I waved at Todd as he ran into the school. He'd paused to look back at me expectantly as I stood just at the edge of the walkway inside but I'd told him to go on. I had a small smile on my face as I looked up at the brick building; today was the first day of school. But it was more than just any first day - it was the first of my senior year. My thoughts were interrupted as Nai'a bounced up next to me, her hair was full and perfect as always. "You look like a dweeb you know." she teased. She hooked her arm in mine and tugged me toward the doors.
I glanced around but no one was looking at me so I figured I was safe from censure. "Maybe, just thinking." I said, I'd been thinking back on the first day I'd walked into this building. It seemed so long ago now but I could still recall every detail of that particular first day with great clarity. The door clanking shut behind us returned my attention to the present and I focused my attention on Nai'a. For a second I saw her not as she really was but as that eleven year old girl I'd seen on the television."You! You were in Sugar Valley High!" It sounded more like an accusation than a statement.
Nai'a cringed for a second but recovered quickly enough. "Oh that. Yes, I was...a long time ago."
"Why didn't you tell us?!" I scolded playfully. "All this time we're rubbing elbows with a child actor and didn't even know it!"
"It was no big deal - I did a few bit parts now and then but it wasn't my thing." Nai'a tried to appear entirely nonchalant about it. "Can we maybe NOT talk about it...like, ever again?"
I nodded, a little surprised at her lack of enthusiasm about it but what did I know - I was never a child actor. "Sure - will never mention it again. Of course Todd knows too..."
Nai'a groaned loudly, drawing a couple glances from the people around us. "Really? How did you guys even find out?"
"It was on one night while we were at camp and we recognized you...you were good - for apesky little sister." I grinned at her and, thankfully, she smiled back at me. I was about to say something more about it when I saw him walked down the hall. Even after three years he could stop me in my tracks with just one look.
"Ginny?" Nai'a was saying my name and waved her hand in front of my face. She followed my gaze until she spot him and I saw her roll her eyes. "Right, I'm going to go be elsewhere for this particular love fest."
She was walking away snickering by the time Erik reached me, his eyes locked with mine. I didn't get a chance to utter a greeting before he put his arms around me and pulled him into a tight embrace. And when he lips touched mine, my legs turned turned to jelly. Had he not been holding me up so firmly I would have crumbled to the floor in that instant. The sound of snickering from nearby broke the private spell we were under. Erik unwillingly pulled away from me just far enough to shoot a withering gaze to the culprits. I turned to look just in time to see them hurrying down the hall. "Already scaring the freshmen..." I said with a chuckle. "And that was one hell of a hello."
"What can I say? I missed you." he said with a wink. He put his arm around my shoulder while we found our places in line to await our new class schedules.
Nai'a, having excused herself early, returned with her schedule in hand. She waited in line with us even though she probably should be going to her first period class and we chatted about our respective summers until Erik and I reached the front. I skimmed the schedule quickly and frowned. "They put me in AP English...this isn't right" I turned back toward the table and saw we'd already been pushed aside by the next people in line. "I better go down to the office and sort this out." I waved to them both and jogged toward the front office, thankful that most of the school population was already in class or still in the cafeteria.
I stepped up to the desk and started to hold up my schedule to explain the problem but the receptionist cut me off. "If you have a schedule problem, please sign the clipboard. You'll be called from class when it's your turn. She barely looked at me as she motioned to the aforementioned clipboard. I picked up the pin and discovered both the first two pages were already filled with names. I signed my name and the time half way down the third page and sulked my way to my first period class.
There were only ten minutes left in History, my second class of the day, when I was called into the office. Honestly I was expecting it to take longer but I wasn't going to argue. "Hi Ginny" my counselor, Ms. Lindon, greeted me with a cheerful smile. I'd only had to come to Ms. Lindon's office a few times during the course of high school but she always greeted me as if she knew me personally. I knew she had hundreds of other students in her overstuffed files though. "You're here about English aren't you?"
"Um..yes actually." I said. "I didn't sign up for advanced placement...and then there's the matter of P.E.?"
"Well, you're one semester short of P.E. credits which is why you were put in there. As for English - there were no honors class available to fit in your schedule with the newspaper as well so it was either put you in regular English or AP...your teachers all spoke very highly of your writing skills so I thought AP would be a better match for you." she explained. She started typing on her computer. "I can put you in a regular level English class, or if you drop the newspaper class you could have sixth period honors English..." When I didn't say anything right away she looked at me from her computer. "You know, just because you take the AP class doesn't mean you have to take the test at the end of the year."
"Yeah I know." I said considering the options. Nai'a was really excited when I'd signed up for the newspaper with her. Although I could still write for the school paper without taking the class, the class was highly recommended. "Okay, I guess I'll stay in the AP English class then. But P.E...."
