It’s Only Life…Sort Of
By: Julie McLachlan
The halls were completely covered with frilly pink flyers, some were on the floor, having fallen loose from the walls, but nonetheless it was a sickening sight. I wish that I hadn’t eaten those pancakes because they were now rolling around in my stomach, wishing that they could plaster themselves all over those stupid pink papers. God, I would have thrown up too if it weren’t for a pack of extremely cute guys coming in through the double doors, Jessie Peterson leading them. They took one look at the flyers and began to mock vomit. I smiled smugly.
“What the hell is this all about?” One of them demanded. “Is the Tea Party Committee having a fund raiser?”
“Close,” I said. I was leaning against the door to my Algebra class, which was the first in the D hallway. I was always first student in the school because my dad had gotten a job that secured me a life of humiliation: he was the school principal.
Jessie looked over at me and seemed to grimace and smile at the same time. Jessie was one of the many guys that were classified as ‘hot’ in this godforsaken school. He had ‘wavy brown hair and chocolate eyes’. Ugh, gag me, please! He was currently dating two girls from the cheerleading squad and they were completely clueless, which was no more than usual. Sure, Jessie may be hot but god, I don’t understand how he plans to have a career. He doesn’t over-achieve, he doesn’t play a sport, he doesn’t have a job, and he has no plans whatsoever for his future. Can you say, pathetic?
“What’s all this garbage for?” he asked me, coming over to put his hand on the wall beside my head. He was doing the classic move. He was ‘leaning’ and his slow smile was almost suggesting that he was undressing me with his eyes. Sick, sick, sick!
“Unless you back off, you won’t be alive in the next two seconds to find out.” I threatened, my arms securely folded over my stomach. I wasn’t afraid of Jessie because I knew he would never hit a girl but he laughed at my comment and pushed himself back off the wall. I silently cursed him because I would have loved to deck him.
“Okay, Pessimist Barbie,” he said, putting up his hands in surrender. His buddies behind him chuckled and stuffed their hands into their sport coats, which all matched. Disgusting. “You win.”
I glared at him for a few more seconds, still debating whether to tell him. It wasn’t like he would care whether or not I kept it from him. He would just see it as a ‘hard to get’ gesture. So, to put him off, I told him.
“The cheerleaders are having a bunch of sales because they need the money to go to tournament,” I explained. “They’re going to be selling barf muffins and puke worthy school spirit shirts and hats.”
Jessie laughed and shook his head. He turned to go down the hallway with his friends, raising a hand in farewell, which I returned with the flip of the finger.
I rolled my eyes. Jessie had been sweet on me ever since the sixth grade. I’ll admit that he was a good guy back then, but then we went into high school and he became a total and irreversible jerk. It’s a shame too, because if he had kept a good head on his shoulders instead of exchanging it for one filled with nothing but hot air, I might have actually gone for him. I won’t deny that he’s pretty hot.
I pushed myself off of the frame of the door and went into the classroom. It was unnaturally muggy in here and the lights were brighter than usual because it was raining hard outside. It was only seven-thirty in the morning and I had just woken up. I went over to the series of windows and opened the only one that actually opened. Cold, but fresh air came rushing into the classroom.
I had been waiting for my best friend, Erin to arrive when Jessie had distracted me. I was full and ready to complain to her about the flyers put up by the Clueless Squad but now I was mad at Jessie’s complete insistence in a situation that was filed as a lost cause. Why, oh why do men always go for the lost causes?
I was just about to go back to the door to wait for Erin when she came in, looking disgusted and I guessed why. Of all people, Erin hated the cheerleaders even more than I did, if that were possible. Her older sister was a cheerleader where she went to college and she and Erin didn’t get along very well because of it.
Erin Beckworth was tall for her age and a strawberry blond. Her hair was slightly curly, but 100% natural, which was more than could be said for more than half of the blond population at my school. She could easily fit in with the popular girls if her personality of being smart, tough, and polite were reversed. But she was so rebellious against them it was actually funny.
