So, I got this idea and just had to write it down. Honestly, it was like this whole Chapter had a life on its own and was writing itself; once I started, there was no stopping. Anyways, I hope that you all enjoy it, and hopefully I will be able to continue soon. Of course, I just wanted to get the first Chapter up to see your reactions...I probably will not be updating this story until Come Down With Love has been completed.
Nevertheless, I still hope that you all like it!
By the way, this story is all human :)
Disclaimer - I do not own the Night World series; L. J. Smith does
Poppy North tapped her foot impatiently, narrowing her gem bright eyes as she scoured the line. She had been waiting for half an hour, and she didn't feel any closer to the table up front than she had in the beginning. It had been a solid ten minutes since the line had budged an inch and Poppy was fed up. Classes were going to start in another half hour, and she hadn't even compared her schedule with her friends yet.
"Poppy, calm down," Hannah said, laughing lightly at her friend's anxious expression. She brushed a stray lock of blonde hair away from her face, tucking it securely behind her ear. "We'll have enough time to get our schedules and check in with the others, don't worry."
The line suddenly gave a giant lurch forward as twenty people hurried away from the table, sheets of white paper clutched in their fists. Poppy and Hannah were now next in the line, behind a couple who couldn't seem to keep their hands off of each other. They broke apart long enough for the student council to ask their names, and then reattached themselves at the lips, holding each other tightly.
"That's gross," a person commented to their left, and the two turned towards the voice. Jezebel Redfern stood with one hand on her hip, with other waving around her class schedule. "Why don't you two get a room?" She spoke loud enough for the couple to hear, but they paid no attention to the redhead. Without even looking, they grabbed their schedules and left, hands tucked into their back pockets.
As much as she hated to admit it, Hannah was impressed. "That takes skill," she said, her gray eyes wide. Poppy laughed and stepped forward, linking arms with her best friend. Hannah always knew how to make her laugh. They had been best friends ever since the second grade, when Hannah moved to Las Vegas from Montana. Poppy and her other best friend (now boyfriend) James had instantly befriended her, admiring how she had stood up for herself against the class bully.
"How come you guys are so far behind?" Jez asked the pair, raising her eyebrows. She hooked one thumb over her shoulder in the direction of a packed lunch table. "The rest of us all got out schedules half an hour ago and were waiting for you. What happened?"
Hannah rolled her eyes. "Poppy changed her outfit like, three times before she settled on that dress," she said, shaking her head slightly. For her friend's self-preservation, the blonde decided against telling Jez that the mint green baby-doll dress was the very first ensemble that Poppy had thrown on. Nobody else needed to know that.
"Hey! I need to look extra cute for James! He hasn't seen me since the weekend!" Poppy protested. She sighed in relief when the student council representative handed her class schedule to her and moved away from the table. She quickly scanned the sheet of paper and made a beeline for the table occupied by her other friends, eager to compare classes. This would be their last year in high school and it was important to Poppy that they all had classes together. "Hey guys!"
Hannah followed behind Poppy and slid onto the bench next to her. "So…who has Math first period?"
Poppy frowned and shook her head. "Nope, I have English. Does anyone else have English?"
Jez flattened her schedule on the tabletop and checked the coloured box. "I have Math with Mr. Moriarty first period. Is that who you have, Hannah?"
She nodded. "Yup! Anyone else?"
Rashel Jordan grinned and gestured towards her twin sister, Keller. "We both have Math with Moriarty too. And I think that Maggie is also in our class, but we'll have to ask her when she gets back from the bathroom."
"I have English," Gillian Lennox offered, pushing her light hair away from her shocking violet eyes. "So does Thea and Mary-Lynnette, with a… Mrs. Pillington."
"Same!" Poppy squealed, banging her hand against the table in excitement. "At least we have each other in our homeroom classes, kind of. Hey, does anyone know where the guys are? James said that he would meet me once he got his schedule, but I haven't seen him since our date on Sunday."
"Oh, you mean last night?" Maggie commented dryly, returning from her trip to the washroom. She flashed a smile at Poppy and tied her auburn hair up into a ponytail. "Anyways Pop, on my way back from the bathroom, I ran into James. He told me that he was looking for you all over the place and asked where we were going to be – I can't believe that you didn't tell him where to meet you! Anyways, I told him that we staying at this table, and so he said that he and the others would be joining us in a little while."
Rashel raised her eyebrows. "Oh, I get it. Maggie just wants to see Delos, huh?"
"As if you don't want to see Quinn," Maggie retorted, trying to cover her scarlet cheeks with her hands. "We shouldn't be talking about this here anyway, or else they would be able to hear us."
Poppy raked her hands through her copper coloured curls. "Guys, I've told you a thousand times! Why don't you let me tell James that you like his friends! I'm sure that he could put a good word in for you guys. Besides, I think that they already do like you. James was telling me last night that Thierry never shuts up about you, Hannah."
Her best friend blushed so darkly that the pale pink birthmark slanted across her cheekbone disappeared. "Why are you talking about that, Poppy? And didn't I tell you that I'm not exactly looking to be in a relationship right now? I don't even like Thierry in that way!"
