West and East
(A modernized North and South)
A/N: I do not own "North and South." Anything else you might recognize belongs to their respective owners!
Finally, an update! Sorry for keeping you all without a chapter in months, but I don't plan on doing that again! For those of you who have been with me from the start, welcome back. For those of you who have just joined us, welcome!
Chapter 6: Are You a Stalker?
Just tell me how I got this far
Just tell me why you're here and who you are
'Cause every time I look
You're never there
And every time I sleep
You're always there
'Cause you're everywhere to me
And when I close my eyes it's you I see
You're everything I know
That makes me believe
I'm not alone
I'm not alone
Everywhere by Michelle Branch
"There are so many people!" Maggie stared around in amazement at the number of people crowding around the foyer.
"Yeah, but you better get out of the way unless you want to be—" Bea tried to warn her but suddenly Maggie felt someone bump into them. Maggie looked to see some tough Hispanic girl giving her a nasty look. Maggie hastily looked away.
"I won't even ask them to apologize," Maggie said, massaging her arm.
"Yup, now let's get out of here, the quad should be less crowded," Bea led the way, Maggie following close behind so that she didn't get lost. They walked through a second building where a couple of people were break-dancing in front of the trophy cases.
"Is that normal?" Maggie asked.
"Define normal," Bea smiled back at her, barely glancing at the break-dancers. "Expect a lot of randomness, especially from Music Academy peeps. If people randomly break out into song during class, just sit back and enjoy. If you're lucky, they'll have someone sing each part, it's amazing really." (1)
"Huh," Maggie raised her eyebrows as they made their way into the less crowded quad. "This is nice."
"It looks like that now, but just wait until after lunch, trash and seagulls everywhere," Bea said as she waved to someone.
"Who was that?" Maggie asked.
"Someone from orchestra," Bea made their way to a couple of benches where a group of people were already assembled. Many of them had instrument cases at their feet, backpacks piled around. Everyone seemed comfortable.
"Bea! Yo! How you been girl?" some guy brought Bea into a bear-hug. She high-fived a couple of the other people and hugged a few.
"How are you guys? Sorry we haven't been able to hang this past few days, but I was showing my friend Maggie here around," Bea said, nodding her head toward Maggie, who until now, had been standing nervously at the edge of the group.
The guy who had originally hugged Bea let out a low whistle, "Nice."
"Jackass, introduce yourself," Bea nudged him in the ribs.
"Sorry. Hey, I'm Ruben, and sorry, but you're really pretty. Like hot," he said, outstretching his hand for Maggie to shake.
"Maggie, and um, thanks," Maggie said coyly, as she proceeded to meet everyone else. There was Ruben, who was a senior, was the first chair trombone player in the highest jazz group and wind ensemble, and was liked all around. Then there were the Boucher twins, Kristen and Cassie, who played the viola and cello respectively in the orchestra, both juniors. And then there was their buddy, Joe Wesley, also a junior and a viola player. And then there was Melissa, Jackie, Aldo, Tanya, and some other people that Maggie couldn't quite remember.
After telling them all that she was from New York, and that she was a singer/dancer, (they were almost all instrument players, though a few sang on the side) the bell rang and Maggie headed off to her first class of the day with Bea.
"Dude, what's your first class?"
"Huh?" John was interrupted from his thoughts, which everyday seemed to increasingly go to Maggie. He hadn't seen her since he last helped her family move in. Yeah he had met Mr. Hale on other occasions, but he hadn't had the chance to see Maggie again.
"I said what's your first class?" Bill asked him again.
"Oh, um," John looked down at his class schedule. "AP Spanish."
"Sucks, I have AP Gov now, so I'll see you later," Bill walked off after giving John a pat on the back.
"First day and I'm already behind on the reading," Bea groaned as she looked at the book that they had been assigned for Spanish.
"Oh come on, it can't be that bad," Maggie said, carelessly flipping through their textbook filled with short stories.
They were both sitting near the back of the classroom, the teacher, Mrs. Leon having passed out syllabi and textbooks to everyone as they walked into class. A few stragglers were still arriving, so they had the first few minutes to themselves. Many were talking about their summers and catching up with old friends, but Bea was already counting the number of hours of sleep she would be getting.
Maggie was trying to cheer up Bea and didn't notice that a certain John Thornton had walked into the classroom. That is until he sat right behind her.
