I feel a sudden wave of cold hit my body while laying in my warm bed. While attempting to open my eyes, I half sit up to see the culprit. With my blurry eyes I see a slender feminine figure standing before me with my bed sheets. I look at the clock and find that it’s 6:45 AM, fifteen minutes before how mine was originally set. I groan and plop back down on the pillow and ball up in a fetal position, attempting to collect some warmth for more sleep.
“Come on Charlie!” I hear my her encourage as I hear a swift jingle of a collar and feel a fluff ball coming my way. Nothing could have prepared me for the doggie kisses on my face. The shock drives me over the side of my bed and onto the floor.
“Okay, I’m up!” I yell in my hoarse morning voice. I rub my eyes again and examine my sister who is mostly put together. Her black hair a little more than damp with water, towel over her shoulders. My blanket in one hand, as she tosses it back on the bed and using the other to brush her teeth. I don’t know how she can be so awake at this time. Here I am, just struggling to make sure this is reality. As I get up, I notice the jeans she’s wearing.
“Are those mine?” I ask while I stalk into the closet. I grab the outfit I picked out a few days ago for today, and my towel. I’m so glad we have our own bathroom to ourselves.
“Yeah. I realized yours were more fitted so I liked that. Hope you don’t mind.” She smiles after she spat out the foam-like after product of brushing teeth. I give her a thumbs up as I poke her out of the bathroom. I sigh as I undress quickly, and get into the shower. I adjust the shower head’s angle slightly, because my sister is taller than me only by an inch or so. As the shower hits me at the perfect angle, I let it wake me up as I begin to pour shampoo on my hand. As I lather, the smell of orchids, coconuts and pineapples fills the shower. My sister, Sadia loves orchids. She’s not my biological sister, but I always fail to remember that even though there is a clear visual difference. My dad adopted her from the middle-east when he was serving duty there. Her golden olive skin, rough and wavy jet black hair and perfect figure comes from unknown origins. It’s such a shame she covers it up so much. As I shave my legs and wait for my conditioner to set. After finishing up and lathering myself with body wash, I wash it all off. I run my hands through my hair which is sandy brown, with a hint of copper. Being born and raised in Australia for my first 5 years has an impact on how my skin tone is. It’s never pale, it always has some sort of colour in it. It’s the perfect tanned colour as a product from summer. I take a breath as I step out into the cold of the bathroom. It isn’t as bad because the light steam from my shower has clouded the bathroom. I quickly dry myself and throw my jeans and a tank top on.
“You took too long” Sadia comments as she opens the door, expecting the worst. I give her a cheeky smile as she walks in and the warmth flushes out.
“I tried to wake up in there.” I put some serum in my hair and begin blow drying it. I hear a knock on the actual bedroom door.
“Come in!” Sadia and I shout in unison. My dad walks in, clad in a white t shirt, flannels and a housecoat over it. He sips his coffee.
“I came in to wake you guys up, but I see you’re already ahead of the game.” Sadia gives him an ecstatic smile while I smile. He takes a sip of his coffee and walks back out. “I’m making waffles.” he reminds us in before he is out of hearing range. I attach the clasp in the back of the silver chain I wear a ring my mom’s great-great-probably-a-few-more-greats grandpa’s friend gave the family. I don’t have a lot of memories of her. I was only five when she died.
“Hey, do you want me to braid your hair now?” Sadia asks. I nod. “What kind of waffles do you think dad’s making?” she happily chatters. She runs her fingers through my hair and I just enjoy the feeling as I carefully do my makeup. It’s strange how I can even do it at this angle.
“Probably blueberry. You know how Josh likes them.” I answer. Her swift fingers are already finishing up the simple hairstyle, just as I finish applying a small amount of eye shadow. Alright, minimal makeup as usual. Eyeliner, mascara and a tad bit of neutral eye shadow which shines a bit in the light. As I examine it while I brush my teeth, I look at Sadia and purse my lips at her naturally long eyelashes and perfect skin. She ties her hair into a rough ponytail, and then we both walk downstairs.
“Oh my god blueberry waffles my favourite dad how did you know!!” Josh almost jumps out of his chair when he digs in. Sadia and I look at each other and raise an eyebrow while I take the first bite.
“Josh. You always do this whenever dad makes them.” Sadia comments as she playfully smacks his forehead. He rubs it with his sticky hand from the syrup and dad wipes it off with a cloth as he starts digging back in. My dad can be such a mom at times, and I laugh at the sight of a middle aged man in an apron wiping his sons face.
“Alright, let’s do the dishes really quick and then we can go.“ Dad orders us as he drops his dishes off into the sink and runs to his room to shower and change really quick. As I chug down my orange juice, I check the clock. 7:54, perfect timing. I put my plate and glass in the sink, and dash off into my room to find the cardigan I picked out for today. After a couple minutes of searching, put it on, and I check the mirror for anything in my teeth. Nothing, but I still brush them. I grab my backpack off the hook that’s on the door, and start heading back to the kitchen. Josh is helping Sadia with the dishes, who seems to be enjoying it a lot. I never understood why.
“Josh, your shirt is soaked. Go pick out a new one.” Sadia says just before she finishes rinsing the last plate. He looks down.
“It wasn’t me!“ He claims. “Aubrey, can you help me find something to wear?“ he asks as he rushes into his room.
