Because I'm Lazy, An Excerpt!

Since I'm swamped with reading and writing, not to mention I've been sick all week, I'm going to take this week to post some chapters from my last year's NaNo novel. I got some good responses from friends at the time, but I'm curious to know what my new friends and followers think :-)

I'm not sure if I'd classify it as Sci-fi or paranormal, but it's somewhere in there. It definitely needs some tweaking, but... here it is in it's basic first-draft-form. Let me know what you think!

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Chapter One


            My alarm went off again.
            I hit the snooze button.
Again.
The first day of school always seemed to sneak up on me, and I was totally not ready for it today. Then the inevitable happened…
“Maelie! Are you almost ready? Breakfast’s cold, and we need to leave in ten minutes.”
Ugh. Mom.
She’s not even my real mom. She’s my adopted mom, but I’ve never had anyone else to call ‘mom.’ Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that she and ‘Dad’ took me in, they obviously wanted kids, but recently they hadn’t really treated me that way – like they wanted me.
“Yeah, I’m coming, Mom.” I shouted, and covered my face with the blanket again.
Why did I even have to go to school? I’d been taking college courses since I was fourteen, and yet they still insisted that I go to the public high school ‘for the experience.’
Right.
What experience would I get in high school that I couldn’t easily get somewhere else? They could never come up with an answer for that. I drew the conclusion that it was because that’s what they did. And they always want me to ‘do what they do’ no matter how much I detest it.
For example: last May, we lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We’d lived there for eight years, and I finally had some close friends. It was great: the history, the city, with some rural areas to boot; I loved it there. Then this summer my parents – avid campers and hikers – decided to fly us all out to Colorado to see The Rockies; Pike’s Peak, specifically. And they loved it so much that the moment we got home they packed everything up and drove us and all our stuff out to Colorado Springs.
They never asked me how I felt about it.
Would you like to know?
I was angry.
I don’t think they noticed.
They took me away from the only friends I had, and all of the things I loved, plopping me here in the middle of a mountain range. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a beautiful place; but I’m about to start my junior year of High School, and my parents obviously didn’t understand how traumatizing it is to start over in a new place at age sixteen.
So here I was, hiding under the covers, waiting for it all to just go away.
“Maelie? I need to get going. Dad’s going to take me to work, so you can have the car. The keys are on the counter and school starts in an hour. Make a good impression honey! Love you!”
Wow. That’s nice.
“Thanks Mom. See ya’ later.”
The front door shut.
Sigh.
Now what? Should I pull a Ferris Bueler? No way. That takes planning and guts; both of which I have none. Ok, better get ready. I stumbled out of bed and made my way to the closet.
I pulled out some dark jeans and a black t-shirt; best to blend in on my first day, right? Then I went to my dresser to turn on my hair straightener before heading to the bathroom. After the essentials in there, I brushed my teeth and went back to straighten my hair. I don’t know why I bother with it since my hair is naturally pretty straight anyway; I guess it’s just habit.
I watched myself in the mirror and remembered that I needed to put contacts in. Here’s an interesting tidbit about me: my eyes are purple. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. They’re bright violet – like highlighter purple. It’s really weird. My parents thought it was cool when I was little, and so did everyone else. Now, it freaks people out. And when I say it freaks people out, I mean I’ve been reported to authorities multiple times for it. For some reason people get scared and refuse to listen to me tell them I’m fine. After the fourth or fifth time, my parents invested in colored contacts.
Brown, colored contacts.
I know, seriously.
If I’d had a choice in the matter, I probably would’ve picked blue, but they never asked me.
So I put in my ugly contacts, and got my old backpack out. Searched and found a binder and some pencils from last year out of a box I still hadn’t unpacked, and left my room.
I went down the stairs to the kitchen and grabbed a piece of toast and the car keys, feeling grateful for the first time that morning – at least I’d arrive at school in style.
My mom’s car is a BMW. Yeah, my parents aren’t hurting for cash. That means I get everything I want. Always. It just sucks that they never realize what I really want.
