I was nervous. It was my first day at a new school in a new town with no one I knew – what wasn’t there to be nervous about? I glanced at Leah beside me. She must’ve felt me looking at her, because she cast a look my way and smiled uneasily at me. I guess she must’ve been as nervous as me, then. She was my twin sister, coming to the same school as me. She had dyed-black hair and large amber-brown eyes hiding behind her side-fringe. We weren’t identical twins – I was a boy, obviously – but I guess she looked a little like me. I hadn’t dyed my hair, so it was dark blonde, but I had the same golden eyes. I looked out of the bus window at the passing people and cars.
“Hey excuse me,” said a voice. I turned around to see a dark-haired girl tapping me on the shoulder. She smiled warmly once I’d turned around.
“Can you get that boy for me?” she asked, indicating the white-blonde-haired boy in front of me. I nodded, and leaned forwards. I tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned around he pierced me with icy blue eyes that made me hesitate. A small shiver ran down my spine.
“What?” he snapped. He had a menacing, deep voice that matched his eyes and I instantly disliked him. Actually, it was more like ‘feared’ him.
“Um, that girl wanted you,” I mumbled, pointing behind me. I dropped my gaze to the floor while he shouted over my head.
“What do you want, Brett?”
“You owe me a tenner, remember?”
“Yeah, yeah I got it right here.”
The boy dug into his pocket and shoved the note into my hand. He nodded towards Brett. I passed it back. Brett smiled at me. She was very pretty. “Thanks stranger.” I shrugged in return.
The journey took ten minutes longer, then we were there. I stuck with Leah while hordes of school friends met up with each other and asked each other about their holidays and stuff. It was madness – there were so many students making such a loud noise it sounded like an angry beehive. The school bell rung and we were ushered into our classrooms by the teachers. I glanced at my planner, which told me I had maths first with Mrs Nelson in classroom 18. Leah was in a different class, so before we parted we arranged to find each other at lunch.
“Good morning, uh, Jack Shaw,” Mrs Nelson greeted me. She had brown curly hair and was middle-aged. “Take a seat next to, um, Brett, over there,” she instructed me, pointing towards the side of the class. Brett recognised me from the bus and waved excitedly. I sat down next to her.
“Hello again,” she smiled. Boy, she was really beautiful. I smiled in return and mumbled, “Hi stranger.” She giggled and shuffled over to make room for me. “New, huh?” she murmured while Mrs Nelson started the lesson. I glanced at her. “Can you tell?” Her smile grew wider, exposing her straight white teeth and she nodded.
“It’s pretty obvious.”
I frowned. “Really?”
“Well yeah. You wandered in like you were on a different planet. And you look scared and worried ... besides, I’ve never seen you before,” she explained. I paused.
“Do I really look scared?”
“Miss Watkins, please concentrate,” Mrs Nelson scolded Brett.
We were twenty minutes into the lesson when the door opened and a boy walked in, his black hair framed around his face in such a way that I couldn’t see him properly from here. Mrs Nelson looked up, and when she saw him her lips drew into a white line.
“Daniel, why are you so late?”
Daniel walked over to her and started speaking in a low, quiet voice. Mrs Nelson shook her head, handed him a textbook, and pointed to the back of the classroom. “Take a seat,” she sighed, annoyed. There was something intriguing about Daniel, and I found my eyes glued to him as he walked to his desk. It was the way he walked – leaning over slightly as if he was trying to hide something ... but what? He glanced up and caught my eye. I felt my breath catch in my throat. He was gorgeous. He had perfect porcelain-white skin and eyes so blue it was like the whole sky was in them. Thick black lashes matched his thick black hair, quite long and windswept across his face. His face was thin and angular, and he looked as vulnerable as a rabbit caught in the headlights. The moment only lasted for a second, but it was enough. Enough for me to fall in love at first sight.
Brett’s annoyed sigh brought me back. “I was kind of hoping you’d be straight. I mean, it’s so unfair that all the cute ones are ginger.”
She caught my attention. “What?” I was lost. I wasn’t ginger.
“You know ... ginger beer...?” she prompted. I stared at her, dumbfounded. A small smile played with her lips. “Ginger beer – queer. Get it? You’re gay, right?” Her expectant tone made me smile. “Yeah,” I replied. “Though I’m leaning towards bi.”
“Phew, I might stand a chance then,” Brett said, grinning. I gestured towards Daniel at the back. “Who’s that?”
“That,” Brett said, glancing behind us, “is Danny Stone.”