Please let me know how you like the story as it is so far. I would LOVE any and all feedback and critisisms. Feel free to send me any comments and suggestions. Thanks for your time. :)
Samantha Greene is the perfect thirteen year old. Or so everyone thinks. Being talented in athletics, arts, and her book studies, it seemed Samantha had everything. And so she did. Happily married parents, a little brother that she doted on and two best friends to whom she told all her secrets. Samantha had beauty on top of being perfect in every other possible way. She had long dark hair with a natural wave, golden tan skin, and bright green eyes shielded by lush dark lashes. Everyone in RoseGarden knew she would become a great beauty and achieve wonderful things. However, Samantha did have one flaw. One seemingly insignificant twist in her DNA is about to flip her world completely upside down. Desperate for answers to cure her “affliction”, Samantha sets out on an intriguing and sometimes dangerous quest. Along for the ride, willingly or not, are her two best friends and some meddling do-gooders they meet in their travels. Samantha must brave her greatest fears and age beyond her years in order to find what she so desperately seeks… herself.
CHAPTER 1: Monthly
Stuffing her Civics textbook into her already overstuffed backpack, Samantha hurried to catch her bus home. Kyra and Maggie, her two best friends, were coming over for a study group before dinner. This really meant helping each other with their homework while talking about boys, periods, and getting boobs. Kyra had been having her “monthly” (as she calls it) since she was nine, and she had boobs bigger than Samantha’s mom did. Maggie had just started her monthly last year when they were 12 and had just started wearing a bra. Samantha felt like this was the only area where everyone else was way ahead of her. So far, all she needed was a little training bra, and she hadn’t even had the hint of an abdominal cramp to indicate a menstrual cycle in process. Her friends assured her that her time would come and that she would hate having a period anyway, so to be glad she hasn’t gotten it yet. Today, the conversation was no different.
“Seriously, it’s just not fair! It’s like the universe in punishing me or something! I bet Brad would want to date me if I had boobs.”
Kyra rolls her eyes, “Sam, Brad’s crazy about you anyway. Your parents won’t let you date yet, remember?”
“Ya, I think they’re waiting for me to “mature” too. Sometimes I feel like maybe there’s something wrong with me. Like I’m some kind of mutated freak. The only human female to never have a menstrual cycle or grow boobs. I wonder if that could get me into the Guinness Book of World Records?”
“Geez M’nettly, Sam. You are so dramatic. No wonder you get the lead in every school play.”
“I’m only kidding Maggs. I know my time will come one day, I just don’t like being last at anything. Especially not if I could date Brad Parson. What if he wants to date someone else because they have boobs already and I don’t?”
“If Brad was like that he’s not worthy of you anyway. But everyone knows he’s just biding his time to ask you out until your parents say you can date.”
“Thanks Kyra. You guys freakin’ rock! Hey, let’s go raid the fridge. I think my mom has become addicted to baking. Totally cool with me though! I get cupcakes and cookies all the time! Shoot, maybe putting on some weight will help my boobs grow! Hahahahaha!
This time, it was Maggie who rolled her eyes, “Honestly, Sam, you are impossible!”
4th period Civics was the most tormenting class for Sam. Not because she wasn’t good in Civics; she always got the highest marks; but because her teacher, Mr. Woodson, was at least 100 years old, and spoke in an awful scratchy monotone that sounded like he always needed to clear his throat. It was truly torture to listen to him drone on for over an hour. Sam always paid attention though. Maybe that’s why his voice irked her so much. The other kids goofed off or tuned out completely. Nevertheless, Sam just couldn’t seem to let her mind wander. She found the information interesting; no matter the way it was given.
Today, Mr. Woodson was rasping about the ancient Egyptians and how they seemingly had technology advanced beyond their years. Samantha already knew quite a bit about ancient civilizations, historical research being one of her many hobbies. She raised her hand for every question and always had the correct answer ready when chosen to answer.
As class dragged on, Sam felt more and more irritated. Every time Mr. Woodson took his 2 minute long ragged breaths, Sam gritted her teeth with annoyance. Why couldn’t they hire a younger teacher who didn’t need a stinkin’ oxygen tank?
After what seemed like eons, the bell rang, marking the end of 4th period. Sam met her friends in the hallway, relieved to finally be out of the stuffy classroom. But as soon as she walked up to them, she could tell something was up.
