Chapter One: Froot Loops and Fights
I felt my heart ram against my chest as I neared my school. I checked my reflection in the mirror one last time to make sure that everything was perfect. My long brown hair was pinned in a tight bun without a hair out of place. My makeup was perfectly balanced-not too much, not too little. There wasn’t a single wrinkle to be seen on my clothes, which made me particularly happy because it was my favorite outfit: my Hogwarts t-shirt with shorts, a red flannel, and some black Vans. And for the icing on the cake, my nails were perfectly painted a pale pink color without a chip to be seen.
I smiled. This was going to be a great senior year.
“Did someone spike your Froot Loops, or are you just smiling like an idiot for fun?” My best friend Liam asked from the driver’s seat. Liam had been my best friend since first grade when he punched a kid in the face for making fun of my glasses and ever since, we’ve been like brother and sister. We even looked like each other too with our deep brown hair, thick eyebrows, pale skin, and pink lips. We were even born on the same day. The only differences were our eyes, mine being a rich brown and his being a greeny-blue color and the fact that he’s one of the most popular boys at our school while I had the biggest case of Antisocialitis. It was self-prescribed of course, but I’m 99.99% sure it was a real thing.
“Don’t joke about my Froot Loops or you’ll lose an eye.” I threatened as he pulled into his usual parking spot from the last few years next to the rest of the Populars with their expensive looking sports cars.
“Hey,” he said, bringing his hands up in surrender. “I just wanted to know so I could get in on it. It’s boring around here and it’d totally brighten up my day if I could see some dancing penguins or ice skating unicorns,” He said as a smile quickly spread across his face.
I playfully punched his arm. “You know, I haven’t seen unicorns since I was in sixth grade,“I said as I grabbed my backpack from the backseat before I pulled open the door with him following soon after along with the satisfying chirp of the car as it locked.
“Oh, you mean the time when you ′mistook’ your mom’s glass of alcohol for water?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Exactly,” I smiled. “Plus, he wasn’t ice skating, he was break dancing.” I corrected, causing him to playfully rolled his eyes.
“Same difference,” he shrugged. “So, you ready for the first day back, Kit Kat?” he asked as he slung one arm around my shoulders and used the other to secure his backpack, but I was distracted by the girls we passed glaring at me, making me blush a bit at the attention. I guess I forgot that most of the girls at the school hate me because they think I’m dating Liam.
If looks could kill, I’d be dead a million times over.
“Hey Cat,” he said, abruptly stopping, snapping me back to reality.
“Huh?” I asked as I faced away from the girls and looked him in the eyes.
“I know they might be intimidating and rough looking, but remember what I told you last year,” he said in a low, calming voice. “Don’t pay attention to what they think about you. They don’t know you like I do, you know that, right?”
“And what else did I say?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
“If anyone messes with me you’ll kick their butt,” I said repeating the words he’d said way back in elementary school, a smile spreading across my face.
“Got that straight,” he said, causing a full blown grin rested on my lips as we started walking toward the front doors of the school. “Plus, you don’t have time for jealous wannabes because this year, is going to be the ride of a lifetime, I feel it.” he said with a grin.
I rolled my eyes. “You feel a lot of things, Liam. Remember that one time when you told me that riding that roller coaster would be the best way to cheer me up because you ‘felt it’ and I ended up getting sick? Or the time you took me for shots because you felt that it would be fun and I ended up getting sick? Or that other time when you-”
“Okay, okay, I get it,” he huffed. “But it’s not my fault that you have a weak stomach," he grumbled causing me to narrow my eyes at him as we neared the school.
As soon as the front doors were opened, all of the conversations of the student body rushed into my ears. I had to resist the urge to cover my ears.
I pulled the paper that had my schedule, my locker number, and my combo on it out of my pocket. I was in the blue hall, all the way on the other end of the school. Great.
After a few seconds, I broke his grip on my shoulder and stood in front of him. “My lockers all the way down in blue,” I said and his eyebrows furrowed as he looked down at his paper. “Weird, mine’s in red... It’s our first time apart.”
“Yeah,” I said with a small chuckle. “Strange,” Liam and I had always had lockers close to each other’s and this was the first time we’d ever been apart.
