CHAPTER 6 - Belinay
The sun from my big window shined on my face as I slowly opened my eyes under the red mass of hair that covered my eyes. After barely discovering my face, I nestled my head back on the pillow.
Wait! No Belinay! No more sleep!
The alarm was set to 7:10, so I got up begrudgingly from my bed to my wardrobe and took out the clothes I chose from last night. I put on my green shirt, decorated with little white 3-D flowers, and my new jeans. My hair was tied into a braid crown, letting the rest of my hair-free. I loved to dress up, which made me the girliest of my friend group.
I had breakfast, and shortly after, went to change my shoes again. Why? Ask Celeste! The one who has problems pouring milk. Celeste has been.....well...her. Since my grandpa died three years ago. She loved him terribly. I sometimes pity her but that doesn't mean she can do what she does.
After slipping on a jacket, I hurried to the bus stop. Five minutes went by standing out there in the cold. I finally got a glimpse of the yellow vehicle.
"Hey, Belinay! I have a seat for you right here!" Rae shouts through the window, waving at me. I got on the bus like lightning to get rid of the torturing hand of the cold wind. I sat next to her and talked about the classes we were having together. Let’s see: algebra, history and PE.
As the bus stopped, I nearly bumped my head against the front seat. I looked at the bus door opening and through them came a tall guy with brown curly hair and hazel eyes. It was Keith, the guy I ran into yesterday.
Oh, no! It’s Keith! I can't let him see me! I began to panic.
"Don’t look now," I whispered to Rae as I sank underneath the seat.
"What got on your head now? Are you crazy?" Rae laughed at my comical position.
"Shush! It's Keith!” Rae looked at me confused. “You know, the guy I crashed into the other day? Don't let him see me!" She turned her head to find Keith making his way through the tight space between the seats.
"Don't worry. He's looking through the window. I don't think he noticed you," she laughed again. A couple of minutes after, I began to breathe normally when we arrived and he got off the bus.
"C'mon, he’s gone! Move on, or we'll be late!" Rae pulled on my sleeve, urging me to go.
"Ok!" I said, barely grabbing my backpack by the straps.
She guided me or rather took me off, the bus as fast as she could. But on the last step, I stumbled and ended in a boy's arms. He laughed.
Oh, no. I froze when I recognized the boyish, and I have to admit quite enchanting laugh. I looked up and confirmed my theory. It was Keith's arms in which I landed on. I quickly established my feet on the floor and got off him.
"You need to stop landing on me." He grinned at me. I feel my face turning redder than my hair.
"S-sorry," I said, looking up at Keith because of my short size. Suddenly I found myself wishing I was taller.
He might be thinking I'm a shrink like everybody. What do I care what he thinks? I just crashed against him.
"So," he ruffled his hair, "Are ya also freshman?"
"Belinay, let's go!" Rae barged into the conversation. "We don't want to be late!"
"Then I guess I'll see you around. I'm also a freshman.”
He waved and walked away from me. I didn't know if I was happy I'll see him all year, or if the sick feeling I felt on my stomach when he said that meant I didn't like it. We met Lynn and Cassie afterwards. Then rushed to our classes.
I took algebra with Rae. Mr. Shirley, our algebra teacher, was famous for giving hard lessons and long homework. And then it was time for English with Mrs. Nightingale. She gained her fame for being a sweet teacher that cared for her students.
After the break, I joined with the girls in the history class that I was taking with Rae and Cassie and in which Lynn was TA. I got a scolding for trying to tell Lynn something during the lecture. The bell rang again, and this time I took my astrology books from my locker.
I sat on an empty table for two. Then… him again. We have this class together! I wasn’t sure if I should move, or he was just passing by.
"Mr. Ashford, take a seat." The teacher, Mr. Bradley, was writing some tables on the whiteboard. Keith sat on another table, to my relief.
"Hello, class. The first thing we will do is pairing in groups of two with your partner, whom you will sit, work, and participate with all year.” Mr. Bradley paused for a moment, catching a breath. “Remember, choose wisely, or else-”
"I CHOOSE BELINAY!" Keith shouted frantically. I felt my face burning, I was about to object but stopped short. The teacher had already consented to the petition.
Keith walked to the desk I was sitting at, a smile pasted on his lips.
"I'll sit here.” His finger pointed to the seat next to me. “If you don't mind," he added.
"I guess you will.” I immediately regretted saying those words. He took his seat as the rest of the classroom danced to find a partner.
"You almost killed me with your bike. If I’m not irritating you, can I at least know the name of my murderess?" Keith asked, stifling a laugh.
"First off, I didn't want to kill you. You just happened to be there when it happened. And my name is Belinay Everdeen,” I retorted back.
