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“Finding a Voice”: Chapter Two

A Familiar Face

By Nicole Higginbotham-HoguePublished 2 years ago 10 min read

Lana gave a piercing stare to her parents, who were standing on the top of the stairs looking at her. She growled as she opened the door to the stretch limo and shut herself in.

“To school then, Miss. Waverly?” Jeffery, the limo driver asked as she buckled her seatbelt.

“Yes,” Lana replied. “I want to be as far away from here as I can.”

“I take it that things didn’t go well this morning,” Jeffery chuckled. “What happened this time?”

“The same thing that happens every other day,” Lana sighed. “My parents have decided to defend someone else over their own daughter.”

“What do you mean?” Jeffery inquired, looking back at her in the rearview mirror.

“This morning Miss Margie and I got into a little spat,” Lana explained. “She called me an obnoxious brat, and I told her that if she said anything like that again, I would have her ass and her job.”

“Mmhmm,” Jeffery said.

“Well, Miss Margie didn’t quit,” Lana said. “She said that I needed to show more respect for people, and that I didn’t know anything other than a pampered life, so I fired her. Anyhow, she went to find my mother and father, and even after hearing my side of the story, they sided with Miss Margie. They told me that I need to be nicer to people regardless their position in life and that I needed to understand that there were several people a lot less fortunate than me.”

“Well, that is true, Miss Waverly,” Jeffery told her. “There are a lot of people that would love to live the lifestyle you do.”

“I understand that,” Lana replied. “But that’s the thing, if I didn’t get that, I wouldn’t be going to a public university in pursuits of studying philanthropy. I would have accepted one of those offers from Harvard or Yale or even Stanford, but I didn’t do that, did I? Instead, I gave up those opportunities so that I could learn about running a non-profit charity and helping others.”

“I thought that you were studying general education at the moment, Miss Waverly,” Jeffery commented, a glint of amusement in his knowing eyes.

“I am right now,” Lana said. “But I decided this morning that I was going to major in philanthropy.”

“Weren’t you going to study biology last week?” Jeffery questioned. “Or was it physics?”

“I was going to study music,” Lana said. “That’s the whole reason that I have to go to class so early this morning in the first place. Remember, I met that guy that played guitar, and I decided that I would give it a chance?”

“I remember clearly now, Miss Waverly,” Jeffery grinned. “Maybe, you should just focus on your required classes for the moment before you go to the admissions office and switch your major again. If you keep changing what you are studying, you will never graduate. Besides, I’m sure your parents would appreciate it if they didn’t have to pay again because you cancelled another class.”

“They can afford it,” Lana stated, thinking about the large amount of money that her father had tucked in his bank account.

“Maybe that’s what your parents meant about understanding how fortunate you are and being thankful for what you have,” Jeffery commented. “Just because you have money to burn, doesn’t mean that you need to waste it by making frivolous decisions.”

“Jeffery, you’re pissing me off today,” Lana said, looking at the older man as he parked the vehicle. Jeffery had been her family’s driver for as long as she could remember, and the man was like a grandfather to her. Nevertheless, there were days where the old man couldn’t hold his tongue, and today was one of them.

“Good day to you too, Miss Waverly,” Jeffery chuckled as she slammed the door to the black vehicle.

Lana turned around and flipped him off and then walked towards the building for her class. She didn’t know that switching her major would mean so much work for her, and she had figured that choosing music as a major would be easy. However, after getting up at the crack of dawn for the last week to make it to her new classes, she had decided that music education wasn’t as easy as people made it out to be. Lana found her building and entered, wondering if she would have time to go to the admissions office after class so that she could change her major to philanthropy. If she was studying something like that, her parents would have to get off her ass about being a nicer person. How could anyone say that someone studying philanthropy wasn’t nice?

She was tired of the constant battles with her mother and father regarding her behavior. She wasn’t a bad kid. Hell, she wasn’t anything like the other women that she grew up with. She didn’t have a hidden drug problem or bulimia, and even though her parents insisted that she was, Lana knew that she wasn’t a bitch. She was just direct, and she didn’t like people telling her what to do.

The fight with Miss Margie was a good example of that. Every day, Miss Margie came in yelling at her, telling her that she needed to hurry up, that she was going to be late, and today, Lana had simply commented that the other woman needed to get off her ass and let her get ready. Lana knew that her parents wouldn’t look too kindly on her if she left the house without looking nearly picture perfect, and it wasn’t her fault that she had accidentally smeared her eyeliner, costing her another ten minutes of her time to clean it up and reapply it. But Miss Margie wouldn’t have it. She told Lana that she needed to be more worried about her ride and less worried about the gobs of make-up that she was putting on her face, and so Lana had given her a piece of her mind. She didn’t realize that it would turn into a long discussion with her parents about respect. She hated when they criticized her. It seemed like no matter what she did, her parents always had a way of showing her how she could have done better, and she just wished that they would be happy with who she was.

