Episode 2 – Azalea

Summer’s breathed it’s last and I’m sitting in homeroom. It’s my first day of high school and I don’t know many kids. I walked to Middle School…knew everybody, but now I’m bused like ten miles to Carver Regional High School. There are a few of my old friends, but not many. Fortunately, my two closest are in my homeroom, Neal Wallace and Carl Hanson. Neal’s an amazing 6’5″ string bean with thick black hair, skinny face and toothy smile…Carl looks like a girl. His grandparents are Swedish so he’s blond and hasn’t gotten a haircut in like ten years, so his hair’s halfway down his back. What makes it worse, he wears gaudy clothes and goofy hats, so he catches ungodly shit, but could give a fuck. That’s the way he is.

“May I have your attention, please,” the homeroom teacher, Mr. Baker says. Welcomes us to high school and goes through the building layout, facilities and some basic do’s and don’t’s. There was an open house a couple of weeks ago, but dad was working, so we missed it.

There are pre-assigned seats, so I’m nowhere near my friends and totally surrounded by girls. They’re all whispering and ignoring me except a gigunda Afro-girl who’s staring at me and smiling. We introduce ourselves…rather, she introduces herself and I do the same. Her name’s Azalea Burdette, and she’s obviously fearless. Even though Baker tells us to “pipe down,” she keeps going. I’m petrified of getting yelled at, but she doesn’t give a shit…asks what town I’m from…watches me. It’s a little spooky…usually, stuff like that unnerves me, but not this time. She’s really nice…kind of appeals to me…not sure why exactly. She’s totally different from my old friends at Middle School.

The bell rings and we head to class. The first is World History. Fortunately, Azalea’s in it…Neal too.

As we leave homeroom, Mr. Baker calls Carl over and says something, smiles, but Carl just listens in his give-a-shit way…pulls off his boonie hat and shuffles off.

“What’d he want?” I ask.

Carl rolls his eyes. “Usual stupid bullshit…no hats indoors.”

I glance at Baker who’s staring at us. “Let’s get out of here,” I say, pulling Carl along.”Was he an asshole?”

“Not really, but weird…acting nice, but giving me shit. See you dudes later.” Sprints to class.

Azalea and Neal are waiting for me. “You guys meet?” I ask.

“Yeah, we’re way ahead of you,” Azalea says brightly. She’s so nice. I can’t figure it out.

We head to class like old friends. Azalea has a cute face…little button nose, big brown eyes with incredible lashes, and a dazzling smile. Figure she’s gotta be desperate…to be with a geek like me.

We grab seats in the back. Azalea starts passing notes asking all sorts of stuff. Do I take the bus? What’s my next class? Lunch together? Doing anything after school? Sports? Wanna make plans?

It’s crazy and overwhelming, but I like it. Dad never asks me anything, and it’s scary being with so many strange kids. Unfortunately, the three of us attract attention…Neal’s tall, Azalea’s an eyeful and I’m…uh…a giant Chipmunk. Immediately, we start catching ungodly shit from a group of cooler kids two rows up, three girls and two boys. They’re staring, giggling, throwing spit balls…on the first fucking day!!!

“I’m not taking this shit!” Azalea hisses. “After class, I’m gonna kick butt.”

I immediately think, “Oh shit, a fight.” Something I’m no good at, but I’m not about to chicken out in front of Neal and my brave new buddy, but throughout class, I’m petrified just thinking about it. As the bell rings, Azalea bolts up. Grabs one of the girls by her ponytail and yells in her ear. “Listen, bitch, you fuck with us again, and it’ll be the worst day of your life!”

Immediately, a preppy jock grabs Azalea’s arm. “Hey, get your fucking hands off!”

I swallow my fear and knock his hand away. “Same goes for you, asshole.” It sounds lame, but the studs are surprised. He’s blond, got a thick neck.The other guy looks tough, tan…a scar on his lip. Azalea winks at me, and I feel really proud until I see them glance up over my shoulder. Turn to see Neal’s angry face glowering down. He’s a wimp, but they haven’t a clue…take off without another word.

“Man, way to go!” Azalea crows. “We showed those fucking snobs. Next time, they’ll be really sorry!”

I’m thinking: “Next time? Fuck, that’s everything I’ve got!”

We walk into the crowded hallway.

“Math next, right?” Azalea asks.

“Yup.”

“Terrific, Baby.” Hooks my arm. It feels awesome.

To be continued…read next episode!