"Come on, Ryan, don't make us late!" Derek shrieked.
Ryan was in such a rush for his first day at St.Claire Public School. It didn't help when Derek was trying to make him go faster, while he was already moving at lightning speed. Derek and the rest of his siblings who had attended school had been driven to the hospital to walk Ryan there. Ryan didn't know what this new school was going to be like. He decided to ask Derek about the school.
As they left room 1204, and were wished good luck, Ryan asked Derek, "What's it like at this school? I don't know what to expect."
"I know a few kids who would be in your grade," Derek replied. "You should see Elaine Howard. Dude, she's a babe."
"Okay," Ryan thought aloud. "Anything else?"
"Well, there's a cafeteria. I know your old school didn't have one. There's going to be lots of people there, the whole school. If you don't make friends by lunch time, you can sit with me and my friends."
Why would I sit with Derek? Ryan wondered.
They all made it outside. The morning was gorgeous. The sky was clear, and there was a refreshing, cool breeze. The sun had dipped away somewhere, but they knew that it would be shining in the sky quite soon. It was cool enough to not wear a jacket, so they all wore sweaters. They would arrive at the school altogether, but they would need to split up once inside. A few days before, Ryan had been registered there by Aunt Mimi, and they got a tour of the school. He thought he might know where he was going.
They finally arrived at the school in a few minutes. The school was much different than his old school. There were two floors, and the school was huge. There was a big, open field, bigger than the one at his old school. The whole school was surrounded by the field. There were no oak trees that sprouted around the school, meaning there couldn't be too much shade when it was hot. But at least you could see the school from a distance and from up close.
Hundreds of kids were outside on the front lawn, meeting up with the students they hadn't been able to see all summer, and maybe be able to meet new friends. Ryan was afraid to talk to anybody. He decided to just let the students approach him, so that it would be much easier. He wasn't shy, but he was too scared to meet people at the moment. But that was because he was older now. When he was in kindergarten, he approached everyone. Younger kids could usually talk to anyone. Ryan did have lots of friends at his old school, but he had met them when he was younger.
The bell rang loudly, and the huge crowd of kids disappeared. Ryan followed the stampede of kids through the doors, and the principal recognized him. "You need any help?" she asked.
Ryan nodded slightly. "Well, follow me," the principal said.
By now, all of the kids above kindergarten had disappeared up the stairs to the classrooms. The kindergarten class was located just behind the stairs, on the first level, and they were already inside. Parents were speaking to their kindergarteners, and letting them know that everything would be alright. Ryan wished he could be told that. His mother hadn't even seen the school yet, inside or out. Aunt Mimi had, but she didn't take him to school that morning. Her children did the job instead.
Derek, Rebekah, Maggie, and Skye had left Ryan all by himself. It was Skye's first day of kindergarten, and she didn't need Aunt Mimi to show her around. She was actually excited, and didn't mind that her mother wasn't there with her. Shirley would have been the same. She didn't want Theresa to drop her off. But now, Shirley wouldn't even be coming to school at all. Not until she made a full recovery.
The principal, Mrs.McKelker, led Ryan up the stairs to locate his fifth-grade classroom. The hallway stretched out quite a distance on the left. At the right, there was a see-through door, and the hallway past those doors wasn't too long. If Cody had come to school, his classroom would be down that hallway. Ryan's was on the right-hand side, and in the middle of the long hallway that seemed to stretch forever and ever. There were kids at their lockers, which were painted a silver dark-blue. Mrs.McKelker had Ryan's locker number written down on her small notepad that she carried around. He hoped he wasn't directly next to someone, since they always hogged the space.
That was one thing different about this school. At his old school, you always had to bring your backpack into class with you, and they would assign you a locker afterwards. They would already have your locker chosen, but they would give it to you about ten minutes after class started. Here, they had it prepared for you at the office, and they would call you a week before school started to tell you the number. Then, you would have to hunt it down. But, since Ryan was new, and he had only been registered less than a week ago, they gave it to him when he walked in. He thought the school's setup was quite complicated, but he knew he'd get used to it eventually.
He quickly located his locker, number 106. It didn't have a lock, like he'd expected it to. At his old school, grades four through six had to have locks on their lockers, since the older kids were most likely to steal. They were the older kids. At St.Claire Public School, there were absolutely no locks on anyone's lockers, which made Ryan feel that his belongings were unsafe. His cell phone was in his pocket, and he decided to keep it there, so it wouldn't get stolen. That would be two hundred-fifty dollars gone away. And he'd probably never find it.
