‘It’s crazy how each day is different from the one before.’
He lunged towards her and she dodged. She ducked behind him and pushed him against the tree.
She tried to make a run for it but he kicked her to the ground before she could go any further.
Unbothered by the impact, she rolled away before he could lay a hand on her.
Then she was up again, punching his jaw.
Wincing but not letting it faze him, they fought for another minute.
Everything happened too fast for one to keep track of what was happening.
He locked her arms behind her back, pulled out a shiny, silver dagger, and drove it into her ribs.
Whimpering, she glanced down to see blood trickling down her side.
In an attempt to escape him, she pushed him with all of her remaining force and dashed ahead.
But before she could run any further, she was pushed to the ground.
The man placed his hand at the back of her head and shoved it down.
Tilting his head a little, he let out a heavy sigh.
“It could’ve worked-”
“Ow…” I hissed.
I found myself on the floor…again.
I should really get used to waking up on the ground. My mornings have been like this for the past two or three days.
I pushed myself up, straightening my shirt and standing in front of the huge table near my bed.
Taking a glance at the pictures I’d placed on top of the table, I tried not to let the memory of the news come back into my head.
It’d been five years since then but it was still kind of hard to accept the reality that she wasn’t here anymore.
She’d been there my whole life. I grew up having her teach me everything I knew now.
I never thought that it would happen to her…
But her life was taken away in a horrific accident.
That was what I was told…
But these dreams I had about her said otherwise.
I couldn’t wrap my head around it…who was that man and what was his deal with-
I heard the door creaking open behind me and I turned around, seeing my brother entering the room.
“Yeah?” I asked, trying not to wince at the way I sounded.
“Oh good, you’re up.” He said, nodding his head, “At least I don’t have to drag you out of the bed today.”
“Yeah…” I brushed my hair off my eyes, “Wouldn’t want you throwing me to the bathroom again.”
Life with a former quarterback like Jake McCartney wasn’t a life one would want to live in.
But oh well. I couldn’t do anything about it.
“Would’ve enjoyed yeeting you out of bed,” He shook his head, “Anyway. You should get ready. You don’t wanna be late for school today.”
This was my first time attending a public school.
For the past seventeen years of my life, I’d been studying at home. Taught by my mother for almost thirteen years, then her brother filled in after she passed away.
Until he had to leave the country to do something important.
With my father and brother at work, no one was there to see to my studies so I was enrolled in a high school located about…ten minutes away.
It was my first time outside the house, by myself, for more than two hours.
I could only imagine what it’d be like out there.
I gave my brother a nod as he exited the room.
Alright…time to get ready.
Phoenix Academy was a lot bigger than how I pictured it.
From what I’d seen, it had about two to three floors, including the roof area.
A huge gym, a lot of classrooms, not to mention a courtyard going from the side of the school all the way to the back.
I could get lost here if it weren’t for those people who gave me the map of the school at the front desk.
After ten minutes of walking down the halls and going up and down the stairs several times, I finally found my locker and placed the few textbooks I brought inside.
I also walked from my locker and found my homeroom class and stepped inside.
School hasn’t started yet but it’d be best to know the way to the classroom so I wouldn’t be late.
There were only a few people sitting in different places. Most of the seats already had bags placed on them, indicating that people were going to sit there.
I placed my backpack on an empty chair, pulled the map out, and walked out of the room.
With the limited amount of time left, I only managed to figure out the way to the rest of my classes. I wanted to explore the other rooms like the auditorium and the music room but the bell rang and I didn’t want to be late.
My classes were…okay. The whole beginning part was just introductions and giving me a brief recap of the lessons. Then my teachers continued their lesson as they were supposed to.
I knew it’d be hard to catch up to my classmates but I’d rather not think of that right now.
Following the map and the signs around the campus, I made my way to the cafeteria.
I should also remind myself to be fully aware of my surroundings.
I walked into a person, consequently causing her to drop all the papers she was holding.
“I’m sorry!” I panicked, quickly kneeling down to help her pick it up.
“No worries.” She said reassuringly, “It always happens.”
I got the fallen papers, arranging them so that she wouldn’t have trouble holding them.
We both stood up and I handed the papers over to her.
“You sure?” I asked, concerned.
“Mhm.” She smiled, “When you’re in a school with…crazy students, this type of thing is minor.”
“Crazy?” I queried, now wanting to know what she was talking about.
Before she could answer my question, we heard some loud yelling and bickering.
“Hope that answers your question.” She said, “Those three guys are the best example of ‘crazy’. They always come in yelling and attacking each other over nonsense.”
She jerked her thumb behind her and I followed her finger, now looking at three tall guys pushing each other around the halls.
A “Who are they?” tumbled out of my mouth.
“You don’t know them?!” She sounded shocked, “Oh, you must be new. So…the guy with the light brown hair and the purple jersey jacket is Kyle Daniel. He’s the captain of the basketball team here. So it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s incredibly athletic.”
I snuck a glance at Kyle, noticing his cheeky grin as he threatened to chuck his basketball at one of his friends.
He was also tall and lean and he gave off huge jock vibes. But a kind jock. A gentle one.
