Normal Cancels Out

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
“It's sort of like Algebra,” he tells me. I look at him in confusion; this is a random topic. “The question tells you to solve for 'x'. What you do is- subtract, multiply, divide, add, whatever- to the other side. Well, in my case, 'normal' cancels out. Then, when you solve for 'x', the answer is... odd.” James grins. “Get it? 'Odd'?”

He begins to laugh then, like he had just cracked the most hilarious joke in the world. I laugh at how ridiculous he can be.

Submitted: March 15, 2014

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Submitted: March 15, 2014

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Normal Cancels Out

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The first day I ever saw him was when he transferred into my Sophomore Biology class. The moment I saw him, I knew instantly that he wasn't normal. He stood out easily, mainly because it's not everyday you see a good-looking boy that matched super silver hair. He's sitting in the back of the class, directly vertical from where I'm sitting. The girls ogled him and I couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy- after all, staring girls can get creepy.

It's the beginning of class, and our Biology teacher, Mrs. Ford, is passing back our tests.

“Ms. Willow Reed,” the teacher passes my table, handing my test back to me. “Well done, like always.”

I take a look at the big red markings on the top of my test packet- a perfect score out of thirty. I smile victoriously.

My grandparents have high expectations of me when it comes to school. It gets pressuring at times but I don't mind it much- it's necessary.

Throughout the entire class, loud giggling disrupts the class every five minutes or so. Mrs. Ford looks ready to cry. After she takes roll call, I figure that the new boy's name would have to be 'James Kelly' since it seems unfamiliar to me. He hadn't answered 'here' at all and I found that a bit odd- either that, or he thought he was too cool to reply to the teacher.

After another burst of giggles, I peer over my shoulder to look at the back of the class.

James is sitting in his seat with a crowd of girls around him. Oddly, not one of them was touching him- which was quite a feat. I watch as the silver-haired boy (how is his hair silver? Is it genetic, or did he dye it? But then again, it didn't look dyed- it had to be his natural hair) winks around at the girls, and they all purr in sync at him.

And then, the realization hits me: he's got those girls under control, somehow. I smirk to myself for a bit. Finally, there's a smart guy who's not taken in by attention. He couldn't be human then, seeing as I've seen every other guy fall for their charms.

Just then, the boy looks over one of the girls' head- and our gazes connect. Something goes off in my head, telling me to look away but I can't; there's something about his gray eyes that were fantastically alluring...

He winks at me, making me realize that he's just like those guys- boys who think they could get any girl. I roll my eyes at him and turn back to face the front.

Looks like this class is going to get noisy from this day on, I think with a small sigh. My table partner, Taylor, looks at me and asks me if I'm okay. He's always so caring, I note, as I give him a small smile and reply with a, “Yes, I'm okay. Thanks for asking.”

As for me, I didn't mind. Those girls were always laughing and batting their eyelashes in a boys' presence.

Love is confusing. My mom and dad never loved each other; I was a symbol of why they couldn't break up. I was an 'accidental baby' and my grandparents (who are my mom's parents) had not allowed aborting me. I rarely see them nowadays.

My grandparents were my real parents. They loved me, fed me, and kept a roof over my head. Without them, I wouldn't be alive right now.

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As school ends, I walk towards my grandpa's car in the parking lot. He's picking me up today, like always.

Heading towards the familiar Honda Civic, I notice the silver-haired boy out of the corner of my eye. It's a bright, early spring day and he's standing in the shadow of a nearby tree. Turning my head- just to see if he's surrounded by girls again- I'm shocked to find that he's already staring at me.

Once we're staring into each other's eyes, the boy grins and motions with his fingers to indicate that he wanted me to approach him.

Ha ha- not on his life.

I glare at him and turn my head back towards my grandpa's car, walking purposefully between parked cars. This whole entire day, I had only seen the silver-haired boy in my Biology class. I frown a bit then- perhaps he thinks I like him. I'd have to avoid looking at him tomorrow.

Opening my grandpa's passenger side door, I climb in and settle into the comfortable and familiar seat, carefully throwing my backpack in the back seats.

