I turn my head swiftly and spot my best friend grinning like she won one of those infamous lotteries. It was too gruesomely early in the morning for that kind of optimal energy.
Rhea Aurora is the one, and only, girl best friend I’ve got through these miserable years of high school. It is quite a mystery how we ended up together considering that she was obsessed with activities that I had close to no interest in. With our contradiction of wanting to participate in paintballing while she wants to go to the spa, we were lucky to have basketball as our common ground of interest along with pranking.
I deadpan her,“Rhe, you must know how much I love morning people, don’t you?”
Rhea taps her chin for exaggeration. It plunges my brain into an imaginary world where I would kill her in a million ways. “Oh, of course I do. You love morning people, so you feel obligated to buy them pizza.”
I chortle satirically, “If I bought pizza, it would be for me.”
I feel a weight being applied to my shoulder as a rather tall guy squeezes in-between us. I grunt reflexively. Clearly not taking a hint, he begins speaking cheerily. “Are we making pizza plans?”
Rhea sparks up loving how he was poking the right buttons to completely tick me off. “Yeah, and it is on Skye.”
I roll my eyes, “In which bloody world, did I--”
He pouts, jotting his bottom lip out like a two-year-old. His arm hangs around my shoulder in a friendly manner, “Can we get the pepperoni one too, Skye.”
Blake Damon is by far one of the only guys I can tolerate without wanting to punch them in the face repeatedly. With his ever-changing moods between a boy who blurts literal nonsense and never shuts up because he always has something to say, and his mysterious guy notion whose dark side can be quite intricate, yet mindbogglingly interesting.
I hear a distinct boyish laughter follow soon enough, as I expected. His deep voice says plainly, “There’s something very wrong with this picture.” He tilts his head trying to figure out what it was. “Oh, yeah, Skye, your hair’s a mess. Is that gum that I see?”
I narrow my eyes at him and realise the seriousness in his eyes. I comb down my hair but feel nothing in it. I let out an agitated growl. “Come here, Dilly, let me show you what your face would look like with my fist on it.”
Dylan chortles as he throws his cigarette bud on the ground, and stomps it with his foot. “Oh, calm down,” He ruffles my, already shuffled hair, and smirks, “pizza’s on me now.”
Dylan Akers will probably be the most mysterious, and confusing guys that I’ve ever met. With his minimal talking and explanations to literally everything, it’s a wonder how I know and understand him. To some people, the entire aspect of ambiguity is intriguing, but being a friend to one only drives you insane when they are incapable of speaking their feelings out in the open.
The four of us took a whole load of classes together, and we managed to exasperate each teacher of those multiple classes. Our city was awfully close-knit, and not in those friendly ways. In a rather short story, everyone knew everyone’s stories according to their family names. And, as it goes, each family name holds stories to which they have enemies and allies. The four of us get along magnificently as our siblings do, and our ancestors before our parents. In this city, traditions of allies and enemies cannot be broken. Going against these traditions was equivalent to pouring dropping a nuclear bomb in this city. And that is why for centuries, as people say, no one breaks rules by befriending anyone from families knowingly.
Having said so, our older siblings were chaotic messes in high school. Although they had graduated and went on their merry way, they left us the dread of living with the residue of their chaos. Every teacher of each of our classes had deeply engraved into their systems that our families were a bunch of terrible misfits. It used to be a depressing matter how we were humiliated and disrespected in classes because of being judged by the almighty teachers. It took us about a year to finally adapt to it, and we rose up quite well. We not only deal with the consistent insults and jabs at our family but also, we get some payback ourselves with our newfound talent of pranking them.
Blake suggested that I could easily cheer my mood up by commencing a simple harmless prank on our English teacher’s chair. He hands me a screwdriver and waits with me by the chair as he glances every so often as look out. After I carefully dismantle the chair, we hurry to our seats close to Dylan and Rhea.
Mrs Jett’s familiar clanking of high stilettos on the luminescent floors in the corridor echoes. The class snickers softly as they observe our daily routine, but none of them manage to snitch on us. She walks into the room with her habitual scowl and customary upright posture. Picking up the whiteboard marker, she scribbles almost illegibly the name of the book we were analysing - Tuesdays with Morrie. She picks out the book from her desk and proceeds to sit down without a single word to us yet.
She manages to catch herself up before applying complete pressure on her seat. She watches as her chair falls onto the ground. The class roars with laughter at the sight of the teacher’s horror-stricken face. Small smiles grow onto our faces as we brim in happiness at our success. We no longer felt guilty, or apologetic because, after all, the authoritative bullying, we need something to keep our pride intact.
Her eyes, not surprisingly, falls on us, “Alright, four of you, outside now.”
We slip out of our seats and follow her outside without as much as a word due to the routinely ritual. On slow days, we wouldn’t have the energy to prank her with our antics, but our classmates would and she would blame us. I guess it would make sense on her behalf. We would get the blame for everything and it wasn’t fun getting into weeks of detention for something you didn’t commit.
Mrs Jett rolls her eyes, as she writes our detention slips. “You kids, and your older siblings. I bet your entire family is a mess.”
I sigh not trying to burst into an array of irritated words to back up my family, or my friends. Once we take the slips, and head to the principal’s office, I see the slightest smile on her pale face.
There was a student known exit to the school that none of the authority figures had ever figured located behind the football field. The metallic chained cages behind the supply closet had been carved into, and there was a hole big enough to let us out. We give each other a knowing look before we start rushing towards that exit.
“Ms Aurora, is that you?”
A gruff, stern voice echoes down the narrow hallways. The four of us glance at each other before stopping altogether. We couldn’t let Rhea be the only one who got caught, so we slowly turn around and face the principal.
I smile falsely, “Mrs Anderson.” She was a woman who understood us more than any teacher had. She was there when she would find us balled up in the hallways of freshman year. She’d pick us up, and take us to her office where she genuinely asks what was going on. She knew that our entire pranking identity was created because we wanted some form of individuality, and wanted them to cease the incessant nagging of our family names.
She scrunches her face up, and her lips dip significantly, “I have to say, kids, it doesn’t make me feel great to see you rushing off somewhere during class hours.”
Dylan shrugs lightly with a mousy smile, “Our class got cut short?” He knew that she wouldn’t believe him since he was just trying to lighten to mood slightly.
She shakes her head as we follow behind her like lost puppies. We despised seeing us upset and disappointed with us because she was the one person who knew us like the back of her hand at this hell hole. “I stick out my neck for the four of you, and this is how you repay me. I know it’s hard to sit there hearing my teachers take about Colin, Vanessa and Kyle, but I really want all of you to take the high road. All of you are such clever students, and you don’t live up to your potential--”
I throw my head back and groan internally.