The Teen Outcast | Teen Ink

The Teen Outcast

March 12, 2022
By saldana_emily, Santa Ana, California
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saldana_emily, Santa Ana, California
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Author's note:

My name is Emily Saldana and I'm an 8th grader at Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School. I got inspired to write this short story from many books I have read and movies I have seen that were similar to this but instead I added a spin to it.

The look on the face of this sixteen-year-old girl is a scared look you get when you are about to get onto a scary rollercoaster except this is the way she looks every day at her trashy old school. The fear of everyone judging is an everyday thing to deal with for Brianna. Kids nowadays don’t care what they do, they just do it. 

“Hey, loser….are you alone once again. Don’t you think it’s time to try and make some friends?”

“Haha who am I kidding you’ll always be alone,” said Tyler the blonde “pretty” popular boy as he walked away. 


Oh, yea you were probably expecting her to say something…umm well she didn’t. So you see Brianna has dealt with this practically her whole life and over the years she learned to not show how she really feels at the moment and just deals with it later on when she’s alone.  

You might even wonder how her life is at home well she lives in these old apartments next to this liquor store that’s usually filled with homeless people in the parking lot and trash everywhere. And when I say everywhere I mean everywhere…There are even times when people don’t even come because of how bad everything looks it’s just crazy how that thing is still even in business. 

But she lives just right there, yeah it sounds like a bad neighborhood but it’s all they could afford. But when I mean by “they” I mean Brianna.

And I say that because her parents are what is known as alcoholics and addicts so they are usually never themselves, like ever. I mean they barely even know her name or who she really is. They’re always in and out of the house almost every day and don’t even bother to check up on Brianna or take care of her, which means she’s mostly all on her own and takes care of everything herself. She takes care of bills, her parents, and herself. So life at home isn’t always the best for her especially when her parents aren’t so pleasant to deal with.

But usually, when she’s home she gets some alone time with herself and when that happens she’s usually working on homework or crying about how she looks or how they’re living. And as 


you could see this is a situation that no teenager should ever have to go through at such a young age. 

“Hey, you girl…” said her smelly old father.

“m…” said Brianna in a confused quiet voice. 

“Yes, you!! Pass me another drink will you, I need to get rid of this painful headache I’ve been having lately” 

“well if you weren’t drinking so much you’d be fine,” she said silently to herself as she walked away to get it.


It was just a normal school day for Brianna until fourth period got interrupted and introduced to a new student named Caleb. She thought nothing of it and just minded her business. Besides it was just a new student they get those almost every month so it was no big deal. 

After about a week Brianna began to come to a realization that it looked like Caleb would always stalk and follow her, but in reality, he’s in most of her classes. 

So during the weekend, all she could think about was him and how this was finally her chance to make a friend. For her to face her fears and try something new. So all weekend she planned out a plan and just hoped for the best. But then on Monday she decides to back out and starts to get all nervous so then gets really distracted and accidentally bumps into Caleb. 


“Omg, I’m so so sorry I wasn’t paying attention,” he said.

“It’s okay, don’t worry about it I wasn’t either,” she said while trying to pick up her stuff.

“Well lemme at least help you with that….” he said while picking up her last book. 

“Hey, look I have to go but again like I said I’m sorry,” said Caleb before he started running to class.

The next day during nutrition Caleb went up to her and apologized again then asked if Brianna would like to walk to class together. So they did!

And during class, they kept making eye contact and also smiling at each other. 

“Alright, students we have a new project coming up. You could either work on it as a group or individually just keep in mind that this is due till next month. So you have about 5 minutes to decide who you might want to work with and from there I could explain the directions.” said Ms. Skipper as she started walking back to her desk. 

And as the whole class moved around Brianna just minded her own business and started spacing out. But then there was a sudden tap on her shoulder and it happened to be Caleb. 

“Hey, Brianna! Would you like to work on the project together?” said Caleb nervously.

