I was sipping my morning tea with Grams when the phone rang. Grams picked it up. “Hello?”
“Yes, this is Michelle…” she looked surprised.
“Mhm?” she raised her thin eyebrows, lips sealed and listened to what the person on the other end was saying.
“Oh really? Yes, I’ll tell her…” she said, tucking a bit of hair behind her ear that had fallen loose.
“Thank you, dear!” she hung up.
“What is it?” I asked my grandmother. I studied her. Her pale green eyes were dancing and her gray-colored bun that sat on her head bounced as she sat on our wooden table. “Grams? Tell me!” I said.
“Oh. Yes, I almost forgot!” she heaved herself back up and shuffled towards the front door.
That’s it. She can’t hide it any longer! I got up and stood in front of the door and stared at her. She chuckled, “Goodness dear, I’ll tell you once I see for myself!” I narrowed my eyes at her playfully and moved out of the way.
She smiled and opened the door slowly. Opening the mailbox that was attached to the house, she grinned when she saw something. Is it what I think it is? Grams pulled out a shiny royal blue envelope. I gasped. It is!
“Grams!” I squealed, “It’s the results for the national science competition!” I’ll finally know if I’m getting into the international, or not…
She handed me the envelope and patted me on the head. “Come on in and open it.” she smiled her angelic smile. I skipped in.
I took a seat on one end of the table and Grams was on the opposite. It’s the results of who can move on to the international championships. I took a deep breath. Would my name, Julia Portman, be on this paper? I slowly ripped it open, enjoying the sound of the blue paper against my hands. Grams leaned over.
“I don’t want to! Grams, you do it!” I threw it to her.
She sighed, “I guess this’ll just have to wait until after school, huh?”
She looked teasingly at me. I shook my head then dove for the precious paper. Then set it back.
“It can wait.” I looked at my watch, “I’m getting late for the first day of school, anyways.” I kissed Grams goodbye and grabbed my green backpack and headed out the wooden door. I breathed in the fresh Monday air then breathed it out. It felt good. School was only a few blocks away.
As soon as I reached the gates, I pouted. I didn’t want to go. I’ve always hated school. I’ve envied the people who got to be homeschooled and they envied me for going to a public school! Who would want to go to this school?
I shook away my thoughts and walked in. Everyone stared and pointed at me, but I was so used to it, that I didn’t even notice! I smiled and waved at them then entered the school doors and continued walking.
“Hey Julia! Love your old sweatshirt today!” I rolled my eyes. It was Maddie. My sweatshirt was since grade six. Yes, it still fits me. According to Maddie, one should never wear the same clothes after a year.
So, if you wore one type of sweatshirt, it would be considered a sin if you wore it next year.
Me and Maddie had some rough times in the past. Her bullying me, threatening me and Grams, almost killing me, TP-ing my house, etc. She’s the Devil in a girls’ costume.
The day I started seventh grade, the start of middle school, I was really upset when I found out Maddie was going to the same school as me. In elementary school, she was there too. Who knows what’s going to happen in high school? And what about college!?
I wasn’t surprised that the principal hadn’t already kicked her out of the school because of her attire. Everyone loved her; she was like the Queen Bee around here.
Her twin brother, Mark, was the total opposite. A very down-to-earth, kind, and responsible person. He looked nothing like her though. It didn’t surprise me. She always came to school with a gallon of makeup on.
I overheard to girls talking about her outfit today.
“Oh my gosh! She has the latest crop top! It’s to die for!” The first girl shrieked. I recognized her as Brooklyn. I rolled my eyes, why do people care so much about latest fashion and all that? What’s wrong with competitions, reading, and animals? Kids these days. I chuckled at my thought and brushed my black bangs out of my eyes.
The second girl, Cecelia said: “And those pants! I saw them at the mall last night, and me and my sister were practically drooling over them. But they were too expensive.” she pretended to pouted.
“I know right? I saw it online. Two hundred and forty five dollars.” Brooklyn groaned.
When I realized I was eaves-dropping, I looked away and continued walking towards my locker.
The school bell that could make you deaf, especially if you’re a newbie at this school, had rung. “Better not get late for your first day of classes, Maddie!” I shouted back. What? It was the best roast I could think of. Even though it isn’t. She glared at me then sashayed away.
