The air around me is cold and stale, the sky is dismal and grey, water leaks from the clouds, dampening the soil I sit on.
My head bobs to the music thrumming through my earphones, back resting against the stone wall that lines the edge of the school grounds.
I turn the music louder, liking how the beat of the music drowns out the frantic thoughts in my head but only for a few minutes though and then they come back, racing, full force.
Then the little girl’s face pops into my head - the one who I had that weird dream about yesterday- and I squeeze my eyes tight, trying to get rid of her face in my mind.
She goes to my school, I don’t know the girl, I’ve never talked to her in my life yet somehow I’ve managed to make some sort of dream with her in it.
It could be nothing, just my brain choosing a random face in its memory store, however, it feels more significant than just ‘something’ random. Not her specifically, her being her isn’t important, it’s more what I saw or, should I say, how I saw it. It felt like a memory, like I was in her head, watching a memory.
I shake my head and turn the volume on my earphones up by two. I think I’m going crazy. Going crazy seems like a much more logical explanation than having powers that enable me to go into a person’s head.
My head continues to bob to my music and I get lost in the intertwining rhythms.
“Didn’t expect you to be here.” I feel my earphones get pulled out of my ears and I open my eyes to find Rolan stooping down in front of me, my earbuds in his hand.
“Did you, did you just take my earphones out of my ears without my permission?” I ask with mock aggression.
“Yeah, I think I did.” He replies nonchalantly, sitting down beside me on the soil, a smirk on his lips.
I shake my head, “What’re you doing here anyway?”
“What are you doing here?” He says, motioning to where I sit. The grass is scarce in this area. There are no benches or chairs for people to sit, I am here alone in the vast expanse of the field.
“It’s lunch,” I say, looking at my phone to check the time, “Or...at least it was.”
Rolan laughs lightly, “We should get going.” He says. “Come on,”He gets up, dusting off the soil onto his trousers, “Let’s go.” He extends his hand and I slip mine into his, rising from the soil.
Rolan turns to me as we walk across the grass to the school building, “So,Mae, about our date, when are you free?”
My heart leaps from my chest, “Umm, Saturday evening, after my music class, at like five.”
“Cool.” He says, “I’ll pick you up at yours then.”
I nod, a nervous smile on my lips, “Cool.”
“Aww, look you’ve gone all shy.” Rolan says, placing a kiss on my cheek and wrapping his arm around my waist, pulling me closer to his side. Those tingles ricochet from where he kissed my cheek and ripple throughout my body, before eventually fizzling out. I bite my lip and say nothing else, afraid I’ll talk gibberish.
“This is my class.” I say, just before we come to the door.
“Mine too.” He says, “I’m doing work here for a couple weeks.”
“Oh.“ Is all that can come out of my mouth, “That’s why you’re always here.” I mutter under my breath.
“I found her, Miss. She fell asleep outside.”
My English teacher rolls her eyes, sighs and says, “Sit down, be quiet and don’t let it happen again.”
My eyes drift to Rolan as he stands at the front of the class, smiling slightly. “Uh, yeah, sorry.” I say before making my way towards my seat.
“You weren’t sleeping, were you?” Logan asks me quietly as I take my seat next to her, “Or maybe you were sleeping… with someone.” She says, motioning towards Rolan.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I whisper back.
“You did, didn’t you?” She exclaims, earning a glare from our teacher.
“No,” I turn to her slightly, “We didn’t. I lost track of time and he found me in my spot and that’s the tea.” I reply.
“All the tea?” She asks, eyes peering at me curiously.
“All the tea.” I say and she sighs before going back to her work.
I look over at Rolan to see his head towards us, a smirk on his lips. He heard everything, I roll my eyes, of course he heard.
“So what are we doing?”I ask, Logan.
“Reading chapter two of Gatsby.”
“Thanks,” I say as I take the book out of my bag, flicking through the pages, reading a quote from the book, ‘I was within and without.’
“Right, everyone. I want you to discuss with your partners what Nick’s experience of New York is with Tom. Summarise the chapter. Focus on characters feelings, Tom, Nick. How Tom reacts to Myrtle talking about Daisy?So get started, I’ll be back soon, I need to get something from the office. Ask Rolan if you have any questions.” The teacher makes her way out of the room and Rolan makes his way towards Logan and I’s.
