Chapter TwoMature

I hadn’t thought to unpack my clothes last night so I was frantically digging in boxes trying to find something to wear. When you go to a school that requires uniforms, you don’t tend to have a lot of other clothes, especially when you’re a social reject like me. The first few things I found that weren’t sweat pants and an old t-shirt actually belonged to Kali. I had forgotten I had borrowed these. There was a denim skirt with yellow plaid material at the bottom in a soft frill and a matching yellow blouse. It would have to do or I was going to be late. Luckily for me, my elbow length, soft brown hair was so think that it was stick-straight and didn’t need anything done to it.

My mom would have given me permission to drive the car to school, except there were still boxes in there that she needed today. Therefore, I had to be driven to school today since neither of us knew when or where the bus stopped. I hopped in the passenger seat and turned the GPS on; we didn’t even know where the school was located.

I walked into the school as a bell went off. I really hope that was a warning bell and not the tardy bell. The people in the office greeted me and sent me to guidance to receive my schedule. The people informed me that the school was color coded, so I shouldn’t be able to get lost. The green hallways contained English and Science, the yellow hallways were Math and History, the white hallways were Foreign Languages and Business, and other classes that didn’t fit in any of those were mixed in randomly. There was a tech hallway and a band and chorus hallway on the other side of the building by the gym. They informed me that I was already ten minutes late for my first class and wrote me a pass.

I rushed to class with the one binder I have for all my classes today and until I know what I need and have the opportunity to buy them. I shyly walked into my Algebra II class and handed the teacher my pass. He was tall, old, and kind of scary. He almost growled at me, “You best not make habit of being late to my class,” He looked at the pass, “Aylin.”

“Yes sir.” I replied, even though it wasn’t my fault that I was late to class. I would have been on time if I had received my schedule before today.

“Well, since you have interrupted my lesson, introduce yourself to the class.” He commanded.

I stuttered at first; I was never big on public speaking, “M-my name is Aylin Gallagher. I moved here from the St. Louis area this week.” I rubbed my arm uncomfortably while I spoke.

I didn’t know what else to say but luckily the teacher cut me off and told me to sit down. I was obviously in the back of the classroom, but I was in the left corner next to the window. I couldn’t help but notice a red headed boy towards the front right of the classroom by the door. He looked bored, uninterested, and sleepy. His head rested on his hand as his eyes closed the teacher walked over and dropped a dictionary on his desk. The boy jolted up, wide awake now.

“There shan’t be any sleeping in my class, Joshua, or you will be going to have a nice little talk with the principal. Got it?”

Did he just say Joshua? You have got to be kidding: a ginger in Texas named Joshua. I wish they would say his last name. Why am I getting my hopes up? There is no way that he isthatJoshua. The odds are just too great, but I couldn’t get it out of my head that he just might be.

“Yes Mr. Ward.” The boy said unconvincingly.  

Throughout the whole class, I stared across the room at Joshua. I just couldn’t stop myself. Maybe I wasn’t crazy, maybe I didn’t imagine him. I could tell that people in the classroom knew that I was staring at him, but not once did he look my direction. Everyone else did though; they all turned to look at the new girl, and then continued looking because of that scar on my arm.

Once Mr. Ward told everyone to pay attention, they stopped but not me. I had already learned how to factor last year and didn’t need to be taught again; I actually remembered the methods. I continued to stare, unable to stop no matter how hard I tried, until Mr. Ward passed out the worksheets. Finally, I was able to look away and concentrate on math.

I finished with about five minutes of class to spare. I got up and asked the teacher if I was allowed to go find my locker. He sighed and told me to go ahead. With all eyes on me, I walked out of the classroom. I tried to remember what the lady in guidance had said. Was it green and yellow that had the sophomores, or the white? Were they upstairs, or maybe downstairs?

I was walking up and down this hallway just looking at the numbers, trying to figure it out that way, when I ran into someone. I fell to ground and before even looking at who I ran into started apologizing, “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

A boy from my Algebra class with long black hair that covered one eye just looked at me. He ignored my apology and instead said, “So the new girl already has a crush on Josh?”

