All names and places are being replaced to keep confidentiality.
I was on my way back from the six hour long car drive from Astrology Camp when my phone buzzed on my lap. I looked down to see a message from my good friend, Marley.
There's a new private school transfer in our journalsim class, he seems kind of quiet though.
Because the last day of camp ended on a school day, I was missing my first day of eighth grade, not that it bothered me. I had people like Marly to keep me up to date. I had just asked her about any new students, I loved an oppurtunity to start over with somebody new. Most kids at our school thought I was weird for being a band nerd and never showing any attraction to anyone like a normal middle schooler. But I didn't care. Anything could be better than the hell that was last year.
Ok, well maybe he's just shy.
I hit the send button. Marley replied class was starting and turned off her phone. I put down my phone as well and looked out the window. An endless array of trees zoomed by as the car drove along the freeway. This year will be different, I thought. It has to be. I then laid my head on the cool glass and fell asleep.
"Hey, I'm Laurie". I smiled as I extended my hand out to the stranger. I never knew what it was like to be a new kid, but I knew how it must feel. He shook my hand, "I'm Mark." Marley was standing inbetween us, wanting us to introduce ourselves. She smiled as she said, "Mark's part of broadcasting. He writes the scripts." I was a little envious, as that was what I wanted to do.
As if he could read my mind, "Maybe we could work together? It'd be easier if there was two of us." I looked at Marley, "You're the editor." She nodded, "Fine with me! But we need to start filming soon. You two should start brainstorming." As Marley became distrcted with other questions from the journalsim kids in our class, I beckoned Mark to come sit with me. He brought up another desk and scooted it closer to mine. "So I hear you're new?" I asked. "Yea, I'm from a catholic school up north, but they're a little too strict up there." I laughed, probably something he wasn't expecting, but he kept on talking with a slightly more confident attitude.
After a few catholic jokes, he threw me off guard. "So I hear you're a nerd." There goes my plan for "starting over". "What makes you say that?" As the smile slipped from my face. "You missed the first day of school for Astrology Camp. How lame is that?" I didn't have any response for that as the smile left my face. He must've noticed my change in expression as he touched my shoulder making me jump a little at the unexpected contact and said, "Hey it's just a joke, I'm sure you're not that bad." I realized I was overreacting. Besides, what do I care what a bunch of pre-pubescent middle schoolers have to say? I nodded as I wriggled under his touch. His arm left my shoulder, but his eyes didn't leave my face. "I guess we all have something geeky about us deep down." He looked away, "Well... I am slightly obsessed with Marvel."
I raised my eyebrows. "Now that is nerdy." He shrugged. "So is Astrology Camp." I rolled my eyes. "I gues you were right, we all are geeks on the inside."
The next week went pretty smoothly. The highlight of my day was almost always fourth period. It was the journalsim class I shared with Marley and Mark, both of whom I enjoyed seeing everyday. "Hey!" I said as Mark moved his desk next to mine. We opened our computers to write this week's script for broadcasting; as we usually did every Monday. He smiled in response. "So how was your weekend?" I asked out of politness. "Kind of boring if I'm gonna be honest. But, I saw that Spiderman: Far From Home is finally out at the theatre." I wasn't really into Marvel. It wasn't that I didn't think it was totally awesome, but more that it seemed a little cliche. The superhero man saves the day, defeats the bad guy, and gets the girl in most of the movies (not that I've seen very many). I honestly just wasn't interested in superheros as much as he was.
"It's supposed to be one of the best films of the year. Plus, Zendaya's in it." I left my daydream as I heard her name. "Oh, really? That's cool." I turned my gaze back to my computer screen as my fingers typed away at the keyboard. I could feel his gaze on me, which made me uncomfortable, but I let it slide. I looked up to see that he hadn't moved his gaze from me. I blushed and said, "W-what are you looking at?" He ignored the question. "I should give you mu number. Being new is absolute crapp without anybody to talk to."
"Uh, sure. I'll put it in your phone." He russled is his bag before he pulled out his cracked iPhone 8. I pulled up his contacts and added myself to the list. His gaze finally turned away from me, my heart beating a thousand times slower. My attention turned back to my computer as my hands went to work once again. His voice startled me as he said, "Speaking of weekends, I actually did do something productive believe it or not." I smiled, "Oh yeah? What's that?" He pulled an old MacBook out of his backpack (we were provided Chromebooks at school). He opened it up, the blue light reflecting off his pale skin. "I'm writing a short film, I wanted you to see what you thought about it."
Once he had unlcoked the laptop, he turned it around to face me. Mark was super passionate about movie writing and scripting. His dream job was one day to become a movie director, which explain the "slight" Marvel obsession.
I was impressed with his writing. It wasn't all bad for a fourteen-year-old boy. The short story was about a man who got stood-up on a date with his long-term girlfriend. Later that night, he got a text from her saying they were through with no explanation. The beak-up was hard, especially since the man had no idea where the girl was and had lost all contact with her. But through the years, he finds that flowers can blossom from burrned soil. Years later, he goes back to the same restauraunt his date was scheduled at and finds the pretty, young hostess attractive. He leaves his number with a decent tip and gets a call later that day. He learned that only time can heal and patence is key.
"Wow." I said, oblivious to the fact that he was staring at me the whole time. "So, you liked it?" I nodded, "The writing was great! There were only a few grammatical errors and-" He cut me off with an eye roll and said, "Ugh, you always act so smart."
"S-sorry I just-" He shoulder bumped me. "Kidding! You are smart. Why so serious?" He laughed. I didn't quite understand what was so funny, but I went along with it anyways.
The next day wasn't the best one I'd ever had. Marley and our other good friend, Jade, both confronted me during our break. "So we've noticed you've been hanging out with Mark a lot recently." Jade said. They exchanged glances and Marley continued, "We just wanted to tell you that he's been acting really strange recently..." I couldn't deny it. Something was off about this guy, but I wasn't about to end our friendship before I figured out what.
Author Notes: Here's my story (part 2 coming soon!). If you have any suggestions please let me know