“Well, bye then,” he awkwardly said, seeming a bit uncertain about what he was saying.
“Bye,” I said, my heart clenching at how sad he looked. “I’ll see you in Chem.”
“See you then Kit Cat,” he said before bringing me for a quick hug.
After we broke the hug, we both reluctantly went our separate ways. I followed the map on my paper to my locker which was right across from the library, which was convenient because I started my volunteer work tomorrow. I quickly entered my combination and yanked my locker open before I threw my backpack in and grabbed my binder with everything I needed for my first three classes along with my sketch book. I swiftly kicked my locker shut and hugged my contents to my chest and started toward my first class: Calculus.
My eyes shot up to the clock that was mounted on the wall and it showed that I only had five minutes. Now, five minutes would’ve been plenty of time for most people, but if you went to my school, you’d know that’s not the case. I took a deep breath and rolled my neck, preparing myself for the battle I was about to fight. Without a second thought, I ran head on into the sea of students, getting bumped around and tossed until I found my golden opportunity straight out. I hugged my binder closer to my body before I used all my might-which wasn’t a lot- and pushed against the current of students toward the opening.
I ninja-ed my way through the crowd, slipping through people and bending in weird positions until I finally made it through. I mentally did Snoopy’s victory dance and flipped off the crowd. Of course, I flipped them off in my head because I couldn’t risk a teacher seeing and sending me to my first detention. I was about to round a corner when I ran into a rock hard wall, sending me to the ground and all my supplies scattered around me. I muttered curses as I hurried to recollect all of my stuff.
“Couldn’t you see that I was walking?” the wall growled.
Okay, I’m officially going crazy.
I was about to say something back when my eyes saw something, more like someone that made me stop. To say that he was breathtakingly gorgeous would be an understatement. He was more like an astonishing work of art handcrafted by God Himself. He had soft looking messy dark brown hair that my fingers were for some reason drawn to, hard brown eyes, and the body of a god. He was wearing his classic gray V-neck with black jeans and black boots. He was the Big Dog here. He was one of Liam’s other friends. He was River Parker, the bad boy who didn’t give two shiitake mushrooms about anything.
River was a mystery. He very rarely let people in and the people he did let in could be counted on one hand. Liam was one of them and when anyone asked him about River, he put up a shield and changed the subject. But it didn’t take much to know that River was extremely dangerous.
And extremely gorgeous.
“I-I’m sorry, I was just in a rush and-”
“I don’t need to hear your life story,” he snapped, stopping me mid-sentence. “Just watch where you’re going next time,”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t be stomping around the halls like a freaking bulldozer!” I snapped back, taking myself by surprise. A look of surprise matching mine took place on his god-like face, but it quickly melted into anger and you could practically see the steam coming out his ears.
Oh schnitzel, I just fudged up.
“What did you just say to me?” he asked in a low, dangerous voice as a small crowd started forming around us.
Alright Cat, just apologize and go to class. He can’t do anything more than say a few idiotic boy things. Just say sorry and walk aw-
“I said that you should stop stomping around like a freaking bulldozer.” I repeated, a bit louder.
Well that wasn’t ′Sorry,′
“But I understand if you didn’t hear the first time based on the amount of crap in your ears. You should really clean them by the way, girls hate guys with dirty ears,” I casually said with an innocent smile.
He tightly clenched his jaw as he stared at me with a hate filled glare before he closed the space between us with two mighty strides. My body froze when he grabbed my arm. It wasn’t tight enough to hurt or cause discomfort, but it was enough to tell me that it was too late now to say sorry. “Look,” he growled in my ear, causing a shiver to run down my spine as his minty breath washed over my face. “I don’t care if you’re Liam’s best friend , you will not disrespect me.”
Alright, Cat. You’ve fudged everything up. Just nod, say it won’t happen again and walk away. The reasonable voice in my head said, but we both knew I couldn’t back down in front of him or in front of the huge crowd that had formed around us. So, I slowly went on my tip toes so that my mouth was next to his ear and whispered: “Then what am I doing now?” I said, confident and cocky.
Just then the one-minute warning bell rang and I yanked my arm out of his grasp before I shot him one more fake smile, which he returned with a scowl.
