BTW. My other story, Turning Back is still posted on the blog, and I'll be including edits.
Here is the first chapter.
Gabe drew in two deep swallows of the chilly autumn air before ascending the long flight of concrete steps. He was anxious for what awaited him at the top. The metal banister was cold, but without its support he may have crumpled to the ground. On the last step he saw a row of students all wearing the same hideous sweaters blocking the entrance to the school. They were waving at the hordes of incoming students and handing out suckers to all who passed. He took a step towards the welcoming crew, then stopped and looked for another option. There had to be something, another door, a group of students he could hide behind, anything that would prevent the awkwardness that waited. Just then a group of three boys passed him engulfed in conversation. Gabe kept pace behind the third boy, a short overweight red head, and hoped he wouldn’t be noticed. He dug his hands into his jeans and kept his head low. Like a parasite he clung to the threesome and as they were receiving the welcoming gifts he slid past, relieved to have overcome his first obstacle.
The tinted glass on the front door had been recently cleaned and his reflection was exact. His skinny legs and gangly arms seemed out of place when attached to his fairly well built frame. His nose shaped just at the right angle was surrounded by a strong jaw, dark brown eyes and messy black hair. His dark brown complexion was unusual for this part of
He looked at his arms once again and imagined what they could be like, but probably never would. Deflated by his under-developed body he slowly reached for the door handle and swung it open revealing the inner workings of public school for the first time. He stopped just past the threshold and was filled with awe, like a thief viewing the contents of a highly secure vault for the first time. He had never seen so many teenagers. Some were tall and skinny, others were short and fat, a few looked lost which made him feel a tinge better, and a handful roamed the common area like it was their throne. He pushed forward into the new world unaware of the bald teacher donning a bowtie until he tripped over his foot.
“Are you okay?” The medium sized man said bending over to help Gabe up.
“Yeah,” Gabe said quickly trying to hide his bright red face.
“Are you new here?” He asked after he let go of Gabe’s arm.
“I’m Mr. Green,”
“Welcome Gabe, do you need some direction?”
Gabe looked at Mr. Green for the first time and gave him a small yellow sticky note with his locker number written with sloppy ink. “It would be nice.”
"That I believe this by the gym.” Mr. Green said pointing to his left. “Go though that hall and turn left. Keep going until the end and it should be on your right."
"Thanks," Gabe answered. Mr. Green returned the sticky note and Gabe hurried away.
As he walked down the hall he imagined hundreds of eyes staring at the new boy, but he couldn’t catch anyone in the act. Either they looked away before, or no one was noticing. Just as he turned the corner to his locker he did hear one group of girls talking.
“Who’s that?” One whispered.
"I don't know. He must be a move in."
As the distance grew between them he could barely hear her response, "He's cute."
His shoulders lifted from his first good review. Down the hall he searched the lockers until he found 304-T and twisted the combination. He left everything except for his American history book and folder then turned to find his first class. He was still searching for the room when the late bell rung. A small map on the wall indicated that the room was on the other side of the school.
Out of breath and red from embarrassment Gabe froze when the old wooden door squeaked loudly behind him as he entered American History. The teacher looked in his direction and said over the stifled giggles of the class, "A perfect example of why not to arrive late."
The laughter grew louder until the teacher raised his hand. After silence was restored Gabe walked around the back of the room and sat at the only open desk against the far wall.
“This might well be the most difficult class you’ve ever taken,” Mr. Hill said proudly casting dread on his students. “If you are planning on anything less than full effort then I suggest you leave now. History’s truths are bold and telling, and the instructing of them shall be as well.”
Mr. Hill slid his silver rimmed glasses back up his long nose and turned toward the white board. He began writing sections of required reading, and then promptly began a lecture into the discovery of
"You're new here aren't you?" A girl's voice came from behind him after the bell rung.
"I'm Sage," She stretched out her hand.
He stumbled over his words, "I'm. . . uh. . . Gabe Gooden."
"Nice to meet you Gabe, where did you come from?" she asked as she loaded her bag.
"Here. . . Well I've been home schooled until now."
He waited for the customary reaction to this announcement, but instead she blasted a massive smile. Now that she was smiling Gabe could see how pretty she was. By no means could she be classified as ‘hot’ or ‘fine’ like he had heard on the television so often, but definitely pretty. She had short brown hair, green eyes, slightly freckled skin and soft hands. Though she was a little on the plump side her body was well proportioned.
“Wow, I bet your super smart.” She said seriously.
He grimaced and lifted his bag onto his back.
"Well it was nice meeting you. And don't worry about Hill. I’ve heard he’s all talk." She smiled and walked out the door.
Maybe school won't be so bad after all, he thought as Sage left the room. The next two classes just as painful as the first, but as he walked alone toward the lunch room he longed for the safety of the mind numbing classroom. He hovered behind a ground of sophomore girls engaged in a discussion about which car they were getting when they turned sixteen. His head started to pound softly as the pick up the red lunch tray and slid it along the metal guides.
After paying for his lunch he looked over the groups of students hoping for the miracle of being invited to sit with someone. He realized that the only student he knew at the school, Sage, was no where in sight. Trying to hide his face he skirted around the cluster of round tables eyeing an empty table towards the back. Half of the way down a girl stood and began waving in his direction. Tall skinny blonde and perhaps the most attractive girl he’d seen yet, she was looking right at him. He suddenly felt the temperature in the room rise as he turned toward her table. Her long blonde hair bounced up and down as she hopped with excitement. She had to know him, but how? Answering that question was the last of his worries. He weaved his was past the first table and as he worked on sliding through the small gap between the next two and large blonde football player brush passed him, nearly knocking his tray to the ground. The girl jumped into his arms and they kissed. Gabe quickly turned to the left trying to hide his embarrassment. He sat at the last empty table and picked through his potatoes. He dared one glance at the blonde girl and to his surprise she smiled at him. Her smile was invigorating; instead of getting excited he slumped in his chair and waited for the bell to ring.
When lunch was over he returned to his locker, picked up his things and went to Spanish. Only his monotone English teacher, Mrs. Lemon, managed to get through class without making an error, and he struggled holding back his opinions and corrections. It would be a new challenge for him to be in a public learning environment, and he would have to learn when to speak up and when to remain quite. The lessons his mother taught him were much better prepared and more precise. It was obvious by their confused and oblivious faces that not all kids had the love for learning like him. Oh well, he thought as he hopped on his bike for the ride home, at least no one wanted to fight me.