Eliza starts her first day back at New Jersey High and she has a few unexpected suprises...
The chapter title is Flyleaf.
Believe In Dreams
Thick, early autumn fog was all I could see from my bedroom window in the morning. Although the sun shone brightly from behind the dense mist, I could tell it was going to be a cold day, which didn’t bother me at all; I much preferred crisp, chilling days compared to steaming hot, sweaty summer durations.
I smiled happily to myself as I lent my elbows on the windowsill and propped my head up in my hands; nothing had changed to the small area I grew up in. The road of which my house was placed on looked identical to the way I remembered it; perfect front gardens spread out next to each other in front of a row of 1950’s semi-detached houses which revolved round into a small cul-de-sac, with burning red and brown brick work, white doors and matching window frames. Tiny specs of frost seemed to dance across the short cut grass and the gravel on the road, which lead off in two separate directions; both of which came out onto endless fields and woodland, which surrounded the cul-de-sac from back to front. I was home, back to the small town of Belleville, at long last.
The journey to New Jersey High from my house was a massive trek, but I felt like walking the whole way that morning rather than taking up my mother’s offer of driving me half way there on her way to work at the local block of offices. Besides, there was one place I really wanted to stop by on my walk to school… I quickly diverted my mind from this, Gerard’s house was the last place I should have wanted to go to, and in fact I didn’t want to even think about Gerard. I had come to a firm conclusion that whatever was meant to happen between me and him would work its self out on its own, without my help.
I drew myself away from the window and stared around my old room; I was glad my mother had kept it the same way as I left it, two of the walls were vivid pink, the third wall was a midnight black leaving the remaining wall smothered in band posters from top to bottom.
It made me feel as if I had never been away, even though the unpacked bags and boxes which seemed to fill every corner of the room reminded me otherwise.
I groaned after realising that I would be expected to pack all of my stuff away once I had finished school.
Running a hand through my hair I walked over to one of the boxes and, hoping it was filled with clothes, emptied its contents onto my old double bed. Thankfully it was, so I started to search through the newly formed mound of clothes for something to wear. After I had rummaged through the pile of clothes twice and still found myself unable to find anything worth wearing on my first day back at high school, I sighed in defeat. I roughly pulled my pyjamas off and went back over to my luggage to try and find another box containing clothes, but as I stood up, I caught a glimpse of my naked body in the extensive mirror attached to one of my pink walls.
In shock, I stared in horror at myself. All my eyes could focus on were cuts and scars, which covered almost the entire surface of the top of my thighs, my upper arms, my stomach and my inner wrists. They stared back at me, deep and angry, revolting me.
I had never realized that they had become so resonant.
I bought my eyes up away from my body to gaze back at my own face with detest. Tears were already finding their way down my face and dripping off once they had ran past my jaw bone. Funnily enough, the violent gashes across my skin filled me with so much self-disgust, I just wanted to hurt myself all over again, but I let myself quickly snap back to reality and swipe away the tears with my fingertips – I would have to wear something that covered up my body. To my relief, the weather outside still appeared cold and frosty, so I wouldn’t overheat in the pair of tight blue jeans and burgundy knit-wear I managed to locate in one of the other many boxes which lay scattered across the floor.
Looking back into the mirror I proceeded to make myself look rep-presentable; I quickly applied some blusher onto my face before pausing, and I remembered that I wasn’t getting ready to go to St. Hilary’s, therefor I didn’t need the pink blusher to make myself feel like I was normal, I didn’t have to fit in, everyone knew what I was like at New Jersey High, so there was no need to try and be something that I knew I wasn’t. Then the memories of always having Gerard with me came flooding back to my mind. Last year I had someone to be with and make me feel maintained; I wasn’t totally eliminated back then. If my fears and suspicions about Gerard really were true, then I wouldn’t have anyone yet again. In spite of how much I craved originality, I also knew how much it hurt to be labelled and neglected without anyone to turn to, to be rejected from everyone.
