"Danny, leave Rose-Mary alone!" scolded the teacher.
"Mrs Bore-da-LOOOO-AIRE!!" shrieked Peggy as Jake tipped her chair.
"Jake, finish your work!" the teacher snapped.
"Tom, get back to your seat! Jasper, this is your final warning! Get your angles work done!" she continued to shout, anger and frustration finally taking over.
"Why won't anyone DO AS THEY'RE TOLD!?"
The interval bell rang and everyone evacuated the classroom, leaving behind a complete disaster for the janitors to tidy.
"Saved by the bell," Mrs Boredaluaire sighed, sinking into her seat and dropping her head down on her desk.
Jasper, Blue and I darted through the crowd and onto the playground. We lunged at the swings before anyone else could and pushed each other, laughing hard.
"Yo, Jas!" hollered a boy. He ran up to us and Jasper stepped forward. The two slapped hands, curled them into fists and bumped knuckles.
"Sup, Kennie! This, here's Tom," Jasper introduced. Kennie and I bumped fists and Blue and him did the same.
"So, how do you like it here?" he asked, making conversation. I fell back on the grass and crossed my legs in, my arms behind me so I could lean back.
"Meh, it's ok. I like the trees," I shrugged and they all sat down.
"Where's Ivy?" Blue questioned, looking over Jasper. He shrugged and turned his head slightly, footsteps nearing us. It was the blonde girl. Her golden hair swished as she walked towards us and she folded her skirt as she plopped down between Blue and I.
"Hola, amigos," she grinned and stared at me, obviously waiting for an introduction.
"Tom," I beamed, extending my arm.
"Ivy," she confirmed, shaking my hand. Jasper blew a raspberry and got up. The soothing draft made his raven-dark hair swoosh slightly, revealing his royal-blue eyes.
"Let's leave the girls and go play," he suggested, crossing his arms. Kennie nodded and stood up, both of them awaiting my answer.
"Uh..." I exhaled, looking at Blue. She smiled and tilted her head, gesturing me to go. "You sure?"
"Go, Tom-Tom," she giggled, planting a kiss on my cheek, causing Ivy to squirm under us. Reassured, I leaped up and dashed after the boys. It felt amazing; speeding through the playground, having a best friend like Blue...and now, friends of my own sex. I'd never had any one else, other than Mr Schnoogly.
"Tag, you're it!" yelled Kennie, poking my arm. I laughed and chased after him and Jasper. I pushed one of them lightly, and it was now the other way around. I was racing away from Jasper, Kennie by my side when we both smacked into a something big.
"Watch it, dweeb!"
"Oops, sorry!" I exclaimed, stepping back to see the boy looking down at me. There were two others standing on either side of him.
"Eighth graders!" someone bawled, and everyone either fled the scene or just stepped back.
"I thought this was an elementary school!" I hissed at Jasper.
"There's a middle school right next to us. The high school's on the other side of the park," he clarified, oddly calm - compared to the rest of the school.
"Whispering doesn't mean we can't hear you!" the eighth grader in the middle sneered.
"Ok. Good for you...?" I replied half-jokingly. He bared his teeth and cracked his knuckles, preparing to punch me. I rolled my eyes and stood my ground.
"Seriously? Really?" I moaned, pulling up my sleeves.
"Yeah, seriously. You don't mess with Rory!" he snarled. The other boys nodded, shouting 'yeah' in unison.
"This is Teagen and Owen, and we're going to knock your teeth in," he added, pointing to one as he said each name.
"Don't you mean out?" I scoffed. Owen threw a punch, but I dodged it and did it again when Teagen flung a fist. I sidestepped Rory as he pounced at me. He fell to the floor, and I simply placed my foot on his back.
"I win," I smirked, before turning around and walking away. Kennie and Jasper caught up, high-fiving me.
"Tom, that was awesome!" Jasper exclaimed.
"Yeah, dude, that was well cool!" Kennie agreed.
"Not really. All I did was put my foot on him," I giggled, but they shook their heads.
"Nu-uh! Tom, you dodged them! That takes skill," he protested. I smiled at myself.
"I saw that in class too! How you moved out of the way just before the book hit you. You are fast," Jasper praised, and I felt a wave of excitement, happiness and self-worth. Kennie snapped a large cookie into three pieces, and handed us one each.
"Thanks, Kennie," Jasper graced.
"Yeah, thanks, Kennie," I smiled, and he winked.
"What are friends for?" he grinned, and took a bite of his piece. We walked back to class, chatting about Spongebob, Fairy odd parents and Ed Edd 'n' Eddy.
"I hate TV people, they got rid of all the good shows!" I moaned.
"Yeah, have you seen that show 'Adventure Time'? What a waste of time!" Kennie scoffed and we guffawed.
"What happened to all the good shows, like Samurai Jack, Tom and Jerry, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, the list goes on!" Jasper added. Kennie and I agreed, nodding our heads rapidly.
