“Ida!” I heard Melanthe’s feminine voice squeak over the commotion.
I spun around in circles but could not see her anywhere through the people pushing pass.
Nobody bothered apologising as they shoved me. It was as though I did not exist. When I fought against the mass forcing me down the hall, I felt a terrible sense of a new kid’s loneliness wash over me. I had no clue where or what my next class was and I did not recognise any of the faces that rushed by.
I was rammed into a locker. The clang of metal was swallowed by the clatter that filled my cramped surroundings. Just wait until most of them have gone into class, I told myself, bringing up my arms to shield me in case something (or someone) fell out of the horde and crashed into me. The teachers won’t mind too much as I’m new. And maybe, just maybe, I will get through this stampede unscathed.
“There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you!”
She strode towards me, splitting the students between us like Moses and the Red Sea.
“Hand over your timetable,” she said, holding out an expectant hand.
Not knowing what else to do, I delved inside my rucksack and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. She took it and peered at the lessons I had scrawled onto it. Her bubbly grin dissolved and was replaced with a thoughtful frown.
“It looks like we only have Maths and registration together,” she pouted. “And our next lessons are in different buildings.”
Her head flew up from my timetable as she looked down the finally emptying hall. Before I could ask her what she was looking for, she had walked off round the corner.
“Um, where are you going?” I called after her. I would not have minded too much that she had disappeared, but she had taken my timetable with her.
“So you have English Lit too in that class?” I heard her say after a few minutes of me standing there, paralysed by helplessness.
Melanthe sauntered back to me. Joint at her hip was a typical jock, the type of guy that would be cast as a lead in teen Disney movie – broad-shouldered, slightly muscular, tall and, of course, insanely attractive.
“Ida, this is Jason,” she announced, waving a hand half-heartedly in his direction.
“Hey,” he said, shooting me a warm smile.
“H-hello,” I stammered, immediately feeling shy and more than a little intimidated by his flawless appearance.
A guy like this was the kind you expected to hang around with Melanthe, and I, attending an all girls school since primary had neither her natural talent nor her experience. Neither had I spoken that much to them outside of school. I could tell that Melanthe had grasped this fact when I noticed her beautiful eyes glitter briefly with dark delight.
“You must be the new kid,” he held out a hand.
I shook it, secretly pleased that my arm did not wobble about like my knees probably were doing.
“We’re in the same class, so just follow me.”
He started to walk off down the hall. Melanthe poked me when I did not move.
“Go on,” she hissed in my ear. “You look a picture just standing there.”
My cheeks flushed heavily as I staggered after him.