The Lighter Side

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The Beating Heart of a Football Player

Today, I would begin at a new school. One of the most prestigious schools I could ever go to. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Faron, the head butler, has made sure I had everything I needed. I’d been here for a week and grew quite bored at home by myself as everyone ventured off to school and work. It was easy to find company in the servants since I persisted to help them with their chores so I wouldn’t be doing completely anything.

Faron was especially good to talk to and I had learned so much about him. He started working for Blake and his family when they first had Jyro and had been here ever since. He had a daughter who gave him three grandchildren, promising I would get to meet them soon.

“You have to wear a uniform except on Fridays.” Blake had filled me in briefly the night before, rushing back to his office. I wondered if he ever got tired of working. The only time I truly saw him set it aside was my first day.

Looking in the mirror, I smoothed down my uniform and flattened my hair. Deciding I looked fine, I joined everyone else in the kitchen. Opposite of everyone’s fairly large breakfast, I just nibbled on a muffin, afraid of what would happen next if I ate something big. My stomach didn’t take well to nervousness.

When everyone finished, I was once again stuck in a car with Jyro and Lani. Fortunately, we didn’t have many encounters thanks to school, but I still didn’t know where we stood.

I found out when we arrived at the school. Lani turned around, her innocent green eyes not giving any of her intentions.

“Don’t talk to my friends. Don’t talk to me. Don’t look at me. Don’t associate yourself with anything to do with me. Are we clear?” Is it weird that she kind of had this nice tone to her voice?

I nodded my head, finding it easier to just agree. It’s better if I didn’t have any more enemies than I had to. She got out the car and slammed the door shut. Jyro immediately shouted out his window about respect for his stuff. Then, he too turned back to me.

“Look, you’re my little sister now, whether I like it or not. I protect my own and believe it or not, Lani does too. We’re here if you need us.” And with that, he got out the car and pulled my door open, shutting it behind me.

I was following Jyro up until we got in the school, where he ran off to a group of his friends. He couldn’t have waited until after I found out what class I had first. Pulling out my school papers Blake handed to me this morning, I navigated my way through the big school, trying to find my locker. When I tried asking somebody, they all just kept walking like I didn’t say anything. Sighing, I groaned and slid my back down one of the well kept, polished lockers—which was an unusual sight from where I’m from—settling down on the tiled, shiny floor with tiny multi-colored specks on them.

“Do you need help?” A deep voice questioned me. Lifting my head, I saw a block of muscle tucked in jeans and a black shirt. He had light brown skin with dark, short hair and very light brown eyes. He had to be a football player. He just carried himself like one would.

“Locker A142?” I should him my schedule.

He broke into laughter, holding his stomach.

“What’s so funny,” I frowned.

“That’s it right behind you.” He pointed after pulling himself together. Standing up, I turned around and realized that he was right. The words were glaring right at me. Gosh, I was so stupid and apparently blind.

“Of course it would be,” I mumbled.

The boy moved to the locker behind me, pushing the buttons on the black keypad and opening it after the light flashed green. With a sarcastic smirk, he gestured to the device,” Do you need help opening it too?”

Huffing, I looked at my paper before punching in the numbers and pulling my locker open,” Thanks for the support.”

“I’m Oliver.”

“Blaine.”

“New?”

“How’d you guess?”

Thankfully, Oliver’s first class was across from mine and he was able to escort me. Nearly everyone was sitting down already, so I scanned the room very empty seats. I approached the first one a row to the right away from the middle towards the front.

A girl with jet black hair and tan skin kicking both of her feet on the chair,” You can’t sit here.”

I narrowed my eyes,” Why not?”

She glared at me,” Because I said you can’t.”

I looked at my feet, begging softly,” Please?”

I heard her groan, then the sound of feet hitting the floor, a small smile creeps on my face as I sat down.

“You looked like a sad puppy,” she scoffed.

The class quickly filled up and soon class was beginning. The girl next to me obviously didn’t care because as soon as the teacher began talking, she stuffed earbuds in her ears. I pulled out my notebook and started to write notes. I was glad there was no new girl introduction. Now, that would’ve been a disaster.

As the day went on, I came to realize that that girl and I had almost every class together and each class she acted the same. The careless attitude with the ‘don’t come near me’ vibe. She even fell asleep while the teacher was talking to her.

Finally, lunch had come around and I wasn’t completely sure where I would sit, but these things always seemed to work themselves out. Stopping by my locker first, a little squeak left my mouth after I closed my locker and was faced with Oliver.

“Hey,” he said, simply enough.

“Hi,” I responded, my heart rate returning to normal.

We began walking side by side down the hallway, towards the lunch room,” I figured you’d be lonely, so I’m offering you my company.”

I exaggerated a sigh,” Well, I guess. If you’re my only option.”

When we opened the door to the cafeteria, I was hit with a sound a life from every corner. There were kids at one table throwing paper balls at each other to the group of girls getting so worked up about what one was saying, I was sure one was about to faint.

“You get used to the noise. Everyone is pretty loud here,” Oliver told from behind me.

I saw Lani with a group of girls hanging on their phones. There wasn’t much conversation going on between them which made me wonder if they were communicating through their phones. I know some people do that sometimes, which I don’t understand because they’re literally right next to you.

Oliver sat down at an empty table, pulling out a Transformers lunch box. I couldn’t contain my laughter when I saw it. He quickly sent a glare my way before taking all the food out and dropping it on the floor.

“What are you, four?” I teased, plopping down into the seat next to him.

He rolled his eyes, muttering,” My mom makes me. I’m still her little boy in her eyes.”

“Aww, that’s sweet,” I cooed,” Does she put a note in it too?”

“No,” he snapped,” That’s the unnecessarily killing of trees.”

