Fiducia Friday ♥︎ Chapter One

A Different Kind of Tedious

For seventeen years I lived my life by the book.

I went to school, done my homework, studied, skipped parties and hung out with my two best friends. I didn’t drink, do drugs or smoke. I was the model teenager with the average grades.

During the holidays I worked reception at my mom’s office or sometimes I volunteered at my dad’s clinic; note that this doesn’t mean I actually interacted with my parents during this time, it simply meant that I could spend Summer in the same building as them, for a change.

It’s strange how now, I’d go back to those tedious routines in a heartbeat. All Humans need routine to some extent. Routine is how we each live our lives; routine leads to normality.

However, with hindsight I suppose my desperation to break routine should’ve given me an incline to the fact that there really was nothing normal about life. And that year was no exception.

However, even on that very different kind of day, everything started off as normal.

Let me take you back to the very first day of my last year at high school.

The sun was still shining and my parents were hustling and bustling about downstairs preparing for work; the smell of coffee wafting it’s way upstairs to my brother and I as we fought for the bathroom. It was just another average day in the Jefferson household. My brother Andy and I bickering and shoving each other; my parents completely ignoring the fact that they had two children as they prepared to look after strangers for the rest of the day and evening.

By the time I was eventually ready for school, Andy had left for his third year back at college, and I was subsequently left alone in the house.

“Good morning!” I didn’t need to look over my shoulder to know that my best friend Louis would be making his way into the house.
“Is it?” I bit back as I threw my coffee down my throat and checked out the dinner my mom had left out for that night.
“Oh don’t be like that Jefferson, it’s the first day of a whole new year. Think of the opportunities!”

Louis slung his arm around my shoulder and waved his other hand in a sort of half-circle in front of us, peering into the distance as though he’d just created an invisible rainbow of ‘opportunities’. I peered up at him moodily and when I didn’t respond his fake smile fell and he shook his head in disgust, pulling back from me and grimacing.

“Nah you’re right this is a nightmare and my life sucks.” He threw himself down onto one of the dining chairs at the table and pretended to sob into his arm on the tabletop.

“If you get tears on the kitchen table, you’re cleaning them up.” I said bluntly, snatching my book-bag off the other chair and ruffling his hair roughly as I left the kitchen.

“Wow if that’s support I hate to know what you’re like with Andy.” I rolled my eyes and pretended to laugh as I held my slice of toast between my teeth and shrugged into my leather jacket.

“Can we just get today over with please? I’m already feeling suicidal.”

“Hey did you get the memo last night about the new transfers?” Louis asked as I locked up the house and followed him down the path to his awaiting car by the side-walk.

“What? What transfers? What memo? What?” Louis laughed and shook his head, jumping into the drivers seat as I climbed into shotgun.

“You know, the school memos.”
“No, I don’t know, do enlighten me.” I said seriously, twisting in my seat to peer at his expression properly.
“Scar were you even paying attention at the end of last semester?” Louis chuckled as he pulled away from my house.
“You know I pay attention, just not at the end of semesters. Not when there’s the great possibility of my leaving that hellhole and never looking back.” Louis chuckled and rubbed at his baby-faced jaw.
“Well, the school are starting a memo-system this year which sends short bulletins to our emails seeing as nowadays most kids our age have emails sent directly to their phones.”
“Doesn’t mean we check them.” I said under my breath. Louis continued like he hadn’t heard my mumble,
“And basically yesterday there was a memo about the new student transfer count for this semester. There are eight new transfers, two of which are in our year.”
“Wow how exciting.” I tried not to sound too sarcastic, and as usual, Louis couldn’t tell the difference.
“I know right? Especially cause we’ll be showing them around.”
“Excuse me?” I almost choked. “I think I misheard you, did you just say we’ll be showing them around?” Louis turned to me with a sly smirk and nodded his head.
“You heard right, Scar. We’re the new guides.” He said, straightening his back and slapping a bright grin on his face.
“Lou, I can barely find my way about the school myself let alone with a new student. Are you kidding? I-I mean how d’you know?”
“Well, Hollie wanted the job of being guide but the school nominated you and me. I got the email of confirmation last night.”

