~Parts 1 and 2~
“Big day today, huh?”

img_0121I looked up from my mirror. First day of middle school? Big day. First day of middle school with my worst enemy determined to make my life miserable? I’d call that a huge day.

img_0120“Yeah,” I responded to Amy, glancing back down at my mirror, still unsatisfied with my hair.

“I’m super excited!” Lexi squealed, breezing through her morning routine as she slipped on her flats. “I hope we’ll be in all the same classes. I don’t know how it works. I’m just so excited! Middle school is going to be so cool. I can’t wait!”

“Be sure to tell us it went,” Amy reminded. “I can wait to hear all about your first day of school.”

How could Lexi be so optimistic? Her positiveness was so very cheery I was starting to get annoyed. Fighting the urge to roll my eyes, I cocked my head from side to side and decided my hair looked fine. It would just have to do.

“Breakfast will be ready in less than five minutes,” Amy noted before she left. “I have eggs fit for champions this morning!”

“Thanks, Mom!” Lexi called as Amy turned to go check on Connor.

Then Lexi turned to me. “Issa, why are you so nervous?”

I gave her an irritated look. “Is it that obvious?”

“You just gotta trust that nothing bad will happen today,” Lexi spoke.

img_0139I sighed. “I’m not worried so much about school. It’s the fact that Connor will be there.”

“I doubt Connor would play any pranks on the first day of school, Issa,” Lexi began.

“Ha!” I sputtered. “You don’t even know him, Lexi. Connor and I have been in this war for two years! And I haven’t seen the worse. I can tell when Connor is planning something. It comes unexpected to everyone else, but I know-“

“Lexi, Issa, Connor!” We heard Amy’s voice call. “Breakfast!”

I turned back to Lexi before we both stood up. “Be aware, Lexi. Because you’re my friend – my closest friend on earth – he might come after you, too.” I swallowed hard as Lexi studied my eyes. “Hurting you will hurt me. That’s the goal.”

Lexi rolled her eyes as she walked past me. “Gosh, Issa. You’re so dramatic. I’m not going to let some rude guy make me upset by silly pranks. I’ll show you how to deal with annoying people like Connor.”

img_0144I didn’t respond to her, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. If only she knew.

Breakfast went just as well and fake as dinner, what with Connor and I pretending to be friendly and all. Lexi was really nice to Connor, not just because Amy was watching, but because she didn’t detest him like I did. In her opinion, she thought Connor was nice and wanted him to feel as part of the family as possible.

After breakfast, I dreaded the walk to school. Jackson and Amy weren’t around, and knowing Connor he would probably make the first move to continue the war away from the eyes of any adults.

But the walk to school was alright. The real horror happened at school.

“I think we’ll be in some of the same classes,” Lexi told me as we walked down the street together. Connor trailed behind, friendless, as we led the way to Crestwood Middle School. “I wish the middle school was closer to us so that we didn’t have to walk so far. But it’s fortunate that it’s right next to the elementary school so we know where it is, right?”

“Right,” I agreed quietly, not much for conversation that morning. The eggs hadn’t settled so well with my tight stomach. What if I was stuck in the same class with Connor and Lexi was in a different one?

Unfortunately, what I feared most came upon me. After getting our schedules and books in the big gymnasium meeting, I studied the list near our lockers with Lexi. Connor just sort of hung around. In alarm I read that Connor and I both had math class first, while Lexi didn’t have it until third period. We wouldn’t even be together at all until fourth period!

“This should be interesting,” I muttered to Lexi, trying to act as calm, cool, collected and composed as possible. I would never let Connor know that I was nervous.

“See you in fourth period,” Lexi grinned. She then glanced at Connor. “Good luck, you two.”

Really? I sighed in my mind.

I watched her, screaming in my mind for her to come back, but only gave her a casual smile as she left.

Without another glance at Connor I spun around and made a beeline for room 14. If I hurried, maybe I could get a seat next to a nice-looking kid.

And would you believe at that school they happened to have assigned seats?

And why don’t you take a guess as to who just happened to be assigned right behind me?

If you guessed Connor, you were wrong, thank God. It was Emmalina, whom we just call Emma, from Bible Club – I couldn’t believe my luck. Lexi and I attended Bible Club over the summer, and it had been disbanded now that school started. I was really sad, and I didn’t think it should have been cancelled, but there was nothing we could do about it.

“Issa!” Emma waved to me. “Your seat is assigned here!”

“Oh, Emma, it’s such a relief to see somebody familiar!” I exclaimed, siding the bag off my shoulder and plunking it next to my seat I proceeded to sit down in. Pivoting around to face my friend, I continued, “How’s life?”

“I can’t complain,” Emma sighed. “Others have it worse.”

I opened my mouth to ask, “Is anything wrong?” but take a guess on who was assigned to sit not behind, but right next to me.

If you guessed Connor, you were wrong again. I had no idea where he was at this point.

“Sarah!” I smiled when I heard her plop her stuff onto the desk beside mine.

img_0175“Hey, Issa!” Sarah grinned. Wow, had her personality changed; she usually always wore dresses and skirts. Now she looked more… not so much as nerdy, but just different. In a good way. And she had just gotten glasses, I observed. “It’s so good to see someone familiar,” Sarah finished.

“Definitely,” I smiled. I would’ve dove right into a conversation with my friends, but we all turned our heads at the sound of a voice.

“Good morning, class!”

I looked at who must be our teacher as she continued, “I am Mrs. Hempton. Go ahead and take your assigned seats now, as class is going to start in just a couple of minutes.

Just then I heard someone slide into the seat next to mine with a satisfied snicker.

“This is convenient,” Connor chuckled, “for what I have in mind today.”

MWA- *claps hand over mouth* I really need to stop delighting in my evil laughs, huh? I wonder what happens now that the horrid Connor is sitting right next to Issa. With something (devious?) in mind. What could that thing be? I wonder what it is and what happens next… :o Oh, wait, no I don’t. I know exactly what happens next. ? *swallows evil laughter*

Okay, well, anyway. I have another question for y’all. Do you like longer parts or shorter parts, pertaining to HOTH? To fit everything in I’d have to do longer parts, but if y’all don’t enjoy longer parts as much, well… :P

So let me know in the comments below which parts you like better: Longer or shorter?