2 MONTHS LATER - Early September
"Eren! Wake up or you won't be able to eat breakfast!"
I blink, my eyes adjusting to the light coming from my window. Summer break is over. I sit up and rub my eyes. The Summer seemed so long and before I knew it, they were showing those damn back to school ads. It feels like it's been so long since I've been to school when in reality, it's only been about 2-3 months. I get up and go brush my teeth.
Eli runs into the bathroom, pushing me aside and stepping up on the stool to grab her toothbrush from the medicine cabinet. I've told her she could keep it on the counter so she doesn't have to stand on the stool but she refuses to listen and places it in the cabinet. I continue brushing my teeth as she gets ready to brush hers. I finish and leave the bathroom. I'm looking through my closet for something to wear when my phone goes off. I look at it and see it's a call from the one and only, Toby. I roll my eyes and answer the phone as I continue to dig through my closet.
"What do you want now?" I ask, bracing myself for yelling. Toby hates the end of any break, especially Summer break.
"Kill me now or tell me it's not the first day back." He whines.
"I'd rather kill you," I mumble. "Aren't you supposed to be getting ready for school? Why're you calling me?"
"Becauuussseee, I don't wanna go to school. All the guys hate me and wanna beat me up."
"Maybe 'cause you're always hitting on their girlfriends, ever think about that?"
He goes silent for a moment. I put him on speaker while I put on my clothes. He suddenly gasps.
"You're right! No wonder they chase me! They're jealous and obviously, everyone wants a piece of this! Thanks, man! See ya at school!" He says, snickering as he hangs up.
It's official, he's an idiot. I take my phone and walk downstairs. Mom is scurrying around the living room, making sure she hasn't forgotten anything. She's a bit of a scatter-brain but she's trying. I sit down and eat the waffles she set on the table and Eli runs in after to eat hers. Mom waves goodbye and heads out the door to work. She works at the Maurice Cuisine. She's always loved cooking and she finally got to work somewhere she does just that all day. Even though she's a good cook, she makes her waffles with a diabetic amount of powdered sugar and to top it off, whip cream. Eli loves the stuff but at this rate, she'll have a full-on sugar rush.
Once we're done eating, I wait for Eli to get her shoes and check my phone. No new messages. I've been waiting for a text from Charlie because today's his first day. I hope he'll be okay. We agreed to meet each other at the front doors on the first day so I guess I'll see him when I get there. Eli comes back with shoes on and we're out the door.
I drop Eli off at her school and continue to mine, down the street. When I arrive, there are some buses rolling up. I take the opportunity to run and see if Charlie is at the entrance. I look around not seeing him so I assume he's on one of the buses. I lean back on the wall as I watch the buses unload as students walk and talk. It's been about ten minutes now, I look around and spot Charlie by one of the buses. He's talking with a woman, probably a staff member. I wait until he's coming near and wave. He spots me and smiles, waving back.
After I found out Charlie was deaf, I immediately took to the internet, wanting to communicate. I found out ASL is the best way but found it confusing to learn online so I asked Charlie to help teach me. So far, I only know the alphabet, the first 20 numbers, and a few simple words but Charlie has told me he's proud I'm making progress.
Charlie walks up to me and gives me a look. Oh no. Charlie has been testing me with simple phrases to make sure I've been studying. It feels like I'm taking a class which is ironic because I got myself into one after I found out about Charlie. He takes his hands out of his pockets.
"How are you?" he signs. Good thing I studied. This one's easy. "Good! How are you?" I sign back. He smiles and replies "Proud."
After a bit of talking, we start school. The school day goes, as usual, teachers introduce themselves, make us do an introduction and we go over what we'll be doing for the year. Then I finally get to my ASL class. There are some kids who are here to learn it for a reason, some are just here for the credits. Charlie is sitting on the side, the woman from before standing beside him. He explained to me this morning that she's his interpreter and she tells him what the teacher is saying.
Our school hasn't really had any kids like Charlie before so of course, the kids around the class are whispering and wanting to ask questions. I relax and wait until the class is over before walking over to Charlie before the bell rings. I have a notepad for when I don't know how to sign something. I take it and write:
"Hey, wanna have lunch together? I have some friends I want you to meet."
I hand the notepad to him and he looks up at me and nods, smiling. I've told my friends about him so they know what's okay and not okay to ask or say. I want Charlie's first day here to go well, and hopefully, by doing this, it will.