Zara was waiting in her Mercedes right in front of the school when Jordyn walked out after the final bell. She sighed, especially when she spotted Ashley, Shari, and Leah getting into a 2000 model Honda in the junior lot.
Jordyn had to get a car. Soon.
“Afternoon,” Zara said when Jordyn got in the front seat of the car, keeping her head sort of down, hoping Ashley and her friends wouldn’t see her getting picked up by her mommy. Not that cared what they thought, but she didn’t need to give them anymore ammo than they already had. So far, she had no idea where they were getting their ammo, considering she hadn’t done a thing to them, but she definitely didn’t want them to have a real reason to ridicule her.
“Jordyn, what are you doing?” Zara asked when Jordyn spent more than enough time bent over, acting like she was tying her shoe. Her Toms. Her Toms that came with no shoelaces.
She didn’t sit up until she was on the road. “Nothing.”
Zara just shook her head and took a sip of coffee from her—get this—McDonald’s coffee cup. “So how was school?”
Jordyn shrugged. “It was alright, I guess,” she said truthfully.
“Do you like your teachers?”
“My homeroom teacher is nice. My AP Chemistry teacher is scary, my gym teacher’s a perv, and my AP Calculus was born to two hippies and talks to softly we can barely hear her.”
Jordyn had AP Calculus with Erin and Erin had explained to her that Ms. Tumy’s first name was Sunny, short for Sunflower, and she was from Arizona. She told the class she lead a meditation group in the park every Saturday if they wanted to come out.
“Did you make any new friends?” Zara asked.
“Yes, actually, I did.”
Zara looked pleased. “Oh, that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed as she pulled into the parking lot of Cedarwood Middle to pick up Logan.
“And just think, honey,” Zara continued as she pulled up behind a minivan with a Pro-Life bumper sticker. “You’ll make even more tonight at dance.”
Jordyn lost her smile, and cringed. “Oh. Yeah.”
“Honey, I understand,” Zara sighed sympathetically putting a hand on her daughter’s knee. “It’s not Victoria Joy, but it’s something to keep you occupied. And it’ll definitely help you keep in shape.”
Oh. Her mother had really misread her disgruntlement.
They waited for Logan, while Zara talked about how Jordyn was gonna show these Cedarwood girls how to do it. Zara had just asked about Jordyn’s ‘new friends’ when Logan popped out of the crowd of middle schoolers. He waved to someone then hopped in the back of the car.
“Hey, mom,” Logan said, plopping in the backseat and slamming the door.
Zara cringed. “Logan, don’t slam. How was your day?”
“Awesome!” he said. “I have almost every class with Denny and Curtis. And then there’s Lucy.”
He said Lucy, like her name was made of feathers or something.
“Lucy, huh?” Jordyn asked, smirking at her mother. Logan hadn’t been around much over the week since they’d moved to Cedarwood. He’d mostly been at the skate park, or doing something with Denny or Curtis, whose names Jordyn had heard, but their faces, she’d yet to see. But Lucy was new.
“Yeah, she’s in most of my classes,” Logan said, his voice angelic again. “She’s perfect.”
“Logan has a crush,” Jordyn chuckled.
“Hey, mom,” Logan said, ignoring Jordyn’s comment. “Can I ride home with Denny from school on Friday so I can go with the guys to the game?”
“We’ll talk about it with your father tonight,” Zara said.
“So, mom,” Jordyn said. “Enough about our day. How was your day?”
Zara beamed. “You will not believe it, but Jordyn, I found a yoga studio!”
Jordyn raised her eyebrows in shock. Yoga? In Cedarwood?
“Really?” was all she could say.
“Yes! It was the craziest thing! I was grocery shopping—” again?—“and I ran into this very nice lady on the cereal aisle. She asked if I was one of the ones who moved into the Hamilton house on the cliff, and when I said yes, she introduced herself. Oh, we got into the longest conversation and I made the comment that I missed my yoga class the most, and she said I didn’t have to! She teaches a yoga class in the basement of her house!”
“What good luck!” Jordyn said, trying to sound genuine. Truth was, she wasn’t happy her mother had found yoga. This only meant she’d try to make Jordyn go like she’d done back in California. Of course, yoga in California had been Victoria Joy’s idea to maintain Jordyn’s flexibility.