Logan nudges me not so subtly as he sits in front of us. I glance up at him to find him already looking at me.
“Um, thanks by the way.” I say.
“For what?” He asks.
“Not telling miss where I was.”
He shrugs, “It was nothing. So what do you guys think of the chapter?”
“Hold up,” I say, “I have one question.”
“Sure, go ahead, that’s what I’m here for.” Rolan says.
“Why is a billionaire’s son aka you, working as a teaching assistant?” I ask.
“Experience for work.” He answers with a shrug of his shoulders.
“That answer doesn’t make any sense.” Logan replies. She goes on, “You already work in your dad’s company”
“I like English, I want to teach in the future or at least do something with books.” He replies and I can see in his eyes that he is being sincere.
“Dude, you have everything and you still want to work.” Someone says from the back.
Rolan laughs,” I guess I get bored sometimes.”
“Maybe you can spend some of your money on us. Then we might get bored and actually want to do some work too.” Someone else says.
Rolan laughs again, “Right, if you guys get what miss has said done you’re all invited to mine for a party, next weekend!” Rolan shouts and everyone screams in excitement.
He turns to me with a charming smile, “You coming?”
“I don’t, I don’t think so.” I reply, “It’s not really my, uh, scene.”
“I’ll take care of you.” He says, leaning down, pressing his lips to my cheek, “If you want.”
I nod, leaning towards him without thinking and press my lips onto his. I’ve never kissed anyone before, I don’t...know how to kiss. I lean back from him quickly.
“Uh, sorry. I don’t...know.” I say, keeping my head down, hyper aware that everyone in class is staring at me.
“I’ll take that as a yes then.” Rolan says.
I don’t get a chance to reply as our teacher walks back into the room and calls Rolan to hand out some sheets.
As soon as I hear the bell, I pack my bag and leave as quickly as possible, avoiding the stares I get from my peers. I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket, a message from Logan.
I can’t believe you did that. Who knew you were so ballsy.
I groan and stuff the phone back into my pocket with a huff, making my way out of school to the bus stop quickly.
I’m so stupid, why would I kiss him in front of all those people. Now they’re all going to talk and it will probably get to the press and then I’ll be on the front pages of every magazine I can name. I can see the headlines now, ‘Mae Collins: Another conquest?’, ‘Mae Collins: Rolan’s killer choice!’
I take out my oyster and get on the bus, taking a seat in a tucked away corner.
I’ve worked so hard to stay out of the spotlight and now I might just be put back into it. The thought, makes my heart clench in anxiety. Maybe being with Rolan is a bad idea, maybe he’ll attract too much attention to me. I should probably call him and tell him not to come on Saturday. I don’t want to lead him on, the sooner I end it, the better.
The doors to the bus open and I step out, walking the few paces I have to take to get to my house. I smile as I see my house come into view. It is small and quaint, two stories high.
I open the door, familiar almond white walls coming into view. I chuck my rucksack to the left without having to look, knowing that it will land on the two-seater beige couch then fall onto the light blue carpet.
I walk straight ahead into the kitchen, grabbing a drink from the fridge as well as some bread. I open the oven, turn it on and place the bread inside.
“Mum!” I call, waiting for a reply. One which I don’t get as expected. “Home, alone. Just how I like it.” I say to myself as I switch on the radio, dancing around the kitchen as I wait for my bread to turn to toast.
A thud upstairs has me stunned motionless. It is a lloud, purposeful thud that sends a shiver down my spine. I shouldn’t check, that’s how people die in movies. But it came from upstairs, my bedroom. I’ll have to go up there at some point. Something probably just fell, I’m being stupid. I switch the oven off and go upstairs.
I open my door and peer around the corner, everything seems...in order.
Except… my window is wide open, the curtains billowing in the wind. Someone’s been in my room. My hands tremble as I open the door further.
One other thing is missing. The picture-frame on my bedside cabinet, the only one of my complete family is gone and in its place, a note. Written in black, capital letters.
GET RID OF ROLAN!