I stepped out of the car and turned to wave to my Mom, who was already driving away. Carey High School loomed in front of me, looking just as big as it had the year before--a red brick, three-story building looming over the grassy lawn. I had pictured this moment all summer, even in those first carefree weeks when you feel that school will never come again, and I had imagined walking through these familiar double doors with Rose.
With the sound of teenage voices, the honk of a car horn, and a few girlish shouts, I carefully shouldered my backpack and began to weave my way towards the entrance. I wondered what Rose was doing now, in the hospital, and I felt sure that she was aware that I was starting Sophomore year, right now, without her.
"Kylie!" I turned my head at the familiar voice, and found Tasi Patterson rushing towards me. Tasi was small, but her unnaturally dark hair and thick black eyeliner were hard to ignore. Last year she had gotten her eyebrow pierced, and I had heard rumors since then--sneaking out at night with her senior friends, getting high on the pier, joyriding through the town late at night. Rose had been her lab partner in biology, and, typical Rose, she had insisted that Tasi was a perfectly nice girl. I hadn't really cared about Tasi one way or another.
"Hi, Tasi. What's up?" I examined her goth leather miniskirt, fishnet tights, baggy black T-shirt, chain belt, and spiky-heeled boots.
She shrugged as she fell into step beside me. "I heard about Rose. It's really sad, isn't it?"
What a dumb question. "Yeah, of course it's really sad. Who told you?"
"Eric. You know the senior? Blond hair, lifeguard? Just a couple nights ago. We were out with some of his friends--" She stopped suddenly. "Well, I mean, I didn't know he knew Rose. But I think maybe he really likes her? He seemed pretty sad."
So Eric was in with Tasi's crowd. He hadn't seemed the type to me. "I guess. He's visited her in the hospital."
Tasi nodded. "He said. How's she doing? It must be hard for you to be here without her, right?"
My throat began to close. "I have to go," I said quietly. "See you."
Tasi stared after me as I darted across the lawn.