“We're leaving in thirty!" My mother shouted impatiently from downstairs. I rolled my eyes and began rummaging through my drawers for a shirt. “Fuck, fuck, fuck! What am I going to wear?" I mumbled to myself. I stopped for a moment and inhaled deeply, taking a moment to calm myself. I turned and faced the slim, black mirror that hang, sloppily on the back of my room door. I had somehow managed to get my messy, chocolate brown hair to cooperate. My eyes scanned my smooth, hairless chest and stopped on my thin frame.

  “Damn, I need to tone up..." I groaned. My slim legs were clad in a pair of black, ripped skinny jeans that clung tightly to my slightly muscled thighs. I decided to go with my classic pair of black and white Converses. Now, I just have to find a shirt. Once more, I plundered through my wooden drawers, in hopes of finding a suitable top.

  “I can't look like shit on my first day!" I mentally shouted. After moments of lifting, sifting, and throwing my once folded T-shirts, I found the perfect one. The shirt's color was that of onyx, the front was covered in large graffiti lettering the spelled out “Pierce the Veil".

  “Yes, yes, yes!" I squealed, quickly donning the shirt and stuffing the discarded shirts back into the drawer. I turned back to the mirror for one final glance. My outfit was complete, save for one thing. I reached over to my nightstand and grabbed the black beanie that lie there resting and stretched it over my head. I glared deep into the glistening hazel eyes of my reflection. “Don't worry, Connor," I spoke softly, “This is your year." I grabbed the teal bookbag that lay slumped against the door and exited, making sure to flick off my light as I did so.

  I quickly bound down the stairs and greeted my mother. She had her back to me, fiddling with the coffee maker. Without turning, she chuckled. “You want some coffee?"

  “Please. And a cigarette." I groaned. She shot me an evil glare from the corner of her eye. “Kidding!" I smiled, holding my hands up in surrender. She turned around, opening the fridge and retrieving a half filled jug of milk. “I know these last few months have been... Stressful." She began, pausing to wait for a smart remark from me. I remained silent. “But, I don't want you to think of us moving as having to start all the way over. There was nothing left for us in Florida, especially since your dad and Mitchell left-" I scoffed and rolled my eyes. “Mom, you don't have to keep trying to explain our situation. I understand what happened. I'm just a little nervous about going to a new school halfway through the year." I sighed. She walked over to where I sat at the kitchen table and placed her hands on my shoulders.

  “I understand, Connor. Just remember to stay out of trouble and be sure that you keep up with your work. You'll be fine, sweetie, I promise." She leaned down and placed a kiss on my cheek. “Now come on. You don't want to be late on your first say, sweetie." I smiled as she walked back over to the coffee maker and filled two thermoses with the bitter liquid. I walked over and stood next to her, emptying packs of sugar into my thermos.

  As we pulled up to the student drop off area of the school, I instantly felt queasy. The campus was huge! Each large Building was made of faded red bricks topped with white roofs. I surveyed each student we drove by. Everyone dresses so much differently in Baltimore than they do back home. The car came to a slow stop and my heart sank about three feet.

  “Remember what I told you, hun. You'll be fine. If there are any problems, call me." She said with a smile as she hugged me. I sat still, not wanting to leave the warmth and familiarity of our old, white Sentra. I finally willed myself to open the door and get out.

  “Have a good day, Connor!" My mother shouted, turning a few heads as she pulled off. I looked around to see a few eyes on me. I instantly shifted my gaze to the ground as I entered the school courtyard. It was a large, grassy area surrounded by brick buildings and speckled with a few wooden picnic tables here and there. I felt my hair blowing in the cool, February breeze. “Classes start at 7:30..." I thought to myself. I reached into my back pocket and retrieved the black IPhone that rested there. “6:48" read the time on the lock screen.

  I stopped at one of the picnic tables and sat. I removed the bag from my back and set it on my lap as I picked through it, pulling out my class schedule.

  “Connor Alexanderson, Sophomore. Boone High Class Schedule. 1st Hour: Kemperton, Sherry. American Government. Room 103." I read.  I looked around the school and saw that each building had a large, white painted number on the side. I looked back down to resume digging through my stuff, when a large shadow cast itself over me. I looked up to see the large, muscled figure of a guy at least three times my size.  He wore a green T-shirt from which his pecs and biceps bulged. His feet were squared, almost as if he was about to assume a fighting stance. He crossed his arms over his large chest and glared down at me. His expression was all but friendly.

  “Hey, Dickneck!" His strong voice seemed to shake the wooden table. “This is MY table. Move." He demanded. I gulped loudly and stuffed my belongings back into my Bookbag. I stood and my face came up to his chest. He leaned down so that his face was only inches from mine.

  “I catch you at my table one more time, and I'll make sure you'll never be able to sit properly again." He threatened. A few other students stopped and to marvel at the scene unfolding. I quickly turned away from him and began walking towards the cafeteria, struggling to avoid eye contact with any of the other students.

