Silvia stood around the campus, eyes wandering, searching for someone. Rebecca and Elizabeth stood beside her. Elizabeth, in her staple black Bermuda shorts and a rock band t-shirt, hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, slicked back with water and gel. Silvia looked around. She stood with Elizabeth and Rebecca, and others.
Elizabeth and Rebecca talked about their breaks as if they hadn’t shared all the details through text messages and phone calls. They tried to include Silvia, but she had little to say, telling them about her presents, a few movies, a gift card, and a fuzzy Tinker Bell bathrobe. She shut them out with nothing more to say, ears buzzing with their faint mutterings. Scanning the crowd, her eyes landed on Blake, who watched her intently, a sinister smile on his lips. Pursing her lips, she watched him wave, pull off the wall, and head to the school opening, pointing ahead, ensuring that she watched.
Ahead of him, through the crowd of students, was Lucita, making her way ahead of her, head down, eyes fearful. Blake made his way to her, making Lucita smile at him, laughing slightly. It was his master plan to make the girls around him comfortable with his false kindness and fall for him unwittingly. It was too late to try to deter Rebecca, but hopefully, Silvia could help Lucita see who Blake really was. But maybe not right now.
“Hello, earth to Vee.” It was Elizabeth. She looked at her.
“What are you looking at.” She turned back, her face impassive. “Why are you watching Blake? You’re not secretly crushing, are you?”
It might have been a joke, but it wasn’t funny to Silvia. Elizabeth gave her a mischievous smile, watching her as Becca looked back and forth between them. “Don’t be wacked.” She turned away, but not before Rebecca looked in the direction of Blake leading Lucita towards the Guidance Office, flicking his head at them, his smile on his face.
Silvia swallowed as Rebecca turned towards her, eyes suspicious. She wanted to tell Becca about her encounter with Blake. But knowing Becca the way she did, she knew it would only give her more reason to dislike Lucita. It wasn’t fair.
“Why do you always act like you hate him?” asked Rebecca.
“Because I do. Blake’s a pig who just doesn’t treat anyone right.”
“Then why are you his friend?”
She shrugged, wondering why she was friends with anyone at all. “Just ’cause. I don’t know. It seems weird to just cut people out.”
Thankfully for Silvia, the bell rang. Rebecca’s hand snapped to the side, watching Blake jog out of the Guidance Office. Silvia stood there for a brief moment, watching her friend run after him, her spirit disheartening, before taking off to Biology.
Rebecca chased after Blake, calling his name as she weaved through the students going in every direction. Somehow he heard her and turned, briefly annoyed, bobbing a hello to her.
“Hey, Becca, what’s up?”
“Not much; what’s up with you?”
He shrugged. “Just walked Lucita to the Guidance Office; she looked a little lost.”
“Cool,” said Rebecca, a bit happy at the thought of Lucita being in distress but unhappy with Blake’s eagerness to help.
“So hey, um, Blake-” She wanted to ask him out right now, but the way he just looked around, looking back at her every second, slightly annoyed, she knew what his answer would be.
“Nevermind, see you later.”
He smiled that adorable smile that made her heart jump. “Later, Becca.”
Blake ran off, bag bouncing as he ran over the concrete to his class. Standing there, lonely and heartsick, she watched him go, sighing. She felt pathetic.
Lucita trailed behind her escorts as they wound their way around the campus. Upstairs, downstairs, through the passages that connected the building and served as shortcuts. She thought it was too hot to do all this walking, following them around as they showed her where her classes were. They had spent so much time showing her around campus that she had missed her first period. Not that she cared. World Geography when she should be in Honors World History.
Everything she had worked so hard to obtain, all those tests and study sessions, was worthless because some department clerk misfiled her homeschooling crap. It wasn’t fair, none of it was, but here she was, on her way to her second period that had already started as the girls had taken their time to stroll and get out of class themselves. At least this was one class she looked forward to, the only class she was lucky enough to attend. French I. Her mother had tried to get her to take Spanish I, but Lucita refused. If she hadn’t learned Spanish by now in her 14 years of trying to learn, it wouldn’t happen. Plenty of Mexicans worldwide didn’t know Spanish; what was one more?
Standing by the girls as they knocked on the door, she watched the plump older woman make her way to them. She had a kind face, weathered by age with poofy white hair and small elegant glasses.
“Can I help you, girls?”
“Hey, Madam Henley, this is Lucita. Today’s her first day, and she has second period with you,” said the shorter of the two (probably because she was in flats while the other wore strange platform-type sneakers). Lucita had already forgotten their names, but it didn’t matter; she somehow doubted she would ever see them again. And even if she did, she doubted they would recognize her.