“Uhh…umm…yea sure I would love to!” she said while offering him a seat right next to her.


“Okay class now that most of you have your partners we will now get started. I just posted the directions on canvas and also listed the expectations I will gladly have from this project. So please use your time wisely when you are working with your partner whether it’s during class or free time. You may now get started!” said Ms. Skipper as she started walking around the classroom. 

And after about 10 -15 minutes of looking over the directions together, they had finally come to an agreement on what their project will be about and started writing out a couple of brainstorming ideas to get started. (Then the bell rang)

Brianna packed up all her stuff and stormed off as fast as she could to avoid everyone in the hallways and just get to the lunch area. As she walked past the staircase she then heard someone call out her name.

“Brianna !! Wait Up,” yelled Caleb while running to her.

“Caleb? What are you doing?” she said confusingly.

“Wow you walk really really really fast…but I was wondering if you would like to get lunch together,” he said while gasping for air.

And as they walked into the line for lunch they began discussing a bit more about their class project. 



Caleb began to speak.“So tell me about yourself. I—” 

“Well there’s nothing much to really say, you know I’m just like everybody else,” interrupted Brianna.

“Come on now, these people? Nooo, they’re nothing like you come on just tell me” Caleb said desperately. 

“Okay fine, ummm well you're actually the first friend I’ve made this year sadly but it’s okay because I mostly try distancing myself from others. That’s why I’m so quiet and walk out of class really fast. I also live with my parents and I’m the only child…..See I told ya there isn’t much to even really say,” she said as she was fiddling with her shirt sleeves, trying her best to hide the truth about how her life really is. “What about you, tell me about yourself.”

 But before Caleb got the chance to even say a word the bell rang. And as soon as it rang Brianna walked as fast as she could like always but this time Caleb got the chance to catch up without any trouble. 

Caleb began to speak.“Heyyy Bri. Wou-”

“Bri?” Brianna interruptedly questioned.  

“Yea Bri! Would you like to hang out after school today, and maybe even start working on the project together?” said Caleb eagerly. 



And as the last period ends they decide to walk out of school together and start heading to Starbucks. 

Caleb began to create a conversation. “So do you have a lot of homework to do tonight?” 

“Ummm, not much actually. What about you?”

“Kinda but it’s mostly just studying,” replied Caleb.

“Soooo, where do you think we should start?” 

“Well first let’s try brainstorming ideas then from there we’ll see!” answered Caleb.

As they continued to discuss the project a few hours had passed. Caleb offered to give her a ride home but Brianna passed on that opportunity. Since they had already been packed up Caleb decided to head out since his mom had already been waiting outside for him. 

“Hey maybe we could even do this tomorrow but at my place,” said Caleb cheerfully while walking out. 

As they drove off Bri knew the coast was clear to just start walking home. On her way back home she had this sort of feeling of nervousness since she will be meeting his family and doesn’t know what to expect. And as Bri arrived home the first thing she saw was her parents sleeping on the couch with a beer bottle in their hand while the television was playing. Then, Brianna decided to walk towards them and clean up after them; she headed to her room to get ready for bed. 


And as she woke up the next morning she got ready and started heading out to school with a little excitement. The whole entire day passed by so fast that she had no acknowledgment that the last bell rang and school was technically over for the day till Caleb stood by her desk patiently waiting for them to go. 

Once they arrived at his house his mom greeted them with food and introduced herself to Brianna. Then headed upstairs to Caleb’s room.

“So when did you guys move in?” asked Brianna with a questioning look on her face while looking at the boxes everywhere. 

“We moved in about a month ago. It just took a while to transfer me into the school district,” he replied. 

“Oh okay, not too bad. So tell me about yourself since you know you didn’t get the chance to last time.”

“Okayyyy, well I have three other siblings, my parents are separated, and we came all the way from Arizona since my mom decided we needed a fresh start from everything. And we now basically live with my grandparents,” Caleb said with an expression of sorrow.

