Tame a Monster

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Chapter Eighteen

Angeline’s POV

Wow, this school is massive! It was at least twice the size of Chambers High School with double the amount of students as well.

The atmosphere was different too. It was less… uptight? Tense? Carefree?

A clique of teens with animal ears and tails pinned to the back of their pants strut past me, in Chambers, this group would have never been allowed to exist. You were relentlessly harassed just for having the slightest minor differences, you were beaten down into conforming. One way or another.

What is this anomaly of a school?

I forgot that it was possible for communities to be different and open instead of single-minded and conventional.

I no longer held the same optimism that I did when I first started at Chambers. My enthusiasm to find new friends and make my senior year a true memorable experience is almost laughable now. I can’t believe how stupid I was then, how completely ignorant.

Poor naive and blissfully ignorant Angeline, having no idea what was about to come. No idea what was really in store for me.

Not this time though, my hope is to just scrape by, invisible. This time I’d be perfectly content not talking or socializing with anyone. I plan to just go to school, do work, then get the eff back home. Left alone and unbothered… hopefully.

My first class went by pretty smoothly, we all got to pick our seats, and no one paid me any mind, they were generally more polite too. I didn’t get as many ogles and stares like I’m used to. My first teacher, Mr. Stuart, looked and sounded incredibly monotone. His engagement with the class was nonexistent and he didn’t get up from his seat not once. He told us in his very dull voice what we needed for the class and them the remainder of our time was watching some old boring documentary about rubber.

Nearly at the brink of falling asleep, I’m jolted awake by the dismissal bell.

Second hour was a lot tougher though, the one thing I was hoping all my teachers wouldn’t do, was to try introducing the new student in front of the whole class.

Ms. Fountaine, the beautiful, sickeningly optimistic, redheaded Spanish teacher, made me stand before everyone in the class and introduce myself. She wanted me to first state my name, give a rendition of where I came from, as well as three things I love to do.

What the eff!? Why!?

I felt my face turn a bright tomato red as I stared at the back of the wall, mumbling my responses. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone and I’m pretty sure half the class didn’t even hear me.

The teacher, Ms. Fountaine, looked at me, dumbfounded. “I’m sorry honey, you’re gonna have to speak up.”

I wish the ground would swallow me whole right now. I turned my head so that my hair fell in front of my face. Why did she have to do this? Why couldn’t she just let me take my seat and stay invisible to everyone else?

I restate my response, but this time a little louder and faster. Ms. Fountaine still stared at me with the same perplexed expression.

“I’m sorry wha-”

“She said that her name is Angeline, she came from Illinois, and she likes to draw, read, and write.”

Everyone, including me, turns to face the person who just spoke, the person who saved me from further embarrassment.

My gaze falls upon this very, very, very attractive boy. He was nowhere near as handsome as Keenan, but he was definitely a close second.

His eyes were a light brown color, almost a golden and his blond hair was cut short and styled upward. He definitely looked like your typical jock and even had the letterman jacket to go with it.

When his eyes looked to mine I immediately looked away.

“Ah, okay, um, yeah.” Ms. Fountaine continued to ramble. “Okay, Angeline you can take a seat.”

She gestured to the seat all the way in the back, the only one left available. I breathed a sigh of relief, I tried not to step on or trip on anyone’s bag as I made my way back there.

God, I hate being watched, or being the center of any attention,

I did speak to anyone or look at anyone the entire time and fortunately, I was left alone for the remainder of the hour.

The next three classes were equally pretty breezy. My strategy to maintain an unapproachable vibe worked and no one spoke to me.

At lunch, I laid out all my new books in front of me, catching up on all the material my classes are doing right now. I sit alone at one of the smaller tables, all the way in the far back of the cafeteria, almost hidden in the shadows as it was terribly lit back here. My spot was inconspicuous and secluded, just the way I liked it.

I wonder if this school had its own version of Keenan and Vivienne, like, didn’t every school? And if so, who?

Not a second later I got my answer.

I would occasionally look up from my textbook throughout my lunch period, observing everyone, and making sure no one was observing me. Everything seemed normal enough, everyone stayed within their own cliques.