“How was school?” my grandpa asks me, pulling out of the parking space. He's got graying hair and wrinkles around his face- his smile lines that appears whenever he smiles has always got a young-ish look to it. He keeps his eyes on the road as we drive home.

“Okay, like always,” I report. “Got another perfect score on my Biology test.”

“That's my girl!” he shouts happily. “You'll live a good life, Willow. You'll be able to get away from your embarrassing excuse for parents.”

Grandpa was always exaggerating things. I wave off his words with a smile. “It's okay, grandpa,” I tell him. “I'm doing good in school for you and grandma- a small 'thank you' for raising me.”

It's true. The only motivation for getting straight A's in my classes was all to thank my grandparents. Without them, I wouldn't exist. It was the least I can do, getting good grades and making them proud and happy to have saved my life.

It's my grandpa's turn to wave me off. “Quit that talk, Willow,” he orders. “Turn on the radio and lets see what's happening to the world.”

My grandpa loves listening to the radio. Reaching over obediently, I turn the radio knob and tune in to the news reports. Grandpa loves 'news' stuff.

“Thanks, Hugo,” a deep voice of a reporter was beginning to say. “Well, ladies and gents! Last night, the famed robber, Frank Riddle, has been found in a room of an abandoned apartment building tied up in ropes. The police tells us that a mysterious caller had tipped them off as to where the criminal's whereabouts were.” The reporter laughs. “But that's not all everyone! It's the MidKnight coming to our aid once again! Civilians in the neighborhood claim to see the mysterious crime-catching MidKnight, fleeing from the apartment. Maybe he's the one who tied up Mr. Frank Riddle?”

“Very possible,” says another reporter's voice. “MidKnight's made his appearance to the public just two months ago here in this small town of Minnesota- after appearing in California, New York, Tennessee, Canada, Nevada- and even the United Kingdom! I wonder, who is MidKnight's true identity?”

“Mysterious chap,” grandpa says, interested. “He's got lots of nerve, this MidKnight kid.”

I've seen pictures of MidKnight on the news and on the internet- he's quite a big deal. He's sent tons of criminals to jail all over the world- and he's known for his trademark (and massive) skull necklace. MidKnight also wore a white sweater, a fur-lined hoodie covering his head and a white mask that helped cover his face. People have thought up of the name, 'MidKnight' because he fought and caught criminals in the dead of night. Basically, a knight that dealt justice at midnight.

“He sounds pretty cool,” I say, distracted as I watch trees and houses zoom past us. “Glad someone like him is around.”

Once we reach home and we get out, I head towards my room to finish my homework. My grandma is very loving; as soon as I pass her in the kitchen, she knows immediately what I'm going off to do.

“When you finish your homework,” grandma tells me as I walk past her, “come down here and I'll fix you a nice dinner.”

“Thanks, grandma,” I tell her, smiling. I walk up the carpeted stairs, down the small hallway, and enter my room.

At that precise moment, all that's on my mind is homework, homework, and more homework. But, there is something trickling around in the back of my mind-

James Kelly, the not-normal boy.

Why? I had no idea.

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It's eight thirty at night, and grandma's taking me out to buy a dress for the spring dance next week. She's bat crazy when it comes to my wearing dresses.

“A blue one would suit you,” she says, eyeing me sidelong as she drives down the highway. “It'll bring out your eyes.”

“Any normal dress is fine,” I say, a little peeved. I didn't like dances and have never been to one once. This year, it seems like my grandma's going to force me into it.

I've got my mom's wavy black hair and my dad's blue eyes. My eyes were something that my grandma loved- the color, she says, reminds her of the ocean that she grew up living by.

“There's no such thing as a normal dress, Willow,” she tells me as we take the exit out of the highway. We're in the same Honda Civic that my grandpa drives; oddly, she doesn't like her SUV.

I stay silent as our car casually makes its way down the crowded streets of the city. Everywhere I look, people are walking with briefcases and wearing formal clothing. City buses dominate the place, and the night is lit up with beautiful lights from distant windows of tall buildings.

