Paul

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: the team players

Prolog (v.1) - Prologue

Submitted: October 13, 2016

Reads: 188

Comments: 1

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Submitted: October 13, 2016

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

11:28 AM.

Jessica Rhoem ruined my life. There is a long story behind that statement, but at this point, I have nothing to do, can't really go anywhere. It started with me refusing to wear shorts. 

"Just about everything in this class is physical" Mrs. Indram snaps at me I shake off wherever my mind was wandering to and shift uncomfortably in the chair in front of her desk averting my eyes all around the small office, the walls were covered with pictures of Mrs. Indram at different events holding medals and such. 

"I don't own any gym shorts," I say again. I had come to her office during lunch to see if she had any gym shorts I could borrow. But apparently, all she intends to do is growl and lecture me.

"Buy some" She takes a glance at her watch and stands up, she is a small old woman but in top shape. She dons a tank top and red shorts. "Youll have to sit to the side until you have a pair, and some better shoes" she throws a disgusted look at my flip-flops and socks "anything would be better than that" I consider hissing at her. the bell rings, I jump a bit still not adjusted to this school's loud bell. "Get out to the gym" I leave her office and follow the hallway into the gym enjoying the defiant slap of my flip-flops on the floor. There are already students coming in the doors on the other side of the gym and going into their respective locker rooms, taking their bags in there and changing into gym clothes. I had already put my bag in the locker room. The gym wasn't anything fancy, a basketball court some bleachers on two sides and a high ceiling. Is that fancy? I don't know I'll google it later.  The rest of my gym class is gathering on the bleachers sitting in a line on the bottom level. It's not really a "gym class"; its two classes Physical education and Team sports put together into a block class. There is another class too, a weight training class. I don't know the teacher's name but they've stayed in the lockers and in the weight room for the last few days. I sit on the bleachers in between some guy named Tony and a girl named Kihara, no Kiara, something like that. Mrs. Indram paces in front of us calling out names over the general chatter of the other kids, I pluck awkwardly at my jeans as she goes down the list. the wait for my name to be called always makes me tense. Don't understand why though. "Paul Fenn" 

"Here!" I watch her continue listing names while I regret wasting the last ten minutes of my lunch coming here. Then again Logan wasn't even here today. Maybe I should make a new friend. I notice Mrs. Indram coming back out of the office; I wonder- one of the doors opens. It wasn't the opening of the door that shocked me, it was the loud slam that followed behind it. A girl stands in front of the doors, I recognize her, short shoulder length brown hair, a backpack hanging off her left shoulder, she wore a button-up shirt and black jeans. The girl strolls across the basketball court, cocky as can be; then her bag slips off. I expect the class to explode with laughter but a quick look to my left and right reveals that no one seemed to care. I was the only one paying this much attention, the next thing I notice is her staring at me... staring at me staring at her. I look away from her as she picks up her bag and gives Mrs. Indram a tardy slip I guess. They talk for a minute, Mrs. Indram seems angry about something, the girl goes into the girl's locker room. Mrs. Indram comes over to us "We're going to the track, let's go" We go out the doors and take a left, the gymnasium, the building we were in was in the back of the campus. There is a collection of buildings, numbered of course, and then the gym and behind that was the parking lot; also where kids get dropped off in the morning and whatnot. There are two things beyond it, the football stadium and the soccer field beside it. I think back to the clumsy girl, was she going to catch up? 

"You don't have any gym shorts?" A rather tall boy speaks to me, I shrug a bit. He holds his gaze,

"No," I say "I only do jeans" he chuckles and I relax some. What a weird chat, maybe he could be my new friend, I mean I think I've seen him in another class. That's at least two classes together! we get to the Football stadium, inside, around the field is the track, six lanes. Mrs. Indram leads us onto the track,

"Paul, Jessica, c'mere" Mrs. Indram nearly shouts. I make my way towards her and notice the girl from earlier walking beside me, where did she come from? She is still wearing her black jeans. I guess we get to spend some quality time together. Mrs. Indram directs us to a tree "sit, don't talk." I sit against the tree and watch her line the class up. It takes me a moment to notice the girl named 'Jessica' sitting right next to me. I glance awkwardly at her, what does she want?  I catch her eye and we stare at each other for a moment

"Do you have any gum?" she asks in a monotone voice. I stare blankly, 

"No" 

"Do you have any snacks?" 