“Right behind you.” I say as I put my bag down and follow him, passing dad in the hall who is still trying to get his tie on. I guess him being a morning person and being quick to get ready rubbed off onto Sadia. He’s probably going to get Sadia’s help. In Josh’s room, I slide open the closet and grab a white shirt and a plaid shirt to go over top of it. I rush back out, grab my bag, my phone off the kitchen counter and catch Dad and Sadia putting their shoes on. “Dibs on shotgun!“ I shout as I slip on my sneakers, and run out and hop in the front seat of the van. Just behind me, Sadia pouting as she slips in the back.
“I get it next time.” She grumbles. I smirk and Josh comes out the front doors running to the car as dad follows him with a backpack. He opens the door, and hops in and Dad hands him the bag.
“Dad, it’s 8:35!” I exclaim as he speeds out of the driveway. I don’t know how we never get caught for speeding in the streets. Probably because it’s not very busy, and we slow down when we get to busier roads.
“Don’t worry, I got it.” he says. “Josh, you got your books?” He asks while we’re on the road. While they go on a supply check, I talk to Sadia.
“Oh great, another load of 9th grade boys. Like yeah, we’re more of an off-limits thing because we’re going into 11th
grade but they just get worse each year.” I whine.
“Do you remember last year when the girls threatened to ‘mess us up if we went near the guys they liked’?” I laugh at the memory and I look at dad who overheard us and has a slight scowl in his face. I bet he just lost his faith in humanity.
“And then they wouldn’t stay away from OUR guys last year! Do you remember how they would always obsess over Jake and Evan? Oh my god and Korey! He would always wink at them and they’d freak out!” I said while trying to not laugh so hard.
“Or when they would try to chat Hunter up but he would always make an excuse to walk away very fast, like during break he would say he’s late for a class?” Dad just keeps getting more awkward, but just in time we pull up in the front of the school. He leans over and kisses my forehead and I step out wide-eyed as Sadia laughs at me. I flip my hair and continue walking towards the entrance.
“Oh my god this is so lame.” I droned as I look at the younger boys glance at us multiple times, with appealed faces.
“Yeah. Reminds me of last year.” She giggles. I casually run my hand through my bangs, being careful not to touch the back of my hair to ruin my braid.
“So, who’s in your homeroom again?” I wonder. I know a lot of people in my homeroom but I never really talked to them.
“I think Hunter Mathews, Tyler Fletcher, and Matt Kaleson. So I got a few to look at. Other than them, I’m stranded with random people.” she smiles.
“Oh gosh. I got Korey Kozina, Rachel McGinnis, and Lauren Brandon. I don’t really talk to anyone in that class though. Oh, and I have Hannah Goodburn.” I pretend to gag at that name. Sadia laughs as we spot her. Hannah Goodburn is just so annoying.. The way she flirts with a million guys and asks them all out within the hour of meeting them bothers me to a great extent.
“Alright. I have to go to class now, I’ll meet you in History.” Sadia departs.
I look around and examine the nervous 9th graders walking around looking for their first classroom. I snicker as I notice one that has wandered into the 11th grade homeroom I have. Sadia is a hall away, having math as homeroom. She dreads it. I find it easy. But not as easy as my current class-French. On the board it is written as “Please take a seat!” So I choose a seat second row from the front. Not too suspicious, and it’s easier to pay attention. I realize there are desk set as two beside each other in each row. I sit down and nervously glance at every person hoping they won’t sit down beside me. I end up making eye contact with a tall boy with black hair and green eyes. His black hair is shaped into a faux hawk, and has a green bit on the front. None other than Korey Kozina.
“Hey.” I hear a smooth voice say. I look up beside me to find Korey sitting down next to me. A black jacket, and a shirt with a large lightning bolt under it.
“Did I say you could sit here?” I smiled back at him. He slings his bag over the back of the chair and winks at the lost student who was on her way out, and she flushes.
“Nope.” He smirks back but then his face flashes to despondence as he looks at the door behind my direction. I look in his direction and see Hannah Goodburn heading towards the desks in front of us, her eyes locked on Korey.
“Hi!” I hear a shrill greet. She flashes an attempt at a discouraging face at me but I just smile back and then turn it into a dirty look. She’s too preoccupied with Korey to notice.
“Hello.” he says and smiles an attempt at seeming friendly. I can see her smile get wider when Korey smiles at her. I flip my hair back and sigh. Before Hannah opens her mouth again and begins babbling, the teacher walks in.
“Alright class, I don’t choose my student’s lockers, so I will give you ten minutes to move into your locker, and sign your name on the chart on my desk. I grab my bag, and head to the third locker closest to the door. The one the absolute closest is the one where some big drug bust happened when I was a freshman, so I’m paranoid of that locker. This is close to the class, but not close to the drug locker. I put my stuff into my locker and I feel someone brush by as I bend over. I straighten up and find one of the younger boys continuing to walk, but turn around for a cheeky glance. I glare back, and continue putting my things away. I take another glance around to see if anyone has claimed a spot next to me yet. I find Hannah still with her books, trying to wait for a spot near Korey. I spot him fully aware of her plan because of the despondence in his face, and I make eye contact with him and jerk my head up slightly to invite him over. He quickly walks over and I notice his dark slightly fitted jeans.