After he placed his stuff in his locker, he headed off to class. He knew which classroom he was in, because his locker was only about four lockers away from the door. Mrs.McKelker left, and Ryan entered the classroom. He was stunned at how big it was. The front of the class was off to the right, if he stood in the doorway. A huge Smart Board was hanging on the chalk board. He wondered why they still had chalk boards, since nobody ever used them anymore.
There were desks in pairs of two, lined from the back to the front. There was strips of tape on the left hand side of the desk, with names written on them with marker. Now all Ryan had to do was find which desk was assigned to him. He scanned around the rows, searching for his name. There were many kids in the classroom, and they were all attempting to avoid bumping into each other while trying to locate their desks.
Ryan felt so small compared to some of the kids. Some were quite tall, if not, most. He was the smallest one. He was short and skinny, but not too many students were the same. Eyes turned to him as he tried to squeeze by some of the students, who seemed to tower over him. He didn't seem to find anyone yet that he wanted to be friends with.
At last, Ryan located his desk. It was located in the third row, on the right. There was another desk on the right side of his, and so far, nobody was sitting there. But the name clearly read "Dana". He sighed at the thought of having to sit next to a girl. Two other students were already seated behind them. Behind Dana, whoever she was, there was a boy named Jake, and behind Ryan, there was Elaine, the one Derek had mentioned earlier.
He had to admit, he agreed with Derek a little. She was quite the sight. Blonde, pretty, and seemed to have a friendly personality. She smiled at Ryan when he turned around to see who was there. Jake, who sat next to her, was one of her friends, and he, too, had blonde hair. It whipped across his face a little, just like Ryan's. He wondered if they would talk to him.
About ten minutes later, their teacher, Ms.Sherwood, stood at the front of the room. She had brown hair that landed just under her ears, and she was wide. She wasn't tall, but she wasn't short, either. "Good morning class," she announced. The class instantly settled down. "If you don't know me, I'm Ms.Sherwood."
At that moment, a girl entered the classroom, late. She had dark hair, which had been cut short into a tomboyish style. She also wore thick glasses. She noticed that there was only one empty desk, which was right next to Ryan. It was Dana. She sat next to him, and for a moment, Ryan felt her eyes staring at him. He began to feel uncomfortable.
"I hope you all had a great summer," Ms.Sherwood continued.
Not for me, Ryan thought.
"Now, today, we won't really be doing any work. All we're really working on is adjusting to our time schedule. Right now, we would be in language class."
After a bit more explaining, she let them have a bit of free time, to talk with friends, and to possibly meet new ones. Ryan felt nervous, because he didn't know what to expect. He didn't know if someone would come and talk to him, or if he'd sit all alone. He decided to sit there and wait for someone to talk to him.
Around him, he could hear the conversations of the girls. Dana had moved next to her friends, and he heard one say, "He's pretty cute," and he could sense they were staring at him.
"He looks so alone, we should talk to him."
"I'm too shy to say anything!"
"I think he needs someone to talk to."
Ryan ignored them. He could understand why they were too afraid to talk to him. He, too, was afraid to approach anyone, because he didn't want to look like a fool. He pretended to be texting, feeling like a fool. Elaine and Jake were no longer behind him. They were on the other side of the classroom, with a group of a few others. They all seemed like the "cool" type, since so many people wanted to hang around them. He didn't know what to think.
Suddenly, he saw someone at the corner of his eye standing next to his desk. He gazed over to see Elaine standing there. He could hear the whispers of the other girls close to him, saying, "Oh no, she's going to get him. She always gets guys so easily."
"Hello," Elaine said politely.
"Hi," Ryan responded shyly. He wasn't used to talking to girls like Elaine.
"You're Ryan, right?" she asked, staring at the nametag on the left corner of his desk.
"Well, I'm Elaine," she grinned, showing off her cute dimples. "It's nice to meet you. I sit behind you."
"Oh," said Ryan. "Well so far, you're the only one who has the guts to talk to me." He laughed a little. "Those girls right there seem to really want to say something."
Elaine giggled. "Don't worry about them. I'll warn you, though, you can always tell when Dana likes someone. And it seems her eyes go right to you."
"Wouldn't be surprised at that. I heard Dana and her friends whispering about me."
Elaine smiled brightly. A beautiful, white smile. "So, you just moved here?" she asked, switching the subject quickly.
"Yeah," said Ryan. "But I don't really live in a house."
Elaine looked confused. "Where do you live, then?"
"I have to stay at the Children's Hospital down the street. My brother has leukemia, my sister has a brain tumor, and my other sister got hit by a car."
Elaine gasped. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry," she said.
"It's okay," said Ryan.
Elaine sighed. "So," she said gleefully. "My other friends are over there. You wanna come and meet them?"