Grandma parks on the curb in front of a dress store. The dresses on display in the window are fancy- fit for super models and girls that are cute and pretty. I'm neither cute, nor pretty and I'm definitely not a super model.

“Come on,” she tells me as we get out of the car. “Let's find you a dress!”

“Fine,” I mumble under my breath. We step into the store and for the next hour (the store closes at eleven) we look for a dress. After trying on what seemed like everything in the store, my grandma settles for a strapless royal blue one with lace.

She gives me the thumbs up as I walk out of the dressing room, new dress slung over my arm. “I'll pay for it,” she says, “and since I know you're impatient, you can go and wait in the car if you want, okay?”

She hands me the car keys and I take it, nodding. “Okay.” Speeding quickly towards the door, I exit (a nearby employee wishes me good night and I tell her to have a good night too). The night's air is crisp and cool. I smile as I survey all the city lights and tall buildings around me. The city at night always looks fantastic.

Instead of walking into the car, I decide to walk around for a bit. It'd get stuffy in the car, and I'd just get carsick.

Walking down the sidewalk, I look up at the dark sky above me. It's really pretty, this place. I sigh in content as I continue to walk down the sidewalk.

“Hand over your money!” a man's drunk voice shouts nearby. “Give it to me now!”

With brisk pace, I walk towards the source of the voice. The same man is swearing even louder as I get closer, and suddenly, I find myself facing a dark alley between two buildings. In the far left corner, I see two dark figures. Unfortunately, I can't see the victim.

“Stupid kid,” says another voice, this time, a woman. “Teach the boy a lesson.”

“Stop!” I yell, running into the alley. It's dark but I can easily make them out. “Leave him alone!”

I squeeze in through the two drunken people and press my back against the victim's body, not daring to turn around and see the victim's scared face. Holding my chin up high, I put my hands on my hips as the two drunken people (both blond) give me amused looks.

“Ou,” the women says, laughing. “It's a girl. I got this one.”

“Give me all you've got,” I snarl, settling myself into a not-professional combat position. “I'm not letting you mug this person.”

The drunk adults guffaw loudly in response. “Stupid kid, this one too,” the man says and the women nods her head in agreement, just as her arm whips out to punch me in the face.

I close my eyes (I don't know how to fight, being honest) but the blow doesn't come. Opening an eyelid, I peer out into the alley.

There's a hand, literally two millimeters from my face. My eyes trail along the hand, to the arm, which circled just over my shoulder-

The victim I was protecting, was protecting me. I was beginning to looking stupid here.

I watch as the woman pulls back her fist. The victim behind me had intercepted her blow and I couldn't help but admire the person's speed.

“Thanks, crazy,” an amazing voice of a boy whispers into my ear. “But I've got this now.”

He gently pulls me behind him, and a boy in white clothes steps into my view. His hoodie was up and I could see the fur-lining. His pants were white too, and his shoes look like they cost a million dollars. Then, there's his trademark skull necklace- it was massive on his chest and a gun was strapped to his thigh.

Seeing the boy in white made me gasp in shock. I've seen this boy before- on the newspapers, on the news, on recordings of security cameras.

It was MidKnight. He stood just a few inches taller than my five feet three inches, and his stance could tell the world that he was boss.

The two drunken adults seem to finally recognize him. They scurry away, screaming, “He's here! MidKnight! He's here!

It's silent in the alley. MidKnight is still facing away from me and the situation just gets more awkward as seconds pass.

As quietly as I can, I hurriedly walk around him and begin to trot towards the exit of the alley. MidKnight can handle himself but me on the other hand- I need to get back to the car or grandma will get worried.

Warm hands take hold of my wrist. “Wait.”

“Yeah?” I ask, turning to look at him. His face is covered with the white mask (it hid his whole entire face from the rest of the world; it also made him look a little scary) and his hoodie does a good job concealing his head. No one would be able to uncover his identity. But, the way he carries himself and the sound of his voice- a name springs to mind.

“James Kelly,” I say. “What are you doing in a mask? I didn't recognize you for a second.”

James leaps back in shock, just as my mind whirls with surprise. James Kelly? James- the new boy who I had just met today; the boy with all the girls' attentions- he was MidKnight?

