I stood outside the school staring at it for awhile, surveying the grey walls and a gate about 10 times bigger then nesseracy. The only entrance and exit, except a little gap in between the English block buildings- a small oversight of the school board I’m sure. South-West Academy, at first glance you might be fooled in to thinking it was a private school, but no it is public no matter how hard it tries.
“Let the games begin,” I whisper quietly to myself not wanting to hear a rumour about me talking to myself today and with my boring black shoes I join the herds of people flocking though the gates, maybe it’s good it is so big.
Being surrounded by yapping teenagers made it awfully hard not to catch up on the latest Goss. For example before I made it to my locker I had been told indirectly all the details of a ski trip, a summer fling, about the new bag Sarah Tomas had got, who was now the hottest couple and there was a new guy enrolled, poor kid and that was all before 9 o’clock.
Despite the massive information load up I was unscathed when I reached my locker. I stood they I desperation trying to get the numbers of my combination in for longer then I should have to I mean it’s been the same combination for 4 YEARS!
On about my third attempt finally I heard the wonderful click of the lock unlocking, a grin of pride spread across my face. I noticed someone leaning against the locker next to mine laughing. I can’t believe this who the hell does he think he is? I turning to confront the stranger who thought it was ok to laugh at me, my face all too serious now.
“Holy shit!” my face fell and I could feel the massive smile fighting to replace the shocked expression on my face “Anthony Woodshore what the hell is you doing in my school?!” I half screamed at him causing more laughs and even more stares. I was torn between hitting him and hugging him, 7 months and not a word from my best friend I was starting to think he had been shipped to Antarctica not America.
I was glad that I didn’t have to decide though as he pulled me into a hug “ it’s good to see you too Ellie,” his deep voice whispered loudly into my ear I heard the smile in his familiar voice I gave him a light squeeze before pulling away he looked the same, maybe taller and a more muscular.
I raise my eyebrows expectantly at him, “ Andy tell me your not just gatecrashing and that god awful uniform means you’re staying more than a week.”
“ oh I’m gatecrashing, just for about a year,” he replies lightly knowing this piece of information will send me to the moon and back, my shock must be obvious I want answers “mum thinks travelling the world while trying to graduate might be a bit rough so I’m afraid your stuck with me,”
“Shame I was actually liking life without you?” I say automatically as I shoving my bag into the locker before shutting it and locking it again.
“I’m hurt.” He pouted his expression making me laugh “you haven’t changed at all have you?”
“Oh, no,” I said shaking my head “never, what about you?”
“Can’t you see? I can’t change even if I wanted to,” Andy left it at that letting the silence fall for a minute. This is unreal. I take this time to stare at him a bit, I was right he is definitely taller and oh my god! Are those abs? I think my openly staring at him should stop now before I get carried away and gesture for us to walk “so ells, where are you taking me?”
I shrug even though I know exactly where we’re going, “you wanna meet some people?”
“Why else does the new guy come up to you?”
I punch him a little harder then lightly “you got mean in America.”
“And you got a right hook” over exaggerating my strength and rubbing the targeted spot “seriously; did you take up boxing these last couple months?”
“Well you know a girl has to protect herself,” apparently that was funny but I’ll leave it for now his laughs not that bad. Maybe I can get some answers about those lost 7 months later.
As we walked the crowded halls of the academy chatting about nothing I caught myself glancing over at him every now and then, I don’t know what I expected; him to vanish maybe? But I couldn’t help myself- I blame the shock.
Anthony Woodshore, here for the rest of senior year. Talk about a weird day.
I looked up at his face again tempted to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming, I must have lingered to long “what is it Ellie?”
“nothing,” I say dropping my gaze, only a little embarrassed until I noticed he was waiting for an answer “ I can’t believe your here, that’s all”
“Pfft” and he draped his long arm around my shoulders closing the small space that separated us “is it really that hard to believe?”
“Yes!” I say letting my arm settle around his waist, his too tall for me to go any higher comfortably. I look up to see him giving me the look- the one I always took as ‘what the hell are you on about’. “Andy, you haven’t lived in the same town as me since we were twelve you can’t blame me for a little scepticism.”
