Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Higher Ground or Criminal Minds Characters.
The next morning I was in bed still wide awake when Hannah came by to wake us. I was glad to be up and moving. I was not glad, however, to have to go through this day without caffeine.
I had learned after years of staying up at night how to compartmentalize to make it through days of no sleep. However, I was already pushing my limit. Usually by my forth day of no sleep, I would fill myself with caffeine then crash at night. I would then sleep for 12 or more hours to get totally rested. At this point, I was surprised to see myself thinking coherently never-mind actually standing.
I made my way silently to breakfast where I grabbed my tray of food and sat near Kat. I hardly paid attention as others also sat at the table. I thought I heard my name a couple of times but I didn't bother to find out whether or not I actually had heard my name. I just ate the food.
After I had finished, I knew that I would have to do something fairly major in order to help wake myself up. I left the cafeteria in order to take a walk. I randomly chose a direction away from the clusters of buildings and set off. I tried to get myself awake by saying the alphabet backwards and saying the Spanish alphabet.
I had learned the Spanish alphabet in 9th grade. It was the only thing I picked up out of that class. School wasn't really my thing and I thought Spanish to be a total waste of time.
While thinking, I hadn't paid attention to my surroundings and it surprised me when Peter appeared next to me.
"Where are you headed," he asked.
"No where special."
Peter pointed towards another path. "Let's go that way and we will swing by my office."
I shrugged following him. It wasn't that bad actually. He seemed content to let me stay in my own little world. We neared the office after about ten minutes of walking.
"Follow me," Peter said leading me towards his office.
I followed not saying a word.
Once in his office, he grabbed a sheet of paper off of his desk and handed it to me.
"Here is the schedule I promised you."
I looked down at the paper. It looked like a schedule I would see from my old high school. The difference being that this schedule didn't cover just classes—it covered the whole day.
"Your schedule will look like the other cliffhanger's schedules. The only difference in schedules will be classes that you all are in. Each student is placed in classes based on their ability and their grade level. You may or may not have other Cliffhanger's in your classes."
I stayed silent, hoping he would let me go soon.
He pulled out a binder and also handed it to me along with some pens. "The binder has tabs for each of your classes. You'll get separate spiral bound notebooks for some of your classes but this will be your only binder. Any questions?"
I shook my head. "No."
"Alright. Have a good day. I will see you later."
"Not if I can help it," I muttered as I left the room.
I went and sat at an empty picnic table where I could zone out. Over the past few years, I had developed the skill of being able to zone out while still staying alert to my surroundings.
When I saw the other kids heading to their classes a little bit later, I grudgingly stood and followed them up the common room stairs. My first class was 10th grade English with Roger so I looked down the row of opened door rooms with teachers standing in the halls until I found the one with Roger.
Roger smiled when he saw he and pointed towards an empty seat.
The room was medium sized with four circular tables placed to hold the 10 or so students. The amount of tables placed seemed a little over done for the amount of students in this class but I figured that other classes must have more students.
I sat where Roger indicated and saw that seated around me were people I recognized from breakfast. These were other Cliffhangers. I ignored them. I wasn't interested in getting friendly with anyone.
As Roger talked, my mind started wondering to what Jess was doing. At this time, she was also probably in classes. She was probably paying close attention to what her teacher was saying and taking notes. Jess was always a good student. She always made A's or B's. She also was involved in school clubs and study groups. She was perfect in the ways I wasn't.
I really never had been a good student. I made C's and D's. I probably could have done better but I didn't care. At one point, I had care. I had tried so bad to be good. I studied hard and made good grades so that they would be happy with me. When I showed my mom the report card, she told me to go away. She said, "I'm busy. Go take care of Jess." I went and I did take care of Jess. I sheltered her when I could and made sure that when the time came she could get away from the small Pennsylvania town.
"Hey," the geeky kid said. "What's your next class?"
"Health." I told him.
"Follow me. By the way, I know we were introduced at breakfast but I also know that you weren't listening so I'm Ezra. That is Auggie," Ezra said pointing to a tough looking Hispanic.
I followed them and learned that most, meaning Auggie and Ezra, of the Cliffhangers were in my classes. Only two, Kat and Janet, were not in any of my classes. This, Ezra explained, was because Kat was a junior and Janet was a senior.
Out of the Cliffhangers, it was Ezra and Auggie I related to. I still had no intention of getting to know them but we had similar backgrounds.
Ezra, a geeky sort of kid, had been a pharmacist at his high school until a drug overdose landed him in the hospital. He and I were a like because we both liked to get wasted.
Auggie, on the other hand, was a homebody, a street kid and a gangster. He and I know what street life is like.
Once classes let out, I gathered my notebooks quickly hoping to escape and find a place of seclusion.
"Shelby, Peter wants to see you," my Spanish teacher said as I passed by her.
I muttered under my breath heading towards Peter's office.
Reaching the office, I knocked and waited until he said, "Come in."
I walked in. Peter looked up at my entrance, smiled and gestured to a seat in front of his desk. He then got up and pulled the chair, next to the one I sat on, out so that we could face each other.
"So, how are you doing today?"
"It would be better if I could have caffeine, a cigarette and alcohol." I shrugged. "Not necessarily in that order."
"How would having those things improve your day?"
I stayed quiet.
"Alright. I want a one page single spaced paper on how you could improve your day without the use of stimulants or depressants. I want it by the end of tomorrow."
"That's harsh. I got homework and stuff to also do, you know?"
"You'll be able to get it done."
"And how do you know," I asked.
"If you do not get it done you'll get another paper to write. That one will be on how you could manage your time better. Shelby, I would never give you more than I think you could handle."