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The following is a work of fiction. Any statements regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. Fan Works Inc. takes no responsibility for the content of user submitted stories. All stories based on real people are works of fiction and do not necessarily reflect on the nature of the individuals featured. All stories based on other copyrighted works are written with authors knowing that these works violate copyright laws.

Please see the Terms of Service for more information.

 

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From the Inside,
Out

By Áislíng

 

From the Inside, Out
By Aisling O'Hagan


Aisling leaned over to shut her alarm clock off. It was 6:30am and it was to be her first day at a
new school. Her dad had just been transferred from his job in Calgary, Canada to a small town in
Ireland called Sligo. She knew of this small town in the northwest of Ireland and was not looking
forward to living there. However, being only 14 years old, she wasn't exactly able to make a life
for herself.

'Breakfast is ready' squealed her mum, as Aisling put the finishing touches on her shoulder-length
light brown hair. 'Be right there' she answered back. She threw on her blue jeans, favourite blue
t-shirt and her black shoes. There was no reason why she shouldn't be clothed comfortably on what
was sure to be a very uncomfortable first day.

Aisling's heart was racing a mile a minute as she quickly ate her porridge and grabbed her lunch
bag. It was bad enough she was going to be the 'new girl with the funny accent'; she certainly
didn't want to be late.

Aisling approached the school slowly, checking out all the other students arriving early. Just from
the look of the locals, it was VERY obvious she was new in town. Right away, she felt as though she
didn't fit in. 'These guys have probably been going to school together since kindergarten. I'm
never gonna make any friends' she complained to herself 'I'm not gonna like it here at all'.

'Good morning everyone and welcome back' said Miss Flynn, Aisling's homeroom and English teacher.
Aisling took a seat in the back of the classroom, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. But no
such luck.

As she read down the class list, Miss Flynn stopped at Aisling's name and announced 'We have a new
student with us this year. Please welcome Aisling Clark from Canada'. She could hear the giggles
of her classmates as she reluctantly smiled at Miss Flynn, as if to say 'Thanks a lot you dumb cow'.


The giggles were coming from the girls to her left, the popular girls. You could always tell them
apart from the others - dressed in designer clothes, immaculate hair and make-up and flirting from
school opening to school end with the boys on the football or rugby teams. The popular boys were
the ones always dressed in the sports gear and kicking a football around the classroom before the
teacher arrived. 'I guess some things are the same anywhere in the world' Aisling thought to
herself.

Throughout the day, Aisling tried to keep to herself as much as possible, but she could not avoid
some people who just had to hear her accent. It was the most annoying thing in the world. 'Say
something' they would tell her and then she'd come out with something like 'oh that's so awesome' or
'Oh my gosh, like, that's so cool, EH?' Anything to make them go away. It didn't stop in the
classrooms either. Whenever a teacher would ask for a volunteer to read something in the textbook,
the entire class would volunteer Aisling just so they could hear her talk. She certainly wasn't
having much success at being invisible.

Her last class of the day was 'Irish', the one class she was dreading. She had begged her parents
to let her skip out on that class at least for her first year, but they insisted it was important
for her to learn the native language, even if no one spoke it anymore. She took her place in the
back of the classroom, close to the door for a quick escape at 3:30pm. And again, she endured the
snickers of the popular girls who just couldn't get enough of this 'plain jane' new girl.

Aisling struggled through the class, narrowly escaping being asked any questions on the lesson. But
what she couldn't escape was a set of eyes that kept glancing over at her. At the opposite corner
of the classroom, by the window, sat a blond boy wearing his football jersey with the initials
'K.E.' on the right arm. He spoke up a lot in class and seemed to be quite smart so Aisling would
listen to him as a way of learning. As she was about to look back at the teacher or down at her
book, he would catch her eye and smile.

Aisling thought nothing of it. She figured it was just some way for the popular students to get at
her, pretend to like her and then do something horrible to embarrass her. She couldn't think of any
other reason why he'd smile at her.