So, yeah; you guessed it. I’m one of those kids: the ones who are totally spoiled, whose parents ignore them while trying to buy their love, when the kid really just wants attention. Quality time people! That’s what it’s about! I think my parents kind of get it, because they’ve insisted on bringing me on all of their camping trips lately. I’m not into it. I’d rather go bowling, or to a theme park, or even a skate rink; somewhere cleaner than ‘nature.’
I turned the radio up, looking for a country music station. Yep – I’m one of those too. Now you know why it took me so long to make close friends back in PA. I’m just weird on the surface; but I don’t want to change who I am just for the benefit of having stupid people like me. I was okay when I didn’t have friends. Being an odd ball is nice sometimes. But having people know you for who you are, and still like you, that’s the best.
I drove the three miles to school and parked in the student parking lot. Luckily my mom had gotten me a parking permit for occasions like this. I pulled it out and hung it on the rearview mirror. Then I checked my hair – black and straight – and contacts – brown as ever – and got out of the car.
I locked the door and looked up: Coronado High School; my new adversary. Well, I wouldn’t be beaten on my first day; this battle has to last all year. I pulled my schedule out of my backpack and saw that my first class was English… ugh… with a Mister Banks. That made me think of Mary Poppins, and I wondered if the teacher would look like David Tomlinson…
Yep; I’m one of those kids too.
I wandered for ten minutes until I found my classroom. Walking in, I found a seat in the back row and set my bag under my feet while other students milled around me, talking about summer and trying to get a spot by their friends. I leaned on my desk and let my hair fall forward, blocking my face from view. A few minutes later the bell rang, and in walked Mr. Banks.
For those who are wondering, he looked nothing like David Tomlinson.
He was short, stout, and his hair was a yellowy blonde that looked like he’d dyed it with a cheap box of color from the grocery store. It had so much gel in it, it looked like a helmet. I wondered fleetingly if it was a toupee. His cheeks and nose were red with rosacea, and I could see that he carried an inhaler in his shirt pocket. Poor guy…
“Good morning class. We’re going to start by having everyone stand, take your things and move to the outer walls. I will be assigning your seats.
I pulled my bag out and waited for him to call my name, ready to correct him when he said it wrong.
“Weston, Maelie?” Wow, he got it right… I suppose he might be a decent English teacher.
“Here,” I said, taking the same seat I was in before.
“Nice to meet you, Maelie. Did I get your name right?”
“Yes; good job,” I said, giving him a thumbs up.
He moved on, and immediately I noticed people giving me weird looks. Oh, here it comes. I thought, giving everyone raised eyebrows and a toothless smile that said it’s not polite to stare you silly kids… honestly, why was I even here?
I made it through the first four classes of the day (advanced English, history, P.E., and advanced math), only receiving looks – no mean comments, thank goodness. Lunchtime finally came and I slipped out of my math class quickly so that no one would ask me where I was from. I made it to the lunchroom early and found round tables set up all around the room, with windows for purchasing food running along one wall. I went to the first one I saw that was open.
“Hey! What can I get for ya’?” said a skinny boy with blonde hair and a big smile.
“Um, got any pizza?” I asked.
“Sure do, pepperoni ok?”
“Yeah; and fries and a bottle of water please.”
“You got it.”
I waited only a couple of seconds for him to grab my food. I paid for it and found a table in the far corner where I hoped cliques and teams would be less likely to have their territory. While I ate I pulled out a book to read, Planets and Stars: A Guide to Our Galaxy.
I love science. Everything about the way things work is fascinating to me. Last year, I read my biology textbook for fun. I know, I know… but we’ve already established that I’m a nerd in many ways, right? So, moving on…
This summer for my birthday my parents got me this book on Astronomy and I’ve been hooked – can’t put it down, it’s like how old women get with their romance novels.  Sick, yes, but a good example.
Okay, maybe not…
I picked up my pizza and took a bite while turning a page, and noticed someone sit two seats down from me. I looked up and saw the skinny blond kid who had served me lunch.
“Hi,” he said when I looked up.
I waved, as I’d just taken a bite of pizza.
“Oh sorry, I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Danny.”
I swallowed a little too soon, nearly choking myself in my haste. After taking a quick drink from my water bottle I said, “Hi, I’m Maelie.”
We shook hands and he said, “Maelie, huh? Cool name.”
