Being late for homeroom was not a good way to start off the school year, especially as a brand-new transfer student. But nevertheless, when the final bell rang, signaling the beginning of homeroom, Jordyn was still in the hallway, hurrying to find Mrs. Roland’s homeroom class.
Room 214. Yes! She’d spotted it. Quickly, she yanked open the door and walked in, and suddenly 15 pairs of eyes were locked on her.
In the front row, she spotted an unfriendly looking girl withher long, dark hair held in place by a headband, wearing her own Abercrombie gear and sitting straight and tall; unnaturally straight and tall. She looked Jordyn up and down, almost like she was analyzing her with her icy, slate-grey eyes. She popped on her gum and just stared. She smiled, but it wasn’t friendly, then she leaned over and whispered something to the red-haired girl beside her. They chuckled.
“I’ll take it you’re Jordyn Hamilton,” the tall, slender woman standing in front of the class said pleasantly. Jordyn looked away from the girl with the headband and her red-haired friend long enough to smile at her teacher.
“Yes, ma’am. And you’re Mrs. Roland?”
“The one and only! Welcome to Cedarwood High!” She turned to the class. “Everyone, this is Jordyn Hamilton. She joins us all the way from California.”
A series of oohs, and ahhs, erupted in the classroom. Sad part? They were genuine. These kids were impressed?
“Where at in California?” one girl asked.
“Are you from Los Angeles?” another one chimed in.
“Uhm, I’m from Moon Bay Beach,” Jordyn said. “It’s a San Diego suburb.”
“Guys,” Mrs. Roland chuckled. “Save the 20 questions for later. We have to get to school stuff.”
The class groaned, and Jordyn smiled.
“And, uh, Jordyn,” Mrs. Roland said. “For future reference, class starts at 8:00, not 8:10.”
Jordyn nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I, uh, got a little lost.”
Snickers from her new classmates.
“Well, I’ll let it slide this time, since you’re new, and all,” Mrs. Roland said. “But be on time tomorrow.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jordyn said, sliding into the only empty seat, right up front beside theheadband girl who stared at her. And she kept staring, even as Jordyn sat down. Jordyn didn’t look at her, but instead chose to ignore her, but it was hard, still feeling her icy eyes on her while she sat.
She felt a tap on her back. She turned around and saw a boy, a rather cute boy—this school was crawling with them, apparently—smiling at her from his desk. He wore a beanie over his sandy-blond hair, shaggy in an almost-Justin Bieber style; the old one, not the new. He also wore a black Billabong t-shirt and sort-of-tight, fitted jeans.
Skater punk, Jordyn decided immediately. That took her almost no time to figure out. Being from California, she saw them all the time. He probably listened to Green Day, Fall Out Boy, maybe Slipknot? Because God knew there weren’t any good punk rock songs out anymore.
Shame, Jordyn thought.
“California, huh?” he asked her. “I’m Blake Cormann.”
“Blake, I love your new hair cut!” a tiny girl with a short, copper-colored bob squeaked from the seat next to Blake and behind the staring girl with the headband and dark hair.
“Thanks, Shari,” the punk-boy called Blake said with a flirty smile. Boy, what an attention span he had, Jordyn thought, watching her bat her eyelashes at him while he ate it up.
Dark-haired-headband-girl looked to her red-headed friend and laughed.
When headband girl went back to staring at Jordyn again, she turned to face front and let out a deep, obvious sigh. After a few more moments of staring, Jordyn started to feel a little uneasy.
“Is your hair color real?”
Jordyn narrowed her eyes and finally met headband girls’ eyes. Involuntarily, she reached up and touched her hair. “Uhm, yes?”
Headband just shrugged, then faced back to the front, finally, as Mrs. Roland began to call the roll.
Once roll had been called, Jordyn learned that the dark-haired, headband-wearingstarer was called Ashley Moore. Her red-haired friend, was Leah Turner, and the tiny girl with the copper-colored bob was Shari Howell. Blake, she’d already been introduced to.
Finally, Mrs. Roland passed out the papers for everyone to sign, signifying they’d read the code of conduct and understood school rules and levels of penalties for breaking such rules. Jordyn skimmed them, noticing they were generic school rules—no cheating, no smoking, no leaving campus for lunch without a special “lunch pass,” five tardies and a detention, blah, blah, blah, so one and so forth. She scribbled her signature then, along with the signed paper from students behind her, handed it over to Mrs. Roland when she came to collect.