Impossible.

But as I watch MidKnight's stiff posture, and how he had jumped back a few seconds ago, I realize that I couldn't be wrong.

“What are you talking about?” James laughs nervously. “James Kelly? Ha ha, what kind of name is that?”

“James.” I sigh. “You already gave it away, y'know.”

“I don't know what you're talking about,” he replies, walking around me briskly. “Those two drunks work at an illegal bar that's selling illegal drugs and I'm off to investigate.”

He pauses six feet away from me, his back to me, and I stare at him. “Good night,” he says simply. Then, he runs down the alley, around the corner, and out of sight.

It's an odd night. James Kelly as MidKnight? Who knew?

On the way home that night, grandma lectures me over and over about how dangerous it is at night. I simply nod my head and reply, “I'm sorry, grandma.”

For some odd reason, I was looking forward to seeing James Kelly tomorrow at school.

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The next morning, James wasn't in Biology. It's his second day of being in class, and yet he's already absent.

I went through the whole entire day in a daze; James Kelly is MidKnight. James's skill was catching criminals. He's been to different continents, saving people's lives and impressing the public. I can't believe it.

When the bell rang at the end of the day, I head to the library to finish some homework. My grandparents tell me, just this morning, that they'd be off at a relatives place tending to their sick nephew. They wouldn't come to pick me up until a lot later in the day.

Settling myself at a table near the window, I take out my papers and notebooks from my backpack. The library is my favorite place in the school; it's a big place. When you enter the entrance, to your immediate right would be the librarians' desk and where you'd have them check out your books. Across from the desk, would be shelves of books- carrying books I know you'd love. There's tables, computers, comfortable love seats, and bean bags everywhere you look.

The library's always a good place where I can quietly sit and think about things. Just this morning, the morning news that my grandpa was watching spoke about the arrest of an unauthorized bar selling illegal drugs. The criminals involved had been arrested, all thanks to MidKnight.

MidKnight- a.k.a., James- was right about criminals selling illegal drugs. I shake my head in utter surprise. How can someone I know for only one day be MidKnight?

Bending over in my seat, I thump my forehead on one of the books I've brought. Focus on homework, I think, then you can think about James all you want.

'Think about James all you want...' Suddenly flustered, I yank myself back towards homework mode. There's no time to think about boys. I've never had any feelings for anyone before, and I wasn't sure if I was going to start now.

“Puny kid,” a voice whispers dangerously.

I turn to look at the table to my right, away from the windows, and see a mean-looking, sharp-nosed kid prodding the shoulder of another boy. The boy sitting at the table looks harassed and upset.

Getting out of my seat, I walk towards them. “Cut it out,” I tell the sharp-nosed kid as I walk around the table, push away the bully's prodding finger, and set myself between the bully and victim. “It's rude to be doing that,” I continue to say, propping my hands on my hips. “This is a library. Mind your manners at all times.”

The sharp-nosed kid sneers at me. “What can a girl do?”

I frown. “You wanna find out?” I ask him, settling into another unprofessional combat position.

Just then, a shadow falls over us- blocking out the bright afternoon's sun from the window a table away.

Scat, moron,” a familiar voice warns to my right.

The sharp-nosed kid looks frightened. He scurries away from us, just as the victim behind me walks past me, giving me a small word of thanks.

“Defending the innocent is my job, Willow,” says the voice.

I turn around and face James's smile. “You're finally admitting that you're a criminal catcher?” I ask him in a low voice. “Why weren't you in Biology?”

“Aw.” He winks at me. “You noticed?”

“Idiot,” I mutter, my cheeks probably very red. Pivoting on my heels, I walk towards the table that I was just settling in a few minutes ago.

“Hold on,” James says. I can hear him walking behind me. “Lemme talk to you for a sec.”

“You already am,” I tell him as I gather my things into my backpack. I wouldn't be able to get anything done now.

James chuckles. “You're a weird girl,” he says, giving me a grin. “How was Biology?”

“Lots of work,” I reply, pulling on my backpack. “The girls in there miss you, I'm sure.”

