CHAPTER 5 - Cassie
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! My eyes shot wide open as my alarm screamed at my face to wake up. Quickly, I pressed the button to turn it off. I look at the time. 7 AM. Weird. Why's it that early, and why do I feel like something big was supposed to happen today? My mind was still far away in dreamland, so attempting to remember what I had dreamt while I slept was the biggest priority before starting the day. It was either something about giant stuffed animals taking over the world like the Illuminati, or it was me at a pool party, which got attacked by a hairy guy and his circus animal trained puma. After sitting on my bed for fifteen minutes without blinking, I finally realized why the sun had barely begun its daily sunrise outside of Sienna Valley, Maine. It was the first day of school. High school. Lynn had already started three years ago, and now she's a senior at Sienna High. And now, for me, Belinay, and Rae, it was our turn. I gazed back at the clock, which made my heart race. Not only did I stare into the abyss for a quarter of an hour, but I also had less than forty-five minutes to fix my bed, make my breakfast and both my parents' coffee, pick my clothes, and wash up. Then run as fast as I can to catch the bus before it passes my stop. Ever since my parents became workaholics for their business, I rarely saw them during the school year, only in the summer. My older brother had to drive me to school, but last year was his senior year, so now I was practically on my own with him at college. Yeah, not really the most efficient morning routine, but it had to do.
It was 7:30 when I finished my tasks for the morning, meaning I had a pretty large gap of time until the bus would arrive at 7:40. I wasn’t freezing though, despite the nippy weather conditions. My pink hoodie and blue jeans were the only protection against the bitter cold. The only thing that felt like ice was my glasses, which fogged up when I breathed out. There were no kids that were older than me or the same age in my neighborhood that I knew of, so I was alone. The bus finally pulled up, and I stepped on the stairs, with a sick feeling I was going to be a bit lonely for my first few classes until lunch, which I shared with the group. Inside the yellow vehicle, there were other kids I recognized from last year, but they were already sitting with their friends. Only one row was empty, so I quietly made my way through the large chatter and plopped myself and my backpack there. The doors were about to close when there was a small shout. Shouting to stop the bus. Even with the loud, clanky engine, the angry driver yelling, and that huge crowd of people not listening and continuing to talk, I could still hear that tiny voice.
“Wait!” I jumped out of my seat, which probably wasn’t the best idea. The driver grumbled at me with that sarcastic “what” look. “I think another kid is coming!” And at that moment, a boy burst through the bus doors, breathing in all the air that entered the bus. Time instantly froze when we locked eye contact. All the sights and sounds disappeared, except for him and me. His jet black hair was slightly messed up, probably because of running. Just looking at him made me sure he was taller than most boys. He had these dark brown eyes that almost looked like melted chocolate pools, pulling me deeper and deeper into his trance. I didn’t understand this feeling that came over me. Like how you feel completely fine one minute, then extremely nervous the next when you’re randomly called on by the teacher to speak upfront. It felt like a mild case of the butterflies at the beginning of the day, but it developed into a swarm when I set my eyes on him. I felt my pulse quicken, and it became harder to breathe.
The boy thanked the driver and started walking towards me as the bus began to drive away.
“Um, hey,” he said, and chuckled. “Can I sit with you?” I had completely forgotten about what he asked since my attention was mostly on his attire. He wore an oversized light gray jacket and some pants that were the same color as his hair. When I managed to recall his question, my mind went blank. What is wrong with me today? Agh, just answer his question before he leaves and asks someone else!
“Is that a no? I’ll just sit somewhere else then.” He started walking away when the bus hit a speed bump head-on, and my hands suddenly grabbed onto his jacket sleeve to keep myself from falling.
I knew I was blushing hard, so I dropped it. “Y-yeah, you can sit here!” He smiled and sat on the empty spot next to me. For a few minutes, it was quiet. I stared out the window, watching the birds and trees passing me by.
“So...” The boy turned his body towards me and put an arm over the seat. “What’s your name? Mine’s Nathan. Nathan Wagner.” He held out a hand, so I shook it.
“Your name is also Nathan?” He looked at me unsurely. I feel my face start to heat up.