“The Brainless Quartet is at it again,” she stated, throwing her backpack on the floor in front of her desk, which was right by the door.
The Brainless Quartet is what Erin and I called the four stupidest and most pathetic girls in Vince Patrick High: Brittany Henderson (there’s always a Brittany, isn’t there?) and her sidekicks, Melanie Varsity, Janie Smith, and Jessica Lopez. A houseplant’s IQ is more than theirs. It is insulting for them to be put in with actually people when they’d be better off at the Academy for the Insultingly Dumb Blondes. Really, I’m not kidding. All of them are blondes whether they hit the bottle or not.
“Which one should be hate the most today?” I asked her seriously, walking over to my desk next to hers and sitting on it.
“I saw Janie making out in the parking lot with one of the soccer players, so lets go with her.” Erin said, sitting on her desk too. “I’m sick of seeing her with half of her clothes off in public.”
“And it isn’t like she wears things that covers her skin anyway,” I added in.
It was true that Janie always made out with a guy in the parking lot every Monday, Thursday, or Friday. It was amazing that Janie even knew the days of week. Well, she probably didn’t and her urges to take her clothes off in public came on those days…every week. She had built a very powerful reputation of being a slut. She had no control over herself whatsoever. Even Brittany, Jessica, and Melanie kept their make out sessions to lunch breaks or after school.
Erin snorted at my comment. “I was tempted to take pictures and sell them on the Internet or post them up over those stupid flyers. God, my eyes felt like leaping out and throwing themselves in the trash! I was tempted to throw up all over them but I kept it in.”
“Oh, me too.” I groaned. “I can’t believe the Administrator allowed that. People can’t even get to their lockers. I had to take off twenty flyers before I could even get to my lock.”
I called my dad the ‘Administrator’. I was embarrassing enough that everyone knew I was the principal’s daughter and it as worse that I should call him my dad and actually acknowledge it. But I was dead serious about the locker thing. I had to fight my way through pink flyers before I could unlock my locker.
“Well,” Erin said enthusiastically. “They’ll be gone by the end of the day because that was the whole point of putting them up on the lockers, so they’ll be taken and the Goths will probably burn them in the bathroom first chance they get.”
I laughed because that was what was likely to happen. The Goths would probably split up to take down every single bake sale sign so that way no one would show up and then they’d probably burn the whole lot of it in the bathroom. “We should go for the ceremonial burn!” I joked.
Just then, the teacher, Mrs. Wells came in and smiled at us when she saw us sitting on top of her desk. Mrs. Wells was a pretty cool teacher. She was black and a very smart dresser. She was the only teacher who got away with wearing jeans to school. Today she had on a pair of bellbottom jeans and a fancy purple top.
“Good morning, ladies,” she said, walking over to her desk and putting a stack of papers on it.
Her shoes, I noticed, made a certain clacking sound when she walked and I stared at her feet. I giggled. “Nice cowboy boots, Mrs. Wells.” I complimented. Indeed, she was wearing brown leather cowboy boots with her jeans tucked into them.
Mrs. Wells smiled. “Thank you,” she said, looking down at them and sticking her foot out to show it off. “My grandfather lives in Colorado and he sent these to me for my birthday. Cute, aren’t they?”
“Very stylish,” Erin put in.
Mrs. Wells chuckled and began to write on the board. The clock on the wall showed nearly eight o’clock and students were filing into the hallway, talking loudly and mock barfing as they took in the eccentric hallway decorations.
“Those things really are barf making, aren’t they, Mrs. Wells?” I said, looking at the flyers through the door. The bright color stung my eyes and I had to look away quickly before it impaired my vision.
“My God, they kill my eyes,” Mrs. Wells said, pausing in writing today’s assignment. She began talking while writing, “I can’t believe your father would allow something like that. The least they could do was make the flyers the school’s colors.”
“I know!” Erin cried, flinging up her hands. “Of course, it makes sense so that’s why they didn’t think of it.”