“Jealous?” he teases.

“Not in the slightest,” I answer, but something in my gut tells me otherwise. We stand there facing each other, right near the windows and bathed in sunlight. His silver hair shines brilliantly; I get one inch closer to getting blind every time I look directly at it.

“Uh huh,” James says, smiling at me. He doesn't look that bad, I'll admit. “I've got another question for you...”

He ruffles his hair a bit and I stand there, watching him for a second. “What is it?” I ask, distracted as I scrutinize him in his tousled hair. I'll admit, he looks a little attractive- even without tousled hair. Mentally, I slap myself and think, focus.

“Has anyone asked you to the spring dance yet?” he asks me, raising an eyebrow and still smiling.

“No,” I answer. “I'm not going.” Grandma thinks otherwise, but I've got a mind of my own.

“Well,” James says, grinning shyly at me and pulling at the collar of his t-shirt. “Will you go if I ask you come with me?”

I'm struck dumb. James was asking me to go with him? Out of all the girls at this school? I'm not even cute!

Girly squeals of anger and shock are heard from nearby bookshelves behind James- and I know I'm not the only one thinking that either.

James grins.

“I think you've got some stalkers back there,” I say, feeling weird. “Maybe you should go talk to them.”

He beams at me. “You sound a little jealous,” he says, cocking an eyebrow cutely.

I look down at my shoes, refusing to reply. What was going on with me? Why did I feel this way? My face burns as I think about how close I am to him- two feet, maybe a little less.

All of a sudden, he steps directly in front of me. His gentle fingers guide my chin up towards his face and I find myself staring deep into his gray eyes.

“Don't be jealous, Willow.” James smiles. “I'm only interested in asking one girl to the dance and she's standing in front of me right now.”

He says his last sentence loudly. I can hear gasps of resentment and surprise from behind the bookshelves.

“Um,” I say, but he presses a light finger to my lips. Bending over, he whispers in my ear- his warm breath sends a tingling feeling down my neck, through my body, and to my toes.

“See you at the dance next week,” he murmurs. “I expect to be with you all night.”

Then, he leaves. I'm standing there, bewildered and shocked into silence. The girls behind the shelves don't bother with hiding anymore. They walk out just to glare at me but it's easy ignoring them.

After all, he asked me to the dance.

Smiling brightly, I wave at the girls- whom hiss at me. I skip out of the library and happily make my way down the long hallway. It was unusually bright today, I notice. Smiling and humming- he asked me to the dance! Wow!- I open the double doors that lead to the staircase. Stepping in, I begin to ascend the steps.

But something hits me in the back of my head. I fall onto the steps in front of me, giving out a wild cry of help as a cloth envelops my nose. Before my mind can even begin to function, I inhale a weird smell-

And everything blackens.

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The back of my head is aching. Wincing, I slowly open my eyes.

All of a sudden, I take note of several things at once. First of all, I'm sleeping on something that's quite uncomfortable; it's a mattress thats seems a bit too stiff and smells of mold.

Second of all, (as I take in my surroundings), I'm in one of the unused classrooms at my school. There's no desks and from where I'm laying down, I can see the blue sky from out the windows above me. I hear sirens in the distance-

What was I doing here? What happened?

“Looks like girlie is awake,” says a man's familiar voice, just overhead.

I look up and squeak- it was the drunken blond man from the alley. What was he doing here?

“Time for payback,” says another voice. The same blond woman from the alley comes into view too and I'm stunned.

“What are you both doing here?” I hiss. Weren't they supposed to be people of the illegal bar, seeing illegal drugs? Why weren't they arrested?

“You're the girl from the alley,” says the man. “We were drunk that night and couldn't tell who we were messing with. But your attempt to save MidKnight that night gives us the impression that you know who his real identity is.” He crouches next to me, just as I struggle to sit up. “Tell me,” the man says, “who is MidKnight?”

They were after James. I couldn't let them touch him. “I don't know, a criminal catcher?” I answer, trying to sound bored. I couldn't tell them his real name's James Kelly; it was a secret I was willing to keep forever. However, Before I can even react, the man slaps me across the face.