“Hi Aubrey!” Hannah chirped as she set her locker directly next to mine, the one right beside the drug locker. I laugh because she thinks Korey is heading towards that one. I see her face fall when he opens the locker on the other side of me and begins to move his books in.
“I owe you.” He coughed. I nodded, closed my locker and headed back into the class with my binder. I quickly wrote my name on the locker, and sat down. I pulled out my phone and quickly type out a message to Sadia. “Korey’s locker is Next to me. Hahaha how’s Math?” I press send and slide my phone back into my pocket. I read front of the booklet the teacher hands out and quickly fill in the words. Just a warm-up and review from last year. I had this teacher in 9th grade, and she barely taught us a thing. She just handed out worksheets.
“What are you supposed to do on this sheet?” Korey wonders. Hannah turns around as if to make it obvious as she eavesdrops.
“Okay, so it’s just a fill in the blank thing. Just pay attention to the pronoun, and the verb written under the line.” I explain. Hannah gives Korey another glance and begins working. I pull out my phone again and read “Korey Kozina? No way. I’m stuck next to the door with Halley Atkinson. She’s alright, I guess. I’ll talk to you later, lecture time.” I answer with “If it makes you feel better, I’m next to Hannah too.” I put my phone back in my pocket and continue working. “Hey, what do you have next? I ask while keeping my eyes to the page.
“History. You?” he answers. Hannah gives a quick glance and smiles. I smile at Korey.
“Same!” I smile. Hannah flashes me a dark look. What is with her? As if on queue, the bell rings. I collect my things quickly, and half-bolt out of the room. The freshman who wandered into our class earlier was just exiting the classroom and is waiting for a quick glance at Korey. I sigh and shake my head, and begin opening my locker. “You are such a player.” I comment as Korey opens his he looks at me confused.
“What? The freshmen? You know it’s only for fun, I just like messing with their heads.” he explains as he slides his books in neatly.
“Yeah but playing with freshmen is like playing with fire, someone could get hurt. Or ‘messed up’. ” I said in a playful tone as I walk towards History. I hear him chuckle behind me.
On the board, our seating plan is neatly written and mapped out. I smile as I find out I’m right beside Sadia, by the windows. I love looking outside when I’m thinking. I sit down , and I hear someone walking as if following me, but he stops just before I turn in to my desk. I look at him sitting before me, dressed in a blue and green plaid shirt, and his chocolate brown hair carefully spiked upwards.
“Hi Hunter.” I smile. He turns around and gives me a timid smile.
“Hey.” I look at the door to find Sadia confused, and wave her over to the seat next to me.
“Sweet, we’re next to each other!” she hyped. I smile and pull her seat out for her.
“Yeah, I know. I get the window seat.” I point out. She never really liked sitting by windows, because the extreme temperatures always got through them so much.
“Hunter!” I hear Korey call out from the front of the class. He probably glanced at the board and saw his name. He high fives him. Unnecessary gesture, really.
“Great. You and I, and Korey and Hunter in the same corner of the classroom. This is going to be interesting.” Sadia comments.
“So, anything interesting happen?” I ponder.
“Yeah, when Matt Kaleson walked by a group of freshmen, they all giggled and smiled like idiots. I thought it was pretty funny. And then when class started, Tyler walked in about ten minutes late and sat down as if nothing happened. What about you?”
“Well, Hannah sits in front of me, and Korey is right next to me so I have to watch weird stuff go on.” I laugh. Korey and Hunter turn around in sync, and Korey’s face falls into a scowl at the reminder of French class. “And when I was unpacking my things, a random group of 9th grade boys walked by and like did the ‘accidental hand brushing the butt’ thing. And then I saved Korey an entire year of having a locker by Hannah.” Hunter chuckles at Korey’s problem.
“Well luckily the freshmen haven’t spotted me yet.” Hunter adds in. I smile and the teacher clears her throat. We all straighten out and look to the front.
“Good morning class, I’m Mrs. Wilson, your World History teacher. Now, I’m aware you only took Canadian history last year so I’ll refresh your memory on that. Who has taken an art course, or is taking one this semester?” I raise my hand along with only a handful in the class. I’m surprised to see Hunter and Korey raise their hand. “Good. Then you have a brief knowledge of Egyptian history. Is anyone taking Anthropology this semester?” Only a few people, including Hunter raise their hand. Shame, I have it second semester. “Alright, you will be learning about humankind and how our social organizations originated.” She says as she hands out a paper to the front of the class to pass back. “This is a review, you may work with a small group if you like. When Korey receives his pile of papers, he passes it back to Sadia. She thanks him and then Hunter quickly drops my sheet off and turns back around.
“My god, he’s shy.” I whisper quickly to Sadia. I think back to the conversation we had in the car and smile.
“Yeah I guess. by the way, is the answer for this C?”
“No, it’s D. Jake was kidding last year when he said the war of 1812 started in 1814.” I point out. That confused me too. I never understood it and just went along with it. That cost me one mark off a perfect test.
“Are you still mad at him for that?” Sadia giggles.
