Lucita sat in class, bored out of her mind. World Geography. She had already taken this class in middle school….and passed. She was supposed to be in Honors World History. But no, someone had messed up her homeschooling paperwork, all because someone misfiled it. All of her credits, everything she had worked so hard for, gone, leaving her to repeat classes she had taken. What a rip.
Finishing up her notes, she shut the class book. The teacher didn’t even do anything. He just sat there, told them to do this and that with his black sneakers propped on the desk, a magazine in his hands.
Looking around at the class, half texting on their cellphones, she pulled out her poetry book. Outside, the sun was blocked by gray storm clouds rising in from the horizon. It struck something in her, pulling at her heartstrings and causing a twitch in her hand. There was something inside her itching to escape, itching for a release. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she took in the hum of the fluorescent lights above her, the tapping of the cell phones around her, the squeak of the chair beneath her, and wrote.
The light fades
the rain falls
And all that’s left
Is nothing at all
In the darkness
There is no light
A lonely girl
Her hair hung loose
Wet and tangled
Her skin dry
As her soul was broken
She fought the sadness
Tried to crawl up and away
Tried to kick and scratch
At the being that dragged her.
The hands were cold
Icy to the touch
Her nails broke her skin
Blood dripped from her ankles
The girl fought and pulled
Finally dragged herself
Back into the light
And as she pulled free
Heard a hiss
From a mouth
She looked back
The face was hers.
It slunk back
Into the shadow
and all the girl could do
Was stare wondering
What darkness lay
In her soul.
A breath finally escaped her, one she had kept deep inside her as she wrote. Another poem, like the rest of them, drew upon a pool of self-pity. It was a hopeless feeling she was always trying to escape. This dark feeling left scars across her stomach, hidden from her mother’s eyes. But she didn’t know what she could do to escape it. Didn’t know how to keep the darkness at bay. The bell rang, jolting her from her nightmarish thoughts. But as she stuffed her stuff into her bag, she could only kick herself inside. She had promised herself she would leave all that stupid pathetic depression behind in middle school. Things were better now.
So then, why did she feel so empty and depressed all of a sudden? As someone called her name, she quickly brightened when she saw Lucas heading her way. His gorgeous blue-gray eyes sent tingles down her spine. He hugged her, kissing her on the tip of her nose. She pulled back every urge she had to giggle like a schoolgirl. She felt kind of stupid for thinking such dismal thoughts earlier.
She wasn’t broken anymore.
She wouldn’t let herself be broken anymore.
“How was class,” he said, taking her hand as he led the way to English, the only class they had together.
“It was okay. Finished my work early, wrote a poem.”
“A poem?” Lucita bit her tongue. She hadn’t wanted to tell him that.
“Yeah, a poem. Kind of whatever, though.”
“Can I read it?”
“What? Oh, um, sure, I don’t see any reason why not,” she lied, offering him a fake smile. She didn’t want him to read it, but he was her boyfriend. He had every right to read it. Lucas also had every right to know how messed up she was.
Taking her seat next to him, she reached into her bag, pulling out the poem, tearing it from the rest of her dismal thoughts. He didn’t need to see the rest. The words echoed through her mind as she felt the indentations of the pen. Lucas looked at her, and she feigned a smile, handing him her poem. Please don’t think anything of it.
Lucita watched his face, she watched his brow knit, and his eyes widened, then scrunch. She was worried about what he’d think of her, if he’d see between the lines and see her what she was. A broken girl. Finally, when he looked up at her, he smiled.
Lucita laughed, relieved. “Wow?”
“Yeah, you’re a great writer. You should read this in front of class.”
Lucita started to shake her head. “Oh no, no, no. I hate public speaking.”
“Come on, please. It’s good, plus it’ll get us out of doing any school work.” He winked at her.
“Ah, so you only want to get out of doing school work.”
“Yeah, so, please. Pretty please.” He continued to beg and plead until Lucita finally caved, and Lucas grinned triumphantly. Not a second later, the teacher entered, and Lucas dragged Lucita from her seat to the teacher without hesitation. The teacher agreed. When the bell rang, she was doomed.
Rebecca lost all trace of thought as he sat in class with Blake. He didn’t seem concerned with the whole fight a few days ago. In fact, he acted as though he had won. Something that also bugged her was that Jason had asked her for Lucita’s number yesterday. She thought that he liked Elizabeth, who liked him back. Rebecca bitterly, once again, wished that Lucita had never moved here. Rebecca felt terrible; it wasn’t her fault that Luci was so damn likable. But maybe she was just getting ahead of herself. Jason asking for her number could be nothing.
Blake looked at her and smiled; his lip was still busted. Rebecca returned the smile, giving him a slight wave. She stared at him. She was amazed at how the fluorescent and natural light made him look even more gorgeous. She knew she looked hideous under those lights. Not that natural light did anything to make her look overly attractive, either.
A girl sat in the empty seat before her, placing smooth arms and delicate hands on her desk. Rebecca stared at the girl, confused. Her smoky green eyes stared at Rebecca with wickedness. Her dark bangs were to the side, highlighting her oval-shaped face. The substitute teacher seemed to take no notice, but Blake did.
