Paramount Activity
Author: Sega Parks

Chapter 13
Stress

   Elisha clasped onto her cup, staring at the students passing by their table. Her eyes rested on Karyn Harrison who was walking with Melissa Johnston. She grumbled. Karyn had been nice enough, but she was insufferable. Elisha thought about the time when Karyn had gotten her and Elisha's friends in trouble for bringing a rat to gym class. They had all gotten zeros that day. Elisha put up the best friendly smile as Karyn approached her table.
  Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, her darkish red hair cascading down her back. Her grey eyes looked even ghostlier than ever.
"Hi, Elisha," she smiled, "what do we need to do for our Ceramics project?"
"You just have to fine some sort of picture that represents an artistic form." she explained. "You can look in magazines, but preferably the internet."
"Thanks," Karyn replied, she then looked at Savannah who was digging into her refried beans. "I love that top on you. It looks really pretty on you."
"Thank you!" she beamed. "I really appreciate it."
Elisha made a low noise, annoyed at Savannah being polite to the irritating girl. She guessed she couldn't hate Karyn. She had been nothing but nice to them, why not just do her a favor and invite her to their lunch table.
  "Hey, um, Karyn, do you wanna sit with us?" Elisha offered kindly.
Karyn's face lit up. "Oh, thanks, Elisha. That's so nice of you, but I have to sit with my other friends. Maybe some other time."
"Okay," Elisha said, relieved that she had said no.
Karyn waved goodbye to the girls before heading to her table. Elisha rubbed her temples with both of her index fingers. She had a searing headache from swimming in gym class. The shock of the coldness still pulsated through her body. Her left ear was stopped up, causing a ringing sound to buzz through her ears.
  "Are you okay?" Reese asked concernedly, picking up her fork to scoop up her salad. "You look torn up?"
"We had swimming today." Elisha said flatly. "I'm just worn out from it."
"I'm glad we don't have to swim." Jamie Klein said, finger combing her dark hair. "That would have been hell."
Everyone knew Jamie couldn't swim. She was afraid of water and had nearly drowned in the seventh grade when they went camping. Elisha felt sorry for her. Swimming was fun, but it could sometimes stress you out.
  Elisha looked over and saw Jen Nguyen sitting over by the boys. Why Jen liked sitting with the boys was beyond her. Elisha waved Jen over, making it aware that they wanted her to sit with them. Palma Voorhees, who was studying for her Health test looked up from her text book. Her green eyes were wide wonder and her outgrown buttery-blond hair flopped over her face. Andy looked at her and did some sort of sign gesture. Palma smiled and did a sign back. Elisha was pretty sure it mean "Meet me after school."
  Jen hopped out of her chair and sat in the next to Holly. Holly was pretty quiet that day. She was usually quiet when all of her tests were on the same day. She looked at Jen and nodded at her in acknowledgment.
"I think we all had a stressful day." breathed Holly. "Do you know how many tests I had to study for?"
Jen poked out her lips in sympathy. "Only one can imagine."
"Ugh, I know." continued Holly. "We need a break from school."
If it were up to Elisha, schools would only be a half an hour long. They would have some electronic devises installed in student's brain, filling their head with information. But that was just something from a science fiction book.
  Jamie pinched Elisha's arm, trying to get her attention. Pain from Jamie's pinch surged through Elisha body. She shot her an angry look.
"Why'd you do that for?"
"To talk to you about Darien."
Darien Mendelssohn, the sophomore who Jamie had been dating since homecoming. Elisha hoped Jamie wasn't thinking about sex.
"What is it?" she asked, slightly agitated.
"I was wondering if it's okay if you and Mark can go on a double date with us this weekend?"
"Why?" Elisha narrowed her caramel-brown eyes at her.
"Because we're going to some intimidating French restaurant and since you're of French heritage, maybe you can help us."
  Elisha looked at her. Jamie was scared to order from a restaurant. Especially if the restaurant was full of stuffy waiters. How hard was it to say you wanted something at a restaurant? Elisha considered the thought for a moment. Jamie was her best friend and Jamie had helped her out plenty of times. Like when she first started her period in the sixth grade or when she had gotten her first "F" on her test. What Elisha would do would just be returning the favor.
"Okay," she said, taking a sip from her Sprite. "I'll ask Mark."
"Oh, thank you!" gasped Jamie, revealing her gap tooth. "Do you have any idea how much this means to me?"
"Yes," Elisha smiled slyly.
  "Honestly, Jamie, how hard is it to order from a restaurant?" asked Palma. "What do you expect them to say. 'No, you cannot have the steak! Now get the hell out of my restaurant before I call the securities!'"
"Thank you!" emphasized Elisha.
Palma laughed. "That restaurant isn't that bad. I've experienced worse."
"Yeah, well, you're not me." Jamie said matter-of-factly.
Palma looked at her pityingly. Jamie was clueless sometimes.
"Don't worry, Jamie," started Savannah, "I'm afraid to order, too."
Jamie grinned. "I feel so much better."
Elisha rolled her eyes. Everyone sometimes acted like idiots.
  Elisha met up with Mark outside of the school, banging her backpack against her back. Andy was tagging along, too, because he had nothing better to do. They were supposed to walk to Starbucks. She was excited because she had been thinking about Mark all day. She couldn't get enough of him. She understood how Carter felt about Savannah. It was as if it was perfectly normal to idolize your significant other's attractiveness.
   Mark kissed Elisha, running his hands down her back. Mark's lips felt soft against her own. She could hear a few people giggling, but she didn't care. All that matter was that she was with Mark. Mark led her to the area where a bunch of trees stood at. It was a short cut path to Starbucks. Since Starbucks was only five minutes away from the school, a lot of kids went there for breakfast. Reese didn't like that because she thought it was too expensive.
Elisha grabbed Mark's hand and walked down the pathway. The coolness felt good against her skin. Her tan was starting to fade and the weather was getting cooler. But she felt warm next to Mark.
  "I guess things are getting a little hectic." Mark commented, shielding his face from the sun.
"You're telling me." Elisha smiled, leaning her body against Mark's.
Suddenly, her eyes landed on a paper plastered on a pole that said "niggerama" in bold letters. Barack Obama's picture was featured on it.
"Oh, how disgusting!" Andy exclaimed, taking the picture and ripping it into tiny pieces. "Seriously? Are people this dumb?"
Elisha was disgusted herself. Apparently racism was alive and well. She didn't think there would be any racist people she knew in Paramount. She hoped she would never get to know that person.
Mark just shook his head. "People think they're so funny."
"But really, they're just dumb." Andy growled. "Racists makes Dexter look pale in comparison."
"What can we do?" Elisha shrugged. "There will always be homophobes, racists, and sexists. That's why Savannah's during an article on Gay Rights."
  "Thanks to Andy and Carter's horny ass." Mark joked, jabbing Andy on the shoulder.
Andy was not amused. He did feel a little bit guilty for making a double standard on gay males and gay females. He really had no problem with gay males. He just didn't like to see them show public display of affection.
"Holly was talking to that new gay kid Max and invited him to Stephanie's party this weekend." mentioned Elisha. "He seems pretty nice."
"Just as long as he doesn't try to make out with me, I'm cool with him." stated Andy.
Elisha felt relaxed and comfortable. Mainly because she was with Mark. There was no one that could dampen her moment. The only problem was she had a lot of homework to look forward to at home. She wondered how she was going to get done with all that extra work.

 

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