“Yep. Never in my life has someone cost me a mark like that.” I say as I continue finishing the booklet. I glance in front of me and Hunter is already finished and he’s helping Korey with the answers. With the new arrival of freshmen, the first day’s classes are always shortened. The bell rings about ten minutes after Sadia and I finish the booklet. The teacher just let us talk to our new classmates since everyone was done. I feel my stomach growling while I walk down the halls back to my locker. Walking with Korey in front of me, I find it entertaining passing people looking at either of us. The first day is always when this happens because normally no one would have seen each other for a while so people examine differences.
“Where are you going to for lunch?” I ask Korey as he digs around for his car keys.
“Me and Hunter are gonna go to Palace Burgers for a bit, how about you?”
“Sadia and I are just going to go to the subway down the street. I smile back. I grab my wallet, and Sadia shows up.
“Why do you have so many pockets when you don’t even put your keys in them?” I ask while Korey continues digging around his locker.
“Aubrey, it’s looks like it‘s going to rain.” Sadia announces, with her wallet still in her hand. I frown.
“Hah! I found my keys in my pocket. Thanks. Hey, do you guys wanna go to the burger joint with us?” Korey asks as a kind gesture. I think.
“Sure, why not?” I agree to it. We head to the door to see Hunter leaning against the wall under the overhanging roof attempting to send a text. When he notices us, he puts his phone away, and smiles.
“Hey! I’m so hungry right now! You took so long. Oh, Hey Aubrey! Hi Sadia!” Hunter smiles. This is the most I’ve ever heard him talk, and he seems so happy. I’m beaming with joy right now because I love the rain. I wave back at him and look out at it.
“Car’s unlocked, on the count of three, we run to the black Avalon! 1,2,3!” Korey announces before we make a mad dash through the drizzle. I run across the parking lot with ease, not minding the weather and enter the sleek car. The inside air is dry and cool. The new car smell still remains. I strap myself in with the seatbelt as everyone else is doing, and feel my hair for wetness. The engine revs, and we are on our way. The music is turned on, and the deep bass of a song fills the silence a little.
“What classes do you two have next?” Sadia asks the boys. I turn my focus from the windows to the front, waiting for the answer.
“I have Anthroplogy.” Hunter answers in a preoccupied voice.
“Hah, I got Chemistry.” Korey says. While slowly climbing to a higher speed.
“Korey, slow down, you’re gonna get in crap.” Hunter warns him.
“Calm down, nobody else is driving. And besides, the rains clearing.” Korey counters. Hunter just shrugs while Korey slows down a little.
“Well Aubrey and I have Biology right after this.” Sadia changes the subject in. The speed isn’t super fast, it’s just about ten over the speed limit. Korey continues slowing down back to a few notches over the limit.
“Suckish. Have fun dissecting things.” Korey cringes at the thought.
“I have Biology after Anthro.” Hunter added. Darn, he could have been in our class. We reach the burger joint, and the rain has lessened back to a light drizzle. I’m the last one in, as Hunter stops and holds the door for me.
“Thanks.” I stop to hold the second door open for him. He smiles at me back. We sit down at the booth Korey and Sadia are already situated at. This place is pretty popular and everybody knows what to order, and the waitress comes over and takes our order.
“A cheddar stuffed burger please.” I tell the waitress as she writes it down.
“The burgers are still 100% beef here right?” Sadia asks.
“Yep, of course. Local, actually.” The waitress smiles.
“Alright, Swiss and mushroom stuffed burger please.” Sadia orders.
“A goliath burger for me!” Korey gleams. Our eyes widen as he makes the order. One stuffed patty, two normal, six strips of bacon, lots of cheese, tomato and onions on one burger. Normally people can’t take bites out and they cut it into pieces. The waitress raises an eyebrow and writes it down.
“And for you?” She turns to Hunter.
“Firepit smoked pulled pork.” The waitress nods, and turns her attention to all of us.
“Any drinks with that?”
“I‘ll have a cream Soda.” I answered. Sadia and I always get these as drinks.
“Oh, I‘d like one too!” Sadia chimes in
“A mountain dew.” Hunter answers while nervously fidgeting with his phone.
“I’ll have a Pepsi.” Korey smiles. The waitress nods and walks away, and we are left sitting and waiting for a bit. We have roughly 50 minutes before we‘re late. I’m so glad lunch has been extended today too.
“How the heck do you manage to eat a goliath??” Sadia interrogates. I look at Korey and wonder as well.
“Just watch the magic happen.” he answers. He tosses the keys to Hunter who easily catches them, and puts them in his pocket. Is this a routine? Hunter looks up and leans back to explain.
“Whenever Korey has one of these, he definitely is in no shape to drive. So I always end up driving.” He says as he puts is phone in his pocket, but not before Korey reads what he was doing, and glances at me and looks away. I raise my eyebrows, but brush it off soon afterwards. After about eight minutes of fidgeting around, everyone but Korey gets their order. It’s suspiciously fast, but they are always preparing burgers and making things around this time so they’re used to the lunch crowd.
“Mmmm.” I take a bite out of the burger and cheese oozes out. It’s so good. After two or three bites, The waitress arrives with a huge burger with a huge platter, and a knife and fork.
