Ambrosia Lillis is a sixteen year old girl with a huge, life-changing secret.
The First Day of School
My name is Ambrosia Lillis. I’ve been living my life for a while now. Sixteen years to be exact, but my life has changed over the past years; it’s different. I have a secret nobody knows, not even my mom. I’m all alone. If I tell someone, they’ll think I’m crazy. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but I have no other choice unless I want to be shipped off to a mental hospital like a loon.
Every school year, my best friend, Josephine, and I rarely get the chance to see each other during school. This year, we figured she should sleep over the night before school starts. I still can’t believe Mom let her. I was expecting the usual parent’s reply: no.
The sudden alarm on my phone goes off, waking me up. I groggily turn over to see Josephine still asleep. Admiringly, I gaze at her beauty like a fan does a celebrity. Why can't I be that beautiful?
Jet black, wavy hair fairs well with Josephine's palish-tan skin. Her popping emerald eyes draw people in for a closer look. No acne or scars pierce her flawless skin. Josephine is curvy like me, but she takes pride in it with good cause. She loves being curvaceous unlike myself, who finds several faults to it.
Unlike Josephine, I use to be the weird looking kid; at least, I was to me. I feel like her to this day. You might say I’m a little insecure. My body is awkward-looking to me along with my awkward personality. Don’t get me wrong, I look more like a woman now; I take pride in that, but inside I’m still that weird-looking girl. I always will be.
I glance at my phone, checking the time, and groan noticing we have to leave my cozy bed. Tired, I shake Josephine rigorously, already knowing the outcome of this useless tactic. As I give up and sigh, I take a long, deep breath in. Exhaling, I scream loudly enough to wake only her.
“Josephine! Wake up!”
“What?!” she screams shocked. Amused, I chuckle.
Josephine hates mornings as much as I do; they’re the worst. Personally, I’m more of a night person while Josephine’s more of an “anything but morning” person. “It’s time to get ready for school. It’s the first day, remember?”
“Of course, I remember!”
“Then, get up!” I exclaim, shaking her.
“I don’t want to,” Josephine whines, rolling onto her opposite side.
“Whatever. More boys for me,” I smirk.
“I’m up!” Josephine screams, jumping out of bed. I laugh hysterically.
Josephine loves boys, especially Carson, the school hottie. Unlike her, I still haven’t had a boyfriend though. I’ve been flirted with, but I never liked any of the guys who liked me. They all seemed to be players and perverts. I don’t want to date someone who will only use me; I’m not that type of girl.
Once we are both dressed and ready, we walk downstairs to eat breakfast. I wear a plaid shirt with some black leggings, a black beret, and a pair of black converse. Josephine wears a jean jacket with a white summer dress and some tan wedges.
We’re pouring ourselves a bowl of cereal when my seventeen year old brother, Callum, walks in.
Callum is the captain of the football team, explaining why he’s so built; he’s got to be, right? Since he is an athlete, Callum has a defined six pack; I would hope so since he works out five times a week. Along with being athletic, Callum is astonishingly intelligent. My mom says it’s in our genes; she’s smart, so we’re smart.
Like myself, Callum has dark brown hair along with our pitiful dark brown eyes. Although, I’ll admit I’m a little jealous of his amazingly long eyelashes. Callum is about 6’2 and loves the fact he towers over me. Quite frankly, I’m short measuring at 5’3, only a couple inches taller than Josephine. Callum is very attractive, explaining why all the girls at school like him, including Josephine; she’s had a crush on him since the day we met. Sometimes, I question whether we became friends because she liked me or my brother.
“Hey, Callum,” Josephine grins.
“Oh, uh, hi Josephine. I didn’t know you slept over,” Callum replies, looking uncomfortable. I wonder why.
“Yeah. Mom said she could,” I chime in.
“Well, duh. I don’t think you’re capable of hiding it,” Callum smiles, rolling his eyes.
If only Callum knew that I was hiding something. From not just him and Mom, but everyone.
“Are you ready for school, Callum?” Josephine asks.
“Yeah, I’m psyched.”
I don’t know why Callum would be psyched. All you ever do is work, never anything fun.
“Can we go now? I don’t want to be late like last year,” I state, irritated.
Since Callum and I attend the same high school, it only makes sense that he drives me.
“Chill, Rose. I still haven’t eaten yet,” Callum states, calling me by my nickname.
Ever since I can remember, Callum has called me Rose. Mom claims he’s called me that ever since he first held me as a baby. He couldn’t say Ambrosia, so he started calling me Rose instead.
