giggled from her seat, curling her fingers in a wave.
"Very well. Miss Shardis, you can sit in the back." The professor motioned to a table a few behind Caroline, with no one sitting there.
I threw my bag down, sliding into one of the plastic chairs. He began writing on the whiteboard, starting with his name. Professor Stoic. Dude...he doesn't really look it. Shaking my head, I unzipped my backpack. The zipper fell off, and I sighed probably louder than I should have. A few kids in front of me turned around, rolling their eyes. Giving up on retrieving my notebooks, I pulled off my hoodie and curled it into a pillow-like thing. Once I laid my head down, my eyes closed shut.
Honestly, I couldn't tell you how long that class really was. The next thing I realize, Caroline is shaking my arm as the bell rings. I groggily stood, wrapping my hoodie around my waist and slung my backpack onto my shoulder. We walked out, both of us gazing at my schedule. My next class was drama, which we didn't have together. Caroline lead me to the class, and waved as she left. Walking inside, I noticed no one else. Damn, I must be early... The teacher turned around, smiling broadly at me.
"Ah, yes. You must be the new student, Naomi, right?" She gave me an air kiss on both sides of my face.
"Yeah, Naomi Shardis." I shrugged, going to sit at a seat in the back.
"No no no, darling! New students get a seat especially for them on their first day." My teacher gestured towards a desk that sat right next to hers at the very front.
"I have to sit in the f-front?" My eyes widened, causing my glasses to almost fall off the bridge of my nose.
"Just for today, deary. I'm Ms. Raymon if you need anything." She chuckled, walking to sit behind her desk.
As she sat down, more students filed in just as the bell rang. A sea of unfamiliar faces passed by as I began feeling queasy, cause of my nerves. As everyone sat down, and Ms. Raymon shut the door, I decided to brave the broken zipper, and pull open my backpack to reach my notebook. My teacher stood in front behind her desk, opening her arms in a large motion.
"This! This, my friends, is Drama 1. This class will broaden your minds on theatrical arts. Welcome, I say. Welcome, not only to those of you I've seen before, but to our new student. Her name is Naomi Shardis, from Pensacola, Florida. Naomi, mind sharing something about yourself?" Ms. Raymon turned to me, a large smile on her face.
"I uh...uhm...I can watch anime for endless hours and not move?" I laughed nervously, feeling 25 other pairs of eyes on me.
"That's rather...interesting. Alright, guys! Time for notes!" The teacher clapped her hands, earning a groan from the class.
Ms. Raymon talked mostly, using only few examples on the projector. As I was writing stuff down, I took a break to look up and adjust my glasses. My blue eyes met with the hazel orbs of a male on the second row of desks. His shaggy, burgundy hair, fell easily on his cheekbones and grazed by his ears. His ears, speaking of, were gauged. Plugs that had yellow cat eyes occupied his lobes. I caught myself smirking, to which he curved his lip upwards slightly. Damn, half smiles are my weakness... I heard snapping, and shook my head back to reality.
"Hey, Naomi, you alive?" Ms. Raymon questioned, the drama book occupying her other hand.
"Yeah, sorry, Ms. Raymon." I felt myself blushing, returning my eyes to the notebook paper on my desk.
And with that, the bell rang, signaling my freedom. Evidently, from the excitement of other students, it was lunch time. Pulling out my phone, I noticed a text from my mom. Swiping it aside, the clock showed to reveal the time of 11:20 a.m. . I was forced to hold my backpack, since the zipper tore and wouldn't stay shut. Once I finally found my way to the cafeteria, my mind was overwhelmed by the amount of people this space could hold. This is too many people... I can't do this... Clenching my bag, I turned and left, heading for the school courtyard.
Opening a smaller compartment in my backpack, I pulled out a gallon bag with assorted snacks in it. I smiled, noticing the small juice box in there as well. I unzipped the bag, pulling everything out and setting it on the plastic. The breeze brushed by, taking leaves from the tree above me with it. I munched on my animal crackers and sipped from my juicebox, enjoying the peace and serenity.
"Hey, why're you out here all by yourself? The cafeteria is that way." I heard someone speak from behind me. I jumped a little bit.
