Song: I'm Just a Kid by Simple Plan


School sucks. It sucks lollipops. Gross, decade-old, dirty, sticky lollipops.

I hate school.

I suppose I was lucky to be able to move after I finished sixth grade. That way I would hopefully have an easier time fitting in and making friends when school started again in September.

Yeah, right.

I am now thirteen and in seventh grade. I have no friends. I am the loner who sits by her lonesome self at the only table with graffiti on it, exactly in the middle of the cafeteria. Around me are all the cliques of junior high: Wannabe Goths, Trying-Too-Hard Punks, Future Cheerleaders, Future Star Athletes, Free Spirits, The Gossips, and the assorted Fan Clubs; Tech Fan Club, Photography/Journalism Fan Club, Xbox Fan Club, Twilight Fan Club, Jonas Brothers Fan Club…I considered most of the Fan Clubs to consist of teeny bopper fan girls.

Where do I belong? Right here. At my very own special table. I suppose I have my own clique too: Loner. New Kid. The Ignored. The Miserable. The Miserable New Loner Kid Who's Ignored.

I like that one.

Jessica Stanley (The Gossips) walks over. I had first period—Language—with her. She sits down in front of me and twirls a perfect little ringlet of hair around her finger.

"Hi! You're Bella, right?" I nod.

"Where'd you move from?"

"Phoenix, Arizona." Got to give the Gossip something to gossip about later.

"Oh. It's supposed to be, like, really hot and sunny there, right?" She waits. I nod again. "Why are you so pale then?" I shrug.

"I don't know. I get it from both of my parents. They're just as pale as I am," I say with another shrug.

"Oh." Jessica glances around the room, unsure of what to ask me next. "Do you want to come and sit with me and my friends?" She cocks her head in the direction of the table where she had come from. Its occupants are mostly made up of a gaggle of girls. There are about three guys, but going off of their arms entangled with the girl's next to them, I'd guess that they were just boyfriends. I could already tell that these were not the type of people I hung out with back in Phoenix. In fact, they seemed more like the meaner part of Vicky's crowd.

But this might be the only chance I got.

"Sure. Thanks, Jessica." I pick up my tray and together we walk towards the round table of lively chatter with the occasional whisper point giggle giggle exchanged.

I no longer had my very own special table. Now I had my very own personal hell.

***

Never cross lines with Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory. Never.

When you anger them, they come back with a vengeance. I found that out the hard way.

It all started with a stupid misunderstanding. I apparently blew them off the night of Lauren's annual Christmas party. Lauren told Ashley to tell Elizabeth to tell Peter to tell Billy to tell Michael to tell Dakota to tell Graham to tell Anna to tell Cameron to finally tell Jessica to tell me that I was invited to her party.

As strange as it seems, I think something got mixed up or forgotten along the way.

Lauren's party was on the last day of school before Christmas break, at six o' clock in the evening. I was talking to Jessica, who was just so excited and happy to be going to a party. I was a little hurt on the inside, because even though I wasn't the greatest of friends with Lauren, she usually invited me to other 'social gatherings.' I don't think Jessica asked once whether or not I was going; for that reason, she would've had no idea that I was uninvited.

She called me the day after the party.

"Bella! Where were you last night? Lauren was so mad at you…I can't believe you blew her off!"

"What? I didn't blow her off!"

"Then why didn't you go? Everybody was there." I could hear the anger boiling under the surface.

"I wasn't invited."

"That's a lie. Lauren told me that she invited you."

"Well, she didn't! Okay?"

"But—"

"I wasn't invited. Apparently I didn't get the message."

"Whatever. Bye." And with a huff and puff, Jessica was on her way to blow down this little piggy's sail, which carried her frail boat through the dangerous waters of middle school.

***

After break was over and school started up again, I started to sink. Kids avoided throwing me life preservers. As I drifted by the S.S. Bitches at lunch, I caught Jessica and Lauren smirking with devilish satisfaction.

What a short lived 'friendship.' Back to square one. Where's my table?

I found my special graffiti table, but there was an unexpected guest already occupying it. The person had her back to me.

I could see that she was a very tiny person. The way that the girl was hunched in on herself made her look even tinier. She had short black hair that stuck out in a pixie haircut, and she was wearing a pair of faded flare jeans, a black t-shirt with the words 'Angola: A Gated Community' and a picture of a gate printed on it, and a pair of worn black Converse. I continued to walk over and set my tray down at the seat opposite of hers. Pixie Girl looked up and cracked a small, timid smile at me. I smiled back.

"Hi," I said.

"Hey," Pixie Girl answered back.

"I don't think I've seen you around before. Are you new here?"

"Yeah. My family moved here just after New Year's. My dad got a job offer here in Forks." She had really pretty silver colored eyes. "What's your name?"

"Bella Swan. Yours?"

"Mary Alice Brandon. You can call me Alice, though." Alice held out her hand in a mock handshake. I laughed and shook her hand.

"It's very nice to meet you, Alice."

"It's very nice to meet you, Bella. Are those your friends over there?" She nodded her head towards Hell. "Those kids, they keep looking at you…"

"No. They're not my friends." She nodded and we continued to eat our lunches.

Alice became my best friend that year. We were both outsiders, with no firm grip on the social ladder of our peers. We weren't invited to parties, First Beach, Port Angeles, La Push, or any other trips that we often heard kids talking about. Through the forever weaving web of rumors and info—we nicknamed this connection 'Useless 411'—Alice and I were forced to sit and listen as comments were thrown back and forth between girls and boys. 'So La Push Friday?' 'No, Saturday.' 'You up for the party at Crowley's next week?' 'Duh!' We were aware of what was going on in a separate world from ours as we sat in my room during sleepovers. Alice was my only friend at school, and I was hers.

And we were completely fine with that.


A/N: Sorry for the long wait. I've been busy, and then I had a massive case of writer's block, which didn't help anything at all. I know where I'm planning to go with this…it's just going to take a while to get there. Reviews make Jessica and Lauren grow to be old spinsters. :)