Disclaimer My precioussss...
A/N And it's back! Woo-hoo:D I know, I know, it took forever, blah blah, 'YOU SUCK!', yatta, I know! There are many excuses I could make, some of them actually true, but the reason it took so long was, well, a matter of motivation. (Not just for me either, I think my beta gave birth to several cows before we got through the first chapter.) But here it is, the new and improved first chapter of 'Life Goes On'!
And by improved, I mean improved ! A once-over with Aithril, a revision/facelift from me, and a SECOND go over with my beta. Yup. And we combined the first two chapters, because they were horrendously short and without any canon characters. So now you only have to endure it once:P
Also to be noted is that I am tweaking Jess's character a bit. Okay, a lot. But it's not as noticeable now as it will be later. I'm afraid she was leaning more to the Mary Sue side than I, or anyone else, wanted. Over the course of the fic, I hope, you will see the difference's in her behavior/attitude/etc. I want her to seem like someone you can relate to, not some perfect little twit who saves the day. So no going off on me that she's 'Mary Sue-ish', because I know she kinda is. Blegh.
Oh, and one last thing, much love to everyone who's actually going to give this fic another chance and has stuck with me since it was my first go on ff net. ;) You guys are the BEST!
Life Goes On
Chapter 1: Same Old, Same Old
Hi, my name is Jessica Matthews, but mostly people call me Jess. I live in the most boring town on the face of the planet: Fern. No, I'm not kidding (unfortunately). The school I go to has a dull name as well - Fern High. Blows your mind, right? I'm fifteen, and I have two younger twin brothers named Jake and Jack. (My parents obviously have a thing for "J" names.)
My one true friend in this world, who has a very cool name, is Stella. She's an only child, which is obvious because she gets whatever she wants. She's rich, popular, and her parents work at a multi-million dollar company in a town thirty miles from here. Sometimes she buys really expensive clothes if she's bored. She gets me stuff on occasions, too. Stella does her best to stay down to Earth. Mostly, she succeeds. Mostly.
My family, however, is not nearly as rich as Stella's. We make an average income, live in a "cozy" one-story, and have one vacation a year. And it's usually to the nearest state with a beach. That would be Washington, since we live in Montana. No Florida summers for us.
But enough facts about me. My days are both pathetic and dull. Every morning, the same old, same old...
"Jess, wake up! You'll be late for school!"
Jessica moaned as she turned over and opened her eyes.
"Oh... oh crap!" she exclaimed, jumping out of bed and nearly falling over from the head rush. "I'm gonna be late!" She ran to her closet and stared blankly at the contents.
Green, green, green, black, green... she had to remember to go shopping.
Grabbing a green shirt that said "Do I look like I care?" and her favorite Levi's, she pulled them on and sped to the kitchen.
"Mom, where do babies come from?" Jake asked his mother as she sat down with him at the table. She stared at him for a second before calmly sipping her vanilla latte.
"Ask your father when he comes in."
Jessica rushed in. Her mother absently grabbed a Pop Tart and handed it to her as she ran past to the closet in the front hall. She took a bite as she grabbed her backpack. Holding her breakfast between her teeth, she opened the bag and dug around for her binder. She finally got it out and set down her backpack. Jessica pulled the Pop Tart out of her mouth, taking a bite while simultaneously unzipping her binder with her left hand. Getting the paper she needed and finishing her Pop Tart, she left everything on the floor and ran into the kitchen.
"Mom, sign this."
"Why?" She sat down her coffee to grab the paper.
"Because," Jessica rushed. "If you don't, I have to stay in a room writing down boring facts for hours when I could be doing exercise. And other equally stimulating things."
"So you have detention, right?" she asked, handing Jessica back the paper. "Well, it's your own fault, so I expect you to take full responsibility..."
"Augh!" Jess yelled as she ran back to the hallway. "I don't have time for this!" She put the paper back in her binder, and her binder back in her bag, all the while ignoring her mother's cool voice that said, "And whose fault is it that you don't have time?"
She ran back past the kitchen and nearly collided with her dad. "Good morning, Jess," he said cheerfully.
"Yeah, uh-huh, I'm in a rush, later." Jessica rushed by her father. With a sigh, he continued into the kitchen.
"Dad, where do babies come from?"
Jessica overheard her brother's question and, snickering, decided she had enough time for the essentials. She quickly brushed her short, red hair, and then her teeth. She looked at the clock.
'Pretty good time,' she thought. 'Too bad the bus is always here early...'
She walked into the kitchen, picked up her bag, and headed to the doorway.
"Um, well, you see. Babies come from, well, they come from, a um..." Jess's dad shot her mom a dead-pan look.