"Keith Ashford to your service." He bowed like those knights in the medieval shows I watch. Soon enough, the class started and all went quietly.
It was lunch. Finally! I walked out of the classroom and Keith followed near. After turning several times and noticing he was just behind me, I turned around and faced him.
"Are...are you going somewhere?"
"Sorry. it’s my lunchtime."
"Oh, never mind." I couldn't believe I was so awkward. I found a seat with Lynn and Rae and not much after Cassie joined. We talked of our day though Cassie was acting strange. Finally, we discovered what was what had her so quiet. Some guy she met on the bus named Nathan. He even came and asked for her number. We did our secret telepathic language, though we didn’t talk. Just each twitch of the eye and mouth meant something. We came up with the conclusion that it seems she likes him, and so does he, even if it wasn’t that clear. But we dropped it so that Cassie would not be uncomfortable.
The group and I hurried to our classes. And my next class was sign language. To my surprise, Keith was there too. Could my day go better? The class finished, and Keith came to me and asked what my next class was.
"Let me see.” I pulled out my schedule, which was neatly folded in my backpack. “PE."
"Guess what? Me too," he replied.
We walked to PE together talking about how absolutely diabolical the teacher was for giving astronomy homework on the first day. At PE, I had a hard time. Because Geraldine was there. My enemy since first grade. Since the day I spilled juice on her new dress, to be more precise. The moment the drop from my juice touched her clothing marked the beginning of a never-ending war. It almost seemed like we were destined to fight until one of us surrendered or died. And I didn’t want to lose, or give in, to that evil girl. Because of my wonderful luck, today we had to play the classical torturing game. Tag. Once you got tagged, you had to sit back at the bleachers. The class was evenly split into two teams, one would play the first half of class, while the other would play the last. It turned out Geraldine was chosen to be the tagger for the first half, and I also turned out to be in the first half. The whistle was blown. All the girls ran away from Geraldine. From a distance, it looked as if she wasn’t going for those people, only me. I tried to get away, but Geraldine was faster, striking me square on the mouth. Or right on the braces. Wherever she hit, a month of braces gone and a visit to the nurse’s office because of a bloody mouth.
The girls came to visit me at the nurse's. A hurricane of "Are you alright?”s, and "She is so mean.”s was tossed in the room. Even though I was in pain, only one good thing came out of that. Geraldine was punished, but just two lunch detentions were received. To the teachers, it looked like Geraldine was just playing a bit too rough, so they let her off easily. We were just about to come up with a plan to get back at her when a certain boy came to visit me. The group’s mouths immediately closed as he came over and left after placing a small notebook paper, and scribbled messily on the top, “Read After School - Keith Ashford.” Rae turned to me with a confused expression on her face. Cassie paid close attention to the letter, probably wondering how that handwriting was so messy. Lynn, on the other hand, was still comforting me by my bed.
A few words of persuasion to the nurses and I took off to my last class, Yearbook, which cheered me a bit. Something about taking pictures seemed calming. Peaceful. Celeste wouldn’t understand though. She was all moody and none of the emotions you’d experience while taking pictures. The best thing of all was that I could take photos and go to events to write about them with Cassie, and also get an easy A just by doing so. When I was walking back with Rae to the bus, I noticed Keith sitting three rows in front of us, throwing glances at me, as if he was asking if I opened his letter yet. I wasn’t sure how to react, but Rae just kept talking to me like nothing was happening right now.
Even though I was really tired from school, and my still bloody mouth, Celeste set me to work, telling me to clean the house with our cheap mop and a dusty rag. This was our “normal” routine, as my sister would’ve called it. Thirty minutes went by when I finally finished my chores and went upstairs. I started my homework, but when I pulled out my textbooks, Keith’s note fell out. Hesitantly, I didn’t pick it up from the floor until ten seconds after. And I was honestly surprised he wrote this down, despite the newest technology and computers. It read:
hey belinay, so I heard you got smashed in the face... hope you get better soon! ok, imagine this. I'm doing my astrology homework, and suddenly I remember we had to do a project together, and we didn't even start it yet. it's due the next day, but I have no way of asking you about it because I don't have your number. well... what I'm trying to say is that maybe we should give our numbers to each other, just in case something like that will happen... lemme know what you think! oh, and thanks for being in most of my classes, or else I would’ve been lost half the time. here's my number…
I read his note again and again and remembered how this was often the first step to becoming friends, and in some special cases, more than that. I’m not even sure if I’m ready to be friends with Keith, since I met the guy yesterday, and bumped into him today. I shrugged. I’ll just decide later. Meanwhile, it’s time to work. The homework I was assigned was very easy, but it was the school day that basically wiped out my energy. I laid on my bed, took in the homey smell, and propped up my favorite book, and read. I was happy the first day ended.