Chapter 1: Rain
Ughh. Rain. I absolutely loathed rain. The annoying patters on any available object that refused to cease. The dampness that felt like you had stepped out of a shower into cold air every second. I stepped out of the Jeep, internally fuming at my horrid luck. It just had to rain on my birthday. Not like it would be anything special. I barely had any friends. The ones that are my friends were startlingly different, ranging from overly sincere to withdrawn. Boy, were we a remarkable group. My parents worked all day, from dusk till dawn. My mother worked at a nearby weather office, handling the interpretation of the future weather. Not like it differed much. It was habitually sunny, considering we lived in Florida. Except for today. Oh no, today just had to be different. Anyways, my father worked as a firefighter an hour away from home. With my family, birthdays were just like any day. And I thought turning seventeen was supposed to be an important child-to-man process or something.
I sprinted to the front door of the outlandish high school. Bright red. How do they choose these colors?
I shuffled into the front hallway, wiping my wet sneakers on the elongated doormat. I was early; it was only 8:15. I walked to the front foyer, lingering and observing the old moral posters that plastered the walls. Cooperation, patience, and other various virtues were the message contained within the posters. I agreed with some; but others were plain ridiculous; who cares about marshmallows that can change you future. I needlessly wasted more time by reciting Robert Frost’s “Fire And Ice” under my breath. I checked my watch; it was still another 10 minutes until classes began.
I peered through the plain windows opposing me; I observed a foreign new car. Strange, there usually weren’t any newcomers.
I looked at the car more closely, and noticed that this car was no normal vehicle; it was a Corvette. Of course I couldn’t recognize the model; but the bright Chevrolet insignia looked back up at me.
I noticed a dark figure emerging from the car fifty yards away. All of a sudden, I was stricken with a peculiar mix of pity and territorial instinct towards this newcomer. Why was he here? I squinted through the fog and spotted a slender figure walk gracefully towards the front doors.
I suppose this was the new kid.
Only a few feet away, the second round of doors opened with a click.
I stared at the new kid, a look of comprehension dawning upon my face.
He was a she.
My mouth ajar, I stared at her.
She smiled slightly, her perfect teeth shining at me.
I stood there, at a loss of words.
She swept past me, almost dancing, and I merely stared on by.
The bell rang behind me, and the students strayed inside for the day’s class. I was caught up in the tide of students for a few moments until I managed to break free, heading off for my next class.
I headed over to Mr.Masens classroom and set down my numerous books concerning history. Some people might call me nerdy or bookish but I merely sought to be articulated. Mr.Masen gave a nod toward the class before beginning his lecture. The topic was the Napoleonic wars and the consequences on European societies across the globe. I sat through it, calmly taking notes and answering questions with ease when called upon. Time seemed to slip by and, before I knew it, class was over.
I headed over to Chemistry when I spotted two boys discussing the new girl. I moved closer to hear what they were saying.
“Didja hear? Apparently she’s from some reclusive rich school in New York.”
“Maybe that’s why she doesn’t talk to anyone. Thinks she’s above us all.”
I walked off in disgust. Our school was very tightly knit; they generally ignored or harassed newcomers.
Although I had judged her earlier, it was unfair to make premature statements like that. The two boys read my expression and walked over menacingly.
“Got a little soft spot for new girl, do you?”
He sneered. He seized my collar and heaved me into a corner as his buddy cracked his knuckles in anticipation.
I held my hands up as if in surrender. He kept me ensnared against his clutches and the wall. I spoke steadily,
“Look, I don’t want any trouble.”
The two cackled incessantly and I kept my hands up.
Faster than the two boys could comprehend my fist had already made contact with the blonde boy’s nose, knocking him back a few paces.
Before I could think, the other dark-haired teen swung his tightly-clenched fist towards my cheek. I ducked and flung all my might into his gut. He stooped over, winded, and I took advantage of the temporary lapse in violence by sprinting through the dark-haired boy to tackle the recovered blond haired boy. The slow-witted jock’s name was Mike.
Nonetheless, I jumped up quickly and sprinted out of the alley. Turning heads, I weaved my way through the crowds massing by their lockers. Mike and his friend were in hot pursuit when I suddenly made a sharp turn towards the elevator, losing my pursuers.
I clicked for the second floor and the button lit up. The elevator was taking an abnormally long time, but I was patient and relieved, so I merely ignored this pressing distraction.
The elevator emitted a high-pitched squeal as the doors thrust open. I began to step out with my head down when a fist and a beige sleeve collided with my peripheral vision.