"Your father is trying to say that babies are a miracle from God. They are sent here to grow up and drive their parents insane. They turn into big people, and they do the best they can to do the right things, but sometimes they mess up."
"And then they go to detention like Sissy?" asked Jack.
"Well, that's one way to put it."
Jessica walked down the sidewalk and sat on the garden bench. Not two minutes later, the bus arrived - early as usual.
"Well, well, well," said the bus driver as she opened the doors for Jessica. "It's Miss Mathews. Are you sure you're coming to school today? I heard you got expelled for telling Mrs. Pluff to shove her homework up her--"
"No," Jessica snapped, getting on. "Just detention. Sorry to disappoint."
The bus driver glared at her before shutting the doors as she began to drive down the street again. The bus driver's name was Mrs. Keel, but everyone called her "Keeler". She'd had it in for Jessica since the first day of kindergarten when Jess had told her she looked like a prune.
Jessica made her way down the aisle till she saw Stella.
Stella's parents didn't approve of her riding the bus because she was supposedly "too good for it", but Stella insisted. Stella was a very persistent girl.
"Jess!" Stella exclaimed as she scooted over for Jessica. "Didn't you wear that last week?"
"Yeah," said Jessica, sitting down. "It's one of my favorite outfits. Your point is?"
"Well," Stella sighed. "I just thought maybe you'd care more about what people thought of you for once."
Jess laughed dryly. "Yeah, right."
The girls talked about how gross the color pink and its current usage with kelly green was on the rest of the way to school. It was about a ten minute drive from Jess's side of town to the side the school was on.
The school itself was a large, two story brick building due to lack of space for a bigger lower level. It housed about 500 students. It was decent, but still, it hadn't been renovated since the sixties. Everything was orange.
Jessica exited the bus with Stella and walked out onto the school's lawn. Shortly after, the bell rang, and all the students made an effort to go towards the doors. Today was starting out like every other day; but Jess couldn't shake the sudden feeling that something would happen.
Glancing up at the sky, she shook her head and decided to catch up with Stella, who was marching up the sidewalk with her 'determined' face on.
'Whatever it is... let it be soon.'
"Good morning, class," Mr. Madison said brightly.
"Good morning, Mr. Madison," the class responded dully.
Mr. Madison sighed as he looked at his class.
"Honestly," he said. "Haven't you people ever heard of Starbuck's?"
This earned him a laugh and a few eyerolls. It was almost impossible to hate Mr. Madison. He was young, good looking, incredibly outgoing, funny, and very intelligent. If he were only about five or six years younger...
"Let's get started, shall we?"
They studied acids and bases, and a little about ions. Mr. Madison said they would be the most fun subject yet. How her favorite teacher could consider extensive study of imperceptible matter fun was over Jessica's head, but hey - whatever floated his boat
The next few classes were severely boring, and were cause for symptoms of borderline homicidal outbursts from many students. It didn't help matters that the teachers were about as fascinating and lively as tree bark. It seemed like forever before the lunch bell rang.
At the ringing of the bell, the students rushed to the lunch hall, resembling a pride of starving lions trying to get to the antelope first. Pushing and shoving were common, as everyone had lunch together. Jess always hoped that, miraculously everyone would receive common sense and form a line, but it never happened. Order only came when the mass reached the cafeteria.
The large room had two walls made up entirely of glass. It gave the occupants a nice view of the gardens and let people driving down the road see how teenagers eat. Walking in was like a breath of fresh air after the mob of students in the hall.
Directly across from the only set of doors in the cafeteria was the lunch line. It took nearly thirty minutes to get through the line and get your food; longer if the cook and his wife were having a spat. That left only about twenty minutes to eat. Today was no exception.
After standing in line for twenty-three minutes, Stella and Jessica sat down at a table to eat their processed meat. Jessica had just taken a bite when Stella gasped. Jessica choked.
"What is it?" she asked after she regained herself.
"It's Chad Thomas," Stella said dreamily, eyeing the hunk in question.
Jessica let out a loud exasperated sigh. "You're telling me I almost choked to death because of Chad Thomas? Pfft!"
Stella was still looking into space and hadn't noticed her friend's disgusted expression. Jessica waved a hand in front of her face.
"Hello, Earth to Stella. Is there anybody in there?"
"Huh?" Stella asked, tearing her gaze away to look at Jess.
"Oh, never mind."
"It's Chad, Jess. Chad!" It was Stella's turn to be exasperated. "The guy who likes you. The guy every girl wants! For God's sakes, Jess, Chad Thomas!"
"You can have him," Jessica said dryly with a frown. "I don't want some James Dean wannabe who thinks people should do whatever he wants them to. He's ugly, rude, and his hair is not naturally blonde. It is so dyed."