“Ok, spill it. What’s up? Do I have boogers hanging out of my nose or something?”
Kyra raised her eyebrows, “No. Let’s just go to the bathroom… quickly.”
Samantha followed her friends to the bathroom, on the way, she noticed how they tried to shield her from passing students. Getting aggravated, Sam hoped they had good reason for behaving so strangely. They walk into an empty stall. Kyra and Maggie seemed to be having a conversation with their eyes.
Fed up with the funny business, Sam crossly said, “So what’s the problem? Have I contracted some kind of disease or something? Why are you guys acting so weird?”
Kyra, always the boldest of the group, sighed, “Sam, I don’t how to tell you this, but you’ve gotten your period. And I’m pretty sure a lot of people probably know.”
Shocked and stunned, Sam was speechless for a few seconds.
“Wait. What do you mean? How would you know and not me? And how the heck would other people know?”
“Sami, unless your white pants are supposed to have a bright red spot by the crotch, I’m pretty sure you started you period.”
Looking down, Sam did see a decent sized splotch of red, unmistakably blood. All of a sudden, everything started to spin and become fuzzy. Then, it was nothing but black.
An hour later, Sam woke up lying on a cot in the nurse’s office.
“How ya feelin’ honey?” Nurse Caldwell said in a warm, honeying voice.
“I’m ok, I guess. What happened?”
“Oh you just passed out a little bit. You’re just fine. I understand you’ve gotten your period for the first time. Congratulations sweetheart! Welcome to womanhood.”
Samantha walked out of the nurses office feeling completely bewildered. ‘I can’t believe it! It FINALLY happened! I can’t believe I really got my period!’ Maggie and Kyra met her 15 minutes later, after the final bell had rung. “So, how’s it feel to be a ‘Woman’?”, asked Maggie teasingly.
Sam laughed and said, “I’ll let you know when I figure it out. So far, I’m still sort of in shock.”
Kyra wrinkled her nose, “It doesn’t get much better, trust me. Besides the cramps, you have to wear pads that feel like diapers and hope that it doesn’t leak through to your pants. Plus you can’t swim when you’re on it, you get really bad cramps, headaches, and it’s gross.”
“Well at least it can get you out of Phys. Ed.”, said Maggie, whose hand eye coordination equaled that of a platypus. In other words, she had none.
“I don’t care about getting out of Phys. Ed. I actually enjoy the exercise. I can deal with the cramps and headaches too. As long as Brad Parson and I can start dating, I’d deal with just about anything!”
“Geez M’Nettly, Samantha. I think you are boy crazy!”
“No, Maggs. I’m Brad crazy!”
“Speaking of Brad crazy, here comes Brad; and his weird friend, Tony.” said Kyra with distaste.
“Tony’s not so bad Kyra,” said Maggie. “You shouldn’t judge someone when you don’t even know them.”
“Ya, ya, ya. I’ve heard enough about him that I don’t want to get to know him. Did you know he told Ms. Mauer that she was hideously ugly and needed a face transplant?!”
“Really? Did you hear him tell her that?” said Samantha, skeptically.
“Well, no. But Jessica told me that Emily told her that Brian heard and saw the whole thing.”
Brad walked up to the girls, with Tony following closely behind. Thank goodness the Lost and Found had had a decent pair of pants to replace her bloodstained ones.
“Hey Sam. How’s it goin’?” said Brad in a dreamy voice that always seemed to make Samantha’s knees go weak.
“Hey Brad. We’re cool. Just getting ready to head over to Maggie’s for a study group. What are you two up to?”
Tony said, “No good of course!” with a mischievous twinkle in his big brown eyes. At this, Kyra gave Maggie and Sam a knowing look.
“I hear that’s all you’re ever up to, Tony.” said Kyra, with distaste.
Tony just gave Kyra a smile and winked, which made Kyra blush and avert her eyes.
“We’re going over to the YMCA to do some laps. Coach said I need to work on my backstroke.”
“Coach is crazy. Your backstroke is perfect.” said Sam, immediately blushing a deep red.
“Thanks.” said Brad. “Hey do you wanna grab a soda or something after school tomorrow?”
“Um, sure!” said Samantha, maybe a little too enthusiastically. “I just have to ask my parents first.”
