Shortly after, we left the store. As we were walking down the quieter corner of the street, just in front of the sea of cars in the parking lot, a wild cry of anger and a scene of savage brawl further down the street caught my footsteps to halt.
I sensed my hair stand and I stood immovable like my system had instantly broken down. I’d seen so many of these in movies but having to witness them in real like was way different. It was more frightening. My head felt like it was growing larger by the second to compete with Humpty Dumpty.
Quite a number of them street boys. One was wearing a black leather jacket I’d seen few minutes before. Shoving back one opponent to the side of a car, he grabbed him by his collar and landed several straight punches on the side of his face. I cringed. His punches looked so powerful that the force of it seemed to reach me too and knock me unconscious.
“Oh boy,” Kendra muttered.
“Is that . . . ?” I couldn’t quite make out the word as I sucked in my breath.
“Yes, that’s Xavier,” she sounded as easy and as nonchalant as she ever was.
‘He’s a bomb ready to explode any minute’ boomed in my head at once.
I frowned and focused my attention more on him. God, he looked horrible and sick; not really because of bruises or blood (I don’t think I saw any of them), but the look of brutality and fierceness was more than I could ever absorb. Even from a distance, I could almost taste the bitterness on my tongue. I never thought he could look so frightening although Kendra had told me much about how people feared him . . . and somehow I felt a pang of disappointment pierce through my chest.
Kendra pulled me away by my elbow, saying, “Come on. It’s a good idea to let them be.”
It was not like Kendra would have any idea about what just happened but I couldn’t help asking.
“What do you think just happened?” I asked hoarsely.
“Don’t freak out,” she said, “If you’re a townsmen of Los Carlos, you better get used to this stuff.”
“Does this happen a lot?”
She pouted her lips upward and started chewing again. “Occasionally. It’s the usual teenage fights. These boys from Greenwood and Spencer High just hate each other like cats and dogs. They just pick fights and bash each other up whenever they meet. There’s this one guy called Damien who’s like the top of the food chain from Spencer’s High and on our side, we have Xavier. I’m telling you, if any of the two move town, they’re gonna miss each other a lot. I swear. They’re like the top rivals. Street-lords, maybe.”
My mouth fell open.
Am I starting to get fever?
I tried to neutralize the information but what with the noise of the clamour hammering my ears, the name street-lord and Xavier kept echoing in my head like a freaking proclamation of a decree. Curiosity made me look back and I was received with the sight of another train of deadly knocks from Xavier to his new opponent.
Where did the previous one go? Passed out? Probably. God.
When his rival seem to be unable to move, he turned back and knock another one down and he wiped the side of his lip with the back of his hand.
God! They just beat up anybody! How do they even make out their rivals or peers in that situation?
I made out Scott’s blonde head among the many heads. No one was giving up. One hit, another return. Xavier lurched back slightly as a punch caught his face. I jumped with a yelp. But he paid back well enough.
“Come on.” Kendra pulled me yet again.
I wondered what their skulls were made of. They didn’t seem to be anywhere near cracking. If I ever get a blow like the ones they were showering on one another, I would be smothered into powder by just a single fist. I prayed that the poor guys survive . . . all of them.
The next day in school, from the moment I reached the yard the only person I was looking out for was the street-lord, Xavier. Oh for Holy’s sake, not because he had become my oxygen; like I couldn’t live a minute without him, it was purely for the sake of my curiosity. I was rather eager to see how he would look like after the knock out last night.
As I sat in English class, my eyes darted time and again towards the door to see if he was coming. Ironically, I had even began counting the probable bruises he would have gotten. He did look pretty bad in my mind. Quite a number of ribs were broken too. I wondered if he’d be able to show up. What happened the previous night was not a joke I could tell.
Maybe he’s lying unconscious on the hospital bed in St. Stephen’s and my father is tending him.
I was high on imagination, picturing him in plasters and crutches when he walked in... as cool and well and strong and confident and egoistic and narcissistic as ever. My imaginations were trampled underfoot and my expectations disappointed. It was like nothing happened.
