Author Notes: I'm so sorry this took so long… over 2 months! But it isn't abandoned, like I promised. But the summary I gave you before is inaccurate… I didn't focus on Michael as much as I expected. There should be more on him next chapter.
You thought Zack's day was over, didn't you? Well, you were WRONG! Ha! Poor Zack…
Disclaimer: I own the DVDs… does that count?
It was over. It was finally over. Only a couple… hundred of these days left. Wonderful. Zack sighed as looked around the hallway, mapping out the direction from which he'd come in his head. If the rest of the year was this difficult, he just might ask to go back to elementary school…
No, he wouldn't do that. Social life had never been more important to him than education. He was being challenged at Kenwood Academy and in 4 years, he would go off to college… which would probably be even worse. Zack paused for a moment to compose himself and not allow the enormity of it all to swallow him whole. One day at a time, he thought, a mantra that his mother had taught him the previous year. It will all eventually end. He had added the second part himself.
As Zack started back to his locker, he heard the crackled sound of the PA system. "All Freshmen should now be reporting to their Health classes. All 10th through 12th graders should be gathering their things and leaving the building by 3:10." Freshmen? Zack was a freshman. Was he supposed to be going to another class? He looked at his schedule… it didn't mention Health class. It ended after 8th period gym. But the announcement had said all freshmen. Maybe he should go just in case? But where were the health classrooms anyway?
Zack examined the area he was in and spotted a group of students entering a classroom. The teacher was standing by the door. He paused for a moment before walking up to her, deciding that grades were more important than avoiding looking like an idiot. "Am I supposed to be in there?" he asked, before quickly adding, "I'm new."
"You in division 251?" asked the teacher.
"253." Responded Zack.
"Two doors down." The teacher pointed.
Zack walked to the classroom right before the door was closed. He opened it and the teacher gave him a look. "You're late." She said. "And are you even supposed to be in here?"
'I'm new here." Said Zack, "I didn't know I even had a health class because my schedule ended last period but I heard the announcement and I asked a teacher and he said that I was supposed to come to this room because—" he suddenly remembered what Scott had told him about talking too much. "…This is division 253 right?" he finished lamely. He didn't really need to ask, it was just something to say. He recognized all the kids from division earlier. Eleanor, Rowan, and Sarah were all laughing. He wondered if they'd said anything about him since lunch.
"Yes, this is 253 Health," said the teacher, looking slightly bewildered. She handed him a workbook. "We're going over the questions on page 17. You'll need to finish the first 2 chapters by tomorrow to catch up."
She didn't tell him where to sit… he took the first empty desk he could find, which was safely far away from the 3 girls he had met earlier. He did a visual sweep of the room to confirm that Michael was not there. No purple hair. Thank God. He hadn't seen Michael during division anyway, but he felt the need to be sure. His head still hurt.
Zack examined the workbook. It was titled "The Freshman's Abstinence program." So he would be finding out what it meant after all. He turned to page 17 and looked at the questions. They were clearly push polling. He wondered if pointing that out to the teacher would get him in trouble. Probably best not to risk it. Still, he couldn't help but notice. For instance, question number 11: "Why do married couples who chose abstinence have better sex?
A) They don't have to worry about STDs
B) They respect each other more
C) Waiting makes it meaningful
D) All of the above."
The answer was obviously D. The people who made the workbook weren't actually asking a question for the benefit of education, they were giving you a lit of reasons why something is good. Does that really work?
After what seemed like eons, class finally ended and Zack went to talk to the teacher. He found out that freshmen had Health after school for 45 minutes every day of the first semester. If they didn't pass, they had to take it 2nd semester.
When walking back to the main entrance, Zack listened very closely for announcements in case he was missing another class. Apparently, his day was finally over. He hadn't been given a locker yet, so he didn't need to make any detours. He would probably get one tomorrow.
Once outside, Zack wasted no time in beginning the walk to his house. All of his siblings had left already because they didn't have to stay for Health. That was fine with him… he preferred walking alone anyway. On the walk home, he paused as he passed the elementary school. He felt a strange sense of longing to be there again. Yes, his classmates had all hated/ignored him, but the atmosphere had been friendly… comforting. The teachers didn't expect you to figure out random details (like health class) on your own and the building wasn't big enough to swallow you whole. He looked at his watch. All of his old classmates and younger siblings had gotten out of school 30 minutes ago. He quickened his pace, realizing that he would be the last one home.
When Zack got home, Scott and Callie were sitting on the couch talking. They looked up when he walked in and Callie waved him over. "How was it?" she asked. "Meet any interesting people?"
"Sort of..." said Zack, remembering the girls in his division. "You were talking to one at lunch."
Callie laughed. "You mean Sarah, don't you?" she asked. "I don't normally hang out with her… She's Amy's little sister and she kinda follows me around. She's just a freshman and she probably thinks that attaching herself to me will make her cooler. Really, it's just annoying." It was a relief to hear that girls like Sarah weren't the only kind of people at Kenwood… maybe Zack could actually find someone nice to talk to. Still, he had learned by now not to expect anything.
Zack decided to change the subject. Remembering the unpleasant conversation outside the gym, Zack asked Scott, "Do you know a boy named Michael with purple hair?" Michael had mentioned Scott and Zack was hoping that he might be able to give him some advice.
"You mean Michael Harris?" asked Scott. Wouldn't I have said his last name if I'd known it? Zack shrugged. "That guy's a jerk and a total airhead." Said Scott. "You have classes with him?"
Zack nodded. "Gym," he said.
Scott nodded and laughed. "That moron actually failed gym last year. He never showed up on time to change. He's a sophomore now, but he's in as many freshman-level classes as are allowed."
So that's why Michael was so big and seemed to know everything. He was a year older. He had made comments about Scott and Zack wondered if he should mention them. Scott liked to be told when people were badmouthing him and he could potentially provide advice, but telling him would be admitting that someone had figured out that they were related. Zack stayed silent.
They talked about random things for a while… Callie gave advice on quiet places to sit in the lunchrooms and what to avoid doing in specific classrooms (some teachers became extremely angry when corrected, while others found it to be productive). Even Scott was willing to throw in a few helpful hints in the safety and privacy of their house. It wasn't until about 20 minutes later that the conversation drifted back to the events of Zack's first day. "That Sarah girl didn't bother you, did she?" asked Callie, "I know she and her clique-y friends can be kinda mean." Zack shook his head, not sure if he was lying or not. Callie laughed. "I know she called you freaky… but you're used to that by now."
Scott laughed, too, and hit Zack lightly (well, sorta lightly) on the arm. "Yeah," he said, "Freaky little Zack." They were still laughing when they went upstairs to their rooms. Zack didn't find it funny at all.
AN: There is… chapter 4. Gotta love those siblings, huh? At least they think they're helping now. Reviews should stop the next chapter from being delayed so long… Why don't you try it? C'mon, that button is calling to you… :)