I knew I wasn’t doing myself any favors by getting all worked up with thoughts of getting kicked out of school already, but it was stressful having someone call you a freak right off the bat in a new school. My desk started to turn more yellow than normal, and I knew that it was only a matter of seconds before it started to glow brightly, and class would be interrupted to wonder why the new girl’s desk had turned neon. Then I really would be gone.
Just then, I heard Gia’s voice. “Um, Mrs. Dee, Rose here isn’t looking too good. Do you mind if I take her to the nurses’ office?”
“Does she really need an escort, Miss Pepper?”
“She’s new to the school, so yeah, she needs me to show her where the nurses’ office is.” Gia didn’t wait for an answer before taking me by the arm, and lifting me out of my seat. I pulled my arm out of her grip, slipped my bag onto my shoulder, and followed her into the hall. “Glowing, huh? That is a new one. It’s actually kind of cool. Is it color coordinated, or just kind of random?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” I crossed my arms over my chest and tried to stare Gia down. Denial and force had worked for me in the past occasionally, I might as well give it a try here. Gia just looked at me for a moment, before grabbing my arm again, trying to lead me down the hallway. “Cut it out.” I almost yelled, pulling my arm out of her grip again. She paused as she watched her hand fade from a glowing red, but then laughed a little.
“Come on, I want to show you something.” Gia started to head down the hall. I refused to take a step, and when she looked back and saw me standing stubbornly, she laughed again. “C’mon. I am not going to hurt you; I just want to show you something.”
It’s very difficult to be stubborn and curious at the same time. I begrudgingly took a few steps forward. Gia turned around and kept walking. I kept considering just heading down a different hall way and leaving Gia to head off on her own, but eventually we stopped outside a door and Gia stuck her head inside. “Excuse me, Mrs. Berkley; I need Fred for a few minutes. I don’t think she’ll be back before the end of class.”
There was a scraping of a chair, and a couple of moments later, Fred appeared with her bag slung over her shoulder. “Hi Rosalynn!” She practically leapt at me, but Gia caught her by the upper arm. Apparently, Gia did a lot of holding people or pulling them along.
“Call the girl Rose, like she asked, Fred. Let’s go, I need a favor.”
“Oo! Oo! Do I get to stab you this time?” Fred smiled and Gia rolled her eyes and began to walk away. Fred kept smiling, and as she walked, she continued to beg, “Aw, c’mon, please! I haven’t gotten to stab you in a long, long time! It’s my favorite.” I wondered what kind of sick group these people were in. I began to wonder if “stabbing” was some kind of code and that I’d gotten myself involved with the druggie group this time.
“Do you have a knife on you, Fred? Didn’t think so. So, no you do not get to stab me.” Okay, maybe not code
“With a pencil then, Puh-lease!” They had led me into a sort of outdoor alley way in between two of the hall ways in the back of the school, none of the windows facing in our direction. Fred looked around, and then pulled a pen out of her purse and held it up like a knife.
Gia looked at Fred with an eyebrow raised, but that only made Fred smile wider, so Gia sighed. “Fine. Go ahead. Stab me with the pen.” Fred squealed, and brought the pen down sharply into Gia’s arm.
Except it didn’t go into Gia’s arm. The tip of Fred’s pen stopped right on the top of Gia’s skin. It really looked like Fred had some momentum, but perhaps it was just a parlor trick.
“Here, you try.” Fred handed me the pen. I looked at it for a second, then stared back at Fred. “Go on, stab her. It will make you feel better.” Fred commanded in a sing-song voice.
I looked at Gia, but she just shrugged and said, “Go ahead.” I pulled my arm back, and stabbed as hard as I could into Gia’s lower arm. It felt like it had made rough contact, but when I looked down, the pen had stopped right on the top of Gia’s skin, just like when Fred tried.
“Won’t break the skin. Can’t hurt me. I’ve never bled or bruised in my entire life.” Gia smirked, and Fred clapped her hands excitedly.
“And what about you?” I turned to Fred. For some reason I was starting to get really angry. “If you are a freak too, what’s so special about you?”
“I can’t really show you…I just, get places. I can always get into where ever I want to get into, no problem, no questions asked. And I can talk to squirrels.”
“You cannot talk to squirrels.” Gia said as if she had said that several times before.
“I can! I can talk to squirrels! You’re just jealous.”
“Yes…I’m so jealous of your conversations with rodents, Fredrika!”
“Whatever, Georgia Anne!”
“You did not just call me Georgia Anne!”
“You did not just call me Fredrika!”
“Well if you two are quite finished.” I started to leave the alley, and after a few strides Gia and Fred fell into step next to me.
“Sorry. We fight sometimes.” Fred said plainly.
“What Fred means is we aren’t always like that. We want you to know you aren’t alone…you actually have a neat little power there, and we would love to get to know you better.”
“Whatever.” We had reemerged in the courtyard, and from the overwhelming number of people I assumed that the first class had let out. A smaller girl with reddish hair bounced up to us followed by a taller girl with light brown hair. The red-headed girl smiled up at me.
“Hello, Fred. Hello, Gia. Who is this?”
“Rose.” Gia supplied.
The girl threw out her hand and smiled even wider. “Hi Rose! I’m Phoebe, and this is Emma.” Emma waved her hand.
“What? Are you guys freaks too?” I walked away without waiting for an answer. I didn’t want to see any of them, talk to any of them, or even been in the same city as any of them. I didn’t want to be part of their little clique of freaks to just have to turn around and leave again.