Unexpected Undertaking by Margaret W., 811

The last thing I remember before I blacked out was Abigail asking me if I was going to be okay.

That morning my friends and I were walking to school together. Eugene lived farthest from Caribou High School, so he was the first to wake up and start along our route. Next was me, living on the main street that crossed Eugene’s path. Along the way, Abigail and Georgia were usually found walking at a snail’s pace towards the school, eating an aluminum wrapped breakfast sandwich accompanied by a dish of steaming fries from Reno’s. Abigail was devouring a packet of seaweed, hungrily licking the salty oil off of the pads of her fingers. She tilted the plastic box of seaweed up at Eugene and me in greeting, causing the little packet inside to slide to the bottom.

“Want some?” Abigail asked, ready as always to let her humility shine through. She held up the package of seaweed. I shook my head as Eugene reached out a hand to take a piece. “You sure, Will?” I shook my head again as the four of us continued walking towards Caribou. Georgia hastily shoved her sandwich inside of her backpack and latched onto Eugene. Abigail trailed behind slowly, trying to butt in but eventually leaving Georgia to her affairs. I didn’t feel like catching up with the rest, and I felt even less like talking when Abby slowed her pace to match mine.

“Something wrong?” Abby squinted at me closely, as if she was trying to see through me. “You seem quiet today.” She blinked her large doe eyes at me curiously. I smiled weakly and kept walking. Usually, I would talk more, but last night’s events had not helped one bit. Abigail huffed sarcastically and moved in front of me to block my path.

“Will, what’s up? It’s your mother again, isn’t it?” Abby planted her hands on her hips and stubbornly refused to move. In any other situation, it might have been cute, a tantrum by a 4’11” girl with freakishly large eyes, except Abigail hit it directly on the spot with her words. I winced as she mentioned my mother and brushed passed her hurriedly. As I passed by, I could see Abby’s eyes widen out of regret in my peripheral vision. “No, no, no, Will, I didn’t mean-sorry-I shouldn’t have brought it up…” Abigail murmured softly, becoming her normal shy self.

“It’s nothing to worry about. And if there’s one person who I would trust with my secret, it would be you.” I replied, keeping my eyes ahead of me. “No, my mother didn’t come back. She’s still in jail for the next 5 years.” When I first started high school at Caribou a year ago, Abigail had found out that Theo and I were living by ourselves due to our mother’s crimes. She had been following me home, and the next day I found an envelope of money addressed to me inside my school locker. Ever since, I’ve been finding random packages of money and food with my name written on it. I have to admit, it was a bit creepy, but once you get to know her Abby always means well. Plus, Abby’s been pretty much supporting me for two years. Theo and I both have jobs, but without the occasional boost from Abby we’d be a lot worse off.

“It’s just that Theo received a letter from a prestigious high school in New York.” I blurt out, instinctively spilling everything to Abigail. Abby’s eyes widened again, and she clasped her petite hands together and smiled warmly.

“Will, that’s amazing! Theo is gonna to take the offer, right?” Abby said enthusiastically. “Right?”

“I don’t know.” With that, I pushed past Georgia and Eugene, headed towards the school.

       As the student body president, people were counting on me. Georgia, although completely fulfilling the stereotype of a ditzy teenage girl, was the best Vice President I’ve had so far. She managed every meeting, expanded every idea, and always got the job done. There was a downside to Georgia though, and it could cost her everything.

        Her suspension record.

        Georgia had the tendency to lose all morals every few weeks and act before thinking. Last year, she had been suspended for a month because she had crashed the second floor window with Isaac Peterson’s skateboard. While riding it.

“Will, you have to get me out of this,” Georgia ran up to me after third period algebra, her short blonde hair flying in her face. She was panting heavily, as if she had run up the school. After a minute of catching her breath, Georgia finally said, “I was trying to make Abby a really nice gift for Christmas, because last year she bought me an expensive outfit, and I completely trashed the art room.” Georgia looked at me with big eyes. “Please? You’re the one who has a say in suspensions! I can’t have another suspension or my dad will force me to transfer schools.” Georgia begged.

I breathed out loudly, the air hissing in between my teeth, as I shook my head. This must have been important, or Georgia wouldn’t have asked me. She never asked for favors that involved her suspensions. “Sorry Georgie, but no can do. I can’t just pardon you because you’re my VP. Also, what were you even doing in the art room?” I wondered aloud. Georgia glared at me coldly before answering.

“Abby loves collages. I thought I’d make her one for Christmas. But it looks like I’ll be transferring before that.” Georgia snapped. She spun on the heel of her boot and stormed down the hall. “And I resign from vice president!” she yelled over her shoulder.

I felt my heart drop. Georgia had never argued with me like that. Was this pardon really that important? Then I remembered the rest of what Georgia had said. She would be transferred if I didn’t pardon her.

“William Reucter?” a voice sounded from behind me. My algebra teacher, Mr. Alear, was leaning out the door of his classroom, a hand on the frame of his door. “Aren’t you supposed to be in class?” Mr. Alear admonished. I brought up my right wrist to look at my watch. The hands pointed to 10:40. It was already fifteen minutes into fourth period, which was science.

“Oh, I didn’t realize, sorry!” I called to Mr. Alear as I rushed down the hall and up the stairs to the science classroom. “My god, you’re going to be late for the test, Winnowa is going to kill you for this…” I muttered as I shoved open the science room’s door. I stumbled into a dead silent room full of my classmates, who looked up from the test I was supposed to be taking as well. Ms. Winnowa pinned me to the wall with a glare as she shoved the test papers into my arms. “Thank you,” I whispered as I clumsily took a seat in the back of the room. The rest of the period was a blur until lunch.

At lunch, I remembered the whole dilemma with Georgia. I ran as fast as I could down to the cafeteria and to our usual table. “Georgia!” I hollered while standing on my toes to look for her. “Has anyone seen Georgia Perkins?!” I shouted.

“Will!” Abigail called from behind me. I whirled around. She was clutching a notebook in her hand as she tried to make her way to me through the crowd of people in the cafeteria. “Georgia is with the dean right now! Someone snitched on her to Mr. Augus.” Abby told me once we were seated at the lunch table. As Abby explained to me that Georgia had broken one of the art tables and cost the school over a thousand dollars worth of art supplies, I spotted Eugene headed towards Abby and me.

“Abigail! Will! Did you hear about Georgia?” Eugene asked as he hastily sat down. “Do you know who told on her?” I shook my head. Abigail did the same.

“By the way, Will, you dropped your lunch this morning, while you were busy running from me,” Abby said apathetically. She plopped a brown paper bag on the table. I stared at it in surprise.

“Oh, thanks. I didn’t realize I had dropped it.” I said as I unwrapped a cheese sandwich. As I bit into the sandwich, I remembered that Theo had been accepted into that school in New York. Of course, I wanted Theo to go into business and possibly become a lawyer, like he’s always dreamed of, but we could never afford to move from Maine all the way to Brooklyn. I had been so caught up that morning that I didn’t even realize that I was feeling faint. “Hey Eugene, is it getting a little hot in the cafeteria or is it just me?” I asked as I chewed on the crunchy cheese sandwich. I look down at the sandwich, and as I peered closer I saw that the crunchiness is coming from small white spheres in the cheese. I stood up dizzily, and the next thing I knew, I was rushing to the line of trash cans in the lunchroom and regurgitating everything in my stomach.

Abigail followed suit, grabbing my shoulders and worriedly murmuring, “Are you going to be okay?”

And then I blacked out.

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