“Sorry, I meant I’m Davis Cassie. Wait sorry, Cassie Davis.” I facepalmed. Yeah, something’s wrong with me for sure.
Nathan laughed at my words. “I was wondering, were you the one that jumped up from your seat and told the driver to stop? I heard your voice, and I could see someone jumping vaguely through the window.” I stare down, slightly embarrassed. But I gathered all my courage and agreed. “Well, thanks. My family and I just moved here for my dad’s work a week ago, and I barely know where everything is. This move has been so hard, and I’m glad one person stopped living their life for a second and helped me out.” Nathan flashed a grin at me and turned away.
Ten minutes later, the bus arrived at our destination. Even though I had already seen it at the Sienna High freshman orientation, I was still amazed by how beautiful it was. The school was colored purple and yellow for its flag and borders. There were small green hedges, lining up along the brick walls. There were numerous buildings, with different classes and teachers. The lawns were cut perfectly, and the trees swayed in the wind. But the inside was even more captivating. Once I stepped through those doors, large stairs were escalating into the next levels of the school. It was bright, with the sun shining through windows in the ceiling. Awards and achievements were polished and dusted on the trophy wall. Every freshman I saw had a smile on their face, and it seemed like they weren’t scared one bit. I was still really scared. Mostly scared of the teachers and being late to class. Then someone tapped my shoulder. I turn around and see Rae, jumping up and down.
“Oh, hi Rae!” I grinned with happiness.
“Hey, Cassie! Remember that guy that Belinay almost ran over at the park yesterday?” I wasn’t really sure where she was going with that, so I nodded. “Well, it turns out he’s a freshman here too! They just bumped into each other a couple of minutes ago.” She started rambling on about how ironic it was that Lynn said Belinay would never see him again, but then Belinay did at school.
“So, what about you?” Rae looked at me. “How’s your day going so far?”
“Um, I met this-” Right then, the warning bell rang, signaling that we had five minutes to get to class.
“Tell me later at lunch, I gotta go. See ya!” Rae ran off and left me in the middle of a huge group of students heading off to class. I got lost, turning the wrong corner, and continuously saying sorry to the people I bumped into. Great, I’m totally going to be late. With a heavy sigh, I plow my way through the crowd and finally arrive at my destination. Chemistry. I heard rumors about this place, some people claiming that the teacher would boil you alive if you even coughed while she was talking. The alarm already sounded when I walked through the doors. There were long, black desks in neat rows. The desks were very tall, including two seats that were pushed inside. Posters of “No Talking!” and “Science Rocks!” covered the white walls. A lot of students were standing around the sides of the classroom while the teacher, Mrs. Yelda, tapped her clipboard with a pencil violently.
“Where is Ranley? Mr. Ranley, please sit in the back along with Mr. Simmons, before you have detention with me!” She screeched at the class, pushing her thick-framed glasses up her nose. I took a closer look at my teacher. She wore a flowery dress and very high heels. There was a large hat placed on her head, decorated with polka dots and stripes, along with huge flowers. Then, I hear someone calling my name, so I leave my thoughts and snap back into reality.
“Davis!” Mrs. Yelda storms towards me. “Are you Cassie Davis?” I gulped and shook in agreement. “I have been calling your name six times, and now would you please sit in the back with Mr. Wagner? Honestly! What is up with kids these days, just constantly lost in their own little worlds when the grown-ups have to do all the work…” She mumbled away and started screaming at the people who took so long to sit down. But I just stood there frozen for a couple of seconds, still taking in those last words. Is Nathan here, too? I search the room, and it doesn’t take long until I see him again. Taking a deep breath, I walk past the desks and take a seat right next to him.
“Hey, Cassie.” Nathan put his backpack over the chair. “You were kinda blanking out there. What happened?”
“Well, I was just looking at Mrs. Yelda’s choice of clothes, that’s all,” I confess.
“Yeah, that too, but what about after? You stood there for a few seconds like you had something else on your mind. What’s that about?” He pulled out his pencil case from his bag and unzipped it.
