Authors: Whitney Tyrrell
It’s funny how life works out really. You have all these friends one minute and then the next it’s like Poof! They’re gone. Your family just one minute ups and moves you to a completely different scene and state. I’m Alice Burns but please call me Ali.
it sounds a little cocky but my freshman year of high school I was the best thing to happen to my school and then I moved like three states to “the city.” San Diego. Blech. My father, John, got “the best job” here and “couldn’t pass it up,” at least that’s what my mother Marsha said. But of course she would say that. She never has to work another day in her life again. I have one sibling. My younger brother Dillon is an eighth grader and he’s stoked about the move. Not me. I had a life in Colorado, I was happy. With my long, wavy blonde hair, fit figure (thanks to dance), my tan skin, and blue eyes I’ve been blessed. I’ll fit right in here in California but I loved Colorado, the snow, mountains, everything. Don’t get me wrong the beach will be great but I feel like California will change me. It’ll make me less me.
So here I am a sophomore in high school starting over.
New friends. New home. New life. It was two days before school and we finally got supplies and all moved in to this humungous house where I had no idea what I was going to do with my time. My mom and dad made sure I had a studio for me to practice in and I was already on some dance studio’s competition team I tried out for in May. I can’t even remember the name but it was close to the house and supposedly had a good reputation at winning. They said I held great potential.
“Alice Marie Burns get your butt down here now!” My mom yelled from the bottom of the stairs.
“Coming!” I shut my laptop and rushed down the stairs.
“What are your new clothes doing down here? Pick them up and put them away. I didn’t buy these for you to just throw around.” My mom started picking up the tops she had just got me for school and I hurried and picked up the bottoms.
“Sorry, I forgot about them.” I grabbed the tops and turned to walk up the steps.
“Don’t let it happen anymore. Oh and before I forget there is this beach party tonight. I heard some kids talking about it at the store. You should go, meet some friends.” She was always concerned about me having friends.
Honestly back home I had loads of friends at school but on the weekends I liked to stay home and read or just spend time alone. I had two really close friends, never dated, never hooked up, nothing. I was “weird” like that.
“Mom, I don’t even know how you found out about a party, but I was just going to stay home and work on some dance.”
I continued up the stairs hoping she’d get off my back but she followed me.
“Sweetheart, that’s all you’ve done this summer. Go out and have some fun,” She leaned against my doorway.
“I’ve gone to the beach and I’ve gone shopping too,” I defended myself.
“By yourself or with me.
You need friends your age, sweetie. I know it’s hard making new friends but trust me it’ll be easy for you.”
She approached me and patted on my bed motioning for me to sit.
“Fine, I’ll go. But only to make you happy you know most moms discourage this kind of thing,” I leaned my head on her shoulder.
“This is an exception. Let’s get you something to wear,” she kissed the top of my head and patted my knee.
I decided on a white lace sundress with butterfly- wing sleeves, belted the middle to make it give me more of a figure and slipped on some wedged sandals. I pulled my long blonde hair into a loose curled bun and applied minimal makeup. I looked in the mirror and I actually liked how I looked. I smiled at my reflection feeling confident and ready to go have some fun. I put a layer of lip gloss on, grabbed my purse and went downstairs.
“You look perfect, have fun and be back by one, no later! Be safe and don’t forget your phone,” my mom shouted at me before I walked out the back door and down to the beach from there.
I was really nervous, I have no friends here, I literally don’t know anybody. It was sunset and there were about thirty kids surrounding a bonfire, drinking and listening to country music. I felt like I had just hopped into a story book but this was real life. I grabbed my wallet out so I could pay for a cup and approached the keg.
“You’re new here.” The guy standing by the keg smiled.
“Yep sure am. How much?” I repeated.
“Free, but just for you.” He winked.
“Here’s a five.” I put the money on top of the keg and grabbed my cup.
“I’m not taking your money,” he laughed “Just take it, a girl that looks like you gets these things for free around here.” He gave me a crooked grin.
“Well thanks. I’m Ali by the way.”
I finally looked up at him and he was holy hot. He had to be at least 6 foot, tan and super muscular. His dark brown hair was a little shaggy and unkempt but I could see a peek of his green eyes.
“Carter.” We shook hands and I felt myself blush.
“Baby, who’s that?”
Some girl came over to his side. Of course.
“This is Ali, she’s new.” He wrapped his arm around her.
“Oh, hi. I’m Chelsea.” She was a couple inches taller than me and she had a great figure, her long brown beach-waved hair hung below her belly button that was showing from under her crop top. She wore daisy dukes and cowgirl boots to pull the outfit together.
“Nice to meet you.
So, um, I’m just going to sit down.”
I looked over at the crowd and noticed a spot over by a girl with fine brown hair and sat over by her.
“So I see you’ve met Chelsea. A real piece of work. Word of advice, steer clear of Carter. She’ll sabotage you,” the girl took a sip of her drink.
“Thanks for the warning. I’m Ali by the way.” I took a bigger drink of mine.
“Marlie. I think we’re neighbors or close to it. You just moved in, right?” She stretched her long tan legs out.
“Yeah, I’m a junior this year at Franklin High School.” I felt a nice cool breeze and the smell of the ocean swept my nose.
“You’re kidding? Well you’re looking at about thirty kids from the junior class at Franklin,” she chuckled.
“Is that a bad thing?” I looked at her and noticed how bony and tiny she was.
“Only if you’re a girl like you.” She looked back.
“A girl like me?”
I was confused. Did I come off as a snob or a skank?
“Pretty, perfect, bound for popularity.
