Saturday Shorts: Upgrade Excerpt #2

This week is another excerpt from the first draft of Upgrade, the sequel to Augment. It’s also quite late… And I haven’t even had a log update in weeks! Expect one forthcoming in the next couple of days.

For those of you not familiar with the Augment universe, Viki is an Upgrader, and the main character of the series. The sections in her POV are told in first person, including the following excerpt.

Upgrade, Chapter Two, Excerpt

Chairs clattered and the door hinges squeaked incessantly as students started to file into the classroom. Still no sign of the teacher—other than glancing up occasionally to see if he’d arrived yet, I kept my attention on the paper on my desk. A few of the whispers around me caught my ear, but I ignored them stoically and continued drawing the cat that was slowly filling my paper.

“Is anyone sitting here?”

At first I didn’t realize that the question was directed at me, since I was so focused on ignoring the rest of the class. A slight touch on my shoulder made me jump, and I looked up to find a guy with green eyes looking down at me. Very green eyes—he was probably wearing contact lenses.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“I asked if anyone was sitting here,” he said, gesturing toward the desk next to me. “I wasn’t sure if you were maybe deaf or not. Please excuse me.”

“No one’s sitting there,” I replied. He had to be a transfer; I didn’t recognize him, and he was speaking with me. James’s words came back to me, make new friends. I took a deep breath and held out my hand. “My name’s Viki. What’s yours?”

“Dell,” he replied. “Nice to meet you.”

“You’re new to this school, right? I haven’t seen you before.”

He nodded. “Just transferred in.” He brushed his blond bangs out of his eyes and offered me a tentative smile. “I don’t suppose you’d mind showing me around during lunch? I tend to get lost in new schools. My last one took me almost two months to remember where my classes were.”

I nodded. “Sure.” Two months? Just how big a school had he been attending? And did he travel a lot, if he was attending new schools regularly? Or was there another reason for his transfers? I hoped he didn’t have a criminal record or something. He didn’t look like someone who would, but that didn’t mean anything. I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, anyway. “What classes are you in?”

He pulled up his schedule on his phone, and by the time the teacher arrived, I had determined that we had the same math class, English class, and history class today; he had a different art class, one of the advanced ones. I was in music again, because anything involving paint or clay usually ended in a disaster for me.

“You can follow me to history,” I said. “Then we can grab lunch and I can show you around. If you want, that is.” I gave him my number in case we got separated.

“Thanks, I really appreciate it.” Dell tucked his phone away and took a seat just as the teacher arrived.

I did my best to focus on the blackboard, but I couldn’t contain a smile. Maybe making a new friend wasn’t that hard after all. Dell seemed nice, and he hadn’t recognized me. My smile slipped a little; someone was going to tell him who I was eventually. And then he might change his mind about wanting to be associated with me. I snuck a glance toward him, but he was busy writing down notes, his hand jerking across the page. Well, there wasn’t much I could do about it right now. In the meantime, I’d do my best to be friendly.