“Well, it’s not my fault you always wake up late. Could you hurry up?”
“I think I’ll take my time. Maybe kick up my feet and relax,” Callum smirks, looking at me from the corner of his eye as he pours himself some cereal.
Checking my watch and finding we don’t have much time, I scream, “Hurry up! We’re going to be late! Just bring it with you!”
“Let’s go,” Callum groans.
Leaving Callum inside to grab his bag and keys, Josephine and I hop in his black BMW; at least, that’s what I think it is.
Stepping out the door, Callum winks at me before walking as slow as possible, infuriating me to a point of no return. Watching him, Josephine bursts out laughing.
“Stop playing and get your ass in the car!” I scream.
“Sorry, Rose. This is as fast as I can go,” Callum replies, playing dumb.
“I’m not going to repeat myself!”
Callum, probably realizing my escalating irritation, drops the act and hops in quickly. Josephine continues to laugh at me.
“It’s not funny. You know I hate being late,” I groan.
They both stare at me before bursting into laughter.
“Just drive,” I order. Reluctantly, Callum starts the car.
I watch our beautiful, three-story, brick house diminish as we drive farther into our lively, little neighborhood on the edge of our average town. Nothing exciting ever happens here. Throughout the five minutes it takes to drive to school, I’m in complete agony as they continue laughing at me.
As we get out, all I hear is “Hey!” and “What’s up?” from Callum’s numerous friends. A couple appear to be checking out Josephine. I glance over at her, only to find her smirking triumphantly. Strangely, Callum glares at them frustrated. Why? They’re just saying hello, or is he mad that they’re checking her out? He doesn’t like her, so why does it matter?
I notice how they all notice Callum and immediately look away. Anxiously, Callum looks at us.
“I’ll see you guys later,” he quietly murmurs.
“Bye,” Josephine smiles.
“Bye, big bro,” I reply, hoping to alleviate some uneasiness.
Callum laughs, loosening up some. Feeling relieved, I smile.
“Bye, lil’ sis,” he replies, making me chuckle.
Before I know it, Callum’s gone.
Josephine and I walk over to our group of friends. Usually, we can’t hang out during passing periods, so we try to make as much use of the mornings as possible.
We talk about how our summers went and of our class schedules. None of us have any classes together, but fortunately, I have lunch with Josephine. Such a shame. I would have liked to have had at least one class with somebody I know.
As the first bell rings, we all say our goodbyes and head our separate ways. Josephine, her class being near mine, walks with me to my first class: Honors Trigonometry.
Shockingly, I’m really good at math. I don’t really like it that much, but I pick it up swiftly.
When I walk in, there are only a few people in the classroom. I step back outside, but Josephine is already gone. Before I can walk back inside, a girl, who I assume is a freshman, walks up asking something in Spanish. I quickly tell her I don’t understand the language, and she repeats her questions in English. As she disappears with the directions I gave her, I head back in.
Due to my golden skin and probably my hair, most people assume I’m Hispanic. With that, I’m spoken to in Spanish on a weekly basis. In all reality, I’m mixed with African American and Caucasian blood like Josephine, who strangely doesn’t have this hassle like myself.
The board says to pick any seat. I choose my preferred seat in the corner of the back near the large window. Up front, teachers always call on me where as in the back, I’m left alone. For me, window seats are essential; when the class becomes boring, I can gaze outside at the wonders of the world.
The second bell rings, marking everyone who walks in now late. I quickly search for the teacher, who I figure is probably an old-timer, but there’s none around.
After quitting my search, a semi-tall man with blonde hair, probably in his late twenties, strolls in.
Heading straight to the white board, he begins writing, “M-R.-S-M-I-T-H”. Mr. Smith, huh? Not bad looking. He clears his throat and begins talking.
From my perspective, most of the class is here. Although, there are always a few straddlers who can never find their way to class.
“Hi, class. I’m Mr. Smith, and obviously, this is Honors Algebra 2 Trigonometry. If you’re not taking this class, you’re probably in the wrong room.”
Glancing around the room, he asks, “Is anybody in the wrong room?”
No one speaks.
“Okay, let’s get started taking attendance.”
Mr. Smith begins calling off names when a boy, who looks to be a tad bit taller than Mr. Smith, walks in. From just the sight of him, everything around me is forgotten.
His golden brown hair and caramel-colored eyes draw me in. I notice he appears to be in shape; there’s probably a six pack hiding underneath his gray shirt. Intently, I watch as he sits down in front when suddenly, a boy two desks away nudges me.
“Is your name Ambrosia?” he asks in a hushed whisper.
