Where We Belong

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1) - Now

Submitted: April 28, 2016

Reads: 318

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Submitted: April 28, 2016

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A A A

 

Now
Chapter Five

 

I notice when Eric Hart, pitcher for Orson High's baseball team, takes a seat at the table right next to me. "Rebecca." He's surrounded by a few of his friends.

"Hi, Eric," I say carefully.

He casually throws his textbook onto his desk as he leans back in his seat. "So, it took some thought, but we've finally decided who's next."

"What?" I ask, confused, not really sure I even want to know what they're talking about.

"Well, Gavin never had a turn with you. That's not really fair, is it?" He pretends to pout. "Especially when all of his teammates did."

The one who I'm guessing is Gavin takes a seat behind Eric and gives me a head nod. "Do you need my number or...?"

I just turn away, shaking my head. Maybe I just didn't notice when I was part of the in crowd everyone talking this much about me, or if it's just a new thing because I'm not part of it anymore, but I'm starting to wonder how much more of this I can take before it becomes hard to just brush off. The fact that I decided not to give them the time of day just makes them laugh more behind my back.

"Is s-something f-f-funny?" Seth asks them, leaning forward, so he can see them clearly without me in the way.

"No, sir. Didn't realize you had dibs." One of them calls sarcastically.

I turn to him, letting him know he didn't have to try and defend me, "They just want a reaction that I'm refusing to give to them. If you leave it, they'll go away."

"Are you sure you're okay, I saw a couple guys earlier, too..."

I shake my head, stopping him before he can get any further. I'm not trying to relive this morning already, "I'm really fine. Thank you."

Mr. Williams continues with his start-of-the-year speech, then asks if there's anybody new starting their senior year here. Seth raises his hand, along with one other student. This kid starts, with the nudging of the teacher, introducing himself and telling one thing he did over the summer, tripping over his words, unprepared. Then, when it's Seth's turn, he does the same, only careful to pause his words in time so that his stutter isn't so pronounced. It's still a bit noticeable, just not as he was talking to me earlier.

The baseball players hear it though, how they don't come out as clearly, and how he has to repeat some of them more than once, and I can hear them snicker next to me. So, when he's finished, and everyone gives their standard applause, I turn to the boys and ask them, like Seth did, "Is anything funny?" shooting daggers at them with my eyes.

This time, they give me a look, with their hands up in defense. Good, maybe they'll let others who'd like to say something to me know I'm not taking any crap from anyone.

"You don't have to do that, you know, I'm used to it," Seth tells me.

I just shrug. "People can be total dicks. How about I've got your back, if you've got mine?" I ask him with a friendly smile.

"As long as you promise not to break into my house again."

"Deal," I laugh.

Other than that, the rest of the day goes by pretty uneventful, unless of course you don't count the now-standard string of insults pretty thrown at me. Seth's in another one of my classes, but due to assigned seats, he's on the other side of the room. Cheyenne, Jake, and I choose to sit at a lunch table far away from the cool table, near the front doors, but I can still see my old friends laughing away at some joke I'm too far to hear. It's not that I wish I was still over there, I just hate that I'm now ostracized because I'm not.

Cheyenne drops me off at my house a little after three, promising that we'll hang out later. I drop my binder and purse off at the table, and plop down on the stool next to it, when Kayle comes in the kitchen.

"Rough day?" Kayle used to tell me my reputation in high school was because of her. She had one too, not for being mean and dating a ton of guys, like I was, she just had a different set of friends. They were cool because they could sneak alcohol in to school events without getting caught, or get you a fake ID if you asked, all for the right price, of course.

I cover my eyes with both hands, long enough to take a deep breath and huff out, "I don't wanna talk about it."

She takes a water bottle from the fridge, then as she walks out, goes, "You'll come back from this, Ree, don't worry about it. Besides, in college, no one gives a shit who you were in high school anyway."

That's what they tell me. I hope it's true.

* * * * *

"I know being with Cal never stopped you anyway, but now that you're free, you should come over!"

It's not dying down like I thought it would. It's been a week and people are still talking. I think I have it figured out now, though. It's the fact that, yes, people were thinking these things about me already, they were just too afraid of me to say it to my face. Well, now they can, and I can't do anything about it.

I've survived half the day, long enough to make it to lunch, where because I'd been let out a few minutes early, Cheyenne and Jake are nowhere to be found. So now I'm left wandering the cafeteria in search of a seat. No one, however, seems to be my biggest fan and wants to let me sit by them. Shake it off, I try to tell myself, but now I just have that song stuck in my head.

"Wish you had your friends, don't you?" Some girls giggle at me from their table.

"Hey," an arm lightly nudges mine. It makes me jump, but when I look at who did it, this dark, messy haired boy with half a sandwich in his mouth, he gestures for me to sit down. After slugging down that bite, he goes, "Wanna sit with us?"

I recognize him as one of Seth's friends who sits next to him in third period, and take the free seat opposite him. "Thanks."

"I'm Lance, by the way. I saw you hanging with Seth the other day, so I figured you were cool," he shrugs.

"I'm Becca."

"Yeah, I know," he says, just as Seth comes and sits his tray down beside me.

He smiles in my direction, happy to see me sitting with his friends. It's a refreshing feeling, not having anyone who knows me, or who I used to be. I'm sure he's heard things, but not having to live it probably makes it easier to ignore. He's chosen to be friends with me still, so it's a good sign. "Hey, y-you g-guy-guys met B-Becca. She's th-the one who h-hit me with-with h-her l-l-lock-locker."

