Zeo was double checking and tripple checking all his things. His backpack, pencil case, binders, books, uniform. He wanted to make sure he didn't forget anything on his first day. His heart was racing, though. Was it excitement, nervousness? He couldn't tell. It didn't really matter, though. He knew he wanted to go. The best place to learn of the outside world.
"Are you ready?" grandma asked, poking her head in.
"I think so," Zeo said, fixing his tie.
"Here. Let me get that for you."
Grandma came in and helped Zeo fix his tie. Zeo was all figity and nervous. Grandma pet his shoulders, smoothing out the jacket.
"Relax, Zeo. It's going to be fun.
"I've never done this before."
"That young girl seems nice enough. I'm sure she'll help you. You just have to make friends with her."
"I don't really know how to make a friend."
"Just get to know here. That's the best way."
"Okay. I'll try."
"That's my boy."
Grandma hugged Zeo. She pet his head. Zeo smiled up at her. A new adventure was awaiting him. And he was going to have a partner through it all. Once he found Michelle again. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed his backpack. Grandma handed him his lunch. He headed out to go on to his first day of school. Grandma watched him go from the door of the apartment building. He waved to her and hurried off. Slinking into the shadows to get there.
There was a whole bunch of students when Zeo got there. They were in groups. Some of them picking on others. Some talking about movies, books, shows, and something called D&D, what ever that was. He tried to look around for Michelle. Hoping to find her right away, so he didn't have to wander around the school alone.
He couldn't find her. So the only thing to do was slip into the school and find her in the halls. Tracking wasn't one of his strong suits. It was the one thing the white coats had gotten mad at him time and time again for not being able to do. But he was doing it on his own now, so maybe that would help him. So he decided to risk it. Taking a deep breath, he went into the building, trying to act casual. The students weren't paying attention to him, anyway.
The halls were crammed full of students. Going about to their classes, lockers, talking. Human interaction was something Zeo was going to have to look into. Not right now, though. People might find it creepy if a purple haired kid just stood near them, listening, without saying anything. So all he was going to do right now was find Michelle and start his new day.
At least, that was the plan. Until he found the number that was his locker. So he decided to drop off his stuff and only carry what he needed. The locker was spacious, a shelf at the top. Little hooks for jackets and things.
"This is so cool," Zeo said.
"First day?" someone asked beside Zeo.
"Huh?" Zeo looked. Already expecting random people, so his threat level was down.
"Is this your first day of school?" the student asked.
"Oh, um, yes," Zeo said.
"Cool. What's your name?"
"Zeo. Zeo Mason. What's yours?"
"Parker. James Parker." He had a strange tone when he said that. Was he reciting a movie or a book?
"It's nice to meet you, James Parker," Zeo said.
"You can call me Jay."
"You can call me Zeo."
"Zeo's an awesome name. So, this is my locker. Looks like we'll be locker pals."
"Yeah. Friends who are only that way because their lockers are beside each other."
"Oh, okay. Cool." Zeo smiled. He had never had a locker pal before. And this boy seemed really nice.
"Do you know where your first class is?"
"No. I know it's Science with Mrs. Turough, but-"
"Oh, I know where that is. Here. I'll take you."
"Thank you, James."
"Don't mention it."
The boys started walking. James was going on about a comic book. At least, that's what Zeo thought it was. He wasn't paying as much attention as he should be. He was looking for Michelle, wondering where she was. And if he'd get to see her before his first class. That hope was depleating quite fast. So he just didn't worry about it. He gave his attention to James.
"Here's Mrs. Turough's class. Careful, she gives out a lot of homework if you don't participate in class," James warned.
"Thank you for the warning. I'll see you later," Zeo said.
"You got it."
James waved and headed off to his first class. Zeo went into his. Mrs. Turough was younger than he expected. She looked to be in her mid twenties, with dyed hair. Her eyes sparkled with knowledge and kindness. Her smile was so full of life, it was hard to believe she was an educator.
All the educator's Zeo had known were stiff, working towards a single goal. Making him into a weapon that fallowed orders, no matter what they were.
"You must be Zeo Mason," Mrs. Turough said.
"Yes, ma'am," Zeo said.
"This seat right here is free. I'll get you some papers I handed out earlier in the semester. Another student will give you copies of their notes."
"Thank you, ma'am."
Zeo sat down in the seat she had pointed out. It kind of felt strange on his bottom. He was going to have to get use to it. He put his binder on the top and his text book in the little slot. He took out a pencil from his case and put the rest of it in the slot with his text book. Mrs. Turough walked over with sheets of paper that had formulas and the periodic table of elements. That he had memorized, but he didn't want to seem to out of place, so he just accepted all the papers and put them into his binder in a good order that made sense to him.
Mrs. Turough was setting things up for the day's lesson.
"Where did you live before?" Mrs. Turough asked.
"Um, far away," Zeo said.
"I use to live far away."
"Yup. I went to college in another city before becoming a teacher."
"It's where you go after highschool. To specilize in a career."
"College sounds fun."
"It can be. It also can be a lot of work."
The bell rang. Zeo jumped and was poised to attack, but he realized it was just the warning for the students to get to their classes. Students started to come in. Going to their desks. Some of them glanced at Zeo, but the vast majority of them ignored the new face. More interested in their own friends. Zeo was feeling a little left out. He knew making friends was going to take time, though. He couldn't expect it to happen on the first day.
