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I STOOD STILL ON THE SIDEWALK as the other kids rushed
around me. Some were laughing, while others were listening to music,
texting or had their eyes on a book in their hands. I stand there staring at
the school, wishing I were anywhere but here. I want to be back at my old
school, Madison High in Texas. Really, who lives in Delaware? Or, as the
postcards like to play on words, Dela-WHERE? Who knew this small
three County State was even a State! I only knew because my
Grandparents live here. And this is where I’m sentenced to spend my
senior year of High School.
Two months ago, my parents died in a car
accident. It was a drunk driver who had no business being on the road.
My parents were out on their “date night”. You know, when they want to
get away from the house and kid. Unfortunately for them, someone else
was having a date night and had a little too much to drink. Remembering
the knock on the door that night from the police had my eyes watering,
and I again see their smiling faces when they kissed me good night and
reminded me to lock the door after they left.
I took a deep breath and stared straight ahead, willing the tears to go
away. Suddenly, someone crashes into me from the side. A cute blonde
boy had headphones on and had walked backwards into me, waving at
someone across the parking lot. He wore the same clothes I’ve seen
everyone else wearing; jeans and a red t-shirt. I staggered a little before he
whipped around, saw what happened and grabbed my arm before I could
be further humiliated and fall on my face. That would be just my luck.
Lucky for me he had quick reflexes and caught me before I fell. I stared
into his blue eyes, dumbfounded and couldn’t think of anything to say.
He smiled, said hi, apologized and moved around me. He stopped and
gave me a strange look and said, “Are you new here? I don’t think I know
you and I know just about everyone.”
I picked my jaw up from the ground, swallowed and mumbled, “Yes,
I’m new. I moved here from Texas and this is my first day.”
“Oh, hey! Texas, that’s pretty cool. How do you like Delaware so far?
I’m sorry! My name is Brent. Brent Johnson. I’m a senior here. Born and
raised Delawarean.” He smiled, looking into my eyes. He seemed like a
nice guy. I was about to answer him when a brunette girl came up, pushed
her way between us to give him a hug.
“Brent! It’s been too long! Where have you been? I haven’t seen you
since after school let out.” She gave a pout and stared into Brent’s eyes.
Not once did she acknowledge me, which was fine with me.
Brent looked less than thrilled, but gave a slight smile and hugged her
back. “Hi Stephanie, sorry, I haven’t been around much. Just working and
hanging out. How was your summer?”
I turn to walk away and he grabs my arm. “Wait! You didn’t tell me
your name. How am I going to find you later?” I looked at him, surprised.
Why would he want to find me later? Compared to Stephanie’s green eyes
and brunette wavy hair, my blonde hair in its ponytail didn’t stand out.
And looking at Stephanie’s expression, she is wondering the same thing.
“Ummm, my name is Nicole. Nicole Peters. I better get into the office
to get my schedule so I’m not late to my first class.” I smile shyly and
begin to walk away again.
Brent says goodbye to Stephanie and catches up to me. “I’ll walk with
you so you don’t get lost.” He grins at me and I’m a little dazed by his
smile and look back at Stephanie. She is staring at us as we walk away.
I looked at Brent and said, “Should you have left? That girl looks like
she wanted to talk with you.”
He looked a little pained and said, “Yeah, it’s ok. I’ll, uh, catch up with
her later. I want to make sure you’re good to go before I set you loose on
the school. I feel kind of responsible since I almost knocked you over.”
I laughed. “I appreciate that, but, I think I’m good.” He smiled and
shrugged as we made our way into the main doors to go to the office.
Suddenly, I felt a little sting on my arm. I jumped and grabbed my arm.
Brent looked at me questioningly. I glanced around, looking for a bee,
but, only saw Stephanie glare back at me as she was walking away. I
looked at my arm but there was no mark. I rubbed my arm and smiled at
Brent in confusion. “I thought I got stung, but, there’s no mark.” I
shrugged my shoulders and kept moving.
Brent glanced over his shoulder. “That’s strange. So, did you get your
schedule yet? Know what classes you are in?” “No, not yet. That’s why I
have to go to the office.”
“That’s right; you said that a few minutes ago. Sorry, I was listening, I
just got distracted.” He laughed at himself.
He pointed to the right as we walked down the hall, to the school
office. I thanked him and walked into the office. “I’m not letting you off
that quick.” He laughed. “I have to know…”
I looked at him. “You have to know what?” I asked after a few
seconds of silence.
“Well, I have to know where we go from here.”
I looked at him, confused. “You know. Where do we go from here?
Algebra, Economics, Wood Shop or Home Ec?” He looked so serious, I
couldn’t help but to laugh again. He laughed with me as he held the door
open and we entered the office.
The woman behind the desk gave me a distracted smile when I walked
up to her. “What can I do for you?” She shuffled papers around, looking
for something I assumed.
“I’m new to Johnstown High, and I need to get my schedule. My name
is Nicole Peters.”
She looked at me, a little more focused. “You’re Nicole Peters? Is your
Dad Benjamin Peters?”
I looked at her a little shocked. Hearing my dad’s name was like a
punch in the gut.
“Y-yes, my dad was Ben Peters,” I stuttered. “Did you know him?”
She looked away for a moment and then back to me.
“Yes, I knew him when he was a student here.”
I looked at her and realized I didn’t think what it would be like to walk
the same halls my mom and dad did. I knew they went to school here,
but, didn’t think further than that.
“How is he doing? He’s not here with you?” She asked. I looked
around and saw Brent staring at me.