One week in, and I already hated this town.
The people here were so pretentious, and cared way too much about appearances.
For my parents, that was perfect.
My mum was a run of the mill housewife, my dad was a pencil pushing businessman. They were the perfect suburban couple.
Unfortunately for them, they got stuck with me as a son. I was always the outcast, no matter where we were. A non conforming, angsty pansexual, with a grunge punk sense of fashion.
"Lawson, get in here!" My father called from the dinner table.
Great. I wonder what I did this time...
I threw my headphones down on the bed and ran my fingers through my thick, dark hair in annoyance before making my way into the dining room. My father sat at the table impatiently waiting while my mum cooked dinner.
"We just heard back from the private school that my boss recommended. You start tomorrow. Apparently that's where his ex-wife sends their daughter, and it's an excellent school." He said sternly.
My father was short and stocky, with thinning light brown hair, thin lips and grey-blue eyes. Nothing like my thick black hair, full lips, deep chocolate brown eyes, and naturally tanned skin. I took after my mother. The only thing we had in common, was our grumpy disposition, which was why we butted heads so often.
I rolled my eyes, keeping my face completely deadpan as I spoke. "Oh, yay. Prissy private school. I can't wait... Can you even afford that?"
"Watch what you say, young man! We can, and you obviously need a more structured environment! No fighting at this school! I am pleased that you have excellent grades, but could you maybe try to fit in here?" He growled, his face turning red.
We moved here because my parents were too embarrassed to stay in our small town after I had been kicked out of school for fighting. Of course, the rumours surrounding my sexuality didn't help either.
No one said a word when I drunkenly slept around with girls, but I get caught kissing a boy on the cheek once, and I'm suddenly the town faggot.
I wouldn't say that I was bullied at school, because I never let myself be the victim. If someone hit me, I hit them back twice as hard. Simple as that. That came easily to me though, being above average in height and having a well maintained, muscular physique.
My mum turned to me from the kitchen, her face doing that annoying thing when she tries to translate my father's anger, like she thinks I don't understand. "Honey, what your father is trying to say, is that we just want you to be able to enjoy school like everyone else."
I raised my eyebrows in slight amusement. "I am enjoying myself."
"UGH! See?! He's impossible!" My father groaned. "Your mother will take you to get your uniform and books in the morning. Take good care of it please, it's a small fortune for the uniform itself."
I stared at him blankly. The veins on his forehead looked as if they would burst through his skin as he gritted his teeth at me.
Truthfully, my main source of enjoyment was pissing my dad off constantly.
"Damnit, woman! When will my food be ready!?" He growled towards my mum.
"It's almost ready, honey." She said, as she scurried around the kitchen trying to make the food cook faster, in order to appease my father.
I hated how they were stuck in the stereotypical gender roles. They were so ridiculously closed minded.
I guess that may be the reason why I am so open minded.
I looked between them, my voice thick with sarcasm. "Well, good talk. I'm going back upstairs now. Don't worry about dinner for me mum, I'm busy looking for a part time job."
"That's wonderful news, sweetie!" My mum chimed happily.
My father's face changed from grumpy to proud in less than a second. "Good man! I like to see you willingly taking on some responsibility! As a 17 year old, you should be more independent. Back when I was your age- Blahblahblahblahblah.........."
I turned and walked away as he rambled on about how he worked at his father's corner store to save up to marry my mum. They were high school sweethearts, prom king and queen, the whole fucking cliché deal.
I sat on my bed and scrolled through the job listings in the surrounding areas on my phone. There wasn't much going for someone my age, mainly delivery drivers for fast food places. I applied for a few before moving to sit in my window, and lighting up a cigarette before going to bed.
I was rudely awakened the next morning, as my father ripped my warm blankets off of me.
"Get up! I'm heading to work soon, and you need to get ready for school!" He roared, before storming out of my room.
I groaned in annoyance as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. I groggily threw on some clothes, before heading to the front door and hiding one of my dad's work shoes in a kitchen cupboard. He never set foot in there because the kitchen was "no place for a man", so it would be a while before he found it.
I sat down at the table for breakfast as my dad flew into a rage about his missing shoe. I kept my face down to hide my smirk, as I ate my cereal.
By the time mum and I were leaving, my dad was officially late for work, and he still hadn't located his missing shoe.
"Oh, dad! Why is your shoe in the kitchen? That's an awfully stupid place to leave a shoe.."
I hurried into the car as he let out an angry roar.
We drove into town towards the large, old brick building that was to be my new school, Roosevelt Private Academy.
After changing into the stuffy, stiff formal uniform -that consisted of a crisp white button up shirt and a pair of aubergine slacks-, and collecting my textbooks, I was escorted to my homeroom class by an office assistant.
"Okay class, settle down. We have a new student joining us today. This is.." The teacher looked down at the paperwork in her hands, before looking me up and down. Her overly fake smile faltered slightly as she took in my messy hair and slack posture. "Lawson Grace. Make him feel welcome."
I gave a quick, silent nod to the gawking students, before taking a seat in the only empty desk at the back of the class.
I already stood out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of perfectly groomed students.
The guy sitting next to me grinned widely as he leant over and whispered to me. "I'm Leon. You look real happy to be here."
"That obvious, huh?"
"Pass your schedule, I want to see if we have any classes together."
I handed it over, eyeing him curiously. People generally avoided making conversation with me, so this was new.
Like the others, his uniform was perfectly ironed, his thick black hair slicked back with gel in order to keep it off of his face. His slender dark eyes glittered in amusement. He didn't give off the same stuck up vibe that the rest of the students did.
His eyebrows raised in surprise as he read through my classes. "Damn! No wonder you were accepted mid semester. These are all advanced classes, except for homeroom and P.E.... Which are the only two classes we have together.."
