American Youth

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1) - Not Comprehending

Submitted: May 22, 2020

Reads: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 22, 2020

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A A A

 

Sound: Book slamming shut

 

The sound that’s generated from the closing encyclopedia, startles Emily from her zoned-out state, and back into the present day inside of Paul Mann’s art class. Mr. Mann is currently standing over his startled pupil with Jessica by his side, and neither of them displays a look of amusement. It’s at this moment that Emily discovers her teacher is the guilty party responsible for slamming shut the book; the shame of being caught settles in for the young girl immediately. 

 

“I see that you’re eager to get started, Ms. Greyson,” Mr. Mann says, in a monotone fashion that makes it difficult to sense his mood,

 

“Shall I remind you… this is a team assignment that has an expectation of working with your partner.”

 

After saying this, he’ll then look down at Emily’s recently drawn doodle, and is genuinely impressed by what he sees. The picture is that of a Blue Jay, perched on a blooming Cherry blossom in what appears to be a scene from Red Wing park. The detail put into the bird itself amazes Mr. Mann to the point that he has to take a closer look. He then picks up the sketch book from Emily’s desk, and begins examining the drawing with concealed astonishment that’s intentionally repressed. Not knowing what to make of his actions, Emily idly sits by with the belief that her sketch book is about to be confiscated, and so the mood of this girl becomes a little gloomy off the notion. Fortunately, her fears will not be the case, as Mr. Mann sets the sketch book back on the desk to this girl’s relief.

 

“Interesting,” Mr. Mann says, in regard to Emily’s picture with that emotionless tone he’s so known by,

 

“Can we put this same effort into the actual assignment with your partner?”

 

This subtle compliment given by Mr. Mann doesn’t exactly register to Emily, whose just relieved that she’s not presently in trouble. Greyson simply nods at her teacher’s request, and then she’ll grab her sketch book in haste to put it back in the pouch. After all of this, Jessica retakes her seat next to Emily and it’s fairly evident that she was flustered by her colleague’s prior behavior. However, Emily is a little embarrassed by the whole ordeal… but not because she has annoyed Jessica. In her mind, that might have been the one good thing that came out of the situation. Having her teacher intervene and create a scene in front of the entire class is the bothersome aspect, but this feeling will soon pass in a moment’s notice.  Once the agitated Rogers has resituated herself, an awkward stare down commences between the two girls. Neither person is fully comprehending the other’s motives for gazing, but the reasons are there. For Emily, it’s still purely the annoyance of having to partner with the individual she despises the most. Jessica’s glare is literally for the opposite reason. Greyson’s refusal to cooperate, is this popular girl’s growing dissatisfaction, and her patience is starting to disappear on the matter.

 

“Do you even know what our assignment is,” Jessica ask in slightly annoyed way, while resisting the urge to lash out at Emily.

 

After hearing this, Emily is angered by the tone behind her partner’s question, and she immediately desires to shut down from Jessica. Even though the young lady is emotionally bothered at this very second, she cannot allow herself to give in to those intense feelings. In her mind, it’s not worth flubbing her grades over any beef she has towards Jessica Rogers, and so she’ll slowly reel it back in. Greyson has to swallow a little pride in order to settle a bit, and the taste of humility is bittersweet to her. With gritted teeth, Emily will acknowledge the apparent fact she has no idea what’s happening in class at the moment. A subtle eye roll is given by Jessica at this point, but the meekness displayed by her partner makes the situation a little more forgivable. After seeing the resistance recede from Emily, Jessica will then tie her hair back into a ponytail and explain the assignment. This is followed up by her retrieving a nearby wooden easel and putting it before them.

 

At this point, Emily surveys the room in a casual manner, and it’s only then that she’ll realize her group is the last to properly setup for painting. Discomfiture overcomes the girl right then and there as Jessica prepares the easel for service, and a sense of remorse finally hits Emily with regards to her prior behavior. She starts to think that perhaps she could have resist yielding to her emotions, but this line of thought doesn’t last further than the mere recognition of such. In truth, she hates the concept of allowing Jessica Rogers to see her in a vulnerable state, and this behavior is nothing new. She’s learned from her middle school days that displaying weakness around Jessica… is like tossing meat to a hungry dog; better not to let them see you sweat. Yet, she’s surprised to see a calmness about her foe, who has finished setting up the easel by this point. The usual demeanor of a vengefully scheming Jessica… is just not evident. Though, it has been some time since Emily had to deal with the retaliatory nature of the school’s most popular girl, so there’s no telling how Roger’s behavior has evolved. With no sense of retribution to be felt, and the peaceful environment that surrounds the two; it’s almost too unsettling for the young Greyson to bear.  

 

“Shall we start,” Jessica ask with a sense of exhaustion, while waving Emily over to the easel.

 

With this call over, Emily reluctantly stands to her feet upon the question being asked, and then slowly heads over to Jessica. Surprisingly, this hesitant girl will allow herself to relax in regard to working with Jessica, and simply sucks it up towards the ordeal. Due to her teammate’s talents in art, Jessica gladly steps aside to be led by the more gifted Greyson; in fact, she encourages it. Instructing her greatest enemy seems effortless for Emily to do, and she looks as if she enjoys the level of control a bit too much. For Rogers, how her partner appears to behave is of no concern. She just wants to get a passing grade on the current assignment, and how it’s obtained doesn’t matter.

 

Later on

 

Sound: School bell

 

The prior class period ends for the day, and Emily emerges from the art room with Jessica not being too far behind. As they both exit out, a brief glance of one another happens that’s followed up with half-hearted goodbyes. This rare display of politeness does little for Emily, whose all too eager to get away from the situation. After this exchange of pleasantries, the pair continue about their separate ways with some haste.