I could feel myself blush. “No. He just reminds me of someone I used to know a long time ago.”

“Let’s say I believe you and move on. My name is Cai.” He stood up and held his hand out to me. I grabbed it and he pulled me off the ground. He helped me gather my things. I picked up the binder and he grabbed my schedule.

“Thank you.”

“Now what were you looking for Aylin?”

I said quietly, “My locker…”

“What are you looking in the yellow hallway for?”

“I don’t know…”

“The yellow hallway is freshmen, well, upstairs anyway. Downstairs it is seniors. Sophomores are in the upper white and green hallways; the juniors are downstairs.”

“Thank you.” I started walking to the green hallway.

“You’re not going to find it over there.”

I raised an eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”

“I took a peak at your schedule when I picked it up. Your locker is about ten away from mine. It is in the white hallway, towards the end.”

“Thanks again…” I said and walked away right as the bell rang. I saw him go into the bathroom, so there was a reason for him to be in the hallway; at least he wasn’t stalking me or anything. 

The day went along slowly. I saw Josh again in my third hour history class and Cai in my homeroom and lunch. Josh didn’t say a word to me while on the other hand Cai wouldn’t stop talking. During lunch, I had to ask Cai, “So what’s Joshua’s last name?”

“Why do you care so much?”

“You tell me first, and I shall tell you a story.”

He contemplated this for a while, finally fessing up and saying “I like stories. His last name is Hascall.”

My eyes widened. It was all I could do from stopping myself doing a spit take. He was pulling my leg. Somehow he knew and he was teasing me. He just had to be. It was too big of a coincidence. “Really?” I asked.

“Yes, now I believe you owe me a story.”

“Long story short, in fourth grade I was the bullies’ main target. I had one friend in my entire class. He moved the next year and I never heard from him again. I was beginning to believe I made him up. His name was Joshua Hascall.”

“You just made that up.”

“No, you made up that his last name is Hascall.”

He questioned me, “How could I have possibly made that up without knowing your story first?”

“I don’t know but this is just way too weird.”

He confirmed part of my story. “It is true that he moved here in the fifth grade. It is extremely possible that he is the same Josh.”

“Are you and he friends or something?”

“Not very good ones, but everyone is friends with Josh. Watch.” He turned around to the girl behind him. “Hey, Lucy, you’re friends with Josh, right?”

She asked, “Hascall?”

“Yes, him.”

“Yeah, I love that boy.”

Cai turned back around. “See?”

“Do you even know her?”

“I know enough to know her name and that before Josh started talking to her that she had no friends of her own.”

“How?”

“Because that is what happened with me.”

“And now you’re not even friends?”

“He talks to you until you can make your own friends, and then you go back to acquaintances. It is really quite nice once you see what he has done for you. He did the same for you, didn’t he?”

“No…” I said while rubbing my arm.

“He didn’t do that, did he?” he said, referring to my scar.

“No, no, no. It happened before I knew him, but the kids never stopped teasing me. In middle school and high school, they actually accused me of doing this to myself.”

He shook his head. “Kids can be cruel.”

“Very.” I agreed. “Did I mention I got this scar in the summer before the fourth grade? How do you accuse someone of cutting in the first place, and in the second how do you accuse them when you know they would have been ten?”

“Kids are also very stupid.” Cai agreed with me.

“Thanks for not staring at it, like everyone else does.”

“Don’t thank me for that. I did in Algebra, with everyone else. I just didn’t care enough to stare as long. It was an ‘Oh that is a very long car. Wonder how that happened. Oh well, back to Algebra.’ moment.”

“I see.”

“Sorry to burst your bubble.”

The bell rang then and Cai took his tray to throw it away while I headed off towards my locker. Neither Josh nor Cai were in any of my afternoon classes but there were two girls, Echo and Sabella, in my seventh our Spanish class that seemed to like me and wouldn’t stop talking to me. Echo said her parents were hippies and Sabella said it was an old family name. I hadn’t asked, but I think they get asked what’s up with names often enough to just state it upon meeting.