“Ah, très bien alors. I’ve got it from here, girls. You can go now. I’ll see you in sixth period, Amelie.” Her voice was stern.
“Bien sûr, Madam Henley je pense pas de sauter,” replied Amelie, the taller of the two girls. The shorter one smiled, and Lucita stood there, wondering what they said before running off. Madam Penley pursed her lips, then turned her stern green gaze onto Lucita. Her face quickly softened.
Madam Henley ushered her in, leading the way to the center of the class, where everyone just started at Lucita like a fish out of water. Some boy from the back yelled, “are you going to sing!” Her cheeks began to burn while the class snickered. Lucita smiled; maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
“That’s enough of that. Everyone, this is Lucita. Today is her first day.”
In unison, the class welcomed her, some in French, others in English. Standing there, she just waved hello, lips lifting up on the left side of her face into some form of a smile.
“Lucita, sit in the third row next to Elizabeth. Elizabeth, please raise your hand.” A girl in a punk rock shirt raised her hand, smiling at Lucita as if she was a prize to be won. It made Lucita both uneasy and happy at the same time. So she made her way past the guy who had asked her to sing and into the blue plastic seat, chipped at the side, connected to a square wooden desk.
“Lucita, there’s a French book under your desk; turn to page 20. For now, focus on the basics and follow along. Ask me if you need any help. We’re learning the pledge of allegiance right now, so I need you to have it memorized by Friday next week. That should give you enough time to catch up on your pronunciation.” Lucita nodded, thankful she had done all that while being homeschooled by her mother. At least she wasn’t too far behind.
Silently, Silvia sat in Biology, waiting for the teacher (who insisted on being called Professor—as if anyone cared) to begin the class. She couldn’t wait for the class to run its course because Evie sat across the row, glaring at her. Seriously, what was her problem, she thought. It couldn’t be what had happened the other day with Lucita; no girl was that petty. And just like that, Blake opened the door and strolled in as if this was his class. Evie waved at him but ignored her, as he always did when bored. And again, when he passed by her, Evie returned to Silvia, a glare plastered on her face. I guess a girl could be that petty.
But Blake didn’t stay. He walked in, shot Silvia a wink, handed the teacher a slip of paper, and left. With relief, she watched the blue-gray door close behind him. That still didn’t stop Evie from glaring at her.
“Evie,” shouted Mr. Jimenez, “pay attention.” Evie’s cheeks turned red, and she turned in her seat, muttering an apology.
Silvia sat there silently while the teacher went over what they would cover this semester, splitting her time between watching the clock and taking notes. And for some reason, she continued to glare at Silvia from her little corner in the room, drawing the teacher’s repeat condemnation. That’s what she gets for glaring at me, she thought bitterly. But more than just being locked in a room with the girl, Silvia hated how confined the room was, windowless, small, and square. Once the bell rang, she couldn’t have gotten out of there fast enough.
As usual, she made her way to her next class, casually meeting with Elizabeth and Rebecca. Seeing Rebecca made her think about Blake again. Maybe now she would tell her about Blake; maybe now Becca would listen to her and finally move on from him.
Elizabeth looked at her in her usual cold way as though nothing mattered.
“Hey, Vee,” said Rebecca.
“Why do you look pissed?”
For once, Silvia was surprised that Elizabeth noticed something. “Stupid Blake made a stop in my class.”
“What? Really? Did he say anything to you?” exclaimed Rebecca, eyes wide in anticipation.
“No, he just walked in and walked out.” Sometimes looking at Becca hurt. It hurt to see how much she liked him. It hurt her too. “Actually, after we left him near the pool, I ran into him on my way home. He told me something you should hear.” Then, just as quickly, the joy and anticipation left her face that paled with dread. Silvia regretted what she was about to say for a moment, but her friend needed to hear it.
“He’s interested in Lucita. He asked me if she was single as if I would know.” Silvia had to bite her tongue to keep from ranting, to keep herself from saying how much of a jerk he was.
“The new girl,” asked Elizabeth incredulously.
“He really said that?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry. Blake kind of cornered me on my way back to my house the other day and told me so. It sucks, I know, but come on, he’s a jerk with five hundred other girlfriends.” It was an exaggeration, she knew, but it fit the bill.
“She’s right; just forget about him.” Elizabeth put a comforting arm around Becca. “Come on, let’s head to class,” said Elizabeth putting a comforting arm around her shoulders.
Silvia looked at Rebecca, and of course, she looked sad when you looked at her eyes, but as always, she had that bright smile on her face, wavering like a ripple.