“You like Blake, don’t you?”
Rebecca blushed. “That’s none of your business.”
“Look, don’t expect him to date you. After me, nothing for him is serious. You can tell that to your little friend Silvia too. Get her off her high horse.”
“Excuse me? Who are you?”
“Oh, you don’t know. I’m Tiffany Cruz. I used to date him.”
Tiffany arched her too-perfect-eyebrows. “Wow, you really have no clue, do you. Okay, let’s try this. I used to date Lucas too.”
Recognition flew through her. “So you’re the girl who screwed with them.”
Tiffany nodded excitedly, her jade eyes glistening mischievously, clearly proud of what she had done, playing them. “Yup. So look, I’m giving you a heads up because you look really lame and pathetic.” She popped the gum in her mouth, sending spit into Becca’s face. “I plan on getting him back. Lucas too. I’ll make them learn to share.”
Rebecca almost laughed out loud. “If you hadn’t noticed, Lucas is dating my friend, and Blake seems kind of done with you.”
“Make that completely done with her.” Blake took a seat next to Tiffany and stared her down. Tiffany flipped her hair over her shoulder as she stood up, moving to the front of the class she wasn’t even supposed to be. Substitute teachers were the worst.
“For now, Blakey.”
Blake rolled his eyes. “I hate that nickname,” he muttered as she walked away.
“You actually dated her?”
“Let’s not talk about it. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Could be better.”
“Cool, cool.” Blake leaned back in the chair and stared at the clock. Rebecca wondered who he liked more. Lucita or Silvia.
“Did you know,” he began, “that Jason likes Elizabeth? He doesn’t know about her, though.”
“She likes him.”
“Cool. I should let him know. I also think he’s got a thing for Lucita now, not that I blame him.”
Rebecca stared at him, shocked. “Why do you think that?”
“‘Cause, now whenever I talk about her, instead of calling me an idiot or telling me to shut up like he used to, he just goes along with it. You might wanna let Liz know. Would make it a bit easier on Jason if she, ya know, gave a damn instead of acting like a freaking ice queen.”
“You sound like Silvia.”
“Really? Hmm, guess that girl does have some brains.” He shrugged and smiled. “Why do you put up with Liz’s attitude anyway?”
Rebecca thought about it. “Because she’s my friend, and that’s what friends do, put up with each other.”
“I guess. Do me a favor; tell that to Jason next time you talk to him.”
“Will do.” Rebecca smiled at him as the bell rang.
“See ya later, Becca. Oh, and yeah, knowing Tiffany like I do, unfortunately, you should let Lucas and Lucita know. More for her sake than his.” He hoisted his bag over his shoulder and left. Tiffany shot her an evil glance before she left too. Rebecca wasn’t even up to the competition standard compared to her. Lucita, on the other hand, was.
Rebecca sighed. She just needed to catch a break. Or move on.
Silvia waited for Lucita and Rebecca after school. Her mom would give them all a ride home today, which meant no annoying bus ride with one annoying Blake.
Silvia watched Lucita make her way to her. Lucita waved her face, all bright and cheery, her long black hair braided loosely. Her long bangs obscured half of her face, giving her an air of mystery. Silvia sometimes envied the ease with which she put together a look, how everything about her looked like it fit her perfectly. On the other hand, she knew if she tried to copy Luci’s look, she’d end up looking like some Goth wannabe.
“Hey. So you want to know what Lucas made me do?”
“Oh, god, don’t need to know.”
Luci rolled her kohl-lined eyes. “Grow up; we’re at school. He made me read this poem I wrote aloud in class to get out of doing school work.”
Silvia laughed. “Was it at least good?”
“Oh, it was wicked but also super emo. Really didn’t want to read it out loud.”
“So much. Totally don’t need people seeing that side of me or making assumptions.” She let out a sigh, flipping her bangs out of her face. “So when’s your mom coming?’
“She’s meeting us across the street at the Italian restaurant.”
“Oh, cool. My mom wants me to thank her for this as if I wouldn’t have anyway, but whatever.”
“You’re mom seems a bit—”
“Let’s not talk about it.” Lucita looked away, catching sight of Jason and Rebecca. She waved them over, and Jason seemed slightly off, but since the whole fight, he had been nicer to Lucita. Silvia wondered what effect that was having on Elizabeth.
“Hey,” said Silva and Lucita in unison.
“We’ve got news.”
“Oh yay. Why do I have a bad feeling about this news,” complained Lucita.
“Cause your gut is prophetic,” muttered Jason sarcastically.
Jason smiled at her, but it quickly vanished. “You better tell them, Becca.”
“Huh, oh right. Um, Lucas’s and Blake’s ex is around, and she’s threatening to take them both back.”
“She can try, but I’m pretty sure her face will meet my fist if she tries anything.”
“Wow, violent much,” commented Silvia.
Lucita offered her an innocent smile. “Oh, you have no idea.”
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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