"Hi Maggie, fancy seeing you here," John said in his friendliest voice, and he flashed her his best smile. He couldn't believe his luck, she was actually in his class, for the whole year.
She turned to look at him, saying a mere, "Hi," before turning back to face the front of the class for the duration of the period. Bea, of course, talked to John a few minutes before looking suspiciously at her friend's inattentiveness to John and his attentiveness to Maggie. But she left it at that.
When Maggie heard John's greeting she had to control herself so that she wouldn't actually groan out loud. It was just her luck to get stuck with John Thornton in her class, she only hoped that it would be the only class they were sharing.
But it couldn't be that way. Nope, someone was punishing her for something she must have done, because when Maggie walked into her AP Government class, there sat John. She walked past his seat, pretending not to see him and sat as farthest away as she could.
Maggie did all she could to focus on what Ms. Goldman was saying during class, but she couldn't help but mentally curse the school system that had allowed her to take senior classes. But just because he was in her classes didn't mean that she had to talk to him, right?
Francesca Thornton had always been used to having her way. She also had the tendency of trying everything she possibly could; Her mother preferred to indulge her than listen to her beg, so she always had the equipment and lessons for whatever it was that she wanted to try out for that month. Francesca, or Cesca, also wanted to be the best at what she chose, and her current hobby, musical theater and dance.
But because she never stuck with anything for too long, it was usually difficult for her to be the best at anything. And when she noticed that there were other people who excelled at something she wanted, she did what the old saying says, 'If you can't beat them, join them.'
And that is how Maggie found herself being addressed by Cesca as they were changing out of their dance leotards and into their regular clothes.
"Hi, you're new here, right?"
Maggie looked up from tying her shoes and took in the make-upped face of Cesca, who was dressed in attire befitting someone going to a party than a teenager in high school. "Yes, I am."
Cesca smiled, revealing white teeth and extended a manicured hand for Maggie to shake, "I'm Francesca, but everyone calls me Cesca."
"Maggie," Maggie shook Cesca's hand, unsure of what to think.
"Sorry if this is weird, but I couldn't help but notice that you are a really good dancer. I mean, you could follow through Ms. Doug's routines without missing a step, that's pretty impressive."
"Um, thanks," Maggie said, glancing at her small watch on her hand, a gift from her Aunt the previous Christmas. She had little than ten minutes to get to her next class.
"Oh, sorry if I'm keeping you, but I hope that we can get to know each other much better. Bye!" and with that Cesca moved away. Maggie looked after her, not knowing what to make of the encounter and not the least bit aware that she had just met John's 'little' sister.
"So I'm sure most of you have already looked at limits in your previous class, so I just want you to take this quick quiz, just to asses where most of the class is and we can start from there. Now this won't be graded, so don't worry and just do your best," Mrs. O'Brien said as she went around the class handing everyone a quiz. "Ten minutes."
John looked at the paper in front of him, trying to remember something about limits, but the only thing that came to mind was 'The limit does not exist.' He inwardly cursed Cesca for obsessing with Mean Girls(2), because now all he could think about was Lindsay Lohan and the 'mathletes.' He scribbled whatever he could and then stared at the girl who was sitting near the front of the classroom.
Her long brown curly hair was like a curtain, obscuring her face, but he could see that she was scribbling rapidly over the paper, like she knew what she was doing. Of course, how could Maggie Hale not be good at Calculus when her father taught that damn subject? John smiled to himself, maybe one day she would offer to tutor him? Then he almost laughed at loud when he recalled the tutoring scene from Mean Girls. He really needed to stop thinking about that movie.
He was still watching her and didn't notice they had to turn in their papers because at that exact moment, she turned to the person next to her and smiled her dimpled-smile. He found himself smiling right with her, that is until Bill waved a hand in front of his face.
"Dude, pass up your quiz."
"Huh? Oh sorry," John scrambled to pass up his paper, hastily scribbling his name onto it.
"What's up with you? And what's up with that dumb look on your face?"
"Nothing, it was no one," John said absent-mindedly.
"What, some chick finally catch your attention?" Bill looked in the direction that John had been staring at, but John punched his shoulder and they left things at that.
By the time Maggie arrived to her last class of the day, she was exhausted. She had just finished up her back-to-back English classes, and though they promised a heavy workload, she could tell that they would also be very interesting. Especially with Mrs. Fletcher's unreservedness at using an occasional curse word here and there, and most people had already taken a class taught by her and were returning for an encore.