  As I entered the cafeteria, I stopped. The smell of various foods lingered in the air, coupled with the buzzing of the multiple conversations of the student body. I sat myself at one of the bright, red tables the was back in a corner. I looked down at the phone in my hands. I put my finger on the power button and stopped. “What's the point of me opening my phone... The only contacts I have are family members I hardly talk too, I don't have any of my friends' numbers from back home, I don't go on any social media sites, I don't have any games on my Ph-"

  “Hey, Kid!" A voice interrupted my thoughts. I looked up to see a student standing in front of me on the other side of the table. He held a tray full of food. A plume of light brown  hair swept out from under a backwards baseball cap. He wore a red and white “Boone High Varsity Wrestling" hoodie and a pair of gray sweatpants.  He settled himself at the table and shook his head.

  “I saw that whole thing with Morris. Why'd you let him treat you like that?" He questioned, scooping a spoonful of hot eggs into his mouth. I struggled to find words. “I- Uhm... It's my first say. Didn't want to start any trouble." I flashed him a smile. He nodded. “Thought you looked a little unfamiliar. I'm Graydon. And you?"

  “Connor." I replied. He continued to chow down on his breakfast. “You a freshman?" He raised his brow at me. I shook my head. “Sophomore. You?"

  “Junior." He sipped from his small bottle of apple juice. “Play any sports?" I chuckled slightly at the notion. “No, but I'm guessing you're a wrestler?" He nodded and motioned to his hoodie. “You guessed correctly. If you're not busy after school today, come check it out. It's from two to five." He offered.

  “Uhm sure... Why not." I shrugged. He held out his hand. “Lemme see your schedule." I reached into my bag and pulled out my schedule again and handed it to Graydon. He studied it for a moment and nodded. “Well I can show you to your first class. I had it last year."

  “Cool." I returned a nod to him, not that he'd looked up from the slip of paper to see it anyway.

  “Yo, Gray." Another student came up and sat next to Graydon. He had deep black hair that had been gelled into a faux hawk. He grabbed his phone from the black Nike jacket he was wearing and opened it. The boy looked to be hispanic. “Did you get an email from Coach K?" He asked. Graydon kept his crystal blue eyes locked on the paper and nodded.

  “The one about the tournament next weekend? Yeah, I got it." The other student sighed and looked up, immediately making eye contact with me. “Who's your friend?" He asked Graydon, not taking his eyes off me.

  “Angel, this is Connor. Connor, Angel." I smiled and waved politely. He gave me a simple head nod, then looked back to his phone.

  “Loraine is having her birthday party next weekend. You game?" He asked. Graydon sighed. “Yeah, I guess so. I personally think she's a bitch." He said with a shrug. Graydon slapped my schedule down in front of me. “The bell is about to ring. Come on." He stood and grabbed his tray, dumping it in the trash as he walked by. “See ya at practice, Angel." He shouted behind him.

  “This is the One Hundred building." Graydon stated, motioning to the glass sliding doors of the brick building. “After you." He offered, stepping aside for me to step through. As I stepped forward, the glass doors quickly slid open revealing red and white checkered flooring and long rows of lockers. The hallway branched off into several different corridors and classrooms. “You won't have to go very far, your class is near the front." He stated, pointing to the second door on the left. “It's 7:26. You can go in a little early if you want. I need to head over to mg class anyway." He turned and headed for the sliding doors. I hated to see him leave. Although I'd just met him, Graydon seemed like a good friend. He's probably the only person that's made me feel welcome here. “If you need me to show you to any other classes, meet me at the cafeteria after class." He called back as the doors slid shut behind him. I took a deep breath and opened the door in front of me. 

  Inside were six rows of five desks all facing toward a large board in the front of the room. In front of the board was a long wooden desk, covered in papers and a large computer, that faced the class. There were 3 students already seated. One was a girl that had long, black hair with red streaks. She wore an all black “Nirvana" jacket with yellow lettering and a pair of tight denim blue jeans. She smiled at me as I glanced at her. Another was a boy with reddish-orange hair and a slight amount of freckles on his face. He was wearing a plain gray jacket and a pair of red slim-fitting jeans that clung to his legs. He was too into something on his phone to even notice me entering the room. And the last was another boy with blonde, sideswept hair that covered most of his forehead. He was slightly chubby and wore a black “Kingdom Hearts" T-shirt. His legs were covered with a pair of baggy track pants there's down to a pair of ragged, torn sneakers. He smiled at me and his face flushed a bright pink color.

  I headed to the desk in front of the class and handed my schedule to the older woman seated behind it. She glanced at it and smiled up at me. “Hello, Connor, I'm Mrs.Kemperton. You can have a seat next to the young lady in the back row." I nodded, took my schedule, and headed back to my new seat. The girl grinned at me again as I sat next to her.

  “Hey, I'm Danielle. But you can call me Danny." She reached out and shook my hand. “I'm Connor."

  “Welcome to hell, Connor." She beamed. We both laughed.

  The bell rang loudly, and instantly, students began pouring in.

  “Welcome back, students. I hope you've all had a spectacular weekend!" Mrs.Kemperton greeted cheerfully. As my classmates entered, a few of them gave me awkward glanced. “This should be fun..." I thought to myself.




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