Keep Your Fingers Crossed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1)

Submitted: April 05, 2013

Reads: 158

Comments: 5

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 05, 2013

A A A

A A A

CHAPTER TWO

I was staring down at my converse-clad feet, my shadow bouncing in front of me, just out of reach, when he called me.

I could feel my phone vibrating in my jeans pocket, tickling the top of my leg, but I ignored it and let it ring through to voicemail.

After walking another ten steps, my phone vibrated again, signaling another call. I was betting that it was from the same person who’d called not half a minute ago.

I sighed and resigned myself to answering the call; surely I could manage a “Hi… Bye” conversation.

I looked at the caller ID.

‘Great.’ I muttered.

‘Hi Jason.’ I tried to put on the most enthusiastic voice I could manage.

‘Hey McKenna. I’ve been shouting you for hours!’

Five minutes then.

‘What the hell are you killing your ear drums with this time?’

I could hear the double voice and the echo before I’d even registered that he’d caught up to me. Seeing as I hadn’t bothered turning down or switching off my music, my favourite band was still blasting out of my earphones.

‘Black Veil Brides?’ His guess wasn’t far off.

I sighed inwardly, knowing I’d regret committing to this conversation later.

‘Close. Breaking Benjamin.’

Ever since I’d told Jason about BVB’s new album and made him listen to it, he’d always complained that it was “emo music”. He was so wrong.

Another scream band?,’ he audibly groaned. ‘Seriously, I need to invade your playlist. Maybe add in some real music.’

‘This is real music!’ I protested, refusing to let him call it rubbish, like so many others did.

He scoffed.

‘For people who want to be deaf by the time they’re twenty.’

Despite everything else, I gave a small smile to my converse. It always amused me how over exaggerated Jason could make things.

I didn’t realize what he was doing until I saw one of my earbuds sliding out of my fingers.

Before I could get hold of them, he yanked them out of my iPod, snatched them from my hands completely and bunched them up in his own. I winced: they were the best, never mind only, pair of earphones I had. I really didn’t want them to get damaged.

I looked at him with part confusion, part sadness, hoping his conscious would guilt him into giving them back.

He shook his head, his thick brown hair flopping over his eyes.

‘You’re not having these back for the rest of the day, McKenna. Your eardrums have suffered enough, don’t you think?’

I knew he didn’t care about my eardrums. The horrible voice in the back of my head told me he cared a lot more about me as a whole…

He moved his hand to stroke the outside of my ear. I swatted his hand away and lunged forward, aiming for the earbud dangling between his third and fourth fingers. He stepped backwards and twisted away, leaving me falling forward towards the ground. 

Before I fell flat on my face and broke a bone, a pair of arms grabbed me by the waist and hauled me upright. I blinked several times to make my eyes adjust to the sudden change of light and stared open-mouthed at Jason.

He flashed me a quick smile in return, and dangled my earphones in front of me before shoving them into the back pocket of his chinos.

‘I’d like to see you get them now.’

A smug grin replaced his smile. I was desperate, but not that desperate.

‘Catch you later, McKenna.’

Before I could respond with a smart remark, he turned away and jogged down the street. He rounded the corner and his shadow disappeared.

 

It was ten minutes later when I walked in through the school gates, the sign over reception advertising Crestwood High School’s “Year 11 Prom”.  Without my earphones, I’d been robbed of my tranquility. I had a feeling this day wasn’t going to go well.

Jason waved at me from across the courtyard, but I shook my head and gave him a smile instead. Jason, I was fine with – he’d been the only one who’d volunteered to show me around the school, and the only one who’s made an effort to be my friend. Obviously it’s so difficult to say hi. It was the crowd that surrounded him that was the problem. Ever since I’d moved here last year, they had made it their goal to block me out of their year group completely.

The voice in my head kept on telling me it was my fault I’d moved; it was my fault people didn’t want to talk to me. But I fought back and countered my own common sense: I was content with having no close friends or any friends at all, for that matter – I might even say happy. I never had to succumb myself to uncomfortable or awkward conversations; I didn’t have to make an effort to socialize; I didn’t have to make plans and cancel them. I couldn’t hurt anyone.

My mind flashed back to reality, and I briefly remembered Jason. I’d made an exception for him… one that wasn’t necessary.

My automatic reaction when moving somewhere new was to make new friends, be sociable and draw in attention. But the automatic reaction was an unwanted one.

A feeling of guilt and loss overwhelmed me. How could I have got close to Jason, knowing what happened last time?

I’d told myself I could cope and that I wouldn’t let my guard down. Yet that was exactly what I’d done.

I could feel my breathing quicken, my pulse pounding in my ears.

The sound of the bell added to the thumping, piercing my ears. It seemed louder than usual.

Moving in the opposite direction the swarm of bodies was heading, I pushed open the door to the girls’ toilets and shut myself in a cubicle.

I sank down in front of the cleaner side of the cubicle, drawing my legs up to my chest and being careful to avoid the odd-coloured liquid near the edge of the toilet.

For the second time today, I put my head between my knees and took a deep breath through my mouth.

I was just about stand up and unlock the door when a group of girls came in. By the sound of their voices and compact mirrors opening, it was Megan and her three ‘followers’, Saph, Trish and Tegan.

Ever since they’d found out I had anemia in my first P.E. lesson, they’d always made it their business to treat it like a contagious, life-threatening disease, and spread it to everyone else in the school. It wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t have to make an appearance at school every day. Some of the looks I got from other students were way too much to handle.

“So, did you hear about Kerys?” Megan said my name as if it was a dirty word her parents didn’t want her to use. “She was diagnosed with HIV the other day. Apparently, Rick said that she got it from her mum. Obviously, she couldn’t keep her pants on for too long!”

Peals of high-pitched laughter burst out, echoing in the cramped toilets.

“Yeah, I mean, who ever heard of someone’s mum being bi?”

Tegan’s voice this time. Another peal of laughter surrounded me, pressing down on me. I quietly sucked in a breath, trying to block them out, but ending up feeling more suffocated.

“Hey, maybe she’s going to prom with the woman who gave her the virus!”

I scrunched up my eyes and kept my breathing steady. I couldn’t lose it now. I didn’t particularly like my mum, but this was going too far.

The snap of compact mirrors finalised their conversation; they never stayed in the girls toilets longer than they needed to.

I waited a moment longer, not wanting to catch them up before I reached my first class. I didn’t need another run-in with them.

Opening the door, I splashed water on my face before leaving the way I came. First lesson without my earphones, here I come.


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