I didn’t want to be alone again.
I let out a sigh as I pulled my tousled hair to the side, letting the layers from my fringe fall around my face. I took comfort in the fact that I hadn’t gone so far to fit in as to comb my hair down or to make it look cute or pretty. I peered back at my reflection to see how I looked and contemplated how much make-up to wear or wear any at all, even though I probably looked like a complete train wreck without it.
I gathered my bag and belongings I would need for school, and made my way down stairs to join my mother for breakfast.
Breakfast with Suzanne Romelley Cooper was a difficult event. There was no other way to put it. First of all I found the fact that my mother and I no longer shared the same name after the seperation a little freaky. The relationship between me and my parents had always been a difficult one.
I did know that they loved me because they always tried to do the best things for me, unfortunately my mother and father’s idea of ‘the best thing for Eliza’ was to take me away from my home and send me off to a public school where I’d be a total outcast on my own. I was never what they expected their daughter to turn out to be; to them, I guessed their ideal child would be the kind of kid who was insanely academic, and loved maths, science and English, and who also enjoyed playing board games on a Sunday afternoon after helping everyone prepare the traditional leg of lamb for the Sunday roast.
I however, failed my exams in maths and science and only managed to scrape a B at English. To my parents dissatisfaction I proudly achieved an A in my art exam and I would always have rather spent my free time blasting my ears out with heavy music than to spend time with my doting parents, or help anyone with cooking the Sunday lamb. Anyway, I was vegetarian, yet again to my mother & father’s dismay.
“I can’t believe you’re a senior already sweetie!”
My mother beamed at me with adoration, trying to break the awkward silence which had been formed between us since the morning before, her golden blonde hair bouncing around her shoulders as she made her way over to me at the kitchen table with freshly baked pancakes.
“And your beautiful face looks so grown up now, especially you’re not hiding behind all of that ghastly make-up anymore.”
She placed the plate of piled high pancakes on the table and started to fuss over me; trying to adjust my clothes to her approval and tugged at my hair.
“Now if only your hair was a little tidier, you’d look so –“
I cut her off, gently breaking out of her grasp to stand in front of her.
“Mum, please, I like my hair, and I just couldn’t be bothered with my make-up today.” I told her, my words coming out a little harsher than I had intended them too. I bit my lip, feeling a wave of guilt crash over as I saw my mother’s face crumple slightly with hurt. I quickly smiled reassuringly at her, and looked over to the steaming pancakes and inhaled.
“Those pancakes smell great mum, but if we sit down for breakfast now I’ll be late for school.”
I looked over at the large grandfather clock which sat in the corner of our living room, just outside of the kitchen. It read ten minutes past eight, meaning I had just less than forty minutes to walk to school.
“Could you save me one for when I get back?”
I asked, turning my head back round to face my mother, the kindly smile re-appearing on my face. She put on a happy expression, and nodded, collecting the pancakes up and re-placing them in the fridge.
“Are you sure you don’t want a lift to school?”
She asked me as she handed me my bag from the tiled floor of the kitchen. I took the bag and swung it over my shoulder before walking into the hall way, my mother close behind me. “It’s fine mum, really, I could do with the fresh air.” I insisted, stopping in front of the front door and pushing through everything in my bag to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. My mother sighed at my stubbornness, and wished me good luck for school. I thanked her, and left the house, knowing that her luck was wasted. When it came to me, luck tended to avoid my wishes, especially over the past year.
The fresh, sharp September air bit at my face as I stepped out into the morning light, and I began my journey to New Jersey High.
The route to school wasn’t difficult to find, since I had been walking it for around four years before, although it still took me a long while to walk into the town and away from the, what seemed like endless yards of farmyard and thickets of trees. Once I had finally found myself within a few minutes away from New Jersey High, my next action point was to walk straight to my destination; the school. I glanced down at my wrist watch and noticed I still had quarter of an hour left before I was due to start my lessons, so I started to walk a little slower, but as I made my way half way through the town, a collection of small, matching bungalows, made with orange and maroon bricks made me stop.