“Fine then, be that way” he sighs dramatically “but you better get used to it fast,”
“Yes sir,” saluting to him with my free hard getting a laugh out of both of us, it’s good to know I can still make him laugh.
As we arrived at the destination a couple minutes later, I disentangle myself from his side and step to the closed door “I present before the, The News Room” and with the dramatic entrance all set out I turn the handle. The door didn’t budge. “Damn it’s jammed again” I mutter rattling the door wasn’t this going to get fixed? I turn the handle again and pushed still no success, this really isn’t me morning. I heard Andy laughing in the background, typical. I turn to face him only slightly annoyed “well... don’t just stand there Help Me” my voice a little harsh.
“Yes sir” he stands up straight saluting me before stepping forward to try the door, I’ll be honest it was hard not laugh at this moment, but when he turned the handle and the door opened I cracked.
“How did you do that? It was full on stuck” I tried to minimise the look of awe.
“Oh Ellie” any shook his head mockingly “haven’t you noticed? I’m good at everything”
“And so modest,” I say in fake admiration stepping through the now open door him following close behind.
I was right; they were all here, what geeks. My five best friends sitting around the room not in a group but the atmosphere was full of conversation.
“ELLA!” Mel jumped down from the desk that was acting as her chair and ran over to hug me, before she stopped short she the guy following me in. “ friend of yours or didn’t the paper suddenly get ten times more popular?” she asked looking rather openly at Andy.
“Yeah, this is Anthony Woodshore,” they all looked at me expectantly so I walk over choosing my usual desk “you know that guy I told you about...”
“Oh the one you meet last summer and...” Mel interrupted enthusiastically
“No, no they friend that ditched me for world travel,” I did not want to relive that; Andy came over pushing in so he was sitting next to me.
“I don’t remember that one.” Josh stated looking up from his adored laptop at Anthony thankfully Gina silence was broken.
“It was before your time joshy,” looking kindly over at him. I
“Yeah Gina right he hasn’t been mentioned since...”Katrina pitched in
“Like a year or something?” Samantha finished off, noticing Kats struggle to put a length on the time.
“A year?” Andy seized the opportunity “you haven’t mentioned me in a year?”
“Ah” shit “well, so much as you never came up.” I cautiously added he’s going to slam me for this shit
“Never came up?” he said widening his eyes in a shocked expression. “Oh Ellie I thought more of our friendship,”
“Yeah,” I nodded “then you disappeared for 7 month.”
“It wasn’t 7 months was it?”
I nod in response not wanting to go into it. “But I so want to know all about America.”
“Deflection” Kat whispered. I reached over and grabbed a pen to throw at her, and she just dodged it. “And aggressive”
“Yeah I think your right kitty,” Mel looked over at me evilly
“Maybe I should have gone in to psychology?”
“Funny real funny,” I say rolling my eyes and I let them tease me until siren called us into action. Anthony pitched in occasionally being entertained by teasing me. I dragged myself off the desk and retraced my steps to my locker. Them all laughing at me as I leave the room.
I barely made it a metre before he caught up to me lightly grabbing my arm so he could fall in step with me. He didn’t say anything just walked with me.
“What do you have now?” I said breaking the silence just as I neared my locker.
“English,” he said upfront, I looked up at him- him being a head taller than me was already starting to annoy me- he looked like he wanted to say something else so I was quiet while I battle with the lockers lock again. “Here” grabbing the metal lock from my hands and flawlessly clicking the numbers in place “you still use the same combo as before,”
I stare at him “well if I change it I have to remember a new one and I never saw the point, it’s a good number,” I open the small door and search the small confined space for my books. I look down at the flimsy piece of paper holding my timetable. “I have English too,”
“Serious?” he looks a little shocked by this information, I answer with a nod while pulling out the last of my books “I really am lucky today,”
“Oh so incredibly lucky,” I agree “where’s your locker? I’ll come with you,”
“No you don’t want to be late it’s not far I’ll catch up,”
“Fine, but don’t expect me to save you a seat,”
“I will” and he dashed off in the slow unenthusiastic crowd. Weird. But I turn the direction for the assembly hall I blend back into the mob of teenagers.