“I’m so nervous, I think I’m going to throw up,” Lizzie said, gnawing on her lower lip.
Elle, her best friend in the whole world, nodded in agreement as she chewed on a hangnail.
“But don’t,” Elle told her, pulling her hand away from her mouth. “You don’t want your first day of senior high to be remembered as the time you threw up in front of the entire school.”
Lizzie turned green at the thought. She closed her eyes and shuddered.
“That would definitely be one of the worst things that could happen,” she agreed, opening her eyes to see the school looming ahead of her.
Taking a deep breath as the bus pulled up in front of the school, she looked out of the window at the imposing building. It was larger than her old school, but it also held more students, as evidenced by the groups of people hurrying inside.
“Time for a fresh start, right, Lizzie?” Elle asked, leaning over her to look out of the window up the building as well.
Nodding, she tore her eyes from the school and looked over at her best friend, who was still staring at the building with wide eyes.
“Time for a fresh start, Elle,” she said firmly, taking her friend’s hand and squeezing it. “Just like we’d agreed.”
“New school, new us, right?” Elle asked, tearing her gaze away from the school to look at Lizzie and squeeze her hand back.
Nodding, Lizzie studied her friend with her dark brown hair pulled back in a French braid and her chocolate brown eyes. Elle was a little shorter than Lizzie, but they could still fit in each other’s clothes, which they constantly borrowed from each other.
Releasing Elle’s hand, Lizzie reached into her backpack and pulled out her compact. Opening it, she looked into the small mirror to make sure her shoulder-length hair hadn’t escaped the barrettes she’d pinned it back with.
Her dark blonde hair looked the same as it had when she’d checked it before getting on the bus. She noticed her blue-green eyes looked wide and frightened, so she closed them and took another deep breath to calm her nerves.
“Come on, Lizzie,” Elle hissed at her, nudging her in the side. “It’s our turn to go.”
Snapping the compact closed, Lizzie shoved it back into her backpack and nodded once.
They stood up from the seat and smoothed down the green plaid skirts of their school uniforms, and made sure their white Polo shirts hadn’t ridden up in the back. White ankle socks and black sneakers completed their look.
Easing their way down the aisle, they left the bus. Pausing for a moment to take one last deep breath, they headed toward the front door of the school to begin their first day.
Once inside the doors, they looked around as they made their way down one hallway. They looked at the room numbers to find their homeroom. When they’d gotten their schedules, they’d called one another to compare and had been so excited to see they were in the same homeroom. They had the same lunch and a couple of classes together.
“We didn’t get lost once,” Lizzie whispered to Elle when they found the room and walked into the classroom.
“I know,” her friend said, grinning at her. “I’m so proud of us.”
“Good morning, ladies,” a gray-haired man sitting behind the desk at the front of the room said. “Just pick some seats. We won’t worry about assigned seats for homeroom.”
He went back to writing on the paper in front of him as they looked around to find two desks together.
They spotted two seats in the middle of the class and walked toward them, sitting next to one another.
Setting her backpack on the desk, Lizzie looked around to see who else she knew in the class. She saw Tommy Rutherford and Linda Jones from her old school and waved to them. Linda waved back, but Tommy just nodded at her.
Elle nudged her and jerked her chin toward another boy, saying, “There’s Jack August. Didn’t you used to have a crush on him in third grade?”
Lizzie laughed and shook her head, saying, “I’m pretty sure that was you who had the crush on him.”
Elle wrinkled her nose at Lizzie. Lizzie responded in kind, giggling.
They watched other students come through the door of the classroom. Some they recognized and greeted, but others were new to them.
The teacher remained at his desk, writing on papers. He would glance up at every student and greet them as they came in, then continue writing.
“All right, everyone,” he said as he put his pencil down and stood from his desk, picking up a clipboard. “Settle down. The day is about to start.”
Just then, Lizzie felt her attention pulled to the doorway. A tall boy with short black hair and dark eyes she didn’t recognize had just walked into the classroom and stood just inside the door looking around at the class, a bored look on his face. His gaze fell on Lizzie’s, and a slow grin appeared on his face, revealing a dimple in both of his cheeks.
“Good morning, young man,” the teacher said, waving his arm toward the desks. “Just pick any seat and hurry. The bell is about to ring.”
“I think he likes you,” Elle said, leaning toward Lizzie and jerking her chin toward the new boy.
Lizzie shook her head, frowning and shooting Elle a dirty look.
“Don’t look now, but he’s taking the empty desk beside you,” Elle added, her gaze going from Lizzie to the desk beside her.
She nodded her head at the desk beside Lizzie, a sly smile on her face.
Lizzie turned to look at the boy, who was staring at her with dark brown eyes. Her mouth went dry, and her palms felt sweaty. Wiping them as discretely as she could on her skirt, she smiled at the boy. She jumped as the bell rang, and he grinned at her.