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Back Flip: Chapter 1
My toes were on the edge of the board, my breathing steady. I felt everyone's eyes on me, particularly his eyes. His as in the Eric Allen, only the hottest, sweetest guy in the neighborhood. I bent my knees and the world spun around me as I flipped backwards. I was smiling as I slid out of the pool. I had done it, a back flip. I had always been to scared, but I had finally done it. And in front of Eric. THE Eric. My heart fluttered as he caught my eye and smiled. He had just looked at me. Oh. My. God.
My best friend Jasmine ran to my side as I stood up. “That was amazing! You were so good.” Then she whispered, “And Eric was soo watching.”
I grinned back. “Yesss.” I whispered back to her. I gave Eric a last look and we walked towards the snack bar. We both got slushies and started our daily boy talk as we sat on beach chairs in the sun.
“Eric soo likes you! You should have seen him. I swear he almost applauded when you did that flip. He was smiling soo much.” Jasmine chided. I smiled at her as I pulled a lip gloss out of my bag and reapplied it, just in case Eric looked over. Then, Jasmine’s phone buzzed. She opened the flip top.
“Who is it from?” I asked curiously, leaning over.
“Jake…” She answered, referring to her boyfriend of almost 5 months. Finally she finished texting and set her phone down. “When you and Eric get together, we can totally double date!” Her brown eyes danced.
“You think so? That would be amazing.” I sighed longingly, looking towards the cloudless sky. We talked some more about boys, then plans for the next week. We weren’t even thinking about school.
An hour later we were walking towards our neighborhood. I skipped ahead, humming my favorite song. I turned towards Jasmine. She had a towel draped over her shoulders, and her long brunette locks, damp from swimming, cascaded around her shoulders. She looked like she didn’t have a care in the world, and at that moment, I didn’t either. The day couldn’t be any better, and even though school was going to start in a few weeks, we weren’t even looking towards 9th grade yet.
“Omigod!” She squealed as I walked again and she fell into step beside me, “I can’t wait till you go out with Eric. He is soo going to ask you out.”
“I really hope so! I really like him. So, pool again tomorrow?” I asked.
We talked until we split our separate ways to our houses. We never ran out of things to talk about. A summer breeze began to blow, ruffling my hair. I closed my eyes. This day couldn’t get any better. I hummed to myself, thinking about how amazing this summer was. No stress, just fun. I felt like skipping and twirling like those perfect models did in the TV ads. I would throw my head back and my strawberry blond locks would fan around me. I smiled at the thought of being so eccentric, but I knew that was still something I would do.
I finally walked up my gray stone pathway towards my house, I saw my parents sitting together on the porch, a paper in my dads hand. The were mumbling to each other. When they saw me and stern looks crossed their faces. My heart sank. Report cards were supposed to come this week, and I knew I hadn’t done so hot on the last quarter. My parents had sworn there would be consequences if I didn’t pull my grades up bigtime in the last quarter.
“Hallie,” My dad grumbled as I stepped on to the porch, and then handed me the paper. “Please explain this to us.”
He shoved the paper at me and I took it. It was, of course, my report card. I felt like shredding it up and running to my room, but my eyes scanned the paper instead. My lip trembled as I read:
Hallie Richey, Grade 8
U.S. History 8
Physical Education A
I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment. I suddenly wished I had worked a little harder at school and not as much on art, which was my real passion. But it still could have waited. I search for words but none came. I looked into my parents eyes, and they gazed back with anger. There was no sympathy in their eyes. My throat felt dry.
“Your report card includes practically has half the alphabet, Hal.” My dad finally said, his voice gruff with anger.“Apparently you couldn’t take our warning that you had to focus more on your studies, could you?” I didn’t blame him for being mad. I had never gotten a D before. I tried to explain.
“Mademoiselle Lim just hates me. I’m no good at French. And you know math is hard for me. And… I guess I lost focus because of my… art.” I confessed, tears welling up in my eyes. “I’m sorry.” I finally muttered.
“Well, we told you there would be consequences if this happened, and there will be.” My dad continued, not even listening to my argument, “Hallie, were sending you to boarding school.”
He kept talking, but I didn’t hear him. On impulse I flung my bags against the wall and ran. I ran out of my yard and down the street. Tears fell down my cheeks. This couldn’t be happening. Not like this. But it was. I had done badly in school and my parents were strict about those things. I should have listened. But I didn’t. After running for blocks, I finally saw a familiar house. Jasmine’s. I knocked on the door, and when she opened it I fell into her arms.
“Jas” I sobbed, “Its horrible. My grades. They were horrible. And my parents are really mad… and… and…” I tried to breath, but I couldn’t. I gasped for breaths
“Hallie, what happened? Its okay. Whatever happened its going to be okay. Just tell me what happened.” She cooed.
Finally I was able to put together a sentence. “My parents are sending me to boarding school because of my grades.”
There was a silence, and I sobbed more. Finally, Jasmine spoke, “Your parents are probably just angry. Once they cool down they will see how irrational they will being to you. Just talk to them.”
I nodded, but I knew it wasn’t true. There minds were made up. It wasn’t a threat that my dad had thought off the top of his head in a fight. This was real.
We talked a little more and then I thanked her and left. She told me to talk to them tonight and not to worry. I walked home slowly. No tears were left, but I sobbed and whimpered all the way. I was being forced to leave my comfortable Maryland home and go to a cold, unfamiliar place. I was being forced to go to boarding school, and there was nothing I could do about it.