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All the Wrong Reasons

Novel By: alissende
Young adult

Annabeth is a nobody, and that's the way she likes it. She gets by under the radar and she wants it to stay that way. But now she's in trouble. One stupid mistake means the little bubble of anonymity she has worked so hard to achieve has shattered into a million pieces. Annabeth is about to become the talked about person in school, for all the wrong reasons... View table of contents...


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Submitted:Apr 1, 2011    Reads: 7    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

Chapter 2: Miserable Monday
Sunday went by in a blur and Monday morning arrived far too soon for my liking. My sister's sonorous knocks yanked me from a dreamless sleep way too early in the morning and I opened my eyes to a bleak, grey day. A light drizzle was falling from the sky and splattering against my window.
My first impulse was to pull the duvet over my head and stay there was a very, very long time, but I had to face the real world one day or another, so I dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom. A brief, cold shower was all it took to finish waking me up, but nothing in the world could have dispelled the gloom hanging over my head like a stinking, black cloud.
Today was going to be trying, very trying, and I dressed accordingly: sturdy white cotton underwear, jeans, sweatshirt, thick white socks and trainers. I pulled my hair into a ponytail and applied minimal makeup. I didn't look as bad as I feared. The cut along my left cheekbone wasn't much more than a scratch today, the swelling in my cheek had gone down, and the bruising around my eye was dealt with thanks to a little concealer.
I tramped downstairs to the kitchen. I never used to bother with breakfast, but since Jennifer arrived to take control of our lives, we all ate breakfast, just like we all eat five fruit and vegetables a day and we all fold the towels in the bathroom. What Jennifer wants, Jennifer gets.
Jennifer was holding court in the kitchen, somehow managing to cook porridge, press oranges and butter toast at the same time. Mum and Ruby, my eight year old sister, were already seated at the table.
"Morning Annie" Mum said as I slid into my chair.
"Morning" I mumbled, picking up a piece of toast and nibbling at a corner.
"How are you feeling this morning?"
"Can't you be ready in ten minutes?" Jennifer asked, placing a bowl of porridge in front of me "I'll take you to school on the way to work."
For once, I didn't protest against Jennifer's bossiness. Normally I would have objected to her trying to boos me around, and told her in a snotty voice "I am quite capable of catching the bus to school, thank you. I do not need to be driven there like a kid". Today I just nodded meekly. Probably an effect of the bump on the head I had received on Saturday. Or maybe I knew that today would be difficult enough without adding yet another argument with my sister.
"I can be ready" I said, pushing my plate away and standing up.
Jennifer dropped me off in front of the school and sped off to do important things in her office. I stood at the bottom of the steps for a while, ignoring the flow of people going past on either side, and looked up at the big, ugly grey building. Just the idea of climbing those steps and going through those doors made me feel slightly nauseous.
You can do this, I told myself, as I wrenched one foot off the ground and placed it on the bottom step. You can do this, I chanted again as I placed the other foot on the next step. You are seventeen years old. You are not going to be frightened of going to school.
There are six steps between the street and the main entrance to my school, but that Monday morning, it felt like sixty. I eventually reached the top, mentally wrung off and paused to gather myself again. My stomach clenched as I pushed the door open and threw myself into the crowd.
Nobody paid any attention to me as I walked down the corridor. It was Monday morning, cold and wet, and they were caught in their own problems. They didn't care about mine. They streamed past me, heading to their various classrooms, calling out to friends, talking on their mobile phones. No-one even glanced in my direction.
Strangely, this made the panicky, trembly feeling in my knees lessened slightly. This was a familiar place, and the smell, the never changing corridors, the boring "everyday is the same" aspect of the place was soothing in a way. Civilisations might rise and empires may fall, but Annabeth Genkins was just as much a nobody as she had ever had been the week before.
I closed my eyes and groaned inwardly. I didn't feel up to dealing with Ashley right now. I wished her to be a long way away from here. I opened my eyes. She was still bouncing towards to me. Ashley was so perky it hurts. She was hard enough to deal under normal circumstances. Right now, when I was feeling grumpy and tired and pissed off with the world in general, the task seemed impossible.
"Hi Ashley" I said, making a valiant effort not to sound too put-upon "Did you have a good weekend?"
Ashley let out a small scream. Ashley would let out this little screamlets at the slightest provocation. Yet another of her many delightful characteristics.
"Oh my god, Annabeth!! What happened to your eye?"
Obviously the cover-up job wasn't as good as I had thought.
"I walked into a door" I said, pulling my pocket mirror out of my bag. "It's not that bad, is it?"
Ashley tilted her head to one side and stared at me.
"It's alright" she said doubtfully. "If you don't look too closely"