At home, Jordyn went straight up to her new room to work on her homework—she had plenty to keep her busy until dance at 6:00. She didn’t take a break until 5:00 when her mother called her down for dinner.
Ty wasn’t having dinner with them tonight, Jordyn had learned as she sat at the dining room table with their parents and Logan. He’d called Zara before practice apparently to see if it was OK if he went out with a few guys from the team after practice to Mickey’s.
She wondered if it was just some guys from the team that would be there, or if a few cheerleaders would be going.
OK, so she wondered if one particular cheerleader would be there. Probably, she realized. Natalie had been pretty hooked onto Ty during lunch today. She knew it wouldn’t be long until they were a thing.
Then she wondered if maybe Cole would be there. He probably would. Jordyn figured the guys from the team that Ty kept talking about was Cole and those other two boys with the letterman jackets she’d seen him with at lunch.
While they ate, Jack wanted to know how Logan and Jordyn’s first day of school had gone. Logan, of course, stuck by his “it was great!” story, and told them all about his teachers, his class, and of course, Lucy.
Then he asked about the football game Friday night.
“Please!” Logan begged. “All my friends are going. We’re going to the carnival, then after the game just sleeping over at Curtis’.”
Jack looked at Zara as he used his knife and fork to cut his steak. “Zar? What do you think?”
Zara sighed. “I don’t know, Logan. It’s a high school football game. You’re twelve.”
“Will Curtis or Denny’s parents be there?” Jack asked.
“No, they’re dropping us off. Dad, it’s safe. This is Cedarwood, not San Diego. Besides. You’re a cop. Have you seen anything, yet?”
Jack sighed and looked at his wife. “Just gave a couple of speeding tickets and broke up a fight outside the Winn Dixie.”
Jordyn chuckled, then took a sip of her iced tea.
“I guess it’s alright,” Jack said. “I mean, we’ll be there.”
“But it’s a football game, Jack,” Zara said. “There will be a lot of people there. There could be drinking, drugs, fights.”
“I’m sure it won’t be anything like that,” Logan sighed. “Not here. Besides. I’ll be in a group of like, six or seven guys. If their parents let them go, then it must be OK. They know how it is around here. I’m already the new kids. Please don’t make me to be the lame new kid.”
“Oh, he pulled the guilt trip,” Jordyn said, grabbing a fork full of salad. “You two have to let him go, now.”
“We’ll think about it, Logan,” Jack said. “We’ll let you know.”
Logan just groaned and started on dinner.
“What about you, Jordyn?” Jack asked. “You going to the game?”
Jordyn just shrugged. “Not sure, yet.”
“Hey, you haven’t told me how your day went, baby. Did you like your first day at Cedarwood?”
Jordyn shrugged. “It was OK, I guess.”
“Any new friends?”
Her father was asking the same questions her mother had asked, and really, she wasn’t sure if she had an answer, yet.
“I met people,” she agreed, noncommittal.
She proceeded to tell them about Alice, the girl she’d met at the book store, and her friends, Erin and Bethany. She told them about the Sneering Diva, Ashley, and her two little wannabes.
“They just act like that because you’re new,” Zara assured.
“I guess,” Jordyn grumbled.
“They’ll come around. You’ll see.”
She didn’t reply. She didn’t care if they came around or not. She didn’t have time for girls like Ashley. They were a dime a dozen in California, and these girls came from too small of a town at the intersection of Nowhere and Nothing to be acting all high and mighty like they did.
Jordyn didn’t mention Cole, or the rest of Ty’s new friends. But she still couldn’t hide the smile from her face when she thought about the way he’d looked at her that morning. He was no Ryan Mathews. In fact, Cole Anderson didn’t have a shred of California-esque in him. But he sure did make her forget all about Ryan.
“What are you smiling about?” Logan asked.
Jordyn looked up and saw her parents and her brother looking at her.
“Nothing,” she said, still smiling. She stood up. “I’m going to go get ready for dance.” Then she turned on her heel, and headed up the stairs to get ready for her very first class at the Cedarwood Dance School.
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