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Discovering Me (Book 1 of Discovering Me Series)

By @ess1223

Crazy Beautiful Life - Kesha

{Isabella}

Sami’s scheme was artfully planned. I memorized each instruction she and Finn gave me. When they spoke, they had the tendency to complete each other’s sentences. Their closeness was fascinating. They could have conversations only using facial expressions. I was able to stay focused long enough to hold up my end of the plan. As discussed, on Thursday night, we were gearing up to head to our battle stations.

~

After dinner, I changed into jeans, a dark t-shirt, and tennis shoes. All of which were generic and insignia-free par Sami’s request. I put my black hoodie into my backpack. I went to Sami’s room when I was finished.

It was a disaster zone. Clothes were strewn all over the floor. I’d never seen her bed made, though I was in her room daily. Her desk was too cluttered for use. It still managed to be one of my favorite places to be. She had so many things on the walls –tapestries her parents acquired during their travels, band posters, sheet music, ticket stubs, and Finn’s artwork.

“That’s new.” I pointed to a doodle of a monster drawn in black ball-point pen that was mounted above her bed.

“Watson said he perfectly captured my inner rage monster and felt it was only fair that I got to keep her.” She continued to swap batteries out of a flashlight.

“He’s very talented.” I mused as I sat down on the edge of her bed.

“I certainly can’t argue with that.” She picked up a new flashlight to install batteries into.

“How would you describe your relationship with him?” I asked gently.

She sighed heavily. “Did Elle put you up to this?” She looked over at me.

“This is personal curiosity.”

“What we are at face value is the extent of it. We get annoyed by the same things and we’re partners in crime. That’s it.” She resumed packing.

“What annoys you?”

“People, places, things, and ideas.”

“So just all the nouns?”I giggled. 

“Yep.” She cracked a smile. “I’ve noticed that you hang out with boys more than girls.” She added after a moment.

“Not intentionally. You, Elle, and Morgan are the only girls that really talk to me. I’m scared to approach the others on my own. Our guy friends talk to me. It makes other boys more receptive, knowing other guys have deemed me as decent enough to hang out with.” 

“Elle and Morgan really like you.”

“You don’t?” I joked.

“I wouldn’t let you anywhere near this if that was the case.”

“I really like you guys too. I’ve never really had this before – people to talk to and have fun with at school.” I admitted.

“I can’t really see you keeping to yourself. You’ve been here for a month and have already made a name for yourself. Most of it’s based on your first day.”

“Things were different at home. I couldn’t be this – myself.”

“I get it. People tend to treat me differently once they know what I am.”

“Human?” I offered lightly.

She fought off a smile. “Not everyone understands. I mean, I don’t develop a crush on every girl I meet. I certainly don’t force myself on straight girls. I don’t get with girls to seek attention from guys. And I’m not more likely to cheat in a relationship. This isn’t a phase. I’ve always sorta known, you know?”

“I don’t go to yoga club on Wednesday. I go to my mandatory counseling appointments.” I admitted to put her at ease.

“Welcome to the club.”

“You go?”

“For anger management. I’ve gotten into a number of fights – three last semester alone. They haven’t expelled me because being tormented was the reason I physically fought back. Elle goes. Finn and Nick go too.”

“What do they go for?”

“It’s not really my information to disclose, you know? You can ask or not; they’re all pretty chill about it. You’re not alone. That’s all I was trying to say.” She pulled on her backpack. “You ready to go?” She asked me.

“Question: why are we waiting until we’re in the science department to put on our black hoodies?”

“Three people in identical black outfits and backpacks on a Wednesday night would look suspicious. There’s a reason we’ve never been caught. Watson and I plan ahead.”

I nodded in understanding as I followed her out the room. “And why are Ryan and Milo stationed in the library?”

“That’s our safe zone/alibi. We run there if we’re almost caught. A chase can’t ensue in the library. Hannagan won’t have that. The security guards will walk right past it, searching for us. She’ll see us there with them, thus creating reasonable doubt that we were the ones to release the frogs.”

“That’s actually brilliant.”

“We’re good at what we do.”

“Annual animal rescue?” Elle called to us as we passed her in the living room. She kept her eyes on her textbook.

“You know the drill.”

“I haven’t seen you in a while. You said something about going to the library to meet up with Milo and Ryan, I think.” She recited, still studying.

“Later.“ Sami bid her farewell.

“Be careful.” She called after us.

“She studies a lot.” I commented as we made our way to Finn’s suite.

“She’s not at the top of our class for nothing.”

“Seriously?” I questioned in disbelief.

“Straight A’s every semester, even in her advanced classes. She’s in charge of like five clubs. She started three of them herself. And she still manages to have a booming social life. That girl’s day planner keeps her alive.”

“No wonder she doesn’t have time for meaningless flings.”

“Most of the guys here are clueless. I love that she doesn’t reward them for being interested. She makes treating her well a requirement, not a bonus, which is how it should be. Don’t tell her I think she’s right.”

“My lips are sealed.” I smiled in her direction.

