I stared at the wall of my room. My family had moved over the summer. Tomorrow morning I would start school, in a new town, and all my friends were back East.
"California is a great place to live, and Sacramento is a fantastic city! It's the capitol of the state!" My dad had gotten a new job, so of course it would be a great place to live for HIM. My mom was fine being a stay-at-home. What about the high school senior son who would now have no friends?
Well, I would just have to make the best of it. I lay my head down. Sleep did come. I woke up in the morning, showered, and put on a clean T-shirt and a nice pair of shorts. The forecast called for a high of 96 degrees F. The calendar read August 28. My 18th birthday was in a month, and I figured it would be just me and my parents.
I got to school, went to the office, got a copy of my schedule and a map of the school, and started figuring out where things were. My locker was on the main aisle. I was ignored, but not teased, and figured that if the kids were merely going to ignore me I could read books at recess or something.
"We have a new student in the classroom. Paul, your family just moved here, right?"
"Right... [checking schedule and teacher's name]... Miss Gordon."
"Everyone give him a warm welcome." Conspicuous silence from the other students.
The same thing happened second, third and fourth period. Lunchtime had arrived. I walked out to the grassy area and settled myself on a shaded tree stump. I had brought lunch from home. It took maybe five minutes to eat it.
I stuffed my empty lunch box into my pack and rummaged for my book. I was reading "Small Sacrifices", the true-crime book by Ann Rule. It seemed to take forever - probably about 20 seconds, which is a long time when you're rustling through a backpack - to find it. By the time I extracted it and looked up, I saw a slightly chunky, nerdy-looking red-headed girl gimping towards me. Her hair came down to just below her shoulders. It was quite straight. She had rectangular-framed glasses and a pretty smile. I assumed she had a bra on under her shirt, but even so, her chest was decent-sized. Her legs were displayed well by her shorts. They were strong and muscular.