“Good luck!” She cheers as she walks away. I feel slightly uncomfortable at all the people staring at the food in awe. Korey begins cutting it up in pieces and wolfing it down as soon as he grabs hold of the knife and fork. Sadia and I stare at him bug eyed, while Hunter just looks on like it is a normal sight. Maybe it is for him. I finish my burger, and end up sipping my drink while texting. Korey’s enthusiasm is faltering while he eats, and I just lean back. My leg bumps into a leg, and Hunter takes a quick glance up at me from his empty plate and moves up quickly, when we make eye contact. I jerk back too.
“Sorry.” he says in a quiet voice.
“Uh, guys? We have about twenty minutes before break is over.” Sadia points out. I look at my phone’s clock and glance at Korey’s plate. He’s got about a quarter left. He gains a sense of urgency and begins eating faster now.
“I’m gonna go to the bathroom.” Sadia says. I follow her too, and leave Hunter for the encouraging. He pats Korey’s shoulder in the brotherly manner and gives him a thumbs up.
“So, Kozina eh?” Sadia teases when I exit the stall and wash my hands.
“Eh, he’s cute, but I don’t really know if I‘d go after him. I just get a friend vibe off him..” I say as she inspects her teeth.
“Really? He’s pretty attractive, and repulsive at the same time. I don’t get how a goliath can fit into him.” Sadia responds. I look in the mirror and find everything manageable. We walk out of the bathroom, and find the waitress handing separate bills. I quickly pay my share, and prepare to pay for the tip as well, but Hunter puts it in the tip tray before I do. I shrug and walk outside.
“So much meaaaatt!” I hear Korey groan while Hunter walks beside him trying to make sure he doesn’t fall. He sighs and Korey lets himself in the front passenger seat while Sadia and I sit in the back again. After Hunter helps Korey strap himself in, he turns on the car and then we all do our seatbelts.
“We only have twelve minutes before class starts.” I said. I don’t think we could make it without speeding. I really don’t want to be last for the first day.
“No problem.” Hunter challenged as he drives a tad over the speed limit. Sadia pulls her phone out and only a few moments after, mine goes off.
“Is it just me or is he a bit you know… Grown up?” Sadia wrote. “Yeah, I guess so. Not totally reckless like Kozina over there.” I wrote back.
“Hey, did you finish the goliath?” I asked. He didn’t respond well other than a groan before he nods his head, confirming victory. Hunter gives a quick glace to check on him, and changes his focus back to the road. I look out the window, watching the clouds. As we near the school, stop leaning my arm and I look in the rear view mirror, to find Hunter’s ocean-blue-sea-greenish eyes are already looking at them, looking at me. We have a brief moment of eye contact and his focus goes to parking the car. . As the car is finished parking, I open the door and get up. Korey has regained his ability to walk, but he’s still pretty stuffed.
“Thank you.” I say before I walk back to my locker. Hunter just closes the car door and tosses the keys back to Korey who is staggering, and runs into the school.
“You’re welcome.” He breathed as we go through the school doors. I check my phone, and we have 3 minutes until class starts. I run straight to my locker and grab my books, and speed walk to the biology classroom. I sit down at one of the empty seats. Not too long after me, Sadia comes in and takes the empty seat diagonal from me. She sports me a thumbs up, and the class begins.
Biology dragged on. The teacher gives us a rundown on what we will be doing this unit., and a review package for homework. Darn, I thought we would have gotten a homework free night. We get assigned textbooks, and work on the review for the rest of the time. Everyone worked in silence because we all wanted to avoid homework for the night, but for three pages front and back it seems likely impossible. As the bell rang, a lot of people got a sigh of relief, and left.
“Well. I hope class isn’t like that every day.” Sadia concluded.
“Yeah, that would suck. Lucky though, you’ve got English. I’ve got math right now.” I pout.
“Well, at least you‘re good at math. If you‘re bored, just text me.” I wave goodbye after she leaves to her locker. I catch Korey at his locker, seeming less uncomfortable than he was before.
“Hey, what do you have right now?” I asked him, curious.
“English, with Mr. Delaise right now.” Sadia is going to have a wonderful surprise when he strolls into class. I smile and walk into math. As I sit down, my phone comes out immediately. “Dude, Korey’s in your class.” I tell her. The indicator tells me that she’s already read the message, and her response is sent to me. “He’s sitting behind me, actually.” She answers. I send her a smiley face with a tongue, and put my phone away.
“Tonight’s homework isn’t textbook work, but have these and bring them every day for class.” Mr. McKibben instructs as he hands out a simple review worksheet. “We are going to have an evaluation test tomorrow to see if you are even eligible for this course.” he warns. I flip my hair, and look at the review sheet. It’s nothing serious, I can probably finish it in 30 minutes. I slide it into my book, and then get my pen out to be ready for this class. As he drones on with a small review and instructions on how to do homework, I end up doodling as well as writing down some key notes. I glance at the clock and notice it’s fifteen minutes until class is over. I blow my bangs up and begin working examine the homework, and fix the errors that the teacher pointed out. I write in little arrows what to do, and I highlight which questions we are required to do. The bell rings, and I swiftly pack my things up and head to my locker. I accidentally brush by a 9th grader who probably thinks I’ve done it on purpose. I cringe as I feel his eyes on my back. I open my locker, and I grab my science and my math sheet out of the binder, and I put it in my bag. I spray myself once with my body spray, and close and lock my locker. I turn around to see Hunter awkwardly standing there waiting for Korey to hurry up, with Sadia walking towards me.
“How was math?” Sadia chatters.
