“Lily?” A pair of fingers snapped in front of her face, causing Lily to jump out of her trance. She looked to her left and saw her brother waving at her.
“Sorry, fazed out again.” Lily replied, shaking her head. She looked forward from the car and across the school parking lot. It was her first day of eleventh grade at La Plata high school. Her brother, a senior and football god, got out of the car and was greeted with shouts from friends. Lily put her head between her knees and exhaled. She did not want to be here, not now. Maybe another year and her friends would be talking to her again. Lily didn’t mean to yell at them, or blow them off. She apologized and pleaded, but they didn’t want anything to do with her. Less people to worry about, Lily thought.
Lily got out of her brother’s black mustang and pulled her book bag out of the back seat. She started walking towards the building when someone called out to her.
“Hey Lily!” From the sweet southern sound of the voice, Lily automatically knew who it was.
“Hi Jessica.” Lily said, waving to a girl that was walking in her direction. She had shining blonde hair, a perfect physic and heels that clipped with every step. Jessica was her brother’s cheerleader girlfriend. She was kind and like an older sister to Lily.
“How’re you doing?” Jessica said giving Lily a hug. Lily smiled weakly.
“Fine.” She turned to walk away.
“You call me if you need anything, alright?” Jessica called as Lily walked away. Lily nodded back at her and continued to school.
Once inside the school, Lily walked towards her first period. She didn’t even try to find her friends; they wouldn’t be talking to her anyways. Lily crossed her arms on her desk and slept until first period started.
Math as first period was boring and uneventful. Lily sat in a corner and tried not to attract any stares. Once the bell rang she placed her books in her book bag and made her way towards her English class. She walked through the crowded halls with difficulty. People seemed to go out of their way to run into Lily. She wasn’t sure if these were accidents or on purpose. Lily turned a corner and saw her best friend, or ex-best friend, Andrea, walking towards her. Andrea was walking with Chelsea, another good friend of Lily’s. When they passed, Lily raised her arm and waved at them. Andrea and Chelsea gave her discrete glares and did not wave back. Lily put her arm down and looked at the floor. She made it to English in time for the bell. Lily sat at the back of the class again and gazed out the window. Next was lunch; she was counting the minutes. The English teacher assigned the students a book already, one Lily hadn’t heard of before. She spent the rest of the class reading it.
The bell rang for lunch and Lily breathed a sigh of relief. She walked slowly to the cafeteria and it hit her. Who was she going to sit with? She didn’t have any friends at the moment. She entered the cafeteria and the scent of greasy food reached her nose. She crinkled her face on instinct but then glanced around. She knew no one. And her brother, unlikely that he would sit with her, wasn’t in this lunch. Lily wandered around for a bit looking for a friendly face. After seeing none she sat at the end of a table of guys. She started on her homework seeing has she had nothing else to do, and maybe she wouldn’t look so lonely if she was working.
Lunch seemed to last an eternity but it finally ended, sending Lily to chemistry. She sat at a table and waited for class to start. Her teacher, and older man, explained lab safety to them and Lily zoned out. She snapped back to reality when some one sat next to her.
“You Lily Greene?” Some one asked her.
“Uh, yeah.” Lily answered quickly, realizing that the teacher was pairing them up as lab partners.
“Hey, name’s Billy.” The person responded. Lily forced a smile and moved her bag off the chair. He sat down and took out a binder that was covered in doodles and stickers. Billy started drawing immediately. Lily gazed out the window to her left. It was windy and cold. She knew she should be paying attention, but it was hard for her to stay focused lately.
“Alright guys, take out your chemicals, put on your glasses and make me some hydrogen!” The teacher told them. Lily kind of heard what they were supposed to be doing. Pour Zinc Chloride into Hydrochloric acid to release hydrogen. Then burning the hydrogen.
“So, wait, what’re we doing?” Billy asked.
“Um, putting zinc chloride into HCl.” Lily explained. She took out a beaker and handed Billy some safety goggles. He pulled back his dreads and stretched the goggles over his head. Lily tied back her elbow length dark brown hair and adjusted her goggles. She measured out the hydrochloric acid in a beaker while Billy went to retrieve the zinc. Lily didn’t know if it was on purpose or not, but a foot was placed in Billy’s path while walking back, sending him flying into the table. His hand knocked the beaker on Lily’s exposed wrist and then to the ground. He himself hit the table hard and didn’t stand up for a while. It all happened so fast that Lily barely noticed having chemicals dumped on her. The class laughed at Billy’s clumsiness.
“Billy, are you alright?” Lily asked, stooping to Billy on the ground.
“I don’t know.” Billy said. He reached towards his forehead and winced. He had a cut above his eyebrow.
“Everyone alright?” Mr. Jacobs, the chemistry teacher asked.
“I think so, he might need to go to the nurse.” Lily said. Just then she called out in pain, the acid was burning on her skin.
“Too the sink! Quick!” Mr. Jacobs instructed. He turned on the sink and thrust Lily’s hand underneath the cool water. The burning feeling lessened but still hurt. Mr. Jacobs gave her a large bandage and a pass to the nurses.
“Take Billy as well, he might need some stitches.” Mr. Jacobs said. Lily and Billy walked slowly down the hall, Billy with his hand to his head.
“I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to spill that on you.” Billy said after a minute.
“No, don’t be. It was an accident. I think someone tripped you.” Lily told him.
“Yeah, that seems to happen a lot.” Billy said. The walked on in silence. Lily chuckled to herself.
“First day and we’re already the class jinxes.” Lily laughed. Billy smiled and opened the nurse’s door for Lily.