I asked Sabella where the buses lined up, so that I could actually be able to get home. I was hoping she might offer me a ride home, but she didn’t. She did tell me that they lined up by the football field. Very shortly after that conversation, the final bell rang and I was free. This so far was undoubtedly better than my old school and I couldn’t wait to tell Kali about Josh, but I still wanted out of here. School is never fun.

The bus ride was about a half an hour too long. There were a bunch of obnoxious middle school children that needed when to use their inside voices, or better yet when to shut the hell up. I would prefer the latter. If I had known it was going to be this bad, I would have put my iPod in my purse. I had to sit there for a half an hour, with an arm full of books, and listen to them talk. “Like, oh my god. Jenna like wore the like same like shirt as like me like today and I was all like that is like so like uncool. I like don’t even like Jenna or like anything. Like yeah.” I swear that is how they all talk! If only murder was legal...

 We turned onto my street and I got out of the seat and went to ask the bus driver when and where the bus stop in the morning was. He said at exactly seven o’clock at the other end of the street. He dropped me off in front of my house and I vowed I would never ride the bus unless I had to ever again.

A red truck pulled into the house across from mine, and Cai got out of it. “Aylin!” He yelled from across the street.

“Cai?” I shouted back at him.

“You live here?” He questioned, crossing the street.

I met him on the sidewalk. “No, I’m just randomly going into some house, thought they might have something cool in there that I could borrow.”

“How about you cut me in?” He grinned.

“How about you don’t take me so seriously?” I replied.

“How about you figure out when I’m going along with the joke?”

“Who said you were allowed to jump into my sarcastic comment?”

“Who said I couldn’t?”

I offered a deal, “How about you drive me to school from now on and you can always go along with my sarcastic wit?”

“How about I drive you when I’m at my dad’s house on Wednesday’s, Thursday’s, and Friday’s?”

“Or, or you could drive me all five school days.”

“Or I could walk to school on Monday’s and Tuesday’s since I live right next to school.”

“Well, I suppose I will let you off the hook for Monday and Tuesday, but no more of these question games ever again.”

“I was quite enjoying myself.” He replied with a crooked, mischievous smile.

I countered, “That makes one of us.”

He put his hand over his heart, “That wounds me Aylin. I shall retreat back home and nurse my wounds.” He held his hand their as he walked backwards across the street towards his house.

“You might want to bandage that. I hear it helps.” I replied as I walked up my own driveway.

“I was thinking of wrapping it in bubble wrap. It might cushion more ruthless attacks.” He was about to his door now, walking backwards still across his front lawn.

I yelled across the street as I walked to my door on the little stone path, “You do that.” I laughed. I walked through the front door and greeted my mother, “Hello, I’m home.”

“What was all that outside?”

“Oh, someone I met today lives across the street and was messing with me.”

“You’re not getting bullied already, are you?”

I sighed, “No, not today anyway. Just a lot of staring.”

“That is good.”

I walked into my room and shut the door before I could get into this conversation with my mother. It was a conversation full of how I needed to stand up against the bully and not let them walk all over me and how they just couldn’t see what I wonderful person I’m and all of that crap that mothers are supposed to spit out to boost our self-esteem and stop us from spiraling into depression. But, none of us ever listen so it was a useless conversation so I would rather not waste the energy pretending to listen.

I unpacked my box of electronics: the blue laptop, the yellow wireless mouse, and the orange iPod. I sat them all on my desk, plugged the mouse into the laptop while it was starting up. I texted Kali to get on Skype, before doing so I had to think about if we were in different time zones or not before concluding that we were still in the same time zone. She didn’t answer the text, but she did get on Skype.

“What’s up chica?” She asked.

“Tons of homework to get me caught up.” I replied.

Kali laughed, “That sucks for you.”

I made a heart with my hands. “I feel the love.”

“You should. So have you made any friends?”

“There are a couple girls who think I’m absolutely amazing in my Spanish class and my neighbor Cai.”

“That is already two more than you had here!” She said ecstatically.

I held the heart up to her and continued. “Plus, Joshua Hascall goes to my school.”

“Shut up!” Kali still liked to use this expression when she couldn’t contemplate how totally amazing and coincidental something was. She was one of the only people I knew who still liked to use this phrase and it made me laugh every time she did.