“Excruciatingly boring. I’ve got homework. A worksheet?”
“Yeah, I have the same one. You can help me.” she smiles. I attempt to squeeze by Hunter to get through, but Hannah opens her locker door and it nudges me forward to him. His arms reach out to catch me, and I just stumble into one of his arms. I almost stabilize myself before we make contact. I turn around and glare at Hannah who is apologizing in her shrill and annoying voice.
“Sorry Hunter!” I gasp when he slightly blushes. Korey just chuckles. “That was….” I say before taking a deep breath. I realize a teacher patrolling a nearby hall. The fear in Sadia’s eyes tell me what I was about to do before I even realized it. “Not cool.” I say before walking off, and unclenching my fist.
“That was not going to be pretty. She wasn’t going to be afterwards.” Sadia laughed.
“She wasn’t in the first place.” I commented before laughing as well. We stand under the overhanging roof waiting for dad. Then a big black Chevrolet suburban pulls up. Sadia hops in the front seat, and I just throw my bag in the back and go in after it. I roll the window down and rest my arm outside, drumming to the song dad’s playing quietly.
“How was school?” Dad says while impatiently waiting for a car to pull out of the spot.
“I thought it was pretty boring today. Mostly review.” I answer.
“Aubrey almost killed someone a few minutes ago.” Dad just turns around and raises an eyebrow at me. I sit there bug eyed and begin to explain.
“Not necessarily. I just almost punched her out, really. Hannah Goodburn shoved me with her locker door, and I didn’t really like her in the first place. In fact she really annoys me. I just said it wasn’t cool, and walked off. That’s all. I noticed the teachers around and how scared Sadia got.” I explained. Dad relaxes and Sadia laughs.
“Well you are scary when you’re mad.” Sadia admits. Great.
“I still am pretty pissed.”
“Well I’m glad you didn’t do it honey. It’s not easy to control yourself over these situations. Your mother said you got my temper. Quick to calm down, sort of.” He reminisces. I sigh and lean back. After a quiet car ride, Dad drops us off at home and then heads towards Josh’s school. We let ourselves in and head down the hall and upstairs. I drop my books off onto the desk and hang my bag back up on the hook.
“Do you think this year is going to be better than last year?” I ask Sadia while I lay down on the bed. I examine our bedroom. It’s huge. Mainly long enough for two nightstands on each end, two beds beside them, and a desk with a computer between them, a large walk-in closet, a bathroom and windows that are in front of the bed. I love the natural lighting in here.
“I guess. I mean look, we’ve went out for lunch with two really cute guys in our school.” Sadia answers as she tosses an apple around with one hand.
“Yeah, that’s true. Hey, where did you get that?” I ask, propping myself on one elbow.
“I packed it for lunch but never ate it. But you have to get your own downstairs.” She takes a bite out of the apple. My stomach caves in at the sound.
“Yeah, I’m going to find food.” I rush downstairs, and open the fridge. I feel a poke on my thigh as Charlie, my collie pokes by. He heard the sound of the fridge opening so he must have rushed to find food as well. “Hey Charlie! You hungry! You want food?” I ask in a slightly silly voice. He wags his tail in response. “Alright, then!” I say as I grab an apple out of the fridge, and then place it on the counter. I pour him some food and leave the bowl on the ground for him. I wash the apple, and head back upstairs.
“What did you do in Math?” Sadia asks as I pull out the math homework. She does it as well. I move to the other side of the desk to give her some space.
“Alright. Just instructions on how to do it, really. We have a re-evaluation or whatever tomorrow.” I describe. We begin working through the questions, while once in a while I take a bite out of the apple. Halfway through the sheet, we look up when we hear the engine of the suburban pull in to the driveway. We get back to work, and Charlie starts barking at the arrival of our father.
“Hey, this question doesn’t make sense…” Sadia trails. I look at her sheet, and cross the number out.
“We don’t need to do that one.” I smiled. She sighs and gets back to work. After about twenty minutes, we finish up. I put the sheet in my bag, and then grab my biology binder off my bed.
“AUBREY!” I hear dad call from downstairs. I rush back downstairs to help make dinner. “Okay, what do you want to make?” Dad asks. I go to examine the fridge and it’s contents. I’ve always been the cook of the family, since I turned 12. I do it a lot better than my dad. Sadia never found an interest in it, but she does it when it’s her turn. I grab two tomatoes, a large onion and some red peppers.
“Pasta.” I announced. As I set them on the counter. Dad starts washing them while I get the cutting board.
“Hey, it’s your first day of school, I think you should go and finish your homework. I’ll take care of dinner.” I hesitate to accept his offer. His cooking is good, it’s just a bit sloppy sometimes. Slightly hard pasta, burnt things. The usual mistakes.
“Alright then. Remember to stir the pasta every three minutes to stop it from sticking. And to try a few pieces after fifteen minutes for texture.” I reminded him. “And don’t forget to stir fry the onions, tomatoes, and the peppers for a little, until its like a golden colour and they’re soft before you pour the cans of chopped tomatoes in. And remember, tablespoon and a half of paprika, and a teaspoon of cayenne.” I added. He ushers me out of the kitchen and I notice his horrific apron. It says “This is what a cool dad looks like.” with a blue fire coming from the bottom. I face palm, and continue upstairs.
