“The greatest value of meeting good people is not what you get from them, but the better person you become because of them.”
Day 3 – Morning
Cloudless and mild, the morning sky was so uplifting I had no choice but to greet it with a smile. For the first time since I came to live in this house, I pushed my window open and enjoyed the morning breeze as it touched my bare skin.
Grinning like an idiot, I murmured a silent prayer for this wonderful morning. Well, that Supreme Being or whoever’s out there deserve some sweet thanks from the one and only mwah.
I inhaled deeply, captivated by the sweet scent of the flowers planted in our neighbor’s garden, only to gag as a thick cloud of smoke unexpectedly zoomed in. It was gray and puffy, the kind that looked like cotton candy, only that it wasn’t exactly edible and that I didn’t realize it until it’s too late. I coughed my lungs out as I closed the creaky window.
Eugh. Oh. Geugh. Hahh. Ouee.
What weird gasping sounds was I making? More like puking.
I shook my head to clear it.
Bleh. So much for a new beginning. Remind me not to do that when an ancient truck passes by the road.
After another round of an unhealthy fit, I decided it was about time I fix myself for school. Despite the interruption, my mood was still untainted. I took one deep breath and another, then another.
Okay. I’m good now.
I cleaned myself, fixed my bag and did the rest of my usual routine. For the record though, I was dancing the entire time around my room, feeling very unlike myself.
But… who cares, right?
For a change, I donned a pair of skinny jeans and grunge booties, added a baggy tee band, a few bracelets, a cute pony-tale hairstyle to attach a feminine side and a large bag. And for the first time since I entered high school, I did my make-up (Wooh! Cheers!), choosing to go natural with a light touch of eyeliner.
When I finished, I stared at the stranger in front of the mirror.
There’s a raccoon looking back at me.
I guess that didn’t go very well. Frowning, I wiped it off and reapplied it again, but it ended up the same way. Twice, thrice, quartice (was there such a word?).
Okay! I give up! This is Bethany’s forte, not mine.
I snatched a random piece of paper and scribbled furiously until the charcoal pencil snapped to two. Huffing, I tossed the broken eyeliner towards the trashcan. I picked up the paper and let out a whistle at my masterpiece.
I think I must be the artist of the century!
It’s a panda slash dog slash zombie slash bunny. I added some really fuzzy brows just to throw an effect.
I grinned. Now, that’s how it’s supposed to be.
* * *
“Oh my god,” Bethany gasped in her squeal-like voice as she approached me while I was getting books from my locker. “Who are you?”
She was wearing a pink tube top and a denim skirt that reached not half of her netted thighs. Note her shoes: two deadly looking super high heels and of course, let’s not forget, her bag the size of a wallet. I wonder if she ever heard of a notebook.
Beth closed the distance faster, and her strong, sickeningly sweet floral perfume almost made me faint.
“Oh my freaking god. What kind of ET or alien invader are you and like, where did you hide my dorky slave?”
See? She’s so nice and lovable, isn’t she?
She was glaring at me for reasons I would never understand. I mean, did I look that terrible?
“Uhm, ET’s and aliens are one and the same, Beth,” I muttered incoherently although inwardly, I was laughing at her creepy expression. She turned to her two friends who merely shrugged in response, too busy with their painted nails and iPods to even notice me.
Beth whipped her long blonde hair to the side, all the while returning her focus on scrutinizing my ‘transformation’. It would have been amusing at first – if she was the only one shocked by my little dress-up game – but now that all I got were odd looks from students who used to ignore me, the attention was getting on my nerves.
Seriously, what’s wrong with everyone? Come on, were they so used to my mix-unmatched outfit that actually wearing something casual would make them go ga-ga? But then again, I was the famous Veggie Girl – not that anyone ever mentioned that straight to my face. Aside from Derek, but that’s not the point.
The bell rang right on time.
“Uh, so, gotta go to class,” I said as I ducked away from her glare.
I went to class with a smile plastered on my face, although what I felt was quite the opposite. Sure, I was relieved that things would soon settle down. I knew that as I headed for class, things would return to normal, and that the students would stop staring at me as if I’m a new shiny toy thrown in for Christmas. Or not.
“Hey, what’s the occasion?” a husky voice I would recognize anywhere interrupted my internal rant. I looked up to meet Aethan’s penetrating gaze as he stared curiously at me. Though in reality I knew it was silly, I choked with my own spit.
Not him too, I groaned.
He grinned at my obvious surprise and slid into the empty chair beside me. Instinctively, I scooted away.
“Hey!” I protested. “That’s not your seat.”
“Jeremy exchanged with me,” he replied coolly, a tiny wrinkle appearing at the sides of his eyes as he grinned wider. It was cute but my mind was shouting an earsplitting He’s got to be kidding me! so it was a lost case. Aethan nodded to my former seatmate who returned it with a casual shrug.
Jeremy, you traitor!
Ms. Jordan suddenly stormed inside the room, stopping Aethan from striking a conversation with me or whatever reason he had for sitting beside me. Our Calculus teacher then started distributing sheets of paper.