"Yes, yes, yes! I loved those shows!" I admitted excitedly.
"Remember 'Courage the Cowardly Dog'?" he asked. Kennie and I gasped in unison.
"That was my favourite show!" we both squealed, laughing after we'd said it. Entering the classroom, we took our bags and jackets, and left for A15.
"Sit next to you guys?" I proposed, desperately hoping they'd accept.
"Well, duh," Jasper laughed as we breezed into the new room. Kennie led us to the back row, near the corner. The tables where in twos; two at the right, two in the middle and two at the left. It went like that until it reached the front of the room, stopping a few feet from the teacher's desk. I plopped down in the left aisle seat, Jasper next to me. Kennie took the seat across from us, which was still only an arm's length or so away.
"Don't let Danny sit there," Jasper warned.
"Why not?" I asked, curious.
"He eats glue," Kennie whispered, as the very person we were speaking of entered the room.
"Hey, guys!" Danny greeted, moving towards us. Kennie threw a leg over the seat, whilst Jasper and I stifled our laughers.
"Sorry, taken," Kennie lied. Danny crossed his arms and pouted, tapping his foot. Just as he was about to try again, Jake walked in.
"Jake, you're sitting here!" Kennie urged. Jake froze, then shrugged and sat down next to him.
"No fair!" whined Danny, sulking off. He slumped down at the front, away from the rest of us, and reached into his bag, taking out a tub of gooey-glue. The rest of the class rushed in as the bell rang, and everyone took their seats. Blue and Ivy sat on the seats across from Jasper.
"Hi, hi!" Blue beamed, waving at us, just a second longer at me.
"Hello, class. It has been brought to my attention that we have a new student?" sang a young teacher as she danced in gracefully. "Thomas McPhur?"
"Tom," I corrected, yet again.
"Hello, Tom! I'm Miss Loretta, your music teacher," she spoke softly.
"I like to get on with things, so if you don't mind, let's sing!" she announced, her arms dramatically high above her. Ivy and I handed out the the tambourines, Blue and Kennie dispensed the maracas whilst Jake and Peggy disseminated the xylophones and mini keyboards.
"I overheard some of you talking about old shows," she broadcasted, silencing the room. Jasper, Kennie and I exchanged some nervous glances and cringed. "And I got an idea!"
She started smacking her tambourine rhythmically and humming a tune. I caught on and started shaking my maracas. Jasper and Kennie tuned in with another small drum and a keyboard.
"You take the moon and you take the sun!" Miss Loretta sang beautifully.
"You take everything that seems like fun!" the boys and I chanted.
"You stir it up and then it's done!" Blue and Ivy continued.
"Rada rada rada! Rada rada rada!" Jake warbled, and we all laughed.
"So come on in, feel free to do some lookin' and stay a while 'cause something's always cookin'!" the whole class sang. We continued with the song but were interrupted shortly after by a woman in a ivory caccon skirt-suit. She wore a black bow-hat over her tight side-bun and black, kitten-heel pumps.
She looked far more formal than our teacher dressed in a halterneck, polka-dot dress and cream pumps. Miss Loretta's lips were a baby-pink colour and her short, brown hair curled up under her chin...she looked so much better.
"Hello, young ones," she spoke, her pot-rouge lips moving fluently.
"Hello, Mrs Kingsley," the class mumbled.
"What an underwhelming display of enthusiasm," she scolded. Blue rolled her eyes, and Jasper fake-yawned.
"I'm here to let this class know, ach and every one of you must prepare a talk about your hero," she said proudly. "It can be anyone. Mom, Dad, Nan."
My heart stopped for a good few seconds.
"Hey, you ok? You're paper-white, man," Kennie whispered. I gulped and nodded slightly. I looked over at Blue, and she too had gone pale. She caught me staring and smiled weakly. I mouthed 'we need to talk' and she nodded.
"Is there something you'd like to say, young man?" Mrs Kingsley questioned. I shook my head and she frowned, eyeing me. "Good."
"Loretta," our teacher snapped.
"Miss Loretta will hand out the template sheet," she gritted. "I leave you to do so. Goodbye, young ones."
"Goodbye, Mrs Kingsley," the class mumbled once more. Miss Loretta gave each of us a booklet and the template sheet, snatching the glue from Danny when she passed him.
"She's such a witch," she laughed, and we all joined in. "Alright, you may discuss with your friends."
Blue bolted to me and grabbed my arm, pulling me to a corner. We sat down, making sure no one saw or heard us, and leaned closer to each other.
"Tom...I have a secret," she murmured, her breath tickling my skin.
"No, you don't understand. Mine isn't just any-"
"Blue, you have no idea what I go through," I snapped.
"Don't even go there! You have no idea what I go through," she growled. The door swung open and a tall, dark-haired man wearing an expensive-looking navy-blue suit entered.
"J-Jacob?" I gasped.