Monday, August 10, 2015
A week had passed since Olivia first set foot in her new home state. Although this this town was the place of her birth, every day that Olivia looked over the Eastern coast felt like a whole other planet compared to the Western coast that she was used to.
"Why are we registering in person? I thought that there was an online form to register…?" Olivia asked as she sat in the passenger seat next to her driving father.
"There is. But you're going to a brand-new school, well, at least for you it is. Regardless, I think it would be a clever idea for you to meet the faculty and get familiar with the school grounds."
"Are you sure that it's a good idea? I've never heard of a school giving guided tours."
"I'm sure that they would appreciate the initiative that you'd be putting forward. They would rather you know where everything is at instead of being repeatedly tardy because you're busy wandering the halls."
"Oh, come on. I'm sure that it's not that-"
Olivia could not as another word as they approached the school. This building was built during her time in Oregon and for some reason she imagined a much smaller building.
"You see? Aren't you glad that I'm doing this?" her father concluded with a smug look on his face.
Olivia couldn't say anything more as she got out of the car. The reality of the fact that she was leaving the small quiet school and going to the "big leagues" was starting to break through to her.
"I'll be back in an hour. Have fun, sweetie!"
Timidly, Olivia walked towards what she hoped was the main entrance to the high school. Once inside, she didn't notice the fact that her mouth was open in awe at the big windows overlooking the small courtyard.
After a couple seconds, she regained her bearings enough to realize that there was a printed sign pointing at a set of double doors with the word "Office" on it. Remembering her mission, she opened the door and walked through.
To her surprise, not only was there a secretary sitting behind the counter but there was a boy around her age sitting at the closest set of chairs eating a sandwich.
"Hello. How can I help you today?" the secretary asked with a polite smile.
"Yes, I'm here to drop off some paperwork for a registration."
"Okay, what is your name?"
After a few keystrokes into the computer, the secretary looked and nodded.
"Okay, I think I have you here. What is your date of birth?"
"September 10, 2000"
"Alright. And you're starting your freshman year?"
"Okay then… Have you met with a counselor yet?"
"Well, it doesn't really matter because there's not a lot of electives open. A lot of them were filled by last year's graduating middle schoolers."
"I understand. Well, I'm not looking to take part in any extracurricular activities this year. This is my first year back from Oregon and I'm just looking to 'find my footing'." Olivia replied with a bit of an awkward laugh.
"I have you in the system. It'll be a few minutes before I can get a schedule for you. You can have a seat if you want."
Olivia sat down in the chair next to the boy who was just finishing up his sandwich.
"Oh, I'm sorry." She said awkwardly as she got up and moved to the next open seat. The boy scratched his head at this.
"Sorry for what?"
"Sitting so close. I don’t know, I would just be weirded out if someone did that to me."
"Oh… well, I didn't mind."
Olivia couldn't see it, but the secretary was quietly snickering at the awkwardness of the situation.
"I've sent an email to the Freshman adviser with your schedule. It'll be a bit before he can look at it and sign off on it." She explained to the two teens that didn't notice that the other was blushing.
"Thanks… Mrs.… Uh… sorry… I shouldn't assume."
"It's okay. You were on the right track. Mrs. Frasier to be precise."
"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Frasier." Olivia replied with a polite nod.
"So, is this your first time in this school?"
Olivia nodded at the secretary's question.
"I can tell. You're scared to death."
"Y-You can tell?"
Mrs. Frasier couldn't help but laugh.
"It's okay. I would be nervous if I had to start over on the other side of the country. We won't bite here, I promise."
Olivia smiled at the joke. This warmth was something that she was looking for and glad that she could get.
"Orson, dear, can you show Ms. Gabriel around the premises while Mr. Delaware takes his dear sweet time looking at her schedule?"
"Yeah, mom. No problem."
The two kids stood up and walked into the lobby.
"I'm sorry if I was interrupting."
"It's fine. I was taking my mom… well, her, lunch and I just figured that I would stick around."
"So, your mom is the secretary?"
Orson nodded as he politely opened the door leading into a hallway.
"So, your name is Orson Frasier, I presume?"
The two kids stopped in front of another set of double doors.
"This is the library. I… guess that's self-explanatory from the sign." Orson said as he felt a little embarrassed at saying the obvious.
"It's so… wow…" Olivia said as she peeked through the window. A library of this caliber was something that existed in fairy tales to her.
"Yeah, it's pretty neat. It's scary the first time you walk through. Last year they had a bad light in the far end of the stacks, and it felt like a dungeon."
"So, this isn't your first year?"
"Nope. I'm a sophomore this year. Last year I was you."
Orson wanted to take his head and ram it into the wall for what he just said.
"You know what I mean." He embarrassingly said as he rubbed his temple. Olivia had to laugh a bit at that.
The two continued a little further on until they reached the auditorium.
"This… place…" Olivia exclaimed as she looked through an open door. It felt like a stage that was used for Broadway musicals or marvelous technical demos. All this for a high school.
"Yeah, sometimes I dream about playing the guitar over there." Orson replied.
"Oh, you're a guitar player?"
"Heh… I guess you can say that I dabble in it."
"Anyways, it's a bit of a walk to the next area."
The two turned a corner and continued to walk down another hallway.
"Olivia, is it? Can I ask you something?"
"Uh… sure?" Olivia replied, not sure at where this was going.
"Are you related to Toby Gabriel?"
