The only slightly gaudy facade of Rosewood high loomed in front of young Riley-Anne. She was soon to spend the next few years of her life in the monumental amalgamation of marble and wood in front of her. She could see the many students, prancing about in their sky-blue uniforms, looking so comfortable in the mangled entrance hall. Riley, on the other hand, felt like she was going to puke.
Her nerves settled, Riley-Anne finally stepped through the wrought-iron gates and began the path that lead to class 9-B. She ran along the grey asphalt, scared of being late, only to discover an empty classroom, save for a tall girl with long deep red hair applying makeup at a desk.
“Hey, is this 9-B?”
The girl turned towards her. “Yes. It is,” she applied a layer of lip gloss and continued, “Are you new here?”.
“Um, yeah…Hi, I’m Riley-Anne” she smiled, extending her hand.
“Cool, I’m Louisa,” the girl said in an airy voice that hung, like a feather, in the air.
“You know,” she said, her eyes rolling lazily over Riley’s outstretched paw, “We don’t really do that here.”
“Oh…okay,” murmured Riley, feeling small and stupid. It hurt, though she didn’t know why. She slunk over to a desk in the corner and flicked through the school handbook absentmindedly.
Minutes later, as the bell rang, a decent sized group of late-comers sauntered through the doors, as a short plump middle-aged woman stepped through the staff doors at the back of the classroom.
“Yes, quiet down you lot, come on!” she yelled, in a voice taller than herself.
“Good morning. I’m your homeroom teacher, Mrs. Frasier, and I will also be seeing some of you for Geography.”
Riley smiled. Maybe this school isn’t that bad.
Her cheerful thoughts were interrupted by a loud bang at the door. The entire class turned to see a sullen girl appear, and slowly trudge her way to an empty desk.
“Excuse me, Sam,” said Mrs.Frasier with the look of a lion tamer in her eyes.
“What?” She roared back.
“You’re not wearing your uniform, you’re five minutes late to class and-” Mrs. Frasier announced, eyeing up the bold lion that dared misbehave, “I’m very sure your hair is not up to school standards.”
“I’ll have it cut then,” the girl retorted, one last defiant roar.
“Well, now that we have a full class, I’ll be explaining your schedules for the year.”
As a list of classes and clubs were written on the whiteboard, Riley turned towards ‘Sam’, she was scribbling on the desktop whilst muttering sharp words under her breath. Short, choppy hair covering her right eye…
“Hey!” she muttered, glaring at Riley’s innocent face. “Stop staring at me, ya idiot.”
Geez, what’s her problem? Thought Riley, now staring at the rotund Mrs. Frasier. Well, I was staring at her, but she could’ve been a little nicer about it.
“Ding, Ding, Ding!”
The class was over.
Riley shot up from her seat in surprise, eliciting a few sniggers. She dashed over to the door blushing a little, from embarrassment.
“Hey!” shouted a languid voice from across the hall.
“Wha-what?” stammered Riley, freezing in surprise.
“Um, it’s me. Your new buddy.”
“Haha, weren’t you paying attention at all?” said the voice, finally revealing itself.
“Oh, Louisa. It’s you.”
“Um, duh? Come on, I’ve got a hall pass to take you on a tour of the school.”
“Err, okay-ay!” shouted Riley as she was yanked sharply towards the main entrance.
“Ahem, this is the main entrance. It’s the only part of the school that we decorate during festivals. ”
“Hey! Don’t interrupt the tour guide…Anyway, it’s because everyone’s too lazy to decorate the whole school so we all do the entrance hall and our individual classrooms, and that’s it.”
Riley nodded silently. Oh why couldn’t I have gotten a nicer ‘buddy’?
“Moving on…These are the classrooms for the older grades,” Louisa paused to snigger a little. “‘Cause the younger grades are to rowdy to have on display when you walk in.”
Laughing slightly (It felt rude not to), Riley caught a glimpse of the so-called ‘Sam’ leaning near a wall of lockers, buried in a book.
“Who is she?” Riley wondered aloud.
“Who?” asked Louisa, swivelling her head. “Oh, you mean Sam.”
“Yeah, who is Sam?”
“The headmistress’ daughter. No one really likes her. She’d bite your head off as soon as you look at her.”
“You can say that again.” mumbled Riley.
“It’s the only reason any of us can think of anyway,” said Louisa, quietly.
“Oh, it’s just that she should be expelled by now,” answered Louisa calmly, like addressing a clueless child. “I mean, you saw how she was during class.”
“Yeah, makes sense…” trailed off Riley. It didn’t really, at least, not to her. It seemed that this was all she was going to get from Louisa. For now anyway.
“Okay, let’s move on,” interjected Louisa.
“Um…yeah,” said Riley, sneaking one last look at Sam, “Let’s go.”
Akshara Gupta, a 14-year-old girl, born in India and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and South Africa. Growing up, she has always loved books and everything about them. She has recently developed an interest in writing them, as well. As she’s been exposed many regions and cultures of the world, with many experiences at hand, such as her hobbies of playing the piano, singing, crafting, roller skating, swimming and travelling – she chooses to express herself in a peculiar manner and likes to put in efforts to bring out the best in her writing. She’s written and published the book “Luck in a Locket: Medieval Misfortune” and is in the process of authoring her second book “Singapore Through a Teenager’s Lens” – a travel guide for teens seeking a little adventure while moving around and sight-seeing the delightful wonders of Singapore.