"You're wearing that to school?" Natalie cringed at the sound of her mother's tone. She turned away from the front door at studied herself from feet on up. Green and Orange Chucks on her feet, blue lace on the left orange shoe and yellow lace on the right green. Red socks on her left feet and purple on the right. Green shorts over orange tights and a tie dyed shirt with a smiley face. Oh, and a bright green tie that pictured Goofy and his signature smile.
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" she sighed, regretting the question. It was the same routine over the years.
"You're a senior now." Her mother said and Nat had to fight the urge to roll her eyes. Not this lecture again, thought Nat. "Dress up is for toddlers. You have a future to think about-"
"And nobody is going to take you seriously." Natalie finished. Her mother sighed and Natalie took the opportunity to analyze her mom. Her mom had been tired since Natalie fathers passed. It happened when Nat was sixteen but felt like yesterday. Her mom went through a heavy depression and had barely now, two years later, started to get out of bed at a good time in the morning. Her mother's therapist had told Natalie that it was a small step but Natalie had seen it as a big one. Her mother was thin, not natural but not sickly either, she had bags under her eyes that not even sleep will take away.
"I just want you to have a good senior year, to be happy," her mother said with a small smile.
"I am happy mom." Natalie said. You've just been too tired to see it. "Besides," Dad loved the way I dressed, "I got to run or I'm going to be late for school." Natalie waved goodbye to her mom and turned to leave. At the last minute she thought better, turned, and gave her mother a hug and a kiss, and danced out the door.
"Nice moves Tiny," said Jeffrey as he leaned out the passenger window or Rocio's car, allowing Nat to give his cheek a peck. Natalie had gotten used to the nickname that Jeff had given her the day they actually started kickin' it. Natalie stood at five feet tall, not an inch shorter, nor an inch taller, and
"Thank you." Natalie thanked him along with a curtsey.
"You should totally join the squad," said Rocio, as she pulled away from the curb. "You would totally rock it." Rocio made eye contact through the rear view mirror, in which she was using to apply her mascara, making her blue eyes stand out more. Natalie leaned over and gave her a kiss.
"Holly would love that." Nat said.
"Yeah, to death," said Jeff. "Literally, she'd die!" He laughed, which made Nat laugh.
"And she'd totally kill you," said Rocio, who was now applying her blush. "I mean, that would only get Nathans attention."
"And we all know how much she would love that," said Nat.
"She still hates that fact that you guys were friends," said Rose, fixing her long blond hair. The blond hair and blue eyes are the only proof that Holly and she are related. "She still talks about it at family functions that she drags Nate to. Poor Nate, he looks like a dog when he's with her."
"Yeah," Jeff agrees. "Always standing there and waiting for her next demand."
Natalie shrugs. "Holly's a bitch, what more can you expect?"
"A black heart is all she has and hatred is all she knows," said Jeff, making Natalie laugh.
"What's so funny?" Alex says, shoving his head through the window by Nat's seat, scaring her so bad that she falls onto the floor, which only makes everyone else laugh. Nat hadn't even noticed that they had arrived at Alex's house as she scoots over to make room for Alex and Lauren.
"Holly," Natalie says as she leans over to give both Alex and Lauren a kiss.
"Oh," Alex says.
"Of course that's who you were laughing at," says Lauren. "The question is, why?"
"Nat on the squad," explains Jeff. "And stealing Nates attention."
"Again," says Rose.
"Again?" Everyone asks in unison, their head snapping towards Rocio's seat.
"Yeah," Rose shrugs. "I mean, did anyone else see the way he was looking at Natalie yesterday at lunch. Like she was some of kind of…" she trails off.
"Freak?" Jeff asks.
"Like she had a zit the size of mars?" Alex asks, earning a pinch from Lauren.
"Like she was a wild flower in a garden full of roses?" Laurens asks.
"Yes!" Rose says, snapping her fingers. "That is exactly the way he was staring."
"Gee, thanks." Laughs Nat.
"Was that meant to be a compliment?" Jeff asks.
"No," Rose says, pulling into the school parking lot. "I mean, he looked like a boy who found…"
"His dog?" Jeff asks.
"His mind?" Alex asks.
"No!" Snaps Rose, obviously frustrated by the way the boys were behaving. "After years of knowing you guys, you'd think I'd be used to your behavior by now." She turns towards Nat. "He looked like he finally found a real friend."
"I am a real friend." Says Nat, watching as Jeff leans toward her and pinches her arm, laughing when she's yells.
"Yeah, she's real alright." Says Jeff, as he dodges the slap that Nat tried to place on his arm.
"Jerk! That hurt!" Nat says, but she's not mad. Nat is never mad. Some people mistook her kindness for weakness, not knowing that if they crossed her the wrong way they'd be in for a surprise.
"Speaking of the devil," says Lauren, nodding towards Hollys red convertible.
"No, were speaking about Nathan," says Alex, and Rocio punches Alex is the arm because she's at the end of her rope.
Natalie turns her head in time to catch Nathan staring at her. She lifts her hand and waves with a big smile on her face, being friendly. But she doesn't stick around long enough to see Nathan jump in surprise and before she gets a chance to see what happens, whether he waves back or not, the first bell rings and she's off to class with Alex and Jeff.