"Francine! Wake up! You're going to be late if you sleep any longer." My mother screeched through my door. Unfortunately, my alarm clock didn't have a snooze button, though I fervently wished she did. I replied groggily, "Okay, okay, Ma, Sheesh." After taming my wild waves of dirty blond hair, shrugging on my favorite pair of jeans, and throwing on a striped black and white t-shirt, I made a bee-line for the kitchen.
My mother stood at the bottom of the stairs in her pleated skirt and sleek blouse checking stocks on her iPad. Pinning me with a hard look of disgust with her jade eyes, she spat, "If you oversleep one more time, young lady, you're not going to be going on field trips or hikes or volunteering at the animal shelter anymore. Being punctual is blah blah blah blah. Blah, blah blah responsible. And you seem to have no concept of blah blah blah."
Ok, maybe I should have been paying a bit more attention to what my mom was saying, but I had too much on my mind as it was. First and foremost being devouring a Poptart before the bus arrived to take me to school.
The second topic on my mind was the fact that today was the Monday after spring break, one of the most anticipated days of my freshman year. Scheduled today was a field trip to the Natural History Museum for the freshmen of Wilson High. Most kids didn't give a hoot what got them out of school, even if it was a museum trip, but I had been counting down the days til this field trip since August. Granted, not everybody's cup of tea was walking around a crowded building looking at fossils and artifacts from a million years ago and taking notes about them, but the inner geek in me was rejoicing.
Once my mom was finished, I nodded, pretending like I heard and understood. I had wolfed down my breakfast in record time, so I had a couple more minutes before I had to catch the bus. What I needed was some blaring music to drown out the usual rantings of my parental unit. Scouting around the spic and span living room, I retrieved my CD player and ear buds. I remembered from a few days ago that RIOT! by Paramore was inside. "Thank God." I thought contently. If my favorite band couldn't kick this fantastic day off, what could?
I slipped on my worn Chucks near the door. Shouldering my backpack, I called out behind me, "I'm going early. See ya at dinner time."
With that, I put my headphones in, turned the volume up to almost-excruciatingly-painful, and walked off to my bus stop, fearless.
After the 2 hour drive downtown, our handful of students and teachers arrived at the Museum. The Museum was everything I had hoped it'd be (appearance-wise) and I was practically dieing to go inside. Secluding myself from the rest of the school group, I decided to scribble some notes while waiting on the front steps.
Museum: Humongous, looks like an old temple, down the street from Taco Bell, established 1945-
Suddenly, someone knocked my hand across my notebook and ripped my pencil away. "What the hell-" I exclaimed. A snickering boy was already sprinting away, a yellow pencil in hand. With a groan, I set my backpack and notebook down. "Get back here with that, Jonah! It's my last one." Everyone looked to see what all the commotion was about, then exploded in laughter. Leave it to Jonah Peterson, the class-clown, to ruin my day.
Jonah kept running through the crowds of people cackling like a madman. I silently vowed (for at least the 18th time that trip) to break his nose the last day of senior year, or if he kept pushing it, tomorrow morning.
He stopped running at a sewer, dangling my only writing untencil above it. He squeaked, "Oh yea, Dyke McDykerson? I'm not afraid of you!" This earned a exclamation of "Oooooooooo!" from the crowd.
I rolled my eyes and fought to control my temper. "Did he really just play the dyke card?" I thought half amused, half agitated. The little pest never knew when to stop bugging people, but now he was begging for a slow and painful death.
"Just give me back the pencil you creep." I growled. Finally, I had weaved my way through all the people and was about 4 or 5 feet away from him.
Ignoring my requests, Jonah chucked my pencil straight down the sewer, a disgusting smirk on his face. "Take that, Francine!"
Annoyance surged through me like a horrible headache throbs. I
charged at him, barely catching his shirt. Giving him the darkest
I could possibly muster, I whispered, "Now listen to me. First, noone but my mother calls me Francine. My name is Fearless. Don't forget it. Second, you have approximately thirty seconds to get away before I pound the living crap out of you. Third, the next time you play a prank, I suggest leaving the person's sexual orientation out of it."
Jonah's shrimpy face turned stark white, and when I let him go, he disappeared faster than you could say "Sleezebag". Sitting down again, I peered down into the hole. "There goes my note taking." I muttered, slightly disheartened. Most of the kids from my school had started going inside the Museum, but there were other unfamiliar kids around my age still lingering. Several were chuckling at me, others were completely oblivious.
"Do you need a pen?" A soft voice asked in front of me. I glanced upward to see a girl with cropped raven hair offering a black ball point pen. Her facial features were sharp and angular, yet elegant. She wore red Vans, very very faded bluejeans, and a purple hoodie. Her warm mocha eyes met mine.