 

At the same time Emily makes it to her locker, Jessica will arrive over to a nearby friend in wait. Curiosity takes over Greyson’s being at this point, and the drive to be a little nosey commences as she looks back to see who her foe engages. Upon inspection, she’ll find that this individual is none other than Wendy Lee.

 

Wendy is no longer that underdeveloped thirteen-year-old girl of the past, for puberty has come upon her to a degree. She has matured into a more lady-like physique, and years of volleyball has shaped her body into something that’s more athletic in nature. Still, she’s not the best-looking person among her peers, and this is something Lee kind of understands. Especially when compared to Jessica Rogers, Wendy knows she’ll likely be overlooked for her more popular friend. Regardless of this belief, she’s still pretty enough to attract boys, and her looks have been efficient enough to even land Travis Garrett a month back.

 

Over time, Wendy’s personality has soured to the point that most people would consider her the meanest individual to know… even more so than Jessica herself. No doubt, this attitude stems from her fiercely competitive nature, and that willingness to step on people’s toes. Even though this behavior has been largely negative regarding how others perceive her, the small good that comes from it seems to outweigh the bad. For instance, this intense drive has Wendy excelling in all her classes. The honor roll train has never stopped since the days of middle school, and this is an achievement she’s quite proud of. Outside of maintaining excellent grades, she also keeps herself busy in other school curriculums. She is the head cheerleader for the varsity squad, a prominent member of the girls’ varsity volleyball team, and the president of the junior student council. Wendy’s family influence on Hampton Roads high is interesting, especially with the school library being paid for and named after her father, Michael Lee. These family ties give her unfair levels of pull in the school, and this little side note doesn’t escape the young lady’s understanding. When the occasion calls for it, she’ll utilize this factor to her advantage and it almost always works. Such influence at times also makes her an extremely proud individual, in the worst of ways. To top off this arrogant streak, her parents’ guaranteed intervention when things are not going their daughter’s way, is the stuff of nightmares for school officials.

 

After Emily determines it to be Wendy Lee, she frowns in disapproval.  Wendy’s relationship with her has never improved over time, and it shows no signs of changing. For Emily, Wendy is just as much of an enemy as Jessica Rogers is to her. It’s safe to say the feelings are mutual, as Wendy takes notice of her adversary nearby and glares with disdain. The abrupt display of annoyance is not the usual behavior one would expect coming from Wendy, but an exception has been the case regarding Emily Greyson for some time now. Emily has been viewed as Wendy’s biggest competition since the days of middle school, when it concerns boys. Lee has never had much success beating out her foe in this area, but this girl thinks she should have. Losing out to someone she feels is beneath her is too hard to accept, and this has always been the primary reason these two have never gelled. Not even time has managed to smooth over the resentment Wendy feels towards Emily, and it also doesn’t seem that Greyson’s depleted popularity makes any difference too. Yet, there appears to be a justification in Wendy’s head for the persistent aggravation towards this girl, but it seems to be a fairly baseless one. Whatever this may be that keeps the tension alive between them… it’s something Emily is unaware of.

 

After a moment of an intense stare down from these two, Wendy will break from her conversation with Jessica and head to class. As fate would have it, the path Lee will need to go… is in the same direction where Emily stands. As Wendy Lee starts down the trek towards her next destination, the intentional glaring fires up between them once more. This go around, there will be no letting up from either party, as the tense gaze lingers until they’re out of each other’s sight. Emily can only shake her head in confusion after this exchange, as she reaches into the locker. It’s not often that these two runs into each other, but when they do, it’s always an extremely awkward encounter. Seeing Wendy Lee is last thing this girl is wanting to do throughout the day, but she won’t get her wish this time. Indeed, the previous moment puts a damper on her mood, as she continues to rummage through the cubby.

 

 

It’s around this time that Devon finds her in the hallway, and his demeanor appears to be a remorseful one. He’s been in search of her since the bell rung, and the aim in mind is to apologize for his behavior earlier. At first, and awkward stand about plays out with them. Both parties await the other to start up the conversation, but they fail to see their politeness is creating the delay. Eventually, Tomes gets straight to the point and expresses regret about his demeanor during lunch. The sincerity in his voice helps Emily move on from this particular situation, but her thoughts are still bothered by the interaction with Wendy.

 

Though it was expected by Devon, no verbal forgiveness is given at the moment, nor any sense of reconciliation will be gestured his way. It’s merely a blank expression on Emily’s face that leaves the young man guessing. How the scenario continues to play out makes Devon a tad uncomfortable as it progresses on, and he’ll slowly start to back away from the enigmatic Greyson. Emily won’t let him get too far before she grabs ahold of his arm, and apologetically says,

 

“I’m sorry, Devon… I heard you, and… we’re good, really we are.”

 

After this is said, Devon is relieved to see that things have smoothed over between the two of them, and it causes him to ease up in posture. Once she senses that her friend is squared away, Emily then rubs his arm in comfort as a gesture of good will. Yet, things are not so great for this flustered young lady, and the reasons are still from the unpleasantry of a few moments earlier. It’s enough to distract her from engaging Devon, and the desire to be alone will soon arise. Within a mere few seconds, Emily will politely excuse herself under the guise of heading to class, and it works well enough not to draw concern from her friend. A time of processing is needed for Emily Greyson, and perhaps… also a tear… or two.


© Copyright 2020 Rafael Najae. All rights reserved.

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