I laughed but Mrs. Wells simply smiled. I knew that she was trying to be unbiased but I could see that she most likely agreed. It’s not like the Brainless Quartet was passing this class with flying colors.
Carter McDaniel entered the room, his cheeks flushed because of the cold and his sweatshirt dotted with raindrops. Carter was a math whiz but totally didn’t look it. He was pretty cute, I had to admit, but I had never struck a conversation with him. Erin repeatedly told me that he liked me but I had no proof whatsoever of that. Besides, he really wasn’t my type. His hair black hair was overgrown, coming just to the tips of his ears, and he was tall and skinny, not really built. He and I had known each other since we were in the first grade and we’ve never said a single word past a greeting.
“Good morning, Mr. McDaniel.” Mrs. Wells said, finishing up with the board.
Carter smiled at Erin and me and moved past us to sit two seats down from me. Our class was small with only fourteen students but it consisted of the over achievers, which meant that this was the only class where I didn’t have to put up with the Brainless Quartet. I considered myself lucky that I didn’t have to put up with the shrieks whenever Brittany or one of them broke a nail in class. God, I’d love to shove their hands and their perfectly manicured nails down their throats.
“What is with the hippie flyers?” Carter said.
I turned to look at him. He was staring at me. “The cheerleaders are holding a bake sale and they want everyone to come and buy something so that they can use the money to go to tournament.” I said. I scoffed and looked back at the board. “It’s not like they ever have a chance of winning anyway!”
“I know, they suck.” Erin said. “And besides, the only people that will show up will simply be there to flirt with them.”
“Yes,” I agreed. I shook my head, appalled. “Pathetic.”
The school day went by rather quickly. There were a million complaints from the various students about the cheerleader’s flyers, but that was expected. Lunch was rather interesting because Carter sat with us but didn’t talk much. The only thing that was majorly different from everyone’s daily routine, besides the flyers, was that my class got a new student.
Our school population was now two hundred and four.
I was in Language Arts with Erin and the Brainless Quartet when the Administrator came in and went over to whisper something in my teacher, Mr. Simmons’ ear. Mr. Simmons, a wizened old thing, nodded and the Administrator went back to the door. He opened and called into the hallway, “All right, come on in.”
A boy had come slouching into the room wearing blue jeans and a black tee shirt. He had no jacket on even though the temperature had to be near freezing. He had dark brown hair, brown eyes and he had a medium build. At least, anyone who looked could see his muscles through his shirt. Ugh. I could right off that this dude would be the height of the gossip around here for a long time and not because he was new or because he was good looking, even though that would be part of it. It was because he had the indefinable air of mystery surrounding him that would drive the girls crazy.
The Administrator made him stand in front of the class, his arm around his shoulders. I glared at my dad, feeling extremely pissed off. My dad was one of those overly cheerful types. He was tall and had brown hair and eyes and could use a work out now and then. Everyone said that I looked just like him but I claimed, hands down, that I took after my mom. At least, I thought I looked like her when I got to see her in pictures.
“This, everyone, is Rhett Hawkins. He just moved here from New York.” The Administrator said. “I’m sure you’ll all make him feel real at home.”
I rolled my eyes, embarrassed. But that was nothing compared to what came out of my father’s mouth next.
“Callie, why don’t you give Rhett a tour of the school after classes end?” he said, his arm still clamped around Rhett’s shoulders.
For the first time since he entered the room, Rhett looked at me and something…weird flowed between us. There was something strange about him, something he was definitely hiding and the strange part was that I had no idea what it was. But his body seemed to take on a dark hue and I was blinking to make it go back to usual.
I steadied myself, realizing that my dad was waiting for an answer. I looked at my dad full in the face, which was a first time in a long time, and then said without even thinking, “Sure.”
Dear readers, I appreciate the time you've taken to read my first story. I plan to get the next chapter up soon along with a few of my other stories. Thank you, thank you. Good day to you all!