cobaltazure: Laura Roslin (bsg: roslin warm colors)
[personal profile] cobaltazure
"Hey! Good to see you again!" A tall boy whose T-shirt read I HATE T-SHIRT SLOGANS stopped in front of me and threw his hand up in the air. I slowly raised my right hand while looking into Slogans's blue eyes, trying to figure out how I knew someone at a school I had never set foot in. After the most awkward high five in recorded history, I still hadn't translated the kid's face into anything remotely recognizable.

"Um--"

I stopped talking once Slogans ran off to greet someone else in the parking lot. If I finished his question and asked, "who are you?" it probably wouldn't go well. Maybe Slogans liked to play pranks on new kids by pretending to know them. Yes. That explained the situation perfectly. I adjusted my backpack on my shoulders in a misguided attempt to make twenty pounds of books feel more comfortable and and started walking out of the student parking lot toward the school building.

"Hey! How was your summer?"

"What's up?"

"You cut your hair!"

Student after student pretended to know me, but I ignored them. How had they managed to orchestrate a prank on this scale for a new kid? With over two thousand students enrolled at Great Plains High School, one addition couldn't attract that much attention. I should have blended in with a bare minimum of effort. Instead, it seemed like most of the students in this parking lot thought they were best friends with me. They'd learn soon enough. If I got out of here as quickly as possible, then I could go back to blending in.

"Hold it right there!" an old man driving a golf cart barked in my direction. At me? No way could he be talking to me. I kept walking toward the school steps.

"I told you to halt!" the guy in the golf cart said, accelerating to keep up with me.

"I'm going to class," I said, looking away from the golf cart. I knew the type. A retiree, probably former military, with nothing better to do than abuse every scrap of authority the school had given him. If I kept my head down, I'd be fine.

"You're Liam Cross!"

I stopped. "Yeah," I admitted. How did he know me, and why did it matter? "So what?"

"So what?" The guy in the golf cart made a snorting sound that might have been a laugh. I decided he looked like a rhinoceros. "You can't go in there."

"But I'm supposed to start school." Sure, I wouldn't mind never having to go to school again, but this news seemed too good to be true. "I'm enrolled."

"No, you're not."

"First everyone here knows me, and now I'm not even enrolled here?" I looked around the parking lot. "Did I wake up in opposite world this morning?" No, opposite world didn't explain it. A circle of other kids formed around the golf cart, drawn out of their conversations by the spectacle. I saw a girl with her hair in braids shaking her head, but I looked away before I realized that her gesture might have been a response to my question about opposite world. Or was it?

He dropped his voice. "Kid, you're in way over your head. Go back to your car. Enroll in another school. It'll be better for you and everyone here."

"What other school? This is my neighborhood school." I looked around again. Something about the guy in the golf cart dialing down his aggression made me wonder if I should listen to him, but nothing going on today made sense. "Where else am I supposed to go?"

"That's not my problem--"

"Hey, what's going on here?" A boy about my height with dark brown hair hanging in his eyes blundered through the crowd into the middle of the circle. "Who the hell are you?"

"I'm Liam--" I looked at the boy more closely, then echoed him: "Who the hell are you?" He wasn't about my height. He was exactly my height. He had my hazel eyes and my nose that was way too big for my face. If I grew out my hair so that it would hang in my face, I would be just like him. Maybe I already was him.

I pushed through the crowd, planning to drive away and go somewhere that wasn't Crazytown.

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