By the end of her first month, Aisling had settled in quite well at school, but still kept very much
to herself, eating lunch only with a girl she'd met in her maths class. Jie was one of the few
people in the school that was friends with everyone. She hung out sometimes with the unpopular kids
at lunch, but she was also invited to several parties with the popular kids. It was the best of
both worlds - lots of friends and very few enemies.

But one thing Jie couldn't help Aisling with was her Irish lessons. Jie had dropped that class and
taken up 'French' instead. She did however make a suggestion to Aisling to increase her grade.
'Get a tutor' she advised 'Find someone in your class that has good grades and that could help you'.
It wasn't a bad idea at all, but who on earth would Aisling ask. She still didn't know a lot of
people and she certainly wasn't going to ask 'Miss Designer Jeans' Miriam Doyle, head popular girl,
to help her.

So Aisling asked her Irish teacher to help find a tutor. 'Mr. McCaffrey, I need some extra help
with my lessons. Could you find someone to work with me after school? I really want to pass this
class' she asked, almost begging. 'Sure Aisling' he replied 'I know of someone who could help.
I'll get them to meet you in the library at 3:45pm, ok?' She nodded and took her seat in class.

As Aisling flipped through her book in the study corner of the library, she heard a voice over her
say 'You're Aisling, right?' She looked only to find HIM staring down at her. HIM from her Irish
class with the football jersey and initials K.E. on it. 'Ya, you're Kian, from my class' she said
trying not to sound too disappointed, meanwhile thinking in her head 'bloody hell, just what I need,
a popular kid knowing how dumb I am'.

Kian pulled out the other chair and asked her what she needed help with. She explained that her
biggest problem was the grammar. 'Growing up in Canada and taking French in school as the major
language, I mix the two up all the time now' she told him. He took her book from her and flipped
back to the very first page. 'Let's start from the beginning then' he said and the tutoring session
began.

A fortnight later, and after a few sessions with Kian, Aisling was writing her first test in Irish.
She was really nervous but was sure she knew enough to pass. But she didn't. She failed miserably,
scoring only 33%. 'I don't understand' she cried to Jie on their walk home from school 'I thought I
knew it. I really did'. Jie consoled her and advised that maybe she needed more tutoring time to
make sure she understood the lessons.

'So Ki. What's it like dating the new girl' Shane teased, kicking the football to his mate during
practice. 'Shut up Shay' Kian snarled back 'I'm just tutoring her. I'd never date her'. 'Kian &
Aisling sitting in a tree...' shouted his other mate Mark from the goal line. Kian shot him a dirty
look too, but in his mind he didn't think she was that bad. In fact, he thought she was really
nice. But he couldn't let his mates know that - after all, she wasn't one of the popular crowd.
The footballers only dated the popular girls.

At their next session, as Aisling asked Kian to help her understand the mistakes she'd made on the
test, he stopped her. 'Aisling, I'd be really interested to know what it was like growing up in
Canada and then having to move here'.

She was in shock. Why on earth would Kian, probably the most popular boy in school, want to know
anything about her, other than whether or not she knows that answer to his next 'Irish class
related' question?

Kian took her book, closed it and set it aside, asking her again about growing up in Canada.
Realizing that the tutoring session obviously was going nowhere, she obliged and told him what he
wanted to know. To her surprise, Kian seemed truly interested in what she was saying and she
actually began to enjoy talking to him in a normal, non-tutoring fashion.

But it was short-lived. Out of the corner of his eye, Kian caught a glimpse of his mate, Shane and
his girlfriend, Miriam heading in their direction. He quickly grabbed for Aisling's book, flung it
open and began rambling off some stuff about the last class. It threw Aisling for a loop, but she
immediately caught on to what was happening.

When it was just the two of them, Kian was going to be play the role of 'I want to be your friend
and get to know you better', but as soon as his popular friends were on the scene, it was back to
'We have no other relationship other than tutor-student'.

As Shane and Miriam passed snickering at Kian being forced to tutor the new girl, Aisling snatched
her book back and ranted 'I think I'm done for today, thanks'. Kian totally understood why she was
mad. But he had to do it. He HAD to. He could lose his popularity status if he was seen
socializing with the new girl that was obviously someone unacceptable to the in-crowd.

