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Chapter 2 - Art students

A part of me thought about skipping the rest of class and bunkering up with the cute nurse, but the detergent and chlorine stench was getting to me. Plus my stomach was sending me a S.O.S message that the tank needed to be refilled. It took some convincing, but I eventually got her to let me go back to class. I waited till lunch was about to start to head out from there. As I strolled down the hall, I stopped dead in my tracks. There was this odd statue I’ve never seen before just sitting in the middle of the hall. It had pale white skin, and painted on black eyes that looked like they were staring into my soul. There were flowers painted along her arms and cheeks in various different colors. Which sort of calmed down the creepy vibe it was giving off.

“Another masterful art piece, by an art student who cracked under the pressure,” I muttered. I stepped toward it looking into its eyes again. I poked at its skin and I felt my skin crawl. It felt like real skin!

“These damn art kids just get sketchier and sket-” Suddenly the thing’s eyes shot open revealing crystal clear blue eyes. If it wasn’t a demonic statue moving on its own, I probably think they were really pretty. But no, this was a devil spawn and I screamed like a little girl, jumping away from it. I took out my small lead broken pencil and pointed it at its head.

“I-I’ll draw on you!” I stammered out. However the tension faded quickly, as I saw the demonic devil spawn statue start dying of laughter, a very familiar laughter.

“Oh my gosh, you should’ve seen your face, Eden!” She laughed,holding onto her sides.

“What the hell, Elle!” I roared.

“Oh I wish I had my camera!” She snorted loudly. “That’s what you get for making fun of us artsy kids.”

“What are you doing in the middle of the hallway pretending to be a statue!?”

“It’s a social experiment for my art class today, to celebrate Earth day.”

“What the hell does a black-eyed flower demon have to do with Earth day?”

“You know, it represents life and death and-” She stopped as she could see my bull crap detector was going off. I gave her a stale plain look and she just sighed. ”

I just wanted an excuse to paint myself and scare kids in the hall,” she admitted, and I shook my head.

“How much convincing did it take to get Mr. Lario to let you do this?”

“Oh, you know, I hit him with a rousing speech about plant awareness and blah blah blah.” She put her hands on her hips and I chuckled some.

“I’m not even a little bit surprised. So anything else you’re celebrating today?” I asked curiously. However, I could tell from the confused look on her face that she had no idea what I was talking about.

“Ummmm- celebrating Aden’s scoring touch down yesterday?” She asked with a bewildered look on her face, as she tilted her head.

I sighed again and turned away from her, continuing down the hall.

“I guess my birthday isn’t as important as Aden’s winning touchdown,” I called out to her. It didn’t take long for me to hear footsteps running over to me.

“Oh my gosh! Eden, I’m so sorry I forgot!” she gasped as she walked up beside me.

“Oh no, it’s fine, it’s not like this is the eighth time or anything,” I replied sarcastically.

“Come on! You’re making me feel like a bad person!” she cried.

“Ya know, you never forget Aden’s birthday.”

“That’s because it’s on a holiday!”

“You realize the holiday you’re trying to exploit today is earth day right? Aka my birthday?”

“I’ll make it up to you, I promise,” she said, hopping in front of me now. She gave me her puppy dog eyes and I quickly gave in to her. I was a sucker for her puppy dog eyes technique.

I sighed and smiled a little.

“Oh fine, fine, I’ll forgive you. But this gift better be amazing.” I said with a chuckle as the lunch bell rang. Her eyes got wide in shock.

“Crap! I need to wash this paint off before lunch!” She shrieked running off to the bathroom. I shook my head and started walking to the lunch room.

I got my tray of what the school calls food and headed over to my usual table. As I came up to it, I saw Aden heading my way. I went to wave but I could see his eyes were focused somewhere else. I saw him turning to Elle who was finally not covered in paint anymore.

She was running toward him and practically tackled him in a hug. Aden scooped her up with one arm and twirled her around (while somehow still holding onto his food tray.) I could see them staring into each other’s eyes intensely, like they hadn’t seen each other in years. I felt a twinge in my chest as I watched them. I didn’t want to look, but I couldn’t stop. Eventually when he let her down, I turned back to our table and sat down. I heard snickering coming from the tables around me.

“Why don’t they just kiss already!” A girl at the table next to me said with a giggle, the rest of the table agreeing with her.

I moved an earbud into my ear and tried to ignore it. But guess what didn’t work anymore? That’s right, apparently earbuds don’t like being in toilet water. I growled a bit under my breath as I just tossed them aside. What a birthday Eden! What’s next? Am I gonna fall into the- Suddenly I felt something cold and wet smack the back of my head. I turned to see a table a little bit away from mine, all snickering and laughing at me. Jessie’s goons. I took a deep breath and calmed myself down. I got a napkin and wiped what I prayed to be mashed potatoes off the back of my head.

“Eden, who threw that?” I heard the booming and infuriated voice of Aden next to me.

I could see the scrunched freckled face of Elle, who was also glaring over at their table. Which grew quiet all of the sudden.

“It’s fine, Aden.” I replied flatly.

“No it’s not! Those little craps need to-” I grabbed his arm and he stopped for a moment, and I looked him in the eyes.

“Really, it’s fine. Realistically I know I can fight and beat those losers one on one, but they’ll just attack me like Jesse did, with a group. They’re hiding behind one another and I don’t think we can fight six on two.”

“You mean six on three? I’ll stab those little delinquents!” Elle huffed. I smiled a little bit, seeing her frustration for me.

“I’m saying something. I won’t just let them treat you like that because of Jesse. Who’s not even man enough to fight you fair!” I tried to stop him but Aden had made up his mind and stormed over to the group.

Elle helped wipe the remnants of mash potatoes off my hair. I could feel my face flushing a bit as she got this close to me. Even when she looked mad she was still pretty. Elle had short brown hair that went to her shoulders. She was a little bit shorter than me (which wasn’t saying much) and had these cute freckles all over her face. She usually wore a light hoodie and jeans that have paint sprinkled all over them. She still had remnants of her white paint all over her light skin.

“Don’t worry Eden, we got your back.” She chimed, now giving me a small smile. Aden came back over with an irritated face and sat next to me.

“Well, I told them if they mess with you again, I’ll throttle them. Anyways, onto a better topic, what should we do for your birthday tonight?” Aden asked just as the thought occurred to me. I had no actual idea what I was doing tonight.

“Maybe we could go out to eat?” Elle suggested.

“Sure, I like-”

“Ambrosia’s Meats right? The sandwich place?” Aden said which brought a huge smile on my face.

“You know it.” I replied.

“Oh I remember that place! That’s wher-” she covered her mouth and Aden’s eyes grew wide in fear.

I was confused. Clearly what she said shocked him...but why?

“It’s where I went last night! Yeah, last night for dinner with my folks. It’s so good!” She cheered happily. It was such a bad lie. But why did she need to lie? I watched Aden who seemed to relax once she said that. I decided to ignore it for now. Tonight was going to be more than just my birthday dinner. It was time for Batman to investigate.

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