Maggie entered the spacious auditorium and found people seated in clusters in the chairs. The auditorium was dimly lit, and coming in from the abundance of sunshine outside, Maggie was a little uncoordinated and took a seat in the front row.
"Everyone, settle down!" Ms. Zuckerman's voice echoed as everyone finished up their conversations and paid attention. "Alright, so as you all know, due to some budget cuts and everything else the State is trying to take from us right now, there will only be enough funding for one musical this year." (3)
Maggie looked around as there was a general groan coming from her fellow thespians.
"That of course means that there will be more competition for the leading roles, and any role in general, than you are accustomed to. Auditions will be held in one month, and until we choose our cast, you will all be on stage duty."
"Zuckerman, what musical are we doing?" a voice asked.
"Guys and Dolls, I thought we had established that last year," Ms. Zuckerman said, exasperation in her voice.
"Okay, so there are audition pieces on the front desk here, as well as audition sign ups. Remember, just because you don't get the main role doesn't mean we don't need you, we can use as many dancers as we need."
Everyone scrambled to get a piece from the front desk, and Maggie slowly made her way to the front. She had seen the musical before, and she was really hoping that she could at least get a role where she had lines and not have to just dance.
"John, I really hope we can get to work together this year. I mean it's your last year here and I want to know that I got to work with one of the best," someone was saying as they clutched onto his arm.
"Uh, yeah, hopefully," John said, trying to politely release himself from her clutch, he felt bad for not remembering her name, Amy or some such name.
Seeing Maggie close to him, he took this opportunity to talk to her.
"So what role do you think you want to audition for?" he asked, standing close to her and looking at the roles she had in her hands.
"Oh, um, I'm not sure yet," she said, glancing up at him before returning her attention the pieces of music she held in her hands.
"Hmm, well you can always audition for multiple roles to see which one you can get. Of course, if you know you're that good then you can just try out for one," he said, smiling to himself. He knew what role he wanted, and he was determined to get it. Perhaps, if she was good enough, they would be able to work together. After all, she had managed to get into the most difficult performance group, most people had to work their way up into the class that was dedicated specifically to the musicals. And she had managed to get in, which was saying something.
"Yeah, maybe," Maggie grabbed her papers and returned to her seat. John watched her walk away, she was in a lot of his classes, and he was determined to get to know her better. She was unlike anyone he had met yet, and if this was just her exterior, he wondered what mysteries lay hidden beneath.
"So how was school?" her mother questioned her as soon as she dropped her bag next to the front door, her dad following close behind.
"Exhausting," Maggie plunked herself down on the nearest piece of furniture, closing her eyes and trying not to think of the fact that John was in almost half of her classes, almost like a stalker really. She would have pinned him as such if she hadn't known that they were assigned classes without prior knowledge of who would be in what was worse, he was determined to talk to her. Didn't he understand that she just wasn't interested? There were girls flocking around him, why didn't he just pick one of them? She knew that he was just trying to play the nice card, he was an actor after all, and it wouldn't work on her. She had known one too many rich snobs and she could do with fewer in her life.
"Come now Maggie, it wasn't all that bad. I know the schedule will get some taking used to, but I think all of my students were pretty well behaved for the first day," her father said as he patter her on the head.
"That doesn't take away from the fact that it was exhausting," Maggie opened her eyes, about ready to take a nap, but there were still many boxes that needed to be unpacked waiting for them in the small excuse for a garage.
"Well one thing is for certain, I can't stand the heat!" her mother was complaining from her spot on the couch, the fan turned on full blast in front of her face.
"Martha, it's getting dark out, maybe you can open a few windows and turn the fan off? We have to save energy."
"And let the bugs get in? I'm sure we can afford this, can't we?"
Maggie turned her head just in time to see her father faintly shake his head, the fan still on. She felt bad for her dad, her mom was just making the move a lot more difficult. Maybe she could have concealed the fact that school was a bore, if just for her mother's sake. She hoped that if she at least pretended to be happy, her mom would eventually warm up to the place, if only by a little.
A/N: Please review! Your support and constructive is greatly appreciated!
(1) I remember this happening in my Chemistry class. Sometimes it got annoying though.
(2) This movie is too funny. If you haven't seen it, watch it. A lot of times the limit doesn't exist because it goes to infinite, but sometimes it does!
(3) Our school, or should I say ex-school, usually does two musicals (one in the Fall, the other in Spring) and two dramas. I'm only doing this so it can fit with my story.