Hazel placed silverware and napkins on her lunch tray, paid the lady who sat at the register, picked her tray up and turned around. All she could see was a sea of teenagers in the cafeteria and not an empty seat. She sighed. The noise that assaulted her ears was almost deafening. As she scanned the room she found a table with a sole occupant. She weaved her way through the tables filled with other students and stopped at the rear empty table.
The blonde girl at the table looked up at Hazel and she asked, “Are you saving this for anyone or may I sit here?”
“Uh…no…go ahead.” The blonde blinked several times.
“Thanks.” Hazel put her tray down and then sat on the small round seat. “I’m Hazel O’Quinn. I’m new here.” She put her hand out to shake. The blonde took it reluctantly.
“I’m Daisy Jones.” She gave a weak smile.
Hazel shook her milk carton and opened it before she took a huge swig. “I’ve never been to a school with this many kids before. There are so many.” Hazel looked over her shoulder at the other students. “What grade are you in Daisy?”
“I’m a junior this year. And you?”
“I’m a junior also. My homeroom teacher is Mrs. Cook.”
“You’re across the hall from me. I have Mr. James for a homeroom teacher.” Daisy took a drink of Sprite. “I heard the mayor’s granddaughter was going to start school here. Is that you?”
“Yes, but don’t let that scare you off. My grandfather is a kind man. He’s my mother’s father.” She took a large bite of her cheeseburger.
A group of five bleached blonde girls approached Hazel from the right side. The leader of the group tapped her on the shoulder. She turned to look at them and grinned widely and showed perfect white teeth. “I’m Adeline and you need to come and sit with me and my friends.” Adeline was dressed like Lindsay Lohan when she went to court. In other words, Hazel thought she was completely inappropriately dressed. Her hair was bleached blonde and the girl wore enough makeup for two girls.
“Oh, I’m perfectly happy sitting where I am,” Hazel said after she swallowed.
“As the mayor’s granddaughter you should seriously consider whom you sit with. If you choose the wrong people, then you may not make any friends. No friends mean you will be an outcast at school and at school functions. You really should not be sitting with Pushing Up Daisies.”
Daisy looked down at her lunch tray and did not move.
“I don’t think calling someone names is very nice. And I’m happy sitting where I am. Thank you.” Hazel smiled.
“I really don’t think you understand. Who you sit with on your first day will determine whom you will and will not be friends with. Certainly people will not talk to you if you don’t choose wisely.”
“I think I have chosen wisely, but thank you for your concern. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to finish my lunch before the bell rings.” Hazel returned to her food.
Adeline’s face turned a beat red and the four bleached blonde girls behind her gasped. Adeline clinched her fists and stormed off.
“You shouldn’t have done that. She is the most popular girl in school and she’s only a junior.”
Hazel lifted the right side of her mouth and her right shoulder. “I don’t care. It is rude to ask one person to come and sit with them and not the other person. It’s uncalled for.” She grabbed a few limp French fries and shoved them in her mouth; she savored the salt on them. Daisy continued to eat her salad.
The two sat and ate quietly when the five girls returned with the assistant principal. He was a tall skinny man that Hazel was sure if he tried he could fit through a wire coat hanger. His name was Mr. Snod. “Hazel,” he said.
She looked up at him which made her slightly light-headed. “Yes sir.”
“You need to come with me and sit at better table for lunch.”
Did she just hear him right? Was he ordering her to move? She looked at Adeline who stood next to Mr. Snod and she smiled like the Cheshire cat. “Are you ordering us to move and sit somewhere else?” She cocked her head in hopes of looking dumb.
“Not both of you. You need to sit at a more appropriate table.”
“If this table isn’t appropriate for me how could it possibly be appropriate for Daisy?” She cocked her head in the other direction and just stared at the assistant principal.
Mr. Snod leaned over and picked up her food tray. He did not touch her purse. “You need to move young lady.”
By this time other students in the cafeteria stared at what happened at Hazel’s table. Before that she had been invisible. She stood up and asked, “So you are ordering me to move? I just want to make sure I understand so when I speak with my grandfather this afternoon I tell him the truth. He wants me to tell him everything that happened the first day of school. I just want to make sure that when I tell him I had to move lunchroom tables it is because you ordered me to, even though I did not want to move.” She had a blank look on her face.
Mr. Snod replaced her tray on the table. “Of course not, I’m not forcing you to move. I…I was under the impression that you wanted to move, but didn’t know how to politely.” He stepped back a few paces.
Hazel sat down. “No sir, I am fine where I am sitting. I do not wish to move.”
“Then enjoy your lunch Hazel.” Mr. Snod quickly left the cafeteria.
Adeline, with fists clinched at her side, stomped her foot, made a nasty noise and stormed off. The other four girls followed her. The others in the lunchroom either laughed at Adeline as she passed or clapped loudly. Hazel returned to her lunch and smiled at Daisy.
“I don’t think you should have done that.”
“Done what Daisy? Not let some girl with too much makeup on tell me what I can and cannot do. Or whom I can or cannot eat lunch with?” pfftt…. “I do as I please. My parents taught me to think for myself and to not let others bully me. I’m not about to start now because I have to live with my grandfather.”
“She can make your life miserable.” Daisy did not look at Hazel.
“Only if I let her. On the other hand, if you didn’t want to eat with me, you should have said so before I sat down.” She looked at the other girl without blinking.
“It’s not that. I just know how mean she can be.”
“Who?” A very handsome boy asked as he sat down next to Daisy.
Daisy answered, “Adeline tried to force Hazel to sit with her for lunch by getting Mr. Snod involved.”
“And you didn't move?” Hazel found his golden eyes to be mesmerizing. They went well with his golden hair.
“I am fine where I am. I will sit where I want to.”
Daisy said, “This is my cousin Logan. Logan, this is Hazel and it’s her first day.”
He smiled. “I saw her in History class. I sit in the back and I saw you take a front seat. Why sit up front?”
“I like history; especially Egyptian and the 1800’s. Why do you sit in the back?”
“It’s expected. I’m the football captain.” He nodded his head.
“That is sad, to expect our athletes to be dumb.” She drank the rest of her milk and wiped away a milk mustache.
“Oh, he’s not dumb. He gets A’s in everything except for history, then he gets only a B.”
“Maybe he could get an A if he sat in the front.” The two girls giggled.
“I’m not good at remembering dates. Besides, it doesn’t matter where I sit. I just don’t get certain things when it comes to history.”
“I understand that. I’m not the best in math, but I love history and science.”
End of lunch bell rang.