“And you didn’t think to let me know?” He peered at me apologetically as we turned onto our other best friend, Hollie’s, street.

“I just kinda assumed you would’ve checked your emails before you went to sleep.”
“Louis,” I said strictly, turning to face him properly in my seat as he pulled up outside Hollie’s house. “When have I ever read my emails?” I demanded in an authoritarian voice.
“Uh…” He paused to think about the question before I blurted impatiently,
“Never!” He jumped slightly at my volume but I didn’t care.

It was morning.

It was the first day back at school.

Louis was acting preposterously.

I had to guide a new person who probably wouldn’t be able to even speak English and thus have a laugh with me.

“I have never read my emails, not before bed, not before school, and certainly not right now. I can’t believe you didn’t prepare me sooner for this!” I gushed, pushing my hair back from my forehead with groan as Hollie skipped into the car with a bright grin and a sing-song of,
“Good morning my little-rays-of-sunshine!” When neither Louis nor I answered she slapped us both over the back of the head.

“I said good morning my little-rays-of-sunshine.” She sung, this time through her teeth.

“Good morning Hollie.” The pair of us answered in a monotone as Louis started the engine again.

“Jeez what’s gotten into you two, you’d think we were headed to a funeral.” She said, crunching into an apple. I twisted in my seat and frowned at the peace of fruit in my best friend’s hand.

“Hollie what is that?” I asked, pointing a manicured nail at the bit of fruit at her mouth.

“What?” She asked around a mouthful of apple.
“Where’s your normal bacon-sandwich? Or bar of chocolate? Or blueberry muffin? Or cheese bagel? Or toasted croissant?” I asked offensively and she gulped her mouthful of apple loudly, slowly lowering it to her lap beside her other hand as she mumbled something. “Pardon?” I asked, leaning a little closer.
“I’m on a diet.” She mumbled and my mouth fell open.

“Excuse me?!” I almost-shrieked.  “Hollie you lost almost twelve kilos at the start of summer and now you’re wanting to lose more?! You look great! Why would you want to-”
“Because Percy’s having a party next month for his birthday and I want to get invited.” She blurted as Louis turned into the school parking lot.

“Percy?” I asked with a vague expression.
“Percy Martin?” Louis asked, glancing at Hollie in the mirror. She nodded her head sheepishly and I turned back to the front with an expert scowl and folded my arms.

“Oh c’mon Scar don’t go all defensive on me, you know I’ve had a crush on Percy since, like, forever.”
“Hollie you went to four of his parties over Summer. What makes you think this one is going to make the difference?”
“Ouch.” Louis said under his breath, pulling into his usual parking space.

My mouth fell open as I realised what I’d just said and I turned to Hollie with apologetic eyes but it was too late, she was already climbing out of the car along with her apple and her book bag.

“Hol wait up!” I called, leaping out of the car after her.

“Let her go, Scar.” Louis said with a sigh, locking the car up behind us as Hollie stormed into the main building.
“I really didn’t mean it in a bad way…” I said in a quiet tone.  “I just hate to see her trying to change herself for a guy who won’t even look in her direction.”
“I know,” Louis nodded his head, sighing as he slung an arm around my shoulder and hugged me closer for a moment. “Anyway, the way I hear it is that you’re the one Percy’s trying to get to all his parties.”
“What?” I blurted, turning to stare at Louis as he pulled away from me with a smug grin, making his way toward the front office building.
“Mhmm.” He hummed smugly as I followed after him with a questioning expression.
“Good old Percy Martin has the hots for you, Jefferson.” Louis sniggered as we approached the building.
“But… Percy… I… No.” I shook my head and grimaced. Percy was so not my type.
“Oh c’mon, you’re trying to say you wouldn’t go there with Mr. I’m-A-Quarterback-Martin?” I arched a brow as Louis turned to me with an expectant expression and folded arms.
“No, I would not,” I said defensively, feeling my cheeks begin to heat. “He’s not my type.” I admitted.
“Oh?” He smirked. “And so what is your type? I’ve always been keen to find that out.” I shook my head and cleared my throat awkwardly and he laughed, turning on his heel and pushing inside the building.

