Chapter 1.2

You are reading: Out on the Edge

Written by Nerathul on 23 Oct 2017 20:33.

The other kids sharing our dorm arrived through the evening, some of whom had already moved in before Channel and I. In the end, twelve of us, evenly split between boys and girls, settled into the house along with Mr and Mrs Carmody.

When everyone was there the house parents insisted we all congregate in the living room to make acquaintances. While everyone mingled I stayed on the couch, my legs stiff and painful from walking back after ice cream.

I tried my best to remember everyone's name even if it was a little overwhelming to meet so many people at once. There were the twins John and Claire, my sister's roommate London, the boys roommates Andy and Jules and one more girls from room six who roomed with Clair; Sarah.

The final boy whose name I hadn't caught came toward me. He was kind of tall and lanky with light brown skin and curly black hair reaching an inch or two past his ears.

"Love your shirt." He said, giving me a smile. I glanced down, not even remembering what I'd worn. It was the 'I <3 SCIENCE!' shirt with a scientist riding a dinosaur.

"Heh, thanks."

"I'm Cooper."

"Hayden."

"I saw you've just been sitting there, not feeling like socializing?"

"My legs are killing me." I said. He raised a brow but I didn't volunteer an explanation. "And everyone's seems happy enough to come and greet me anyhow."

With the initial introduction over the Carmodies took out some board games and politely encouraged us to play until lights off. Some of us weren't too thrilled but I was into it, getting into a long bloody Risk war with Cooper and Sarah that ended on a stalemate with Sarah having a slight advantage when came bedtime.

***

When the houseparents knocked on the door to get us up, I hadn't slept more than a handful of hours and my whole body was sore, I'd kept thinking about my dad leaving until exhaustion had gotten the better of me. I took a moment to fully wake up before I painfully dragged myself out of bed and into the shower room.

After a long hot shower, I skipped over to my room before getting dressed. Or rather before staring at my uniform uncomfortably for a while. It wasn't my style in the least bit… The Cedar Grove uniform was fairly standard private school duds I reckoned. The summer/spring girl's version consisted of a blue vest over a white button shirt with tie and finally a tan-colored skirt. The last time I'd worn a dress or skirt had been nearly five years before at my uncle's wedding…

When I finally willed myself to put it on it wasn't a bad fit but it definitely made me self-aware of my body. I silently thanked the heavens the school allowed leggings to be worn under the skirt as to hide the scars on my leg…

Evelyn came in with make up done just as I was finishing up braiding my frizzy brown hair so it wouldn't be in the way. Unlike me she didn't share my discomfort at the uniform. She wasn't prudish either, dressing up right then and there in front of me. Still, I made sure to look away. I left the room and went for breakfast just as she grabbed her curling iron and headed back to the bathroom.

"Morning pipsqueak." Channel said once I came downstairs.

"Hey." I mumbled back.

A few of the others were sitting down at the large table while the house parents hurried over the stove. I took a seat and in just a few moments found myself with a plate of scrambled eggs, sausage and hash brown. There was some chatter but I wasn't in the right frame of mind to join, even when Cooper swore he'd take his revenge for losing Africa to me the night before.

Fifteen minutes before class start the house parents shooed those of us left out and toward the school buildings which were just a minutes walk away. The main classroom building and the library of Cedar Grove Academy were well over two hundred years old. They were built in a brick colonial style with newer annexes on both sides. The Gymnasium building in the distance however was more modern, looking much like my old school. However the inside of the classroom building wasn't as old as its outside, having been renovated and modernized recently.

There was a line past the main entrance where security guards passed students through body metal detectors and had bags through a scanner. I took place in the line and waited for my turn.

"Your turn, miss." The guard said when I came to the front of the line.

"I'm going to warn you, it's going to ring." I took out everything from my pockets and placed them in the provided basket along with my bag in the scanner. "There's a surgical rod in my leg." I gave him my medical paper and he quickly checked it.

As I passed through the detector they inevitably beeped to life and the security guard came toward me holding a detector rod. He boredly moved it around until it came to my left leg where it beeped. He rapidly patted the area down, not finding anything under the leggings. He let me go without any further inspection.

"Oh my god, is that true about the rod in your leg?" Evelyn asked just as I grabbed my bag from the scanner. She'd been just behind me all this time.

"Yes." I sighed.

"Is that the 'old injury' you spoke about?"

"Yeah… I'd rather not talk about it…"

"Alright. So, what's your first class?"

I unfolded the paper and looked at the schedule. "U.S History. You?"

"English III." She said. I raised a brow, it was an honor-student level course. "Guess we'll see each other around then."

"Yeah." I waved her goodbye and we split up, heading to different part of the school. U.S. History was given on the second floor of the classroom building while her English class was in the north wing. I easily found my way around and went through the open door. An older male teacher greeted me, introducing himself as Mr. Salazar before inviting me to take any seat.

The classes were definitely smaller than at my previous school, only twelve pupil instead of the twenty three of my last class at the town's public middle school. All seats were in pairs. I found a seat alone by the wall opposite the window where they had all been claimed already.

In the next few minutes the other students came into the class and it filled up to capacity. An asian girl sat down next to me, giving me a timid wave which I returned. She was kind of tall and curvy, but more noticeably she was crazy fidgety; twisting her hair and tapping her finger against her hip. When roll call came, I learned her name was Melody.

Our first lesson went well and when it was over came time for English I. Cooper joined me on this class and we worked through the year's first exercise together. After that was the horror known as Phys ed… When finally lunch time came I was positively starving and sore all over.

As I walked through the corridors toward the cafeteria I heard someone call out my name. "Harper!" I turned around, recognizing the voice of Liam, one of my best friends. He was standing behind me, wearing the school uniform and had his long ginger hair in a pony tail. "Hey." He said with a huge grin.

"Oh my god, I'm so glad to see you!" I squeed, wrapping my arms around him and giving him a hug.

"I can see that!" He chuckled.

"I can't believe you're here."

"I can't believe I actually managed to convince my parents to let me attend." He answered. "They were so worried about tuition and transport but I got them a deal they couldn't refuse."

"What did you have to give up?"

"Nothing major, just my independence, passion and future."

"That bad?"

"They wants me to intern at the family company, learn the trade as they says and 'maybe I'll like it.' They say. They're still very intent on making me join the oh-so-wondrous world of undertaking." He rolled his eyes.

"Your parents are evil. But I'm so glad you're here, maybe this year won't be the worse ever. But how did you recognize me?"

"There's only one girl I know who walks like duck." He said with a laugh.

I punched his arm as hard as I could.

"Ouch! fuck… You hit hard, you know." He said before laughing some more. "But really I just recognized your nerdy book bag. You're the only girl nerdy enough to carry have a magic the gathering championship regional championship second place winner pin on it."

I was pretty darned proud of that pin, having beat the previous two years champion of the the greater philadelphia area in my first tournament. Entering it had been my birthday gift along with the trip to philly itself.

"You're just salty that I beat your crush with my zombie rush."

"Stop calling him that!"

"Oh come on, I know you're gay for him, you keep talking about how good he is." I teased.

"I officially regret enrolling here."

"Too late to back out, you've already sold your soul for it, no refunds." I grinned. "Let's get food, I'm starving."

Next Chapter: Chapter 1.3 by Nerathul

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