“CLASS!” Mrs. Yelda’s voice boomed around the room. “IF we have no more interruptions, I suggest we begin class, shall we?” A couple of “Yes, ma’am”s and “Alright”s came from our mouths. “Good, as some of you here may perceive the science world as…” Her words were so confusing, and her voice sounded like someone turned on a fan. I thought I would die listening to her speech when the alarm finally rang. Everyone ran out to either get away from Mrs. Yelda or if it was just rushing to class.
After the second period and break, I met up with Rae, Belinay, and Lynn in History, and I saw Nathan in my Spanish class and said hello. Finally, it was lunch, and I was hungry. I head on over to the cafeteria and scan the room. It was ear-splitting, almost losing my sense of hearing. There were many tables, and it took a while to find my friends. When I did find them, we engaged in our normal conversations. Lynn and I ate our food while Rae told us how her teacher was pretty cool, and let them do whatever they wanted for today, and Belinay told us about her encounter with that Keith guy.
“Um, so what about you, Cassie?” I pull the fork from my mouth and see Rae doing her scary gaze again. “You haven’t told us what happened today, and you know we always tell each other everything!”
Lynn joined in. “Yeah, what’s going on?” My eyes widen as the three stared intently at me, their eyes begging me to say something.
“Well, there’s a scary teacher I’ve got and-”
“Hi,” I look up and see Nathan behind, holding his backpack over his shoulder. “I was thinking, can I have your number? You know, just in case I need help in Spanish or something…” He trailed off, and I was slowly panicking because not only was Nathan here, but Rae, Belinay, and Lynn were there to witness it all.
“Um, yeah. Sure!” I replied. He hands me his phone and I type my number in as fast as I could.
“Thanks! Well, see you around!” Nathan walks off, probably to go back eating with somebody.
“Cassie…” Lynn shifts her eyes from Nathan to me. “Who was that?”
“No one! He’s just someone I met in class!” I immediately say, which makes it even more suspicious to my friends.
“Cassie, tell us! We know that you’re not telling us something because we know you well enough!” Belinay eyes me cautiously. “Whenever you lie, you always exert your nervous energy somewhere, and usually, that energy comes from your foot.” She points to my foot, which is moving up and down at record speed. I bite my lip. Why is it that when I don’t want her to know, she knows?
“Ok, you got me. He’s someone I met on the bus,” I start feeling the butterflies again. “His name’s Nathan. He moved because of his dad’s work, and I had to stop the bus for him to get on. I accidentally said my name was Nathan, and that was super awkward.” I smile at the memory. “Some weird feeling came over me when he did get on. I’m not really sure how to describe it…” I slowly stop talking and look back at my friends, who are nodding at each other like they have some secret language they didn’t teach me. “Uh, what are you doing?” The whole group gazed at me, then at each other.
“So, he’s just someone you met?” Rae folded her arms and peered at me. “Or is something else going on here?”
“And why exactly were you smiling when you were talking about him?” Belinay asked with a smirk. “You don’t have to do that.”
“Well, uh…” Everyone takes in the information and does a synchronized nod.
Lynn sighs. “Cassie, do you like this Nathan?”
“As a friend, yes.”
“Anything else?” I got taken aback by her next question, so I didn’t say anything and blushed. “Hmm, let’s just leave it at that. We shouldn’t budge her. Besides, we’ve got to be in class in about...” Lynn checks her watch and gasps. “Five minutes! C’mon people! Let’s get a move on! You don’t want to be late!” Lynn acts like an army general while we’re stuffing ourselves as quickly as possible. I’m the first to leave the table, due to the whole conversation from before, and rush to English. It was pretty much the same as Chemistry, but Mr. Keller wasn’t that strict of a teacher. Once that was done, I decided to walk to PE, one of the other classes I shared with Rae and Belinay, although the tension was at an all-time high with Belinay’s enemy there.
It was finally the end of school. The bus came to my stop, and I waved goodbye to Nathan, who went the other way. Walking back, my brain was yearning for the last days of summer to return, or at least some kind of hurricane to sweep down the school, trusting that nobody’s inside of course. Still, it felt like a regular school day, just with the horrors of a new school layout, old and new faces, and scary teachers. I didn’t even bother to change my clothes as I flopped on the bed, knocked out cold.