One more year. One more year.
She kept repeating it to herself like a mantra. One more year and she would be done with this school and everyone in it!
Don't get her wrong. No one was mean or hateful. They didn't bully her. Quite the opposite. She had several friends but for the most part she was ignored. Gracie helped the others kids when they needed it. It made no difference to her if they were freshman or seniors. She was a straight A student and had tutored the last few years. She had gotten to know just about everyone no matter what click they hung out with. And she liked it that way.
No. What she had a hard time dealing with was the immaturity, the crazy drama that the rest of the school seemed to thrive on. Most of the girls were too absorbed with what everyone else was wearing and what boy was dating who. The boys were all trying to act cool and what girls would go out with them.
She was genuinely worried for all of these people who were going to be let loose on the general population. Most of them were so concentrated on what other people were doing, they didn't realize that when they graduated it would be too late for college admissions.
Gracie sighed as she closed her locker and headed to the auditorium for the first day of school announcements. Who was she kidding? Due to unforeseen circumstances, college was out of her reach. Online college could be an option but that was further down the road.
Two years ago, a drunk driver had killed her parents. It had just been a normal day. They had loved going to movies at the theater so when Gracie had gotten home from school she hadn't thought twice. The note they had left said they were going to the movies and then the grocery store. She had just continued on to do her homework as usual. If only she had known.
She had been in limbo for a while after that. Her parents had made sure she was taken care of. Money hadn't been a problem. Thankfully one of her friends' parents had volunteered to foster her until she graduated.
Brooke's family have been awesome. Her father is an investor and he had made sure that the money she had inherited went into the right accounts. Now, with still a year to go, there was enough to get her started on her own after graduation. Before actually. She just had to figure out what she wanted to do.
Entering the dimly lit auditorium she looked around for her group of friends. Finding them mid way down, she headed that way. Someone yelled her name and waved. Gracie hadn't seen anyone but her group since before summer break. She took the seat they had saved for her.
"What took you so long, Gorgeous?" Thomas asked her as he threw his arm around her shoulders. He was such a flirt. His blonde hair and blue eyes insured he didn't have to be but he liked the reaction he got from it.
Gracie shrugged the gorgeous comment aside. She knew she was pretty but she wouldn't go so far as to say gorgeous. Her brown hair was long and wavy, going down to her waist. She had hazel eyes that seemed to change color depending on her outfit. Her full lips were just a little too full.
"Oh, I don't know. You know me. I terrorized a few freshmen. Tripped a few sophomores."
The whole group laughed. They knew her too well. Gracie held out as long as she could but they knew she was going to cave.
"Okay. I helped some freshman that were having some trouble with their lockers. Satisfied?" Totally exasperated, she shook her head. She was an awful liar and she knew it.
"That sounds more like our girl," Trish said.
"Awesome," chimed in Chasity. "Now we are going to have a freshman following because of Gracie's fan club." She rolled her eyes pretending to be upset.
"Whoa," Bill said from Trish's other side. "I distinctly remember a certain senior helping you out on your first day of high school." He reached over and nudged Chasity's arm.
"That doesn't count," Chasity snips, turning red with embarrassment. "That was Brooke's brother Jason. He already knew who I was."
"She still likes him! That's so cute!" Brooke says from in front of us.
"So, you are going to be an old lady this week. What do you have planned?" Thomas asked.
"I'm actually signing on a house this week. I can move in at the end of the month. Brooke's family have been great and I'll be forever grateful for what they did. But it's time I get my own place and took care of myself." To Gracie it was just part of growing up.
"You know we love having you," Brooke exclaimed. "Don't ever feel like we don't want you!"
"I know," said Gracie. "This is something I just feel like I have to do." She really didn't know how to explain it any other way.
Brooke opened her mouth to say something else but the principal came out onto the stage and began the same first day of school speech we had heard for the past three years. Literally, it was the same speech word for word. So much for originality.
As he ended the speech, the volume in the room exploded. All the kids started talking at once, goofing off, trying to be cool. Girl's were whispering to each other, boys were trying to make them blush just because they could. The jocks were tossing a football, the cheer leaders were fixing their hair and make-up. Freshman were looking around like lost puppies not sure where or what they were supposed to be doing. Teachers were doing their best to direct everyone to class and try to contain the chaos.
One more year. One more year.