Chapter 1: Forbidden

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 403
Comments: 4

Chapter 1


“You’re going to be late if we don’t leave now!” My mother shouts from somewhere downstairs. In all honesty, I don’t care if I’m late or not. I don’t want to go to school here.

“Okay,” I reply running the straightener through my brown hair, glaring at myself in the mirror with gray eyes. I decided on wearing a dress today and the cowboy-fashioned boots my (Why don’t you just fall off a cliff) step-father bought for me exclaiming: Now you’re a real Texan! Pfft, I never asked to be a real Texan, hell I was never even asked if I wanted to move here. It is hot all the time, and humid too. If I don’t straighten my hair it poofs out; I’m not trying to look like a sad cowgirl, here.

I’m storming down the stairs moments later, and my mother is glaring at me through her gray eyes, looking at the length of my dress and I know she wants to make me go change, but I also know she doesn’t want me to be late on my first day. It’s under the school dress code, my mother just prefers me to look like a prude. I snatch my oversized purse, and we’re out the door, sitting at a traffic light within two minutes. The voice of Adele preaching about her no good, very bad boyfriend in the background as we wait, “Are you at least wearing shorts under that?” She finally asks. I look down at my dress, with is just hitched above my knees, and I fan it out with my fingers on either side.

“Nope,” I say, and I smile a little. We lurch forward, and take a sharp left. I can hear my mother inhale and exhale harshly.

We arrive at my new high school moments later, and the front lawn is filled with kids; some talking on blankets; some standing on the sidewalk beside the lawn; some gawking as I leave the car and I turn back to my mother nervously. Her face as calmed, the little wrinkles on her forehead softened, and she’s looking at me with those eyes that can make me tear up so quickly. But, as the warmness behind my eyes start I suck it up, and smile at her.

I hurry through the threads of people before I stop at the door and find the pink list of names for the juniors. “Penelope Sanders: Room 233; Mr. Danes.” And, I open of the door, and the school smells like leather and dust. A few people smile at me, but I don’t return it. I just need to make it through today, and then I get to go home and avoid humanity for at least 10 hours. I can do this.

Room 233 just had to be across the school. “Room, 224, 225,” I say to myself, the first bell has already rang, and kids in this part of the school have already found their home rooms. “Room 226,” and I’m nearing the end of the hallway, the red lockers have stopped a few doors back. “Fuck,” I say to myself, and just because I’m the most unlucky person in the world I see a sign, with an arrow, pointing to a pair of double doors indicating that rooms 227-300 are upstairs.

I hurry up the stairs this time, and jut through the doors. My skirts are flying as I do, and I pull at them, but being a klutz as well, I bump into the other person coming through the doors, not watching where they’re going, and his things go flying. “I’m so sorry.” I say, and I’m on the floor shuffling up papers into a pile.

“It’s fine.” He says, but he doesn’t sound as sure as he exhales. And, I feel like the biggest idiot in the world. I should have just worn jeans.

“Here,” I thrust a messy stack of white and pink papers in his direction, and he takes them from me. Our fingers brushing, and our eyes meet, and he’s gorgeous. Of course, it has to be a handsome guy that I trip over no my first day. I can’t be some incompetent freshman who would have taken the blame. It had to be someone with the darkest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and when he smiles, the whitest straightest teeth… And, I’m staring.

“Thank you.” He says, and I’m blushing looking at the floor as I stand up instead of crouch down awkwardly, probably flashing my black undies. And, somewhere in the back of my mind my mother is scolding me for not wearing shorts. I nod, and I’m about to hurry along, “Are you lost?” He asks, and I turn around.

I shake my head, “No, I think it is right up here. Thanks though.” I fling my hand in the only direction this hallway goes.

“Well, I’m Caleb. If you need help you can find me in the office until 5th period.” He says, and somewhat feel foolish for thinking he was flirting with me. He was just doing his damn job.

“Thank you.” I say this time, and I give him a final smile and hurry down the hallway scanning the doors until I find 233 and I dart inside.

The class room is still noisy meaning the teacher hasn’t called order yet, so I slip into the nearest desk and wait for some instruction. Its moments before a portly man with a patches of gray hair just above his bean like ears enters the room, and he coughs, then shouts, “Welcome to the 11th grade, I’m glad you made it. I’m Mr. Dane.” And, he scribbles his name on the dry erase board. He takes the stack of papers he brought with him, looking at the floor mostly, and sets them on my desk. “Take one, then pass these behind you,” cough, cough, and then he waddles back to the front of the desk as I take one piece of paper and pass the rest behind me.

The rest of the day seems carry on like this, another inconsiderate half-hearted teacher after the next until sixth period gym class when I actually have to do something other than sit on my behind and pretend to be listening. Of course, of course we would have to start dodge ball this day. I remember the first day of P.E. back in Portland; we just sat in the bleachers the first week and talked about safety and guidelines.