I was thankful for that separation then as I did not want to have to describe my perfect guy as the guy I was describing it to.

*

In the front office building there was a short desk with a nice old lady sat behind it with half-moon spectacles. She was Mrs. Johnson and she was our school Receptionist. When I entered the building Louis was already chatting to her animatedly about his summer working at the local waterpark and how he planned on doing work experience during this semester. He wanted to be a Scuba Instructor and I wanted to be a Veterinarian. It was the perfect combination.

“Ah Miss. Jefferson. You’ll be guiding Zac Larinsones.”
“Sorry?” I whispered as I accepted a copy of the transfer’s timetable which she passed across the desk.
“Zac Larinsones. He’s one of the new transfers from Italy.” Mrs. Johnson explained.
“Oh. I see. I hope I don’t have to spell that to any of his teachers.” I chuckled before an irritating buzzing noise reverberated throughout the entire office and I frowned, peering at Mrs. Johnson as if it was only her hearing aid or something.

“What is that ungodly racket?” She quipped and I turned to glance around the reception thoughtfully.

It was this movement that made me realise just what exactly was making the buzzing noise.

As if automatically I walked to the door and pushed outside to get a closer look; every student in the courtyard doing the same. Louis followed me out and whistled in admiration under his breath as a sleek and shiny black motorcycle buzzed through the school parking lot, two riders on top as it halted in the parking spaces closest to the reception where Louis and I stood gawping in awe and shock.

“Wowee. Guess the transfers are here.” He whispered to me as the female rider climbed off the back and yanked her helmet off, shoving it against the other rider before clicking her way over to Louis and I in high black stiletto heeled calf-boots.

She shoved in-between the pair of us to get to the door and pushed inside the reception; Louis and I turning to stare after her in silent surprise.

A cloud of husky perfume wafted after her and I almost choked at the strength of the scent; Louis however was staring after her with a parted mouth; clearly in complete awe. I rolled my eyes and turned to the other drive who by this point was strapping both helmets to the handlebars. My own mouth fell open in surprise as I took in the sheer beauty of this rider.

He was tall and broad; clearly muscular. He was wearing a leather jacket to conceal his strong arms and his jaw was as right-angled as the corner of a damn table; shadowed with a dark stubble to match his sweep of messy black hair. His skin was glowing a beautiful tan while the girl who just entered the reception was as pale as a sheet of paper. Her hair too was as black as midnight and tumbled to her hips in a long black sheet.

The male rider walked across the side-walk with busted black boots and skin-tight skinny-jeans, approaching Louis and I with a slightly apologetic smirk. His blue eyes twinkled at me as he approached and slickly slid between Louis and I with the smallest of winks to me.

Robotically I followed him inside the reception; in a complete daze.

“Alex Pinconyetes your guide is Louis Parker,” Mrs. Johnson was saying. ‘Alex’ the female rider, didn’t even bother to turn around when Louis and I entered the reception. “And Zac Larinsones, your guide is Scarlett Jefferson.” ‘Zac’ the male rider was running a large hand through his unruly hair as Mrs. Johnson spoke.

“Here are your timetables. Welcome to Griffinix High.” She then gestured to Louis and I standing by the doors and I swallowed loudly with nerves as the pair turned their beautifully intimidating stare onto us.

“Yeah uh, welcome to Griffinix.” Louis said with a small cough.
“She already said that.” Alex said in a harsh American accent tinged with the slightest of foreign.

I glanced up at Louis who gave a small nod as Alex pushed out of the reception dramatically.