"Yeah, that's my younger cousin. His family lives in my parent's old house that we're all living in now."
"I see. I'm Calvin's older brother."
Toby pretty much comes and goes out of the house. As close as she was to her younger cousin, she wasn't "in the know" about who he ran around town with.
"Ah… I don't think that Toby's told me about him."
"Really? The two of them seem inseparable at times."
"Wait, was he the one that had to wear the…"
"Panda suit? Yes, that would be him."
"Oh, poor thing."
"He didn't mind wearing it. Sometimes I think that he would go to hell and back for Toby."
"Aw, that's cute."
The two approached the north wing of the premises.
"This is the art area. You paint there and you play there." Orson said as he gestured to the art room and then to the music practice room.
The two continued down another hallway until they reached an elevator.
"Up there are the biology, science, and math classrooms. It's all English down here."
Before he could continue, a chime came across the intercom.
"Good afternoon, could Olivia Gabriel please come to the office?"
"Well, looks like our time is up. Think you got the hang of this place?" Orson asked, finally able to get past the weird awkwardness that he was feeling. Olivia politely smiled and nodded.
"Thank you so much, Orson. I'm not as afraid as I was before."
Orson smiled as he opened the door to the office for her. His politeness was familiar to her. She gave him a friendly wave as he took off for the school's front door. As she walked back into the office, Mrs. Frasier handed a bundle of paperwork to her.
"And you're all set to go. Did you see all the cool things that we have?"
"Yes! I think I'm starting to get excited! Thanks to both of you."
"You're quite welcome."
It didn't feel like it was that long, but it must've been an hour as Olivia's father was in the parking lot ready to pick her up.
"How'd it go?"
"Really well. The secretary is Toby's friend's mom and her son showed me around."
Olivia's father smirked.
"What was that about?" she asked as she noticed the gesture.
"Yeah, she's Calvin's mom. I had your aunt make a quick phone call this morning to set this up."
The whole thing was planned. That's why Orson was there. Olivia couldn't decide whether she was impressed or furious.
Olivia's father's phone beeped with a chime. Normally, he wouldn't have a problem glancing down at it at a stop light. Instead, he decided to be a positive role model and let Olivia read it to him.
"Can you pick up Toby from Calvin's house?" she read from the phone.
"Oh, my brother is such a little sh… yeah, I can do that." Mr. Gabriel said as he made a split-second decision to turn the car around in a driveway. Eventually, the car pulled up outside of a decently sized house about seven blocks away from her own.
"Can you go up and get him?"
"You've got to be kidding me." Olivia replied. Furious was starting to become the winning emotion and she didn't want to see the boy that helped to deceive her.
"Please. Pretty please with sugar on top?"
"Love you!" he said to his daughter as she closed the door.
She walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. She knew that she had angered some great deity when Orson answered the door.
"Uh… hello. I'm here to pick up Toby."
Orson kept his mouth shut out of fear of being awkward and turned around to the living room.
"Pup, tell Toby that his ride is here!"
After about thirty seconds of silence, Toby walked past the older boy and out the door after waving goodbye to his best friend. Without saying another word, Olivia started to turn around and leave.
"Hey… I'm sorry about earlier."
Olivia stopped and turned back to face the older boy in front of her.
"You knew that it was a set-up?"
"Yeah. That's why I was there. My mom asked me to bring her a sandwich and give a tour of the place. I knew that it had to be embarrassing and for that I apologize."
"It's okay. See you at school in a few weeks?" Olivia asked, relieved that he wasn't truly the deceptive man that she took him as at first.
"Uh… yeah!" Orson cheerfully replied.
By the time she had made it back to the car, Toby had decided to help himself to the passenger seat that Olivia previously occupied.
"Looks like you're sitting in the back seat." Toby playfully said.
"You snooze, you lose!" her father said before high fiving his nephew.
"Oh, fine." Olivia said as she faked disappointment.
"So, you met Orson today?" Toby asked as they found themselves stopped by a train.
"Yeah… he seems nice. Is he nice to you?"
"He seems decent. His parents work all the time so he's like Calvin's dad or something."
"Yeah, I know that I'm saying that wrong." Toby said as he was just too tired to find the right phrasing.
"You got that right, kiddo." Olivia's father said with a snicker. A quick kick to the back of his seat (courtesy of Olivia) reminded him to watch his language.
"It was funny. He was describing you to Calvin and he got red-faced. Calvin said that he jumped at the chance because there 'was a cute girl'. She must've been there before you."
"Zing!" Olivia's father added before giving Toby another high-five.
"Oh, you're so funny." Olivia replied as she crossed her arms into her traditional "pouty" pose.
"Just kidding. I think he likes you. That would be so cool if you two got married. Just sayin'."
"I have a boyfriend." Olivia fired back with a scowl.
The train passed and the three could complete their journey home. After a little more playful banter with her cousin over dinner, Olivia went up to her room to unwind for the evening.
As she watched television, she thought about everything that happened that day. She made a new friend, one that might just have a crush on her.
But what about Kenton? In the month leading up to her move, she never talked about what where they would stand after this. In this age of technology, it wasn't uncommon for people to have a relationship across an ocean or two.
And what about her friends. Regardless of what was going to happen, she told herself that she was going to keep her friends back west. She got out her phone, opened the Contacts app and scrolled down to "Kleve, Mia". She hesitated before deciding to put the phone to sleep back on the nightstand.
Maybe friendship doesn't last forever after all.