Jez laughed. "That's what you say now, but your voice gets all high and squeaky whenever he's around. And you can never concentrate on anything if he's even within five feet of you, and your cheeks are always stained pink whenever you so much as hear his name. But yes, Hannah, I'm sure that you're not interested in him at all."
"She has a point," Keller pointed out, trying to disguise her chuckles as coughing. "And we have a chance to test it out again; the guys are coming."
She couldn't have spoken any sooner. As soon as the statement left her mouth, James slipped his hands over Poppy's eyes and kissed her cheek. "Hey, Pop."
She pulled his hands away and smiled happily. "Jamie!"
Poppy and James had been best friends ever since they were five years old, when they had met in kindergarten. Some of the older kids had been picking on James on the playground, but she had pushed them away, ready and willing to stick up for the smaller boy. From that moment on, the two were inseparable. Things had changed slightly when they confessed their mutual feelings for each other in the eleventh grade, but that was only in the sense that they were so sickly sweet together that anyone spending extended periods of time with them felt as if they had downed three whole bars of chocolate. There was no doubt that what Poppy and James shared was true love.
Ever since Poppy and James had gotten together, the rest of the girls found themselves thrust into his presence more often. Before that fateful day in their junior year, they hung out with Poppy most of the time, and only ran into James a couple of times a day, making sure to steer clear whenever he was with Poppy. However, once the two lovebirds became a couple, the boy became a permanent fixture in their little group. And with James came his other friends – Eric Ross, David Blackburn, (John) Quinn, Thierry Descouedres, Morgead Blackthorn, Galen Drache – and his two cousins, Ash and Delos Redfern.
Their little group was now eighteen people full and it didn't feel so little anymore.
Not that any of them minded. The guys were all great fun and sweet, although they could be a little dense at times. Like now, Poppy thought, rolling her eyes. When is Ash going to figure out that Mary-Lynnette isn't into him like that? He has the reputation for being the biggest player in the school, and Mare is the type of girl who likes to read books on astronomy and look at the stars. But then again…he wouldn't be the Ash that we knew and loved if he didn't at least try.
"So, Jamie, what classes do you have?" Poppy asked, breaking out of her reverie. Her boyfriend slid his timetable so that it was next to hers and she greedily eyed the schedule, her gaze flicking back and forth between the two sheets of paper. "Yes! We have all of our classes together!" She celebrated by throwing her arms around his neck and giving him a quick kiss, pulling away before any of her friends could begin to tease her. "This year is going to be so fun!"
Thea spoke up for the first time. "Actually, Poppy, I was meaning to ask you something. Can you please remind me again why you roped us all into taking that Parenting class? It wasn't exactly how I planned on spending my senior year."
"She has a point," Keller said again. She tapped her schedule with her pointer finger. "Personally, I can think of a million other things that I would rather do. Learning about birth and having babies isn't really on the top of my list."
Quinn nodded in agreement. "Because Poppy is taking Parenting, James is taking the class. And of course he talked all of us into taking it with him, saying that it….well, he just talked us into it." He paused here and looked at Rashel for a second, moving his eyes away so quickly that nobody noticed the action. "I had no idea that we were going to be learning about having babies; if I had known, I wouldn't have even checked it off of the course selection sheet!"
"What did you think we were going to be learning about, cooking?" Maggie joked.
Morgead shook his head in response. "Babies, cooking…what kind of course is this?"
Gillian laughed, her cheeks turning a faint pink. "There's no cooking in Parenting class, Morgead. Like the name says, we're going to be learning about Parenting. Having children, being a good parent, how to childproof a house. You know, stuff like that."
David cupped his chin in his palm, his elbow dangerously close to Gillian's. "Sounds pretty boring. Maybe we should just skip."
Poppy cuddled into James, resting her head against his shoulder. "Oh, come on guys! I think that it'll be fun, and besides, it's an easy class! My neighbour took this course when she was in our grade and she said that all they did was watch a movie and complete a worksheet on it; the rest of the periods were completely free! She got a freaking 99 in the course, and her teacher told her that she only lost that one percent because she wasn't allowed to give out perfects."
Mary-Lynnette tapped her chin thoughtfully, her blue eyes shining with interest. "Well, I guess that it would be an easy class. I know that we were all thinking of switching out, but after Poppy's little speech," she broke off with a laugh. After her chuckles had subsided, Mare continued, tugging on one dark curl, "I think that it's worth keeping in our timetables. An easy A wouldn't hurt us any, would it?"
Everyone nodded their agreement, Poppy included. A thought suddenly occurred to her and her mouth turned down into a frown as she regarded all of her friends. "Wait a minute. You guys were all thinking of switching out? All of you? When did that happen?"
"When you were still getting your schedule from the table," Rashel said. She tightened her jacket around her torso and pulled the sleeves down, gripping them in her hands to hold them in place. "We were just talking Pop, don't worry. We wouldn't really leave you and James alone in Parenting class."
"Although with these two," Ash raised his eyebrows at the couple, a mischievous grin twisting his mouth, "it might be best if we left them alone, especially in that particular class. Who knows, maybe the course content might help them out in the near future."