“Wrong answer,” he snarls. “Now tell me who he is. Slapping you won't be the only thing I'll do to you.”

“I said, I don't know,” I snap at him. “I didn't know it was MidKnight”- which was true; I had thought it was just an innocent victim at the time -“Don't you know any English?”

Just then, I hear a loud voice through a megaphone outside. “Release your hostage,” says a man. I hear more sirens in the distance. “We've got the building surrounded.”

What in the world? I turn to stare at the two criminals in front of me.

“We want revenge,” says the woman, smirking. “We want MidKnight to suffer. Since you won't tell us his identity, I wonder: how will he feel when he finds out that the girl who tried to rescue him yesterday, died from our hands?”

Astonishment courses through me. Are all criminals this evil? “He wouldn't give a damn,” I tell her as strongly as I can. “I don't know who MidKnight is, nor does he know me.”

“Oh, he'll give a damn alright,” the man sneers. He pulls out a gun from his pocket, and points it to my forehead.

“As long as you die,” the blond man whispers. “We don't care if we're sentenced to jail- as long as MidKnight feels guilty about your death, we'll be fine.”

I was dead meat. Forcing the tremble in my voice to go away, I sit up straighter. Good bye, James, I think. Too bad I won't be able to go to the dance with you. It was my first time having feelings for any boy; my first time having been asked out to a dance; but I was going to die. It was to keep James's identity safe though. Determined, I take a deep breath.

“Do your worst,” I tell the man, closing my eyes in acceptance. “I'm telling you, you're wasting your time. MidKnight wouldn't care at all.”

And then, one of the windows to my left shatters.

“Totally not true,” says a familiar voice. “You're making me seem heartless.”

My heart lurches as I look up into the masked face of MidKnight- no, James Kelly.

“Finally!” the man laughs. He directs the gun towards James and, without my thinking, I leap up and tackle the guy- sending myself and him to the ground.

Without any idea where I got the strength from- maybe because I was determined to save James- I punch the dude in the face before he can hurt me. He lets out a cry and I hurriedly swat the gun out of his loose grip; the gun fires, luckily, not in my direction but across the room from me. It clatters to the ground several feet away.

Cursing, the man reaches out for me but just as I begin to punch him in the face again- a white gloved hand takes his hand, easily bending it at an unnatural angle. A loud crack echoes through the air and I blanch; the blond man gives out a loud bellow of pain.

“No one touches her,” James says in a low voice, just above my head. “Get up, little miss.”

I get up, my head throbbing. “A-are you okay?” I ask him. My back was to him and my vision was swirling; James had come to save me. My heart swells as I realize that.

“Idiot,” he whispers. Unexpectedly, he hugs me from behind. “Stupid Willow- stupid, stupid, stupid.”

I giggle a little, feeling delirious. I turn around in his arms and hug him back, muttering weird things. Over his shoulder, I spot the blond woman unconscious on the ground.

Everything happened in a blur after that. Just before the police comes into the room, he tells me he'll come and visit in the hospital as soon as I'd get there. Hugging me one more time, he leaves out the window- just as the door to the classroom breaks down.

I'm hassled into an ambulance then, and all I can think about is James. He saved me- he saved my life. Completely ignoring the throbbing at the back of my head, I smile a little and close my eyes, drifting off into sleep.

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For the next two days, I'm in the hospital under observation. I've got a concussion at the back of my head and my grandma (who goes berserk with worry) insists that I was in shock too. I willingly go along with the plan.

James visits me in the hospital in those two days. He talks about school and how the girls all seem determined to catch his attention.

“I'm not going back on my word,” he tells me. “You're the only one I want to go to the dance with.”

I blush a little. “Same here,” I tell him.

He raises his eyebrows. “What?”

“You're the only one I'd want to dance with,” I say. His smile was radiant- I couldn't help but smile back.

Once I'm allowed out of the hospital and back to school, everyone has questions about MidKnight and what happened.

“It was intense,” I say, nodding. “MidKnight's my hero.”

Ironically, James is standing at my side as I say this. He beams at me and straightens his shoulders a little.