You see those four girls over there? Those are the “fab four.” Obviously Chelsea is the leader, then you have Quinn who’s the preacher’s daughter, Emma who’s the doe-eyed slut, and Krista. None of us understand why she’s in the group but apparently she’s a closeted whore.” She pointed out each of them to me.
“Is this real life?” I laughed.
“Yep, I wish wasn’t,” she rolled her eyes. Obviously something happened between them and her.
“Well, what about Carter? He seems nice enough. Why waste his time with a bitch?” I looked over at Carter standing by the keg talking to a group of about five or six guys.
“No clue. Maybe she’s different with him,” she shrugged.
“Huh. So who do you usually hang out with?” I stretched out my legs.
Almost as if on cue, a cute blonde guy came up to me.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Justin.”
“Justin, go away. We’re talking.” She pushed him in the arm.
“I’m Ali, nice to meet you Justin.” I grinned at him. He was actually really cute.
“Ali. I like that. Marlie hangs out with me, and those two girls over there, Rachel and Taylor.” He pointed out two girls standing by two other guys.
“Ah, I see.” I finished up my drink.
“Let me go refill that for you.” He grabbed my cup andwalked away.
“I’ll go with, I need a refill too.”
Marlie got up and I was alone again.
“Ali, hi, I’m Jake,” an older-looking Carter came and sat by me.
“Oh, hi. You a junior at Franklin too?” I tried to hide the fact that I was starting to freeze.
“Nope, a senior.
I’m Carter’s brother. Here, take my jacket. You must be freezing.” He slid out of his leather, jet black jacket and gave it to me. It was heavy and warm.
“Really? That’s cool.” I sat there awkwardly with his jacket hung over my shoulders.
“I don’t bite,” he whispered in my ear.
I knew how to flirt, it came naturally but I usually choose not to. But you know what, new place, new me.
“I’m sure you do.” I looked up at him from under my lashes.
“Only if you ask,” he winked.
“What happens if I don’t ask?” I grinned.
“I might bite you anyway.” I saw his teeth graze his bottom lip and my lady parts woke up.
“Jake, what’s up man? Thanks for getting us the keg,” Justin came back with
Marlie following behind. I got the feeling that maybe she liked him.
“Oh, yeah, no problem.
Anything for my little brother and his friends.” He broke eye contact and stood up.
“So you’ve met Ali.” Justin handed me my drink.
“Yep, look forward to seeing you at school this year Ali.” He smiled at me and walked off.
“He’s a player, don’t trust him,”
Marlie whispered in my ear.
“Oh, I don’t know. He seemed nice enough,” I shrugged.
“Just watch your back.” She took a drink and I did the same.
“So, what happened?” I noticed her extreme hatred toward those girls.
“What do you mean?” She looked confused.
“Between you and those girls.
I can tell you can’t stand them.” I giggled a little.
“Well last year was a living nightmare for me before I met Justin. Those girls would steal my bras and hang them on my locker and write really nasty things about me and tape them to my locker,” she sighed.
“You’re kidding! That’s terrible. Why’d they do that?” I was honestly shocked.
“Because they could.
I honestly never did anything to them. But I was the target.” She took another drink.
“This place is literally like a movie,” I laughed.
“Tell me about it. Hey, Justin, what time is it?” She got up and walked over to him.
“It’s only eleven, chill out. Ali, when is your curfew?” He looked down at me.
“One, why? What’s your guys’?” I wasn’t used to even having a curfew.
“Mine is midnight and so is Justin’s. Most of these guys, though, will stay out until two or three in the morning at least.” She obviously was referring to the “fab four” and their posse.
“Damn, that’s too late for me. The latest I’ve been out is 1:30 and I got in huge trouble. Didn’t help that I came home drunk, though.” I was recalling my going away party.
“Couldn’t be as bad as what Justin and I did earlier this summer. We got plastered and both went to my house and fell asleep together. My parents about killed him,”
“We didn’t even do anything either. I swear I’m lucky to be here today,” he smiled.
I got to know Marlie and Justin really well. I was looking forward to starting school here in two days. I figured if I have these two and my looks I should be able to survive. I had already made the school dance team and sadly the “fab four” are on it too. But I just wanted to focus on dance. I was better than all of them anyway. I’ve won more competitions than they’ve slept with guys.
At around midnight I left with
Marlie and Justin and they took me home. Honestly, I didn’t want to stick around any longer, I was already tipsy enough and I didn’t trust myself to make it home if I walked.
“I’ll text you guys tomorrow and maybe we can do something,” I said as they finished putting their names and numbers into my phone.
“Sounds fun. See you later, neighbor.” Marlie smiled and Justin waved as they drove off.
I walked into my house and it was pitch black. Everyone was already in bed so I went up to let my mom know I was home and that I’d tell her everything tomorrow. I changed out of my dress and slid into my blue jean shorts, a V-neck T and put on an oversized cream cardigan over it. I went back down the stairs and went to the kitchen to make a
pb and j and graba glass of milk and headed out to the back deck overlooking the ocean. I watched as the waves softly brushed the shore. I sat for a long time just looking at the stars reflecting off the water and really believed that maybe I could call this place home. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I loved the weather.
The moon was bright, making it easy to see. I watched as a small figure walked across the sand.
Must have been someone from the party. I looked closer and realized it was Jake, Carter’s brother. He tossed rocks into the ocean and finally stopped and sat down on the sand looking up at the sky. I didn’t know if I should go inside or stay. It felt very personal, whatever he was doing. I didn’t really even think it through. I got up and walked down the beach, my sandals letting sand in and out.