"No," her face sinks and she scoots away some. I watch her for a moment and turn back to the class, they are running around the track.

"Its the mile run" Jessica is staring at me again, I avoid her eyes. "It's like four laps around the track or something" I nod, looking up at the almost perfectly blue sky

"That sounds fun," I say giving her a smile, she isn't amused. 

"How is that fun?" She leans in furrowing her brow.

"I was being sarcastic" 

"Sarcasm will get you nowhere in life" 

"Neither will trying to take other people's snacks"

"I didn't try to take your snacks, wait, you have snacks?"

"I said don't talk!" Mrs. Indram yells at us from the apparent starting line. Jessica makes an annoyingly cute grouchy face 

"What does she want us to do?" she groans. 

"Wallow in regret" I suggest with a shrug, there is a bit of silence. I find myself wanting to say something, awkward. 

"Let's face away from her so she can't tell were talking," Jessica suggests all of a sudden. We both shift a bit where we're facing the school grounds. Despite what she said, Jessica doesn't seem interested in talking, she simply watches her shoes. I take this opportunity to stare at her. Well not really stare, more like taking in her appearance... Okay just staring. I mean even I see that she's a conventionally pretty girl, something about her doesn't feel right to me. As if she's-

"This class is unnecessary" I blurt out without a thought. 

"It's pretty important,"  Jessica says "can't have the next generation being out of shape." I can't think of a good response so I don't respond. Good work Paul, a few minutes pass. "What is your favorite color?" Jessica asks. 

"Uh, blue" I pick a random color and answer. I don't have a favorite color, no real reason for it, I just don't.

"Blue sucks" Jessica looks pointedly at me as she says this. 

"Alrighty then" 

"Aren't you going to defend your 'favorite color'?" she makes air quotes while saying 'favorite color'. I shrug in response.

 "What is your favorite color?" I ask trying to replicate the look she gave me when asking.

"Red," She says disinterestedly 

"Red is overrated." I almost stick my tongue out at her, I am a child, sue me.

"Quiet over there!" Mrs. Indram yells again "Keep talking and I will send both of you to the office!" Jessica humphs at me and smiles, oh was this like a joke thing? I smile back. 


Friday, August 19, 2016

1:16 PM.


I'm walking to my last hour class. Brushing some sweat off my forehead I glance over my shoulder and notice that Jessica is following me. I've made this observation a few times already, I glance over my shoulder to see her staring at me. Creepy. I shoot her my effective "What-do-you-want-I-am-doing-something" look, apparently, she didn't get the message as she starts walking faster towards me. This has been happening all day today: I step into the hallway and shes suddenly right behind me practically running at me. Once I get to my class she "disappears" though. I enter building 7 and rush up the stairs spotting Crystal, my twin sister, by Mr. King's door. I approach Crystal, she is talking to her boyfriend, uh Mike? I never remember his name. I poke crystal in the arm in a way to say hello and she aggressively ruffles my hair as I step between her and boyfriend into the classroom. The first thing I notice is the desks set up in groups of four, right, we're reading again. I find my group and sit down, Joseph and Doyyanne are here talking about something or another. I settle in and take my notebook out of my backpack, Mr. King is writing something on the board, I glance over and see a paragraph. I'll talk to Jessica in Gym again tomorrow, she brought shorts today though so I didn't get to talk to her. Maybe it was just a one-time thing if it was one though, then why is she stalking me? Maybe our classes are in the same area. I start reading the paragraph Mr. King finished writing, some kind of icebreaker game. I mentally curse, a week into school and now he wants to do an icebreaker? All the other teachers did it on the first day! I barely register someone sitting down in the seat beside me, or that person poking me in the rib. I jump and turn expecting Crystal, but its Jessica. 