A week goes by, and before I knew it, the spring dance is here. To my grandpa's complete shock, I agree to go and ask for a ride there.

My grandma takes me to school on Friday night, telling me how thrilled she is that I've finally decided to go. I simply nod my head, remembering James's words at the end of the school day just hours earlier: “I'll wait at the door for you.”

And sure enough, he was there- waiting at the entrance of the school. He wore a white tuxedo and a black tie; his dress shoes were black too. James leans casually against the wall and when he sees me through the window of the car, he winks at me.

“That's your date?” my grandma purrs. “You've got yourself a looker! Well done!” She laughs as I thank her for the ride and get out, blushing slightly.

James looks me over, his eyes wide. “Willow, you're beautiful,” he tells me. Then he tilts his head, smiling. “You always are.”

My entire face burns at his words. He thinks of me as... beautiful? Stuttering, I tell him he looks amazing, even when he's not dressed up. James grins with pride as he holds out his hand. I take it, and we walk into the school.

That night was the best of my life. We dance the entire hour, talking and laughing about random things. Everyone seems shocked at the sight of us together; I'm not quite well-known at school and I'm slightly bookish. James doesn't seem to care about their opinions, which makes me happy.

When the dance ends, he leads me out to the back of the school. His face turns sad as he faces me under the moonlight.

“I have to leave this country,” he tells me. “I have some things to do.”

“Like what?” I ask, my gut pummeling. He was leaving me? Why?

“Stuff,” he says, vaguely.

Slowly, I nod. “Will you come back?” I ask him, silently adding a 'please'.

James grins. “Would you like me to?”

I could not believe his question. Staring at him in complete disbelief, I say, “Of course!

“I like you, Willow” he says, beaming at me. The moonlight clashes well with his hair and tuxedo- he looks as if he's glowing. “I really, really like you. I've never felt the same to any other girl before.” He pauses, biting his lip. “Do... do you feel the same way?”

Just as I'm about to answer with a, Of course I like you! Very much! More than you like me! I stop myself. James was going to leave and it was known throughout the news that MidKnight never revisited places. What if he never came back? I doubted that an amazing person such as he would ever come back for someone as lame as I.

I smile playfully at him. “I'll tell you when you come back,” I promise.

James's eyes widen. “What?” he splutters. “Oh c'mon, tell me!”

“When you come back,” I say, placing a finger to his lips. “After you've finished your errands, I'll tell you when you come back.” Then, my smile becomes weak. “That's if you don't find another girl that you'd want to be with, of course.”

James takes me by my shoulders and as I look up at him, I notice his steady gaze.

“You're the only one, for sure,” he tells me. “I've lived his long and no one has ever impacted me like you have.”

His words don't bother me (especially not the 'I've lived this long' part). The meaning in it makes my heart ache.

Smiling, I hug him tightly. “Promise me you'll come back,” I tell him, tears slipping out of my eyes. “When I first saw you in class, I knew you weren't normal. Your silver hair and all...” I laugh softly. “You seemed odd from the very start. I”- my voice catches -“I'll stay here and wait for you- forever, if that's what it'll take.”

“It's sort of like Algebra,” he tells me. I look at him in confusion; this is a random topic. “The question tells you to solve for 'x'. What you do is- subtract, multiply, divide, add, whatever- to the other side. Well, in my case, 'normal' cancels out. Then, when you solve for 'x', the answer is... odd.” James grins. “Get it? 'Odd'?”

He begins to laugh then, like he had just cracked the most hilarious joke in the world. I laugh at how ridiculous he can be.

“You're the first one to solve my equation,” he continues, kissing my nose. “I'll definitely be back.” He kisses my cheek softly. “You're my girl, after all.”

And he turns away from me, walking in the other direction. I watch him as he continues across the grass lawn, taking in his silver hair and his casual strut-

Before he turns the corner at the next block, he turns to look at me in the distance. I wildly wave at him, crying and yelling, “I'll wait for you! I'll be right here!”

I can see him wave at me back. He yells, “I'll be back!”

Then, he disappears around the corner. It'll probably be a slight exaggeration to say this, but my heart felt like dying. James Kelly, the not-so-normal boy, was gone.

