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The Secret Book
It was what it held, a secret: a small 50 cent notebook hidden away in the hallowed-out shell of a middle school text book, the one place I knew no one would look in. It held every one of my secrets since age seven on the brittle pages of the old spiral. It was a secret to everyone, with one exception, me, or so I thought.
I woke up to the calming voice of my mother. “Kelli, wake up! It’s almost time for school!” she said, while shaking me just enough to get my eyes open. As I sauntered to the bathroom with my eyes half closed, I did the daily morning routine, brush my teeth, shower, and get dressed. It was something that I had usually would do at noon on a summer’s day. “What do you want to eat for breakfast?” called my mom from the kitchen. There was a drowsiness in her voice. “Nothing, I can take care of myself. You can go back to sleep.” I muttered, while descended down the stairs and into the kitchen.
Still rubbing my eyes, I managed to get a bowl, cereal, and milk without removing my left hand from where it was. I chewed particularly slowly this morning, listening to the crunch of the cereal in every bite taken. As soon as I finished, I went to get my backpack, packed the night before with enough supplies to last me the next two years of middle school. I double-checked my backpack particularly the textbook labeled Algebra 2 on It. I quickly turned to the 37th page and checked if the little spiral was still there in the hole I had worked on during the summer.
After zipping the backpack up, being careful not to get the fabric caught in the zipper, I rushed out to meet my friends waiting for me at the bus stop. The bus ride to school felt unusually long , but it was over quick enough. I stepped into the cool breeze. It was the end of the summer, and it was freezing. The bell rang; and everyone rushed into the school, crowding the halls as if at the far end was a million dollar prize. I opened my backpack and looked at the small card that I had gotten earlier in the mail. One three three seven was written on the index card in small font. Right below was the combo; 9-18-27 was written in pencil. I went upstairs and looked at the rows of red lockers lined up against the wall. 1333, 1334, 1335, 1336, 1337, I said quietly to myself as I sighed and walked up to my locker. I twirled on the lock and lifted the latch to open it.
I took off my backpack and let out a sigh of relief. It felt good to get the 20 pounds off my shoulders. I unzipped it and organized my locker exactly how I wanted. Mirror and white board on the side, locker shelves stacked upon each other. As I started to put my books and binders in, I made sure Algebra 2 was hidden in the back of the 2nd shelf. I shoved my backpack on the hook and stepped back to look. It was perfect, but I knew it wouldn’t be this way for long. Soon, it would be messy piles of paper everywhere and old lunches left in the corner. I took a notebook and a pen to class, and saw the cheery face of my teacher as I walked in.
I sat down next to Alice and Lily, my two best friends. And I listened to them chatter about their summers as I watched the minute hand on the clock tick slowly. The teacher gave us some information sheets to fill out, and she passed out our schedules as soon as we were done. I glanced at it and read the classes to myself. Next, was science, an OK class, but still not my favorite. Once the bell rang, I almost leapt from my seat forgetting how loud it was. I went to room 210 and sat at the very back corner of my class. After another hour of pointless forms and syllabuses, the bell rang again. I looked at my schedule again and groaned. Gym, I thought as I debated whether I should fake being sick or go and say I had sprained my ankle outside. I decided to give it a chance. It might be different than last year.
I went to the locker rooms and picked locker 100. I put my lock on it and changed into my gym clothes. I went into the gym and joined the other kids running laps. “Fifty laps around the gym! Let’s go! Let’s go!” yelled the coach. I wasn’t really running, just doing a really fast walk. I wasn’t going to risk having B.O. on my first day of school. After coach blew the whistle, everyone charged for the locker rooms. I changed quickly and went to see if my hair was O.K. I smoothed it with my hand and combed through it a couple times with my fingers. When the bell rang, I went to my locker. I was going to need my math textbook, the real one, not the fake one. I was rounding the corner when I accidentally crashed into some guy.
Our books went flying, and mine just happened to land in front of the boys’ bathrooms. I blushed.. I bent down to pick up all my other books. I looked up and apparently someone else thought it would be funny if he kicked the book father out of my reach, behind the door of the boys’ bathroom. “Sorry ‘bout that,” I heard the boy who crashed into me say. “I’ll be right back.” I saw him get to his feet and walk into the boys’ bathroom. I waited; it had been a good minute and a half, but he still wasn’t back. Another minute passed, and he came back bringing the text book clutched in his arm. “Here,” he said, as he handed me the book. I couldn’t ignore the toothy grin spread widely upon his face. “Thanks,” I replied as I started walking back to my locker. I was thinking of what could have taken him so long when the bell rang. “Oh no,” I thought. I was late for class. I ran down the hall spinning my combo into the dial. I opened it and switched the two algebra books and ran to my math class. I opened the door.” Thank you for joining us, Ms.Cassidy; now would you please take a seat in the back?” I heard him ask. I felt my face turning red as I walked in between two rows of desks. I plopped myself down on the desk and listened to the teacher, just in case he asked my one of those surprise questions. I went through the rest of the day with no problems, and I came home on the bus.