"Hey, left me behind there..... Again" Jessica smiles creepily at me. I stare blankly at her in response.

"What are you doing here?" I ask as she sets down her bag and digs out a composition notebook.

"What do you mean?" She shifts in her seat so she is facing me "I have this class."

"Since when?" She gives me an annoyed look. Am I missing something? 

"Since always" she straightens herself up in her seat and stares at the board, I can tell she isn't reading it, anyway this just got awkward. Is my memory really that bad? No way, maybe I just didn't notice her, it's just been a week, after all, I can't recognize every person here on the spot. I can't help but feel a soft pang of guilt. As Mr. King starts talking and everyone sits down, I share a glance with Jessica and it clicks, we have all those classes together. She hasn't been stalking me, she's just been going to class. Wait, what if she had been trying to get my attention in all of those classes! She thinks I've been ignoring her! I have been ignoring her! I have been purposely avoiding her because I thought she was stalking me or something. A wave of guilt overtakes me, I have to apologize right? How do I even apologize for that? Hey sorry, I ignored you, I thought you were a creeper. I glance over at Jessica again, she's watching Mr. King as he goes on about the icebreaker game, it's not really that big of a deal. This whole thing with Jessica isn't a big deal either, It's not like we're good friends or anything I just met her yesterday. We could be friends though, what if I already ruined a perfectly good friendship. Good job Paul, with your luck this will be the start of a trend. Jessica glances at me, she's looking at me, staring at me. I'm staring back... She gets up, grabs her bag and rushes out of the classroom. I'm left staring at the door, she left her notebook. Wait, what?

"What happened?" I hear someone ask 

"Is she okay?" Someone else speaks

"Probably her time of the month," Doyyanne says from across my table.  Mr. King calmy steps behind his desk and picks up his phone, I barely register what he's saying. My mind is whirling,  is she really that upset? Mr. King gets the class' attention back onto him and I lock eyes with Crystal across the room. She must see something in my expression because she mouths "NO". I turn back towards Jessica's notebook, and then I do something stupid. I grab my and her notebooks, hook my arm in my bag strap and hurry towards the door.

"Where are you going?' Mr. King asks crossing his arms, I slowly turn towards him, feeling everyone's gaze weighing me down. "Sit down before I write you up," I don't move, he takes a moment as if remembering my name;  "Paul, do you want a referral?" I can't think of anything else to say except,

"Yes sir, I do," my voice shakes as I say this. I turn, open the door and bolt. As I make my way down the stairs regret floods my mind, what if she had to use the bathroom or something, what if this has nothing to do with me. I start trying to think of an excuse for why I left class when I see her. Jessica is standing beside the girl's bathroom outside of the building, I approach her quietly. She seems surprised to see me, 

"What are you doing here?" If I wasn't so panicked I would've chuckled at the irony of that question. I hold out her notebook 

"You forgot this," she takes her notebook and it into her bag as I stand stiffly, "I'm sorry." Silence. Jessica stares at me again, the same way she was staring at me before she went flying out of the classroom. Expectantly. What am I supposed to say? 

"Are you two skipping?" A man is walking towards us, I recognize him from orientation. The dean. 


1:34 PM. 

 

I came up with a pretty trash excuse on the fly, I told the dean, Mr. Potter, that we forgot what our last our was. He took us to the office and found out that we left class. Jessica didn't utter a single word. We're stuck in the office until the end of the period. We were seated next to each other for some reason, I guess the guy didn't really care if we talked or not. I took a few glances at Jessica to find her staring at me again. Joy not very subtle are you. I watched the time pass by, a bit more than half an hour before the bell rings and we can go. I huff and rack my brain, I have to fix this... Fix what? I just have to say something! anything! I take a quick breath and blurt something out:

"I don't know what I'm supposed-"

"What do I say?, I just want-" We both try to speak at the same time. Jessica leans back in her seat letting out a long groan, I chuckle like a doofus. "What is going on?" Its a good question, What is going on? 

"I don't know"

"Sorry I ran out of class"

"Why are you apologizing to me? You should apologize to Mr. King, you probably hurt his feelings." 

