Chapter 2: Julie

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     Five... Four... Three... Two... One. The bell finally rang to release everyone for the day. With one hundred and sixty school days left to go in her entire academic life, Julie couldn't resist counting the seconds until she could put the agony that was Deerbrook High School behind her. 

     "The bell doesn't release you. I do!" The teacher, Miss Dixon, a modern day southern belle complete with tall, hair-sprayed blond hair, long fingernails and overly elaborate denim-centered clothing repeated this same line nearly every day at the end of class. 

     Yeah, right. Like Julie needed some fresh-faced idiot making the most of her poli-sci major from Southeast Dipshit Tech to get all dictatorial on her. She should have the good taste to let some gray seep into her perfectly coiffed beehive before cracking the whip like that. As Miss Dixon kept talking about the judiciary branch of government and eating into time she didn't have any claim to, Julie grabbed her already-packed backpack and started to get up from her desk. 

     Instead of standing, her eyes closed, she slumped down and smacked her forehead on the desktop with a thump. 

     "WWWWWaaaaaaaallllkkkkkk mmmmmmuuuuuuucccchhhhhhh?" came an elongated voice she couldn't recognize. It sounded like a record player set to play too slow. 

     Outside of her head, it was such a short bit of time, but inside, it dragged on. Her brain felt like someone had lit it on fire. She could not only hear the people around her, but it felt like she could see what they were seeing as well. Even with closed eyes, she still had a visual in her mind of her surroundings, but with way too much detail. She could see the colors of the desks, floor, ceiling, and people, but also their depth, their age, their durability, their history. Somehow she could feel that Ernesto Rodriguez had to pee. She knew that Catherine was hoping that Jason Hebert would notice that she'd worn a cropped shirt that showed her flat stomach. She felt all twelve of Miss Dixon's tooth fillings and also knew that she'd need root canal in a month or less. 

     Julie had no idea how she knew these things and she didn't care to know them. She just wanted to go, but her face was still where it had landed on her desk, with a small pool of drool forming at her mouth.

     After what felt like an eternity of information overload, she could hear Miss Dixon calling, "Miss Monroe! At least you waited to fall asleep until -after- class this time!" 

    A few lingering kids laughed at the lame teacher-joke. When she had started to get up, the room had been full. Now, only the suck-ups and kids in need of tutoring remained in the room. Julie gathered up her things and took stock as she picked up speed. Her head was spinning, a bruise was probably forming on her head, the teacher was yelling at her, and her classmates were laughing at her. 

     "And Honey, you might want to..." Miss Dixon gestured at her mouth in a wiping motion.

     "What a freak," she heard behind her. Unoriginal.

     "So hot, yet so weird," she heard from someone else. That's half a compliment.

     She looked around, but couldn't tell who was talking. Instead of trying to find out, Julie got her feet moving. The intense sensory overload had dulled, but her head still throbbed. She reached up and felt to see if a knot was starting to poke out of her forehead and noticed a bulging vein on her temple. She pressed at it. Her pace quickened to get out the door and into her car. She could decide what to do and find something for her headache once she got there.

     Stupid nurse - won't let people keep their own meds in their bags... 

     Voices bombarded her as she pushed through the egressing crowd of students. She sidestepped and danced through the crowd to try and make it through faster. Julie already hated most of these people and with them laughing and invading her like this, all she could do was focus on getting out.  

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