"River! Get up, you're going to be late for school!" My mother's voice screeches from down the hall-after I snoozed my alarm half a dozen times. I open my eyes and roll over, groggily reaching for my cell phone- unlocking it. The screen flashes 7:15 a.m., alongside a long string of messages from my best friend, Karoline, demanding that I wake up, and I quote "like right the fuck now."
"Fuck me..." I mumble, throwing my comforter off of me and swinging my legs over the side of the bed- not quite ready to be awake and functioning.
"Are you awake? Don't make me get the ice water, Child!" My mom hollers again, agitation clearly coating her voice this time. I huff," I'm up!" She doesn't respond, but I hear her continuously rustling around in the kitchen. The smell of freshly brewed coffee fills the air and it reminds me that I did get up for a reason- caffeine.
I go to my closet and grab a pair of jeans, along with a t-shirt and hoodie and throw them on the bed. I, then, grab a bra, tossing my old t-shirt and shorts I had on into the hamper. I quickly finish getting ready and sweep my wavy, blonde hair into a messy ponytail.
I walk past my vanity mirror on my way to grab my shoes I kicked off by my door the night before- and I stop, glaring at my reflection.
I've always despised my blonde hair; my mother countlessly spouted throughout my youth that I took after my no good dad.
At the young age of nine, my mother and father split on occurence that my father had led that of a "double life" - with a 22 year old mistress and a baby on the other side of town.
After I slip my socks and shoes on, I grab my messenger bag.
"Ten minutes!" My mother yells, once again, jingling her keys for added effect. "I'm almost ready!" I reply loudly, shutting my bedroom door and retreating to the bathroom to brush my teeth.
After I'm done, I sprint to the front door and skid to a stop to avoid running my mom over. I check my phone and smirk, " Two minutes to spare as long as..." She holds up a thermos- my thermos, and I smile widely taking it from her.
She gives me a fake gasp and says," Oh my. It's almost as if we haven't been going through this very routine just about every day for the past seventeen years!"
I laugh, grabbing my keys off the hook on the wall. "Well actually... if you want to get technical, I've only been going to school since I was four-ish and drinking coffee since I was six." She rolls her eyes," The only reason you even got to drink coffee is because you were the secretary's favorite. I still wish Donetta had only started you on decaf, but you had her wrapped around her finger."
"As old as she was, she probably couldn't tell which was which," I stifle a laugh and head out to the car. She follows close behind, getting into the driver's seat.
The engine begins to rumble as she backs out of the driveway and towards the school. Pop music plays faintly on the radio, so I turn it down and clear my throat. "How late do you work tonight?" I ask, hoping to get the answer I wanted. "I'm only supposed to work until ten but there is a meeting and I have quite a bit of to catch up on, so I'd say eleven thirty or so."
I resist the urge to get all giddy, as I unlock my phone to text Karoline. "Do you work tonight?" I stop mid-text and slowly raise my head to look at her. "Um.. No?" I lie. "River Noelia Michaels-" "Okay, fine. Yes, I work until like ten. Koby's going to take me after school, then pick me up tonight." "And drop you off at home alone?" She says, watching me out of the corner of my eye. "Well, actually..." "River! No boys in the house after hours or unless I'm home." "But, Mom.. You like Koby, he wouldn't hurt a fly. " She scoffs, "I'm not worried about him hurting you. I'm worried about me going to prison after killing him for impregnating you." "That's not going to happen-" "No. Boys. In the. House. Alone. Am I clear?" I sigh heavily, sitting back in my seat. "Yes Mother."
After riding in silence for the next few minutes, my mom turns her blinker on and we pull into the school parking lot. I take no time clicking my seatbelt off and making for a quick exit. "I love you, River. I'll see you tonight," my mom says as I mumble ' Love you, too,' and hastily shut the car door.
"It's about damn time, Michaels!" A familiar voice shouts from behind me. Karoline. My sanity. My crazy. My therapist. My human diary. My savior in a flowy sundress. What? "What the hell are you wearing?" I ask, looking her up and down. "Um.. A sundress?" I glare at her, " I see that, Dork, but why?" She blushes," Well, I'm trying to get Diego's attention, honestly." I roll my eyes automatically at the comment. I should have known. Karoline is five foot three something with blonde hair that lays in perfect curls without anything done to it, and the most striking emerald green eyes I've ever seen. She's practically perfect. "I don't see why you pine after guys that don't even deserve your time, Dude." She glares at me. "Diego's different than all the guys before." "Karoline, Sweetie, that's what you said about Shane and Caleb and Zach and Damien-" "Okay, I get it. I'm a magnet for shitty guys," she huffs, cutting me off. "No, you aren't, you just don't learn your lesson with these shady ass guys, Babe," I say, r eaching out to encircle into a hug. She hesitates, but hugs me anyway, sighing," I know. I really don't know why I go after the ones that are no good for me." "Because your are unfathomably stupid," a deep voice says from behind me. "Piss off, Koby," she sneers at her twin brother, whom snakes his arm around my waist, kissing my hair. I smack him, for the comment towards his sister. "What? You know it's true," he says defensively. Caroline scoffs, tugging me away from him, into the school. "What was that for?" I ask. "You were about to agree with him and I can't let you do that. You were my friend first," she sighs, letting go of me. "As much as I worry about your love life choices, youknowI got you. I'll defend you every second of every day to your brother, or anybody else, in a heartbeat. Yes, I agree with him, but I will always be there for you to lean on and I'll pick up the pieces of youevery time."Tears swell in her eyes and she blinks them away, " No you're right. I do have terrible taste in guys. Maybe I should just-" "No, you do you. Love who you want, wholeheartedly. I want you to be happy, Karoline." She smiles weakly. "I love you, Dude." "You better," I smirk.
The bell goes off and we hug- parting ways. I head to my first hour class, English IV. Once I get to the classroom, I sit in my usual seat and watch as Koby follows in behind me to sit in the aisle in front of me. "You know I was right about Karoline," he mumbles, turning halfway around in his seat to look at me and I roll my eyes. "I was her friend first. Friends come before boyfriends no matter what. Not to mention, you could be nicer to her, you know? Sheisyour sister," I comment, shutting him down. He sighs, silently admitting defeat," Do you need a ride to work after school?" He asks, his tone changing as if he's asking for forgiveness. "It would be appreciated," I mutter quietly. Without another word, he slides his hand over to mine and squeezes slightly, and I know immediately that everything is back to the same again.
Mrs. Lockwood, the English teacher, walks in, beginning the class.
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