“Good Morning, Class!” The teacher greeted with much enthusiasm.

“Good Morning, Mrs. Huffington.” The class cheered in response.

“It is good to see you are all happy. Today I would like you to meet someone.” Mrs. Huffington said as she urged me forward. “Go on. Introduce yourself.”

I stood there in front of the 28 students 5th graders. All eyes on me, I took a small step forward and took a deep breath.

“G- Good m-morning. My…name i-is A- Alexandria, but…you can call me Alex. I am eleven years old.” I said with voice so soft, with my eyes looking at their shoes.

I could still feel their gazes, as silence filled the room. After a few more agonizing seconds, Mrs. Huffington finally broke the silence.

“Okay!” She clapped. “She will be your new classmate staring today, so treat her well. You can sit in that empty seat, and we will begin our lesson for today.”

As I made my way to my seat, some of the students were still looking at me. I sighed slumping unto the chair.

Class was much less exciting. In my old school, I was taking advanced classes, so we were already taught lessons for sixth graders.  Thus, I ended up staring at the view outside the window.

The blue hills paled against the color of the bright sun. Some kids were already playing basketball.

“Riiiing~”

The lunch bell broke off my daydream, and I began stuffing my books in my bag.

“Ok. Goodbye class. You may now take your lunch.” Mrs. Huffington said.

Everyone broke into groups. Some went out, to the cafeteria, most likely. But, I stayed in my seat, and brought out my lunch box. Some of the students looked at me, as if I was in an entirely different species.

“Umm… you can’t eat inside the classroom. We all have to eat in the cafeteria.” The brunette shyly said.

“Oh. Ok. Thanks.” I said, forcing a smile, and proceeded to go outside with my lunch at hand.

I followed the throng of people, but no one bothered to talk to me, or even walk with me. The girl who uttered a single line, didn’t invite me to sit with them.

I couldn’t simply break the barrier, could I? No, I could, but I shouldn’t

I settled in an empty seat- the nearest to the door, and the trash can. I wanted to eat as fast as I could and go back to the classroom.

Ten minutes in, and I was halfway done, when someone sits on the vacant seat right in front of mine.

“Hi,” the boy says with a big smile across his face, His blue eyes staring intently into mine. “I’m Charles. I sit beside you in class”

I stared at him, then to his hand extended towards me.

“Uh… when someone offers you a hand, you’re supposed to take it.” He laughs.

I continued looking at him wondering why he was even talking to me. He must have been dared to talk to the new kid- just like how I was treated back in my old school. I looked around for his friends, who must have been looking or laughing at what he was doing.

“Come on. Don’t leave me hanging.” He said, grabbing my hand and shaking it himself. “With that, we’re friends.”

Friends. That is something I have not heard in a long time. I smiled.

He looked at me.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing.” He paused. “You look nice when you smile. You should do that more often.”

I chuckled at his comment, looking at the weird boy in front of me.

“Hey!” He suddenly stood up waving at a group of students holding trays. They made their way to the table, and grabbed their own seats.

Two boys sat on each side of Charles, and a girl sat beside me. I immediately tensed up.

My food seemed a hundred times more interesting, and I continued eating taking heaping spoons of my food.

“Hey guys! This is Alex. She sits beside me in class. Say ‘Hi Alex.’” He said.

“Hi.”

“Hi, Alex.”

The group and I said in unison. Idiot, he was talking to them. I looked down hiding the chagrin on my face.

Everyone then burst out laughing- even me.

“It’s nice to meet you Alex, I’m David.” The boy beside Charles says. He seemed like one of those rich spoiled kids. I don’t trust him.

“I’m Liz.” The girl beside me introduced herself, “and the one stuffing his face is Peter.”

“What’s your problem? I’m hungry and lunch is about to end soon.” Peter says, with his mouth full of food.

“You’re disgusting.” Liz remarks.

Peter then opens his mouth much wider and lets Liz see the food in his mouth.

Taking a bite out of his own food, Charles says, “Don’t mind them. They act like that but they secretly like each other.”

My eyes widen at this new revelation. I didn’t think fifth graders were already capable of having someone they like.

“No, we don’t!” Liz and Peter said at the same time, earning laughs from the two boys.

We all sat and ate our lunches. I didn’t bother joining in any of their conversations because I knew I didn’t belong with them. I knew I couldn’t belong with anyone.

I finished my food and stood up from the seat.

“Where are you going?” Charles asked.

“I’m going back to the room.”

“Oh, wait for me. Do you know the way back?” He asks putting the last scoop of food in his mouth. “I’ll go with you.”

Before I could protest, he said his goodbyes to his friends and grabbed my hand and made a run for it. He led me to the staircase, and back to the room.

“Here we are.” He said, catching his breath.

“We didn’t have to run?” I said in between pants.

“I felt you needed to loosen up a bit. And look, it worked. You talked to me on your own.” He responded, showing me that same innocent smile.

I looked down, and saw that he hasn’t let go of my hand.

“Sorry.” He whispered, releasing my hand from his.

“Um… Thanks for joining me for lunch, and helping me get back.” I managed to say out loud.

“No problem. You don’t have to thank me every little thing right? I mean, that’s what friends do.”

Friends. He says it again without malice. I let out a small smile thinking if it would be alright to even consider him as such.

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