“Hey, I’m Myra,” a girl with the prettiest caramel skin says as I line up on the wall to be chosen for teams.

“Penny,” I say.

“You,” a larger girl says, pointing at Myra, and then she’s gone. My first potential friend; and, she is gone. I sigh, and then wait to be picked. I’m a thin girl with flabby arms, probably a potentially easy target for anyone holding a dodge ball. I’m chosen second to last, because the last kid is in a wheel chair. If he wasn’t, I’m sure I’d be last. Luckily, though, I’m on the same team as Myra, and I stand beside her.

The coach, who looks like he was plucked out of a bad 70’s movie, blows the whistle and a tall girl with glasses points at me. She’s saying, “You’re going down.” But, without sound; and I cringe as she chunks the ball towards me, and someone upstairs must be looking out for me, because I dodge it. I grin at Myra, and she smiles back. Then, I’m pegged; the coach blows the whistle and throws a thumb over his shoulder. I’m out.

“Great game,” I mutter to myself, sitting on the bench, and surprisingly I’m the first one out.

“That looked like it hurt.” A familiar manly voice says over my shoulder, and I turn around to stare at Caleb. How hadn’t I noticed him sitting there? He’s changed into basketball shorts and a Nike t-shirt that says: Just Do It. And, my insides are like: Let’s go. But, I know it doesn’t mean it per say, but I so wish it did. I’d be all over that.

“I’m fine.” I lie, because I really haven’t surveyed the area that I was tagged in. All the blood in my body must be in my face right now, though.

He smiles, with those gorgeous white teeth, “You should really only pay attention to the balls. The people out there are just going to try and psyche you out.”

“I’ll keep that in mind next time.” I say, but whether I’m paying attention to faces or balls, I’m going to get hit first. It’s just fate.

“You don’t sound too sure.” He says again, and by this time I’ve turned around, looking at the game. Myra is still going strong. She’s almost feline as she dodges the balls.

I shrug, “I’m not good at sports.”

“You must be good at something.”

I study the court, thinking of home, not Houston, but home-home, “I like to paint.” I say, and it’s the truth. My father bought me a paint set, easel and everything else I would need whenever I was much younger. I painted for years before moving here, and it’s like I lost my footing. I can’t hold a brush without my hand quivering.

Before we say anything else, a few people file onto the bench, and I feel too crowded to continue speaking; even if he did say something else. He doesn’t though; he just gets off the bleachers, and blows his own whistle. “Restack the balls in the middle; don’t go until I blow this whistle again.” What is he a coach? I ponder, staring at his protruding behind mechanically before another girl bumps into me, rudely as she joins the losers on the bench.

There are only five girls on each team left, and they do as their told. They go again, and then there are 2v2. Soon, it’s just my new friend Myra and the tall girl with glasses in the pink jumpsuit. And, then, finally the game is over. Myra loses, and she sits by me on the bleachers. “Good game,” I say, mostly sarcastically, but I’m also a good sport. Because losers can’t get mad at every game they lose.

To my surprise she shakes her head, “I’ll get that bitch next time.” And, I look at her in new light. Maybe she isn’t friend material.


My last class is art, and the teacher is by far the grooviest. She’s wearing a multicolored blouse, red boots, tan velvety pants, and, a vest, yes a blue-jean vest which makes that hippie statement. “I’m Martha Crank, but the state says you must call me Mrs. Crank. So, please, if anyone you don’t recognize comes in. I’m Mrs. Crank. Otherwise, call me Martha.” She smiles, the lines in her face never cease. There are creases from her mouth to her ears, from her ears to her eyes, and from her eyes, across her forehead, to her puffs of silvery hair.

I sit at a table with four other people, because I have to; two of them stay oblivious to my existence, while another girl chats away to the whole entire table. She’s on the subject of her summer in Chattanooga or wherever whenever the final bell rings and I hurry out the doors to my mother’s car, which is thankfully, parked in front of the school house.

“How was it, honey?” She asks, like it was going to be anything but horrible.

I look at her sideways, pulling my seat buckle on as she pulls away from the school. “I never want to go back there.” I say.

We’re turning left whenever she asks, “Why?”

I groan, “Can’t we just move back?”

She presses her lips so hard that they look more like skin flaps than pretty pink lips, “I’m sorry Penny, but you know this answer already.”

Oh do I… “Can’t I just be homeschooled then, it’s only two more years.” I ask, though I only half mean it.

“And, who’s going to homeschool you? Me and Alec work, sweetie.” We’re turning onto the street I’m forced to live on, and headed towards the small cottage that Alec owns. It is just the cutest thing – I remember my mother had said to me the first time she told me we were moving. I wanted to run away.