“Don’t mind her.” Zac sniggered, rolling his eyes and pushing out after her. His accent was much the same as Alex’s; American with the slightest of foreign accents. It was wonderfully smooth like butter, but rough and ragged like the edge of a knife.

“Well, at least I know your type now.” Louis chuckled as we left the reception behind the transfers.
“What?!” I demanded self-consciously; my cheeks heating up as the transfers passed Hollie on the courtyard and she gawped after them open-mouthed and wide-eyed.
“You couldn’t take your eyes off him.” Louis laughed, reaching over and ruffling my hair.
“Come off it Louis I so could.” I said bashfully, punching his stomach as he refused to let go of my head.

“Children,” Hollie called as she approached us and we separated. “What’s all that about?” She asked, jerking her thumb behind her where the transfers were entering the main school building.
“Oh them? They’re the new transfers Scarlett and I are guiding.” Louis explained as I fixed my hair again.
“Although it looks to me like they’re doing just fine on their own.” I huffed defensively.
“Scar, really? You’re guiding them?” Hollie asked in shock and I sighed emphatically, nodding my head with a dreading expression. “Have you seen that guy? He’s fit to burst out that leather jacket at any second!” Hollie almost-shrieked.
“Thank God I won’t be around to see that happening.” Louis laughed and Hollie frowned.
“You mean you’re guiding that guy?!” She demanded of me and I groaned, nodding my head.
“Can we just drop this please guys? I don’t need to be put off any more than what I already am.” I hoisted my book bag further up my shoulder and pushed past my friends towards the main building.

Thankfully, they didn’t follow because I really had to get my head together.

There were two beautiful new transfers straight from Italy; full of intimidation and beauty and magnificence. And then there was me; feeling pathetic in my own leather jacket compared to the sheer elegance and boldness of the other pair.

I shrugged out of my jacket and threw it over my arm as I pushed inside the main building with it’s corridors lined with lockers. I walked to my own and punched in the combination, stuffing my jacket inside along with the majority contents of my bag, only leaving out the notebook I’d need for the next three classes. I slammed the door closed again and almost jumped out of my skin as I found Zac leaning against the locker next to me wearing the smuggest of smirks.

“Scarlett right?” He asked in that beautiful little accent.
“Uh… yeah.” I said, trying to catch my breath.
“Well?” He asked. “Aren’t you going to show me to my class?” I held my notebook tighter in my hand and cleared my throat, nodding my head.
“Sure, uh, what do you have first?”
“English. Mr Bell.” I nodded my head and led the way down the corridor to the flight of stairs, praying that I didn’t have any stupid signs or marks on my back as Zac followed close behind.
“Alright, here you are, I’ll come ba-” I hadn’t even finished my sentence before Zac just pushed straight on inside the classroom, completely ignoring me.

I simply stood there, gawping down the busying corridor as the bell rang for first class.

*

“Hey girl! How’s the-”
“Don’t. Even. Ask.” I said, holding a hand up to Hollie as she caught up with me in the lunch queue.
“Yikes. That bad huh?” She asked, peeling a banana.
“You really don’t want to know.” I told her matter-of-factly, turning from the dinner-ladies and leading the way to our usual table in the corner of the cafeteria.

Moments later Louis joined us, throwing himself down on one of the chairs with a loveable expression. He threw his head back and chortled a throaty-laugh while Hollie and I just looked at each other questioningly; my coffee-cup half-extended to Hollie’s lips.

“Wow I love my life.” Louis laughed, turning to look at Hollie and I.
Please don’t tell me you’re talking about the transfers?” I demanded and Louis smirked expertly.
“What else could I be talking about? Wow she’s so fine,” He laughed, leaning his chin on his fist and gazing off into the distance. “That face… Those lips, damn that ass.” Hollie and I looked at each other again and this time I was well aware that my cheeks were burning furiously.