We finally arrived at the boys’ suite and she pounded a pattern onto their door. Finn immediately came out, ready to go.

“I’ve got something you might be interested in, Sams.” He removed a key from his pocket and gave it to her.

“Is this what I think it is?”

“Yes.”

“How’d you score this?” She beamed.

“I can’t reveal my sources. You know that.” He offered her a wicked smirk.

She fought back a smile of her own. “You’re kind of the best.”

“I know.”

She lightly nudged him with her elbow.

“What is it?” I asked.

“You’ll find out soon enough.” He answered.

Once we were in the science department wing, we removed our jackets from our backpacks and slipped them on. We put up our hoods and slid on our sunglasses. I was curious about how we were going to get into the biology lab. My mental question was soon answered when Sami removed the key Finn gave her from the pocket of her jeans.

“How did you –?” I tried to whisper to him. He brought his index finger to his lips and pointed to the security camera in the far corner.

I tiptoed to the amphibian tank alongside them. We pulled on our gloves and loaded the frogs into the travel tanks we brought in our backpacks. We left everything the way we found it and were out of the room in ten minutes. We used the nearest door to get outside. We trekked to the lake on the far side of campus. We opened our tanks and released them back into that habitat our class collected them from a few weeks ago.

“Freeze!” Two security guards flashed their flashlights on our backs.

Instead of doing as told, we slipped on our backpacks and bolted in different directions. The adrenaline rush was exhilarating as I felt myself being chased. My heart was pounding as I crouched down behind a tree in the woods. His flashlight scanned the area, but missed me.

“I lost them.” I heard him complain into his Walky-talky. 

I waited until I could no longer hear his radio transmission before I climbed out of my hiding spot. I removed my jacket and shoved it into my backpack with my gloves and sunglasses. I zipped everything up and walked back into the building in a normal fashion. I got a drink at the water fountain outside the library to catch my breath. I walked inside in search of Milo and Ryan. I scanned the aisles of bookshelves and work desks. I eventually found them in one of the group study rooms.

Milo and Sami were sitting at the table with open textbooks. Finn was drawing in a notebook. Ryan was at the whiteboard.

“How nice of you to finally join us, Iz. Now we can start our bio study session.” Ryan greeted.

“Sorry I’m late. I lost track of time.” I removed my backpack and sat down in the empty seat beside Milo.

He leaned in close to me. “You’ve got a little –“ He wiped his own cheek. I felt my face warm and scrubbed my cheek with my hand.

“Gone?”

He placed his hand on my face and brushed whatever it was off with his thumb. “Good as new.”

We actually started studying. I was surprised to find that I was retaining information in the creative way Ryan was explaining the unit. He used party dynamics and hook up references to explain cell structures and the cycle.

I raised my hand when I had a question.

“Yes, Iz?”

“Pregaming is prophase, right?”

“Yep. The party has to get started somewhere.”

“Then it’s –?”

“Metaphase or ‘me at a party’.”

“Then it’s ‘and we’re hooking up’ a.k.a Anaphase. And then it’s ‘get their number’, which is Telophase.” I recited from my paper.

“Exactly, you’re getting it.”

After another hour of studying, we returned to our respective suites.

“I see you both survived. Mission accomplished?” Morgan greeted both of us.

“You know it.” Sami replied, plopping down on the couch beside her.

“There was a close call, but we all made it out.” I added.

“You held your own with the dynamic duo. Few have even attempted such a task, let alone handled it.” Elle looked to me.

“They know what they’re doing. If you follow their instructions exactly, it’s a piece of cake to roll with them.” I headed to my room. 

~

The next morning in biology, Mr. Collins stood at the front of the class with his arms crossed. Sami and I sat side by side at our usual lab bench. 

“Last night, three students broke into the laboratory and stole our dissection specimen.” He snapped, scanning the room for a possible culprit. 

Sami raised her hand. 

“Yes, Ms. Elkins?” He called on her with an attitude. 

“No need to be formal. Sami works just fine. I heard the FROGS were RELEASED back into their natural habitat.” She corrected cheekily.

Ryan smirked. I stifled laughter.

“They were part of an assignment.” 

“That’s outdated and can easily be done with a computer simulation.” She retorted.

“We cannot run environment adaptation tests on a computer simulation.” 

“This is done every single year. Have you thought about the generational impact? I feel like collecting eight frogs each year and killing them to learn how they live kind of defeats the purpose. Keep it up and there won’t be any left. ” 

He sighed heavily. “Where were you last night?” 

“In the library. You can ask Mrs. Hannagan. She hooked me up with a great book on the horrors of animal testing.” She offered him an innocent smile.

“I’ll be checking with her later.” 

“Feel free.” She batted her eyelashes. 

The rest of the day went off without a hitch. None of the other teachers were concerned about the missing frogs. They were as excited as the students were to start their three day weekend. We were released from dance class early. I went directly to my suite. Elle was in her room when I passed it trying to get to mine.

She was seated at her desk, diligently working on her laptop.

“Hey, acting let out early?” I leaned against her doorway.

