When Audra walked in to school that morning, heading down the halls with her head down and her hands firmly grasping the straps of her leather bag, she found Jess and her posse waiting for her by her locker. She stiffened at she locked eyes with Jess.
Jess smirked, then casually strutted over to her. “Oh, hey. I see you’re still wearing those ridiculous gloves.” She put her hands on both of her shoulders, causing Audra to flinch under them. “Don’t think that Colton Danvers is coming to your aid last week meant anything. He thinks you’re a loser just as much as his friends do.”
“Please. Just leave me alone…” Audra murmured, her voice barely audible. She didn’t look at her.
Before Jess and her friends could say anything, Jess was shoved away from her.
Colton looked down and smiled softly at Audra, gently pulling her into him and wrapping a protective arm around her shoulders. Then he looked over at Jess, still smiling. “Hey Jess. Thanks for finding my girlfriend for me. I’ve been looking everywhere for her.”
Jess started sputtering, but he wasn’t paying attention.
He turned to Audra and started guiding her down the hall away from them, his eyes never leaving her. “Did you hear the early morning announcements?” he asked.
Her brows furrowed slightly as she looked up at him. “What early morning-”
The bell dinged softly above them before the principal’s voice came through the speakers.
“Good morning everyone. Today is Monday, October ninth, and it is seven-fifty in the morning. Lunch today is beef stroganoff with the option of salad at the salad bar, as usual. Happy birthday to May Locke and Kevin Lang.” He paused for a moment. “There are going to be a couple changes this year. This winter, were going to have a winter prom, instead of a spring prom. It will be held at the Danvers family’s chateau on Mount Ethereal. This will be on December twenty-first. The King and Queen this year will be determined at prom by couples. So, as an example, the first nomination we have for this is Colton Danvers and Audra Scamander. The other one we have is Keegan Cray and Jess Matthews. If you have any other nominations, please stop by the office.
“Also, if any staff member or student witnesses bullying at any time to any person, the bully with spend three days at in-school suspension. Bullying is unacceptable and will be punished greater if we see fit.
“For the final announcement this morning, Audra Scamander will now be apart of the cheerleading team. Be sure to welcome her onto the team with open arms. Go to the gymnasium for more details.
“That concludes the early morning announcements. Have a lovely day, everybody.” Then he clicked off the speakers.
Audra’s eyes had widened, her mouth covered by her hands. She couldn’t find anything to say.
Colton, however, was smiling at her. They had stopped walking when the announcements had started. He leaned into her ear so that no one would hear him. “I told you I would make these next four months the best I could make them,” he murmured.
She was just staring at him in shock. Pressure had started building in the back of her throat. After a moment, she reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face in the crook of his neck. She had to stand on her tiptoes.
"Thank you, Colton,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Colton’s eyes were wide with surprise at her touch, then smiled softly as he gently returned the hug. “Anything for you, Audra,” he replied just as quiet. It felt good to hold her in his arms like this.
They remained like that for a few more moments before the bell rang, signaling for them to get to class.
She pulled away from him, wiping away some of her tears. A small smile was on her pink lips. “This really means a lot to me. Thank you.”
He nodded, reaching forward and gently brushed a tear away with his thumb. “And if you need a dress for prom, I’ll get you one. We can go shopping together. I mean, we’ll be going together.” He hesitated. “Do- Do you want to go with me? As… As my date? I mean, you don’t have to, but-”
She laughed softly. “Colton. I’d love to.”
He beamed, then brushed some hair behind her ear. After a moment, he leaned forward and gently brushed a kiss on her forehead. “Alright. You’d better head to class. You can come sit with me and my friends at lunch. I’ll see you then?”
She nodded, smiling a little. “Yeah, definitely.” After another moment, she turned and left, walking to her first class.