“Hey uh,” I cleared my throat and sat forward a little, trying to calm my complexion. “I’m sorry for being so snappy this morning. You know what i’m like in the mornings.” Louis scoffed and sat back in his chair, shaking his head.
“Don’t worry about it. Alex sure as hell cheered me right up anyway.” He shrugged simply and I rolled my eyes. Of course.

“Louis,”  One of Louis’ friends, Liam, approached with a couple of their friends; the three of them gawping admirably. “Dude you gotta tell us all about that new chick.” They all pulled up chairs and Hollie and I shared equal expressions of disgust.

“Boys, boys, please, if you don’t mind, we’re trying to have some lunch here. The last thing we need is you pigs objectifying women all over again, thanks.” Hollie announced and I smirked into my coffee-cup as they all turned with surprised expressions.

“I’ll tell you all about her in class man, damn, you should see her ass.” Louis said and Liam laughed, slapping him down on the shoulder.
“Think she’ll be in gym class too?” Hollie asked me in a quiet voice.
“I hope Zac is anyway, give us something fun to look at.” I snapped, shoving to my feet as the guys relentlessly spoke about Alex as though she were a play-thing.

Everyone at the table fell silent and I cringed. They were totally standing behind me weren’t they? I glanced down at Hollie next to me and she was sniggering into her bottled water, her cheeks blushing ever-so-slightly.

I gathered my things together as I counted backwards from ten and then turned to find Zac staring down at me with a slightly-upturned mouth.
“Gym class?” He asked and I cleared my throat.
“Uh, sure, c’mon Hol.” I snapped, grabbing her bag and throwing it onto the table in front of her.

I didn’t say goodbye to Louis or his friends, and neither did Hollie. Instead we led the way out of the cafe with Zac following behind us.

“Shouldn’t you… You know… Say something?” She hissed to me as her short legs struggled to keep up with my hurried pace.
“Nope.” I snapped bashfully and she groaned, falling back to step behind me.

“So, Scarlett and Louis were saying you’re from Italy?” I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t groan aloud at the fact she was actually talking to this guy who had been nothing but rude to me all day.

“Yes.” Was all I heard from Zac.
“I bet you feel miles away from home here.” She laughed and I stuttered my pace.

What was she doing?

“That’d be because we are.” Zac answered in a ‘duh’ kind of tone. I rolled my eyes and bit my tongue just as the bell for gym class rang.

“You’re through there.” I snapped, throwing my hand in the direction of the male locker-rooms and leading Hollie around the corner to the girls’.

“What was that all about?” She demanded as soon as we were alone.
“What what was all about? You’re the one who started talking to him!”
“Yeah because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a guide. Make them feel a part of the school, not be so moody and standoffish.”
“What’re you talking about Hol? He’s the one that was rude and arrogant with me.”
“You’re just saying that-” Hollie cut off as the locker-room door opened and Alex breezed inside with a gym bag slung over her shoulder.

For the umpteenth time that day I refrained from groaning and turned to face the wall; pulling my t-shirt over my head moodily.

I was suddenly thankful that I got changed before Alex and with my back to her, as when I turned around she was standing before the entire locker-room in nothing but her underwear; a rose-vine tattoo standing out on her pale-white ribcage; Angel-wings tattooed under her large breasts which were held in a black lacy bra to match the thong suffocating her. She had something else tattooed down the centre of her back in a long, thin line. It ran from the back of her neck to the bottom of her back and was so mesmerising it was hard not to look.

But I did. I turned my back on her and pulled my hair into a high top-knot before turning and pushing my way out of the locker-room moodily.

Why was everyone so entranced by these new transfers? They were only people. I mean, sure, they were pretty. And there was something… Mysterious about them. But that was only the fact that they were unnaturally beautiful compared to all of us towns-folk. They were Italian for God’s sake! All Italians were beautiful.