Brad nervously mumbled, “Ok, cool. Just, uh, let me know in English tomorrow or something then.”
“See ya tomorrow then.”
“Ya, see ya.”
As Brad and Tony walked away, all three girls started giggling and Kyra and Maggie teased Samantha about her “date” all the way to Maggie’s house. Upstairs in Maggie’s room, Sam let out a huge sigh and flopped down on Maggie’s bed. “What’s the matter Sam?” asked Maggie.
“I finally get my period, and get asked out by Brad, but I still have to ask my parents, and I highly doubt they’ll let me go tomorrow. Life sucks!”
“Geez M’Nettly, Samantha! Ten minutes ago, you were on cloud 9! You don’t know for sure that your parents will say no. Don’t borrow trouble.”
“Ugh, Maggs, now you sound like my parents!”
“Well, they do have more experience at life. They’re bound to give us good advice at one point or another. And you really shouldn’t let this bug you. Just ask your parents when you go home. They can only say ‘no‘, and then your life isn’t really any different than it is right now.”
“Ya, it will be Maggs! I have the chance to go out with Brad Parson!! If my parents say I can’t go, he’ll probably get tired of waiting for them to say yes and ask someone else out, and then my life will be over!”
“You know he won’t. Quit whining. Buck up and deal with it girl!” said Kyra, smiling.
“Hah! Thanks Ky. Let me know if you need help with the pre-algebra homework. I’m gonna head home and ask my parents. Keep your fingers crossed for me girls!”
That evening would replay over and over in Samantha’s head for the next few months to come. Sitting down to dinner, Sam felt as if you could cut the tension with a knife.
“How was school today, Sam?” asked her mother.
“School was fine.” Sam said, trying to find a way to bring up the subject of her date with Brad.
“Did your study group at Maggie’s go alright?”
“Yea, it was fine.”
Sam’s dad piped up, “Well, did anything interesting happen today? Usually you have all kinds of stories about who did, said, and wore what.”
“Dad, stop. You make me sound like a big fat gossip monger.”
“Well, if the shoe fits…” her dad said teasingly.
“Ya, if da too dits!” said Sam’s little brother, Kyler, who loves to repeat everything.
Sam rolled her eyes at her little brother, but couldn‘t hide her smile. “Whatever. School is just so boring that I have to focus on other things to keep it interesting.”
“Well, what did you focus on today? I know it couldn’t have been a completely uneventful day.” said Mom.
“Well… actually, something interesting did happen today.” said Sam, her heart pounding so hard in her chest, she was sure her parents could hear it from across the table.
“Well, spill it. It must have been really interesting if it’s got you tongue-tied!”
“I’m not tongue-tied. I’m telling you right now what happened aren’t I?”
“Not really. You’re procrastinating telling us what happened.” her dad chuckled.
“Yes, Sam. Don’t keep us in suspense. What happened?”
“Well… first I had to go to the nurse’s office.”
“Why?!” her mother interjected. “Are you ok? If you weren’t feeling well you should’ve said something this morning and I could’ve made you a doctor’s appointment.”
“Mom, chillax. I’m fine. I just, uh,” Sam cleared her throat, “…gotmyperiod.”
“I’m sorry, what happened?” said her mom.
With a resigned sigh, Sam covered her face with her hands and said, “I got my period.”
Sam’s mom seemed to turn a few shades lighter, and her dad started choking on his pork steak. Their eyes met, and they seemed to have a silent conversation.
“Well, that’s great honey!” said her mom, with a smiled that seemed a little forced. “We’ll have to make you an appointment first thing tomorrow with my gynecologist, Dr. Lansing.”
“I thought you went to Dr. Porter?” said Sam.
“Sometimes I go to Dr. Porter, but I want you to go to Dr. Lansing. She’s… better.”
“Then why don’t you go to her all the time?”
“Because, she’s more of a… specialist.”
“What does she specialize in?”
“Well, you know… this and that. She’s a woman of many talents. But I know she would be the perfect doctor for you.”
“Then it’s settled. Amy, call Dr. Lansing first thing tomorrow morning and get her in. Now, can I go back to my delicious pork steak? Or do we have more ‘woman’ things to discuss?”
