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Dedicated to my main hoe for constantly getting excited about my stories, reading dialogue out loud for me, and for keeping me motivated. 

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With all the high energy, first-day-back speeches I've heard today, I'd like to think that this year might be as wonderful and fulfilling as teachers are hyping it up to be. But with all that's happened in such a short span of time, it's hard to believe that anything in Dillingham could ever be 'wonderfully fulfilling' as Mr. Anderson put it. 

"First days are for new beginnings, right? Let's keep that in mind so we can start this year off on a good note."

The bell rings just as Mr. Anderson's first day pep talk ends. I'm immediately up and on my feet, forcing myself to move quickly through the aisles to get out first. All I've heard today is talk of new years and new beginnings yet it doesn't seem like anyone's willing to practice what they preach. My whole first day has been spent dodging, avoiding, and ignoring anyone I'm not forced to be in direct contact with.

So much for starting off on a good note.

"You better get your camera ready!"

I stop as a group of students pushes past me, eager hands reaching for phones in their pockets. Their whispers are hardly that since I hear almost every word they say on their way down the hall.

"Man, you should've seen Daniels during lunch. He's totally pissed off."

My blood runs cold at the mention of my last name. Before I can force my frozen feet to unstick themselves from the floor, the sound of yelling and excited talking fills the now deserted hallway. I clutch my books and binders as I sprint down the hall, ignoring the looks I get from other clueless kids.

"Come on, you call that a punch?" someone shouts.

Everything I'm holding drops to the floor with a smack that goes unheard over the loud, deafening sound from the crowd. I can't push through and with all the phones raised in the air and people jumping around, I can barely see. But from small gaps in the tightly packed circle, I can clearly see the fight in the center of the chaos. My heart pounds as I try to shove through, my voice timid and weak as much as I try to sound brave.

"Elise." I turn and watch as Willa runs toward me, her face stained with frightened tears. "Elise, it's Colton. I- I tried to push but people won't move and he's getting beat up by some senior and . . ." her voice breaks and she wipes her face, trying once again to get through the crowd of bystanders.

"Willa, stay over here. Just calm down," I say, nudging her in the direction of the lockers nearby. My sister's upset and anything bad that has to do with Colton makes her even more upset, but we're both pretty useless right now. "Move out of the way!" I shout, finally managing to force myself through a few people.

Ignoring the jabs and shoves I receive from people near the front, I reach the center of the circle, shocked to see that Colton isn't anywhere near this fight. At least not anymore. And the crowd, which was wild and full of life a few seconds ago, is now almost completely quiet. The sound of fists hitting flesh is loud and clear but this clearly wasn't the fight they came for. It almost seems like everyone is as shocked as I am. And as much as I hate it, I can't help that my eyes are glued to the fight in front of me, absorbing every brutal punch and sharp kick. They both swing, they both miss. But with every missed punch, it seems like there's two more to make up for it. It's messy, hard to watch, and it's clear that there's something more to it than a silly argument -- the cause of most fights at this school.

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