And then my eyes locked with someone else’s, immediately the dread in the pit of my stomach returned, I felt like I was in Chambers again. By the way, his eyes fixated on me, unwavering, I knew he’d been watching me for some time. How did I not know!? I always felt it when Keenan stared at me.

The boy, the boy from my Spanish class, the one with the golden hair and honey eyes.

The way people were looking at him, or looking up to him, it reminded me of the one person I’d give anything to forget. Everyone at his table was practically stepping over themselves trying to get his attention.

I quickly revert my eyes away from him. Why was he looking at me?

Now I feel extra self-conscious and hyper-aware of myself, my hair is still a wild mass and my clothes are still stupid. Is that what he’s judging about me? Great.

It seemed like every school here had a king, and he was theirs, and if he was anything like Keenan, I wanted nothing to do with his general vicinity. Nothing.

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I use the map on the back of my assignments notebook to get around. But I was having trouble pin-pointing where I was. Once I thought I found a lead, I realized I was mistaken when it stupidly lead me in a circle.

Deciding to head the opposite way, I round the corner, I’m so intent on figuring out the school map that I honestly wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.

I smack against a large surface, my schedule and notebook falling from my hands.

Of course, it had to be him, I could’ve bumped into literally anyone in this massive school, but of all the people, I bumped into him.

He stood in front of what I presume is his locker, minding his own business.

I’m so stupid.

He bent down and picked up my things, all I could do was stare at him in horror, mouth gaping open, frozen in my steps, watching for his inevitable sneering reply.

“Sorry about that, are you alright?” He asked, he even sounded sincere, I almost fell for it, but I knew better.

He furrowed his brow in confusion when I didn’t say anything. “Are you lost? Do you need help finding your next class?”

I shrink back when he takes a step closer, the act causes him to pause and take a step back.

“Are you okay?”

Abruptly I snatch my things from his hands and scurry past him.

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I ran into him again… then again, less literally though.

Apparently, he was also in my Physics class, our teacher sat us right next to each other, that was right before I raised my hand and told her my poor eye sight required me to sit only in the front. She switched me out with a girl who was more than willing to get to sit next to him. Girls reacted to him just like they reacted to Keenan, I was relieved to be away from him.

As the day went on, school ended. I saw him chatting by the exit doors to the buses, an entire crowd surrounding him, talking his ears off, We made eye contact for a split second before I hightailed it outta there. Having an audience was dangerous, Keenan loved to make a mockery out of me especially when others were around.

At home, my dad sat in the living room, we bought a small couch at the second-hand store and each day we’ve been adding something new, it’s actually starting to resemble an actual home now. I felt proud, I could see us living here happily for a few years.

Speaking of proud, my dad couldn’t stop gushing to me about his new job, he left his maintenance job for a mechanical one at an auto shop. I still can’t believe that only he was hired on the spot, but the owner specifically requested him. It felt too good to be true, he makes double now than what he used to. He says he plans to buy me a phone with the next paycheck.

told him it was alright, that I didn’t need one, but he insisted.

After we finished dinner, I went to bed feeling content, at least my dad was happy. Maybe, just maybe, things were looking up for us?

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Unlike Chambers, this school had a block schedule, so for instance, I only had English Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and the classes were unusually long.

Today, a Tuesday, I decided to spend my lunch in the library instead. I was excited to see what new books their library had to offer. I check out three books and lay them on my library table, munching on my apple and reading my book. I hear the library door swing open and out of paranoid instinct, I looked up.

It was him… again, I sat frozen.

Did he come here for me? Is he here to make me pay for yesterday? For bumping into him? Oh my god, he is isn’t he?

Slowly and cautiously I started packing all my things in my bookbag. I was hoping that it looked like I was done occupying the library, versus making it obvious that I was trying to avoid him. I don’t even look in his direction as I leisurely make my way out of the library. Hopefully looking completely normal, once I heard the door close behind me, I stop pretending and hasten my pace.

“Wait!”

I instantly stiffen when I feel a hand grasp my arm. Twisting around, I come face to face with the boy from second period. I hadn’t even heard him come coming up right behind me.

Oh no, I let myself be cornered.

His brow is furrowed in frustration and he looks highly offended. This is the part where he explodes on me and then threatens me with some form of blackmail.