“This homework is basically just fill in the blanks, with pyramids. It’s pretty easy. Although we have to write a paragraph on why biology is important. It’s like English class all over.” Sadia examines.
“Oh yeah, speaking of that… How was English?” I respond with, as I scan the questions and circle the logical answers.
“Well, Korey kind of just sat there looking around the room while the teacher rambled on about this course.” She Sighs. She pulls her hair out of her ponytail and shakes it free. “And then when it got really quiet, someone in the back of the classroom started snoring. I don’t know who it was but it stopped right away when Mr. Delaise cleared his throat.” she adds.
“What’s question 24?” I ask. I’m not entirely sure.
“Mitosis.” Sadia answered directly. Now I have to write the paragraph. As we both work in silence, I quickly scrawl my thoughts down on a piece of paper. My wrist starts cramping so I take the remains of an apple downstairs to throw out. Josh is at the kitchen table working on his homework, asking dad the occasional questions.
“Dinner’s almost ready.” I announce as I return. Sadia nods her head, and continues working. I add the final sentences of my paragraph and then Sadia and I head downstairs. I’ll have to type it out after dinner.
Josh hands out plates with servings of pasta, and we head to serve ourselves our own amount of sauce the way we enjoyed it. Mine with extra chunks, Sadia with plenty of everything, dad with his chunky as well and Josh with minimal vegetables.
“So, Josh, how was school?” I ask while trying to get at a chunk of tomato.
“It was so cool, the teacher promised to show us a cow heart later this year!” He announces as I take my first bite. Nobody becomes unsettled around the table. With Sadia and I taking biology classes, we’ve become desensitized to that kind of gore last year during dissections. Dad’s seen all sorts of things in the military as a medic. Now that he’s older he serves as a doctor, still helping people. I smile at the thought.
“A cow heart! Wow sounds great! Maybe I can take you to the science museum!” Dad offers. I smile while I pick at this burnt pepper.
“Alright! And we can go fishing and Aubrey or Sadia can show me parts of a fish!” Josh gleams. He’s so gruesomely interested it almost scares me. He’s good at not mentioning that kind of stuff at school.
“Any cute girls in your class?” Sadia asks. Josh freezes for a second, with big brown bewildered eyes. Then he goes back into his calm act. Dad notices and looks down on his pasta chuckling.
“No.” Josh says in an unsteady voice. I raise an eyebrow, but I don’t question him. Dad finishes dinner, straightens his tie and stands back up as I almost finish eating.
“Well, I still have some work to do, Aubrey, can you do the dishes?” dad asks. I nod, pick up my plate and his, and then start cleaning. Dad is a Practitioner, and works on-call most of the time. His absence isn’t an unusual thing around here, but he fixed his schedule somehow to be sure he’s here for the mornings and around dinner. Other than that, he comes back home around eleven. Sadia drops off her plate, and I start washing hers.
“Do you want me to help you?” Josh asks. I don’t understand why he offers to do chores. It’s quite peculiar.
“Yeah, go ahead.” I say while I finish rinsing hers off, and pass it to him. He puts it in the drying rack.
“I’ll do mine, you should do your homework.” he insists. I wonder why he’s being so generous. Probably trying to make me forget about this mystery girl he might have hinted off. I gently slap him on the back and he splashes some water onto himself. I laugh and I go upstairs, and Charlie who is sleeping at the top of the stairs wakes up and follows me into the room.
“Josh is getting more action than the both of us.” Sadia complains. I toss a pillow at her and she catches it.
“Not really, I mean like Korey was totally glancing at you a few times at the diner when you sat across him.” I told her. Her eyebrows raised.
“You noticed too? I mean like I saw it but I wasn’t completely sure. Korey is kind of immature for me though.” She explains. “Another factor that he’s a Kozina.” The Kozinas are known for how attractive they are. Rumour has it that Korey’s dad is a retired Abercrombie model working as a car salesman, and his mother was another model back in Japan. Of course asian white kids are super attractive, especially with parents like that. His older sisters who are twins, Rachel and Renee. They were in senior year when we came into freshmen year, and I remember how all the guys stare at them.
“Yeah, he’s damn fine but whatever.” I answer with, because I’ve got no idea what to say.
“He’s such a goof though, how he gets a little too much confidence and he does something dumb.” Sadia laughs and I remember in 10th grade during lunch he thought he could do the cinnamon challenge but he ended up covered in cinnamon. “Trust me, Josh isn’t getting more action than us. Knowing him, he hasn’t even talked to her. You’re so rubbing off on him.” I comment. Sadia had always been shy, and would always enjoy them from a distance.
“Meh.” is all she says while she’s preoccupied with writing her biology paragraph. Sadia has already turned the computer on for me, and I open the program and begin typing my paragraph out. Written it takes the entire page up, but after swiftly typing it up and re-reading it, I only notice it takes up two thirds of the page. I print it out, and put it in my binder. Charlie sniffs it, and goes back to laying on the ground.
“Hey Aubrey, can you read this over to see if it sounds good?” Sadia asks. Look over her shoulder and scan it.