Kian saw no reason why Aisling was unacceptable. She was pretty, had a great personality and
despite her handicap in not doing well in Irish, she was one of the smartest girls in school. But
Shane and Miriam were the leaders of the pack, and if Kian wanted to stay a part of it, he had to
follow them, even if he disagreed.

'I don't understand what the hell is wrong with me' Aisling cried to Jie over the phone that night
'you should have seen him. It was like one minute he actually wanted to know me and the next he
didn't'. Jie did her best to console her friend while trying to think of a way to improve the
situation.

The next day, right before lunch, Jie grabbed Kian after class and pulled him aside. 'I need to
know what you really think of Aisling' she insisted. Kian, having known Jie for years, knew she had
a plan up her sleeve and was more than willing to go along with it. He wanted to find out what
Aisling was really like, away from the prying eyes of Mr & Miss 'If I don't like you, you're
no-one'.

For their study sessions, Jie arranged with Mr. McCaffrey that Aisling's tutoring with Kian be taken
off campus because the after-school activities were distracting. 'It's only fair that Aisling be
given a real chance to pass Sir' she explained. Mr. McCaffrey reluctantly agreed. So every Tuesday
and Thursday, Kian would go to Aisling's house to tutor her in Irish.

'I'm really sorry about what happened in the library last week' Kian told her 'You have no idea what
it's like to be a part of that group'. 'I'm not sure why you'd want to be' Aisling replied without
hesitation 'all they care about is how great they are and how low-class the rest of us are. That's
not right' She went on 'you shouldn't have to decide who your friends are based on what they think'.
Kian knew she was right, but he and Shane had been friends since they were 5. How could he walk
away from that?

Aisling interrupted his train of thought 'I don't care that you don't want to be my friend' she
said, knowing full well she didn't mean it ' but don't pretend to want to get to know me one minute
and then act as though I'm trash the next'. 'But I do want to know you' Kian said quietly 'I do'.

Over the next few weeks, Aisling and Kian began to develop a friendship, although a secret one at
that. The only other person aware of it was Jie, the mastermind behind it all. Just days before
the mid-semester dance, Kian appeared at Aisling's door for their lesson. He came completely
unprepared to study; he had one thing on his mind.

'Aisling, would you like to go to the dance with me?' he asked nervously. 'Are you crazy Kian?' she
replied bluntly 'people will see us'. Kian shrugged his shoulders in 'I don't care' fashion and
asked the question again. Aisling smiled and accepted.

Friday night came and Aisling nervously got ready for her first school dance in Ireland. She was
wearing her soft blue shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and cut waist, her black trousers and favourite
black shoes. Her hair was tied up with a silver clip, allowing the light to reflect off her shirt
into her already sparkling blue eyes. As she walked slowly down the stairs, trying not to stumble
as her legs shook, the doorbell rang and there was Kian in black trousers and tan shirt.

'WOW' he exclaimed, taking a second look to make sure he was picking up the right girl. 'You
look.....different. Different, but great'. Aisling knew that she looked much unlike her daily
school appearance of jeans and a t-shirt, but Kians reaction to her was well worth the
transformation.

When they arrived at the school, most of the other students had arrived already and the dance floor
was full. But Kian and Aisling managed to squeeze themselves into the crowd and mingle. 'Hey
there's Shane' Kian shouted 'let's go say hi'. Aisling, with a look of fear in her eyes, said to
Kian 'do we have to...now?' 'I want them to meet you' he told her 'once they get to know you like I
have, they'll accept you'. Reluctantly, Aisling took Kian's extended hand and followed him over to
where Shane, Mark, Miriam and the other members of the in-crowed were hovering.

'Ki' Shane cheered as they approached, all the while trying to catch a glimpse of the girl Kian was
dragging behind him. Although they were all curious as to who this girl was, they didn't bother to
ask Kian to introduce them. They figured Kian was smart enough to only bring a cool girl to the
dance with him and since they didn't recognize her, the assumption was that she was from their
sister school in Roscrea.