I guess Liam was right. This year was going to be the ride of a lifetime.
I turned and continued on my way to class, his hate-filled glare burning into the back of my head. Walking away was the smartest thing you’ve done all day. My brain said as I walked into my math classroom and took my seat in the front of the class and right in front of where the teacher usually is.
The bell rang and the students sat in their seats as our teacher, Mr. Wilson, walked in. “Hello, class,” he smiled.
“Hello, Mr. Wilson,” we all chorused like a brainwashed cult.
“Well, class today we’re going to learn about....”
“Cat,” Liam smiled as he hugged me as I sat down next to him at our table in Chem.
“Let go of me you sweaty ogre.” I laughed as I scrunched up my nose.
“I’m not that sweaty,” he said. “Gym was easy today.”
I playfully rolled my eyes as I pulled myself out of his sweaty arms. “You’re gross,” I chuckled as I slid on the goggles that were laid on my desk.
“The grossest,” he grinned as he copied my actions. I was about to say something when something, more like someone caught my eye. I turned my head and a scowl immediately made its way onto my face. River was looking at me from across the room as if he were analyzing me. I could almost feel the heat from his gaze. My scowl grew deeper as I thought of a few ‘choice words’ I’d like to say to him before I turned back to Liam who was looking at me as if I’d grown a second head.
“What was that?" he asked, motioning toward River.
“Nothing,” I shrugged as I started toying with the pencil that was lying on our desk.
“It’s never just ‘nothing’ when River’s involved,” Liam pushed. I didn’t respond and stayed focused on the pencil as if were the most interesting thing on the face of the earth.
When Liam realized that I wasn’t going to respond, Liam quickly snatched the pencil from between my fingers and effortlessly broke it in two. “Liam, what the-”
“I’ll buy you another one,” he interrupted. “But first, I need to know what happened between you and River.”
I rolled my eyes. “Liam, I promise it was-”
“If you say ‘nothing’ again, the next thing I’ll break is your finger.” He threatened, stopping me mid-sentence.
“Liam,” I whined, getting a bit irritated.
“Caterina,” he said, mocking the voice I’d made, causing me to glare at him for using my full name, which he returned with a glare of his own. We sat there glaring at each other for a good forty-five seconds before I finally cracked. “Fine!” I huffed, throwing my hands up in the air as a triumphant smirk made its way onto Liam’s face. “I accidentally ran into him in the hallway, quite literally I may add. Then he told me how terrible I am, I told him what a bulldozer he is and said some other stuff, then I went to my first period. There, you happy?”
Liam gave me a confused look. “Bulldozer?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Long story,” I said.
“Besides being his normal arrogant self, he didn’t say anything....serious did he?“Liam asked, concern filling his voice. I gave him a quizzical look before I slowly shook my head. Liam did a sigh of relief and visibly relaxed. “That’s good. River can be a bit....defensive and end up saying or doing something that’ll bite him in the butt later.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. “What do you-“I started but was interrupted by the bell, indicating that class was about to start.
“Hello class, my name’s Miss. Woods and I’ll be your Chemistry teacher this year.” our teacher said with a smile on her face. She was about in her mid-twenties with straight brown hair, brown eyes and a small figure. She could easily pass off as a high schooler or a model. I turned to look at Liam and saw that he had that look in his eye.
“Don’t even think about it,” I whispered, causing him to poke his lip out like a little kid.
“But look at her, C! She’s super hot and-”
“And she’s your Chem teacher,” I said.
“And she’s my Chem teacher,” he sighed as we both turned our attention back to Miss. Woods.
“Okay class, in my hand, I have your seating chart,” at those words a groan went throughout the room. “I know, I know,” she said. “But it’s only temporary,”
“But I don’t wanna leave my home girl,” Liam cried out as he slung an arm around me, causing some people to stare and a blush to burn on to my cheeks.
“Well I’m sorry that you have to leave your Home Girl,” she said, a hint of a smile on her lips. “But we’re doing a seating chart, so everyone gather your materials and stand on the perimeter of the classroom, please,”
Liam and I gathered our materials and did as we were told. “I think she likes me,” Liam whispered in my ear as she watched her thumb through her papers.
“Oh, yeah, she’s totally into you,” I said sarcastically, causing him to playfully punch me.