“Very funny Dad.” Samantha said, a nervous tremor creeping into her voice. “Actually, something else happened today.”
“What? Something bigger than getting your period? What is it?” Mom was starting to sound concerned. She better hurry this up before their over-protectiveness kicks in.
“Well, I ran into Brad while we were leaving school. He was going to the Y to work on his backstroke.”
“Bachtoke!” Kyler exclaimed, mashed potatoes covering his chunky little face.
“Eat your green beans, too Kyky.” said Mom.
“Brad has a perfect backstroke!!” said Sam’s dad. “But I guess that’s how he got that way. Lots of practice.”
“Ya, he is perfect.” said Sam, in a dreamy sort of daze. Realizing what she’d said, Samantha blushed a deep rose red. “His backstroke is perfect.” she said with a nervous giggle.
“So, what did he say besides he was going to the YMCA?”
“Oh, Brad?” She started fidgeting with her fork.
“Ya, Brad.” said Mom, eyebrows raised.
“Oh, he just wanted to know if I could meet him for a soda after school tomorrow.” The words seemed to come out all at once, and from the looks on her parents faces, she knew she was about to be given ‘The Lecture’.
Her dad finally responded after what seemed like an eternity. “Sweetheart, you know how your mother and I feel about your dating. Not until you’re 16.”
“But, Dad.” Samantha interjected, “I have perfect grades, and I’m doing well with all my extracurricular activities. I help you and Mom out with Kyler, and I do my chores without you asking and without complaining. All I want is to be able to hang out with Brad without either Kyra and Maggie or you and Dad hanging around. You know you don’t have to worry about me doing anything wrong. We would just be hanging out for about an hour at Poppy’s, eating some pizza and being kids. Why can’t I go? It’s not fair!”
By the end of this little tirade, Samantha had risen from her seat and her adrenaline was rushing as she sat back down.
“Well, Sam I can tell this is a big deal to you. I’ll tell you what, Brad can come over here and you guys can order a pizza and watch a movie while you do your homework. Now how does that sound?” said her mother. She was obviously certain she had found the perfect solution.
But her mother just didn’t understand. Samantha wanted to go out. Where people might see her and Brad together, and all the other girls would know for sure that he’s off limits. Plus, she just felt like it was time for her to have a real date. She didn’t understand why her parents didn’t want her to go out. She felt like they were holding something back from her. She knew that if Brad came over, her parents would stay out of the way and give them their privacy. She couldn’t help but feel that maybe it wasn’t her they didn’t trust. She knew, also, that they trusted Brad, Kyra, and Maggs. It had to be someone else, or something else that was keeping them from letting her go out.
“I don’t care. I highly doubt Brad will want to stay cooped up here, when we could be at the pizzeria hanging out and goofing off in the arcade and stuff. But, I’ll just tell him my parents won’t let me go out with him. I’m sure he’ll understand.” Her depressed tone had a sarcastic ring to it, which didn’t sit well with her parents.
“Ok, young lady. I see this conversation needs a break. Why don’t you clear your space and go hang out upstairs for a bit?”
Samantha rose from the table and walked loudly into the kitchen with her plate. She scraped her plate and stomped up the stairs to her room where she gave her door a good hard shove and listened to the slam echo as she flopped on her bed with a deep sigh. Then the tears came. A heavy flow she couldn’t ebb for the next ten minutes. She felt heartbroken. And while she knew that this was something she would get over. She could not stop the sense of loss and despair from coming over her.
Rolling over, Samantha glanced at her old Hello Kitty alarm clock. 8:45! She must have fallen asleep! Knowing she still had half a page of algebra homework to do, Sam hurried downstairs for a quick glass of water. Figuring her parents were asleep, she tried to be as quiet as possible, so as not to wake them. She could just imagine the half awake mumbled consolations of her mother and father, trying to make amends. Talk about an awkward moment!
In the kitchen, Sam grabbed her favorite froggy mug and decided to make herself some hot chocolate instead of water. She needed some comfort, and chocolate would hit the spot perfectly! Plus, she could use the caffeine to finish her homework. Heading back upstairs with a steaming cup of delicious hot chocolate, Sam paused outside her parents bedroom. She could have sworn she’d just heard a woman’s voice. A woman who wasn’t Sam’s mother.
