Michael Conor feels the bruise on his face throb every time he moves his mouth, so for the most part he sits in his seat quietly. His gaze is focused through the window, yet the surroundings are foreign to him. Living in Anderville his whole life, he's never actually been to the outskirts of a city before.
Mostly there's trees that reach high in the sky, colours of red, of yellow, and of orange capturing his attention. There's houses clumped close together, once going a certain distance down the long road, and everything looks nice, and tidy, and barren.
He's not used to being on a bus, either. Usually he will be cruising to places in his black Toyota; a vehicle that he likes despite his friends' teasing. It's not fancy, but very reliable. Devin Hayes, one of his close friends, owns a mustang—which is cool—but Devin is seriously obsessed with it. Both of them come from wealthy families. They're not like millionaires, but have enough money to get things they want and not do any work.
As much as Michael hates to admit it, especially since it makes him sound like an arrogant asshole, he enjoys being lazy. Getting away with stuff, the threat of contacting his parents—he feels powerful. The truth is, his parents can't really do anything.
His dad is a successful entrepreneur of a huge company, and his mom is a nurse. Basically, it means work is all they ever do, so any disruptions cause annoyance. Talking to their children's teachers are at the bottom of their list. The babysitter they hire is just someone who can handle their rowdy kids.
Michael knows that he's supposed to take over the company when older—but he wants to do something else. Sitting in an office all day and talking to people about finance or business issues sounds boring. His dad probably thinks highly of him, but doesn't know how Michael is failing History class, or struggling with English.
However, the exact words, "Conor Michael Smith is suitable to take over my company. I taught him everything he knows" comes from his dad's mouth, to the people who work at the company.
Smith. The surname is so ordinary. That's another thing that bothers Michael. He's not an average person, yet given such a simple name: Conor Michael Smith. Michael Conor is what he prefers, so everyone calls him that at school.
The bus suddenly takes a sharp left turn, making Michael pull away from his thoughts. He's the only one on it, so it feels rather lonely. There's emptiness suffocating him; even noise is better than silence. He's eaten half of his granola bar (substitute for breakfast), but the nerves in his stomach mess up his appetite.
"We're here," the driver reports, the bus coming to a full stop in its lane. The bill of his ball-cap almost covers his eyes, so Michael isn't really sure how he can drive like that.
Michael grabs his Jansport backpack—the only thing that reminds him of his former school—and steps off the bus. There's a huge sign out at the front that states the school's name, and kids walking across the campus, chattering happily.
Eastwood High, here I go.
The feeling of apprehension is battling inside of him, but Michael can't do much about that. Maybe it won't be so bad. It's only for nine months, anyway.
. . .
It takes a while for Michael to get his schedule. The lady in the office is disorganized, her desk strewn with papers and empty coffee cups. Her appearance looks messy, too—blonde hair in a sloppy ponytail and outfit a cardigan and sweat pants. She has a large cabinet with files, presumably every student in it.
Again, another reason why Michael's last name is a drag. 'Smith' must be a very common name in the school's system.
"There you go!" The lady beams, at last handing an envelope over. "It's great that you arrived at this time. Picture Day is tomorrow."
Michael manages a small smile back, and then leaves.
Ugh, they have Picture Day? I bet it'll be some old person who doesn't even know how to use a camera.
The school is pretty huge, so Michael hopes he can easily find his classes. He opens the envelope, reading his locker information. 441A. What the—?
Going near a locker, he reads 1D. Great. So he's not even close.
He only has a backpack anyway, but once getting his books it'll be heavy to carry. Taking his schedule out, he inwardly groans. There's gym in the morning. What kind of torture is that? He's not even fully awake.
There's Phys. Ed, Calculus, Language Arts, and History. That's only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Wednesdays are Music (Elective), Drama, Spanish, and Health.
He can probably ace some classes, like Health. Drama sounds weird, but hopefully the teacher isn't wacky or anything.
"Hey, are you new here?" A girl taps on Michael's shoulder, making the boy frown, looking up from the papers.
"Yeah. Do you know where my locker is? 441A."
"You're a senior!" The girl looks even more interested by the passing second. "Right, so the freshman and sophomores have lockers downstairs. Yours will be upstairs, along with the juniors."
"And what about textbooks?"
"I'll help sign them out for you. Just give me your schedule."
Michael is surprised by the eagerness to help, but quietly accepts it by handing his timetable over. He finally studies the girl, noting the long auburn hair and green eyes. "I'm Michael."
"Viola. So, where are you from?"
"Uh, Anderville. It's near Toronto." Michael tilts his head, vaguely interested. "Why did your parents name you after an instrument?"
"Actually, it's after the flower. You see them a lot around here; the small purple ones? No?"
"No." There's an awkward pause. "I'll go to my locker. We can meet up there."
"Sure." As Viola walks away to retrieve Michael's textbooks, Michael rolls his eyes.
Honestly, that girl is really weird.