Stay Strong

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Chapter 2

I pull to a stop and turn around in the driver’s seat. I had to fight to keep from yawning. It’s been three days since I asked Eddie for more hours and I’ve been working almost to one in the morning since then.

“Bye Candice. Have fun,” I smile at Candice who was looking out the window at her school.

“I will,” she says, looking at me.

“Love you.”

“Love you too.”

One of the people who was helping kids out of cars opened the back door and helped Candice out before closing the door.

I pulled out of the school’s parking lot and drove to my own school, pulling into a parking space and getting out of the car. As soon as I shut the car door I hear talk about the new kid.

“He’s so good-looking,” some girl giggled. I almost rolled my eyes at this but decided that I had more important things to do. I walked through the front doors of the school and walked through the halls toward my locker.

I opened my locker, still trying my best to ignore the talk of this new kid who was supposedly good-looking and rich. I sigh in annoyance.

“What’s got under your skin?” someone asked behind me. I turned around and saw Vanessa, Bryson, and Sonia walking towards me.

“Nothing. Just,” I shake my head, “all this talk about the new kid is annoying me.”

Vanessa shrugs and tells me, “Just ignore it. All this talk will stop.”

“Have you seen the new kid?” Bryson asks with a raised eyebrow.

I yawn, shaking my head.

Bryson grins, “He is very attractive. Just not my type.” I roll my eyes. If he’s not Bryson’s type he must have dark hair. Bryson prefers guys with lighter hair.

“Hey, Sonia, can you still watch Candice this afternoon?”

“Yeah. What about tomorrow? Is she still going to her grandmother’s?” Sonia asks, tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulder.

“Yep. She does every Friday.”

The bell rings just then and we all head to class after saying our goodbyes.

During lunch, I buy a simple sandwich and a bottle of water. I walk through the crowded cafeteria, towards the outdoor eating area. I sat down at the table beside Vanessa and across from Bryson.

“Where’s Sonia?” I ask, unfolding the aluminum foil from my sandwich.

“She is with the new kid, Landon,” Bryson raises his eyebrows suggestively. I roll my eyes at him and take a bite out of my sandwich. I drummed my fingers on the table while I chewed.

“Aspen,” Vanessa grabbed my wrist. I look up at her with raised eyebrows, not saying anything.

“How much sleep have you been getting?” she asks, releasing my wrist.

“I’ve been getting enough,” I say, fighting back a yawn. Vanessa gives me a look that says she doesn’t believe me and I look to Bryson for help but find that he too has the same look.

“I’m fine guys. I’ve been picking up extra hours at work,” I try to explain why I seemed so tired while taking another bite of my sandwich.

“Why? You work enough as it is, you can’t handle more hours,” Bryson sighed.

My head snapped up. I narrowed my eyes at him. I don’t like it when people say that I can’t handle things. I’ve been raising my sister for three years, going to school and working a full-time job at a diner. I can handle this.

“He didn’t mean any offense, Aspen. We’re just worried about you,” Vanessa laid a hand on my shoulder.

I sigh,” I know.”

“Hey guys,” Sonia’s voice broke through the slightly awkward atmosphere.

I look at her to find a large smile on her face and a dark brown haired boy following behind her.

She plopped down beside Bryson and left enough room for the boy to sit beside her.

“This is Landon, the new kid,” Sonia smiles, putting a hand on his arm. Vanessa and Bryson tell him their names and I nod my head in greeting.

He laughs a deep rich sound that sends shivers down my spine. “No name? Tough crowd.”

Bryson laughs with him, “That’s just how Aspen is, don’t mind her.”

“Aspen? I like that name...,” he mumbles to himself. Sonia gets an annoyed look on her face and wraps her arms around his arm, pulling herself closer to him.

Vanessa and I share a look.

I trust Sonia enough to babysit Candice but Sonia can be impulsive. She knows nothing about Landon and she is already throwing herself all over him. This will end with her being hurt, I can see it now.

“So, Landon,” Vanessa leans over the table and props her head in her hand, “where did you move from?”

“I moved from California,” he says, a small smile playing on his lips. I found myself staring at him. He had the most amazing gray eyes. They were like the gray of storm clouds before it’s about to rain.

