Honeymaren came back to Washington in June after her sophomore year. She'd missed Ryder and the rest of her family and friends at the rez, but her time away with her parents had been just what she'd needed. She'd gotten to see new places, meet new people, learn more about the States and see the good work her parents were doing with the Peace Corps... At least until they decided to go overseas. As appealing as that sounded to Honeymaren, she knew that it was best she went home. She couldn't have her parents worrying about her while they were trying to do their work, and part of her really did miss home.
They said their goodbyes at the airport, then separated for their own terminals, her parents to Guatemala, and her to Washington. The plane was tiny, bumpy, but it eventually made it to its destination. She slung her rucksack over her shoulder and made her way past security to see Ryder and Yelana waiting for her with broad smiles, and Ryder with a big poster sign welcoming her back complete with hand-drawn emojis.
Ryder excitedly rushed forward and put her into a headlock, wrestling her a little in the tiny reception area “dang, you’ve gotten big cuz! Glad you finally came to your senses and came back!”
Honeymaren laughed and wrestled him right back, getting him into a headlock. "You actually come up past my sternum, hard to believe it!"
Yelana snorted, "Come on you two, plenty of time to beat each other up back home."
Ryder released his hold “sure thing, ma!”
Honeymaren chuckled and adjusted her rucksack. She'd learned to pack light over the years away. "This is all I've got, no need to go to baggage claim." The sack was mostly empty, just some clothes and her laptop, but the thing was easily big enough to fit Ryder into, which she started plotting for as they made their way out of the tiny airport and into Yelana's van.
Ryder talked nonstop for the hour ride back to Yelana’s house “and you’ll have your own room but we are sharing a bathroom so don’t leave your feminine hygiene stuff around because ewww...”
Yelana snorted “so, have you given any thought to what you’re going to do for the summer before school starts?”
"First of all, you're just gonna have to man up and deal if you see my box of tampons." She smirked at Ryder, "Fact of life, pal." Honeymaren turned to Yelana next, "I have a little project in mind... Can I use your garage as a workspace?"
"Sure, whatever you need, what's ours is yours." Yelana nodded as she turned down the dirt road leading to a small cabin-like structure. The yard had a variety of pieces of mid-size lawn equipment, some boating gear and fishing tackle strewn about it. "You'll have to work around Ryder's weights in the garage but I'm sure you two can manage. What project do you have in mind?"
"I..." Honeymaren hesitated, worried Yelana would think it was too reckless, "I want to refurbish a bike. Like, of the motor variety. That way I'll have a way to get to school. I want to try the public school here for my last few years. Meet some new people, you know?"
Yelana raised an eyebrow "A motorbike? So you can go to public high school in town?" She sighed "I guess that your parents were always the free spirits, I suppose it makes sense that you'd have that same adventurous streak. I'll help get you registered then. And as long as I don't find you smattered somewhere on the highway then I guess that's fine by me. But if I have to explain to my sister why I let her daughter become a meat marker, so help me..."
"I won't become a meat marker, I promise. And I took some auto mechanics classes at my last school, so I can handle it." Honeymaren assured her, "It'll be fine. And thanks!"
"Be sure you get your motorcycle license. The cops off the rez have nothing better to do, wouldn't want you getting slapped with a fine or anything." Yelana sighed and parked the van.
Ryder hopped out of the van when the vehicle came to a stop. "Come on, I'll show you around!"
"You got it, auntie." Honeymaren grabbed her bag and followed her cousin into the house.
Honeymaren found herself a cheap bike on its way to the dump and spent most of the summer fixing it up until she was satisfied with it. Before she knew it, fall had arrived and she loaded up her backpack with the essentials for school, then made her way into the city proper.
She parked her bike in front of the school and took off her helmet, her long braid falling down her back. People were already staring. Great... She sighed and stashed her helmet under the seat, then started into the fray that was a new high school.
"Hey, you must be new here! I'm Erica!" A bubbly girl approached, offering her hand. She had dark black hair and glasses and was several inches shorter than Honeymaren "I'm the class representative, and as such, it is my duty to show you around the school and make sure you have what you need!"
Honeymaren blinked, "Oh, um... Okay." She shoved her hands into her pockets, she'd gotten used to being the new kid at pretty much every school since living on the rez, but the first day never got any less awkward. She ignored the offered hand. "I'm Honeymaren. You can call me Maren though."