Ryan hesitated for a second. "Sure," he finally spoke.
Together, the two headed for the other side of the room. The other girls who sat nearby all rolled their eyes. It was quite obvious they were already crushing on him, and they were jealous because Elaine was unmistakenly pretty, and she always got to hang around with the good looking boys. Dana, too, was beginning to have a crush on him, and she felt so proud and lucky that she sat next to him. But they were all used to boys walking right by them without giving them a second look. They were apparently the "outcasts", and Elaine and her gang were the "cool" ones.
Around the group, there was only one other girl. The rest were all boys. Ryan figured that Elaine liked to hang around guys more than girls. Including Elaine, there were six friends in the group, and Ryan could become the seventh. Elaine began by introducing her friends one at a time, so that Ryan would not be confused.
The other girl in the group was Whitney Langley. She had long, dark hair, and it curled a bit at the bottom. They were not split ends though; they were natural curls. Then there was Adam Wilkinson, who had brunette, curly hair. He was pretty tall, the tallest in the class. Grayson Smith had ginger coloured hair, and wore a chain around his neck, resembling a gangster. Jake O'Keefe, who sat behind Ryan in class, had blonde hair, and it had the same style as Ryan's. Domonic Labelle had dark hair like Whitney, but it spiked at the front. Ryan felt like he belonged a bit, now that he knew these people, and was going to get to hang out with the prettiest girl in the class.
About two hours later, they had recess. Ryan already had become great friends with them all, and he knew Derek would be jealous of him. Derek always wanted to hang out with Elaine, but she was always with her friends. Besides, he thought he'd look like a fool coming anywhere near her. Plus, he didn't know if Elaine had a crush on any of her friends, and he didn't want to bother. But he really wanted to hang out with her.
By now, all of Ryan's new friends knew about his siblings, and what had hapened to them. They decided to discuss it a bit at recess.
"I feel like the whole thing was my fault," said Ryan, reflecting back on last week's incident with Shirley.
"When did this happen?" Elaine asked curiously.
"Somewhere around last week," Ryan answered.
Elaine's eyes suddenly widened. "Oh my gosh, that was your sister?"
"How do you know?"
"It was in the paper!" Elaine sounded so surprised. "I felt so bad about it. I wondered, 'How is the family dealing with this? It must be so hard',"
"She's stuck in a wheelchair," Ryan said sadly. "She'd be starting kindergarten this year. Today would be her first day."
"That is so sad," Whitney muttered.
There was five minutes left of school. The class was all hyped up and ready to leave. They were being quite loud, and it was like they were going out of control. Ms.Sherwood was constantly telling them what not to do, but they did it anyway. Jake and Domonic were shooting spitballs at whoever they thought might be a good target. It was like the teacher had given them all sugar, as they were all quite stringy.
Pretty soon, all of the boys in that group were shooting spitballs, including Ryan. Tiny, crumpled pieces of paper were flying around the classroom, and hopefully, Ms.Sherwood would not notice. Elaine and Whitney were giggling softly as they watched the pieces of paper get stuck in people's hair, and they were completely unaware of it. The fun didn't last long though, because they heard Ms.Sherwood shout, "Boys!" She began to shove her way past the rows of desks. They were in trouble already, on the first day of school.
She wore a serious expression on her face. "You guys know better! Why would you go ahead and do something like that?"
"Because it's fun," Ryan answered with confidence. By now, all eyes were directed on them.
"Excuse me?" Ms.Sherwood sounded mad. "Don't you ever talk back to me!"
"But you asked me a question," Ryan said in a smart-mouth tone. "I can't just stand there."
The bell rang. Everyone headed for the door, but as the boys went to leave, Ms.Sherwood told them to stop and come back. Elaine and Whitney decided to wait on them. "When I set rules for the classroom, I mean them," Ms.Sherwood lectured. "You boys all know that shooting spitballs at others is inappropriate. I don't want to see that ever again. Got it?"
The five boys nodded. She finally gave them permission to leave. As they left the classroom, they all just laughed. "It's not like she'll call our parents over shooting spitballs," said Domonic. He had a really good point, though.
Elaine giggled. She pulled a small, black cell phone out of her pocket. "Hey Ryan, you have a phone, right?" she asked.
"Yeah." He pulled out his BlackBerry.
They both exchanged numbers, and Elaine promised to text him. By now, Ryan already felt quite close to his new friends, and they all talked about hanging out tomorrow night at the skatepark. Ryan knew where the skatepark was, and after hearing that his friends rode skateboards and BMX bikes, he knew he had much in common with them. They all packed up their supplies, said their good-byes, and went on their separate ways.