“Oh, I’m so sorry about your parents….I—”

“Okay anyways let’s just get back to the project,” said Caleb gesturing for a change in topics.


“Oh yea yea yea of course, so I was maybe thinking we could do our project about volcanoes. It’s honestly really up to you,” said Brianna with a slight smile. 

As hours passed, Caleb's mom shouted for them to come downstairs to help set up for dinner. As Caleb and Bri were setting up his three other siblings had just arrived from playing basketball at the park. They introduced themselves and all took a place around the table. As his mom served everyone his older brother Nathan began asking what their project is about and as Caleb was answering. Bri shied away, not used to the attention.

They then began eating their spaghetti and meatballs in a bit of awkward silence. This meal is one of the best ones Bri has had in a while, especially since all she eats is microwaved meals every day. After dinner, they clean up the table; Caleb and Brianna head off to his room again to pick up that way Bri could start heading back home. His mom and the two of them then proceeded to head to the car to drop off Bri at her apartment.

Due to Brianna’s situation, she feels weirdly uncomfortable telling them where she lives since she has never told anyone about her surroundings at home. So instead of telling them where she lives, she insists on them dropping her off at her dad’s “work.” 

“You know what my dad just texted me saying he’s almost out of work so you could just drop me off right there by this mall in the corner and from there I’ll be good!” said Bri nervously. 

“Oh okayy….sounds good!” replied Caleb’s mom with a big smile.


Caleb began to speak. “Hey, so would you maybe even want to do this again tomorrow at my place again or maybe even at yours, if you’d like?”

“Ohh I’m sorry but I can’t tomorrow because usually on Wednesdays and Thursdays I have to go to work right away after school but if you want we could do this again on Friday. Here lemme just give you my number right now so we could text each other if anything!” she replied while scratching the back of her neck.

As they exchanged numbers all Bri was thinking about was how hard this thing was going to be to hide from them. I mean she is going to have to keep on dealing with this for about a month or so or maybe even more. It just hurts to see whether they would judge her for the way she lives and is. Plus things might even get worse if they were to find out. But for right now she’s good as long as she doesn’t make it obvious. 

Once the car stopped Bri began to say bye to them as well as thank them and proceeded to head out of the car and wave them goodbye as they left the parking lot. As soon as she was not able to see their car anymore she began making her way home. 


As Friday morning comes she grabs all her belongings from the science project and places them inside her backpack and heads to school. On her way there she couldn’t help but fathom the idea of seeing Caleb again and the fact that she will be going over to his house later today. 


Once she entered the school Caleb saw her in the hallway and decided to hide behind a wall. As she made a turn into the hall she began to feel a shoulder tap behind her and looked upon it and jumped. 

“Hey!! Wanna walk to class together?” Caleb implied.

“Oh sh*t, you scared the hell out of me!”

“Haha sorry bout that but I was wondering if you were still up for tonight?”

“Yea of course I am! So how bout that walk to class.” Bri gestured as she continued to walk away. 

  As lunch came, they grabbed their food and began to head over to sit at an empty table near Tyler’s. Then Tyler took a glance over at them then looked away then began to look at them once more because a wave of realization came to him. It was Brianna. Tyler wondered why anyone would sit next to her as well as start a conversation with her. He then began to stand up and walk over to them as well as make a fool out of himself.

“Hey, Loser!” shouted Tyler as he was laughing with his friends.

“you again,” Bri silently sighed to herself. 

As Caleb heard her sigh he then began to realize that boy was actually talking to her. So instead of doing nothing he then began to talk back and go off on him. “You really have the 


audacity to call her a loser when you're the one making a fool out of yourself to call someone that when you don’t even know them,” argued Caleb with his brows furrowed.

As shocked as Tyler was, Bri was surprised that someone would actually defend her even though they barely know each other. But Bri didn’t mind. It was nice to have someone that cared for once. 