“Are you avoiding me? Did I do something to make you scared of me?”

“N-no.”

“Your actions say otherwise. You act like I have some contagious disease.”

I couldn’t maintain any eye contact with him, my eyes scoured the hallway frantically looking for an out. “I’m...sorry?”

“Okay, so what’s the problem?”

“Problem?”

“Why don’t you like me?”

“No, I don’t not like you.”

“But you make it a point to stay away from me, you look at me like I’m some sort of monster.”

I was a deer caught in the headlights. I do that? I’ve been doing that? Here I thought I was discreet in my mission to avoid this guy.

I was not trying to go through this again, especially not with this school’s king pin. I wanted so badly to reach for my inhaler as my breath was getting more shallow, but how did I know he wouldn’t try to snatch it from my hands like Tanner?

“Um, I-I-I-”

“Hey relax, take a deep breath. I’m just joking.”

Being told to relax did nothing to actually relax me.

“So how are you liking Woodinville?”

Huh? I leered at him warily, is he trying to make small talk with me?

“Uh, it’s fine, I’m fine.”

“I hope no one’s giving you any trouble.”

I was surprised to note that no one was giving me any trouble, like, at all.

“Everyone’s nice here.” He quirked an eyebrow at the mild disbelief in my tone.

“Why’d you move here of all places?”

“My dad’s job.” I’m trying to be as polite but curt with him as possible. Maybe if I keep my responses short he’ll get the hint and leave me alone.

I wonder why he’s still even talking to me. I imagine he has more interesting things to do, we shouldn’t even be seen together.

“Well it was nice meeting you, thank you, bye!” I blather quickly and start speedily walking as fast as my short legs can take me.

“Well wait!” He yells, easily keeping up with my stride, “I was wondering if you wanted to sit with me and my friends at lunch.”

I was completely and utterly weirded out now, but most importantly, the alarm bells were loud and howling in my head. It’s a trap.

There’s no other explanation.

“No thank you, I like to be alone.”

“Nobody likes to be alone.”

“I do.”

“But why? It’s so lonely.”

“That’s why.”

“Okay fine, just know that the option is there in case you ever need it.”

I said nothing.

“Where’s your next class anyway, you know you’re walking to a dead end right?”

I stopped walking and tried to decipher my location but I didn’t recognize anything. Pulling out my assignment notebook for the map on the back, I try pinpointing but I can’t figure it out either.

“Here, I’ll help you. We’re right here.” He says pointing to a secluded spot on the map. “Where’s your next class, I’ll take you there.”

I turned to fully face him, “What are you doing? Why are you being so nice to me? What are you trying to do? What are you playing at?”

“Woah Woah Woah! I’m just trying to help you to your next class! Nothing more, nothing less.”

I couldn’t stop scrutinizing him, distrusting.

“I don’t have to take you if that makes you uncomfortable, I can just mark it for you on your map.”

Slowly but hesitantly I nodded if that’s what gets him to leave me alone, fine.

He cautiously approaches me like I was some unpredictable wounded animal.

“We’re right here.” He marks an X on a secluded area on my map. “Where’s your next class?”

“212, Finite Math.”

“That’s right here.”

“Thank you,” I say looking back down.

“You’re welcome,” he says then turns, walking away in the opposite direction.

Even though I finally got him to leave me alone, I still felt like we were leaving on bad terms or something. An unexpected wave of guilt hit me.

“Hey!” He stops in his tracks when I call out to him, “uh, thank you for helping me, and I’m sorry I made you late to your class, and-and you were really nice and helpful.”

I wring the sleeve of my sweater nervously.

At my flustered state, a slow lopsided grin began to appear on his lips.

I was so taken aback by his gorgeous smile, it made the corners of his eyes crinkle slightly and it looked so genuine, so happy, that even through my mistrustful barrier, I found myself smiling with him.

It was contagious.

“So how about it? Lemme walk you to your class.”

I mean what harm could it really do? He can’t dish out anything I can’t handle.

“Okay,” I finally agreed.

His smile got even wider.

“I’m Daniel by the way.”


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A/N: I've very briefly mentioned Daniel once before, who can tell me from where and what his relation is?

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