The first bell rang, and the students swung their backpacks over their shoulders, heading towards classroom doors, in a wave of noisy voices and loose papers. The first day back was always hectic, Isabelle Benson thought, pulling her black sweater tighter around her shoulders. This school was so different. Back at Pine Grove Middle School, she had much to fear. The likes of Madeline Carson and company called her a pig, and the boys would make disgusting catcalls at her breasts when they bounced during gym. She hated running the mile for those Physical Fitness Tests. It was like torture for her. Whoever invented those didn't think too carefully about the fact that girls have to run, too, girls with breasts and stomachs, and that there are boys who will tease them until they want to crawl into a cave somewhere and never come out. Well, obviously not. The inventor was probably male anyway. Isabelle decided that there wasn't really much point in thinking about it anyway.
But high school would change things, it had to. No one at Ugarga knew about Isabelle's past, or about the extra fifteen pounds that she had dropped over the summer. No one knew about the boy that Isabelle had been in love with who had made her life miserable in seventh grade. No one knew a thing. It was definitely a fresh start. And she liked it so far, too. Everyone seemed pretty bonded together, the freshmen had even begun to form close friendships. Isabelle had figured that being a freshman wasn't so bad at Ugarga, you got pampered by the upperclassmen and breaks on homework. Or so Isabelle had heard. She could excel here, she could be popular, Isabelle thought to herself. She would do it for her, not for anyone else. But, maybe, it would show those snotty girls back at Pine Grove that she wasn't just nobody.
So far, Isabelle had met exactly four people, the first one being the girl that she carpooled with, Cameron. So far, Isabelle had mixed feelings. Cameron was too brilliant for her own good, and often liked to interrupt others so that she could express her opinion. At a private school like Ugarga, there were lots of people like that. But Cameron was just strange. She wore her hair in a careless, messy bun, and was a caffeine addict. She was obsessed with Harry Potter quotes and . That was what Isabelle had gathered so far. And it scared her a bit. The second person she had met was Chrissy Gregoire. Chrissy's family were billionaires with an Olympic-sized swimming pool that Chrissy liked to bring up. She had bouncy blonde hair and smacked her gum when she talked about anything, making it particularly difficult to take her seriously at all. Chrissy seemed like the kind of girl who would throw a ridiculously huge party, and rub it in the faces of the few who weren't invited. Isabelle hoped to God that she wouldn't be one of those people. She had endured enough already.
There were two others; Brian and Jaime. Bryan was this teeny guy who Isabelle could not believe was anywhere near fourteen. He had to be eleven, twelve if you were generous. His hair was a little shaggy and he talked in this aggravating way, as though he was always right. And he could never explain himself either, he just kept enunciating one word, trying to make it sound deep, and intense. Unfortunately, that never really worked. Bryan seemed to be interesting in his own way, though, and played the saxophone. He had just started that year, and was incredibly talented. Jaime had wavy hair that was dyed pink, and wore tons of pins all over her clothes, usually things like, "Against abortion? Don't have one," or, "Why do we kill people who kill people, to show that killing people is wrong?' She was possibly the greatest person at Ugarga, and maybe on the face of the Earth. Jaime just had this quality about her, something that sparked everyone's interest. She was totally upfront about being a lesbian, and could be seen flirting with random senior girls. She would be easy to crush on, Isabelle thought.
Isabelle had met Cameron, Chrissy, Bryan, and Jaime at orientation, which had lasted two days, giving her a little chance to get to know them. Bryan was the only guy in the bunch, and had spent the first fifteen minutes of school going out of his way to avoid her. He stuck with Chrissy, and this other girl, Pamela, probably trying to get in their pants. Isabelle was actually sort of glad to have the kid away. He was like a leech, he would just wrap himself around your body whenever he felt like it. Whatever. Isabelle had tried her hardest to avoid Cameron, but it really hadn't worked out. Cameron had decided to explain to Isabelle that Harry Potter was gay, and that he was meant to marry some Anime character. Isabelle had the feeling that she was going to be very sick of Cameron by the time the school year ended. Chrissy was with the already popular girls, and Bryan, who looked out of place, smacking her gum and giggling. Oh well. She was a nice enough girl. Isabelle was grateful that even the privileged, popular students seemed like good people. Jaime was with the upperclassmen, but had give Isabelle a huge hug the second she saw her. Isabelle also had the feeling that she was going to be in love with Jaime by the end of the school year as well.
She pushed open the door to her first class, History, and took a seat next to a girl wearing flowered tights and fifties style pink sunglasses.
"Hey!" the girl said, sounding perky, "I'm Jenny. What's your name?" Isabelle smiled. Jenny seemed sweet.
"I'm Isabelle, and I'm so tired!" Jenny nodded her head vigorously in agreement.
"But I am kind of excited for the first day of high school," Jenny whispered into Isabelle's ear, glancing around, "It should be fun."
"Yeah definitely," Isabelle agreed, leaning back in her seat, and smiling at Jenny. Hopefully, this was a potential friend.
History passed by quickly, and it was time for English. Jenny had walked Isabelle to her class, and they giggled as though they had known each other for years. Once in the classroom, Isabelle slid into the first empty eat next to a pretty Asian girl who everyone called Miranda. The two smiled at each other, and said hello. Isabelle pulled out her notebook, and pen, and wrote, "English Notes," at the top of her sheet of paper.
"Good morning, class!" The teacher cried out, sounding just a bit too peppy, "We are going to have a great year!" Some kids rolled their eyes, some just glanced around nervously. Isabelle just sighed deeply, and waited for lunch. She had been waiting for about ten minutes when she felt someone's eyes on her. Slowly, Isabelle looked up, and across from her was the most gorgeous guy she had ever seen. His eyes were sparkling blue, and his dark hair fell over his eyes. He probably played guitar. He had fixed those beautiful things used to see right on Isabelle! She looked behind herself stupidly just to make sure. Yep, he was definitely checking her out. But she couldn't bear to keep eye contact, and forced her gaze away. Isabelle tried to focus on what her teacher was saying, but couldn't seem to concentrate. She glanced up again, and saw that guy, his eyes blaring into hers, and thought, this is going to be an interesting year.