Lana found her classroom, quietly opening the door. The sound of the professor’s voice echoed across the room, and Lana eyed an empty chair near the back door of the classroom. As she neared the empty desk, she noticed the green-eyed woman sitting in the desk next to it and began to introduce herself. See she could be nice…sometimes.

Lana stared back at the woman who still had her warm fingers wrapped in her handshake. “What’s your name?” she pressed, wondering why the other woman didn’t respond.

The curly-haired woman just stared back at her with an embarrassed look on her face. I’ll bet she’s deaf, Lana thought to herself, feeling awkward for not realizing this right away. She had picked up a little sign language when she was younger, and though she wasn’t fluent, she knew that she could spell out words. Lana caught the other woman’s attention and spelled out her name, pointing at the other woman so that she would do the same. The other woman sighed, and a small smile escaped her face as she slowly spelled her name back.

“Ziggy?” Lana asked, clarifying the other woman’s response.

The curly-haired woman nodded.

“Well, it’s good to meet…” she started, but she was instantly interrupted by the professor at the front of the classroom.

“Lana, right?” he asked, bringing the attention of the room onto her and Ziggy.

“Yes, sir,” she replied.

“Well, ma’am, I know that you are new here, but I don’t appreciate you interrupting my classroom,” the professor responded.

“Sorry, sir,” Lana said. “I was just introducing myself to Ziggy.”

“I saw that,” the professor replied. “And as kind as you are for going out of your way to communicate with her, Ziggy is not deaf. She has for whatever reason decided that she isn’t going to verbally communicate with anyone, even to apologize for being late to class.”

Lana looked at the other woman, whose face had turned a bright red and then back at the professor. “Sorry, Mr.?”

“Hindberg,” the professor replied.

“I won’t interrupt again,” Lana said.

“I would appreciate that,” Mr. Hindberg responded. “And if I were you, I would be choosier when it came to making friends.”

BE NICE. BE RESPECTFUL. Lana shook her head, looking at the woman next to her who was piling her books and notebook into her backpack. She didn’t know what the other woman’s problem was or why she had chosen to embarrass her in front of the whole class on her first day, but the green-eyed woman was going to pay for humiliating her. This is what I get for being nice, Lana thought to herself as she exited the classroom. People were cruel, and she had learned that at an early age. Lana had, had people take advantage of her and smear her name in the past, and she knew that the only way to combat them was to be a cold-hearted bitch. Give a little, and people will take a lot and keep taking until there’s nothing left. Lana stood in the hallway, pulling up her new class schedule on her phone. She was furiously flipping through her calendar when she found it and was interrupted by a tap on her shoulder.

Lana turned around only to find herself face-to-face with the problematic woman in her last class. “What do you want, Ziggy?” she asked.

Ziggy didn’t reply but instead began to type on her phone.

“Damn,” Lana said, wondering how rude the other woman could be. “First, you get me in trouble on my first day of class by pretending you can’t hear me, and now, you get my attention, and instead of apologizing like a normal human being, you decide to purposely ignore me and play on your phone. How messed up are you?” Lana stared at the woman, who held up a finger as if to signal ‘one-minute’ and continued to type. She was pissed, and after the morning that she had, she wasn’t sure how much more she could take. “I don’t know why you picked me to be a bitch to today, but I’m not the bitch to mess with,” Lana said, walking away.

As she walked further down the corridor, Lana heard a computerized voice say, “I have laryngitis.”

Turning around to find that the voice came from Ziggy’s phone, she found a sense of remorse for the other woman and began to walk towards her, but she was quickly interrupted when Mr. Hindberg called to her from the classroom door, requesting to speak to her. Lana followed the older man back into the classroom and closed the heavy the doors. She was curious as to what he needed since the class was over, but she presumed that he wanted to speak to her about the assignments that she had missed due to her late registration. Mr. Hindberg took a seat at his desk, signaling for her to pull up a chair across from him, and Lana followed suit.

“What’s this all about?” Lana inquired, knowing that she only had minutes before her next class.

“I heard how you were speaking to Ziggy in the hallway,” Mr. Hindberg replied. “And though I am not fond of her work ethic, I found your behavior threatening at most. I originally thought that we would get along without any issues, but after seeing your behavior today, I’m afraid that I was wrong. I am required to report incidents like that.”

“Report what?” Lana asked. “I didn’t know that she had laryngitis, and from what I did witness, it seemed like she was being purposely rude to me and setting me up.”

“That may be, but the language that you used was inappropriate and offensive, and I am required to report any incident that appears like it could escalate further. I am not sure how the Dean will address this situation, but if I were you, I would look for a different music theory class.”

Lana had many choice words for the professor, but she had been taught that it was unwise to argue with an authority figure. “You will be hearing from my father,” she finally said, knowing that her dad would be able to fix any bullshit that the measly professor stirred up.

“No,” Mr. Hindberg replied. “Your father will be hearing from me. I knew that I recognized you when you walked in the classroom. You’re Josh Waverly’s daughter. I golf with him.”


About the Creator

Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue

Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue is a lesfic author at Sign-up for her newsletter at

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