Chapter 1

The sudden sound of a car horn blaring made her hand jump, drawing a dark black line across her otherwise pristine white cheek. Darcy let loose with a loud explicit string of words. She threw down the eyeliner she was using to trace her ample lips and stormed over to the window. In one swift movement, she threw it open.

“Thanks a lot bitch! I would have been down in two minutes tops, but now, thanks to your heavy handed impatience, I have to fix my makeup!” she yelled at her prissy blonde doll-like step-sister. Mandy hit the horn again in reply. Darcy flipped her the bird before slamming the old window shut.

Stalking back to her dresser, she assessed herself in the mirror. No time to take the makeup off and re do it. She’d have to improvise and try a new design. A heavy sigh escaped her.  She wanted things to be perfect for her first day at a new school. People were already going to be staring.

Darcy would feel more comfortable wearing her normal makeup pattern.  To her, the specific combination of black and white was the ultimate accessory. It went with every one of her outfits and helped to highlight her fire engine red locks.

With a deft hand, she finished applying the black makeup. It would have to do.  She tossed the pencil into her bag for afternoon touch ups. As the horn sounded again, Darcy took one last fleeting look into the mirror and wondered if it was too late to play sick.

“Darcy! Get a move on or you’ll be late!”

She groaned. It was definitely too late if her dad was calling up to her.  She grabbed her things and traipsed down the stairs, her heavy steps echoing.

Her dad grimaced slightly when she sailed into the kitchen. Darcy rolled her eyes but said nothing.

“Have a good day Darcy. Mandy has cheer practice after school so you’ll have to grab the bus or make the walk, okay?”

“Sure dad.”  He looked her over again and kissed the top of her head to avoid covering himself with the thick white makeup.

“Good luck!”  Again, the eyes made their roll upward as she headed out the door.

***

“Geez freak, can’t you even try to fit in?” Mandy said, curling her lip in disgust as Darcy slipped into the passenger seat.

“And be something I’m not? No thanks.”

“So you’re not only going to ruin your own life, but mine by association? Fabulous. Well, don’t expect me to come to your defense. As far as I’m concerned, you’re merely an unwelcomed houseguest, an escapee from the circus, some gangbanger wanna-be,” Mandy said tearing down the roads of their small Georgia town in order to get to school on time.

“With the amount of time you spend plucking every morning, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were the bearded lady,” Darcy muttered, her head turned to look out the window.

When her step-sister slammed on the breaks, Darcy’s hands shot out in front of her, trying to keep her head from going through the windshield.

“What did you say?” Mandy asked in a voice dripping with venom.

“Seriously?” Darcy asked raising an extra thick, super arched, drawn on black eyebrow. It was more like making one eye super wide while squinting the other to make the drawn on eyebrow move, but one got the idea.

“Seriously what?” Mandy asked, her perfect pink lips puckered in confusion, anger temporarily on the back burner. It was like her brain could only handle one emotion at a time.

“Why ask that when it’s obvious you heard what I said the first time?” Darcy asked. “If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have hit the brakes.”  Mandy cocked her head, looking like a dumb little dog, eyes all vacant and slightly glassy. Finally, she gave a curt nod.

“Good question,” the blonde said smoothing out the wrinkles in her forehead with her hands. “I don’t have any lines, right?”  Darcy blinked a couple of times before slowly shaking her head.

“Noooope. No wrinkles.”

“Oh good! You’re never too young to start worrying about wrinkles,” Mandy said as she let off the brake and merged back into traffic.

“Whatever you say,” Darcy said rolling her eyes yet again. If this kept up, someone would think she was having a seizure.

***

The two parted ways immediately upon arriving at school. Mandy practically bounced over to her group of highly caffeinated, bubbly, pleated skirt wearing plastic doll-like clones while Darcy trudged to the front office; hood up, head down.

“Good morning dear. How can I help y–” The secretary’s sentence was abruptly cut off as Darcy pushed back her hood. The elderly woman’s coffee mug crashed to the desk, shattering in a mess of hot and creamy eye opening liquid.

Darcy closed her eyes briefly to keep from rolling them. It really was becoming a habit she needed to break. When she re-opened them, the little old blue hair lady was sopping up the mess with about a million paper towels. Darcy sighed and dropped her bag before reaching for the roll to help.

“Careful not to cut yourself,” she told the stooped over form. The head bobbed up and the secretary’s eyes widen as she got another look at Darcy’s face, but she had nothing to drop this time. She nervously cleared her throat before straightening out.

“Ahh yes… as I was saying, how can I help you dear?” Darcy took a final swipe with the paper towel in her hand before making a basket in the small garbage can against the wall.

“It’s my first day. I need a schedule of my classes.”

“Oh of course!”  the old lady said.  She sat her boney frail frame down in the chair and slowly pecked at the letters on the keyboard in front of her.  “What’s your name hon?”

“Darcy. Darcy McDillon.”

“D…a…r…c…”  Patience was usually Darcy’s strong point, but the second coming of Christ would happen before this geriatric case typed in her name.

“Do uhh….Would you like me to type it in?” Darcy asked, her tone polite.

“Oh no thank you dear! I have to get used to these new-fangled contraptions some time! Welcome to the 20th century, right?” she flashed her big Chicklet looking teeth Darcy’s way.

“It’s the 21st century,” Darcy muttered.

“What dear?”

“I said, it’s the 21st century, not the 20th,” Darcy repeated louder. The lady laughed. A cute little granny type tee hee.

“Now you see how behind I really am!”  Darcy bit her tongue and bent to pick up her bag before taking a seat in the uncomfortable plastic chair that sat to the side of the woman’s desk. She squirmed, trying to find a comfortable position. Those chairs were not made for anyone who had anything resembling a slightly ample ass.  While waiting, she bounced her head slightly and tapped her foot while humming the tune of Miracles, her favorite Insane Clown Posse song.

After what seemed like an eternity, Darcy’s focus was brought back to the secretary when the familiar whooshing sound of a printer spitting out paper caught her attention.

“Here you are dear,” the secretary, who Darcy noticed via a plaque on her desk was named Mrs. Peaches, handed her a crisp white sheet of paper.  Darcy had to blink a couple of times for the black dots to come into focus.  She really needed new contacts, but she refused to wear her up to date glasses in public because they totally smeared her makeup.

“You’ve already missed most of homeroom, but I’ll mark you as present in the system. Why don’t you take the rest of the period to find your locker and your first class?” Darcy nodded her head.

“Thanks.”

“Oh anytime sugar. Good luck!” Mrs. Peaches said with cheery enthusiasm.

Cue eye rolling.

“Thanks.”

Darcy left the office and stepped into the quiet, empty hallway. She took a deep breath.

Off I go. Here’s to hoping I survive the day.”

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