Chapter one | 180 days
New school. Senior year. 180 days of classes. Ten months till graduation.
You can do this Jade!
I look down at the new schedule and locker number in my hand and start walking down the crowded halls, reading the locker numbers on my right side until I find mine. I put in the new combination and open it. The locker was wide and tall, red with a few slash marks on the outside and plain, light grey on the inside.
The bell starts to ring as I put my unnecessary books away and close the locker with a loud bang. I bit my tongue as everyone in the hall looked my way for a second, before going back to whatever they were doing. With a sigh, I make my way to English.
This school building is big with three floors but the classrooms are easy to navigate. Classes are divided into pods depending on the subjects. For example, all the Language classes are in one pod, including the Language office and all the Math classes are in another. That way, you couldn’t get lost even if you tried. Being the clumsy girl I am, I trip on something along the way. I let out a shriek, knowing I’ll be on the floor any second now. I wait for the thump of my face making contact with the floor but that doesn’t happen. Instead, I felt someone holding me. I open my eyes to come face to face with a pretty boy. The first thing I notice about him are his eyes; his deep green eyes.
“Try not to trip again,” he snickers, as I step away from his hold. As he was turning to walk away, I say in a sarcastic tone, “Oh! I’m sorry if I was close to breaking of one your precious nails.”
He spins to face me. Amusement filled his expression.
“Oh, don’t worry. I get my manicure done tomorrow, so it shouldn’t have been a problem if you did break them,” he spoke in a way that would’ve made anyone believe him. But, the crooked smile gave away the joke.
“I won’t be surprised. You look like you have a feminine side to you,” I say as I cross my arms in front of my chest, feeling proud of the comeback.
What the hell are you doing??
“You’re calling me a girl? Me?” He inquires. “Oh, I don’t know. Am I calling you a girl?” I reply, staring right into his hypnotizing green eyes. A smile tugs at my lips and I take a few steps back from him, not wanting to smell the strong scent of the cologne coming this way.
“Aren’t you a little too confident for your own good?” He asks.
I scoff. “Says the arrogant one.”
Ok, Jade, you’re officially dead.
I notice the crowd that formed around the both of us. Some kids were staring at us in pure shock and some whispering to each other, finding this argument amusing. I rolled my eyes and said, “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’ve got better things to do.”
The hallway filled with chatters and I could feel his eyes fixated on me as I walked away from the crowd.
180 days to go.
The bell rings and everyone rushes outside. I take my time zipping up my bag and head towards the cafeteria. Almost all the tables were filled with students. I look around and I see a hand up in the air, waving at me. I notice my best friends; Natalie, Daniel, and Dray and I make my way towards them. With a smile, I sit beside Dan. We exchange a brief hug. “It’s so good to finally see you!” He says with a grin.
“Same here, Dan,” I reply, mirroring his expression.
“Thank god you’re finally here. These two wouldn’t stop eating each other’s faces and you know I much I hate third-wheeling,” he says dramatically, wiping fake sweat off his forehead. I chuckle, grabbing my sandwich and juice.
Nat rolls her eyes at him before grinning. “Welcome to Seabrook High!” She says excitedly.
Natalie Smith is my sister from another mister. We have a lot of things in common which is why we get along very well. But, our physical features are completely different. She has short but beautiful light brown hair while I have long black hair flowing down to my waist. Her face is framed by front bags that end right above her dark eyes and she’s got these amazingly long eyelashes that I’d kill for.
Dray Andrews is Nat’s boyfriend. They started seeing each other at the beginning of grade eight before the three of us met Daniel Thompson. The two have been dating for almost four or five years now. Damn, that’s a long time.
After graduating from middle school, I moved to New York with my parents. I studied there for three years until my dad passed away. He died in a car crash while coming home from work. The worst part is that it was my birthday. That’s when me and Ma moved back here, in Carolina. My hometown. It’s just the two of us now.
“How was your first day?” Dray asked with a smile.
“For once, my classes are actually fun. The teachers are also surprisingly nice. Although, I did run into this jerk this morning,” I tell them with an eye roll as my mind drifts back to the fight.