“Yo Scar. How you doing?” I turned in the hallway to see Percy Martin approaching me, his broad muscular arms frightening me as usual.
“Hey Percy. Yeah I’m good, you?” He arched a brow at me and playfully punched my arm lightly.
“Come off it, Scar, you’re saying one thing but your face is sayin’ another.”
“I’m okay,” I laughed, blushing at the attention he was paying me. “Just tired. It’s been a long day.”
“Yeah, first day’s always the killer. So how was your Summer?”
“Boring as usual. You?”
“You should’ve come to one of my parties!  I saw Hollie and Louis, but no you.” He leaned against the wall next to me, kind of blocking me in. I took a step back and realised I was right in front of another wall.
“Yeah uh… Parties aren’t really my kinda thing… Sorry.” I apologised bluntly. I was able to briefly peer over his shoulder to see that Hollie was making her way out of the locker-room, stretching on her tip-toes to try and find me in the busy hallway as both classes tried to find their coaches. Louis was leaning against one of the walls and caught her hand as she squeezed past. I knew it was only a matter of time before they realised I was boxed in with Percy and caught the wrong end of the stick.

“Hello? Earth to Scarlett?” Percy called, clicking his fingers in front of my face. I blinked away from my friends and back to Percy.
“Uh… Sorry, gotta go.” I ducked out from under one of his massive arms and hurried to Louis and Hollie’s side.
“You were right.” I hissed to Louis while Hollie frowned in confusion.
“I know I was,” He smiled Angelically before frowning. “Wait, what was I right about?” I smirked and rolled my eyes, folding my arms uncomfortably as my neck burned self-consciously.

I didn’t need to turn around to know that Percy was staring after me.

But after a few moments I realised that Percy was in front of me chatting with Liam and a couple other friends he shared with Louis.

While Hollie banged on about how amazing Alex’s ‘body art’ was, I turned and peered over my shoulder to see Zac leaning against the wall casually beside Alex, the pair of them saying nothing but watching everything that was going on before them.

I tried not to think of how good Zac looked in sweats and a vest and instead turned back to Hollie just as Coach Frankfurt was making his way out into the corridor.

“Right dudes, basketball let’s go!” He called, blowing his whistle and pointing towards the basketball court.

“Break a leg you two.” Louis smiled humorously before turning and following the crowd of guys who left the hallway in pursuit of Frankfurt.

“What d’you think Jemdon will make us do this term?” Hollie asked as Zac passed us.

It was like everything was in slow motion, the way he causally walked passed with his hands in his pockets. He slowly turned to Hollie and I as he walked by before casting his eyes onto Alex behind us.

I started hyperventilating under the heat of his gaze while Hollie carried on regardless.

“Alright girls, dodgeball!” Jemdon yelled from the office. She blew her whistle and pointed to the hall next to the basketball court and I groaned.

“Of course the guys will be able to see us. Of course.” I muttered to Hollie.
“Every year’s the same Scar. Every year.” She sighed, looping her arm through mine as we followed the rest of the girls into the dodgeball hall.

*

“Ten, nine, eight…” Coach Jemdon began doing the count-down and Hollie and I were feeling rather exhilarated. Our team was winning and we were guarding the bench so Alex’s team couldn’t win against us.

We were doing so well, we only had five seconds to go.

But then Alex played dirty and threw the ball across the hall as though she were playing netball.

It  propelled straight through the air and I watched it in awe; knowing exactly what was going to happen. It hit Hollie square in the chest, throwing her back into the row of people standing on the bench behind her. Her foot caught on the bench and a sickening crunch sounded through the squeals of the girls jumping off the bench.

Hollie fell backwards into Lizzie and the pair went tumbling to the floor.

“Time!” Jemdon yelled as me and everyone else ran to Hollie’s aid. She was crying out, wincing as she tried to sit up.

“It’s okay, Hol, don’t move, it’s alright.” I said softly, looking at the way a bone was jutting out in her ankle, her foot sitting at an odd angle in comparison to the rest of her leg.

“What the Hell did you do that for?!” I yelled to Alex as the entire class gathered around Hollie; Jemdon approaching with an ice-pack.