"I don't care," said Stella. "And neither should... OH MY GOSH. He's coming over here! Oh my gosh! Oh my GOD!"
Jessica snorted as her friend scrambled for her lip gloss. Anyone who liked Chad had to be an airhead, and Stella definitely fit into that category.
Stella had just stashed away the tube when Chad reached them.
"Stella," he said, nodding at her.
"Hi, Chad," she replied, trying to act indifferent, but blushing madly.
"Jessi--," Chad began.
"Go away, Chad," Jessica cut him off smoothly, taking a bite of her hamburger. It tasted suspiciously like last week's meatloaf.
"Why, Jessica," Chad smirked, sitting by her. "I believe you owe me an apology."
Jessica swallowed her food and suppressed the urge to stick her tongue out.
"I owe you nothing, Chad. Now go."
"Jessica, Jessica, Jessica," he began, making himself comfortable. "When will you ever learn that you can't run forever? You know your heart longs for me! Give in. I'm everything you've ever dreamed of and more... your 'Prince Charming', if you will."
Jessica said nothing, but took another bite of her hamburger. Chad was so full of crap.
"I think," he said as he got closer to her, completely oblivious to Stella, who was currently doing her best fish impersonation. "I think that you are the most beautiful girl I have ever laid eyes on. And with you playing hard-to-get, I can't help but be attracted. Yet I'm tired of games, beautiful. Go out with me. Please?"
Jessica's restraint had reached its limit. This was the last straw. She swallowed the food in her mouth and turned to him. "Chad," she announced loudly. "I have something to tell you."
Chad smiled, flashing his pearly whites. Jessica smiled too - a smile her family, and Stella, knew meant trouble. Since she had just spoken loudly enough to gain most of the room's attention, the air had changed from noisy and carefree to quiet and curious. Not a soul in the room didn't want to know what 'that girl ' had to say to Chad Thomas.
"I know what you're going to say, Jess," Chad said.
"Oh, really now?" Jessica inquired. "You really think so."
"Yes," Chad said. "I do. And I just--"
"SHUTUP!" Jessica exploded, making him jump a few inches in the other direction. "I am so sick and tired of you, I think I might implode if I have to sit through any more of your pathetic attempts at asking me out. As a matter of fact..."
Jessica grabbed the nearest object to execute her wrath with: a bottle of ketchup. She pointed it at Chad.
"This is just a little taste of what will happen if you do this again."
She nonchalantly squirted a glob in his hair, and then attempted a zebra-like pattern on his shirt. He jumped up but slipped in the ketchup that was by now all over the floor. Jess took this opportunity to squirt more ketchup on him.
"I hope," she sneered, still squirting, "That you get it through your thick skull that I don't like you."
Chad looked up at her. "Why, you little--"
But then, before he could finish the sentence, Stella grabbed the mustard.
"This," Stella said, gesturing at the bottle in her hand, "is incredibly juvenile, but I won't allow you to insult my friend, no matter how cute you may be."
She then squirted mustard with fairly accurate aim, giving him a large mustache and only shooting mustard up his nose twice.
"You know what," Jess said to Stella after the lunchroom had erupted into a fit of laughter. "I think there's only one thing that would make this moment better."
Stella smirked, knowingly.
"You know how incredibly juvenile that was, girls?" asked Principal Trenton twenty minutes later as he looked at two very messy fifteen year olds. Jess was a sticky mess of orange soda and Worcestershire sauce. Stella was still half-heartedly attempting to soak up some mustard on her new American Eagle shirt.
"Yes, Principal Trenton." Stella and Jessica said in unison.
"We have no good excuse, Principal Trenton," they said together again.
The principal sighed.
"I'm sorry to do this, girls, but you have to go to detention. And Miss Mathews, that will be double detention for you. I believe you already had to go today for telling Mrs. Pluff where she could put her homework?"
"Yes, Principal Trenton," Jessica said in a rather strained voice.
"Well, off with you now. You're making puddles in my nice chairs."
The girls got up and quietly left the principal's office, looking very sorry for their actions. But as soon as they were out of hearing range, they started laughing.
"Did you see his face!" asked Stella, laughing.
"Yes," Jessica replied, laughing equally as hard. "I don't care about detention. That was more than worth it."
The two girls went laughing down the halls, leaving a trail of sauce as they went. But as soon as they got to the detention door, they stopped. It was time to face their punishment.
"Well," Stella sighed with a small smile still on her lips. "Here goes."
End A/N So! Like it? Love it? Hate it with a hate that transcends all hate? Tell me! I like reviews. ;)