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Why? Just why, oh, why do I have to wake up?

I try to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock (who just won't shut up), but I accidentally push it over the edge. I hear a crash, but at least that unbearable noise stops. With my head still attached to the pillow, I open my left eye to peek at my alarm clock on the floor. The battery has come out, but it doesn't look broken. Whew.

I reluctantly stand up, trying to remember what I have to do. School, right.

I walk towards my closet, open the two doors and pick out simple clothes: skinny blue jeans and a sea-green t-shirt. I brush my hair and tie it back in a messy bun. Finally, I choose my book earrings to give that "cute nerd" look. I look myself in the mirror. Decent.

I pick up my school bag and go downstairs. I barely have time to eat breakfast, so I just take a banana from the fruit bowl and run out of the house.

I should probably stop for a second and explain.

It's my first day of school. This normally wouldn't bother me much, but I'm starting in a new school. My father had to move for work, so the whole family had to go with him. And by "the whole family", I mean my mother and me.

Anyways, I go to the bus stop. I wait for only a few minutes, but other students slowly surround me. They're talking in groups about their summer vacations and of how much they hate school. Some of the people around me give me weird looks, probably because I'm new. They're trying to figure out what kind of girl I am.

Shortly after, the bus arrives, and I have to be careful not to fall over. Groups of people are pushing and shoving each other, trying to get in first to get the best seats. I don't care about that, so I let everyone on before stepping on myself.

Bad mistake. This gives the chance to everyone to get a good look at me. I walk through the seats, hoping to find a spot, but they all look taken.

Fortunately, a girl stands up and waves at me. "There's a seat here if you want."

She has long blonde hair tied up in a perfect ponytail. Her bright blue eyes sparkle as she smiles at me. She's wearing a white tank top and some skinny jeans. Over her top is a cute leather jacket.

I silently thank her as I sit next to her. As the bus starts moving, the girl introduces herself. "Hi, I'm Karen. You're new, right?" she asks. "I've never seen you before."

"Yeah, I'm new," I answer, trying not too sound to shy.

"Oh, I figured," she says. "What's your name?"

"Emma Johnson."

"Cool name," she notes.

I smile. "Thanks."

After a few seconds of silence, Karen speaks again. "First day of school, huh?"

"Yeah, it sucks," I answer. Then I force out another sentence. "I was kind of getting used to waking up at noon."

She laughs. "Me too."

"So, um…" I start to say. "Could you explain… how's your school? Is it normal or are there some weird things going on?"

Karen gives me a sideways look but still answers. "It's pretty standard. You go in, have your daily classes, and go home. There are some clubs or manifestations, but they're kind of boring."

"What kind of clubs?" I find myself asking.

"Like, drama club, chess club, reading club, sports club… and some others. I can't remember which ones, but they're as boring as the ones I do remember." she giggles as if what she said had been funny.

I realize that Karen and I are very different. For one, she thinks reading is boring. I don't want to lose the one friend I seem to have acquired by telling her just how much I read.

"Oh," I say.

After another couple of seconds of silence, Karen speaks up. "Oh, hey. We're here."

I peek out of the window to see my school-to-be. The building is three floors high, much bigger than my last school, but it definitely needs a renovation. The walls look all cracked and the peach-colored paint is peeling off. It has three different entrances: the biggest one in the middle, the other two, smaller ones, on the sides.

Karen and I get off the bus and walk towards the main entrance, where it looks like most of the students are headed.

"Where are we going?" I ask.

"Now we're going to the great hall, where the principal will give a speech welcoming us to the school, blah, blah, blah. Then they'll send us directly to class. Do you have your schedule?"

My stomach makes a flip. "What? Should I have it?" I ask.

"Uh... yeah. Everyone met up last week and we made up our individual schedule," she explains. "I didn't get any of the good ones. I kind of slept in. Accidentally."

"But I just arrived two days ago! No one told me about it!" I protest.

"Hmm." Karen scratches her chin. "I guess they want to talk to you privately."

I gulp. I don't like to be stuck in a room alone with someone. I feel small and embarrassed. I could literally crawl into my skin and live there, without having to confront anyone. I just don't like to talk to people I don't know.

I have social anxiety.

"Okay," I say, pushing down the fear.

In the meantime, we have walked into the school, which is even worse from the inside. The paint is basically all gone, and multiple walls are cracked, broken, or missing. I look up to see nets hung up on the ceilings.

Great. If a piece of the roof will break off and fall, at least I can count on a couple of tied up ropes to save me.

Karen guides me towards the great hall, where a lot of teenagers are already seated. We find some empty spaces and sit down. I look around to see the different faces of the people I will stay with for the rest of my high-school years. I don't see anyone familiar, but a guy about my age walks in, sees me looking, winks at me, and then moves on to meet his friends.

I'm shocked for a while, not because he winked at me. But, because he probably thinks he has a chance with me. As soon as I saw him, I said to myself Stay away from that guy. It's not that I knew him or anything, but I could tell he was one of those stereotypical playboys that bully freshmen, that disturb the lesson when you're trying to listen and that prank the teacher with stupid practical jokes.

I keep looking at the people around me. At one point, a friendly-looking girl sits next to me with her friend. The girl looks about sixteen, a year younger than me, and has black hair and warm brown eyes. She looks at me and smiles brightly.

"Hi! I'm Sarah. This is Suzy." she points to her colored friend, who gives me a small wave. "I haven't seen you before," Suzy says.

"Yeah, I'm new," I say.

"Cool! Are you a sophomore like us?" Sarah asked, a little too excitedly.

"Uh, no. Actually, I'm a junior." I answer.

"Aw, that's too bad!" Sarah complains. "But we'll get to see each other at lunch, right?"

"Um, yeah. I guess…"

"Sarah," Suzy says before Sarah can jump in the air, screaming happily. "Too many questions, too fast." Then she turned to me. "Sorry, she's always a little… overexcited."

I laugh. "It's fine. But it really would be nice to see you guys at lunch. I've just started and I don't have a lot of friends except for Karen." I point behind me.

Karen had been listening to the whole conversation. She's leaning a bit on me, but I didn't mind. She scrunches her eyebrows together as if trying to remember something. "You look familiar…" she finally says to Sarah. Suddenly her face lights up again. "Oh, yeah! Aren't you the girl that-"

"Shhhhhh!" Suzy interrupts. "Don't say it. She's still a little shaken up about it."

Karen's face goes slack. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry. I won't mention it again."

"What?" I ask, filled with curiosity.

"I'll tell you later," Suzy says. "It's really not that important, but-"

"Everyone please quiet down!" one of the teachers yells. The chatting slowly subsides, until it's deadly silent, and my junior year of high school officially begins.

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