“Oh yeah, I saw that,” Dan nudges me to continue. Dray and Nat stop clinging to each other and turn to me for the gossip.
“I was just walking to English and being the clumsy girl I am, I accidentally tripped and bumped into that guy. He didn’t apologize and started acting rude so we just had a small argument before I left,” I summarize before turning to Dan. “Do you know him?”
“That was Jordan. Jordan Wallace,” Dan tells me. I nod.
“And who is he exactly? Are you friends with him?” I ask with curiosity.
Dray shakes his head. “Not really. I mean, his dad is one of the biggest business managers in the States. Almost everyone in the school knows about him.”
“I’ve noticed he doesn’t really talk to anyone at school and has a small circle of friends,” Nat explains further.
“Whatever! He’s a major asshole anyway,” I state while checking my phone.
Dan taps my shoulder. “It’s okay. We’re both going shopping today, so it’ll help get your mind off things,” he says with a smile.
“We are?” I ask, raising an eyebrow at him. He nods and says, “Yup. I’ll text you when I’m at your house.”
Oh so help me god…
After a few minutes of gossiping, I get up. “I wanna go to the library. Wanna come?” I ask them. They all shook their heads. With a nod, I grab my bag and leave.
The library has officially become my favourite place in this school. I love books, not additional math equations and theories or old Shakespeare books. I like the stories. Fictions. I can connect to them. It’s like I’m living in my own world when reading a book. A library is a place where I can find new stories every day. They don’t leave or die. They’re forever. Unlike humans.
After looking through the aisles, I grab the fault in our stars by John Green and sit down by the window, knowing no one is sitting in the area. This way, I can read in silence without interruptions. I did starts this book a while ago and I think I stopped around chapter ten. Turning the pages, I continue with my reading.
I was so lost in the book, I didn’t even realize my surroundings. When I looked up, I noticed people leaving the library.
With a small groan, I sit up and finish the last page of the book as fast as I could. I felt my heart wrenching, knowing the book has come to an end. The fault in our stars is honestly one of the most creative, and heart-wrenching books I’ve ever read because it’s just real. In fairy tales, you can always guess the endings and the endings just happen to be the best part of a book. This book is realistic, which explains why it’s admired around the world because if we look at reality, not everyone gets the happy ending they want.
I learned that the hard way.
As I walking home, I noticed a car parking in the driveway of my neighbour. From what I remember, there used to be an old couple living there before. I heard from Ma that they passed away a while back. I did feel a little sad because of my memories with them. Grandma would always give me cookies whenever she saw me playing outside. I hope they rest in peace.
Just as I was thinking about them, I see locks of brown hair coming out of the car. I squint my eyes to look at who it was. My heart stopped when I saw the boy. I can’t believe this. Of all the places in this entire neighbourhood, I had to be neighbours with that Jordan guy.
I stare for a few seconds with wide eyes before stepping on my porch. I take my keys out of the back and steal another glance at Jordan. He was already looking my way and I saw his eyes go wide just for a second before he winks at me.
I roll my eyes and go inside my house, locking the door behind me. I let out a huge sigh of frustration with only one word in my mind.
The doorbell rings and I run to grab the door knowing it’s Dan. He gives me a goofy grin and asks, “Ready to go?”
I nod my head and grab my purse. I lock the door and both of us sit inside his car. My eyes drifted to the house beside mine and I recalled the afternoon incident. I clear my throat and turn to him.
“Did you know that Jordan is my neighbour?” I tell him as it was less of a question and more of a statement. He turns to me look at me with his eyebrows raised. “Holy shit! Really?”
I sigh. “Yeah, I saw him as I was walking home.”
He shakes his head and chuckles, “Damn girl, you already fought with him once and now this?”
I shrug and run my hand through my hair before asking, “Didn’t you say he’s rich or something? Why is he living here then?”
The engine roars and he starts to turn to the road. “I don’t know. The dude is like a mystery. He was in my class last year and although he’s friendly, you can’t get much out from him.”
Well, isn’t that suspicious?
I pout, glancing out the window and say, “Let’s just go.”
He drives for about 15 minutes until we reach the closest mall in the area.
