The Sins We Must Carry

Chapter 1

Madeline sits on the steps of the school and waits for her parents to arrive. Students walk past her, shooting glances her way. She doesn’t care. It’s not like it bothers her.

A group of girls stop at the bottom of the stairs and linger. Maddie could hear parts of their conversation but she doesn’t make an effort to listen in to the rest. They snicker, and out of the corner of her eye she sees them look over at her. They snicker again.

“Can I help you?” Madeline asks.

The group shakes their head, the lead girl giving her a condescending look. They don’t answer the question. Madeline goes back to watching the road for her parents. After a couple minutes the principal comes out and spots her on the steps.

“Miss Doyle, how are you enjoying the spell of warm weather?”

Madeline looked up at Ms. Nakamoto and shrugged.

“It’s fine, I guess. Warm weather isn't really my style.”

The older woman sat next to her and made casual conversation. Maddie didn’t feel interested but she entertained the conversation anyway. It’s better than waiting blindly for her parents to show up.
The group of girls kept stealing glances their way, and Madeline knew they were making fun of her for talking to the principal. Sure, she’d never talk to Ms. Nakamoto on a regular day; she doesn’t consider the staff to be her friends after school hours. But there’s nothing wrong with having a conversation with one of them.

Ms. Nakamoto notices after a while.

“Do you girls have anything to say to Madeline?”

“Oh, no. We wouldn’t want to distract the teacher’s pet.” They all start laughing again.

“I didn’t realize that getting good grades made me a teacher’s pet.”

“And what’s so wrong with being a good student?”

The girls don’t answer and turn away instead.

“Don’t worry about them; I’ve gotten used to it.”

And as if on cue, Madeline’s parents pull up in front of the school and save her from the conversation. The girls glance at the car and begin to stare when they see the chauffeur walk around the car and open the door for them.

“Jefferson, Nicole,” Ms. Nakamoto greets them and stands, stepping forward to shake their hands.

“Nice to see you, Sakura,” Nicole greets. “Madeline, why don’t you wait in the car?”

The teenager nods, and her parents follow the principal into the school. She guesses they’re meeting about more school funding, like they discussed the year before. For the school, it helps that her parents are the richest family in the city.

She grabs her bag and walks towards the car when she’s stopped by the girls at the bottom of the stairs.

“Your parents are Jefferson and Nicole Doyle?”

“And you’re filthy rich?”

“Yeah, I am,” Madeline answers.

“Why don’t you tell people about that?”

“Because I want people to like me for myself, not my family’s money.”

They grow quiet for a second.

“Do you want to—”

“Whatever you’re about to say, no.”

She throws her bag in and steps into the car. After about half an hour, her parents leave and they head home.

The ride, as always, is silent. Her parents are more concerned with their company and its profits than how her day went. Her reputation at school is more important, and they already know she’s a straight-A student.

When they arrive at the house, Madeline goes to her room. She throws her bag onto her bed and sits at her desk, opening her computer. She went to the online chat her friends created.

madelinefenton: anything exciting happen when i was gone?

val-val-myfavoritegal: other than bradley embarrassing himself and getting concussed? not really

madelinefenton: how’d he manage that?

luvr-bradley: HEY ALRIGHT

luvr-bradley: LISTEN

luvr-bradley: IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK

madelinefenton: it was bc of a girl

val-val-myfavoritegal: pretty much lol you should’ve seen him

luvr-bradley: NO IT WASN'T

luvr-bradley: okay it was

madelinefenton: called it lol

madelinefenton: so what happened?

luvr-bradley: so i wanted to impress karlie

luvr-bradley: and i know that she likes guys who can do skateboard tricks

val-val-myfavoritegal: he rode into a sign and got a concussion


luvr-bradley: and then i got distracted

luvr-bradley: by karlie

luvr-bradley: and then i hit the sign

luvr-bradley: now i’m concussed

madelinefenton: lmao

madelinefenton: i hope it was worth it tho

madelinefenton: if you're willing to get a concussion for a girl she should at least give you a chance

val-val-myfavoritegal: i think she was too busy laughing to think about that lol

luvr-bradley: i came out to have a good time and i’m honestly feeling so attacked right now

luvr-bradley: gtg guys see you later

val-val-myfavoritegal: later bradley

madelinefenton: bye!!

Madeline sits back in her chair and sighs. Since the move, her life has become so boring and repetitive: going to school, coming home, chatting with her friends, and repeat. Sometimes she wishes her life could be a little more exciting. That something could change.

Little does she know, that’s about to happen.