People had been staring at me all day. It was getting to be weird.
I noticed a brown-haired guy staring at me, full-on. He wasn't even pretending to pay attention to the elderly history teacher who was lecturing with his back to the class. Before I might have ignored the guy and resumed taking notes. But not the new me.
I stared the boy down, daring him with my eyes. I was certain my intensity frightened him when he blushed and looked away, suddenly very intent on taking his own notes.
I shook my head ever so slightly, sure that no one else looking at me could tell I was stressed out. That was another thing being a Waterperson had done to me. Everything I did, every movement, was sensitive. I was hyper aware of everything going on around me, every movement, and every emotion.
"Well, Juniors, I hope you have had a wonderful first day here at Louisville High, and I look forward to enriching your minds this year!" The teacher, Mr. Gold, concluded. At the moment he stopped speaking, the bell hanging above the clock on the wall rung, loud and shrill. He grinned ear to ear and looked at his watch, even though there was a clock right there. On the wall. "Oh-ho," he guffawed, "perfect timing!" I rolled my eyes and picked up the books on the table and placed them in my backpack. It suddenly felt a lot heavier.
"Hey, there," the brown-haired boy said when I approached the door. He was leaning against it, and I wished the brick would crumble and send him flying to the floor.
"Hello," I replied curtly as I walked through, and turned right down the hall. But he was still next to me, chattering away as if we were old friends.
"So, your name is Jenn. I've heard some people talking about you, and recognized you right away. " He seemed proud. "My name is Josh. Josh Mitchell. I'm on the football team." He hesitated. "Quarterback," he added with a smug grin.
I grinned back. "Nice to meet you," though it wasn't, really. We walked a few more steps before he slowed down. "Well, my car is out this way," he pointed towards a door down a side hallway. "It's a mustang convertible." I had to take a deep breath to cool myself down before I answered, "Neat."
"See you around," he promised with a wink. I just nodded, then walked away swiftly.
I'm surprised by his shrimpy neck. It must actually be pretty strong to support that big head.
"I know, right?" A voice spoke from behind me. A girl with pixie cut black hair and gray eyes emerged from behind me, carrying a few books in her arms and a stuffed black backpack around her shoulders.
"Crap, did I say that out loud?" She nodded and giggled, her brown eyes twinkling. She was a few good inches shorter than me, but the huge, friendly smile on her face was overwhelming. I liked her instantly.
"My name is Jemima," she said, shifting her books to hold out a hand. I met it.
"Really? Don't get me wrong, I like it, it just doesn't seem...you." She still grinned, and said,
"I know. Mothers." She sighed. Her books were threatening to tumble over, so I took a few of them. "Thanks."
"No problem. My name is Jenn. I just moved here from the East Coast."
"Really? Did you live near New York City? Have you ever been there?"
"A few hours away, and yeah, a few times." She seemed pleased.
"I've always wanted to live in NYC. It just seems so, magical."
"I guess so," I agreed. By now we were at the double doors that led out the front entrance of the school. I held the door open for her, and we walked out into the parking lot. When we got to her car, a black minivan, she took back her books and put them on the backseat.
"Do you have a car?" she looked around at the nearly empty parking lot.
"Nah, I live down the road. I'll just walk."
"No way," she insisted, already walking around to the driver's seat, "I'm driving you home. What kind of friend would I be if I let you walk home on your first day in Louisville? Get in." I succumbed and hopped in the passenger's side. I had already made my first friend.
"So, who was that Josh guy anyway?" I asked after we had pulled out onto the street and were heading in the direction of my house. She checked her rear-view mirror for the third time before answering.
"Josh? Oh, he's the captain of the football team, number 1 bachelor, yada yada yada. My advice? Don't go there. He's a total player."
"Wasn't planning on it. He's not my type anyway," I said, looking out the window. "Turn left up here," I directed. She turned left, checked her rear-view mirror again, then pursued.
"So what is your type then?" That hit me hard.
My type was half human, blonde/brown/blue haired, green eyed, swimmer boy.
"I don't know. I do not have a type."
She giggled, a little high-pitched sound, and looked at me.
"Do you really expect me to believe that?"
"Yes." She giggled again, but didn't press on. We turned a few more times, then pulled up in front of my house. She flipped open her silver cell phone and nodded.
"32 minutes. I knew you didn't live 'down the road'. Liar," but she was just kidding. I couldn't help but grin as I opened the door and got out.
"I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" she said as she rolled down the window.
"Hey, if you need a ride home," she called out when I walked down the sidewalk to my door, "I got ya covered!"
"Thanks!" I called out and waved before I opened the front door.