"You came out after me"

"That was my choice, besides you left your dumb notebook" 

"Dumb?"

"Dumb." 

"You'll probably get a referral." 

"So will you"

"My parents will be pissed" Jessica takes a few strands of her hair and thoughtlessly munches on them. I stare for a moment but shrug it off,

"My dad won't care" 

"Is he one of those work over children types?"

"No, he's just really chill" 

"That's good?"

"Yeah"

"My parents get really mad, they'll make me walk to school again" She grumbles 

"How far away do you live?" 

"About 6 miles or something"

"Which way?"

"North." Wow, she lives close to me. I live 9 miles north of town. Maybe we could give her a ride or something, no dad is already leaving for work at that time. 

"That sucks," I say simply, she sighs. We return to our awkward silence. I have an idea, a stupid idea. 


2:10 PM 


The bell rings. I follow Jessica to the parking lot for no apparent reason. Then I ask her:

"What is your address?" 

"What?" 

"Your address"

"Why?" 

"No reason." Jessica blinks exactly twice, I expect her to turn down my spontaneous request like any rational person would except she doesn't. 

"3rd Strawberry road, the blue house by the McDonalds" after saying this she turns and rushes towards a white car. I hurry to my bus running it through my head; 3rd Strawberry road, blue house by McDonalds.


The bus ride home was slow. Traffic is always bad at this time of day, especially on the bridge. I think I saw Jessica's house, it was blue and by a Mcdonalds so it must be it right? Ironically the bus speeds up when it gets on her road and in the next 4 minutes, I'm home. 

2:28 PM

Luckily for me, Crystal went to "hang" with her boyfriend today and dad is at work until 5, which means I am safe from beration for a while at least. Beration is a weird word, let's go with scolding instead. I make my way up onto our front porch, we have a nice 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house; a few square feet of fenced yard between our porch and the road. The sides, however, are fence to fence with our neighbors, the back as well. It's a populated area. I unlock the door, step into the dark house and lock it behind me. Do I have homework today? I think through all my classes while I make my way to my room I decide to shrug off the thought. I have to find my-

"What's up kid" I freeze like a deer in headlights, the kitchen light to my left comes on. Dad is sitting at the table facing me, dramatic. He waits for me to respond, proud of himself. I exhale.

"How long were you sitting there?" I ask, he shrugs,

"Long enough"

"Why aren't you at work, ohhhh you got a call didn't you." Dad crosses his arms. "Why do you have the lights off?" 
"That's right, the school called. This is serious," he insists, "I want an explanation." His expression is hard. I hesitate for some reason, my dad is weird, I am like an open book to him. He is up to something. I know it. I approach and take a seat opposite him at the table for four. "What happened," he slides a few grapes in a bowl across the table and I give him a skeptical look. Where did he get those? We don't have any grapes. I huff and silently pick a few grapes from the bowl, perfectly plucked from their stems, in a way only he can do. 

"There was a girl," I admit "I met her in gym class,"  I explain everything from thinking she was stalking me to my almost obsessive worrying about her having to walk to school. Dad's expression lightens over time until he finally laughs. I blink, confused at this abrupt action. 

"You have a crush!" He gets up and makes his way around the table, my dad is a pretty big buy. I think about this as he towers over me and pulls me into a tight hug. "I was so worried! I thought you were going to go into some teenage rebellion crap like your sister!" I relax in his tight grip. The hug lasts a few more moments, then he drops me. "Well?" 

"Well, what?" I take another grape while he grins down at me. 

"What are you going to do about it?" I look down at the grapes. 

"I was thinking I could go with her, with my bike." Dad considers this

"What do you mean?" He sits down in the chair on my left

"Like, I could give her a ride on my bike" I suggest.

"You have a  bike?" I chomp through another grape

"Yep, I still have a bike. Where did you get these grapes?"

"Got them on the way home for you," he gets up "Now I believe you have some garbage cans to wash" I take the last grape, have I mentioned that I love my dad? I haven't? Well, I did now. That was the end of the conversation, he went off to do whatever and I started washing the garbage cans. When I finish I go into the basement and check up on my bike. I plug in the pump and air up the tires. While I struggle to get the bike up the stairs, Crystal materializes in the basement door. 