I let out a breath and get out of the car as soon as she pulls into the drive way, and I hurry into the house. I don’t bother shutting the door, because I’m sure she’s fast behind me. But, I’m upstairs before she talks to me again. My room is desirable, sure, it’s spacious, just like the master bedroom and I have my own bathroom, but it’s not home. I miss my small bed room, with my twin mattress that smells like a mixture of all of my favorite perfumes, and the sounds of the city. I hear the occasional ambulance or police car here, but it not the same. It is safe; another statement from my much too happy newlywed mother.

“You’ll find friends and get used to it.” She says, leaning into my door frame with her arms folded. She’s wearing a dress too, a more modest dress. “The girl down the street seems okay.”

“She’s twelve, mom.” I roll my eyes, sitting on my bed, knowing in the back of my head that this argument is pointless.

She swallows, looking for new footing, and I stare at her. “Well, you didn’t find anyone in school that you could be friends with?” I think of Myra for a second, but she seems much too aggressive. Yet, I’m not nearly one to judge a book by the cover. Then, there is also Caleb, but I can’t really call him a friend-friend. “See,” she says, as if I found something in my mind to make this whole situation okay, and she’s very wrong. “Dinner is at 7.”

I get downstairs at 7:30, because I know my mother isn’t punctual, and I’m right. She’s still sautéing something at the stove whenever I join her. Alec is sitting at the table with papers and other work things strung out in front of him. “Hey kiddo,” He says not bothering to look up because I’m not subtle nor light footed.

“Hey Alec,” I say sweetly.

“You’re in a better mood I see.” He says, and I want to scold my mother for telling him anything other than that I was coping well with the change. It has been two months since I moved here after all. Even though I desperately want to leave, I’m not one to burden any one (aside from my mother) with my thoughts, wishes, and wants. Though, deep down inside, I wish he’d just get hit by a truck so we can move back to Ohio.

“Yeah, just a bit of first-day anxiety.” I lie.

He finally looks up from this work, his box-framed glasses slipping down his angular nose, “You hungry? I think mom is nearly done.” I hate it when he calls her that because it’s exactly how my father used to address her.

I nod, sucking in a breath, “Yes.” I wouldn’t be down here for any other reason.

“Yep, done now; come get it while it’s hot baby.” She says.

“Okay,” Alec and I both say in cohesion, and we share an awkward glance. I hurry into the kitchen, and take a ceramic plate she had already set out for the three of us and I serve myself a nice sized steak, greens, and rice.

We all sit down before any of us eats, because that’s how Alec likes it. I remember the first night I had finished half of my plate before he sat down. He looked at my mother sternly, and then she sighed, “She didn’t know.” And, I looked at both of them oddly before he said, “That’s fine.” He thus explained the dinner etiquette at his home. As well as his bathroom rules, shoes and other items policy, and other various procedures that are just ridiculous in my eyes. But, I only nodded.

He’s talking about work; he’s a defensive lawyer in Houston, whenever there is a knock on the door; three taps and then two more. Which is odd, because no one has come over since our home coming party two months ago; me and my mother exchange looks. He wipes his mouth, and excuses himself from the table.

Whenever he opens the door, I’m at the edge of my seat to see who it is, and he, to my utter surprise, hugs the visitor. They are saying stuff I can’t hear from here, and then a small frame girl with waves and waves of blonde hair follows in. And, the boy gestures to the girl, and it looks like she is just meeting Alec. They embrace briefly, and then the door shuts.

“Patty, you remember I said I had two sons. You met Avian; this is Ezra, my youngest.” He says, leading the boy by the shoulder towards the dining room table. And, he’s God’s gift to mankind. 

Submitted: December 16, 2013

© Copyright 2020 sarahfarahh. All rights reserved.


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Add Your Comments:



Feel free to comment or critique or w/e :)
I love feed back!

Mon, December 16th, 2013 7:42am


This isn't a really awesome story and I am not addicted to it. Oh wait! That was a lie this is utterly amazing and I can't stop reading! I wonder who she ends up liking/crushing on!

Fri, December 20th, 2013 8:42am


Lol! I was like: oh, totally done with this story. poof. But, er, thanks. I'm working. I don't think I'm too good on character development, but I'm working on it.


Fri, December 20th, 2013 9:27am



Fri, January 17th, 2014 7:11pm

Scarlett Rae

I like your characters so far. The whole oddball, not fitting in thing has been done a lot but I'm definitely curious to see where this goes.

Fri, January 17th, 2014 1:39am


Thank you for the critique. It has been, you’re right. She evolves though. :)

Thu, January 16th, 2014 5:45pm

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