“Who in the world could that have been?” wondered Sam. She knew it was too late for either one of her parents’ friends to have stopped by. It could have been Sam’s aunt Donna. But if Aunt Donna had come over, they would be in the dining room or the family room. So Sam was left to wonder, “Whose voice was that??”
Instead of standing there wondering, Samantha decided to do a little sleuthing. She quietly tip toed to her room to set down her hot chocolate, taking a few hurried sips and burning her tongue along the way.
Silently slinking back to her parents bedroom door, Sam knelt down to peer through the keyhole. She felt so ashamed for spying and eavesdropping, but she just couldn’t help herself. She felt like she deserved to know what was going on. She was so tired of her parents still treating her like a kid. They didn’t seem to realize that she could handle responsibility and make good decisions.
As her right eye focused on the tiny portion of the room that was visible through the keyhole, Sam heard the voice again, “What did you expect, Andrew? Honestly, it’s like you two are still children yourselves!”
“Ok, Jen. We get it. We messed up. But that’s not Samantha’s fault. It’s not fair to keep her so sheltered. She is such a bright child! Please help us, so we can help her. You know we wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.” Sam heard pacing footsteps, sounding close to the door. She backed up as the voice spoke again.
“First, tell me this: how much does she know?” Another pause. “Andrew…? Amy, please tell me she knows.” Samantha heard her mother’s voice as she’d never heard it before. She sounded uncertain of herself and a little intimidated. But Amy Greene was NEVER intimidated. Sam’s curiosity was peaked once again as to whom this mystery woman could possibly be.
“She is a very smart girl. Once we break the news to her, I’m sure she’ll be able to figure out a way to cope with it. It’s not like we can really stop this… can we?”
“No. Unfortunately, there has never been a proven way to reverse the condition. She will likely go to the research academy in Henrietta to help future generations. It is the best way to keep them out of trouble.”
“She would never cause trouble!” said Sam’s dad, sounding affronted.
“Well, she might not now, but once she changes… We just have to be careful. You understand.”
Sam understood. She understood her parents had been lying to her; about something BIG. For how long, there was no telling. Probably her whole life. And now they were going to send her of to some ‘research academy’?
Sam walked dejectedly back to her room, and for once in her life, went to bed without finishing her homework. One thought was on her mind, “Who is Jen?”.
The next morning, Samantha awoke to the sound of rain pitter-pattering against her window. The perfect weather to match her mood. She was bitter, angry, and more than a little hurt. She wished last night had been a bad dream. She still didn’t understand what exactly was going on; only that she was being lied to and that something was ‘wrong’ with her. Without realizing it, Sam had started getting ready for school. As she packed up her book bag, she thought, “Why am I going to school? Does anything I’ve been doing even matter anymore?” Then, one terrifying thought came to mind; “What about Brad?”
Feeling a rush of overwhelming emotions, Samantha took a shaky breath to stop another bout of tears. “It’s not FAIR!” she thought. “I’ve done everything right! I have done everything anyone has ever asked of me. I’m a good person. Why is this happening? What is happening?” Sam tossed her book bag on her bed and went to her computer. Her parents would be wondering what was keeping her. Hopefully they would just chalk it up to their argument at dinner last night and leave her alone for a bit.
She logged on to the computer and went to her favorite search engine, knoweverything.com. She typed “research academy Henrietta” in the search box. It wasn’t much to go on, but it was all she had.
She clicked the ‘Search’ button and held her breath. As the results started popping up, Samantha’s eyes began scanning the page for information. There seemed to be a lot of random articles and pictures. One picture caught her eye. Samantha clicked to enlarge the photo and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It was a picture of her father! He looked at least 15 years younger and was smiling while shaking hands with a short, stout dark-haired woman. The short woman wasn’t smiling, and gave the impression that she didn’t even want her picture taken. They were standing in front of a black brick building with a sign out front, which read: Henrietta Academy for Exceptional Students.
Looking at her clock, Sam hit the print button and hurried to grab her book bag. As the picture came out of her printer, Sam wondered again what exactly was going on. She heard a soft knock at the door.
“Sam, honey? I know you’re probably still upset, but you do need to hurry if you want to catch your bus.”
