Have you ever woken up, already knowing the day would turn out disastrous? The moment I stepped out of bed and out on the chilly floor I knew that nothing good would come out of today. Apparently the weather decided to be just as foul as my mood, which didn’t help the matter. Even more depressed then when I found out I needed glasses a week ago, I slouched down the stairs answering my mother’s endless calls impatiently.
“Yes mom! I’m coming.”
The rest of the family were happily chatting and laughing, completely unaffected by the dull weather outside. I was stirring the soggy cereal absent mindedly when mom decided to interrupt my sulking.
“Are you ready for the school trip today, Bruce?” I shrugged without looking up from my bland breakfast.
“You’re going to that horse ranch in Appaloosa Plains, right?” dad asked, taking a sip from his coffee. “Should be fun.”
A couple of minutes past in silence, until Caleb broke it with a summary of his last tests and grades, all of which were straight A’s. I automatically sunk lower in the chair, trying not to think on the D I had just gotten in biology. But who needs biology anyway when you’re going to be a famous rock star?
When the bus came at eight Caleb ran to get a seat next to his girlfriend, while I casually followed, trying to ignore my mother’s persistent waving from the door. How could she have made it any clearer that she loved to embarrass us?
“Bye, honey! Have a nice day.”
“Mmm,” I mumbled.
The bus door closed behind me, as I scanned the seats for the pink dot I knew would be waiting for me.
Ah, there she was! The familiar pink hair in a new hair-due stuck out like a sore thumb in the packed bus. Sitting by the window she waved me over to her.
“I saw your mom, she’s such a sweet heart,” she teased, pinching my cheek playfully. “And she just loves her little Bruce sooo much!”
“Shut up, Mel,” I snapped, trying not to smile. Melody loved my mom almost as much as I did, having only had a father. Since we were little kids she and mom had become very close. I think mom liked to have some female company sometimes; you know, since she’s always surrounded by us boys.
“Oh, that’s nice. Remind me why we’re friends again?”
We spent the whole trip arguing about the first time we met, and how we ended up as best friends. None of us could agree how the story actually went, but it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
“What’s the deal with sending us to this place? It smells like horse sh…”
“Careful now, miss Wilson,” Mrs. Lowood warned, before making her way through the masses of students. She called us all to silence. “Okay, can everyone hear me? Good. Now, I want you all to keep quiet and listen to the owner of this ranch; John Green.”
John started talking about horses and “green activity-something or other”, before taking us on a tour around the stables.
The stables were dark and even smellier than outside. It was hard to breath in the stuffy air; the only thing keeping Mel from complaining was the fear of breathing in too much of the humid air, and choke. We were standing at the back of the crowd when I caught a glint of a familiar figure closing in on us.
I grabbed Mel around the wrist and dragged her through the crowd.
“Hey, what’s happening?” she whispered annoyed. The second she saw the blond girl, with the exasperated look on her face, Mel’s confusion faded. “Oh, man.”
We reached the other end of the stables when I managed to crash into a rather surprised girl.
“Watch where you’re going,” she snapped, and turned back towards John, who was still droning on about the importance of proper harness for horses.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, turning my focus to John as well.
Melody was whispering something beside me, but I was too busy trying to figure out the girl’s name. How had I been going to the same school as this super cute girl, without even knowing her name? I couldn’t for my dear life come up with any sort of recognition; maybe she was new at the school. But she seemed to…
“Ouch!” I cried out, making all faces turn in my direction. Mrs. Lowood sent us a quick reprimand across the stables, before giving the word back to John Green. The girl next to me; the one without a name, sent me an annoyed look. “What did you do that for?” I hissed.
“You’re not listening to me, and I had to get your attention somehow,” Mel said out of the corner of her mouth. “I was saying that you should talk to Julie, soon. You can’t keep dodging her whenever you’re in the same place.”
After our extremely awkward break-up a month ago, Julie had gone out of her way to seek me out in big crowds, only to yell at me and demand a reason for why I suddenly decided she wasn’t good enough for me (Her words, not mine!). I wasn’t sure if I felt sorrier for her, who was so insecure of herself I just couldn’t take it in the end, or me, who was being hunted down by a broken hearted, revengeful ex.
The rest of the day passed pretty uneventfully. I kept stealing small glances at the girl I still couldn’t figure out the name of. Melody probably knew, but she would never let it drop if I told her why I was wondering. Julie seemed to get tired of looking for me, so I managed to get home without having to face the awaiting disaster. Yes, I am aware of how cowardly that is.
Melody invited herself to stay at my house after school, as usual. Your parents cook way better than my dad, she would say. I announced my arrival to whoever was at home, which turned out to be dad, before making my way upstairs where Mel had already turned on the stereo.
”I love this song!” she laughed as she danced around in my room, her pink hair swinging along with her movements. “I said I’d never let you go, and I never did.”
I sat down, pretending to read homework for a while. Until my curiosity got the better of me. “Mel?” She didn’t stop dancing, yet I had to ask. “You know that girl I bumped into at the stables?”
“More like ran over, but yeah, I know who you mean. What about her?”
“Do you eh…know her name?” I regretted it the second I asked.
“You don’t know her name?! She’s been going in the same year as us at school since, like, fourth grade.”
“She has?” I asked, feeling like an idiot.
“Bruce, you’re my best friend, but I wanna slap you so bad right now,” she said exasperated. “Don’t take it personally; I’m doing it for the entire female race.”
“Why? You don’t know the name of every guy that goes to our school, do you?”
“I can name all the boys in our year at least.”
“Good for you. Now, are you going to tell me her name, or what?”
“It depends, are you going to tell my about this sudden interest?” Mel teased. “Come on, you know you can tell me. You like her don’t you?”
“She’s kinda…eh…you know…I don’t know.”
“Oh my god! You’re totally crushing on her, aren’t you?!” she exclaimed excited, before turning serious again. “But seriously, Bruce. Another crazy girlfriend is the last thing you need right now.”
“The only thing I need right now is her name, so you either give it to me or I’ll … I’ll”
“Don’t hurt yourself now, Loverboy. Her name is Rose, Rose Fields.”
“Her name is Rose Fields?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes, it is,” she said, opening the door out to the hallway.” And I know that look, so I’m just going to leave, since I’ve probably lost you already. See you tomorrow at the auditions. Don’t be late, please.”
But she was right; I was already lost. Rose, her name was Rose. And Rose Fields at that. Without really admitting why, I was almost looking forward to school tomorrow, for the first time in forever .