When I got inside the room, it was brightly lit, and warmer than I had hoped. The office was neat and small; a small waiting area with padded folding chairs, orange flecked commercial carpet, awards and notices cluttering the walls of the office, and a big clock ticking loudly.

You can visibly see plants that grew everywhere in large plastic pots, as if there was not enough greenery outside.

The room was cut in half by a long counter that is cluttered with wire baskets full of papers and brilliantly colored flyers taped to its front.

There were three desks that falls behind the counter, one of which was manned by a large red haired woman that was wearing glasses. She wore a green color t-shirt which instantly made me feel loverdressed.

The red haired woman looked up.

”Can I help you? ” she asked.

”I am Ariana Graison, ” I responded her, and I saw the sudden awareness that light her eyes.

I was anticipating for a topic of gossip because of that look she gave me, no doubt. Like; the daughter of the Chiefs flighty ex-wife has come home at last. Of course, she did say so.

She dug through a precariously stacked heap of documents on her desk till she found the ones she was searching for.

”I have your schedule right here miss Ariana, and a map of the school. ” She brought various sheets to the counter to show me.

She pointed through my classes for me, highlighting the best way to each on the map she had with her, and she gave me a slip to have each teacher sign on it, which I was to return back at the end of the day.

She giggled at me and hoped; just like my dad, that I would like it here in Barbourvillle. I smiled back at her as convincingly as I could.

When I went back to my truck, other students had already started arriving. I drove around the school, following the line of traffic.

I was pleased to see that most of the cars were older like mine, none was really flashy that I could see at the moment.

At home I had dwelled in one of the few lower income communities that were included in the Paradise Valley District.

It was a popular thing to see a new Mercedes or Porsche in the student parking lot. The finest car here was a shiny Volvo, and it elegantly stood out.

I offed the engine as soon as I was in a spot, so that the thunderous volume would not draw attention to me.

I looked at the map that I had with me in the truck, trying to memorize it now; hopefully I would not have to walk around with it stuck in front of my nose all day.

I packed everything in my bag, slung the strap over my shoulder, and sucked in a big breath.

”I can do this ”, I feebly lied to myself.

It is not like anyone was going to bite me, so I finally exhaled and walked out of the truck.

I kept my face jerked back into my hood as I walked to the sidewalk, that was thronged with teenagers. I noticed with relief that my plain black jacket tdid not stand out.

The third building was easy to spot the moment I got myself around the cafeteria.

A huge black ”3 ” was painted on a white square on the east corner if the building.

I felt my breathing slowly creeping toward hyperventilation as I reached the door. I made an effort hold my breath as I followed two unisex raincoats through the door.

The classroom was small. The people before me halted just inside the door to hang up their coats on a long row of hooks. I had to do the same thing they did.

They were two girls, one a porcelain colored blonde and the other also pale, with dark brown hair. At least my skin would not be a standout here.

I took the slip that was giving to me up to the teacher, a tall balding man whose desk had a nameplate that identified him as Mr. Mason.

He gawked at me when he saw my name not a favorable response and of course I flushed tomato red.

But at least he sent me to an empty desk at the back without even introducing me to the class.

It was hard for my classmates to stare at me in the back, but they still managed to do that. I kept my eyes down on the reading list that the teacher had given me.

It was relatively basic: Shakespeare, Bronte, Chaucer, Faulkner. I had already read everything. At least that was comforting and boring too.

I pondered if my mom would send me my folder of old essays, or if she would believe that was cheating.

I went through various arguments with her in my head while the teacher was teaching the class.

When the bell rang, just like a nasal buzzing sound, a lanky boy with skin problems and black hair as an oil slick leaned across the aisle to talk to me.

”You are Ariana Graison, aren you? ” He looked like the overly helpful chess club type.

”Aria, ” I corrected him immediately. Everyone within a three seat radius turned to look at me.

”Where is your next class? ” he inquired.

I had to check inside my bag.

”Um, that should be Government, with Jefferson, in building six. ”

And there was nowhere to look without meeting curious eyes.

”Im headed toward building four, I could show you the way if you do not mind… ” Definitely over helpful.

”I am Ulrich, ” he added.

I grinned tentatively. ”Thanks. ”

I went and got my jacket and headed out into the rain, which had already started again.

I could have sworn several people behind us were walking close enough to overhear. I hoped I was not getting paranoid.

So, this place is a lot different than Scottsdale, huh? ” he asked.

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