Your Name’s not Jessica
“Don’t forget that you have school tomorrow,” Mom chirped into my bedroom that night as I was reading underneath the covers, the flashlight on low so that they wouldn’t hopefully see I was still reading.
I groaned. How could I forget? It was going to be the most horrible day of my entire life. Jessica Freeman, dead at age thirteen.
“Jess?” Mom fumbled with the light switch, which promptly turned on. I pulled the blanket off my head and turned to face her.
“Yeah?” I managed, setting down my flashlight and mystery book on the nightstand. It was a really good mystery book, because it was only the first chapter and yet the main character’s best friend had already been kidnapped. Like I said, good book.
Mom sat on my bed. She’d calmed down from her original excitement about the place—finally. I’m not sure if it was because of the snake she found in the bushes or the bug she found in the drain of the sink, but either way she’d made the trip back to earth safely.
“You’re going to have a great day tomorrow,” Mom promised, tucking my covers up to my chin. Always a restless sleeper, I pushed my arms out again. She didn’t even notice as she stared dreamily at the wall. “When you get home tomorrow, I bet you’ll be just full of stories to tell me about your new friends.”
“Hey, um, Mom?” I started, glancing at her. “What if I don’t get any friends?”
“Of course you will!” she laughed. “You’re my daughter after all!”
Oookay. Not that that had to do with anything. I doubted that telling everybody my mom’s name was going to immediately give me hundreds of friends. I sighed and waited for her to continue. It was no use trying to stop her. Once she got to talking…well…yeah.
“And then there’s that kid Logan,” she was saying. “This world’s just full of friends for you, Jess.”
“Right,” I muttered.
She frowned. “It’s true. You should try looking on the bright side of things more often, instead of being so gloomy.”
“Are you listening to me?”
“Jess, are you OK? Do you have a fever?”
“Jess, are you OK? Do you have a fever?”
“Sometimes you try to ignore the fact that you have a fever. It’s a fact of life that sometimes humans do that.”
“OK, Mom, if you say so.” I glanced up at her, but she was only smiling down at me. It felt kind of weird, granted. But, amazingly—and this looked a little weird—she was smiling proudly at me.
Mom smiled. “You have a good day tomorrow, Jess.”
She gave me a hug and then kissed me on the forehead. I closed my eyes as she flicked off the light, her footsteps receding out in the hallway. I sighed and rolled over.
If I have a good day tomorrow, then my name’s not Jessica Freeman.
It’s one thing to move to a certain town; and it’s another to have to move to a certain town and then go to school in a totally different town. Well, that was my situation, believe-it-or-not. It was rather weird, in my opinion.
“Don’t be worried, Jess,” Mom said in a worried tone as she drove me to the middle school in Zodiac.
Since we technically didn’t live in the city of Zodiac, the stinky residents had decided that they didn’t have to provide bus services for us. So all of the parents and everybody who lived in River Heights had to drive their kids in.
Amazingly, Logan and I were the only kids in River Heights.
And so guess who suggested that she take both Logan and I into school the next day? Yep.
Logan was staring at the window and the clean floor of the car and sniffing the car’s limited air like everything about our car was totally new and cool. He was just acting plain weird.
“So, Logan,” started Mom, “what’s Zodiac Middle School like?”
Logan looked up at Mom like he suddenly realized he was in a stranger’s car. He ran a hand through his thick brown hair and quickly answered, “It’s OK, I guess.”
I couldn’t help but notice the things I notice best in people—their faults. His teeth weren’t the best. Like, actually they were pretty bad. As in you-need-braces-right-away-if-you-ever-want-to-have-a-good-smile-ever bad.
No wonder he didn’t talk or smile much or anything.
“I think you guys are going to be the best of friends soon enough,” Mom was saying. “I think it’s just so great that we could move into town and give you a friend, Logan. I mean, I couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t any other kids other than you and our Jess.” She smiled at me.
“Yeah, Mrs. Freeman,” he shrugged.
Other than worst-teeth-ever, he had a really big amount of freckles. Now, I know lots of people who freckles look good on. OK, I know lots of people who freckles who are like gorgeous or handsome or whatever. But Logan definitely wasn’t one of them.
Other than that he had like this lazy-eye thing going on. It was so weird. One moment his right eye would start to drift towards the other direction, and then it would snap back. I shivered.
“Here we are!” Mom announced, screeching the car to a halt.
I grabbed my bags and got out of the car, Logan following me. Mom smiled and waved at us and then drove off. As far as I knew, my parents had already checked me in and everything. All I had to do was quickly check in with the principal, get my schedule, and start with the day.
“Um…” Logan tried.
We were standing, silent, in front of a small dinky middle school. Zodiac Middle School, to be exact. Kids piled in the huge paint-peeling doors. Some of the bricks were missing. Graffiti covered almost all the walls.
“So, um, what am I supposed to call you?” Logan questioned. “’Cause I heard your dad call you Jessica and then your mom call you Jess.” He tilted his head. “So which one is it?”
I shrugged. “Just whatever.”
“OK, well, then, your name’s definitely not Jessica,” he said. “Your name should be Jessie.”
Jessie. I liked the ring of it.
“Come on,” urged Logan.
We started towards the school.
That's all for now!! And just to say, it gets a little bit more interesting. Especially when they start to investigate all of their mysterious neighbors in Rain Heights..... ;) Bye!!