“Ya, I’m coming!” Sam replied, hurriedly grabbing the picture from out of the printer and stuffing it into her book bag. She grabbed her rain jacket and boots from her closet. It seemed like the weather would dreary all day. Slinging her book bag over her shoulder, Samantha opened her door and headed downstairs.
“Well, good morning Sunshine!” said her father, glancing up from his coffee and the papers he was grading.
“’Morning.” she said. She felt like she was seeing him for the first time. She’d never noticed before how much his eyes crinkled at the corners and how his hair was beginning to be more gray than dark brown. He was still a handsome man, she supposed. He looked like the typical middle-aged professor, which he was.
“’Mornin’ hun. Do you want some French toast and scrambled eggs?” said her mother, wearing a “Bless This Home” apron. It suddenly struck her how normal her parents were. It was almost creepy. It felt like she was living in a ‘Leave It To Beaver’ episode. Her parents loved that show. The mother was always happy and baking, and the father was always happy and working. The kids were always happy too. Oh they had their little problems. But nothing that couldn’t be solved in the half hour episode. She almost wished her life was like that. Every problem would have a quick and easy solution. She sighed and took her seat at the table. “Just eggs, please.”
Her mother spooned out a large helping of delicious-looking fluffy yellow eggs. “Eat up!” her mom said, with a big smile. The eggs did look good, but for some reason Samantha just didn’t feel like eating.
“What’s wrong honey?” Her mother missed nothing.
“Nothing. I’m just not very hungry.”
“Well, you still need to eat something. Just try to take a few more bites, ok?”
“Geez, Mom! I’m not a 5 year old! I can eat all by myself now, ok?”
“Ok, ok! Calm down, Sam. I wasn’t trying to treat you like a 5 year old. I’m sorry. Now, why don’t you tell me what’s bugging you? If it’s about our discussion last night, I’m sorry, but the answer is still no.”
“Ya. I got it.” Sam said bitterly. “May I be excused now? I’m going to miss my bus.”
“Yes, but please remember that your father and I love you. We would never do anything to hurt you.”
Sam softened a little, recalling how uncertain her mother had sounded the night before when talking to ‘Jen’. “I know, Mom. I love you guys too.”
As Sam rose to leave, her mother’s words stopped her. “Oh, by the way, I made an appointment for you with Dr. Lansing for tomorrow morning. I’ll call your school and let them know you’ll be late.”
“Ok.” Before leaving, something in her made Sam turn around and ask, “Hey, Mom?”
“Just out of curiosity, what is Dr. Lansing’s first name? I think Maggie’s mom mentioned going to her before.”
“I doubt she’s gone to her. Dr. Lansing is a very selective doctor. She only takes a new patient every ten years or so. But her first name is Jensen.”
“Oh, ok. Thanks Mom. See you guys later.”
“Ok honey. Have a good day at school!”
“Bye bye!” said Kyler, with a face full of oatmeal.
Maggie and Kyra were already together, waiting for Sam by their lockers. From the looks on their faces, Sam guessed they could tell she was in a sour mood. She tried to relax her face into a smile, “Hey girls. What’s up?”
“We were waiting on you. So, how’d it go with the ‘rents last night?” said Kyra.
“Ugh,” Sam uttered, “don’t remind me. It was horrible! I can’t believe they’re doing this to me!”
“Geez M’Nettly, it couldn’t have been all that bad!” said Maggie. “It’s only one date, Sam. You and Brad still hang out with us and at your house all the time. Everyone knows you guys are practically an item already anyway.”
Brad. Sam hadn’t even been thinking about how her parents had cut her off from having a wonderful date with Brad. She had been consumed with thoughts of the conversation with they mysterious ‘Jen’, whom Sam now believed to be her new doctor. Dr. ‘Jen’sen Lansing. She wondered if this was possibly the woman in the photograph with her father.
“Right.” said Sam. “I’ll be ok. I know. I’m just tired and grumpy.”
“Yea, well you better snap out of it. It’s almost time for English. Come on, Miss Grumpy, I’ll escort you.” Kyra crooked her arm and Sam laughed easily as they walked to their English class together.