“Julie! It’s so good to see you after so long!” I looked ahead, it was Maryam, a friend of mine since fourth grade. I grinned at her and gave her a hug. In seventh grade, she was as shy as a… shy person and talked to no one. She basically talked once a week. She was extremely shy. But lately, she seemed to be opening up a bit.
That’s when we saw Ella come running towards us. She was my best friend since third grade. We had clicked instantly when we shared our love of drawing. She could be as stern as the sternest teacher. As caring as a mother hen. And, as protecting as an overprotective father. And right now, by the look on her face, I could tell she was in Stern Mood.
“Jules, why did you have to get in Maddie’s way?” Ella asked. I wasn’t expecting that as a hello.
“What greeting is that?” I asked. Maryam giggled. “And anyways, I didn’t get in her way. She got in my way.” I huffed.
“Julia Harper Portman, I’m –” she started. She always says people’s full name when she’s mad. And right now, I could tell my bestie was not in a good mood. I interrupted her by putting my hand up.
“This isn’t how I imagined us seeing each other after so long.” I frowned.
“You know Ella’s always worried about you, girlie.” Maryam pointed out to me, shifting on one foot.
“She’s not… my… mom…” I choked out the last word. I’m pretty sure Ella sensed that I was upset, especially since I said the M word, so she burst into a song.
“Is it too late to say sorry?” Ella started singing. Maryam and a couple of other people started singing along.
“Yeah, I know that I let you down. Is it too late to say I'm sorry now?” they sung.
Me and Maryam laughed as a couple of people clapped around us. I shook my head.
Ella laughed too. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine.” I said. And then to cheer up the mood, “Group hug!” I exclaimed. The three of us hugged and then we let go. We went to our lockers, which were coincidently all in the same row, side by side.
I took out all my books that I would need for the next few classes until lunch.
Once the three of us were ready, we jogged into our first class together. Homeroom.
Once we had settled into homeroom, I groaned. We had the new teacher. Ms Livington. I felt bad for her. She’d have to deal with a herd of idiots. She looked young, which made it even worse.
The boys started hooting. Mark shot them a look from where he was sitting on his desk by the window. Maddie wasn't in this homeroom, thank goodness. And neither was her little clique. Ella nudged me and pointed to the front of the classroom. I set my gaze on the teacher. She looked as if she were about to burst into tears. I shook my head. It was her fault that she took the job. And anyways, she was supposed to have power over the classroom. Not vice-versa.
"Children, please settle down." Ms Livington said calmly. I rolled my eyes. I wouldn't have been surprised if she started smacking her head on the wall and continued doing it until she got brainhemorrhage. She struck her hand on the table and then winced. It probably hurt. Suddenly, a girl stood up. It was April.
“Be quiet everyone,” she boomed out in her loud voice, “The teacher is trying to talk.” She narrowed her eyes at everyone. The teacher looked shocked when everyone shut up.
“Thank you, honey, but you didn’t have to do that.” Ms Livington smiled at her. “I could’ve handled it.”
“Didn’t look like it.” April mumbled. But the teacher didn’t hear her. She started with the attendance. She continued on and on and said everyone’s names. And then finally, the last person.
“Maddie?” she said, looking around then behind me.
What!? I whirled around, looking for the evil young woman. I didn’t see her. I felt someone kick my seat from behind. All the seats are facing opposite of the door. No wonder I hadn’t seen her earlier.
I sighed, looking behind me, “Hi Maddie.”
She sure kept quiet.
Maddie snickered and gave me a slight wave, "Nice to meet you... Julia." She spat out my name like it was rotten pickle. She lifted her feet and set them on the back of my chair. She was lucky she wasn't already sent to the nurse because of a punch in the face. I rolled my eyes at the thought and listened to what the teacher started talking about.
"We are going to have an assessment next week for all the subjects," she said in her soft voice. "So, for Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Health, History, and Genre Study." she smiled at us. Then continued talking. I zoned her out.
What could be in the envelope? Would I have passed? I fiddled with my fingers.
Would I have passed the national championships for the science test? The biggest science test in the world? I started playing with a strand of my short hair.
Would my name be written by Jane Goodall on that paper? I had studied really hard with Grams. And Grams was great at Science. My thoughts were roaring.
The ear-piercing bell rung again. Gathering my pencil case and back-pack, I left for my first class. History. I should get ready to have a nice long nap.