But I was certain he'd come back.

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The next two years pass- it all feels so weird. I watch the news often now (I'm in my senior year and grandpa thinks I'm finally taking world news seriously) and I'd catch huge tidbits of MidKnight at least once a week.

It's a bright Saturday morning and I'm relieved- I was graduating next week and it's a blistering hot Summer day. Walking to the living room, I turn on the TV. My grandpa, who's sitting on the couch, nods at me.

“Ready for college soon?” he asks me for the millionth time that summer.

I grin and tell him, “As ready as I'll ever be.”

But the truth was, college wasn't on my mind as much as it should be. Sure, it had been hard to compete in colleges with people smarter than me all over the world, but I was finally accepted into the University of Washington. I've been presented scholorships and recieved financial aid- my life, I guess I can say, is pretty much made. But despite all of that, it was James Kelly who was constantly companying me in my head.

Where was he? How was he? Did he think about me?

Fingering the buttons on the remote, I settle down as the World News reporter begins to interview a small portly woman- live from Wales.

“You say you saw MidKnight yesterday?” the reporter asks. “Please give us the details.”

“Well,” the woman says, sounding confused. “There I was, sitting in my living room when there's a knock at the door. I go to open it, and there- standing on my doorstep”- she squeals a little -“is MidKnight! He gives me a paper and tells me to call the newstation, and to present to ya'll the paper.”

“Really?” the reporter asks. “And where's the paper he gave you? Uh, well, if it's okay if we see it, of course-”

“I've got it here,” the woman says and she shoves the paper in front of the camera. Neatly written calligraphy is centered beautifully on the small slip of paper, and I read it, curious. James had given this lady a piece of paper?

It read: I, MidKnight, am retiring.

Then, underneath those written words were a new line: I'm coming back. Meet me where we left off.

“'Meet me where we left off'?” the news reporter reads. “Ma'am, is it possible... are you in a relationship with MidKnight?”

“What?” the woman squeaks. “O-of course not! I don't even know the boy-”

But somehow, I knew otherwise. Running out of the house (“Where are you going?” my grandma calls out after me), I step into my grandma's SUV and drive off to my high school.

After two years of waiting and watching, James- could it be? He was finally coming back?

Reaching the school after ten full minutes, I jog through the high school's premises and make my way towards the back, running. Please, I beg, please, please, please-

I turn the corner of the school, and there he is: leaning against the wall in nothing but basketball shorts and a black muscle shirt. His silver hair is as bright as always-

He turns to look at me, his familiar gray eyes lighting up. The morning's sunlight is bright and warm; the hole inside of me begins to fill up again, and I smile at him.

“Hey, Willow,” James greets, as if we had just seen each other yesterday. He winks at me. “You're as beautiful as always.”

Hardly daring to believe it all, I run to him and hug him tightly, laughing and crying.

“You're back,” I breathe, “y-you're finally back.”

I keep my promises,” James replies smugly.

Snuggling into his chest, I smile. “The woman you gave the note to seems a little confused on the news,” I inform him.

“Bless her soul,” he tells me, and we hug for what seems like forever. “Well, I'm back. I'm pretty sure you've got something to tell me.”

My two years without him had felt empty. Now that he was back, I was certain that I'd never let him go elsewhere ever again.

“I like you,” I whisper against his chest. “I like you, very very much. I always have, and always will.”

He chuckles and kisses the top of my head. "I knew it," he tells me. "Willow, I still like you. I couldn't stop thinking about you."

"Same here," I tell him, grinning up at him. "Not being creepy or anything, but I guess you can say that I stalked you over these two years."

"I know." James grinned wolfishly. "You're my little stalker."

I laugh, as a small breeze blows through my hair. "I've missed you."

"I missed you more," he replies and we hug each other even tighter, neither of us willing to let go.

James Kelly, the boy who I knew couldn't be normal, was back- forever, I was sure.

Theme Song (Baby U! by Mblaq):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8yTRbhL3ps

[A/N: This story is also a bit long, I know. So for those of you who read it all, thank you for reading!]


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