"Sit with me at lunch?" He added keenly.
I was honestly a little shocked at his question. "Well aren't you forward."
"You seem cool, unlike the others here. They're either stuck up rich kids, or super smart, study focused scholarship students. You seem..... Different." He shrugged casually.
The bell rang, and we headed towards the locker room to change into our sports uniforms.
"Where do you fall on that scale then, Leon?"
He rubbed the back of his neck, seeming slightly embarrassed. "I'm on a music scholarship. Working class parents, average grades."
After changing, we headed into the gym where the rest of the class was gathered.
"Oh man, sucks to be you. We have our evaluation today." Leon chuckled.
"Evaluation? That doesn't sound like much fun." I stated dryly.
Of course this would happen on my first day, in my first class.
He grimaced as he gestured to the equipment set up around the large room. "Yeah, they have been preparing us for this for the last few weeks. You know, rope climbing, testing our strength and agility..... That kind of horrible torture."
Thank fuck I liked to keep physically fit.
"Leonard Bao! Rope climb!" The stocky, moustached gym teacher yelled enthusiastically, clutching his clipboard in one hand and his whistle in the other.
I snickered at his name.
"Oh shut up. My mum thought that I would grow up to be a dignified musician if I had a classic name..." He groaned, before making his way to the rope that hung from the ceiling in the middle of the room.
I watched on in horror as he struggled to make it a quarter of the way up the rope, before falling back down on the pile of padded mats below.
I struggled to hide my amusement when he returned. "That was...... Really fucking sad."
"Fuck off. My talents lay elsewhere."
No one seemed to be able to get further than halfway up the rope. When one name in particular was called, the entire room erupted into cheers, apart from Leon and I.
"What the fuck? Is he some kind of celebrity?"
"In this town? Yes. Court Daniels is the town's very own golden boy. Rich family, good looks, hot girlfriend, highest grades and athletically superior. You can't even hate they guy, because he's so damn nice!"
I automatically groaned. "Ughh. I already know I am going to be trying to avoid him as much as possible. I know it's petty, but I really can't stand people like that."
"It really, really sucks to be you then. You are in every class with him aside from homeroom, Mr. Smarty-pants."
"Of course I fucking am."
The most attractive person I had ever laid eyes on suddenly emerged from the crowd and made his way to the rope. He lightly ruffled his golden brown hair, before wiping his hands on his lean, muscular torso, and gripping the rope.
I wasn't usually the type to like someone based on looks, I was all about the emotional connection. Unless I was drunk, then I just wanted to fuck... Still, I couldn't deny that Court Daniels really was fucking beautiful.
He scaled the rope effortlessly, before making his way back down. He used the bottom of his shirt to wipe away the few droplets of sweat that had begun to form on his brow, making the girls collectively screech at the sight of his gorgeously toned abs.
I was up after him.
He beamed a brilliant smile at me as we passed each other on my way to the rope. I managed to get momentarily lost in his bright hazel eyes, making me trip on the edge of the mat and stumble awkwardly towards the rope, gripping it to regain my balance.
Fucking smooth. On the bright side, I didn't faceplant.
I made easy work of the rope as well, gaining a few looks of admiration from the crowd of students. I kept my face stony, avoiding the numerous eyes trained on me as I walked back over to Leon.
"Show-off." He scoffed, a slight amused grin on his face.
This kid was quickly growing on me.
The first two days were like any other school day, slow and monotonous.
I found myself watching Court more than I liked to admit. There was just something about him that seemed off, but no one else seemed to notice it, and I was unable to put my finger on it.
Leon was right about him being hard to hate. I desperately wanted to hate him on principle, but was struggling to find a viable reason to.
I had managed to get myself a part time job at a fried chicken place rather quickly. Apparently the kids around here were too good to work in a place like that. My duties were working the counter, preparing food, and delivering orders.
My first delivery order came through, and I hopped onto the moped they provided, storing the order of chicken in the metal box on the back to keep it safe and warm during transit.
The address was on the opposite side of the industrial district. We charged more the further we had to drive, but my boss insisted on delivering anywhere in town.
The Neighbourhood was shit, to say the least.
The skeletal remains of cars sat on cinderblocks along the side of the road, strays roamed the streets, and almost every building was either defaced, boarded up, or both.
I came to a stop outside a cheap run down motel, and double checked the address.
Room 2, Sleep E-Z Motel, Argent Street.
This is definitely the place.
The sign out the front had been altered to now read "Slee Z Motel", thanks to some letters being covered with spray paint.
"Real classy place..... That's not even how you spell it..." I mumbled under my breath as I pulled out the order and headed over to the row of numbered doors.
I knocked on the door with an upside down two, lamely hanging at eye level.
"Delivery from Chuck's Chooks!" I called out unenthusiastically.
Lame name, good pay.
I could hear movement on the other side of the door before I heard muffled voices.
The first was deep, sounding like it belonged to an older, probably middle aged man. The second voice was smooth, but cold.
"WHORE! Take this cash and answer the door! I'm fucking starving!"
"Watch your mouth old man, or I'll charge you double."
"What? You sell your body. That's what a whore is, boy! Now hurry up and get my fucking chicken!"
I heard the cheap metal lock slide across just before the door opened.
I stood wide eyed in shock as I took in the boy in front of me, who was still looking down, counting the cash in his hands.
"How much is it?" He sighed in clear annoyance.
Those gorgeous hazel eyes that had captivated me with their brilliant gold flecks all week, were now dull, empty, and ridiculously sad.
Panic rose behind them when they finally locked with mine.
The Court Daniels, golden boy of the perfect little town that lay just on the other side of the city, stood before me in nothing but a flimsy, cheap motel bathrobe, that barely covered anything.