I never knew whether Ashley was deliberately insulting or not. Ash and I had a slightly tense relationship. She thought I was bad-tempered and unsociable, and I found her vapid and grating at times. But we got along well enough most of the time. She would regale me with the latest school gossip, and I would pretend to be interested and say "right" from time to time so she would believe I was listening. I didn't show my exasperation at her silliness and she didn't bug about being weird.
"Where were you on Saturday?" she squealed "You were supposed to meet us at Battery Beat?"
Battery Beat was possibly the lamest bar/club in the world, a slightly decrepit place with a shoddy eighties decor and loud sound system had only ever plays those songs that seem to be written solely to annoy you. The loos were unspeakable, the drinks were expensive and strictly non-alcoholic, but Battery Beat was the only bar/club around here that let in under-eighteens. It was usually stuffed full of the kids from school on Saturday night.
"Oh, yeah" I vaguely remembered saying something about meeting Ashley and her latest boyfriend at Battery Beat. "Jennifer flipped out and wouldn't let me go out. And my phone was out of juice" I added quickly.
"You didn't miss anything. It sucked, big time"
Ashley chattered on about her night out with Darren, and about the rest of her weekend, as I collected my books from my locker. She continued talking as we made our way to English class. Ashley doesn't anyone to actually listen to her; she just needs an ear to direct her words at. I felt a bit of the tension in my shoulders ease a little. For all her faults, Ashley did have a way of infecting you with her bubbly happiness. She even managed to shake me out of my worse moods sometimes. Maybe today wouldn't be so bad after all.
By the time we reached the classroom and had sat down in our usual seats in the third row from the front, my feeling of despair had lessened significantly, and a little flower of hope dared to blossom in my heart. I smiled slightly as I pulled my notebook out, but the smile froze as I caught sight of David Rifer, sauntering into the room as if he owns the place. My eye locked onto to him and followed him as he crossed the room. He saw me staring and he nodded at me, the instinctive response of a player when he sees a girl looking at him, even if he doesn't know her name. He greeted several friends. He looked utterly carefree; clearly he didn't know what had happened to his friend. He sat down in his usual seat, casting a causal glance to the one next to him, which was still empty. Connor's usual seat. Second row from the back, the seat by the window. My heart clenched and the dark cloud came back accompanied by several friends.
"Are you alright, Annabeth?" Mrs Ritcher, the English teacher, asked me as she dropped her things on the table. I swallowed hard, blinked several times and unclenched my fingers from the edge of the desk.
"I'm fine" I said. My voice rung strangely in my ears, as if it wasn't my own.
"Are you sure?" she said. I nodded.
"Good. Now let's get back to Pride and Prejudice"
My hands shook slightly as I retrieved the book from my bag, but I ignored it.
News travels fast in my school. The first stories came to my ears at lunchtime. I was standing in line in the cafeteria, sandwiched between Ashley, still regaling me with stories of her wonderful weekend, and a couple of fourteen year olds having an intense discussion over the merits of pink lip-gloss versus purple lip-gloss, when Charlotte Merring and a couple of her cronies, Fiona and Dinah, came up to us.
"Hi Charlotte!" Ashley squeaked. Unlike me, Ashley didn't accept her standing as a social nobody. She yearned to climb the steps of the social ladder and elevate her position within the school hierarchy. Her method of getting this was mainly to toady up to people like Charlotte, who were right at the top.
Charlotte flicked her beautifully highlighted hair off her shoulder and glanced in Ashley's direction. Charlotte didn't have time for people like Ashley, though she was useful for gathering all the latest gossip.
"Hello, Ashley" she said flatly.
"Have you heard about Connor West?" Charlotte said, inspecting her manicure for flaws.
"Who?" Fiona asked.
"The really cute guy from English? The one who's going out with Kathy?"
"What about him?" Ashley was almost jumping up and down. She could sense a juicy nugget of gossip coming her way. Charlotte paused, savouring the moment.
"Apparently, he was in some horrible car crash on Saturday"
Charlotte got the reaction she had been hoping for. Ashley, Fiona and Dinah all gaped at her.
"No!!" Ashley breathed.
"Yeah" Charlotte said.
I didn't wait to hear the rest. I dumped my tray and fled the cafeteria, charging down the corridor before diving into the girls' toilet and locking myself in a stall. Why I chose this particular place I do not know. My panicked brain seemed to think it was the safest place to be.
I leant against the door and took a deep breath. This was it. I was finished. It had started. They knew. It wouldn't be long before the whole story was dragged out into the light and there was no reason to believe my part in it would be overlooked.
I felt like collapsing in a heap and weeping. This was hopeless.
Get a grip, I told myself sternly. You'll just have to suck it up. You got yourself into this mess and you'll have to get yourself out of it. And you can't start falling to pieces whenever someone mentions his name. This isn't going to go away, it fact it is only going to get worst.


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