“Okay, so our first victims are Mr. Riverd-”
“River,” River abruptly cut her off, causing her to give him a confused look. “My name’s River.”
“Okay,” she said, her eyes holding his for another moment before they returned to her clipboard. “Mr. River Parker and Caterina Hardwick please take your place at desk 8, please,” causing a few chuckles to ring out due to my last name sounding like....well, I bet you creative people can figure it out, but that wasn’t what I was focused on.
My heart stopped beating as I looked at River. He just stared back at me with an emotion on his face that I couldn’t decipher, yet it still sent chills down my spine. “Uh, I’m sorry Miss. Woods, but my uh....Home Boy over here has a serious medical condition that requires me sitting with him and not River.”
Did those words seriously just come out of my mouth? Someone kill me please.
Miss. Woods cocked an eyebrow at me. “Oh really? So what is the name of this ‘medical condition’, Miss. Hardwick?”
“Uhh....” I trailed off, trying to come up with a name. “Homeboyitis....?” I said more as a question than a statement, causing her to chuckle.
“Yeah, yeah, now get to your seat you two,” she said while she continued to chuckle.
I sighed and looked at Liam for any help, but he gave me a helpless shrug.
Well now I’m screwed.
I slowly made my way to my seat next to River, making sure to make as much distance between us as possible. Soon, the rest of the students filled into their own seats, with Liam sitting on the outside of the desk right next to me. It was just like we were desk partners...kind of.
“Alright class, so since today is the first day of school, I say that we should just take it slow, so today, we’re just going to get to know each other. So, turn to your desk partner and tell them 7 things about you,”
Is she trying to make my day worse?
I reluctantly turned to River and prepared for the most awkward 2.5 minutes of my life. “The partner on the right side goes first,” she announced. “Now get started!”
I let out a sigh of relief since he was on the right side, so he had to go first. He sighed as he ran his hands through his beautiful and perfect hair.
“Okay,” he started. “Uh...” He said as he started thinking. “My favorite color is blue, um.... My favorite sports are hockey and football, I speak fluent Spanish, I hate the word ‘panties’-” he said, causing a small giggle to escape from my lips as a small shutter ran through his body as the word pushed past his lips, “-My favorite number is 23, I don’t like tomatoes, and I like food,” he concluded.
“Wow, putting yourself out there aren’t you?” I questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“Just doing what I’m required to,” he flatly stated as he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. “But this doesn’t change us,” he stated. “Your turn,” he lazily said.
I rolled my eyes at him before murmuring a few words under my breath. “Uh....I like summer more than winter, my favorite TV shows are Teen Wolf and the Walking Dead, uh....Liam’s my best friend if you couldn’t tell, my favorite restaurant is Chick-Fil-La, I LOVE Deadpool and One-Punch Man, my favorite color is Royal blue, and my favorite place besides the US is Australia.”
“Why Australia?” He asked, popping one eye open.
“Because it’s sunny there and they have cute accents and-”
“You lost me at cute accents.” He stated as he closed his eye again.
I stuck my tongue out at him, knowing that he couldn’t see me, before I turned to Liam just to find him flirting with his desk mate.
So much for having Homeboyitis.
I sighed as I pulled out my book and continued reading the Fault In Our Stars. I’d read it over twenty times, and each time it brings me to tears. John Green sure has a way with words.
I was about to get to the part when they were on the plane on their way to Amsterdam and Gus was so amazed by the simply complex technology of an airplane, when I was interrupted by Miss. Woods demanding our attention.
“Alright class, now that you’ve got to know your desk partner, now you get to know about me,” I turned and saw Liam lean forward, a grin playing on his face as he looked at her. “So seven things about me: I’m twenty-four years old, I was born in North Carolina, my favorite movie right now is Deadpool, I LOVE sushi, my favorite color is green, my favorite sport is soccer, and if I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go to Spain.” I saw Liam looking her up and down before he refocused on her face, a grin growing on his lips.
“Mr. Chase, are you okay?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“Oh, I’m fine,” he said leaning back in his chair. “Perfectly fine,” he said with a wink.
I sighed, shaking my head. Sometimes I can’t believe that that’s my best friend.