"Lizzie, breakfast!" Mamma called from the kitchen.
"In a minute." I yelled, not looking away from my book. I was almost to the end of the chapter. Not that I didn't know what was going to happen, I'd read Pride and Prejudice enough to practically have it memorized. But reading relaxed me, and today was going to be very stressful. The first day at a new school.
It wasn't so bad for my brother, Louis. He was ten, athletic, and usually made friends easily. I was fifteen and tried to keep to myself. I was pretty athletic too, but in the fourth grade I gave up sports. At least, playing them with boys. I'd developed earlier than most of the other girls, which didn't bother me until I figured out that the boys no longer wanted me to really play, as much as they wanted to tackle me. Not too long after giving up sports, I realized the boys were only nice to me anymore to try to get their hands up my shirt. This was when I started keeping to myself.
I'd always been a tomboy, so I didn't have alot of girlfriends. The girls I knew in elementary were always pretty nice to me, but I didn't fit in with them. I didn't play with barbies or talk about make up. In reality we couldn't afford any of that.
The fact that we never had alot of money never really bothered me either. I always loved to read, and the library was free. I guess since I never had alot of toys, I didn't miss them. Mamma made sure we were always clean, of course, but I wore the same clothes alot and never bought my lunch like everyone else. The other kids started noticing and there was even more of a divide between us.
At first I was happy when Mamma and Daddy told me I'd be changing schools in the sixth grade. Daddy had lost his job and we had to move to a shelter, which was the reason for my new school.
This was the only time we accepted any form of charity, we were never on welfare and everything we had, Mamma and Daddy worked hard for. I always felt guilty about my family being so poor. My parents weren't always like that. They weren't exactly rich growing up, but they were both from families that lived pretty comfortably.
Mamma and Daddy met in high school and fell in love. At seventeen, Mamma found out she was pregnant with me. She had to drop out of school and when her parents found out she was going to keep me, they kicked her out. Daddy's parents were furious when he told them he had dropped out and was going to marry Mamma. They kicked him out too.
They've always told me that they never regretted the way things turned out. But I know that if it weren't for me they would have been able to at least finish high school, maybe even college. Daddy got his GED and had to take whatever job was available for as long as I can remember. He never complained. Mamma worked as much as she could too, but it was hard having me and then Louis five years later. They could never afford daycare.
I changed schools more times than I care to remember, every time was worse than the last. The boys got more and more pushy as I got older and the girls started resenting me. I always only wanted to be average looking. I hated being pretty. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, I'm 5'3 and thin. Daddy says I look just like Mamma did at my age. I love that fact, but it has given me so many problems.
Every time I would start a new school, I would try to dress in baggy clothes - ones we could afford - and try to blend. I never had make up, and I didn't do anything special to my hair, it fell to the middle of my back in loose waves. My attempts never worked very long and Mamma told me all the time that she wished I would dress more feminine.
"Lizzie," Mamma poked her head into my room. "Come on Honey, you don't want to be late."
I forced a smile, "I'll be right there. I just want to finish getting ready."
Mamma ducked out of my room back to the kitchen she was so proud of. This was the first time we had ever had a house, and the first time I didn't have to share a room with Louis. It wasn't huge, but it was ours.
We moved to Morgantown, Indiana when Daddy got his new job in the factory. He tried to explain to me, what he does, but it went right over my head. He was so proud though, and I was proud of him and of our new house. I just wish it was in a bigger place. The population of Morgantown was only 964 people. Well, 968 now, I guess. But we were sure to be the topic of gossip, which I hated.
There was only one high school in the area, Center Grove High, and they had a uniform. On the one hand I was glad that Mamma and Daddy wouldn't have to waste money on alot of school clothes for me, I could get by with two skirts and two shirts for the year if I was careful. And then of course, no one would notice that I didn't have alot of clothes. But the skirt was so short! I never wore skirts anyway, but this one only came to the middle of my thigh. I was entirely uncomfortable in it. At least for gym we were allowed to wear sweats if we wanted.
I took a deep breath and closed my book. I was already dressed, I just needed shoes. Taking care of that and running a brush through my hair, I headed down the hall to breakfast.
Mamma had a plate ready for me on the table. I sat down across from Louis who was shoving a whole pancake in his mouth. When he saw the disgusted look on my face he grinned, the pancake still half hanging out of his mouth.
"Morning, Sweetie." Daddy said. "Ready for your first day?"
I cringed internally and forced another smile, "Yep." I lied.
"You look beautiful, honey." Mama said, sitting down next to me. I'm sure she was glad I finally had to dress like a girl.
"Thanks." I mumbled grabbing the syrup and pouring it on my pancakes.
The rest of breakfast passed without me saying much, Louis took over. He was actually excited about his first day. He had a uniform too, but it was only a polo shirt and khakis, the lucky little booger.
As far as little brothers go, Louis wasn't so bad. Sure he got on my nerves sometimes and did annoying, gross little brother stuff, but I love him. He's all I have besides Mamma and Daddy.
Mamma turned to look at the clock, "You kids better get going, you don't want to miss the bus."
Nope, wouldn't want that. I thought sarcastically. I got up anyway and cleared my place at the table. I grabbed my new school bag and headed for the door.
"Lizzie." Mamma said as I was reaching for the door.
I turned around.
"It'll be fine, Honey, just be yourself." She said, smoothing down my hair.
Crap, she noticed. "I know, Mamma, I'm ok." I lied again. "Just nervous."
She gave me a quick hug before I left the house. The bus was just pulling up as I closed the door behind me. I quickly walked onto the bus, ignoring the stares and found an empty seat. Luckily the bus wasn't full by the time we reached school, so I hadn't had to sit by anyone. I knew I would have to talk to someone soon though.
"Lizzie, breakfast!" Mamma called from the kitchen.