School...Most people would consider it "fun" but maybe to them fun was the passing of the notes and all that. To others, it was a possible torture with the teasing and wanting to be more than what the "popular people" saw them as. I'm sure some people would find stereotyping okay but that’s probably because they got the good part of it all the perks. I mean first impressions are important because the label they give you goes for your whole social life for years to come.
People may hate it but no one rebels against it. In my mind it seems okay, I mean this in the nicest way possible, it keeps things entertaining which is why it has the perks. Well I, Emily Miller, will be a sophomore attending a new school. I have been forcefully relocated because my dad felt that we needed a new start, a ‘clean slate’, he called it. My mother walked out on us when I was five years old and it’s been us ever since.
It had been a dreadful ride up here. My father and I have always had more communication than the next family. There was just something about the silence the whole way up. It could have been the fact that I had to give some painful goodbyes before the departure…but he hadn’t made any attempts to talk to me either. Well, other than the occasional nod, it was supposed to reassure me I think.
My father and I got out of a cab to find the movers putting our new furniture in our new home. The house seemed perfect as if it were just built. I was against this whole thing, moving that is. I had friends in California and now I’m here in Oregon. My teachers used to travel here all the time and they always came back complaining about it and the people here. That worried me.
My new home was bigger than I was used to. At my old house my room was right next to my dad’s. Now my room was located upstairs all the way down the hall with my own bathroom. The walls in my new room had peculiar wallpaper.
My father came from behind me and looked around with a nod of approval, “I figured we could paint your room. I didn’t want to choose a color you didn’t like.”
The only things plastered on my old walls were posters of bands and celebrities. I half smiled, “It’s great dad...thanks. I was getting tired of the white.”
I didn’t have much to really say to him. I could have gushed about how much I loved the new room but that would have pained me to admit it.
My father was a man who never liked to show his emotions in front of me. Ever since my mother left him high and dry he just decided to ignore all of the emotions that came his way. Parenting a teen for him hasn’t been anything he couldn’t handle. Since he was a doctor he tried to be home as much as possible, but normally my mom was the one who would stay home when I was a child. I spent my youth in the hospital daycare centers and also an asylum people refer to as school…
As I walked further into my room I found I had my own small balcony. I looked out at the neighborhood to hear my father tell the movers where to put certain things as he helped. There was a something different about his voice he sounded happy, dare I say it. His wall he spent years building in my mother’s absence could be dying off. There was not one woman he let into his life but when he did if he felt the need to get rid of them he would bring them home to meet me. Then, somehow he’d find an excuse to dump them cruel and unusual I know.
My balcony had a direct view of my neighbors on our left they appeared to be a little loud. This was only because they had a group of skaters in front of their home. As I watched I saw a petite girl walk out of the house. She began to yell at all of them for something. The guys began to skate around her as she glared at everyone that passed by. She would flinch every now and again but she tried her hardest not to show it.
My father called me from down the hall to come and help. His voice seemed a bit hoarse when he called. I ambled down the stairs; I wasn’t feeling up to heavy lifting. I was hoping that I could delegate the work to some movers.
Outside there was furniture all over the yard waiting to be put into house. I rolled up my sleeves to my elbows, ready to pick something up. There was a woman who walked up to my father with a pitcher of lemonade and a big smile.
“Hello, I brought over some refreshments. I live just next door. Would you like some help?” Her voice was smooth and upbeat with each offer.
My father smiled, “Why thanks you can put the pitcher in the kitchen if you’d like.”
She turned to the skaters on the adjacent lawn, “Derek! Sarah! Come here this instant please!”
Two children approached the house and I took one end of a couch waiting for my father to grab the other end.
“Yeah ma?” The girl asked impatiently.
She looked at them both, “Do you mind helping them get settled in before it rains? You know this unpredictable weather…”
The girl sighed, “Mom Elizabeth is coming over! I need to clean my own room!” Soon she stomped off back into the house.
The boy, Derek, looked over at his friends, “Guys I’ll be back feel free to help.”
His mother smiled, “Thank you Derek that was very kind of you.” He muttered something to himself as he rolled his eyes at her. My father and the woman walked into the house to put the pitcher away.
The boy took the other end of the couch and helped me take it inside the living room. He removed his plaid long sleeve shirt and tied it around his waist. After he did so I gulped at the sight of him in his wife beater.
His eyes had an enticing gleam in them. The way the corner of his lip curved into a smirk gave me instant butterflies. The combination of the two captivating qualities gave my insides want to melt and catch fire at the same time.
“I got it.” He tossed a smile my way while he took the couch the rest of the way.
I couldn’t manage to get anything out of my mouth to respond to him. It was ridiculous to think that two tiny factors of appearance had the power to change my speech.
I looked around the yard uselessly as all of the boys took everything in the house just in time for the rain. We all went into the house before we got wet and conversed in the living room.
My father wrapped his arm around me, “So what do you think Em?”
I shrugged, “Its great dad.” I felt an ounce of embarrassment. I knew Derek was within hearing distance that made me even more nervous.
His eyes narrowed, “That’s what you said about your room kiddo...”
I shrugged out of his embrace, “I know...I mean you know I’m atrocious with fashion and style I have a hard time describing it.” He seemed to buy it mostly because it was true.
The woman smiled at me, “Where are my manners? I’m Judie, and you would be Emily right?”
I nodded, “Yep that’s me.” I tucked a strand of hair behind my ears. It had been a nervous habit of mine. Most girls bit their nails while I have a tendency to toy with my hair.
She smiled, “So I hear you’re 15. I have a daughter your age! Her name is Sarah. You two would have a lot in common I’m sure.”