“Leave it Scar I’m fine.” Hollie winced before squealing out in agony as Jemdon put the pack on her ankle.

I got to my feet, enraged as Alex stood smirking with her arms folded on the opposite side of the hall.

“Hello? Are you deaf? Didn’t you hear what I just said?” I demanded. “You’ve broken her ankle you bitch.” I snapped, climbing over the bench.

“Jefferson stand down.” Jemdon said in a bored tone, helping Hollie to sit up so that Lizzie could wriggle out from underneath her.

“What did you just say to me?” Alex asked, her smirk still on her face as her arms fell by her sides.
“You really are deaf aren’t you?” I snapped, anger flaring.

“Hey Hollie, aren’t you doing that charity climb next month?” One of the girl’s in our class asked and I spun around to see Hollie’s shocked expression as realisation dawned.

“Oh no!” She wailed, covering her face with her hands.

Anger pulsated throughout me and I stormed across the hall to Alex.

“You bitch!” I shouted, shoving her roughly.

She fell back and landed on her ass, her breath whooshing out of her as nobody was prepared for my outburst.

“Whoa, Scarlett!” Louis called as the guys’ gym class made their way through the hall to the locker-rooms. “What’s happened?” He asked as he jogged over.

“You done that on purpose didn’t you?!” I demanded as Louis turned to Alex and extended a hand. I folded my arms with pursed lips, my anger radiating off me in waves.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was only playing the game.” She said innocently, her expression overly innocent.

“Cut the crap, I know you meant to hurt Hollie like that, nobody makes a move like that in dodgeball.” She shrugged and pursed her lips.

“You do know I didn’t mean it literally when I told you to break a leg.” Louis joked as he turned and jogged over to Hollie to help Jemdon get her to her feet.

“I don’t know how you do it in America but that’s how we do it in Italy.” She said with a cocky shrug.
“You’re so full of shit, you mean to hurt her, look!” I demanded, throwing my hand behind me to Hollie. “You’ve broken her ankle and now she can’t do the charity climb next month. Well fucking done you inconsiderate bitch.” I didn’t know where all of this anger was coming from, but suddenly I wanted to smack this girl right in the face; and I wasn’t a violent person.

“Nobody talks to me like that.” She said through gritted teeth and I sniggered, shoving her again.
“Well what’re you gonna do about it? Break my ankle too?” She snarled and leaned forward but not before there was a large figure standing there, blocking her, separating us both.

I craned my neck back to see Zac standing in front of me, looking down at me with a serious expression.

“I think you should leave.” He said softly.
“I think you’re the one who should leave.” I hit back.
“Go calm down and help your friend.” He said calmly and I arched an eyebrow as I folded my arms.

“Nobody tells me to calm down. Get your bitch under control.”

I turned to walk away, but not before a hand was clamping down on my upper arm; the fingers wrapping all the way around and the nails puncturing into my skin.

I winced and turned angrily, my other hand coming up to peel the fingers from me.
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that again.” Alex snarled; her entire expression contorting into one of sheer rage and terror.

My breath was stolen along with the courage and anger I’d felt only moments previous, and the fact that we were now stood in an entirely empty gym hall began ringing in my head.

“Alex. Stop.” Zac said, grabbing her arm and pulling her back.

But I felt as though I couldn’t stop looking into those sharp blue eyes of Alex’s. She was snarling at me, threatening. But she was so deadly serious it hurt to look away.

Eventually she let me go and I turned, rubbing my arm as I left the hall.

“What was all that about?” Louis demanded as soon as I was in the hallway outside. He looked like he’d been about to make his way in after me.
“Nothing. Just drop it.” I said, shaking my head and letting go of my arm.
“What the fuck?!” He demanded, looking down at my arm and snatching it into his hands.
“Leave it Louis.” I said, trying to pull away from his grip. But he was strong, and he wasn’t letting go. I looked down at my arm and realised that ringing my upper-arm like an arm-cuff was the red markings of Alex’s fingers, and the small half-moon cuts her nails had made. I was surprised she’d left such a mark on me.

