Chapter one – The first day
I was dreaming about butterflies when the alarm clock woke me up. There were many
of them, all in the same colours as the butterflies in my room. I liked butterflies. They disappeared when I opened my eyes, but they would be back when I went to sleep again.
Only this time, I couldn’t do that. Because today I had to go to school.
I pushed back the blanket and got up, shoving my legs off the matrass. Pecha greeted me as she always did.
‘Good morning,’ I greeted back. ‘Today I have to go to school, Pecha. But I don’t want to. But daddy will be mad at me if I don’t, and mummy said they would all love me because I’m cute. Do you think I’m cute, Pecha?’
Pecha didn’t say anything.
‘Well, mummy said it, so it has to be true,’ I nodded to her, and got up from the bed. My feet got tickled by the butterflies as I walked out of the room, to the bathroom. Mister octopus smiled at me from the wall. I smiled back and took off my clothes, ready to take a bath.
I bathed for a little too long and then I had to run downstairs, because the bus was going to be here soon. Mum was already up, and so was Tommy, with a plate of freshly baked pancakes.
‘Heya, sis,’ he mumbled while shoving whole truckloads of pancake in his mouth. He had a very big mouth.
‘Tommy, are you going to sit with me in the bus?’ I asked shyly. Thomas got up from his chair and grabbed his now empty plate to put in the dishwasher.
‘Of course. I’m going to take you to school and back. I’ll let you meet my friends, too, if you want.’
‘See?’ mum said, giving me a morning hug. ‘Everything will be fine. Now, the bus will be here in a minute, so hurry up and eat your breakfast, Natalia.’
I was just going to start on my second pancake when the bus arrived. We were the first house on the route, so no one was in it yet. I looked at it nervously.
‘Come on, Nate,’ Thomas said (The way he nicknamed me sounded like I was a boy, and I hated it. And that’s why he kept it like that), walking past me. ‘We’ll miss it if you keep standing over there.’
I quickly left for the bus, and within minutes we were heading to school. Tommy sat next to me all the way, talking about teachers and gym class and where you could go to play during breaks.
When we finally arrived at the building, I saw the number of sims heading inside. There were so many! I wanted to turn around and go straight home again.
It was as if Thomas felt what mood I was in. He sped up and walked right next to me all the way to the school gates, smiling in a way that made me grin a little
‘I’m in the classroom right next to yours. Today you’re free fifteen minutes before me, so wait at the playground until I come get you, okay?’
‘Good. Now let’s go inside, Nate.’
I nodded and followed him in.
School wasn’t as bad as I thought. There were only a few other kids in my class, and they left me alone. I was happy for that, and the teacher didn’t really pay me any attention, as well. Sitting quietly in the corner of my classroom, I waited until the end of the day.
At 3 pm, we were free to go. I walked past a few older boys and headed to the playground, to wait for Tommy. It was a large playground, complete with a sandbox to play in.
Playing in the sand was fun. I sat myself and started working on a sand castle. All of the other kids had gone home already, so I had the playground all to myself.
Or maybe I didn’t. The older boys I ran past a few minutes ago entered the playground while making a lot of noise, and they were heading straight towards me. I didn’t like the looks on their faces. Maybe they would go away if I just ignored them. I bowed my head and continued on my sandcastle.
‘Hey!’the boy with brown hair yelled. He was acting like the leader of the group.
‘You’re the new kid, aren’t you? You’re making a sandcastle, that’s so lame! What are you, a baby?’
He was acting mean. I didn’t like it when strangers were being mean to me. But mummy said they would love me when they saw how cute I was…
‘I… I’m much cuter than you are,’ I muttered shyly, to see if it worked.
‘Stupid girl!’ the boy shouted, kicking sand up from the sandbox and right into my face. Tears welled up in my eyes from the sand.
‘Crybaby, crybaby!’ the other two boys yelled.
‘Get lost, this is our playground now! No crybabies allowed!’
The brown-haired came even closer and when I didn’t move, he started hammering on my sandcastle with his fists. My castle! He was molesting my castle!
‘No, stop, stop!’
‘Crybaby! Crybaby!’ the two boys behind the bully sang, as the brown-haired boy kicked more sand into my face. ‘This is our playground now!’
Within seconds there was nothing left of the castle. The make-believe flag, a thin stick I had placed on top of the sandy building, was laying in three broken pieces across the sandbox.
I didn’t understand. Why were they being mean to me? Did they hate me already? Did everyone maybe hate me here? I felt tears run down my cheeks and quickly covered them with my hands, but it didn’t stop the crying. I shouldn’t have gone to school. I should have stayed alone.
I hated it here.
That voice was new. I opened my fingers a little bit and peeked through them. There was a boy walking towards the bullies. He looked about the same age as them and had hair that shone like gold. Was he another bully, too?
‘What do you think you’re doing, picking on a girl?’
‘Th-that’s none of your business, Wyatt,’ the front bully sneered, but not in his usual tone. ‘We’re just having fun.’
‘So molesting the girl’s sandcastle is fun to you?’ the boy named Wyatt said angrily, pointing at the sandbox. ‘And making her cry is fun too? You’re sick, David.’
‘I said that’s none of your business! Get lost, orphan boy! You’re not wanted here! No one wants you, anyway!’
The kids behind him started to laugh, but quickly stopped when they saw his face.
‘You’ll have five seconds to leave or I’ll make you wish you never said the word orphan to me,’ he threatened, with a voice lower than any kid’s voice I’ve heard before. It sounded pretty scary.
Apparently the bully thought so, too.
‘We don’t want to be in the same playground with you, anyway!’ he sneered. ‘Come on, guys, let’s go. This is boring.’
And just like that, they all turned around and ran off. Wyatt and me watched them leave the playground and disappear behind the corner of the school building.
‘Are you all right?’ he then said, turning around. ‘They didn’t hurt you, did they?’
I didn’t want him thinking I was a crybaby, too. So I quickly wiped my face with my arm. There was still sand everywhere.
‘Umm… th-thank you,’ I then muttered softly. I stared at the grass the whole time, scared to look him in the eyes. What if he would turn out to be a bully, after all?
‘You’re welcome. I’ve never seen you around here before. Are you new?’
‘What’s your name?’
‘That’s a pretty name!’ he said, enthusiastically. ‘I’m Wyatt. Hey, if you don’t have to go home yet, do you want to ride the teeter totter with me?’
‘You mean… play together?’ I asked. Did this boy really want to play with me?
‘Of course! Come on, let’s go! Or don’t you want to play with me?’
His smile didn’t fade for even a second when he said that. It felt strange… somehow Wyatt made the nervous feeling in my stomach I’d felt all day long fade away. I felt my face turn into a smile, too.