"Who-Who're you?" I asked, food stuffed in my cheeks.
"I'm Alexander Campbell. The boy from your drama class?" Once my eyes focused, I recognized the shaggy hair and stretched ears.
"Right, Alexander. I can't handle the stress of large crowds, so I decided to come out here." I swallowed the remainder of my food, washing it down with some juice.
"You're a curly headed ginger girl, who watches anime, and has her lunch with juiceboxes. I can dig it." Alexander sat down beside me, almost in my personal space bubble.
"Why're you out here? You look like a popular fellow." I began eating again, this time, my half-sandwich.
"Well, I thought I'd invite you to this cafe downtown tonight. It's open mic night and my band is presenting some cover music." He handed me a flyer, the plastic shining in the sun.
After that, Alexander said his goodbyes and headed back inside the school. I inspected the flyer more, and decided I'd see if Caroline wanted to go. And speak of the devil, not 5 minutes later, she showed up.
"Naomi! I've been looking for you!" Caroline slid down on the grass, stopping next to me.
"And I've been outside attempting to enjoy the peaceful scene." I finished my food and juicebox, putting them in the plastic bag and tossing them inside my backpack.
"Were you just talking to...Alexander Campbell?!" Caroline's voice pipes up, her blue eyes staring at mine.
"Yeah, what of it?" I furrowed my brows, taking my hoodie off from around my waist and shoving it in my bag as well.
"Did you know he's-" She was cut off by the bell, signaling us to return to class.
Caroline and I had the next class together, AP Lang. Our teacher was some Italian dude who we were both surprised passed the requirements to be an English teacher, let alone Advanced Placement. We sat next to each other, and I was still nervous about doing my stupid introductions again. Our last class, European History, went by with a breeze. And before we knew it, the school day was over and we were headed home. My mother picked me up today, instead of having me ride the bus. Once she rolled up in her 1993 barely-hanging-on forest green Toyota, I hurried in so Alexander wouldn't see me in a car like this...hopefully.
"So! Sweetheart! How was your day~?" She cheerfully asked, beginning to drive out of the parking lot.
"It was fine. I made a friend." I shrugged, looking out the window as students filed onto buses, some walking home.
"Oh! That's fantastic, Naomi. What's their name?" My mom sped up once we were on the street.
"Caroline Matheson. And she invited me to a thing at a downtown cafe tonight." I lied through my teeth about that one, no way my mother could know I'd already met a boy.
"That's even better! What time?" We began to enter our ratty area of Lake Side.
"She says it starts at 7." I snuck a peak at the flyer Alexander had given me.
"Perfect! I'll only make dinner for 2 then." My mother turned onto our street, the noticeable decline in wealth prominent.
"Two? What the hell are you cooking for 2 for?" I made a confused look with my face, questioning the woman.
My mom explained that she had been doing online dating for a while, to try and "get back in the game". She had found this man, whose name was Anthony. He was coming over tonight, and if things went well, he'd be staying a while. Good thing is, she was making him sleep on the couch, since our house only had 2 bedrooms. Once we got home, she immediately went to her room to try and look nice. I, on the other hand, sluggishly tossed my backpack on the bed, and laid down next to it.
Digging in my jeans pocket, I pulled out a crumpled sticky note that contained Caroline's number. Punching it into my phone and adding her as a contact, I called her up. The line rang a few times, before her voice came through.
"Hello?" Her electronically altered voice spoke.
"Caroline, it's me, Naomi. Listen...would you be interested in going to the Maria Cafe tonight? It's live music." I twirled on some stray hairs.
"Sure! What time I need to getcha?" She sounded happy, which was a relief.
"Let's say...6:30?" I pondered, looking over at the clock. It was currently 3:56.
"It's a date! See ya then, Shardis!" The receiver clicked, ending our conversation.
I rolled over, looking at my hellhole of a closet. I had brought some of my nicer clothes that my dad had bought me in Pensacola. Plugging my phone in, I hooked it up to a little speaker of mine and put the music on shuffle. The first song was "Good Girls" by 5 Seconds of Summer. Singing to myself, I bopped around as I was picking out clothes. Maybe life in this strange new place wasn't going to be so bad after all...