The Death of a Honeybee, Chapter 1 (tw and language)
Posted September 6th, 2016 by AlgebraAddict
A/N so I accidentally didn't put the prologue as a book page/chapter. The link is here: https://www.kidpub.com/story/death-honeybee-chapter-1-tw-and-language-18...
Anyways, I'm hoping that this book lasts a little longer because I love my characters already c:
The Blackwood City Academy was supposed to be a “great school”, but all I noticed on the first day of school in the 100% humidity were a bunch of boys as sweaty as I was and a bunch of girls that all looked the same. Since Emily killed herself, I hadn’t noticed girls at all. Their faces blended together, and it didn’t help that they dressed exactly the same and they all had the same hair; straight and long and brown, with blonde streaks or highlights or whatever. I noticed my ex-girlfriend Jasmine laughing with a bunch of other identical girls, and I wondered how I ever thought she stood out from the crowd. She had cheated on me with a jock named David that was possibly even uglier than I was, but of course at that point I had bigger problems than my girlfriend sleeping with another boy. I was really busy sitting inside my room feeling horrible—horrible about my self worth, my parents’ marriage, and Emily; the pattern being that all three of those things were dead and buried in the ground.
I looked up from my schedule at a tall-ish kid named Jon that I hadn’t talked to all summer. I vaguely remembered him being one of my closer friends before Emily died.
“Dude, I haven’t talked to you all summer.”
“Yeah.” An artificial smile passed my lips. “I’ve been busy.”
“I don’t think you even talked to me after the funeral.”
Oh shit, it was Jon. Emily’s…boyfriend? I had never understood their relationship, but all the same I knew it had to have been tough for him when she died. I felt a little guilty for not remembering that they were a thing, but whatever.
“Yeah, sorry,” I said.
“Hey man, I’ll see you later; I’ve got to get to my Spanish orientation.”
He left me to stand alone on the pavement again, staring at a schedule that I couldn’t even read. Emily had been good at reading, but what small skill I may have had with words while she was living disappeared the moment she was no longer there. I hadn’t been able to read anything; a book, an email, not even my text messages, and for sure not my schedule. For one thing, words (like literally everything else) made me think of her and want to punch something, and also I just couldn’t seem to focus.
Okay, first class—Literature. Okay, that’s cool. Since it was the first week of school, all of our “classes” were just orientation. In other words, I had nothing to fear from school except my fellow members of the human race and the overwhelming urge to shoot myself whenever I saw anything that reminded me of Emily, which was everything.
By the time the bell rang, I had figured out how to read the door number and had settled down in the back right corner of the room. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to find a spot, I would have chosen a desk that I could have fit my knees under with some level of comfort. I could imagine Emily mocking me for being tall and awkward, and I would never have anything to say in return. She was utterly un-mockable. Her skin was as clear as mine was acne-ridden, and she was always graceful and smart and knew how to make shit work out even when it looked hopeless, but hey, that didn’t matter now.
Arriving in groups of twos and threes, my fellow classmates flooded into the classroom and took their positions in the desks like soldiers on a battlefield. On my left was the wall, and on my immediate right was an empty desk, followed by three more desks full of students. They all seemed to know each other, and they all seemed to be adverse to the idea of sitting next to me, which I was fine with.
“Role call,” droned the teacher, a—I glanced at my schedule—Ms. Franses.
A kid who I could only assume was on steroids raised one bulky arm. “Here.”
The girl who had been making love-eyes at George for the last few minutes raised an elegant spaghetti noodle. “Here.”
The teacher continued, just a buzz in the back of my mind until I heard my name repeated: “Jones, Samuel?”
“Yeah.” I didn’t even bother raising my hand.
“Alright. “Jurgensmeier, Emmy.”
There was no reply. Ms. Franses let loose an audible sigh, and repeated herself. “Jurgensmeier, Emmy.”
“Here,” said a girl who had just entered the room with a stack of books up to her throat.
“Take a seat, Miss Jurgensmeier.”
A quick scan of the room told me that the only available seat was right next to me, and I tried not to flinch as she set her books down and slid into the desk on my right. I didn’t want anyone sitting next to me, especially not someone named Emmy, but I guessed it wasn’t up to me.
The teacher resumed role call, and instead of looking at the room full of people one by one raising their hands, I made a subconscious and more than a little stupid decision to look at Emmy. It was a combination of her unfortunate name and the way I couldn’t shake the feeling that she looked a lot like Emily.