I stepped a little closer, beginning to focus one house in particular. It had a set of concrete steps leading up to a slightly dirty, white front door. The small house had window frames, a drain pipe and roof which all matched the same white colour as the door. There was a small garden surrounded by a wall made with the same colour bricks as the bungalow was made from. Next to the wall which travelled all the way around the house stood a tall tree, covered in golden and red leaves, it’s long, exaggerated braches stretched out towards the roof of the house, Gerard’s house. I had promised myself I wouldn’t go here, I didn’t want to think about Gerard if he was only going to hurt or confuse me, I had told myself I would let him come to me, that’s if he even wanted to speak to me. I continued to stare at the house, wondering how one, small building could mean so much to me and remind me of so many memories. Yet, something seemed strange to me, the house seemed empty and abandoned. My eyes moved over to a small, red car parked clumsily next to the pavement beside the house where Gerard’s parents, Donna and Donald Way, used to park their car. I furrowed my brow as I questioned whose car it could have belonged too, it definitely didn’t look like a car the Way parents would have invested in; on closer inspection the car looked as if it was once been a bright, vibrant red, but now it had become faded and rusty. The windows weren’t exactly clean and there was a large dent in the side of the front passenger door. No, the car definitely did not belong to either Donna or Donald. Well, one thing was certain, the bungalow was empty. I was also beginning to wonder if the Way family even lived there anymore; the house appeared to be unoccupied and a weird car was parked outside, there couldn’t be many explanations for this. To put my mind at rest, I decided to think myself into believing that Gerard and his family were simply away on an extended summer break, although it was already over half way through September. I pushed this thought into the back of my mind, and after taking one last glance at what I thought was still Gerard’s house, I carried on with my way to school.
I walked into the front of the first building of New Jersey High which had a small sign over the front of the door reading FRONT OFFICE, not that I needed directions to reception as I could still remember everything necessary about the school. Inside was warmer than I remembered it to be, which was comforting after walking all the way to school in the freezing fog which had now began to clear slowly. It was also brightly lit; a kind of yellow light seemed to spread out into every corner of the reception room. I looked around the office, nothing much had changed about it since a year ago, apart from the fact that there were a few more certificates and posters pinned up behind the counter. Everything else had stayed the same, including the few pots of pink and purple flowers which sat on one of the same desks behind the counter as they did last year. There were still two desks behind the counter; the one without the flowers was currently being manned by a skinny, grey haired woman with a pointy face whose name I remembered to be Mrs.Andrews. The grey haired woman looked up.
“Can I help you?”
“I’m Eliza Seventrees.” I began to inform to her. “I’ve just moved back to New Jersey and now I’m starting school here again as a senior.”
I saw the immediate light of recognition appear in her eyes, I was remembered. And expected, a top gossip topic by the looks of things; I could already see a small crowd of girls staring at me from behind the see-through double doors of the front office, quickly turning their heads when they noticed I had seen them looking. The school Goth-girl was back, she had returned home at long last to be everyone’s laughing stock once again.
“Ah Eliza, of course.” She said, digging through a large pile of documents until she found the one that she wanted. “I have your schedule right here.” She told me and handed me the piece of paper with my timetable on and a list of teachers and classrooms which I would need to know about. “Do you need reminding of where everything is or would you like assistance?” Mrs.Andrews inquired. I shook my head no as I could remember where I would need to go to find my lessons and my teachers.
