Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Day

That bimbo.

I narrow my eyes at her but she pays no heed. Of course not. She’s too busy – glowing, gloating, gleaming. Bright eyes dance as she laughs, the sort of cutsy laugh girls who laugh like me hate and envy. And I do hate it. The way her hair falls back into place, in that gorgeous-messy tousled manner I cannot achieve. Messy just looks… messy on me.

There she is, charming the boys. My boys! And it’s as if I don’t exist! I stand to the side while they make googly eyes at her.

“Kennedy didn’t tell me she knew so many guys!” she says, her voice a delighted giggle, all coy and feminine. “Nor did she warn me you’re so cute!”

While she flutters her lashes, I fear for my breakfast. If I hurl, I plan to do it on her. Just aim and blow, right on her toes. Even more disgusting is how they eat it up, like they’re starving. And I know they’re not, because Aislian isn’t the first girl to flirt with them. Gross. I’m almost ashamed of them.

I don’t think it can get worse.

“Had I know, I may have dolled up a bit!”

And then it does. Now, I’m really certain I’m going to vomit. Annoyed, I grab Aislain’s arm. There’s no time to waste and I need to get rid of her as quickly as I possibly can. No way do I want to hang around and listen to her fish for compliments, while my boys assure her that her hair is perfect (because it is) and she looks amazing (because she does) and that there’s nothing wrong with her (she’s practically flawless). I hate when girls do that – look good and know it and fish for compliments. Appalling.

“We have to go to the office.” My teeth are gritted. I don’t want to be late to Bio because someone can’t stop flirting long enough to get her damn schedule.”

Aislain opens her mouth to say something, but I give her arm a jerk. I ignore the boys as I drag her away. Their heckling calls of “No fair, mother hen!” and “You’re so overbearing!” cause a lush of heat in my face, but all I offer them is the bird.

How dare they. I’m not the one who was making a fool of myself, now am I?

“Nice friends,” Aislian purrs once we are out of ear shot. “I didn’t expect that from you.”

I don’t say anything. Instead, I square my shoulders, as if this will block out her presence. Tiny though she is, this attempt fails. I continue to drag her through the congested halls. People part ways, like the sea, as I march through. A feeling of satisfaction fills me as Aislain stumbles over herself to keep up. Still, I mull over what she said, in that chirpy voice of innocence and hot anger boils in my stomach. What in the world had she meant? She didn’t expect me to have friends? To have nice friends? To have a group of guys with whom I’m friends? Is this her passive-aggressive manner of calling me ugly? Of expressing surprise that a girl like me could be friends with a group of males?

Next to dainty Aislain, I feel massive and gangly and I remember why I don’t like to be near girls like her for long.

The office is contained within glass walls. We can see straight in, to the secretaries behind the counter. Beyond them are doorways and two hallways at either end. A few students mingle in the office, talking with the three secretaries. I recognize one, Kensie Ollivieri, a senior dating the rather cute office aid. Every morning, she hangs around with him until the last minute. She cannot see my roll my eyes at her back, but Ms. Teller, the kinder of the secretaries, does. A secretive smile forms on her face and she waves me over.

“Kennedy Way!” she greets, her tone enthusiastic. “What brings you in today? You weren’t absent yesterday… Oh! It’s your sister, isn’t it?” Realization has dawned on her and she seems to peer around me.

At once, I thrust Aislain forward while Ms. Teller shuffles through papers and folders in front of her. Aislain stumbles against the counter, pressing her palms to the counter to hold herself up. I fight a smirk.

“Ah, yes, there we are,” says Ms. Teller as she pulls a manila folder towards her. “You are… Ay…slan…?” She purses her lips, struggling to form the right pronunciation.

Aislain pulls herself a whopping, erect 5’2” and lifts her chin. “Aiz-len,” she corrects. “Like maze. Aislain Ward, thank-you.”

This is my cue. I don’t bother to say good-bye to Aislain, though Ms. Teller calls one to me as I push through the door.


The Bimbo can deal. Ms. Teller will sign her a guide, preferably one of the geekier ones, and we’ll be rid of her. She’ll no longer be my problem. Then, I can wander through the halls and pretend I don’t know Aislain and everything will be normal again. This is fantastic. Everything is working out.

Simon joins me en route to my locker, falling into stride with me, and I feel a rush of gratitude that he was missing earlier. It’s stupid to feel possessive but he’s my oldest friend and I can’t bear to see him fall under that girl’s spell. Sharing was never my strong suit.

“What’s up, Grumpy Gus,” he greets.

I snort. “Good morning to you, too.”

A bag of donuts is in his hands like every morning. He withdraws a simple glazed ring and passes it to me. Beneath the waxed paper, it’s still warm, the glaze gooey to the touch. Perfect. Simon never fails me.

“Any reason you look particularly murderous today?” He leans against the locker beside mien, a chocolate long john already in his mouth as he peers over at me.

I say nothing and instead shrug as I open my locker, comforted by our routine. Even though I say nothing, Simon hovers, watching me as he chews on his donut. Though I feel my earlier annoyance melting in his presence, I find myself now feeling uncomfortable. While life-long best friends has its merits, it also has a few drawbacks, in the form of nothing being a secret.

It is impossible to switch anything in or out of my locker, so I devour my donut instead, standing in the open door of my locker. As I do this, Simon nudges me out of the way and pulls my Bio text book from the locker. My gratitude is merely me lifting my brows, surprised by this act of chivalry. He pays me no heed.

“Now you can’t say I never did anything for you,” he teases.

It’s not that chivalry isn’t Simon’s way. He opens doors for people, waves other cars through four-way stops during his turn, opts to carry the heavier of bags for his sister when they bring in groceries. And it’s not that I’ve never been on the receiving end. In fact, I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that even prickled me, so I say nothing and just laugh at his joke. After all, I’m sure it’s what he expects.

And just like that, everything is good again. Aislain is at the very back of my mind, where she belongs, and Simon isn’t under her spell and soon the boys will forget. I’m counting on this. After all, most girls come and go. I wipe my sticky fingers on my jeans, then feign wiping them on Simon. He jerks away, bumps me with his hip and then slams my locker door closed in retaliation, and everything is right. We make our way to Biology together, a dark weight lifted.


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