James hit his cousin on the back of his head as everyone laughed. Poppy, the only person on the table who did not find the comment funny (she was still upset about everyone thinking about ditching her and James), crossed her arms tightly across her chest and narrowed her eyes. "Oh shut up."
"Now, I know that in past years, people have always said that this course was an easy A. Ms. Henderson, the previous teacher, told me that students even tried to switch into her class because all of their friends were constantly getting a 95 or higher. So, since this is my class now, I've decided to make some changes."
The class groaned, all of the students shooting Poppy dirty looks. She shrugged her shoulders at all of her friends and widened her eyes, wondering how they could all possibly blame her. How was she supposed to know that the new teacher would implement new rules? She had just thought that the teachers came and went, but the curriculum stayed the same.
"Nice going, Poppy," Eric muttered under his breath. Thea nudged his side with her elbow as James glared at him, wrapping an arm protectively around Poppy's waist. "And how exactly was she supposed to know that this would happen, Eric?"
Poppy smiled gratefully at him and turned her attention back to Mrs. Patterson who, at 6 months pregnant, waddled around her desk. She tried to perch on the corner of the table but couldn't lift herself high enough, opting instead to just lean against the edge. "But don't worry guys, I'm sure that these changes are the type that you will all welcome with open arms."
Rashel raised her hand. "Um, Mrs. Patterson…what exactly are these new changes?"
The teacher smiled widely and played with her hair. "I was waiting for someone to ask! Basically, I have decided that there will be a semester long project that all of you will participate in. However," she stressed, looking around the room, "the project will be done in pairs that are chosen by me. Only me, just me, me me me…so please do not ask if you can pick your own partners."
"What project?" David asked. There was a look of pure disbelief etched across his features, as if he couldn't fathom why he was sitting in this classroom. He ran one hand through his dark hair as his gaze darted over to Gillian, who was sitting to his left. She looked completely enthralled, having fully embraced her schedule and actually looking forward to taking part in this class. Seeing how excited she was caused his expression to soften slightly and Poppy tried to bite back a smile. There was no denying the fact that the boy was smitten.
Mrs. Patterson grinned again, her hazel eyes sparkling. "And I'm positively ecstatic that you asked that question! This is the project, Mr. Blackburn." She pulled a baby doll out from one of the desk drawers and held it up proudly. "Each pair will receive a baby doll, who will serve as an actual child for the remainder of the semester. Each doll is programmed to act like a legitimate child, one in need of diaper changes, feedings, rockings, burpings…basically everything that an infant requires. It is your job as parents to give your child the best care that you can offer. Any questions?"
"How will you know what happened with the kid? Like, how do you grade us?"
"And that is an excellent question, Mr. Blackthorn. The babies are mechanical, as you can see, so there is a special recording device in them. At the end of the semester, I will – well, not me exactly, but the replacement teacher who will be taking over once I go on maternity leave – print out the log and see how well the baby was taken care of. How many times the baby was neglected, how many times the baby cried and was ignored…all of that will be accessible at the end of the semester. Anything else?"
"Do we get any accessories with the baby?" Hannah asked, brushing her hair out of her wide eyes. "Like, a fake bottle to feed it with, extra diapers so that we can change the baby, that sort of thing. And how do we take care of the baby? When it cries, do we just shove the bottle in its mouth?"
"Those are also excellent questions, Ms. Snow. Each couple will receive a baby bag when they get their child – which will be tomorrow; mark it down on your calendars! – that will hold all of the essentials that you have previously mentioned. As for your other question, I will be giving each one of you a wristband with an electrical chip. Every time the baby calls out in distress, just rub the chip across his or her chest and a beeping sound will ring out. It will then be safe to try and give care to the baby."
"You know, this actually sounds pretty fun," Maggie said, swivelling in her chair to look at Mary-Lynnette. "Don't you think so, Mare?"
"Depends on my partner," she answered, glancing sideways at Ash. "But it sounds interesting, and just about the most fun project that I've ever gotten in school. Well, not including my sixth grade project on the Milky Way, of course."
Maggie laughed. "Sure. Anyways, I didn't really think that this class would be this fun."
Mrs. Patterson pushed off of her desk and stood behind Maggie, catching her golden waves back into a hair clip. "Well believe it, Ms. Neely. And it's only going to get better from here."
I know that a lot of the characters were practically mute, but it's pretty difficult trying to incorporate all 18 of them into a single conversation. As the story continues, more characters will have their chances in the spotlight, so if your favourite characters didn't speak much (mine didn't, and I'm the author lol) do not despair. They will be coming up soon!
The baby assignment is true to life - I did it in my school last year. It's actually pretty fun and I was sad to see Baby go, but the reason that I am telling you all of this is because I just want you all to know that I am not making anything up. Everything that I write in this story (pertaining to Baby, of course) will be 100% authentic.
Tomorrow is my big one eight...my 18th birthday! I think that it would be completely amazing if you could all get me the best present an author can ask for...(I bet that you all know where I'm going with this)...a review! It would be lovely, and I will be forever in your debt. Seriously though, it would be great if you could please all review and tell me if the story is even worth continuing. If you all hate it, then...I might not be updating ever again lol.