"It's required for graduation Ginny." she said with an understanding smile. "It's only one semester, in the Spring you can take something else."
"Okay, thanks Ms. Lindon." I gathered up my stuff just as the bell rang for third period. Ms. Lindon took my office slip and signed it so I wouldn't get in trouble for being late to English.
"Good luck Ginny - let me know if you have any problems this year." she called out as I was leaving. I glanced back and nodded though I couldn't imagine a reason to visit short of scheduling issues.
As with all the other English classes, mine was in the new wing which meant it was about as far as you could get from the main office without leaving school grounds. I slid in the classroom about five minutes late and handed my pass to the teacher as I messed with the zipper on my book bag. I was so distracted by the stupid zipper, I almost walked past the only empty spot in the room but Tessa got my attention.
It wasn't until after I took my seat and mouthed my thanks to Tessa that I looked up and saw my teacher - oh my! He looked like he was just old enough to be out of college but not quite old enough to have the stuffy title of teacher applied to him. Teachers should not be allowed to look that cute!
"As I was saying - my name is Mr. Patrick but you can call me Trent - at least I hope you can..." he grinned and I swear every girl in the room just swooned while the guys rolled their eyes. "Your regular teacher, Mrs. Flanner, just had a baby last week so she'll be out on maternity leave for a couple months. Until then you're stuck with me."
A series of giggles and comments went around the room about how that wouldn't be such a hardship. I looked over at Tessa and grinned, maybe AP English wouldn't be so bad after all.
"It's a sin for him to be that attractive. Seriously!" Tessa said as we walked out of the class together.
"I know right? Teachers are not supposed to look like that! And he can't be more then twenty four!" I replied, giggling as we walked down the hall toward our lockers.
"Maybe twenty five and that's a stretch!" she agreed with a laugh. She stopped short and smacked my arm lightly. "Boyfriend alert."
Alex and Erik were walking toward us, talking between them. Thankfully it gave us a moment to sober up a bit and give them the appropriate smiles. "Hey guys." I said, taking Erik's hand.
"You know we were just talking about you two." Alex said as he put his arm around Tessa's shoulder.
"All good I hope." Tessa teased. After Prom last May, the band had become a permanent thing and Erik and Alex had become closer friends over the summer. Although I'd missed out of most of it due to the unfortunate grounding, I looked forward to spending more time with the band and Tessa. She and I would make up the original groupies if they ever got out of the garage.
Erik leaned in close to me and whispered, "I wouldn't say it was all good - some of it was bad, very very bad." he said with a grin and wink. He didn't even flinch as I playfully swatted him on the chest.
Aside from the fact that my entire P.E. class seemed to be comprised of freshmen that I was at least a head taller than, the rest of my day went pretty well. Nai'a introduced me to everyone in the newspaper class right off. Unlike my other classes that mostly consisted of going over the course guidelines and issuing textbooks, we got right to work on the first issue of the newspaper.
"We have an issue to put out every week so we don't have time to waste an hour of class doing introductions and learning about Connie's dog or Leonard's summer trip to Legoland..." A few people snickered and a kid who I assumed must be Leonard blushed a little bit but no one teased him. "Those of you who are new, please come to my desk now - the rest of you know what to do. You can collect your badges from the basket and get to work." Most of the students pushed to the front of the class where a basket of photo ID badges that were hooked to lanyards was passed around. Half of those now sporting badges left the room - presumably to go get stories and photographs. The others took up places at computers and drafting tables to begin laying out the paper with no content.
"Ginny, I'd like you to work with with Erika for now," the teacher said, snapping my attention back toward him. He pointed to a smaller girl who seemed to be expecting me. "I may move you around until we get a feel for your niche. You'll all need to have badges made so you can walk around the halls during class time, for now though..." he reached into his desk and handed us each a laminated hall pass that just had "Carson Chronicle" written on it in black marker.
Erika talked a lot as she walked in the direction of gym. "So yeah, I normally cover club stuff - ya know like meetings and activities but since it's only like the first day there isn't like much to do right now since most clubs haven't actually like started or anything. And really there isn't much I can do during this class time anyway since the clubs are before or after school but like I didn't want to be stuck in that room with the newbs..." she looked over at me and smiled. "Not that you're a newb or anything - you're like a senior which is soooo cool, I'm only like a sophomore but I was on the paper last year so...anyway! Like here we are..." she took a seat on the bench and watched the boys playing basketball.
"And this helps the paper how?" I asked after we'd been sitting in silence for awhile.
Erika giggled. "Not at all but they're so fun to watch..."
I could only hope that I found a niche soon...one that didn't involve Erika.