Stammering, I replied, "Oh, uh, yes. Did you, um, see what happend back there?" I stood up, dusted off my jeans, and accepted the pen with my knees turning less solid every second I looked at her.
The girl glanced away, a shadow crossing her face momentarily. "Yea. I'm sorry."
"Hey, it's no biggie. Jonah does crazy stuff like that all the time. In fact, one time he snuck in the cafeteria and put blue food coloring in all the lunches. He got suspended but everyone got a big kick outta it." I grinned goofily. Oh man. I was rambling. Might as well have screamed "I really like you!!" to her face.
Purple Hoodie laughed sweetly (hopefully not at me being a complete dweeb.) For the briefest of moments, we stood completely still, her eyes searching my green ones and vice versa.
"All Wilson High students are to be inside the Museum at this time. Please, all Wilson High students come inside." A parent chaperone announced from the top of the steps. Cursing under my breath, I said, "Thanks alot for the pen, but I gotta go. See ya!"
Purple Hoodie smiled and called, "Maybe I'll catch ya later."
I replayed those words in my head, savoring the butteflies I felt deep in my stomach and headed up to the Museum doors.
Security and laying down the rules of what would be going on seemed to take an eternity. Everything from the bustling of all the museum-goers to keeping an eye out for Jonah to all the intresting exhibits had me completely unfocused. Our school group met in the small corner next to the Rocks and Minerals where they passed out the lame stickers that read, "Hello. My name is:" then left a huge blank at the bottom for one's name. I snagged a Sharpie and wrote big enough to fill up the whole space. I stuck the nametag on my right sleeve.
"Now, we encourage everyone to discuss ideas and questions about what you see with the Museum employees and other students that are here. Please do not leave the premises without an adult, in case of emergencies blah blah blah. Maps are blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah will be giving tours at blah blah blah." A stout bald man addressed us in a monotone voice.
I took out my notebook, ready to draw a makeshift map of the building in case I needed to find my way around in a hurry. I turned to a blank page and started sketching immediately. In retrospect, I admit it would have been smarter to sit down or to stand still while drawing, however I did not do that. I walked slowly around, bumping into a person every now and again, uttering apologies absent-mindedly. I wandered into the Marine Life section, almost finished drawing my map, when I walked headlong into someone.
I fell back a little, but regained my balance, sputtering curse words and apologies. "Gee wiz, uh sorry bout that I was doing something. I didn't see you, I swear."
I practically choked when I realized I had walked into Purple Hoodie. My cheeks burned with embarrassment. A sarcastic voice piped up in me, "Smooth, Fearless. Real smooth."
The girl shook her head, looking a little startled, but broke out in laughter when she saw who had run into her. Inspecting my right sleeve, she calmly replied, "It's ok, ummm, Fearless? Your name is Fearless?"
I nodded. "Nickname." She too had a nametag on that read Leigh Anne in small, neat writing. Purple Hoodie noticed me reading her nametag, and hastily said, "You can call me Leigh. I mean if you want." The slightest hint of pink trickled into her olive-toned skin. I fought desprately to control the urge to turn into a puddle of butterflies and liquified bones.
"Nice to meet ya, Leigh." I managed to say. I held my free hand out politely, which she took in a loose grip, electricity popping across our skin. "Since you lost your pen to me, and were almost trampled by me, I think I owe you."
Leigh raised her eye brow in question. "Hmmm. Well, you could walk through the Museum with me. Then we'd be even, I think."
A wily grin on my lips, I agreed.
On the busride home, I stared dreamily at my notebook. An entry dated "The Monday after spring break 2012" was on the pages in front of me, and even though I remembered every detail perfectly, I still reread it.
So today I went to the Natural History Museum and it was possibly one of the best days of my life. Not only did I meet an amazing girl, I learned so much about the past (see notes on pages 3,4,5.) Of course, there was the part with Jonah the King of the Idiots making fun of me in front of everyone, but it wasn't too horrible.
What I know about Leigh: She's 15 years old (like me), she attends a highschool that is not even a mile away from my house, she wants to be a veternarian when she gets out of college, she can actually lick her elbow (she showed me), her hands feel like ice, but they are smooth as a baby blanket, she's been to the Natural History Museum approx. 7 times now, she's bisexual, but she's never been teased about it, her favorite childhood game was double Dutch jump rope, she really likes me, and when she blushes I feel like someone has injected me with helium and I might possibly float away.
We walked around the Museum all day today, talking and sharing stories. She told me everything about the exhibits, since she'd been to the Museum plenty of times before. We stayed especially long in the Native American section, oggling all the tools and clothing. When it came time for lunch, we went to the cafeteria and I bought us both grilled cheeses and Snapples. She even gave me her number and told me to call her!
Leigh Anne P.S. Call me later Fearless :)
Maybe, just maybe, I'll end up asking her out.
That would be the Fearless thing to do, after all.