Judie walked up to my father, “So Bruce did you guys want to take this to my house I’ll have my husband make hamburgers for us all.” They found it was a great idea to make this a party...I didn’t feel comfortable with any of it.
I went up to my room that had boxes on the ground next to an air mattress. We still had to go shopping for my bed so this would have to do for right now. I looked at myself in the mirror observing that I needed to change desperately. In one of the boxes I pulled out a blue blouse with black skinny jeans. My hair hung past my shoulders as I brushed through it.
Downstairs my father waited for me but the others left to Judie’s house. “Ready Em?” My father asked looking me up and down. I nodded as I grabbed my black hoodie from the closet next to the door.
We walked to the house next door and a tall man opened the door with a welcoming smile. “You must be the Miller’s correct? I’m Ron come on in.” My father and I nodded as we walked in quietly.
After the introductions we all walked inside while a woman took our coats most likely a maid of theirs. Ron walked out back with my father while stayed behind looking around their home.
After a while I walked further into the home looking for people to talk to. They had a room similar to a den, but this was more of a room that was added on. There were probably six boys scattered across the room, which made me feel extremely out of place. I stood in the large threshold awkwardly staring at the video game they had all been playing. This was a very common game in California I think it was Halo but I was never one for video games.
There was noise coming from the kitchen so I went to see what it was. Another woman and Judie were preparing the patties for dinner so they could be grilled outside.
“Well hello Emily how is everything? This is Ellie our cook and Ellie this is Emily our new neighbor.”
I looked at all of the appliances, “So do you need any help?”
Judie shook her head, “No! You are a guest sweet heart. Why don’t you go to Sarah’s room it’s up the stairs and the second one on the right?” They both walked outside to give Ron the remaining patties.
The boy from earlier walked behind me making me jump. He flashed me an alluring smile, “I’m Derek and you must be...”
“Emily…” I filled in feeling a little bashful.
His eyes were liquid brown, “So gorgeous I assume you are going to my school.”
I nodded trying to hold in the sigh that wanted to escape my lips. “Yeah.”
He pulled a pen from the counter and wrote his number on a piece of paper then handed it to me. With his hypnotizing smile he offered, “Well if you ever need a ride or something...” I put it in my pocket calmly even though I was screaming on the inside.
A few boys hollered for him exclaiming it was his turn. He grinned, “You can come sit in the den. I promise I won’t bite.” He gave a slight wink and led the way.
Many eyes met mine when I emerged from behind Derek. Some asked who I was and others just plain out ignored me. I wondered if Derek was someone of importance at his school, or my school now too. Of course he was important. He has the bone structure of a celebrity for crying out loud.
My cheeks grew warm; one of the boys caught me staring at Derek too long. I kept my eyes to my palms. I suddenly became aware of where everyone’s hands and legs were located. I became painfully aware of how close I was to his arms. So close I felt the warmth and aroma radiating off of Derek. My palms began to dampen.
From behind me Mr. Miller announced that the burgers were ready to be eaten. My dad walked in with Ron holding the tray of patties.. I felt a pang of relief wash over me. I had never felt so riveted by someone. It was like every nerve in my body was either shutting down or hyperactive.
The other boys rose and left immediately. I wondered whether or not they took family meals seriously. It could be too much of a stretch. They probably never stay for dinner there were too many of them.
The table was set neat and proper with forks. Who uses forks when you eat burgers? Maybe my dad was thinking the same thing... Ron and Judie sat at the heads of the table. On Ron’s left and right sat Sarah and my father, and I sat next to my dad while another girl sat in front of me. Next to the girl was an empty seat that was across from Derek, who was next to me.
“Thank you for having us.” My father said to Ron and Judie.
“It’s not a problem at all.” Ron smiled.
“Yeah Emily you should come over tomorrow.” Derek suggested.
I look down at my palms, “Maybe...if my dad doesn’t need any help.”
My father looked like he was going to say something but I was begging that he wouldn’t in my mind. Being here makes me feel so awkward like I don’t belong at all. I mean I’m sure they are great people but I just can’t be here. This boy was making me go all sorts of crazy in my mind and I didn’t feel comfortable.
Everyone else around the table was in their own conversations the sound of them all was like an annoying hum to my ears. There were sounds of forks clanking against a plate every once and a while only I didn’t understand why considering they were hamburgers!
For the rest of the night we took the party to their living room where I sat quietly waiting to leave. The friend Sarah had over, Izzy was nothing like her. She was extremely upbeat and happy opposed to Sarah who cared only about popularity and boys.
As we made our way to the door Ron handed my father his jacket while Derek helped me put mine on. Everyone waved goodbye and the two of us walked outside to our driveway. We stood in the driveway staring at our new home. I stabbed my hands into my pockets when I felt something in it. Inside was a paper was his phone number...Quickly I went into our house and hung up my jacket.
Making my way upstairs my dad asked, “Hey what did you think about the Masons?” I leaned against the railing, “Their last name is Mason? Uhm they were pretty…cool. They were really nice.” Without waiting for him to respond I ran up the stairs trying not to trip on one then I walked down the hall and into my room.
My air mattress didn’t look really inviting but it was better than nothing. The rest of my furniture was in there all I had to do was unpack. I looked out the window of my balcony and saw the light on at the house next to me, Derek’s house. Just thinking about him and his dreamy gaze made me let out a sigh. I never wanted anyone in my life other than my father. Like him while we were in recovery from my mother walking out I also built a wall that I refuse to knock down. I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach as if it were a warning I would turn crazy at some point here...