“The teacher is calling your name.”
“Oh, thanks,” I reply, raising my hand. “I’m here!”
“Thank you for finally telling me,” Mr. Smith chuckles.
“You’re welcome,” I reply sheepishly, making Mr. Smith chuckle.
As Mr. Smith reads off a few more names, I gaze around the room in search for familiar faces, quickly realizing everyone’s a stranger. Why couldn’t I have one recognizable face in class?
“And finally, Demetri Vega?” Mr. Smith questions, glancing around the classroom. Someone up front raises their hand.
“Here,” the cute guy states in a voice that sends chills down my spine.
“Good, everyone’s here. Now, I’ll have to put you guys in assigned seats. I know, I know. Ugh, how could he?! But, it’s so I can learn your names. Once I do that, you can sit wherever.”
Mr. Smith starts with the row near the door. I grab my bag and wait in my seat.
“Ambrosia, you’ll be right where you are, but over a seat.”
As Mr. Smith continues, I walk over to my seat, not sitting down; I need to see where the cute guy will sit.
“Lastly- Demetri, you’ll be right next to Ambrosia.”
Ecstatic, I sit down in my seat with a huge grin as Demetri makes his way towards me, looking pissed. How could he be mad already when class has barely begun? Is he angry that he has to sit next to me?
Without a sound, he sits down. Confused, I take the chance to glance at him. Demetri notices and rolls his eyes. What did I do?
That’s when I smell it; something wretched stops and lingers around my vulnerable nose. I wait a minute, but it doesn’t leave. Unsure of what it could be, I glance around searching. What is it? Who is it? Is it me?
Mr. Smith goes over the syllabus and hands out the usual self-introduction worksheet, making me get up and ask my fellow students intruding questions about themselves. Reluctantly, I finish most of my page while Demetri hasn’t even moved out of his seat, remaining his bitter self. Meanwhile, the smell never disappears.
Finally, fourth period comes around. As I walk through the cafeteria doors, I search for Josephine in anticipation. Giving up as I’m not able to find her, I decide to stand in line to get lunch when a pair of hands cover my eyes.
“Who is this?” I question.
“Josephine?” I ask.
My head is shaken, meaning no. Who could it be? I don’t know anyone else in here.
Taking a wild guess, I ask, “Callum?”
Crossing my fingers, I pray for it to be him.
“Awe… How’d you know?” Callum pouts, coming into view.
“Because I’m cool like that,” I smirk. Callum bursts out laughing. “What?!” I playfully slap his shoulder.
“Nothing,” he replies, clearing his throat. “I didn’t know you had lunch this period.”
“I didn’t know you did either,” I reply. Callum shrugs.
“How has school been so far? Any cat fights?” Callum eagerly asks.
“Only with you,” I smirk. Callum glares at me, making me laugh.
“There was this one incident in first period, but other than that, it’s been fine,” I clarify.
“You’re so mean to me,” Callum frowns, clutching at his chest, and I’m assuming his heart. I chuckle slightly. Callum smiles, probably glad he made me laugh.
“What happened during first period?” he questions.
“Nothing, really. There was just this boy who gave me an attitude when assigned a seat next to me.”
“Why did he give you an attitude?” Callum asks concerned.
I know Callum cares about me like he knows I care about him, so this is quite a natural response for him.
Callum and I are really close; he’s not only my brother, but my best friend. He’s there for me through thick and thin. He would do anything for me. I know I can come to him for almost anything.
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen him before. I think he’s new.”
“That’s no reason for him to give you an attitude. You don’t deserve one, unless it’s from me of course,” Callum jokes.
“Of course,” I reply, rolling my eyes.
Just then, someone hugs me from behind. Shocked, I turn around to see Josephine.
“Hi!” she squeals.
“Hi, Josephine,” I reply back, giggling. Behind us, people begin to complain.
“Oh, shut up! I already have my lunch!” she yells back. Typical Josephine. The people behind us grow quiet.
“That’s what I thought! Hi, Callum!” she smiles.
“Oh, uh, hi Josephine.”
“I didn’t know you had the same lunch as us,” she states.
“I didn’t either,” Callum mumbles, seeming uncomfortable.
“Hey, don’t you have friends waiting for you?” I ask Callum nonchalantly.
“Oh, um, yeah! They’re probably looking for me. I’ll catch you guys later.” I nod as he rushes off.
“I know that was a lie,” Josephine states, glaring at me.
“No, it wasn’t. He actually does have friends waiting for him. He saw me, so he wanted to say hi,” I quickly deny.