“No, it’s fine thank you Mrs.” I stated and smiled down at her. “Please, call me Sally.” She said in response, half smiling back at me. I had forgotten that senior students had the ‘privilege’ of calling teachers by their first names. I quickly bowed my head and awkwardly shuffled away through the double doors and past the staring girls. I could still feel their eyes burning into the back of me as I walked down the corridor, quickly gaining speed when I heard their footsteps close behind me. I hurried out onto the piazza where everyone gathered before lessons and during their breaks and I desperately looked around for somewhere to avoid the gaggle of girls who were still following me.
I heard a shrill pitched voice from behind me squeal. It was too late; they had already pulled me into one of their little traps. Reluctantly, I slowly turned round to look at the group of girls who were now gawping at me as if I had a second head, and my lip curled up with contempt. I could name almost every single bitch and slut I saw in front of me, especially the girl with long, white blonde hair and bright, grotesque pink lips, which were also curled up in the same way as mine were, but I guessed that that was her usual look of expression.
Her name was Kathleen Abbot.
I quickly tried to hide my look of detest and she strode up to me, her face was soon too close to my own for comfort.
“And when did you get here?” She asked, more like demanded, as if it were her business to know everything about everyone, which she probably believed it was. “I start today.” I answered simply, staring right back into her cold blue eyes as she glared into mine. I knew that trying to compete with Kathleen Abbot was a stupid thing to do; almost every person in the school who dared to stand up for themselves when it came to Kathleen usually had their head shoved half a mile down a grotty toilet within minutes, I knew this from past experience. To my surprise, her expression of arrogance and disgust suddenly changed; it was still arrogant, don’t get me wrong, but there was something in the way that her mouth twisted into a sort of half smile, half sneer, which made me feel like she was looking at me as if she liked me. “But when did you get this pretty?” She shrieked, her high pitched voice ringing through my ears, making me wince.
“I don’t know” I replied simply again. Kathleen smirked at me as she re-joined her followers which still stood behind her. “Well, you should probably hang out with us sometime." She sniggered as she exchanged bitchy, sneeky looks within the rest of the girls.
"We’ll see you at lunch then.” And with that Kathleen and the rest of her giggling clique quickly tottered off, leaving me wondering what the hell had just happened.
My first class was art to my relief.
Art had always had a way of relaxing me and relaxation seemed to be what I needed after my already hectic morning. I was now five minutes late thanks to Kathleen, so I hurried across the piazza to the art and textiles block which I remembered to be toward the south end of the piazza. Storming into the class room I realized, to my embarrassment, that the teacher had already started the register. Quickly muttering a ‘sorry I’m late’ excuse, I made my way to the nearest stool.
The art room was extremely bright, brighter than the front office. The light in the art department was a very white and a clean sort of lightness compared to the yellow gloom in the office. The class room in which I was in had tall grey tables with matching high stools, just a tiny bit shorter than the tables. On either side of the art room laid a set of clear windows which ran along the entire length of the wall. On the other two walls pages and canvases of what I figured to be students completed work were pinned up on display.
“Ah, you must be Eliza!” My teacher exclaimed happily. She looked as if she could have been around mid-twenties, and she had straight golden brown hair which fell around her shoulders and thick rimmed glasses sitting on the bridge of her nose. She wore a knee-length black cardigan and a white blouse which tucked into a baggy pair of jeans that hung around her slender frame. “My name’s Emma.” My teacher smiled and returned to the paper and clip board she was hovering over. “We literally just came to you on the register.” I watched as she put a tick by my name on the list attached to the clip board and carried on with marking everyone’s names that were present in the lesson. I let out a small sigh as I settled down on my stool and looked around me. My class seemed pretty good; there wasn’t anyone in the room who looked as if they could’ve been in anyway attached to Kathleen, in fact everyone seemed pretty normal to me, which was good because Kathleen or any of her friends could be described as anything but normal in my opinion, and after the strange encounter I had with them previous to my art lesson they were beginning to spook me out a whole lot more than before.
Suddenly my daydream was bought to a halt as Emma called out the next name on the register, and it was safe to say that my own heart almost came to a halt as the student’s name echoed around my head.