As the bell rang, signaling the start of 1st period, Samantha and Kyra said their goodbyes to Maggie, who had Social Sciences this period. Samantha took her seat in the 2nd row and Kyra sat down directly behind her. Sam watched as Brad rushed in and hurriedly took his own seat 3 desks to the left of her. She quickly pretended to study her homework, as she noticed him looking her way. Sam blushed just from knowing he was seeking her out. Kyra poked her in the back with the eraser part of her pencil. Sam kicked her silently under their desks, letting her know that she didn’t need her to point out the fact that Brad was looking at her. Ms. Mauer walked into the classroom. “Everyone, please pass up your homework from yesterday, and open your books page 338, Chapter 7, Review. Begin with the first 10 problems, and then skip to the vocabulary review.
There was a lot of noise and movement as everyone passed their papers up front and got their textbooks and notebooks out of their bags. As Sam reached for her English textbook, she happened to glace in Brad’s direction. He was looking right back at her with a shy smile. Samantha flashed a quick smile back at him, and turned back to her notebook. With her heart pounding, it took a few minutes for her to be able to concentrate on her work. It was identifying adjectives, pronouns, and prepositions. Usually, Sam excelled at these, but today, the words seemed to swim before her eyes. She just couldn’t concentrate. She knew the material. She also knew Ms. Mauer was only having them do the chapter review so she could grade their homework and wouldn‘t even check to see their work. Sam started doodling in the margins of her notebook. Before long she had sketched out a rough drawing of the building and sign in the photo she’d printed out. She longed to reach into her book bag and look at the photo again, but she didn’t want to call any attention to herself. Instead, she tried to get her mind off of it by writing a note to Brad. She began: ‘Dear Brad,’. She crossed out the ‘dear’ and wrote, ‘I asked my parents about meeting you for a soda and they said no. I’m sorry. I really would love to hang out with you.’ Sitting back, she reread what she’d written. Then she started again, ‘Brad, I’ll meet you at Poppy’s Pizzeria after school. Hope you’re ready to get your butt kicked in SpaceNinja!’ She smiled to herself. It felt like she had the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, each trying to convince her of which note to give to Brad. Finally, Sam thought, ‘Well, if I’m going to be sent away to some research academy, I might as well have a little fun before I go!’ It was settled. She folded up the proper note and passed it back to Kyra. She must have read it, because Sam heard her surprised gasp. Kyra handed the note to the person next to her and indicated towards Brad. The note was passed from hand to hand until it finally reached its destination. When Brad felt a tap on his shoulder, he looked up from his work and took the note from his neighbor. Sam’s heart was beating so loudly, she was sure the entire classroom, including Ms. Mauer, could hear it’s thump-thumping. She tried not to watch as Brad opened and read the note. She couldn’t help sneaking a peek to see his reaction. She saw his face turn red as a smile played across his lips, and she got goosebumps from head to toe. She felt as if every eye in the classroom was on her and Brad. Oh, yeah! This was definitely the right decision! Brad jotted something down on the note and sent it back towards Samantha, glancing in her direction. It was torture waiting for the note to get back to her. She hoped it would reach her before Ms. Mauer finished grading their homework. Finally, she felt Kyra tap her shoulder again. Eagerly, she reached her hand behind her, as if to scratch the back of her neck, and Kyra slipped the note into her hand. Opening it slowly, Samantha’s eyes drank in every word Brad had written. There weren’t that many. Just two: ‘Can’t wait!’, he’d written, with a little smiley face next to it. Sam smiled to herself and carefully re-folded her note, sticking it in her back pocket to keep it close. She got back to pretending to be busy. Just in time, too, as Ms. Mauer had just finished grading the last worksheet, and was stacking them to hand back to their owners.
“Good job, Class. You all did very well conjugating your verbs. I expect great results on your tests next week.” said Ms. Mauer, as she handed back their worksheets.
Samantha got hers and looked at her grade. She got another 100%, which was no surprise to anyone.
The rest of the morning went by uneventfully. At lunch, the girls sat at their usual outside table, underneath the big shady maple tree. As they inspected each other’s lunches and gossiped about the silly cheerleaders who were practicing on the lawn, Samantha decided to let her friends in on her situation. It was all she could think about and she needed to be able to talk about it. Maybe Maggie and Kyra would have some helpful suggestions. She just didn’t know how to start, or if her friends would even believe her. If she hadn’t been there, Samantha would have a hard time believing it herself. It sounded like some kind of Syfy movie. She figured though, that her friends knew her well enough to know that she wouldn’t make up a story like that.
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