I opened my brown bag and pulled out an orange slowly peeling it. I had a bad habit of accidentally spraying orange juice in my eyes and I didn’t feel like becoming temporarily blind. Even though I found it absolutely hilarious, I thought it was cute how he still allowed himself to go along with his mother wants even when he was obviously not a little kid anymore. She must really mean a lot to him.

“Do you not have any friends?” I handed half my sandwich. He had finished his lunch already and he was still hungry. When I asked about it he claimed that he ate twice as much as the rest of the world because he was going to be the best football player in the world. I just nodded my head.

“There sitting behind you, staring at us profusely.” He took a bite of the sandwich casually like it was completely normal.

Spinning in my seat, he was very accurate. There were two boys, who actually looked a lot alike. They both even had some sports jersey on and the same shade of blues jeans. I wasn’t sure if they planned it or not, but they came off as brothers.

“That’s Zedd and Kent. They’re idiots and the most annoying people you’ll ever meet, but they’re all I got.”

I lifted my hand and gave them a short wave. One of them began waving so much, I thought his arm would fall off. The other guy yanked his arm down harshly, clearly annoyed as the first guy began to pout. It was a little hard to believe that the guy sitting next to me was friends with the guys behind me, but everyone had their own stories and I was gonna enjoy that one.

“Who’s who?” I wondered, resting my head on my knuckles.

“Zedd is the one who does the weird stuff. You know, the one with the Seahawks jersey and short hair.” Ah, so he was the one waving,” And Kent is the more sensible one. He has the long, curly hair and the Cowboys jersey.”

I was about to ask more when Jyro suddenly sat down next to me, ignoring Oliver’s entire presence.

“Hey, Mom accidentally put peanuts in your bag. She just called,” Jyro stated.

I had realized that a while ago, like when I first left the house, and I already removed them. I didn’t expect them to know since I never told them that I was allergic. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot myself–which was completely horrible–but had been happened to see them while I was just curiously looking through the bag. Besides, the warning was a little late since my lunch was basically done for thanks to Oliver.

“So, your mother doesn’t want to kill me after all,” I gasped, holding a hand to my chest.

“Well...”

“Anyways,” I turned to Oliver,” Why aren’t your friends sitting with us?”

Oliver glanced behind me at Jyro like he was uncertain if he should answer my question. I motioned my hand, urging him to speak.

“I-I don’t know, I guess,” he spluttered.

Rolling my eyes, I pondered,” Huh, I guess you would be afraid of him, wouldn’t you?”

His face told me that was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard.

“You think I’m scared of little baby Siere over here?” He roared with laughter, shaking his head.

Jyro immediately protested,” I’m not a baby, Oliver. I just have better things to do than smashing guys around on a field.”

“You’d start crying.”

“Would not!”

It was honestly ridiculous how long the two of them fought. It lasted until the end of lunch and even then they were still at it in the hallway. To make it worse, I got a proper introduction to Oliver’s friends as they joined in. I was glad when I found out my next class was in the opposite direction of them all. I knew there was a reason I loved Cinematography.

The seats in the room were shaped in a U-form. Blue, red and green bean bags on the inside and regular desks on the outside. There were two sets of cameras on either side of the teacher’s wooden desk with a green screen sitting in the very far corner. The little number of students were all lounging in two separate groups. Ironically, there was the girl again, chilling in a bean bag with her feet on top of the desk in front of her. I beamed, walking straight up to her, I sat down in the seat next to her and copied her position. She peeked one eye open, scowling at me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I grinned,” Hanging out with you.”

She grunted, pulling her feet down. I followed her movement, finding all of this amusing.

“Well don’t, you bubbling freak.” She narrowed her eyes at me,” You’re not going to leave me alone, are you?”

“I’m Blaine.” I reached out my hand, which she completely ignored.

“Gail.”

“As in Abigail.”

“As in Gail.”

I knew we would get along perfectly.

There was a guy slouching in a chair by the door, twirling his pencil on the desk in endless circles. He crumpled a piece of paper before positioning his arms and making a clear shot into the trash bin. The action was simple enough, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

The ringing of the bell filled the classroom, the last few kids slipping inside so they wouldn’t be late. The teacher stepped inside, his black leather shoes tapping on the floor as he moved to the middle of the class. He appeared to be the youngest teacher I’ve seen in this school so far brown eyes filled with life. I knew this would be my favorite class from now on.

He pointed to the board where there was a slideshow filled with black print and many different types of pictures about animation, his eyes searching among the various faces,” Caro, read that for me if you will.”

A short kid with spiky, red hair and a pale face scanned the board before abiding with a higher pitched voice than most boys at this age,” Early 19th century mechanical devices such as the thaumatrope, praxinoscope and zoetrope anticipated motion picture animation by quickly flashing a calibrated sequence of still pictures past the viewer.”

The teacher nodded,” And?”

"These devices took advantage of a phenomenon called “persistence of vision” in which the brain reads a rapid series of images as an unbroken movement.”

The teacher rubbed his chin and began pacing the floor as if he was in deep thought.

“So, can anyone tell me how animated films work?”

Everyone stared at him, no one sure of what the answer was. I begged myself to keep my hand down, not wanting the attention, but my arm had its own mind. Before I could stop it, my hand had already crept up.

“New girl,” the teacher suddenly perked up.

“Pictures, drawings, props. Those kinds of things are moved slightly at a time creating an illusion of movement.” I knew my definition might not be completely correct, but I knew I had an idea of it.

“Nice...”

“Blaine.”

“Blaine, Caro, here you go.” He awarded us by tossing us a blue bag filled with Jolly Ranchers,” Today, you are researching different animations. Watch some, learn from them. We’ll discuss what you find tomorrow.”

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