“Hey,” Louis’ voice hit out and I looked up to see Alex making her way for the girls’ locker-room. She stopped and turned her smug beady-eyes on Louis. “Don’t touch her again, okay?” He snapped defensively and an emotion warmed throughout me suddenly, stealing my breath away all over again. Alex merely smirked and drew her eyes up-and-down the pair of us before turning and stalking back inside the locker-room.

“I told you to leave it.” I mumbled under my breath as she left.

*

“So how was your first day back?” Andy asked from the doorway of my bedroom that night.
“Fine.” I lied.
“Really?” He asked quizzically, pushing inside my room.
“Hey, I don’t remember telling you you could come in.” I said, throwing my magazine down and sitting up in the middle of my bed.
“Well, someone told me there are a couple of new people at your school.” He said, sitting down on the edge of my bed.
“You talked to Louis?” He laughed and shook his head.
“Actually Hollie called. She explained what happened in gym class today.” I rolled my eyes and groaned.
“She didn’t need to grass me up. It was nothing.”
“Really? Well, she’s been to the ER, her ankle is broken.” He explained.
“Why didn’t you let me talk to her?” I demanded.
“You were in the shower.” He said reasonably, but I still hit him with my pillow.
“So that’s the mark then?” he said, jerking his chin at my arm as I moved to put the pillow back behind me. I groaned and pushed off my bed.

“Look, Andy, I appreciate the protective-big-brother-role and stuff, but really, I’m fine. Drop it.” Andy got to his feet, showing his hands in surrender.

“Okay, okay, I’m gone. But just, don’t let her do something like that again okay?” He paused in the doorway and I groaned, nodding my head before he left.

*

“I can’t believe you told Andy about Alex yesterday.” I moaned at Hollie the following morning as Louis drove us to school as usual. She had a set of crutches and was playing the ‘Damsel in Distress’ role in order to catch Percy’s attention.

“You were in the shower and he asked why it was so loud.”
“You called from the ER?!”
“Yeah, well, I had to wait while my folks’ done the whole check-out thing.”
“And meanwhile you had a heart-to-heart with my brother?” I turned to look at her and she blushed, looking down at her lap.

“So what’s gonna happen about your climb?” Louis asked from the driver’s seat, glancing in his mirror to look at Hollie. “Are the charity gonna re-schedule?” He asked.

“Well they can’t,” Hollie explained. “It’s all arranged. There’s sponsors and press and everything.”
“But you can’t do it now.” I insisted, turning to look at her again.
“Yeah, well, I know that Scar,” She snapped defensively. “I don’t know… I guess… I guess I’ll have to convince my mom to do it instead.”
“Your mom?” I gasped in shock, yanking my seatbelt off and turning to stare at her properly as Louis pulled into a parking space.

“Yeah, I dunno who else I’ll get to do it in such short time…” She mused. “I mean I’ve been training for this for months… Nobody else will be able to do it.” She shrugged and groaned.

I was silently thoughtful as I helped her climb out of the car, Louis watching me with a knowing expression.

“Alright, I’ll bite, I can practically see the clogs turning in your brain. What you thinking?” Louis asked as we all walked across the courtyard to the main building.

“Well… You said the climb is next month right?” I asked Hollie.
“Yeah, two weeks from now.” She explained.
“Well… I guess… If I started doing some training now… I could do it for you…?” I suggested.

“What?!” Hollie stopped hopping along on her crutches and turned to me with a shocked expression. “You’d do that for me?!”
“No,” I said bluntly. “But I’d do it for charity.” I shrugged jokingly and she squealed, throwing her arms around me awkwardly because of the crutches.

“I swear it’s not that hard at all, and I’ll come with you while you train.” She promised as she pulled back and righted herself on her crutches.

“Oh well how could I say no to an offer like that?” I joked; my two best-friends laughing while really, my insides churned with nerves.

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