Half an hour later Billy and Lily were walking back to chemistry. Billy now had a bandage above his eyebrow and Lily had a large one around her right wrist. When they entered the class Lily could hear them snicker. She looked down and returned to her seat. She didn’t say anything for the rest of class. The bell rang and Lily picked up her newly assigned chemistry book. She dropped it immediately as it strained her wrist. Billy picked up the book for her.
“Here, let me carry it. Where are you going?” Billy asked.
“Um, art.” Lily said after glancing at her schedule.
“Awesome, me too.” Billy said. He started down the hall with Lily. She walked a little behind him, timidly. They entered the art room and set down their bags. Lily sat at a large table next to the windows and Billy sat next to her. Lily shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She was kind of nervous of Billy. He was being awfully friendly for just meeting her today, wasn’t he? Or was she over reacting again? He probably was just being nice.
Art started off slowly; the students sketched inanimate objects across the room. Lily spent all class perfecting a chair. If she thought about drawing hard enough it made her forget things. Lily was so immersed in her drawing she didn’t hear the bell ring.
“Are you going to leave?” Came Billy’s voice. Lily jumped and turned to him.
“Oh, I didn’t hear the bell ring.” Lily said. She folded her sketchbook closed and picked up her book bag.
“Let me carry your book for you again. Your wrist must hurt like hell.” Billy said. Lily would have said no but she didn’t think she could hold it on her own. She nodded at him.
“So… how do you get home?” Billy said. Lily could tell he was trying hard to make conversation.
“The bus. My brother has football practice.” Lily responded with out looking at Billy.
“The bus? Where do you live?” Billy asked.
“In White Arbors, why?” Lily said.
“Hey I live there too. Want a ride?” Billy said.
“Um…” Lily stuttered. She didn’t know him, how could she be sure he was safe?
“Really, it’s not out of my way.” Billy added.
“Alright.” She agreed. They walked towards the school parking lot to Billy’s car. His car was an older grey truck. The paint was chipped in many places and the door handles stuck.
“Let me get that, they’re stubborn.” Billy said while yanking on the handles. The door opened with a squeak and Lily sat down. Billy walked around the other side and threw his bag in the bed of the truck. He got in and started up the car. Billy was about to pull out of the parking space when two guys appeared at his window. He rolled it down to talk to them.
“Hey Billy! Want to give us a ride home?” The first guy said. The second guy, which looked just like the first, had already gotten in the back and sat down.
“Sure.” Billy said. The first guy jumped into the back and pulled open the small window to the cab.
“Hi, I’m Benji.” He said, extending his arm through the window to Lily. Lily took it and shook it.
“I’m Lily.” She said quietly.
“And that is my brother Joel.” Benji said while pointing behind him. Joel waved. The guys discussed their first days back at school and Lily soon was finding out about them. Benji and Joel lived in her neighborhood too. They were seniors and were in a band with Billy and two other guys that Lily didn’t know. They all had known each other for a long time and were good friends. The conversation died down and Benji turned towards Lily.
“So Lily, tell us about yourself. I haven’t heard you say much.” He smiled.
“There isn’t much to tell. Uh, my name is Lily Greene. I have an older brother. I’ve lived here all my life. I don’t play any instruments and I’m very tired.” Lily ended. Benji looked at her for a while before saying any thing. It seemed like he was trying to remember something.
“Wait, Lily Greene?” Joel asked. Lily nodded.
“Aren’t you friends with those Andrea and Chelsea girls?” Benji said.
“I was…” Lily said. She didn’t want to think about it.
“Not anymore?” Benji asked. Lily shook her head.
“Good, no offence or anything. But those girls are bitches.” Joel said. Lily didn’t say anything.
“Well, not bitches per-say…” Benji added.
“No it’s fine. I’m not really happy with them.” Lily said.
“Wait, weren’t you on the cheerleading team last year?” Joel asked. Lily sunk in her seat.
“Yeah…” Lily said.
“No way! You look so… different.” Joel said.
“Thanks.” Lily said sarcastically.
“You were a cheerleader?” Billy asked.
“Not something I want to remember.” Lily said.
“I just, well you expect them to be all peppy and loud. You’re not the loudest person from what I saw today.” Billy said.
“I’ve changed.” Lily said. Billy pulled up in front of a small house in the front of their neighborhood. Benji and Joel jumped out the back.
“Thanks for the ride Billy.” Benji said.
“Nice meeting you Lily.” Joel waved. Lily waved back. Billy pulled out of the driveway and continued down the street.
“I live on Maple Street.” Lily instructed. Billy nodded and turned a corner.
“So, what kind of music are you into?” Billy asked.
“Uh, not sure. I haven’t really listened to anything in a long time.” She responded.
“What!? How can you not listen to music?” Billy said in disbelief.
“Well all the stuff I used to listen to, I hate now. And I don’t know anything that is good.” Lily reasoned. “And it’s the one with the red shutters” Lily pointed at a house. Billy pulled into the driveway.
“Here, borrow these CDs, they’re my favorite bands. Tell me if you like them.” Billy said, handing Lily two CDs.
“Thanks. And thanks a lot for the ride too.” Lily said as she swung her bag over her shoulder. She clumsily held her book and the CDs as she walked towards her door. She waved at Billy as he turned a corner. Lily walked into her house and up the stairs to her room. Her room was as plain as it could possibly be. White walls, beige carpet, white sheets. It looked like it belonged in a mental institution. That’s alright though, Lily felt like she belonged in one of those herself. She dropped her bag and chemistry book on the floor. She looked down at the CDs Billy had handed to her. One was Silverchair’s Freak Show and the other was Nirvana’s In Utero. Lily had heard of the bands, but never listened to them. Lily found her portable CD player and put the Silverchair album in first. She put the headphones on her head and crawled into bed. Lily pulled the white comforter above her head and fell asleep to ‘Abuse Me’.