"Oh yeah!" Lance laughs. "I thought you were going to knock the stutter right out of him!" I sneak a look at Seth to make sure he's not offended or anything before giving a timid laugh myself.

He's just shaking his head, grinning. "Wh-when I t-t-told Lance here n-not to-to be b-b-bothered by the w-way I-I talk, he took it a-a-as, mi-might as w-well l-laugh it off-off then."

Lance shrugs. "It's the way I go about things, I like to think."

"W-works for-for me. Most p-people just-just cr-cringe at me."

I suddenly feel ridiculous. At least it's only at school I feel judged and belittled. He's got to feel that way almost all the time, whether people mean to treat him that way or not.

"Lance," The girl I didn't notice before now sitting next to him taps him on the arm without looking up from her textbook. "If Train A leaves the station at four p.m. traveling 40 miles per hour, and Train B leaves the station at eight p.m. traveling 60 miles per hour, how many hours would it take Train B to pass Train A?" She finally looks up, expecting Lance to have the answer already.

He grabs her book, reading the problem back to himself, and goes, "Uh, I don't know, Babe, I'd need a piece of paper or something first."

It take me a few more seconds, but I have the answer before he reaches for a pencil. "Eight hours."

They both look up at me, Lance with his eyes squinted in surprise and the girl, looking more familiar now, with hesitation.

Backing myself up, and also nervous that everyone's staring at me, I start to mumble, "Well, with Train A, at five p.m. it would have traveled 40 miles, at six p.m., 80 miles, and so on until four a.m, where it went 480 miles. And then Train B, at nine p.m. would have 60 miles, at ten p.m., 120 miles, and so on until again, at four a.m, it went 480 miles," At this point, my friends have found their way to me and take the seat next to Seth, frowning at all this math talk. "So, eight hours since Train B left the station."

"Okay, yeah," Lance says like it's easy, which it is, "but you figured that out in, like, two seconds."

I shrug, realizing I may have been showing off, and feeling bad. "Math just comes easy to me, that's all."

"What is she doing here?" The girl doesn't even hide the fact that she hates me, which I don't blame her for. She closes her book quickly, gathers her things, and gets up to leave.

Lance, watching her do all this, is yelling after her, "Ella! Ella, what are you doing?" I know who she is now. Lance waves us goodbye, saying, "Nice to officially meet you, Becca," and runs after her. But I'm far gone, remembering what I did to make Ella hate me.

Not that I remember everyone I was cruel to, but for some reason, I remember her. Let's just say I thought she was out of line for asking me for a favor, so I retaliated.

"Becca," Seth notices I'm not all there and asks if I'm okay.

I shake my head, tell him I'm fine. "I'll be right back."

As soon as I'm out of their line of vision, I run into the girl's bathroom and into the nearest stall. I seriously need to pull myself together. In order to come back from this, I have to face the people I messed with, i.e. pretty much everyone. I don't deserve to lose my cool, to feel sorry for myself for a second. Once my head is clear again, I open the stall door, only to see Michelle at the sink, fixing her make up.

She sees me too, but decides not to say anything. I don't blame her. If any one of her friends found out she was talking to me...

"Hey," I tell her anyway, not even sure if she's going to talk to me. It's not her fault that she hasn't spoken a word to me in the week we've been back. Three months ago, I just kind of left her hanging. I didn't text, call, e-mail, Facebook, tweet, sub-tweet, anything. Then again, she or even Cal could have reached out and they didn't.

"Hey, how was rehab?" She quips back. That was one of the rumors spread about where I was hiding out this summer. How original.

I shrug. "Mediocre at best. Very few rats."

I see a small hint of a smile, knowing herself that rumor is total bullshit. She still won't look at me, though as she reapplies her lipstick.

"Your hair is lighter," I try one more time, "It's really cute."

She grabs a small end of it in her hands, twirls in around with her fingers, then lets it fall. "Thanks." It's the kind of conversation I would have had months ago with someone I most definitely didn't want to be seen talking to, wishing it would just end already.

Finally, after a couple more grueling seconds, she goes, "Well, see you later," and picks up her purse to leave. But then I see her catch herself at the door, spin back around, almost looking at me like we were friends again, "Look, me and Cal, that wasn't planned or anything, we just..."

"No," I'm quick to jump at the opening she gave me, "I understand," I start to say, even though I really don't, when her friends walk in at that moment, ruining any further conversation we could have had.

Out the corner of her eyes, she's pleading with me not to say anything more, to just leave like we were never friends, like we had never said a word to each other ever. I don't fight it, though. I do what she wants and exit out the bathroom door, while she sighs a short breath of relief.

It's like when a celebrity complains about something in their life, and you're just sitting there, glued to your television knowing their worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they should just take it. High school can sometimes be like a really condensed version of Hollywood. Being popular comes with great reward – being treated like royalty, having the best looking boyfriend, the teachers think you're great, you even get the lunch table closest to the food, with the best view of the wishing fountain, and great parking that everyone just lets you have – but you also have to keep up quite the image of perfection. It can make you go crazy knowing everyone is in your business all the time, and everyone expects the most out of you.

I'm being a little dramatic, but that's what it feels like when you're there.

Lance and Ella don't come back to the table today or the day after that. I try to find her the next day, to apologize, but she leaves any time I get close. I told Seth the reason she left the table, just because he asked. He didn't come back either.

 


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