“Yep. I’m updating my party weekend PowerPoint.” She kept her eyes on her work.

I giggled. “What kind of information is included?”

“Enforcing the buddy system, drink watching/safe guarding, knowing your limits, a list of guys to avoid when drunk, and plenty of other tips and tidbits.”

“You’re a magical fairy, aren’t you? That’s the only logical explanation for how you can look the way you do and be great at everything.” I replied lightly.

She looked at me. “How do I look?”

“Drop dead gorgeous. I know you’re aware. The guys here don’t even bother trying to mask your effect on them.”

“I want to be so much more than that, something that won’t go away when my youth does. This is a rental. –” She gestured to herself. “—I’m basing my self-worth on something more substantial.”

I smiled. “I understand.”

“Are you going out tonight?” She asked after a moment.

“Is it worth it?” I asked in response.

“Tonight? No, the good ones are tomorrow. I’m going tonight to stay on top of what goes down during party weekend. It will hit mainstream on Tuesday. I’ve gotta stay ahead of the curve.”

 “People come to you for intel.”

“It’s basically a public service.”

I laughed. “I’m staying in. I’ve got to do laundry. Milo’s coming over to watch movies and we’re ordering Chinese.” 

“I think Morgan’s going out with Lucas, but Sam should be here. She got into a fight with the girl throwing tonight’s party. I’m sure Finn will make an appearance.” She mused.

“What’s going on with them? There’s like twin telepathy, but also romantic tension. It’s strange – very Luke and Leia.”

She laughed. “Star Wars reference. You’re cute. I’d say he’s more like the Robin to her Batman. There’s fan fiction about them hooking up, so I refuse to lose hope that they will too, regardless of how hard Sami deflects that notion. They’re cute together in a very terrifying sort of way.” 

“Like they could kill us all, get away with it, and run off into the sunset to live happily ever after?” I offered.

She snapped her fingers and pointed at me. “Yes, exactly!”

 “I love our friends.” I laughed.

“It gets crazier.” She jiggled her eyebrows and smiled.

“I’m counting on that. See you later.” I waved goodbye.

After doing my laundry, I went to the microwave in the dorm’s kitchen to prepare a bowl of it. I was drumming my fingers on the counter, waiting for it to finish popping when my phone started ringing.

“Hello?” I answered.

“I’m in your suite, but you’re not.” Milo replied.

“I’m making popcorn. You can’t properly enjoy the movies without it.” I quipped with a smile.

“Okay, come back soon. I’m anxious to see the terrible movies I was promised.”

“All in due time, My Friend. All in due time. Side note: I’m pretty sure I’m overloading on radiation at the moment. I’m standing in front of the microwave and talking on a cellphone.”

“Living life on the edge, so dangerous. You have no right to criticize my skateboarding now.”

“This is a one-time thing. You regularly hurl yourself down concrete hills and metal railings, not a true comparison.”

“I beg to differ.”

“Oh, do you?” I giggled as I opened the microwave door when the timed cycle concluded.

“Yes, we’re both aware of the possible outcomes, but we still do it. The premeditated risk puts us on the same level.”

“That was so scientific. I’m truly astounded.” I retorted lightly as I dumped the bag of popcorn in the bowl I brought with me.

“I can be impressive when I want to be.” 

I smiled. “I’m on my way upstairs. See you in a second.” I hung up my phone and put it back into my pocket. I walked into my suite and found Milo sitting on the couch, watching television.

“Hold this. I’ll get the movies.” I leaned over the back of the couch and offered him the bowl.

“I shouldn’t be held accountable if I eat all of it.” He pulled it into his lap.

Elle’s door was closed when I walked by. Upon arriving in my room, I heard our shower running. I grabbed my collection of horror movies and returned to the living room.

“Okay, so I brought Trolls 2 and plenty of others. Pick the one you want to watch.” I gave them to him after I sat down beside him on the couch.

He shuffled through my DVDs. “They all look terrible, but I’ve got to go with the one your roped me in with.” He handed me Trolls 2.

“You won’t be disappointed, unless you’re secretly hoping that it will be scary.” I stood up with movie we were going to watch.

I turned on the TV and loaded it into the DVD player. I picked up both of the remotes on my way back to the couch.

“Ready for this?” I looked over at him.

“Absolutely.”

I pressed the play button and his life was changed forever. Instead of cowering in fear like the movie was originally designed to make the audience do, we laughed out loud. We cracked jokes that pertained to what was going on. We allowed ourselves to be sucked up in the poorly produced, outdated hilarity.

“What’s this? It looks awful.” Sami asked when she sauntered in with Finn.

Trolls 2. We’re going to laugh at horrible horror movies all night and order Chinese food. Want to join?” I offered with a smile.

“Sounds like a good time. You in, Watson?” She sat down in one of the armchairs.

Finn took the other. “When have I ever passed up the opportunity to poke fun at others?”

She smirked. “Never.”

The four of us spent our Friday night watching movies, adding our own commentary, and eating Chinese food. We had a great time. I loved being able to show others something I loved and having them feel the same way.

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