Aisling rarely spoke when she was around anyone but Kian so as to not be a give-away. When Shane,
Mark or Miriam did talk to her, it was very brief and she spoke softly enough so her Canadian accent
was disguised. Kian had not asked her to play the part of someone else; she just didn't want him to
have to explain...yet!

Aisling was absolutely stunned that not one of them recognized her. 'They obviously have this idea
of what I'm supposed to look like' she thought to herself 'and tonight I'm not that girl. They have
no clue'. She found it all very amusing, and definitely wanted to play the game a little longer.
Kian knew full well what Aisling was thinking and in response winked to say 'I'm in too'.

As the night drew to a close, Miriam invited the populars back to her place to carry on the party.
'Oh and Kian?' she bellowed 'bring that girl. She looks like 'popular' material. You can introduce
her to us at my place'. Kian snickered to himself, but nodded his head in agreeance.

In the living room, while grabbing drinks for the girls, Shane nudged Kian and asked about the
beauty he'd discovered. Kian hesitated at first, not knowing how Shane would react but he managed
to get it out. 'She's from our school Shay' he told him. Shane looked quite confused. 'She can't
be' he disagreed 'I don't recognize her'. 'That's just because she's all dressed up tonight. She's
usually more casual' Kian replied.

Still with a blank look on his face, Shane inquired more about the girl until Kian finally told him
who she was. 'Are you joking?' Shane blasted. Kian reacted immediately 'Shay, shut the hell up'.
'Jaysus Ki, you're taking a big risk by bringing her out with you' Shane said in a softer voice than
he'd just used, but Kian raised his 'Why Shane? Why? Because she doesn't wear designer clothes or
act like she's better than anyone? Well in my books, that's what makes her better than everyone'.

By now, Kian and Shane's argument had grabbed the attention of Mark, Miriam and the rest of the
popular crowd. Aisling was starting to look a little worried, she knew what was happening and she
didn't like Kian being put in such an awkward situation. He had been friends with Shane and Mark
since they were young kids, she didn't want him jeopardizing that for her. She slowly got up out of
the chair and began to move towards the door to leave. 'NO' she suddenly heard Kian yell 'don't
leave. If anyone deserves to be here, you do'.

'What are you going on about Kian Egan?' Miriam snapped in her snotty, annoying voice. Kian ignored
her momentarily as he walked over to stand by Aisling's side. 'None of you ever made an effort to
get to know her before tonight and now all of a sudden because you think she's one of you, you go
all out' Kian ranted. 'What's he on about Shane?' Miriam asked again. Shane explained 'That's
Aisling, the new girl from Canada'. At that moment, one could have heard a pin drop it was so
quiet.

Then Kian spoke.

'Shane, Mark, we've been friends since we were little and we've never judged people by their
appearance or by who they are friends with. Why are we doing it now? Because it's the only way to
be cool? To be in the in-crowd? If that's the case, I don't want to be a part of it anymore. I
might have been forced to tutor her but I've gotten to know Aisling as a person, not as a status
symbol and she is the most amazing person I've ever met. And I know that if you give her a
chance, you'll see it too'.

He glanced over at Miriam and her followers, still speechless (for once) after the revelation. 'And
you' he snarled 'you might have the clothes, the cars, the daddies with rolls of money, but where
will you be when you have to rely on yourselves? Your personality is worth shite so you should be
asking, no, begging Aisling to give you some pointers on how to be popular. Because in the real
world, she'll stand out and you'll just fade to black'.

With that, Kian took Aisling's hand and led her out of the house to walk her home.

Over the next few months, Aisling & Kian began to date exclusively and both Shane and Mark had taken
Kian up on his offer to get know Aisling better. The so-called 'in-crowd' had now shifted, leaving
Miriam and her followers to wonder if maybe Kian was on to something., that popularity is set from
the inside, out!






















 

The preceeding was a work of fiction. Any statements regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. Fan Works Inc. takes no responsibility for the content of user submitted stories. All stories based on real people are works of fiction and do not necessarily reflect on the nature of the individuals featured. All stories based on other copyrighted works are written with authors knowing that these works violate copyright laws.

Please see the Terms of Service for more information.

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