“Thanks,” I said. Back to the book.
“What are you reading?”
“Uh, a book about the galaxy.” I went back to reading.
“Oh, cool.”
I nodded, not looking up.
There’s the awkward silence I’d been waiting for.
“So uh, are you new here?” he asked. “I mean, I’ve never seen you around.”
“Yeah, I just moved here this summer.” I said, nodding. I guess this guy wasn’t giving up.
“What grade are you?” he asked.
“Junior. You?”
“Uh, junior. I’m a junior too.”
I closed my book at this and raised an eyebrow. This kid wasn’t fooling anybody.
“Freshman,” he said guiltily.
I laughed, shaking my head. It was time to get real. “Why in the world are you trying so hard to impress me? You don’t even know me!”
He smiled sheepishly, “I dunno… you’re cute,” he said with a shrug.
“Well thank you,” I said, “but you don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not just to make me like you.”
He stared down at the floor. He looked so pathetic then, like a puppy that’d been passed over at the pound.
“Danny,”
“Yeah?” he said, looking up.
“My favorite subject is science. What’s yours?”
We talked and ate for the rest of the lunch period. Danny turned out to be a nice kid. He was almost as much of a nerd as I was – he was in band, played the trumpet, and his favorite subject was math. We parted (only after he’d casually mentioned the school’s ‘welcome back’ informal dance that Saturday), promising that we’d hang out again during lunch the next day. I didn’t think I’d make any friends on my first day, but it was nice to know I had one – even if he was a scrawny freshman.
I left the lunchroom to a few stares from random ‘cliquish’ girls, and made my way to the arts building. I was in choir; probably my second favorite subject. I hadn’t been here in time for auditions, so I was automatically placed in the lowest level group. When I saw that we were singing songs from “Phantom of the Opera” and “Carousel,” I made a note to ask the director if I could audition and possibly be placed in a more advanced group.
Luckily she said yes.
My last class was Earth Science. I’d already taken chemistry and biology, and I wasn’t quite ready to move on to physics yet, so I’d chosen the science often labeled as ‘easy.’ I learned during that first class that we’d be covering astronomy – it made me happy.
After science I made my way to my locker. I started off the day with my binder and galaxy book, and now I had a hulking pack filled with a book for every class except choir. I loaded them in and took a deep breath, readying myself for my audition in fifteen minutes.
I closed the locker door and turned a little too quickly, running into someone and getting knocked back into the lockers.
“I am so sorry!” I said, the same time as another voice.
I looked up to see a very handsome specimen, speaking to me. He looked like Clark Kent. In an instant I took in his appearance: shining blue eyes, hair as black as my own that was cut short and neat, parted on one side, broad shoulders, just slightly taller than me, and a crooked smile to die for.
In the midst of all this I realized he was still talking to me.
“…totally didn’t see you there.”
“Oh, it’s alright, I wasn’t really paying attention either.” I was yammering… stop, Maelie.
He laughed, and what a magical sound it was, “I don’t think we’ve met before; I’m Ryan; Ryan Houston. What’s your name?” Ryan ‘Hottie’ Houston…
“Maelie. Uh, Maelie Weston” I said.
“Maelie? Wow, that’s pretty.” Oh my name on his lips was like heaven.
Then hell came along.
“Ryan!” A tinkling voice approached. “Didn’t you say you’d take me for a ride in your jeep today?” A bouncing blonde – probably the cheer captain by the look of her – skipped up and threw her arms around Ryan, who smiled patiently while her golden locks flowed around her.
Wow. This guy was nice to everyone.
I had a sudden image of all that blond hair gone from her head.
“Yeah, totally,” Ryan said. “Uh, Maelie, this is my girlfriend, Stephanie. Steph, this is Maelie; we just ran into each other... literally.” He laughed.
I was coming to really love hearing him say my name.
“Maelie, huh?” Stephanie said. That, I did not like; here comes the first rude comment of my new life. “What, were you born in May?” She laughed at her joke, and Ryan chuckled, giving me an apologetic look.
Wow, was that really the best she could do?
            “No, actually I was born in July. You may not know this, but people’s names don’t have to match the month in which they were born. If that assumption were true, you wouldn’t be here, seeing as there is no month called ‘Steph.’” I smiled coyly at her as she stared bewildered. Then I looked to Ryan, whose eyebrows were raised, and his crooked smile was back. Yes, this guy was smart, and I’d impressed him. “It was nice meeting you, Ryan.” I said, turning to make my audition in time.

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