I opened the front door and climbed the stairs up to my room. I sat myself in front of the computer and looked at my emails. I read about five chain letters and went to lie down on my bed. I was about to close my eyes when I heard a beep from my computer. I looked and saw that I had a new email. I went to my desk and began to read it. “You have one new message,” said the annoying voice coming from the computer. I clicked the picture of the envelope and read. You have 24 hours to figure out who I am before I tell everyone everything. To help you out, I’ll give you a clue. Can I borrow your algebra 2 book? Mine has a big hole in it…” I froze.
I looked over my shoulder at my backpack. I ran to it and dumped the contents out. I snatched up the Algebra 2 book, and I flipped through it over and over again. It couldn’t be possible. I started to panic. I HAD to find the person in 24 hours before-. I didn’t want to think about it. I looked at my computer again. There was an attachment to it. A photo of a blue and green jersey with the number 15 on it. He was giving me clues, testing me. I went to my bookshelf and found my last year’s yearbook. I looked at the basketball, football, baseball and soccer uniforms. They all looked like that. I called up my Jessi. “Hello? Kelli? What’s up?” She answered. I spoke quickly,” I need to have a list of every guy on a sports team who has a jersey with 15 on it. “Well, I know that Dave Lois is football; TJ Sachs is baseball; Simone Reynolds is basketball; Eddy DeMonte is soccer, and I think the track 15 is something like Andrius or something.
He’s new to our school.” She recited.” Why do you need names?” she asked, but I hung up before she could finish. I finished writing the names on a scrap piece of paper. I looked in the phone book and found Dave’s address. He lived just down the street at 2409 w. Evergreen Trail. I put on my sweater, put the phonebook and list under my arm; and I went outside. I ran down the street and knocked on his door. Someone, presumably his dad, answered the door. “Can I help you?” he asked. “Can I speak to Dave please?“ I asked anxiously. He nodded and left. I looked over my shoulder and back to the door and he was already there. “ Hi, Dave,” I said. “ I was wondering if you might have had my Algebra 2 book because I lost it sometime today and I really need it. “ “Uh, sorry, I haven’t seen it today,” he replied.” See you later.” I checked in the phone book again for the next person, and I did the same with everyone else. No one seemed to have it.
I went home and stared at the picture wondering what it could possibly mean. I looked at the list. I had gone to everyone’s house and asked them if they had my book. I had done everyone except the last person. I had looked through the entire phone book twice, and I had not seen an Andrius anywhere. Then I remembered, the phone book I had was from last year. The new kid wouldn’t be in it. I had to find someway to get to him. I went back to my house and looked at my computer. I had another message. It was another picture, this time of a bathroom. I wondered how a bathroom had anything to do with me. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightening. The new kid who had bumped into me earlier had taken it. I remembered now. It was all making sense. Why it had taken so long for him to come out, and why he was smiling like there was no tomorrow. I HAD to find it before tomorrow, or I was dead. I started cursing under my breath and ran to the phone.
I called my neighbors and asked if there were any new people who moved here recently. She told me that a pair of old people were down the street and another family with one child who went to the same high school as me. It had to be him. I asked if they knew their address, and they gave it to me while I jotted it down on a piece of paper. The street was Raleigh about three blocks away. I was in no rush anymore, so I walked to his house at a normal pace. I came up the street and knocked on the door three times. I waited until a middle aged woman answered the door. “May I help you?” she asked. “Is Andrius here?” I answered. She nodded and closed the door a little and walked back through the hallway which she came.
About a minute or two later, the same boy I had seen appeared at the door. I didn’t notice how angry I had gotten. Without thinking, my hands lunged straight towards his neck. I didn’t put any strength on it. I just wanted to startle him a little. He was still smiling when he grabbed my hands and gently pushed them to my side. I was about to start yelling at him when he put his finger over my mouth to hush me. It worked. He took out my notebook and held it in front of me. As I tried to grab it, he pulled it away. He was chuckling now. “I’ll give it to you after dinner,” he said, as he held out my hand. I took it. I stared at him as he placed the notebook back in his pocket. He walked me to his car and opened the door for me. I climbed in and blushed. He closed the door quietly behind me and climbed in the driver’s seat. “Where to?” he asked? I turned to face him, and whispered, “Anywhere, where we could talk about …things.” He smiled and began to back out the driveway. As we drove away, I couldn’t quite hide the wide grin that had appeared upon my face, which matched the same one on his. I was going to like this school year.