As Caleb began to catch his breath once more, Tyler continued to casually walk away and pretend as if nothing had just happened. The thing that was even funnier was that his friends then started laughing and making jokes about it from then on. 

Right after school as soon as the last bell rang Caleb and Bri walked out of school together but before they got any closer to his house they stopped by In-N-Out so that way Bri could repay him and his mom for all they have done for her lately. She had just the right amount to also even get food for his siblings as well. 

“Bri you know you didn’t have to,” Caleb said with a slight smile.

“No, don't worry about it, after all, it’s the least I could do,” she joyfully said.

Once they had arrived at his place they then started setting up the dinner table so they could all eat together. While they were setting up all you could see on Brianna’s face was just pure happiness. She finally felt welcomed and happy to be around people that actually acknowledged her. Due to the look on her face, you could tell that this meant a lot to her, even Caleb himself realized that after a while. 


As soon as they all finished eating, Caleb and her picked up everything and cleaned up then headed upstairs to start their project again. This time they were going to finish up on their presentation then start their model. They planned to work on it all weekend hoping to finish possibly by the end of this week. Caleb and Bri wanted to do it that way so they wouldn’t have to worry about it at the last minute.

A few hours passed and they take a break, they decided to make popcorn, start having a marathon and watch all the Spiderman movies. They figured they had done enough for the day and deserved a break, it wasn’t that bad of an idea since they still had Saturday and Sunday to continue working on it. 

During the last movie they both began to fall asleep, Bri was fighting the urge to fall asleep and tried to stay up so she could go home but she just couldn’t help it. Once they had both finally fallen asleep on Caleb's bed, his mother walked in and turned the tv off, picked up their mess then covered them up with blankets. By the middle of the night, Caleb got up and decided to grab a pillow and blanket and lay on the ground, and leave the bed to Bri who was sleeping so peacefully.

The next morning, as she got up the thing that came to mind, was Caleb’s presence was gone but she then realized as she heard a slight snore that he slept on the floor. She felt bad but also felt some way, she thought of it as sweet and kind, but also had some other feelings about it. Briana got up carefully trying not to make a sound she tiptoed around the bed as she side-eyed him and saw him slightly wake up and fall back to sleep. Once she got out the door she ran as she felt the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Once she finished she walked back and grabbed her things and 


started to pack up and that’s when she saw Caleb start rubbing his eye and wake up to her about to leave.

“Hey, hey, hey you’re leaving already without even saying bye,”  Caleb said with a groggy voice and bed head hair.

“My mom said I needed to get home but I was going to just leave a note because I didn’t wanna wake you,” replied Brianna in a soft tone.

“It’s okay I understand but here lemme wake my mom so she could take you back home because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want you to be walking home this early,” he said while yawning. 


As a month went by, the moment had finally came. It was the day when Brianna and Caleb would have to present their project in front of the class. They had practiced so much that over time it was getting easy to remember what exactly to say. So when it was their turn to go up they had no trouble whatsoever and finished presenting fast. In fact, they were the fastest ones compared to all the others. So after they were done presenting they went back to their seats and continued to pay attention to the others that still had to present, and ohhh how the time went. It went by so slow that they both practically almost fell asleep. Then once class was finally over before the last bell had rung everyone continued to pack all their stuff and wait by the door. 


Due to the fact that this weekend was going to be a four-day weekend, they both knew the hallways were going to be especially packed today. So Caleb and Brianna decided it would be best to stay in for a bit longer and just wait till the crowd died down. 

As a few minutes passed Caleb began to start a conversation.“Are you ready to go now Bri? And hey how bout we maybe even grab a bite on the way to my house.”

“Wait, you still want to hang out. I thought we were just going to go back to our own lives,” stated Bri, still shocked by his question.

“See that’s the thing, Brianna…I like you, and I like you like you. And I’ve been feeling this way for a while now but haven’t had the chance or courage to tell you…,” said Caleb nervously.

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