All I remembered is blacking out.
I woke up with a bright, fluorescent light piercing my eyelid and a harsh throbbing below my eye. I flickered open my eyelids and observed that I was in the nurse’s office. I sat up, startling the nurse that was presently staring at me and breaking her from her starry-eyed trance. I hopped off of the cot that I was sitting on. I proceeded to leave the room, leaving the young nurse stunned. A cold breeze swept across my chest. Only then did I realize I was shirtless. Oh well. Nobody would be laughing.
I was wiry but solid, with strong abs, arms and legs. My clothes were generally tight and showed much of my figure anyway. This wouldn’t be that much different from the usual. I strode along the empty hallways over to the nearest men’s washroom to check out the damage.
The polished marble floors reflected the blinding overhead light to every corner of the washroom. I sauntered over to the mirror.
My reflection was interesting enough; my right eye was swollen and I had a contusion along the edges of my ribs. There was a modest amount of blood on my face and jeans. I positioned my hands underneath the motion-activated basin and scrubbed the dry blood off of my face. After that I walked to my locker, hoping to grab one of my shirts before the period ended.
Just my luck, the bell rang right as I unlocked my locker. My classmates walked out and upon sight, either giggled or scowled. Guess which gender?
The new girl started to walk past me.
When she reached me, she stood up on her toes, grabbing my collar and whispering “Thank you” into my ear.
She released her grip, walking a few paces farther before turning around and saying
“By the way, my name is Ashley.”
Although the crowds were massed behind us, her eyes were only for me.
After a moment of staring, she turned around and started her trek to her next class.
My eyes remained on her back as she turned the corner.
75 minutes later at the lunchroom...
I walked into the lunchroom to general awe. Great. It seems that that whole story had been text-messaged, phoned, and passed on by word all throughout the school.
I smoothly grabbed a lunch-tray, ignoring all the glares from the boys, and picked out a lemonade and fruit salad. Inconspicuous enough. I walked over to my regular table with all of my deranged outcast buddies. I sat down and Austin, a good friend of mine, asked me what happened. I replied that Mike and his jock buddy caught my displeasure at their subject and decided to “teach me a lesson”. I also told him that it hadn’t gone quite as well as planned. Austin chuckled at that statement, informing me that I had broken Mike’s nose and that he had been taken to the hospital weeping. I asked why I wasn’t talking to the principal right now and he told me that the boys had been charged with assault.
Looks like things would be different around here.
Some people hailed me like a Champion, others like I was a pariah. Can anyone deduce which?
Of course, the jocks acted with open hostility and rage. Like I was concerned about what they thought about me.
The others regarded me like I had disarmed a nuclear weapon on course to Florida. They gazed at me with clear reverence in their eyes. I assumed I was the first to stand up to the jocks.
I finished my lunch quickly, ravenous from my recent ordeal.
I said to Austin “I’m going to go see what the new girl’s doing.”
He looked at me with slight apprehension at first and then acceptance.
I stood up, looking for the new girl. It was hard not to see her. Her willowy body shape, soft chocolate brown hair, and a rosy, gentle face. She was alone in the corner sipping on some form of pop.
I walked over to her table and merely looked at her. She looked back with the same puzzled gaze, as I if she was trying to see through me. “I never asked, what’s your name?” she asked, slightly shy.
“My name’s Anthony, pleased to meet you.” I extended my hand, and she reached out grasping it. Only then did I realize how petite she was; and how I towered over her. I cherished the way her hand felt; soft and smooth, a rosy colour. I released my grasp, and stared at her flawless features.
Interrupting my oblivious stare, she asked “Why’d you defend me?”
That question had been irritating me as well. I didn’t realize what the answer was yet.
“So?” she replied, interrupting my train of thought.
“I honestly don’t know the answer to that question yet.” I retorted. She tilted her head sideways, trying to understand my motive.
The bell rang, but I remained motionless, not desiring to leave from this moment. I reluctantly stood up, nonchalantly grabbing my tray. We walked together outside, not touching but close.
I felt a yearning to touch her soft, rosy cheek and look deep into her eyes for endless days. I checked my desire, scolding myself for even thinking of that; we just met, what would she find in me? My thoughts returned to her smooth face and subtle beauty.
I held onto her face in my mind for as long as I could; but we both knew we had to leave for class. “Bye.” I stuttered incoherently. “Thank you.” was all she replied. We left in silence.