ClaireLee gazed at shiny buttons all the way up the wool pea jacket, to the scarred face of a tall girl. Her voice boomed like a sports coach in the hall outside of class. “Are ya in fourth, fifth, or sixth grade?” ClaireLee should have looked away. The girl tapped a finger on her chin, cocking a brow. “Lemme guess, ya must be in fourth.”
The girl’s scar fascinated ClaireLee, pushing her good manners out of the nest. Tall girl’s droopy eyelid sagged further. “Whatcha gawkin’ at, squirt?”
ClaireLee’s face warmed. She’d been caught.
Saved by the moving line, ClaireLee walked through the opened door with the other students. Kids settled behind their desks. She found an empty one and slid on in. The teacher, Mrs. Reed, began roll call. ClaireLee’s stomach nose-dived. Please voice; don’t squeak when I say here.
Teacher got to the M’s and said, “ClaireLee Monteiro?”
Her throat froze. She couldn’t even speak, and kids giggled. Mrs. Reed smiled. “ClaireLee is our new sixth grader. Welcome to Gallagher Springs Elementary. I’m assigning Belinda Cruz to show you around.” She pointed toward the back. “Belinda, stand please.”
ClaireLee glanced at the row of desks.
The tall girl stood, staring at ClaireLee. “We already met.”
Mrs. Reed linked her fingers. “How nice. ClaireLee, stick with Belinda until you’re comfortable with the new surroundings.” The teacher clapped. “Okay class, let’s begin with math.” She handed a new book to ClaireLee. “For sixth grade, we left off on page twenty.”
ClaireLee didn’t understand numbers, but that was the least of her problems. She flipped through the pages, feeling Belinda’s stare. ClaireLee planned on learning the layout of the school in record-breaking time.
Okay, this is a bold move on my part. I've pasted my novel's first scene, which earned Letter of Merit in SCBWI's Grant Competition during the years 2004 and 2009.
Now, I'll go hide.
Until next time . . .