Back to the mini lesson about who these guys were, the girl continued, “The one on Kyle’s…left? Yeah left. That’s Phil Johnson. A lot of people call him the tech guy because he always helps with the sound systems and lights at every event.”
I nodded, now turning my attention to Phil.
His black hair fell carelessly to his eyes and he was busy reading a book…until Kyle pretended to throw his ball at him. Then he flinched.
“I see.” I nodded slowly, processing every word that was said to me.
“And last but not the least,” She spoke up, making me turn away from the guys and to the girl in front of me.
“That’s Grayson Sanders,” She continued, “He’s the one walking a few steps ahead of his friends and the one with insanely messy hair that he probably doesn’t even bother styling. A lot of students have a crush on him but who wouldn’t? The guy’s handsome and can sing.”
Fighting the urge to chuckle at her comment about him, I turned to sneak a glance.
I could kind of agree with her statement about Grayson. Kind of.
He was definitely a sight for sore eyes, I could say that.
He looked strong. Not even that baggy, black hoodie of his was able to hide it.
That wasn’t something one would say about someone aloud though…
So I kept silent, not bothering to make a comment about what the girl had just told me.
“Yeah that’s pretty much it for these guys…” She said, “I should get going, the student council president will freak if I don’t get these papers in.”
“Alright…” I gave her a smile, “See ’ya.”
“Bye.” She waved and took her leave.
As she walked away, my eyes wandered to the three guys walking down the halls.
Phil laughed at something Kyle said while Grayson’s lips pulled up to a smile.
I tilted my head a little, though I had no idea who they were, they seemed familiar…
Maybe because I was in a class with at least one of them earlier?
Grayson silently reminded me that I was staring for too long when he turned his head my way and caught me looking. He winked at me.
I didn’t know what I should think about first, the amount of nerve he had to do that, the wink itself, or the fact that I had been openly staring for so long.
I turned away, not wanting to make things more awkward.
I also waited until they walked far enough. Far enough until I couldn’t see them anymore.
I could just walk to the cafeteria like a normal person.
But seeing how they were walking towards the same direction as me, I considered going the opposite direction.
I wouldn’t want them to think of me as a creepy person following them around.
But this was the only time I could get lunch.
Sighing with defeat, I started walking down the halls and to the cafeteria.
Moments of avoiding lines, buying a sandwich, and finding an empty seat away from everyone later, I sat in one corner and started eating my food.
It might seem weird to other people to see a random person sitting alone in one corner but I honestly didn’t care.
I’d finished about half of my sandwich when someone slammed their hand on my table and leaned on it, causing me to jump violently.
“Oh!” A male voice said, “Sorry, didn’t mean to hit so hard.”
I glanced up to see the guy from earlier-what was his name again? Oh right, Kyle…Daniel? He was the one with dark brown eyes and golden brown hair.
He grinned at me.
“Uhm,” I said, glancing around helplessly. “Hi.”
“Hi yourself,” Kyle said cheerfully. “I came over to invite you to eat at our table. I also came to end my friends’ argument on who should go to you to say hi.”
“Cool. Uhm,” I considered his proposition. Sit with him and his friends? I glanced at their table. It wasn’t hard to spot. Grayson was pointing dramatically at a blonde girl sitting across him, and Phil was talking animatedly to a redhead, ignoring the other two.
I honestly didn’t know what to say or think or feel?
I didn’t expect someone to come up to me and say hi today.
But I also didn’t want to make things more awkward so I said, “Sure?”
He smiled, “Great. Don’t worry about them, they’re crazy, but you get used to it. You’ll be fine.”
I nodded a little, “Okay…”
Kyle stepped back, allowing me to stand up from my seat.
Then he led me to their table and everyone stopped talking to look at us.
“Wow you actually did it.” The blonde laughed.
“It’s easy really. You just go up and say hi.” Kyle shrugged, “You don’t go winking at people.”
Of course, he was talking about Grayson…well, the way Kyle turned his head towards his friend made it obvious.
“Ooooohhhhhhh,” The redhead smirked at Grayson, then turned to me while smiling, “He’s never done it to anyone else before.”
“Yeah.” The blonde added, her accent sounding different from her other friends. It didn’t quite sound like an American drawl. “He only walks past people with no word. You’re the first person he’s winked at…OOOHHH GRAYYYY!”
Grayson rolled his eyes at the blonde.
I took a step back, listening to their conversation felt like watching a tennis match. My head kept moving from side to side as I listened to the stuff they had to say.
“Alright guys,” Phil called, “Tease him later, you’re gonna overwhelm her.”
Kyle silenced the blonde with raised eyebrows and a lifted finger, “If you scare another student away this time, I’m putting the blame on you.”
“Hmph. Okay.” She huffed.
“Sorry about that.” Kyle said, turning to me, “My friends tend to…react overenthusiastically sometimes.”
“It’s okay.” I replied.
“Here, take a seat.” Kyle motioned to one of the benches, shoving Grayson out of the way.
Doing as he said, I sat on one bench, between Grayson and the redheaded girl.
Gosh, it felt so awkward sitting here with new people…
But I guess it wouldn’t be so bad.