Anger boiled under the surface of my perfectly poised expression. I looked pointedly away from the boy sitting next to me, avoiding further conflict despite his best efforts to goad me into responding.
“Damien Olsen, report to the principal’s office.” The woman sitting behind desk looked disinterested; this wasn’t the first time I had been in here, not by far. Grimacing, I stood to approach the large door that opened into the principal’s office and study. Once inside, I smiled sheepishly and waved at the stern man behind a large oak desk. He sighed and rubbed his temples, a classic disappointed adult. My heart dropped.
“Again, Damien?” Ashamed, I looked down.
“I’ve heard it all before. I know he pushes your buttons, but you have to learn to deal with these situations. In life, you won’t always like the people you have to work or live with, and you certainly can’t attempt to assault them. I hate to say it, but this is the last straw. I’m going to contact your parents, and if your behavior doesn’t improve, we’re going to have to suspend you.”
“But he said-!”
“It doesn’t matter what he said. When he says these things, you need to go to one of the staff members and report it-not attack him. You know I like you, but you still need to learn. This is unacceptable.”
“Wasn’t gonna hurt him…” I mumbled.
“What was that?” There was a smile in his voice. I was forgiven.
“Nothing, sir. Is that all?”
“Yes. Please ask Mr. Paisley to join me on your way out. You are dismissed.” Feeling drained, I turned on my heel and left the room. I made eye contact with the boy in the main office, and jerked my head toward the principal’s study before stalking out.
Nobody spared me a second glance as I walked down the hall, yet despite that I felt self-conscious. Each cursory look in my direction made my face feel hot, and I tugged the hem of my uniform over my formal pants. I passed through the halls almost in a daze. Each looked identical, but I knew the school by heart, having spent the last two years living here. My parents sent me here at age fourteen, tired of dealing with a moody and troublesome teen. This, of course, had only proven that they didn’t care about me.
After all, it was their fault that I had become this way. Underneath I was hurt, scared and very, very alone. No kind aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins or childhood friends to speak of. My parents are a classic example of people who got everything they thought they wanted in life, yet are still unhappy and unfulfilled. So here I am, in an expensive and prestigious school, simply because my angry, rich parents don’t want to deal with me.
Suddenly I collided with something warm and sturdy, cut off mid thought. Looking similarly startled, a handsome boy stands before me.
“Sorry,” my response was automatic. Instead of responding, he straightens and grins at me. Confused, I ask,
“What?” He shakes his head and holds out a hand.
“I’m Austin Bolstery. New student. It’s nice to meet you.” There was a strange inflection in his voice, as if there was another meaning behind it.
“Um,” I was taken aback. “I’m Damien Olsen.” He was silent, studying me, surely, as I was studying him. His hair was the color of a raven-black, but slightly green under the light. His eyes were blue or gray, also depending on the light. My eyes traveled down. Surprisingly enough, he wasn’t wearing the school uniform but tight black skinny jeans and a v-neck sweater.
Swallowing hard, I bring my eyes back up to his face. His expression was relaxed, confident. He seemed unashamed to be gazing at me so intently, and even leaned toward me slightly. After several beats of silence, I began to feel awkward, and fidgeted with the shirt again.
"So, um, yeah. I'm just gonna... go." I started to walk past him, feeling somehow chastised.
"Wait!" I turned.
"Never mind." He grinned sheepishly at me, before turning around and entering the dorm room behind him. Confused, I follow suit, walking to the next hall over. Who is that boy?