"WHAT THE HELL PAUL" I jump and almost lose the bike.

"Goodness, not so loud" I whine.

"What did you do?" Crystal makes her way down the stairs and starts shaking me by my shoulders, my sister is also very strong, I think about that as I hold tightly onto the bike. 

"I gave Jessica her notebook!" I exclaim "let go before I drop this bike!" Crystal stops shaking me and steps back

"Who is Jessica? That girl that walked out?" I nod and readjust myself, my arms shakily holding the weight of the bike. "You got a referral!" Crystal snaps ignoring my complaints about the bike.

"Yes I know" Crystal gives me a long look and leaves with a puff. I take the bike outside and see her and dad talking on the couch. The rest of my weekend was a blur to me; I played BorderScorch with Logan for a bit, I even rode the bike up and down the street a few times. I was tempted to ride to where I believed Jessica lived but I didn't. I found myself wondering, what was she doing? I mean what if they didn't make her actually walk to school, what if she was exaggerating. This was pretty stupid, maybe I just need someone to tell me that, if I told Crystal she would tell me how stupid I was. I didn't want to though, I don't know I've never gotten attached to someone before. I don't know what I am feeling, maybe I'll find out on Monday, or maybe I'll just make things worse. 


Monday, August 22, 2016
5:48 AM.


I rush out the front door with my bike. Googling told me it would take me about an hour to ride a bike 9 miles, That's probably not counting for my weak physique or a second passenger. I check the tires and the pegs on the back. What if she says no, I tense up and glance at the house. Dad is watching me from the kitchen window, he is in his work uniform. He nods. I hop on the bike and start pedaling. I pedal as fast as I can, which was a dumb idea because I should be conserving my energy or something. I think what will I say to her? Maybe, hey I just happened to be riding my bike and I saw you walking and I was wondering if you wanted a ride. I cringe at my own idea. A car honks and I jump falling off the bike, I land in the grass by the sidewalk. Groaning I pick myself up and assess my injuries, The car speeds off and turns a corner down the street.

"Seriously?" I pick up my backpack and get it on my back before climbing onto the bike. my elbow stings. I start pedaling again, which road is it? I pedal hard. 3rd Strawberry road, blue house by McDonalds. I blur past Mcdonalds and see someone walking, I swerve onto the road to avoid her and just barely miss a car. 

"Paul?" I get back onto the sidewalk as quickly as possible and hop off my bike. "What are you doing here?"

"Is that going to be a trend for us?" I say awkwardly, Jessica doesn't laugh. 

"What are you doing?" She asks. I fidget uncomfortably. This is it, the moment. Hurry up and say something!

"I...was worried about you" I blurt out

"Why? I do this all the time" 

"Well, not anymore" Jessica seems dumbfounded. Her eyebrows halfway furrowed her mouth partly open as if she wants to say something but doesn't know what to say.  "You'll be late if you walk anyway" I add "So let's try out that peg thing." I tap one of the pegs on the back wheel with my foot.  Jessica stays silent. "Jesssss" I start to say Jessica but drag it out, not even bothering with the second half. Suddenly she hugs me. "Whoa whoa whoa," The bike falls. I stand stiff as she continues to hug me. 

"Paul"

"C'mon we have to hurry"

"Paul"

"I don't know if it'll work, but either way we have to go"

"Paul"

"What? " Jessica pulls away from me and I consider picking up my bike. 

"I have a crush on you." The gravity of that statement doesn't hit me until later in the day, for the moment I respond with 

"Let's just get to know each other" Jessica nods with a stupid smile on her face. We then spend 15 minutes trying to figure out the whole riding on the peg thing. When we finally got going it was easy. Maybe she was just enjoying the wind that was probably ruining her hair but I remember Jessica laughing. It filled me with this weird warmth, even if I didn't know what kind of weird relationship we had, and I knew angry how  Crystal would probably be.

 

I had the stupidest smile on my face. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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