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Chapter Four

Adam hid the cuts from everyone, being a recluse. He didn’t want to be a recluse, but he couldn’t help it. He just had the worst social skills. That’s why the doctors thought he may have had autism before they diagnosed him with avoidant personality disorder.

‘I’m going now,’ he stated bluntly as he made his way out the door.

His mother, Poppy Tate, had her hands in the sink, scrubbing plates, when she flung them out, throwing bubbles all over the place. She rushed over to Adam before he could get out the front door, and she cupped his cheeks with both her hands, and she kissed him on the forehead.

Adam recoiled. He looked disgusted. ‘You really couldn’t have wiped your hands first?’ he blurted.

‘Well, no. You were leaving as quick as a buzzing bee,’ she retorted. She dropped her hands, and wiped them on her apron. ‘Well, see you.’ She made her way back to the kitchen, feeling a little discouraged.

Adam realised he’d upset her, but he didn’t dare say anything, so he just left.

Adam was sitting on the bus when a girl approached him. She sat in the seat in front of him. He didn’t look up, only continued reading.

‘Hey,’ she said boisterously.

Adam looked up languidly, and smiled at her. She was Asian with long, straight black hair and a gorgeous facial complexion.

‘You’re a quiet one, huh?’ she poked his cheek. ’Reeaallll quiet.’

Adam shrugged. ‘I guess,’ he replied softly.

‘Ah, so he speaks!’ she looked out the window, glad that she had succeeded in unlocking the boy.

The bus was going at a rather high velocity (mainly because they were on the highway), but the girl could see the cars zooming alongside the bus. There were all different colours, models, shapes, sizes.

‘So!’ she clapped her hands. ‘I’m Lily. Lily Watson. I’m seventeen and in Year 11.’ Adam went to introduce himself, but she shushed him with her finger on his mouth. ‘I know all about you, Adam Tate.’

Adam blushed.

‘Lisa told me everything.’

Adam gulped, and felt his stomach turn. How did she know about him?

‘How does sh--?’ Before he could finish, Lily clamped his lips shut with her fingers. It kind of hurt when she did so.

‘She asked your brother about you. She thinks you’re cute.’ She said as she let go of his lips, smiling.

‘Why me?’ Adam was immediately paranoid. What if (and that’s a big if) when they became friends, she was just going to abandon him, like everyone else? What would she say if she found out about his mental disorder? Oh goody God no. That’d be bad.

‘She’s seen you around. Thinks you’re different. What do you think of her? Uhp! Don’t tell me. You like her, ya?’

Adam looked down. How the fuck did she know?

’Harrison told her. That’s cute. Adam has a little cruuuush!’

Adam felt exasperated. Why the hell would he tell her?! ‘No, I don’t.’ That’s all he could think of to say.

‘Nah, don’t lie.’

Adam’s stomach was a whirlpool at the moment. It wouldn’t stop spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning. ‘What makes you think I do? He could be lying.’

‘She’s just going off what he told her. Don’t lie, Adam. This could be your first relationship!’

Adam smiled on the inside. Maybe. But on the outside, he scowled. ‘Okay. I do. So what?’

‘She likes you, too.’

Why she thought he was different was a mystery. Sure, he wasn’t like the douchebag jocks or anything, but he wasn’t someone special. He just wasn’t.

But Lily introduced the two.

‘About time we were introduced,’ said Lisa mid-conversation.

‘Yes,’ replied Adam in a monotone voice. ‘Indeed.’ He was trying to sound smart by using “sophisticated” dialect.

It was starting to drizzle a bit now; the clouds had come out of nowhere and the sun was covered up, making it a gloomy day. Lisa, Lily, and Adam were all in the library together before classes started. It was nice and warm in the library, the opposite outside.

‘So, Adam Tate,’ she started. ‘You’re a quiet small bean, aren’tja?’ she giggled. ‘Lily here said it took you quite a while to open up to her, didn’t ya, Lils?’

She nodded simply, and returned to her book. She waved her hand, telling them to continue talking amongst one another.

Adam gulped, his Adam’s apple bobbing about in his throat. He nodded. ‘Yes.’

‘You’re awfully quiet. Nervous? Don’t worry, I’m nervous, too.’ Lisa was very talkative which Adam didn’t really like. Maybe she wasn’t the love of his life, the perfect girl.

‘Dunno, I guess,’ he said, his voice faltering. He seemed bored, when in reality, he was quite the opposite, actually.

Lisa noticed this and pointed it out: ‘You’re bored, aren’t you?’

Adam shook his head no. ‘Of course I’m not!’ he refuted.

The wind outside was howling like a wolf at night. It was a beautiful day. Rain and dusky skies were what Adam dreamt of. It was gorgeous, like the girl sitting in front of him. He couldn’t believe it -- he was talking to the Lisa Craig. That was phenomenal. Something he never thought would happen, ever.

She half-smiled. No, why would she be nervous? She was potentially the most popular girl in Year 10. Why would she want to talk to him, the least popular kid in the school (according to his own thoughts)? Crazy world.

‘You’re a good-looking kid, Adam. That may sound weird to you, but it’s true. You’re good looking, I think so. Yeppers.’ She smiled at him. She had braces. How did Adam not notice this before? It only added to the cute factor.

‘I’m not, but okay.’ Adam felt his self-confidence dwindle just above the sea of doubt. But whose self-confidence didn’t dwindle above the sea of doubt from time to time? Some people’s self-confidence did constantly, but that was okay. That didn’t change them, for they were still beautiful people. Adam was a beautiful boy.

‘Oh, you are.’ She smiled again.

Adam’s fists were clenched tightly on the table, and she wrapped her fingers around them. Was she flirting? As if Adam knew what flirting was. Pfft. Then the bell went.

‘Meet me here during recess, okay?’ she said after the sound drifted from the atmosphere, leaving a slight ringing in Adam’s ears. ‘And you, too, Lils.’

Lily nodded.

Adam nodded, too. He would. Christ, of course he would! She wanted to hang out with him? Why? Was she planning something?

Don’t be stupid, Adam. Of course she isn’t. She wants to be your friend, you silly goose.

Maybe she is planning something …

Stop it, Adam.

His thoughts were racing. He was talking to himself within his own head. He was used to this; he always talked to himself, for he was all he had. Right? Not anymore. He was going to get friends. He decided to discard his anxiety, and would definitely get the friends he’d forever longed for.

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