As if sensing my stare, he turned and looked at me. “Is there something on my face?” he asks, his voice deep and rough. I find myself liking the sound of his voice. I mentally shake my head. Where the hell did those thoughts come from?

“No. It’s just...,” I pause searching for words that wouldn’t end up embarrassing me too much, “I’ve never met anyone with gray eyes before.”

He raises an eyebrow before opening his mouth to say something. “I’ll take that as a compliment. Thank you.”

“It was. Don’t worry,” I shrug, finishing off my sandwich.

“You’re blunt aren’t you?” he asks with a small laugh.

“I can be.”

“That bluntness can also make her mean at times,” Sonia snaps. We all look at her in surprise. I raise an eyebrow when we make eye contact. She shrugs and I notice that she has tightened her hold on Landon’s arm. I roll my eyes and hold up my hands as if saying that she could have him.

Sonia is my friend but she can be...demanding. She is her daddy’s princess and I say this without being mean. She is her father’s world and I know that Sonia loves her father just as much as he loves her. But...he doesn’t reprimand Sonia when she does something wrong. While she isn’t extremely spoiled, often times she is used to asking her father for things and being able to get them.

Why her father does that is understandable but not entirely right. When Sonia was a young child, her mother left them and years later tried to take Sonia away from her father. Her father was afraid that he would lose Sonia and that is why he does what he does. But Sonia is a nice person, she does understand that some people don’t have what she has and in her free time she does volunteer work and she works at the diner on the weekends most of the time.

The bell rings signaling the end of lunch and I stand up from the lunch table. “See you guys later. Nice to meet you, Landon.”

“You too,” he says, nodding his head. I turn and walk away, heading towards the door that leads out of the courtyard. I entered the school and went to my locker, grabbing my books for my next class.

As I am closing my locker someone walks up beside me and leans against the locker next to mine. I shut the locker door and look up into gray eyes.

“What’s up?” I ask, stepping away from him because he was incredibly close to me.

“So, is your friend always that...clingy?” he asks, shuttering.

“Sonia is a nice girl but she can be,” I nod my head, turning to walk away.

“Wait, hold on,” he grabs my arm. I stop and try to pull my arm out of his grip but he wouldn’t let go.

“What?” I ask, slightly annoyed. I had to get to class before the bell rang.

“Can you help me find my next class?” he asks, handing me his schedule and releasing my arm. I nod my head and look at the yellow piece of paper.

“You actually have your next class with me. Come on,” I say, giving him back the paper.

As we walk through the halls, I point out a few more classrooms and the office. Once we get into the classroom I leave him by the door and head towards the back of the room where I normally sit.

I take out my books and ignore the comments about Landon. When someone sits down beside me I try to ignore the person but I have no such luck when he leans on the desk and looks at me. I turn and look at him, straight into gray eyes.

I frown. Why was he sitting here? He could sit with anyone in the room, so why beside me?

“What?”

“Is something the matter?” he asks, his voice causing goosebumps to spread across my skin. I shake my head and turn towards the front of the room where the teacher has already written notes on the board.

I begin to write the notes in a notebook when someone taps me on my shoulder. I look up and see a girl with brown hair and tan skin.

“Can I sit here?” she asks politely.

“Sorry but this is where I normally sit,” I tell her, equally polite. She scoffs at me and walks away, shaking her head.

I hear Landon laughing slightly and when I look over at him he shrugs. I roll my eyes and lean back in my seat.

When class begins I notice a lot of the girls in the class are glaring at me. Maybe I did it just to be a jerk or maybe I just wanted to shut them up but I leaned towards Landon, close enough so that they knew I was doing it purposefully and smiled a sickly, sweet smile.

I turned to look at Landon and saw him smiling at me, trying not to laugh.

“Sorry, but they’re getting on my nerves. They’re annoying as hell,” I grumble, leaning back in my seat.

He laughs quietly and I could tell that it would be a long class.

A/N:

Here’s the next chapter for you guys.

The next chapter will be posted soon, either Friday or sometime next week.

Feel free to point out any mistakes.

I’ll see you guys next time. Bye Bye!

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