“Yeah, whatever. So, anything happen with you so far? Nothing’s happened with me, yet. I haven’t seen any cute boys or anything,” Josephine frowns.
“Besides Callum,” I smirk, rolling my eyes.
“Well, duh,” she chuckles.
“Actually, something did happen with me today,” I admit.
Josephine curiously stares at me as we sit down at her table, waiting for me to spill.
“Well, in first period I saw this gorgeous guy whose seat was assigned right next to mine. I was really happy, but when he was walking over, he seemed pissed. I glanced over at him confused while he sat down, and he rolled his eyes at me. He gave me an attitude the rest of class.”
“What a jerk!” Josephine exclaims, too dramatically if you ask me.
As she speaks, I smell that wretched smell again. That’s when I see him: Demetri. Josephine notices where I am looking and purrs.
“Josephine, that’s him. That’s the guy. He’s the one who gave me an attitude,” I whisper.
“Sorry, but that’s him?! That handsome guy gave you an attitude?!” she exclaims in a whisper.
“What a good looking jerk!” Josephine bursts out rather loudly.
Shocked, Demetri glances our way.
“Ooh la la,” Josephine smiles, batting her eyelashes to which Demetri rolls his eyes annoyed.
“I get what you mean by attitude,” Josephine huffs.
“See, I told you,” I reply, not able to take my eyes off him.
Demetri sits down by himself at a lone table near no one. Does he not have any friends? Suddenly, a girl walks towards him. My chest tightens unexpectedly, but I don’t know why. They aren’t too far away as I can still hear her talking.
“Hey, cutie. Can I sit here?” she asks, winking.
“Why don’t you run along and go pick another guy who actually prefers tramps?” Demetri groans. The girl gasps.
“Run along,” Demetri mumbles, motioning for her to get going.
With her heels clicking against the hard tile, she stomps off.
I admit she looked trashy, but I don’t judge. Maybe she has a rough life at home? You never know.
As I think about this, Demetri catches me watching. I quickly look away embarrassed.
“Did you see what he did?” Josephine asks, alarmed.
“Can we just forget about him? Let’s talk about something else. Are we hanging out after school?” I question. Please say yes.
I really need to get my mind off of things. This day hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start.
“I can’t. My mom will probably want to know how my first day went. I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s okay. There’s always tomorrow. You should go home; you haven’t seen your mom since like- yesterday morning.”
After lunch, I head to a nearby college for my last class where I’ll remain the rest of the school day. There, we take job related classes to prepare us for the future or see if that’s really the job we want to pursue. Since the school won’t allow us to drive our cars there, we’re required to take a school bus. Although, it’s not like I have a car anyways.
The class I’m taking is Early Childhood Education. Since I love children, I decided to be a special education teacher for elementary school children. Normal children are great, but children who are special are much more interesting; I should know firsthand.
When I was younger, I was the best of friends with an autistic child. She was like every other child I knew, but that didn’t stop her from being bullied.
The day we became friends, I saw her crying at a nearby park as a bully called her multiple, degrading names; I was seven at the time. I stormed over, pushed the tyrant down, and took her to my house only a couple houses down.
I comforted her for as long as I needed to till she felt better. Until I moved here, we remained the best of friends, but unfortunately, we never kept in touch.
It’s because of her that I want to help other special needs children. I want to protect them and make sure they understand how special they truly are.
Once I’m off the bus, every student heads they’re separate ways. I notice everyone has left me and forget where I’m supposed to go. Callum has shown me once before, but I’m drawing a blank.
After wandering around like a lost puppy, a thin girl around my age and height walks up to me. I admire her beautiful, auburn hair along with her hazel eyes. She appears flawless, almost too perfect. Instantly, she reminds me of someone, but I’m unable to put my finger on whom.
“Hey, are you lost?” she asks, smiling.
“Yeah, I’m trying to find room T103. I’ve been searching for forever.”
“You can walk with me. I’m headed near there,” she smiles, motioning for me to follow her.
“Thanks, I’m Ambrosia.”
“Thanks. I like yours, too. So, what class are you headed to?” Catalina asks with a bright smile.
“Early Childhood Education. You?”
“Criminal Justice. Look, we’re here,” Catalina smiles cheerfully, pointing to a room. I frown.
I liked talking with Catalina. She seems real cool.
“I have to go over there.” She points down the hall.
“Thanks. I’d probably still be walking around if it wasn’t for you,” I half-smile.
“Do you want to meet up after class?”
“Sure,” I reply, beaming.
“Okay, great! I’ll see you, then!” she states excitedly.
I think I made a new friend.