Looking around, I try to spot the woman again, but I don’t see her. Hopefully she made it inside and isn’t stuck out in the cold. I don’t know why I’m worried about it, but I guess there’s something in me that’s protective in that way. My mom said I had a tender heart as a kid, always rescuing animals I found.
When the gas finally clicks, I finish up and hop back in the Jeep. I blow on my hands trying to warm them up before I drive away. As I’m leaving, I catch sight in my rearview of the woman coming out of the store.
I don’t know why, but the sight lingers in the back of my mind the whole way to school.
I pick at my torn leggings as I sit in the main office of the high school. At least I’m not bleeding, but falling on the steps on your first day at a new school isn’t the way I wanted to start. I can still feel the burn of embarrassment on my cheeks, but maybe no one noticed. At least no one really seemed to. Not even the girl who’d shoved me, nor her friend. Except for a few giggles no one really said anything.
Sitting back in my chair, I wait for someone to help me. I was told to take a seat and they’d have my class schedule shortly, along with someone to show me around. That was twenty minutes ago. I glance around the office. It looks like it’s decorated for a party. Gold and red balloons and ribbons line the walls, as well as posters that read #1 State Champs. I’m guessing they’re about football. The last school I was in didn’t have a team, but this school is about four times bigger. It gives me hope that I’ll be able to blend in and fade into the background, going unnoticed. Left alone.
“At least we won’t freeze our tits off anymore.” I glance up at the voice and see a brunette in a cheerleading outfit and a high ponytail. She’s talking to another girl who looks exactly the same, only her hair is red and curly. It’s the two girls who knocked me down this morning. They acted like I was invisible, so at least that part of my plan is working.
“That’s the only plus side to cheering for the basketball team here. The games are inside. There aren’t even any good ones to look at.” The redhead pouts a little, and I look down, hoping they won't take notice of me. I go back to playing with the hole in my leggings.
“Hey, did you hear Ren got a full ride to Minnesota? Brent hasn’t even gotten an offer yet and he’s the freaking quarterback,” the brunette says in a horrified voice.
“I heard he’s been going up there on the weekends or something. Probably up there getting his dick wet,” the redhead adds. I feel my face warm for the second time today. Maybe that’s how girls talk to each other. I wouldn't know. I haven’t had a friend in a long time, and when I did it was before sex was a blip in our minds.
“Shit. God, he’s such an asshole, but I’m still going to see about getting with him. Being a starting football player’s girlfriend will make freshman year of college a cakewalk.”
“Maybe he already has one up there. I can’t get him to give me the time of day,” Red says, making me wonder who would willingly date an asshole.
“I asked Brent, and he said no. I told him I was asking about Ren for you so he wouldn’t get all pissy about it.”
“You breaking up with Brent?”
“I’ll give it another week and see if anything happens with his football stuff. I’m already in at Minnesota, so Ren would work. We all know Brent wouldn’t be anything without Ren. Maybe the school will try and pick them both up.”
“God, I bet he’s a beast in bed with the way he plays. That alone would be enough to put up with him being an asshole.”
I wish a hole in the ground would open and swallow me up. I don’t want to hear any of this. I know these types of girls can be the hardest on you in school, and I’m praying they don’t notice me. I scoot back in my chair, wanting to take up as little space as possible.
“Kristen, you were supposed to be here at eight sharp,” an older woman with short gray hair says coming from one of the back rooms in the main office. She’s the one who greeted me when I came in. The bell rings, and she looks to the redhead. “Carrie, class.”
I look up to see Carrie mutter a goodbye to Kristen then leave the office. Her curls bounce with her every step. Her cheerleading skirt waves around her butt cheeks.
“Sorry, Mrs. White. It took me longer to get the snow off my car this morning than I thought it would,” Kristen says in a super sweet voice. Nothing like the one she had moments ago when talking to her friend. “I hope I haven’t kept anyone waiting too long. It’s important that all new students at West High get the best first day possible.” She says it like she’s pitching some kind of campaign for the school.