I hunted curiously for any sign of anything that might give away at least a bit of what happened the previous night. With new found bravery, I stared attentively at his face as he walked in but the only sign of last night’s historic legacy was only a small cut at his lower lip. I don’t think anyone else besides me even saw it.
How the heck did he manage that?
His eyes met mine. I have no idea where I got the guts to firmly stare at him looking back at me. I didn’t even blink either.
“Hey, Mongrel,” he said as he slumped down on a seat on my right across a gap.
I had begged, well actually forced, Brittany to occupy the seat behind me. I asked Kendra first but she refused as much as I asked her to. It struck me as oddly bizarre as to why she wouldn’t. The line ‘He’s different. He’s dangerous’ had been shoved back somewhere far in the corner of her closet; somewhere she wouldn’t even remember to look for.
Then finally Brittany agreed after listening to my consistent nagging. She probably was fed up of listening to my begging and nagging. Well, someone had to. I’d had enough of Narcissist’s kicks.
“Hey,” I answered, satisfactorily looking at the seat he’d taken.
Noticing my satisfaction, he smirked at me. But what do I care? I was as satisfied as a well fed cow. So more than just answering a hey, I, all the more, smiled a very pleasing fake grin at him as happy as I’d just learned the real meaning of happiness and looked back front.
Mr. Hart came in the next second. To my joy, Xavier didn’t get even a shit of a half second to talk to me or comment anything about me to me. This felt more than super perfect. Today might happen to be the best day ever in Los Carlos, I thought.
Fifty minutes later, the bell rang. As I was packing up, I noticed from the corner of my eyes that he was spacing out. His mind seemed to be stuck somewhere and I didn’t miss seeing his bruised fist clenched on the table. I winced. Another legacy of last night.
“How’s Matt?” His friend, whom Kendra told me was Hunt, asked him.
“Broken nose. But I guess there’s nothing so bad besides that,” Xavier answered as he stood up and collected his notes inside his backpack.
“It’s good that Scott and you showed up at the moment.”
“Yeah,” Xavier muttered through clenched teeth, “I’m still not satisfied though. I’m planning on round two. The sooner, the better.”
“Soon mate, soon. Very soon.” Hunt chuckled, forming a devilish smile as he patted Xavier’s shoulder.
Xavier was even a better Satan. I’ll never forget the way he responded the evilness. Even from the narrow corner of my eyes, I could make out the sourness in his look which was far too better than and would probably beat Lucifer himself.
Where’s Scott by the way. He missed class.
I figured the two boys were talking ’bout the brawl last night. My curiosity heightened after listening to them. I wonder what really happened. A throat cleared right next to my left ear, making me leap a little. And there was Kendra Sparks standing on my left, arms folded across her chest with an eyebrow raised. I just shook my head and we started to leave the room. Brittany followed behind us.
We looked back.
An amazingly wide grin stretched upon his splendid face, “Your Ugly Narcissist just told me he saw you in his dream,” and he laughed, “last nig....”
He stopped when Xavier gave him a hard upper whack on the back of his head. Laughing, he rubbed the back of his head and I left wearing a tiny blush . . . just a small unnoticeable one.
Prediction of probably having the best day in Los Carlos upturned in the next fifty minutes. Kendra was having spare class, Brittany in her Physics and me in my History with Narcissist sitting behind me. He made sure that he made up for what I missed from him in the first class.
From the door itself. We met at the door; coming from the opposite sides of the corridor. People were rushing in and thus formed a small crowd outside the door. I ended being a part of the crowd because I had walked out with Kendra and Brittany to the locker to get my books. Narcissist and I almost bumped into each other again among the crowd.
When he saw me, he pulled his jacket tighter around him dramatically and said making a pathetic puppy dog face, “Please don’t.”
As if I was going to molest him!!!!
I grimaced disgustedly. He snorted a laugh and went in.
Since he sat first before me, I enjoyed the liberty to pick a place far from him but he came and made the boy sitting behind me move. He didn’t have to wait or say a word. A single calm gesture of his head and the boy behind me left immediately. And thus began his traumatizing reign.