A girl walked up to me, and two girls followed her. They were tall, pretty, and wore way too much makeup.
“Hi, I’m Charlotte. And this is Stacey and Ella. You’re new here?” she asked. I smiled.
“Yeah. My name’s-“
“Sorry, but this is my seat, so move.” she said.
“I...um.” I stammered.
“You heard me! MOVE!” she turned to her friends, and they snickered.
I grabbed my stuff and moved to the front, behind the driver. He smelled like b.o. and cologne, somehow at the same time. I stared out the window, fighting back tears. It’s my first day at Gorsage Middle School, and I’m already pegged as a loser. Not that I had much hope in the first place.
The bus lurched forward, and we headed off to Gorsage. I looked down at my clothes. I had on a pair of tattered jeans, worn sneakers, and a t-shirt for some heavy metal band I’ve never even heard of; “Cheat the Water Buffalo.” My big brother Tony gave it to me for my birthday. He acted like he was soooo generous to give me a “brand new” shirt, but I had helped transfer it from the bottom of his closet to the moving boxes.
I reached into my backpack and pulled out my favorite copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It couldn’t be much weirder, but I love it. It’s got a whole bunch of aliens and adventures through time and space and stuff. I opened it up and started reading. Then Charlotte, Stacey, and Ella walked to the front of the bus. Charlotte grabbed the book.
“What is this?” she jeered. She passed it to Ella.
“Hey, give it back!”
“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” she read. “Gross.” Stacey grabbed it.
“Why’s it gross?” she asked in a high pitched voice.
“Be quiet, Stacey. Your voice is so weird. It’s embarrassing.” Charlotte ordered. Stacey frowned and stared down at her feet. I tried to scoot farther into the bus seat, to disappear into it. News flash, it didn’t work.
“Girls, give the lady her book back.” the bus driver said.
“What lady? All I see is this boy.” Ella teased. Ouch. Charlotte and Ella high-fived. Stacey threw the book at me, then they strutted back to their seats, laughing.
A boy walked onto the bus. His outfit was as clean and neat as his neighborhood, his collar perfectly folded and not a single wrinkle was on his pants. He had glasses that were so thick and heavy, he had to push them back into place about every five seconds. He sat down in the seat across from mine and turned to look out the window. He had pimples all over his face. It was such a contrast to the rest of him that I had to laugh.
“What?” he said. I turned away, embarrassed.
“Nothing.” I pulled out my book and turned to page 104. I knew bad things happened the last time I got it out, but right then I didn’t care.
“No way!” he exclaimed.
“Is that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?”
“Are you going to make fun of me too?” I said grumpily.
“No, of course not! It’s like my favorite book!” He grinned, and I had to too.
“I’m John Gorsage.”
“Wait, Gorsage, like, our school?”
“Yeah, my grandfather started it. My mom’s the principal now. You can guess how embarrassing THAT can get.” he joked.
“Yeah. So, what’s your name?”
“Oh, right. I’m Faye.” I said.
”Well it’s very nice to meet you Faye.”
And it was very nice to meet him too.