Rebecca spent the rest of the day fixated on Blake. It shouldn’t surprise her that he liked Lucita, yet she still found it unbelievable. The girl had barely spoken, had only stood there, and looked pretty. It shouldn’t surprise her, but it did, and it hurt. Seeing him in class, she watched him until he smiled at her. Oh god, he’s coming to me!
“Hey!” she exclaimed, just a little too excitedly.
His grin just widened while he took the seat next to her. A seat that wasn’t actually his seat. “How ya doing?”
“I’m doing great. I wish I was still on vacation.”
“Agreed. So hey, let me ask you something.”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“How well do you know Lucita?”
Her insides collapsed. “Not well. I just met her the other day.”
“Oh.” So that’s it, she thought, watching his bright, cheery face fall. “Well, never mind then. See you later, Becca.” She waved bye to him as he left to his seat on the far left of the class. He would never notice her, not the way she wanted anyway. She sighed and turned her attention to the white analog clock high on the fall in front of the classroom. She needed to get out.
Silvia sat in her seventh period conflicted. She had spent the entire way just thinking about Rebecca, her sad face, and how crushed she looked with the knowledge that Blake was after Lucita. Maybe she should have just kept quiet. What was one more secret between friends?
The bell rang, allowing her a moment of reprieve while her English teacher ran over the pages for homework and what she wanted everyone to look at. To Silvia, it was just “blah, blah, blah.”
Cracking her neck, she made her way to the bus area, past the PE building that led to the school bus pick-up station. She stopped midway when she saw Elizabeth chatting with a brunette who looked awfully familiar. Lucita laughed and then waved, heading towards the front of the school in the other direction. She stood there and waited until Lucita was out of sight before making her way to converge with Elizabeth. The look Elizabeth gave her was unnerving, almost calculated. It wasn’t a nice look and made her look unfamiliar.
“Hey. So guess what?”
“What?” she asked, leading the way to the buses.
“That new girl is in my French Class and my PE class. Cool, huh?”
“She’s pretty cool. Why is Becca so threatened by her anyway?”
“Well, she looked pretty different over break.”
Elizabeth shrugged. “Seems silly, though.”
Elizabeth walked on ahead, and once again, Silvia wondered why the hell she was friends with her, why Rebecca was friends with her.
“Shouldn’t we wait for Becca like always?”
Elizabeth stopped as if she had forgotten her. “Oh yeah. Well, she better hurry up.” Deep down, when she thought about it, Silvia hated her. She hated how she took people—her friends—for granted.
“Hey, guys!” Both girls turned. Rebecca made her way to them, her smile big as always.
“Hey, Becca. Come on, let’s go catch our bus. Later Liz!” Silvia grabbed Becca’s wrist and pulled her along, leaving Liz far behind. There was no reason to have Liz talk about Lucita and Blake’s crush on her. One could never tell with Blake.
“Why are we walking so fast?”
“I was just gonna ask the same thing.” Silvia bit back a curse, turning her head to the approach of the very much unwanted Blake.
“It is impossible for you to leave us alone?”
“We ride the same bus Vee, kind of hard.”
“You’re a jerk.”
“And yet, girls seem to like me.”
“That makes one wonder.” He laughed but did not leave their sides. Silvia was ready to punch him as she pulled Becca after her onto the bus, thankful that he had taken a seat far in the back.
“I don’t see why you like him,” she muttered, arms crossed, taking her place on the ripped, scribbled-on blue polyester seats.
“I just do.”
Rebecca was sick of Silvia always asking her why she liked him. She liked him, and that was that. Becca stared at Blake like she always did and felt Silvia pinch her and give her that annoying look. Rebecca couldn’t help who she liked; she just liked him.
Lucita rushed into the car; she had no homework, so she could just sleep once she got home. She just wanted to cry and fall asleep.
“How was your first day,” asked her mother.
“Make any friends?”
“Yeah.” Lucita looked at her reflection in the rearview mirror and wanted to cry. She felt so pathetic. She needed to just get over it all already. Lucita smiled eventually. Maybe she could start anew. Maybe she could be different. Her phone vibrated. It was Cyrus. Luci hesitated a moment before clicking the power button on the side. She would call him back later.
New Girl (Memoirs of the Third Floor #1)
Lucita is starting at a new school. Silvia is keeping a secret. Rebecca is struggling with herself. Three girls and their friends have entered high school, and for each of them, it’s hard enough without having to deal with friends, betrayal, and their insecurities. High School is tough enough without having to be the new girl.
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