I guess it was the eyes. They were brown, but they had flecks of gold scattered around the edges of each black pupil. It was possible that, as my memory was telling me, they were almost exactly the same as Emily’s eyes. It was also possible that I was desperate and stupid and making shit up.
Besides the eyes and the name, I had to admit there weren’t a lot of obvious similarities. Her hair was almost as dark as mine, in a thick waterfall of tangled ringlets cascading down her back. The other interesting thing about her was her uniform. Her skirts were an acceptable length according to the religiously unenforced uniform code, her shirt was tucked in, her knee socks weren’t bunched down around her ankles, and in general she didn’t look like a slob. That was, to say the least, impressive for any junior girl at Blackwood City Academy.
I was conscious of whispers circulating in the row in front me; a group of girls who I recognized as the main squad of drama queens in our grade kept glancing back at Emmy and murmuring to one another. The teacher kept talking, apparently not noticing their conversation in the second row from the back. I considered speaking out and telling them to shut the fuck up, but I decided that it would be too much effort. All the same, I felt obligated to glance at Emmy to make sure she wasn’t too upset by it. She seemed fine, or at least she didn’t show her annoyance. She was unloading her enormous stack of books and putting some of them under her desk and some of them on top. She opened what I assume was the summer reading book that I, of course, didn’t read.
Ms. Franses asked some question about the reading that I didn’t understand a word of, but apparently Emmy Jurgensmeier did, because she raised her right hand to answer. While she was speaking, I noticed a few long slashes just beneath the sleeve on her right arm. They were dark and red, like they had just recently healed. I glanced down at the tiny white slivers running across a single vein on my left wrist. I looked back at Emmy, who had resumed taking notes in a round cursive font with her left hand—oh, of course, she was left handed; that was why the cuts were on her right arm. But they were much, much deeper than the shallow marks I had left on my skin with a pair of dull craft scissors.
I looked up to the front of the class and processed the wall of text and venn diagrams that had been scribbled onto both whiteboards. Shit, I was supposed to be taking notes. I opened my binder and had barely gotten down half of one whiteboard full text before the bell rang and the clatter of students getting out of desks overwhelmed all my effort to write. Walking back to my locker, I heard the same group of girls that had been sitting in front of me gossip in the hallway.
”Did you see her?”
“She’s new, right?”
“Oh my God, does she even wash her hair? Like, what the fuck?”
“Oh, and did you see her arm? She’s got scars, like, deep ones. She’s probably an emo when she’s out of uniform.”
They laughed, and without warning I felt a pit of hatred stewing in my gut. It burned into my core until I couldn’t take it anymore, and so I turned around and said to the girl who had made the emo comment: “Hey, uh, maybe you should mind your own business and not talk shit about people who you don’t know.”
I was surprised at my own gumption. Emily had always been the one to stick up for people and sound sassy and confident while doing it. Maybe I was channeling some of the energy in the DNA we shared.
“Um, we were just talking. Free speech, right?” She relayed a coy glance to one of her gossip-mates.
“Yeah, that’s cool.” I paused. “But maybe you should think about what you’re saying. Just a thought.”
I turned and walked away as fast as I could, afraid to hear another comeback from them. A good lesson I had learned in my lifetime was that I would never be able to outwit a teenage girl with a mouth to speak, so I usually didn’t try.
I expected it to be one of the girls from the group, so I kept walking.
“Hey Samuel. That’s you, right?”
I stopped and turned to look at the girl speaking to me, and I found myself staring into brown eyes flecked with tiny pieces of gold.
“Yeah,” I said.
Emmy looked around as if to make sure no one was listening, and then said, “Hey dude, thanks for sticking up for me.”
“No problem.” I stood still, reaching into my brain for something to say. I finally added: “I hope I didn’t make any trouble for you.”
“Nah,” she replied with a quiver in the corner of her mouth, like a smile was fighting its way out. “Girls can be real bitches when they mean to be, so it’s not much use trying to stop it, but it still means something to me.”
“Okay,” I said, and unconsciously slid my hands into my pockets: my go-to gesture for when I had nothing to say and wanted to be let out of an uncomfortable situation.
“I’m Emmy,” she said.
“Is it short for Emily?” I asked without thinking, and then inwardly kicked myself in the balls. Did I even want to know the answer to that question?
“My mom was Emily,” she explained. “I was going to be named Emily too, but someone in my family decided it would be best to have a little piece of me that wasn’t so completely attached to her. Probably a good idea.”
She shrugged. “I’ll see you around.”
I stood still, watching her hair rise and fall with each step as she made her way around a corner and was lost into the mystery of hall 6-C.
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