“No, I won’t shut up.” I replied.

“Well, did you talk to him?”

“No…” I admitted.

Kali dictated, “You must!”

I acted out for her, “Hello my name is Aylin. You might remember me from the fourth grade. You were my only friend and I have had this crush on you for years. How are you?” I scoffed, “Because that would work out very well in the end.”

“You never know. I would work on your introduction though. It might frighten him to begin with and I don’t know if you want to scare him.”

“I would prefer not to terrify him. It is usually not a very good strategy.”

“I can’t believe that though. That must have been a million to one odds or something crazy.”

I corrected, “I’m sure it is something closer to four million to negative one thousand.”

“Whatever you say Aylin, but you must talk to him. If you don’t…. I’m not sure what I can do from fourteen hours away, but I shall find a way to do something and it shall be absolutely terrible.”

“I’m completely and totally convinced.” I said dully as I longed onto Facebook.

“Yeah,” Kali yelled. “Sure thing mom. In a minute.” Then she lowered her voice and redirected her attention to me, “I have to go. Talk to Josh. Bye bye!” With that lovely good-bye, she signed off.

I had three friend requests on Facebook; Cai, Echo, and Sabella. I obviously accepted all of them. Cai was online and started Chatted with me.

Cai: Howdy neighbor.

Me: Yo?

Cai: You’re a very talkative person.

Me: I’m a person with a ton of “catch up” work.
                Cai: What the hell is that?

Me: Work they assign to people who move so they know what the class has already done.

Cai: That sounds exciting.

Me: Since I have seen half of these worksheets before in my classes already, yes it is very exciting.

Cai: I will leave you to that then.

Me: Ugh. Bye.

I signed out and began tackling Algebra worksheets of matrices and factoring. It only took me about three hours. So it was around ten o’clock because I had talked to Kali and Cai and eaten dinner with my family. I looked at the piles from my other four classes. Thank god I didn’t have anything from P.E. to worry about. I think I might have taken a sledge hammer through the wall if I had been given P.E. homework.

Saturday I did absolutely nothing but homework. By early afternoon, I had finished my Spanish homework and History homework. I was doing all of my homework in order of class schedule so I could skip fourth hour because of P.E. and fifth hour because of homeroom and lunch. Because of this break in work, I actually did go and eat lunch, just a simple ham and salami sandwich. After lunch I easily finished my Chemistry homework right before dinner. I began my English after a shower. I really didn’t want to do it. I had enough of homework, but I was so close to being done that I just had to do it. It was around eleven o’clock when I finished and I was about ready to go back in time and shoot Shakespeare. I loved to read his plays, by myself, at my own pace, but only when I didn’t have to answer a bunch of ridiculous analysis questions.

On Sunday, I slept till noon knowing that there was nothing I needed to finish. Once I actually woke up thought, I remembered that I needed to go get four binders from the store and a bunch of dividers. I grabbed the British lady and made her take me to the closest Wal-Mart. We got into a fight at one part and she recalculated and yelled at me to make a U-turn. I repented and did as she said and made the next available U-turn. The British lady and I reconciled and we made it to Wal-Mart just fine.

The store only had black binders. It was already the middle of September. I was just hoping they would have some at all. I picked up three, a pack of colored pens, some highlighters, and the all-important set of mechanical pencils. I felt that was sufficient, paid with the twenty dollars my mom had given me, and set back out for home.

When I got home, I printed out a label for each of my binders. I didn’t usually label them, but I needed some way to be able to tell them apart if they were all going to be the exact same color, and I didn’t have the patience or time to cover all my binders entirely in brightly colored duct tape like I have seen some people do.

It was a pretty chill day since I had gotten all of that obnoxious homework out of the way yesterday. I video chatted with Kali for a couple hours and watched movies on TV. Nothing had really changed since I moved here. I lived in a slightly nicer house, I still had very few friends, I’m sure I was going to get teased sooner or later by the popular kids in this school, and all I had better to do on my weekend was watched movies alone in my room. The joys of my somewhat antisocial life just keep getting better. 

The End

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