“Good morning, sweetheart! Happy first day of senior year!" My mom swung open my bedroom door. She was holding two balloons and a kazoo. I couldn't stop my eyes from rolling, but I loved her level of excitement. It was the same excitement I just couldn't seem to muster myself.
“It would be exciting if it was the last day or even the first day back at my last school." I set my make-up brush down and swiveled my chair in her direction.
“Mom, I love you, but I am seventeen, and I really needed to stay with my friends," I repeated the same line I had shared with her all summer. My beautiful, smart, funny mother of seventeen years could not, scratch that, would not hear of her only child needing someone other than her. Mom slowly walked over to me and hugged me.
“Aria, you know our financial situation. Look, honey, I am sorry you are not with your friends this year. You know we had to move because of the divorce. We are lucky I was able to find a job here." She stroked my hair and pulled away.
“I know that you're right. It doesn't make it suck any less though. I had huge plans for senior year with Addie and Lacey back home, and now I have to be the new girl again." I pointed to my sweater.
“Can you hand that to me, please?" I shimmied in my jeans, and mom tossed me my light blue sweater.
My mom and I practically look identical. The main difference is our twenty-year age gap. Mallory Green had a screaming, precious baby girl at the young age of twenty-two. Our red hair matched, but our eyes, not so much. I have blue while she has hazel. I got my eyes from my dad, which reminds me that I haven't seen him in a long time. Mom grabbed my hands.
“Promise me that no matter what experiences you have this year, you won't get pregnant." The look in her eyes was desperate, but I found the plea to be funny.
“Mom, I'm a virgin." I thought, 'I plan on keeping it that way for a while,' but I would never say that part to her.
I slipped on my clothes and grabbed my messenger bag, which already held a few books for the day. I looked at my watch.
“I've got to go!" I was already running late on my first day of school. Not that this was unusual for a high school student, but still.
I ran down the stairs as my mom followed me at a scarily fast pace. Grabbing my keys from the key hook, I hugged my mom and ran to my car. She tried to say something else, but I slammed the car door and backed out of the driveway. While I love her, I need her to back up a little and let me breathe.
The school was bigger than I expected it to be from the photos. It had a giant archway that led to a common outside area. It looked like some classes could be accessed from outside while the rest of them required you to go into the building and take the stairs up. Simple green vines covered the outside stone structure. It was actually quite nice.
“Shoot, not only am I the new girl, but I am also the lost new girl," I mumbled to myself and looked around. I had to figure out where my first class's room was on my own. I could grab some angels for help if I were a social butterfly, which I wasn't, unfortunately.
I chose the left side of the court. Students started to disperse even before the bell rang, echoing in the courtyard.
“No! No!" Looking around, I realized I should have asked someone. Now, it was too late. Before full panic could set in, my butt was on the ground.
“Ow!" Laying there, all I could do was look up.
“Oh my gosh! Girl, are you okay?" a female voice echoed in my ears. Opening my eyes, I saw a tall blonde girl with a tiny button nose and cat headphones on her head. She reached her hand down and pulled me up.
“I think so. It depends if it is the end of the year yet." I rubbed my lower back.
The blonde girl lowered her cat headphones onto her neck and outstretched her hand. She was probably about three or four inches taller than me.
“I'm Hannah Parker. I don't think I have seen you around. Are you a senior?" Her head tilted. She was very pretty. I wished I had the confidence to wear something so strange on my head, or maybe I didn't.
“Aria Green. I'm a senior. Today is actually my first day, and I am already lost. Pretty embarrassing, right?" I wiped off my jeans since a bit of dust or dirt got on them.
She shoved another book in her purple bag and grabbed my schedule from me.
“Let me see this!" She moved her head side to side like a cartoon before handing it back to me.
“Good news and bad news! The good news is, we have the same first period, so I can walk you there. The bad news is we are late!" She darted off in one direction. It took me a second before I realized I needed to follow her. I jogged off in the direction after her.
Stopping in front of a door with a narrow window on it, she opened the door and slid right in. I followed her in quietly.
“Welcome, ladies, grab a seat," the teacher said. He already had written his name and the week's assignments on the board.
I settled into a seat in the back next to Hannah. While the teacher, known as Mr. Brad, handed out the syllabi, he read it word for word and then popped in a self-made introduction video featuring himself as various historical characters.
“Hey," Hannah whispered to me. I hung my head low and glanced at her.
“What?" If this girl got me kicked out of class, I would be so upset.
“What are you doing on Friday night? Got any hot plans?" she asked. It was nice of her not to assume I obviously didn't.
“There's a party Friday night at Chase's house. Call it a senior celebration. I'll drive!" She smiled and went back to doodling on her syllabus, pushing a strand of blonde hair behind her ear and revealing a small bunny tattoo.
A small laugh escaped me, causing Mr. Brad to pause the video.
“Did someone have a question?" He looked around. No one said anything, but a few people turned around.
“Nope!" Hannah shouted without looking up from her doodling. He hit the play button again.
“Psst!" I tossed a small eraser at her, which rolled on her desk, and she tossed it back. It hit my eye.
“Darn it!" I whisper and cover my eye.
She grabbed her eye and mocked me, which caused us both to start laughing loudly. Mr. Brad kicked us out of class for the last twenty minutes.
“Thanks for that!"
I slid on the ground outside of the door. Hannah shrugged and slid down next to me.
“Okay, and who is Chase?"
“You don't know Chase? Oh, right, I forgot, you are new."
“Educate me. I am waiting."
Hannah started packing her bag and explained, “He is the king of Hampton High. He is hot and absolutely charming, but he isn't what you think."
She paused, looked at me with a grin, and continued, “But that doesn't matter! What matters is you are going to have fun!"
“I don't know whether I want to go now." Being at someone's house without knowing them made me uncomfortable.
“Come on! Not even for your dearest new friend?" Hannah gave me an exaggerated sad face. I rolled my eyes, but I had to admit that it was hard to turn her down.
“So I'll pick you up at six on Friday. Just text me your address." She managed to slip my phone out of my jeans pocket and added her number.
“I have to ask my mom first. She is kind of crazy about things like this." She handed my phone back to me and waved it off.
“Don't worry, parents love me!" I laughed. We would see.