“Alright, everyone,” she said in a happy, friendly tone. “Get used to each other because we’ll all be the first faces each other sees every morning for the next 179 days. Now, pay close attention while I read off the announcements.”
Jordyn peaked over out of the corner of her eye, and saw Ashley was still watching her. Talk about weird. She could tell easily that this girl was popular. She knew enough about cliques—though she had nothing to do with them back home; she just hung out with whoever in whatever crowd and never really labeled herself as anything but Jordyn. Here, though, there seemed to be an abundance of cliques.
Ashley, Shari and Leah were obviously snobby, intimidating types, although Jordyn didn’t see what she’d done to them other than sit down. But they were on point with the staring. No, Jordyn wasn’t intimidated. She wasn’t immature like that. But she was getting a little weirded out. She just sat back in her desk, tried her hardest to ignore Ashley, and listened to the morning announcements.
Mrs. Roland went over the general rules, handed out guidelines for tardies, like how many you could have before getting a detention, how many detentions you could get before you have to Saturday School, and how many of those you could get before expulsion.
“Alright, now,” she said finally. “On to the fun stuff. As you all know, this Friday is the first football game of the season.”
“Go Cougars!” a boy near the back shouted. A few students laughed, and Jordyn peaked back grinning. Even Mrs. Roland was chuckling when Jordyn turned back around.
“Yes, Go Cougars,” she laughed. “As I was saying, the first football game is Friday night, which means the carnival starts right after school. It’s being put on by the boosters and the PTA. Come out and show your support, have a good time with some games and refreshments.”
She spoke overly enthusiastically, and Jordyn could see she was reading straight from the paper, word for word.
“Next,” she continued. “For anyone interested, the cheerleading squad has an open spot due to an unfortunate ankle break during pre-season workouts.” Jordyn heard Ashley gasp, and looked over to see her extra stiff, her hands gripping the sides of her desk. “Tryouts are tomorrow after school. Contact Captain Natalie Bishop for information.”
Natalie Bishop? Was that the same Natalie that Jordyn had been introduced to that morning by her brother? She figured it was. This was a small school, and Ty’s Natalie looked like she would be a cheer captain.
Meanwhile, next to Jordyn, Ashley seemed to be near hyperventilation. “Oh my gosh, open tryouts! I can’t wait.”
Jordyn fought the urge to roll her eyes. Cheerleading. She wouldn’t say “what a joke,” but really? No one cared about cheerleading at her old school, but here? It looked like here everything was right out of an 80’s teenager movie. Cheerleaders probably ruled the school, and the football players were royalty.
Mrs. Roland listed other activities coming up, but apparently, in the eyes of the females that were whispering nonstop, nothing held a candle to that one open spot on the cheer squad.
Jordyn was happy to hear the bell and see the end of homeroom. She could finally get away from that girl, Ashley and her big, icy grey eyes. She shuddered as she stepped out into the hallway, into the crowd of students, thinking about Ashley and hoping the rest of her classes would be Ashley-free, or at least no one would be staring at her like she was some sort of new species that just crawled out of the lake.
In the hallway, with more than enough time to spare, Jordyn was able to take in the sight of her new school, whereas before, she was rushing so much she didn’t have time to see anything but her map,and, of course,the beautiful Cole Anderson when she’d crashed into him like an idiot. She’d studied her map during homeroom so she knew she had to go toward the front of the school, to the big lobby and office area, in order to get to her next class, AP Chemistry.
The school was old, but it looked and smelled fresh and new, like a mixture of Pine-Sol and old textbooks. Apparently no matter what state you were in, on what side of the country, the school-smell was universal.
The floors were black and white tiles, the lockers, freshly painted silver. In the high-ceilinged lobby hung a banner like the ones Jordyn had seen all over town Friday.
She found a trophy case, a big trophy case on the far wall near the offices, holding all the trophies from over the years from many different sports, but mostly football.
Jordyn tugged her cell phone from her pocket, checking the time. None left to waste. She wouldn’t be late twice on her first day. Mrs. Roland was very understanding about it, and seemed to be a friendly woman. She didn’t know anything about her AP Chemistry teacher, Mr. Newton, and if he wasn’t friendly, being late wasn’t the best impression to make on him. So she bolted, praying she would make it.