The first day of school is always the best, there’s never any homework and all you really have to do is find your classes and figure out how hard you’re going to have to work the rest of the year.  I found that in German, I was going to have to work a little harder than I had been, seeing as how everything we were going to do for the year was going to be done, completely in German.  I didn’t mind, really.  In fact, German was one of my favorite classes.  Frau Schultz was vibrant and funny and with such a small class, I was sure we were going to have fun.

Some of my other classes, I wasn’t so sure about.  I had AP Biology and AP English Lit with Yuuki so I wasn’t worried about those classes.  I had math analysis and trig with Maggie and I knew she was worried about that one.  I also had my art classes and I knew those were going to be fun because they always were; so the only classes I had that I really wasn’t all that thrilled about were my world foods class this semester and my dance P.E. class next semester.  Every student was required to take both a practical arts class and physical education so those were the classes I had chosen.  I figured that out of all of the electives, those two seemed to be the least tedious, seeing as how I was a fan of both food and dancing.

The best thing about my schedule was that, for the first time in my entire high school life, I had four classes with Ian.  I practically jumped out of my skin every time I walked into a classroom and saw that he was also in my class.  Out of the seven classes I had each day, four were with him!  I couldn’t believe my luck!  As soon as school was out for the day, I ran to Yuuki’s locker, knowing that Maggie would be there too, dying to tell them my good news.

“Maggie! Yuuki!  Guess what!”  I cried as I ran down the band hall, dodging students and instruments as best I could.

“What?” Maggie cried as I skidded to a stop in front of her and Yuuki.

“You’ll never believe it!”

“Believe what?  Oh, no wait, let me guess.  You saw Ian today.”

“No,” I smiled, “well, yes, but no.  That’s not what I wanted you to guess.”

“Then what?”

“I have four classes with him!”

“So you did see him.”

“Yeah, I said yes, but can you believe it?  Four!  Four classes!  That’s more than half the day!  I’m so excited.”

“Oh good grief,” Maggie groaned, “get a grip.  It’s not like having classes together is going to make any difference, he still won’t know you exist.”

“Gee, Mags, thanks a lot.”

“Well, things would be different if you just told him you liked him, but since you’re too chicken, it’s not going to make a difference.”

“Oh shut up.  I’m not going to let you ruin my wonderful day.”

“Hey, if you want to spend four hours every day staring at the back of the head of a guy who doesn’t know you exist, then go ahead.  I just hope you’re happy.”

“Thanks, I am.  So, how was your day?”

“Good.”

“Fine,” Yuuki answered as she shut her locker door and the three of us started for the parking lot.

“Don’t you have practice today?” Yuuki asked Maggie as we stepped into the bright afternoon sun.

“Yeah, I’d better get going.  See you two tomorrow?”

“Yup,” Yuuki answered, “see ya.”

Maggie flashed us both a smile and then set off at a jog for the gym, ready to begin another volleyball season.

“I guess you have practice too?”  I asked Yuuki as we walked across the school lawn.

“Not today.”

“Tomorrow, then?”

“Yeah, six-thirty in the morning.”

“Bummer.”

“It’s alright, it’s my last year of having to do this so I don’t mind.  Who knows, maybe someday I’ll miss it.”

“Right,” I laughed.  “Well, I’m off to work.  See you tomorrow!”

“Bye!” Yuuki called as she opened the door of her ancient Volvo.

I was just opening the door of my car when Yuuki drove by and honked, I looked up, smiled, waved and then noticed Ian walking across the parking lot with his group of buddies.  Not wanting him to associate me with the little incident this morning, I quickly got into my car and drove away, pulling into the parking lot of Stan’s Soda Shoppe not ten minutes later.  After such a great day, I walked through the door of the little shop with a bounce in my step and was immediately greeted by Stella, with a hearty hello.

Stella Bradford was the owner and manager of the shop.  She and her husband Stan had opened the place in the fifties and even though Stan had passes several years ago, she kept the shop open, knowing Stan would have wanted it that way.  Having lived with Stella when my mom and I first moved to Boulder, Stella was my adopted grandmother and after Stan passed, I started working in the shop to help her out.  It was a great little shop, complete with old-fashioned sodas and hand dipped ice cream.  When you walked in, you felt like you had stepped back in time, everything looked just like it had the day it opened.  The nostalgic feel of the shop, with its checkerboard floor, red vinyl seats and polished chrome, the incredible hand-mixed fountain sodas and the huge scoops of ice cream made Stan’s a town favorite.

“Hey Stella,” I smiled as I donned my apron and stepped behind the counter.  “How’s it going today?”

“Oh, well enough,” Stella replied, “but I can tell school has started.”

“A bit slow today, huh?”

“A little.  I sent Amber home early.  I figured you and I could handle things today.”

“Stella, you should have been the one to go home.  Amber and I can lock up.”

“I know, but I wanted to see how your day went.  You only have one last first day of school.”

“It was good.  I’ve got some pretty interesting classes and I think it’s going to be a good year.”

“That’s good.  Your senior year really should be your best.”

“You know,” I grinned as I thought about the four classes I had with Ian, “I think it will be.”

Stella and I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and serving the occasional customer and by six we had the place cleaned and ready to be locked up.  With nothing left to do we each said good-night to the other and went our separate ways, both of us ready to be home for the night.  I got home earlier than I had expected and nearly scared my mom to death when I walked in the front door.

“Lyla!  What are you doing home already?”

“Slow night.  Hey Bills!” I called as I stooped to hug Bills as he came running to greet me.  “How’s supper coming, Mom?  Do you need any help?”

“No, it’ll be done in a few minutes.  So how was your day?”

“Good, I have two classes with Yuuki and one with Maggie.”

“That’s good.  Do you have any homework?”

“Not tonight.”

“Does that mean you’re free to watch a movie with your mom?”

“That depends, are we watching Mars Attacks again?”

“No, I was thinking either Howl’s Moving Castle or Speed Racer.”

“Make it Howl, throw in some popcorn and you’ve got yourself a date.”

“Deal.”

I smiled at my mom and then went to wash and set the table.  “Dates” were kind of a tradition with us; neither one of us had anyone to actually date so we spent our free evenings together, either watching movies or playing video games while Bills looked on in disgust.  Ever since we got the Wii, he’d been a bit leery of video games.  I think it’s because my mom accidentally flung her remote across the room, the first night we played, and it hit Bills in the head.  Poor Bills, at least tonight he was safe.

After dinner, mom cleared the dishes and I took Bills for his evening walk around the neighborhood.  Bills loves his walks and I really like taking him; there’s just something fun about walking a dog that weighs more than you.  Bills and I made our way back home just in time to help mom carry the popcorn and lemonade into the living room.  Not long after, the three of us settled in for the night, ready to watch one of our favorite movies.

 

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