Note: You can also find this piece here on ff.net.
Summary: Arthur and the gang are sophomores at Elwood City High. Watch as they go through the ups and downs that come with teenaged life. Rated K+/PG for some violence, some language, and some adult situations.
Fern sighed as she looked up from her latest Stephen King novel. The library was getting noisier and noisier, making the words bleed together in her mind. It was hard enough to read horror at home now that her sister had left home, but if she couldn’t get peace at the library, she’d just have to get up.
“All of you, out!” the librarian hissed. He’d moved to Elwood City from Metropolis, his lisp ringing in Fern’s ears. She hated the man, who still hadn’t learned the layout of the library because his eyes were focused on ebooks and the new computer lab. The traffic going in and out of that hideous room made Fern shiver; she had to find a new spot to read at.
“Hey, Fern,” Arthur nodded when she passed him. Arthur was wearing his new contacts, which made him look funny to Fern. He’d always had glasses, always. Why should he not have them for sophomore year? “Have you registered for school yet?” he asked. Fern nodded. “Well…what’s your schedule like?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Fern murmured, turning to walk away. Arthur gave her a perplexed look as she faded out of the library’s doors, more like a strong breeze than a person.
“Arthur, come on!” DW hissed, pulling on Arthur’s arm. They’d seen online that a new movie was available for checkout, so she and Kate made Arthur and their mother drive them to the library. Their mother had gone on to the grocery store, but Arthur was stuck with his little sisters like always.
“Ooh, can I check out a book, Arthur? Pllleeeaaaassseeeee!!!” Kate begged, running off towards the stacks. Arthur sighed.
“Do whatever you want. Just be quiet before you get us kicked out,” he groaned, remembering the group that left the library as they entered. They were from Pleasant Dale High, a private school just outside of Elwood City, meaning they were Muffy’s new classmates. She’d abandoned the group long ago for the private school life. While she was stuck-up and snooty in Ratburn’s class, she was now a million times worse.
“Arthur, where should we meet you?” DW whispered loudly from the DVD shelves. Arthur sighed, walking past her on his way to the comic section. He told her he’d be there, but he doubted she was listening. She’d squealed as she grabbed the DVD, hugging it to her chest. Arthur sighed again, moving upstairs to the comic section.
He was feeling nostalgic now. He couldn’t look at comics with his former best friend, Buster, anymore. Buster had moved before high school to live with his father and step-mom. His father lost his job as a pilot, so he used his knowledge of history and his degrees (that no one knew about, even Bitzi) to secure a job at a popular Metropolis museum. He’d met his new wife there, a very rich wife with a loft in the city. She already had a son, but now Buster stayed with them as well. He’d been there for three years; he’d stopped writing after one.
“Arthur Read? Well it’s been a long time,” a female voice sneered from behind him. Arthur turned from his thoughts and the comic wheel to see Muffy Crosswire, her hair done in some famous fashion, her clothes perfected to match. “I didn’t think you’d still be here, not with your mother losing her job.”
“She’s an accountant, Muffy. They don’t lose their jobs,” Arthur countered. During tax season, his mother went to live with Grandma Thora, who didn’t mind letting her daughter-in-law hole up in her basement while she worked twenty-four hours-plus a day to work through as many returns as she could do. The money kept them going until the next year, with good budgeting. This year there was enough for a new van. There wasn’t necessarily enough for the new baby boy, but there was enough for the car to drive them all around.
“Well, I forget such things. My father can’t lose his job either, yet he did,” she mocked. She then cackled loudly, “Then again, him being bought out by a bigger dealer who wanted to bring him onboard is the best thing Daddy every did! Oh, you middle-class nothings amuse me so much, Arthur Read. You must meet my other classmates so you can entertain them with your life,” she laughed, marching down the stairs. The new librarian greeted her, forcing her out along with the other Pleasant Dale low-lifes…or high-lifes. Arthur scoffed at them all; he was here for comics, not torment.
“Was that Muffy?” Brain called from the stacks. He was a senior at Elwood City High, due for college at the end of the first semester. He’d maintained contact with his old classmates on social something-or-other; none of them could understand him anymore when he started talking about concepts and other things they were too young for.
“Yeah. Shouldn’t you be studying?” Arthur asked kindly. Brain nodded fiercely, revealing a tall stack of books pouring out the top of a bursting shoulder bag. The local grocer’s crest was on the front, but the sides of the bag had already been reinforced several times with various fabrics. None had worked so far; Arthur heard a loud ripping sound come from his direction. “Do you need help carrying those? If you offer the girls free ice cream, I’m sure they’d help us.”
“Oh I’ve got it, Arthur. I’ve been studying the—multiple words that Arthur couldn’t understand—to stay fit. I can lift approximately eighty pounds without strain now,” he smiled. Arthur’s face remained blank. He was thinking, ‘So you’re smart AND fit. What’s left for me?’, but he remained silent. “Well, I ought to be going. I just thought I’d see if that was our old friend being so rude. I wondered why she didn’t answer my emails,” he shrugged, moving past Arthur and down the stairs without much effort.
Arthur sighed loudly. Was this really what they’d all become?
“Arthur, let’s go! Mom’s honking out front!” Kate begged. Like DW, she was all about reputation. Trying to beat out Binky’s little sister in popularity was hard work, especially when she wanted to be smart. Her books were above Arthur’s reading level. ‘Great, another Brain,’ he thought, grabbing a random volume and moving with them to the checkout counter. The new librarian tried to push their new ebook line, but they passed.
Benji was screaming when they all piled into the van. Their mom didn’t bother changing places with Arthur; they needed to get home now. She didn’t even wait for seatbelts before pulling off, a stern scowl on her face.
A/N: That’s all for this chapter. I’m still learning this site, so any tips/pointers would be great. I want my comrades from the Arthur community on ff.net to join me here, so if this goes well, I hope to see them here as well.
There are over 300 chapters to this piece. I guess I’ll link them together somehow??? I really am lost, but I also really wanted to see what my pieces could look like here. So far so good, right?
I’ll post/update when I can. I don’t have internet access at home, but I try to get on a few times a week to keep up with things.