Zeo glanced at the other students while the other bell went off. They were chatting, even after the bell went off. Mrs. Turough had to quieten her class down and get them to stand for the national anthem. The class sat down and paid attention after that and the announcements.
"Class," Mrs. Turough said. "This is Zeo Mason. Can you stand up for us, Zeo?"
Zeo slowly stood up and looked at the class, being all shy and cute. The girls were awwing him. Like he was a little puppy with wide eyes. It made his cheeks heat up.
"Could you tell us a bit about yourself, Zeo?" Mrs. Turough said.
"Um, my names. . . Zeo Mason. . . I uh, live with my grandma. . . and haven't been here that long," Zeo said. His cheeks flaring up even more.
"Hello Zeo," the class said. The girls were awwing. They wanted to get to know him more.
"You can sit back down, Zeo," Mrs. Turough said.* "Marry, will you copy your notes and give them to Zeo?"
"I'd be happy to," Marry said. She started working on that.
"Okay, class. As I promised, a fun expierement today. Get with your partners," Mrs. Turough said.
After class, Zeo gathered up his stuff. Marry gave him the notes she had done.
"I'll meet you at lunch to give you the rest," Marry said.
"Thank you," Zeo said.
Marry smiled and headed out of class. Zeo put the notes away, gathered his things, and headed out. He found his way back to his locker and switched his things to his next class. He glanced around for Jay. He wasn't around, so Zeo decided to go looking for his class again. So that's what he did.
Zeo was getting to know the halls, but it was still hard. He always got turned around in doors. The bigger the building the worse it was. He kept glancing at his paper, then the room numbers. Trying to find his next class. He accidently bumped into someone.
"Zeo, there you are," Michelle said.
"Mich-hi," Zeo said, his cheeks flaring.
"Um, yeah. . . Just. . . I didn't know where you were."
"Oh, sorry. I was at morning practice."
"I play soccer."
"Yes. Football. What class do you have next?"
"Err." Zeo looked at his sheet. "Math, with Mr. Becken."
"That's on the third floor. I'll show you where."
"Okay. Thank you."
Michelle and Zeo exchanged smiles. She started walking and he fallowed after her. There were a lot of stairs to climb before making it to the third floor. Neither Michelle or he were tired, though. She played sporst and he was trained as a soldier. So they both had a lot of stamina.
"Here's Mr. Becken's room. I'll come back for you at lunch," Michelle said.
"Okay," Zeo said. Michelle waved and headed off. Zeo went into the classroom and said hi to Mr. Becken before sitting where he was directed to and paid attention to that class.
After class Michelle met up with Zeo and walked him to his locker. James was there.
"Hey, Zeo. Hi Michelle." James' tone was kind of love sick.
"Hi Jay," Michelle said with a hint of a sigh.
"Hi Jay," Zeo said, not sure about their interaction.
"Zeo. Would you like to join me and my friends for lunch?" Michelle asked.
"Well. . . I kind of. . . no," Zeo said.
"Oh, okay. Do you want me to stay with you, then?"
"I. . ."
Zeo wanted to say yes. But a part of him was telling him not to be selfish. He turned back to his locker, trying to figure out what to say. Michelle and James were a little confused. They looked at each other, wondering what to do.
"I'll stay with you," Michelle said.
"No. You can have lunch with your friends," Zeo said.
"I'm going to go tell them that I'll be with you. I'll be right back."
Zeo was confused. Michelle seemed so insistant on spending time with him. Sure, that's what he wanted. It made him happy. It also confused him to no end. He decided not to question it. It might have something to do with the outside world that he didn't understand, yet. The best way to learn about friendship was by making friends. So he smiled.
"Wow. I've been trying to get with her since day one. You lucky dog," James said.
"What do you mean?" Zeo said.
"No, I don't know."
"Are you serious? How old are you?"
"Fifteen. Same as you."
"Uh, I'm sixteen."
Zeo usually was good at reading ages. James was shorter than him, but his face was shaped like a fifteen year old. He guessed there couldn't be much differences between fifteen and sixteen year olds. Most of the others in the program were his age, so he was only use to their development, or the older scientists.
Michelle made it back. Zeo got his lunch and went with her to the shop area of the mall. There was a few cool things. They sat down and started to eat.
"What do you like to do?" Michelle said.
"Huh?" Zeo was caught off guard.
"On your spare time. What do you like doing?" Michelle said.
"You seem to have to spell things out for him. He's kind of lost," James said.
"I read and explore," Zeo said, answering her question. James was making him a little uncomfortable, seeming to know him. "What do you like to do?
"Play soccer, hang with my friends, and draw," Michelle said.
"I like reading comics and pulling pranks," James said.
"What are pranks?" Zeo said.
"See what I mean," James said.
"Be nice," Michelle said.
Zeo was trying to hold his programming down. James was kind of annoying him. With his indications that Zeo was dumb. He just wasn't use to interactions, not dumb. He knew that.
"Are you okay?" Michelle said.
"What do you mean?" Zeo said.
Zeo looked at his hands. They were clentched into fists. He had to force himself to relax them. Knowing that if he got to agitated he could hurt someone. That was the last thing he wanted to do. Once he got started it would be really hard to stop.
"I have to go," Zeo said.
"Oh, okay," Michelle said. "Do you want me to come with you?"
"No. I'll be okay."
Zeo got up and hurried off with his things. Maybe making friends really was impossible. He'd have to spend the rest of the day avoiding them, if possible. That might be harder than it sounds.