We make our way to GUCCI - where we spent about half an hour looking through everything item but buying absolutely nothing because it’s so expensive. Then Dan forced me in Victoria’s Secret. For what reason? Because I didn’t listen to him. We ended up making a pretty hilarious scene outside the shop but never got in. After that, we went to the food court to get some delicious KFC burger and fries. Fast food all the way! After the quick eating session, we made our way to Hollister. Now, let me say this: Dan was the only one buying clothes and I was only tagging along.
I lean against the wall as Dan sorts through the pile of clothes on clearance.
“Does this shirt match my eyes?” He picks up a plain black shirt.
“No,” I simply say, too tired to argue.
“Would my legs look sexier in these?”
“Is my butt too big?”
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Well, what do you expect me to do? Listen to you ramble on and on about clothes?” I threw my hands up in the air.
He blinks. Twice. “Yes Jade, yes.”
I groan in frustration and almost scraped the hair off my head. I’m not the shopping type. I never was. I don’t have a great fashion sense either so why do I have to tag along with these shopaholic idiots every. Single. Time?
Finally, after days of spending time at the mall, I’m back home with a few bags in my hands which are just clothes I was forced to buy. Why? Because - and I quote - “You don’t have clothes, Jade.” What the fuck am I wearing then? Leaves?
As I take off my shoes, I notice Ma in the kitchen cooking something that makes my mouth water. I leave the bags near the stairs before heading to the kitchen. I tiptoe and hug her from behind.
“You’re finally back,” She says with a smile and I bury my head in her shoulder. “I’m so tired,” I whine. She chuckles before asking a thousand dollar question.
“Why did you go when you know you don’t have the ability to shop for an entire day?”
I step away from her and dramatically bring my hands to my head. “I’ve been asking myself the very same question. And I didn’t want to go, I was forced to go. There’s a difference.”
Even though she was facing the other way, I could tell she rolled her eyes at me.
“What are you making?” I ask as my stomach growls.
“I made potato croquettes and paella. Your favourite.”
I feel a smile form on my lips and I kiss Ma on the cheek. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” she replies with a chuckle. “Now go get changed.”
I stand up straight and salute, “Yes, señora.”
Grabbing all the bags, I head upstairs to my room. I scatter all the bags down beside the closet and lay back on my bed. What a relief to be laying down like this.
Upon hearing someone humming outside my window, I sit up. My eyebrows furrow in annoyance. Who dares to interrupt my relaxation time?
Sitting on the edge of my low chambered window, I push out to open the window and look around. Well, I don’t see anyone here. The humming stopped so there was no way of knowing where it had been coming from. And I walked here for nothing?
Instead of going back, I sit down beside it. As I closed my eyes, I felt the cool and soft breeze swirling around me. I take a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air and felt myself relax even more.
Suddenly, I heard curtains opening up and I open my eyes to come face to face with the one and only. Mr. Arrogant.
“Look who we have here. It’s Ms. Clumsy”
I groan out a loud, looking up at the sky before finding him sitting on the ledge of his window. I raise my eyebrow and say, “Well, well, well. If it isn’t Mr. Arrogant.”
“Mr. Arrogant?” He asks with his eyebrows furrowed. “That’s the best you can come up with?”
“I don’t know, you tell me. I think it suits you perfectly.”
“Oh does it now?”
I squint my eyes at him while a smirk forms on his lips. He’s annoying me. He knows he’s annoying me. And what makes it worse? He knows that I know he’s annoying me.
Of all the rooms in a goddamn house, his room just had to be the one across mine. Obviously, I could just switch rooms after this but this has always been my room. And there’s no way in hell I’m letting Mr. Arrogant change that.
Looking down, I noticed how close the houses are. The structure seems to be similar from the outside with both of our rooms having low chambered windows and a ledge. With the proximity, I could jump to his ledge and still be breathing.
A shiver runs down my spine and I say, “I’m too tired to argue with you,” before turning around and standing up.
“Wanna continue tomorrow?”
I face him, holding my curtains. “We’ll see,” and with that, I close them. Right then, my stomach grumbles and I remember just how hungry I am. So, I run to the closet to change my clothes and head downstairs to eat the delicious paella before I grow hungrier.