Something about first days of school always petrified me. The constant nagging of the September heat over you, the rustling of summer assignments, the search of your friends during lunch and making new friends never seemed to click in a good position for me.
It was the end of summer, meaning the first day of my senior year had started. I stared at myself in the mirror early that morning trying to figure out why I looked the same since freshmen year. My height had grown exactly two inches; from five feet three inches I went to five feet and five inches, my burgundy brown hair was still a little higher than my waist, and my fair complexion remained the same.
"Mandy Lace!" my mother called from downstairs. "I’m getting late for work and I want you downstairs, now!"
I sighed and shook my head at my mother’s shrill voice. Marina Morales, the owner of the bookstore near the high school I attended - more importantly, a single mother. She was beautiful with brown curls and a tan complexion which vaguely reminded me of myself. Her voice was strong and impassive, never leading into her true emotions. I could hear her heel tapping on the kitchen floor anxiously as she waited for me to get downstairs. Grabbing my purse, I quickly ran out my door and downstairs.
Mom was already entering in her car, mumbling something to herself. I laughed and sat down with her.
"How many times did I tell you not to talk to yourself, Mom?" I teased.
Mom looked at me and frowned. "I have so many things I need to do today. Busy, busy, busy!" she remarked.
"Well, everyone is," I replied. "First day of school is so annoying."
Mom started the car and drove out of the driveway. "It’s supposed to be fun," Mom said. "And now you’re a senior. You have new responsibilities, honey."
I rolled my eyes as Blue Waterfronts High School; BWH in short, appeared a few feet away.
"I already have too much work on my hands, Mom. I forgot to do the summer reading!"
"What? Why didn’t you do it?" Mom inquired as she stopped the car. She shook her head and quickly scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it to me. "Here," she said. "It’s a note for your teacher. Give me the paper and I’ll make sure I separate the books for you at the bookstore and you can do it tonight."
"Tonight? The books are, like, bundles of pages of historical fiction, Mom!" I complained. I handed her the assignment sheet with a frown.
"You had two full months to do it," Mom answered. "You do the crime, you pay the time. Now go on and have a great day! And remember to report to work after school. You promised you’d help out in the bookstore after school sometimes."
I nodded and gave her an air kiss, scurrying into the building. I smiled brightly inside. It should be a good day. Senior year is supposed to be the best year of your life, right?
"Mandy, hey!" someone called. With my smile never leaving my face, I quickly turned. I felt something hard slam into my face, sending me backwards. I screamed and grabbed my face as my back hit the ground.
Groaning, I opened my eyes and looked around. I saw faces gathered around me, some chuckling and some concerned.
"Are you okay?" a male voice asked. "My bad."
I looked up and saw Mason Smith, the football team quarterback and star soccer player of the school. He was holding his locker door, apparently the hard thing that slammed my face.
"You should watch out the next time you fling locker doors like that," I stated angrily.
He looked at me, surprised to hear my response. He was the school star and undoubtedly every girl’s dream. Other than mine, of course. I was too busy drooling over his best friend, Justin Martinez.
"You should watch out the next time you turn your head as if you’re on the red carpet," he remarked.
I narrowed my eyes at him and turned away, walking to the main office for my locker combination. As the teacher handed me the little slip, I groaned. It was in the senior hallway, like it was supposed to be—but it was right next to Mason’s.
I walked back to the locker, aware now that Justin was leaned against my locker, talking to Mason. They both laughed and did some secret handshake. Mason looked up and saw me approaching.
"Are you here to fight me?" he teased.
"No," I snapped back. "I have my locker here. Excuse me."
I think I twitched as I tried to talk to Justin. He slowly stood up, looking at my face carefully, and then moving to Mason’s other side. My heart beat fast as he passed by me, his shoulder brushing mine. They were discussing football, as it would be starting in a few days.
"Mandy!" someone shouted.
"Don’t turn," I thought to myself. I slowly moved my body around, making sure I was inches away from locker doors. I saw my best friend, Lisa Scott, smile and make her way over to me. Her Coach bag in hand, she looked small and delicate as she walked. Her shiny black hair was tied in a high ponytail as she grinned widely.
"Senior year!" she screamed as she neared me. "And OMG, don’t look now but you’re locker is right next to Mason Smith !" she whispered.
I rolled my eyes. "I know," I answered. "But forget him—Justin is right there!" I hissed.
She looked up and saw Justin, her eyes opening wide. "OMG!" she screamed again. This time, it was much louder. Justin and Mason both turned, surprised.
Lisa stared at them dumbfounded.
"What?" Justin said.
"Uh, nothing," I quickly answered for her. "She’s just over excited for senior year."
Justin smiled. Mason shut his locker door and they both held their notebooks in hand, walking away. Mason stopped and turned.
"Hey…try to stay away from locker doors or your senior year may not be that pleasant," he teased again.
I glared at him as Justin laughed and asked him what he meant. As Mason walked away, I could make out the fact that he was telling Justin what happened. I groaned angrily and told Lisa.
"You’re such an embarrassment," Lisa said with a laugh. "You have the locker right next to the hottest guy, who has the hottest best friend, and you hit your face with his locker!"
"Hey, the locker hit me!" I said but laughed at the situation.
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