Erica shrugged and retracted her hand when she realized the gesture was not going to be reciprocated "So, what brings you to our humble little town?" she started jabbering and leading the way to the office for Honeymaren's locker assignment and class schedule.
"I live nearby, just moved back." She murmured, "I take it you're a local."
"Born and raised!" Erica nodded proudly "Most of us were having playdates together since we were in diapers. We don't usually get new students. Especially ones who ride motorcycles like you." She smiled bashfully.
Honeymaren smirked a little, "I guess that's not pretty common, is it? I fixed it up over the summer."
Erica's eyes widened, giving Maren an almost swooning look "Really? That's so cool! I wish I had a badass skill like that! Oh, here's the office. I'll be out here while you get your stuff."
Honeymaren smiled, "Thanks for your help." She got her schedule and locker assignment, then headed to Geometry. The class was mostly syllabus handouts and basic review, and after that, History, which was much of the same. English followed suit, and then PE came along. The coach settled on volleyball for day one, which couldn't have been more perfect. Erica picked her first for her team, and as soon as they started playing in earnest, everyone on her team learned one simple rule: stay out of her way and let her do her thing. She spiked and bumped with precision and power, dominating the game easily.
After showers, she headed to lunch. She stood there with her tray, unsure where to sit.
An earnest blonde girl came up to her "Hey, you're the new girl! Saw you in PE, you've got a killer spike! I'm Michaela. You should come sit with us!" she waved her hand to a table where Erica was sitting with a couple of other students.
Honeymaren smiled a bit. "Oh hi. Thanks. It feels like everyone already has their groups and all..."
Michaela smiled and led the way over "Hey guys, this is... uh... I didn't actually catch your name."
"Honeymaren! Good to see you again!" Erica raised an eyebrow at Michaela as if gauging the threat level.
“Just Maren is fine.” Honeymaren sat down between them, setting down her tray. "Thanks. So... Are you guys juniors too?"
A brown haired boy turned to her "Yeah and we’ve been in the same class together since preschool... lucky us. I'm Justin."
Erica piped in, trying to make it known she was there "So, Maren, what do you think of school so far? Oh, hey, and would you mind if I record this? We don't often get a new student and we're planning on running a little bio about you in the school paper!"
Honeymaren cringed, "Can we... Not do a bio?" She picked up her slice of pizza, toying with it, "I'd rather just... Get settled in."
"Whoa, whoa, chillax, no feature!" Erica held up her hands passively when she noticed how uncomfortable Honeymaren looked.
Honeymaren relaxed, "Thanks. I've just been the new girl so many times I'm just kind of tired of the attention, you know?"
"Totally get it, I mean... not really, I haven't ever had to be the new girl, but unwanted attention..." Michaela started to say before she was interrupted by Justin.
Justin suddenly perked up "Oh, there he is!" he said dreamily, gazing over Honeymaren's shoulder.
Honeymaren looked at Justin, then followed his gaze. "Who?"
Erica glanced over to her right near the cafeteria entrance "Oh, that's just the Arendelles and Coronas. Justin's totally got a hard on for the big blonde dude, Kristoff..."
"Yeah, but he's with the Anna, the little red head. We call her the Queen of Hearts, Junior Prom Queen last year, now Senior Class president... and sorry to burst your bubble Justin but he’s not gonna dump her for you, so stop getting your hopes up!" Michaela jumped into the conversation.
Honeymaren chuckled a little, but she found herself staring at them. They looked beautiful, all of them. Slender and lithe frames, impossibly flawless skin. It was as if they'd been made in some CGI engine specifically designed to make the most beautiful, graceful people to ever exist. And their eyes... They were all unnaturally blue, pale eyes. Contacts? She couldn't tell from this far away.
"And next up we have Rapunzel Corona and Eugene Arendelle."
"Yeah, like, Dr. and Mr. Arendelle are like a foster parents and match makers. It's weird though! I mean, they're not like, actually related but they live together and stuff! They moved here last year from like Alaska or something."
Honeymaren watched as they filed in, but it was the last in line that stole her breath away. She was stunning, platinum blonde hair pulled into a tight braided bun at the back of her head, clothes perfectly tailored to her body, a walk so calm and cool she was practically floating. "And who's she?"