“The closing sentences should be more of your opinion rather than what you believe the world thinks.” I suggest. She erases the last two, and goes back to writing. I go into the closet and begin looking for tomorrow’s outfit. I grab an lime green popover sweater, a pink tank top to go under it and a pair of dark skinny jeans. I place the jeans on shelf Sadia and I keep empty for setting outfits in, and I hang the tank and hoodie on the rack under it. When I walk out, I pull out my phone, and lay on the bed just messaging my friends. I go on the social networking site, and then I realize something.
“Sadia, does Hunter have a profile on this website?”
“I don’t think so. It’s by choice, really. Why?” She starts doing a rough sketch of Charlie.
“I realized I never had him added. And also, he’s kind of really cute.” I admit. Sadia perks up at the sudden interest.
“Well, he’s kind of cute I guess. More plain than anything.” she shrugs.
“What? I don’t know what you’ve been seeing, but okay. Hey do you want to go for a walk right now?” I ask Sadia. Charlie perks up and wags his tail when he hears me mention a walk.
“Nah, I’ve got an English essay to do too. Have fun though.”
“Alright.” I say happily. I take Charlie’s leash and attach it to his harness, and leave the house. The sun is low and it’s reaching dusk. As I stop occasionally for Charlie to sniff around and do his business, I examine our quiet neighbourhood before we go to the trail. It’s very nice, and quiet. Most people here are Josh’s age, or going into University. We live a block away from most of our friends, though.
“Hey Aubrey.” Mrs. Delaise greets me as she walks by.
“Hello Mrs. Delaise.” I answer with a smile. Mr. and Mrs. Delaise live at the very end of our long crescent. Sadia always found it awkward that one of our neighbours is her English teacher. I wouldn’t have minded it, really. I continue along the short trail by my house. Other than the light jingle of Charlie’s collar, we make no noise and we don’t stir the wildlife. In the dimming light, I see some symbols freshly carved into an oak. They stand out to me, and curiosity brings me closer. A short sensation of my mind clearing up and a bit of something fills my head. Charlie’s whimpering as I get closer to the tree snaps me out of that strange feeling, and I blink twice before going back to the path. The symbols definitely were not attempts at carving someone’s name. I get a sense that it was some sort of crazy nonsense that shouldn’t be concerned about. As I reach the end of the trail through the small patch of forest, I notice the sun is starting to set. I hear the last song of a robin, so I pick up my pace, and turn back into my street.
“I’m home!” I call out. Josh exits his room and runs to the top of the stairs.
“Hi Aubrey!” he answers down the stairs. I unleash Charlie, and go get myself some water. After a refreshing glass, I head upstairs and undo my braid. My hair turns into a big wave, but I leave it like that so it will calm down tomorrow. I go into the closet and grab some shorts and my old volleyball shirt, and wait for Sadia to step out of the bathroom. After a few minutes of me talking nonsense to Charlie, she steps out wearing pyjamas and her glasses.
“How was your walk?”
“Pretty good. Saw some weird carvings on a tree in the trail.” I walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror. My green eyes are lighter, and the gold part near the pupil is a bit lighter tonight.
“Oh, what did they say?” Sadia wonders.
“I don’t know, really. I’ll tell you later.” I take a quick shower to freshen up, and then I wash my face, then step back into the room. “Okay, so when I got near it for a closer look, Charlie was whimpering. But when I saw the carvings, its like something really weird happened in my head. It just felt clear, and then some sort of weird filling feeling in my head. Whatever though, I decided the symbols weren’t anything to worry about and left.” I explained. Sadia just looks up, curious.
“Oh, okay then. That’s pretty weird, but I agree, you shouldn’t be worried about it. Poor Charlie, though!” Sadia sympathises.
“Oh, let’s go watch our show.” I reminded. We’re watching to catch up before the new season premiere. As I flip through the on-demand options, Sadia makes some salad for us to eat while watching. We watch in silence, obviously fascinated with the episode. I look at my phone and it says 10:37 PM.
“What time is it?” Sadia asks when she notices me checking.
“Almost 10:40. We should go to bed.” I suggest. I open the back door to let Charlie out to the bathroom for about ten minutes, in the mean time I’ll brush my teeth. I go upstairs and brush my hair out, and brush my teeth at the same time. The process requires someone ambidextrous, so I have a small struggle with it. Sadia turns on both lamps on our nightstands and turns out the bedroom lights. I finish brushing my teeth, and go downstairs to let Charlie back in. When he’s let back in, he runs straight upstairs to sleep at the top of the stairs. I follow him, and go into Josh’s room to check on him to see if he’s asleep. I hear deep breathing, and he stirs around a bit before settling. I pet his hair and then walk out of the room. I hear the Suburban about to pull in, and Charlie rushing downstairs to wait for Dad. I plug my phone in the charger in my phone.
“Goodnight, Sadia.” I say to the open bathroom door while I hear the scrubbing noise of someone intensely brushing their teeth. I hear her distorted answer and laugh, and then I turn off my lamp. I hear Sadia finish, and turn out the lights, and then turn out her lamp. A few minutes after, I hear Dad silently walking through our room to check on us, and his footsteps echo down to Josh’s room with Charlie’s collar jingling. I was always told that I was as alert as a deer. Charlie is probably following dad around, so then he can sleep at the foot of dad’s bed. That’s one of the few bits of furniture he’s allowed to be on. It begins to rain a few minutes after that, and I focus on the sound and begin to drift off into sleep.