Miles to Go

Chapter 1: Her

“Here’s a copy of my—”
“Yeah, thanks,” I muttered, blowing out smoke as I looked down at the paper he had given me. It was a copy of his schedule.
I blinked in surprise, something that didn’t happen often. My being surprised, I mean.
Seth waved a hand in front of his face, coughing in what I thought was exaggeration. “God, why do you do that? It’s so disgusting.”
Sighing, I dropped the cigarette on the ground, watched as Seth stepped on it with the toe of his shoe. “Right.”
“Doesn’t answer my question.”
I shrugged, squinting against the sun as I observed the large, brick building in front of me. “Bad habit.”
“Try expensive.”
I tilted my head up to look at him. “You gonna continue nagging or can we go in now?”
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were excited.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Does it look like I’m excited?” I asked softly, my voice calm.
“No,” he admitted, breaking eye contact. “Let’s go.”
Pushing myself off the trunk of his car, I followed him inside, hands in my pockets.
“God, it’s the twenty-first century. You’d think the damn place would be a little modern,” Seth muttered.
“Yeah, so you’d think.”
“We have first together.”
I looked down at the schedule. “We’re in room—”
“I know.”
“Of course,” I mumbled to myself, ignoring the looks Seth and I received as we walked through the hall.
“You need to drop anything in your locker?” he asked, looking at me again.
“I brought a notebook.”

“So, why don’t you guys introduce yourself to the class? I'm sure California's a big change from New York,” the young teacher said, his smile too big for his face.
Seth looked at me, and when I shrugged, looking out the window, he began talking. “Yeah, just saying it's different feels like an understatement. Uhm, I’m Seth, and this is my sister—”
“Sister? You guys have different last names,” the teacher said, surprised.
“She was named after our mom’s best friend,” Seth explained. “Anyway. This is my sister, Rylie. And, uhm…”
“We moved here from Pennsylvania, and we don’t want to be here. Okay, thanks.” I muttered dryly, strolling to an empty seat in the back.
“Right. Uh, excuse her. She’s normally like this,” Seth joked, forcing a small smile before taking a seat beside me. “Can you stop lashing out already?” Seth whispered harshly, leaning across the aisle towards me. “You’re not alone. It sucks, I know. But if you plan on fitting in here—”
“I don’t. I had a life there, and I was happy. I had friends, a reputation—”
“Yeah, because that reputation was such a good one, right?”
I looked to the front again.

Things finally changed fifth period.
Seth and I stood at the front again, waiting for the teacher to silence the class.
When he did, he introduced Seth and I and then asked us to talk about ourselves. Again.
“Uhm, well…” Seth glanced at me, but I just looked away. We were not having a repeat of first.
“So, let’s clear something up,” he began finally. “Neither me nor my sister have ever been arrested, we’re not druggies, we didn’t come here from rehab, and my sister didn’t kill our parents. `Kay, thanks. ”
I followed him to the back, eyebrow raised. “What was that?” I asked when we were seated.
“I heard some rumors.”

“How was the rest of your day?” Seth asked on the ride back home.
I silently shrugged, staring out of my window.
“I’m thinking of joining the soccer team,” he offered.
I nodded.
“What about you? Thinking of joining anything?”
I shook my head no.
“You could at least make an effort, you know.”
I didn’t react in any way, not bothering to look at him.
“Thanks, Rylie. It was great talking to you, really.”
“So why are you still talking?” I asked, finally looking at him.
He scoffed, pulling into the driveway. “Get out of my car.”
I did, rolling my eyes. We entered the house soon after, him muttering under his breath, and were greeted by my mother’s voice coming from the kitchen, asking how our day had gone.
“Fine,” Seth muttered, dropping in a chair at the little coffee table my mother had put in the corner of the kitchen.
“Fine,” I agreed, going straight to the glass doors that led to the small backyard and stepping outside.
The backyard overlooked the beach, which was currently filled with people, young and old alike. Some looked to be my age, and for all I knew, they could’ve gone to the same school as me.
Lips pursed, I went back inside, going straight to my room, kicking a box blocking the door out of my way.
“Rylie? Is that you?” my father asked from the room next to mine, his study.
“How was school?”
“Are you liking it here?”
I took a seat on my bed. “Sure.”
“Good, good,” he muttered, ending the conversation.
Yeah. Great.

A week later, I’d managed to alienate every potential friend. Quite an accomplishment, if you ask me.
Even Seth had finally admitted defeat, silently driving me to school and back, ignoring me during the hours in between.
It was… nice. And comfortable.
And there was no way I was letting anything change that.
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