The universe hates me, so I say curse the universe.
Life hates me, so I say curse that too.
Will and I stared each other down in stunned silence. Mrs. Rayley seemed to be quite confused by the awkward silence that surrounded us, and I did feel inclined to inform her of the context of the situation one bit.
I disliked him, that was for sure. However, I needed the good grades. I couldn't stand him. On the other hand, I couldn't compete at the skating competition without better grades. The aspect of this entire situation that was the worst--more than anything else in my cursed life--was that the turd bucket knew that I needed good grades. If Mrs. Rayley said that Will was the best person for the job, there wasn't much I could do or say.
With the understanding that perhaps my key to freedom lied not with William, but with Mrs. Rayley, I quickly spun around and looked at the woman with pleading eyes.
“Please. Please tell me there is another student who could help," I begged her, even going as far and slapping my palms together in front of my chest as a gesture of prayer.
It became obvious that Mrs. Rayley had no hope to offer me when she gave me a pitiful smile that made me want to bury myself into the ground where I stood.
“I’m sorry, Tessa," she replied with a sigh, "but Will is the only student I know who has the ability to help you get your grades up in the short time period that you need.”
I let my head and hands drop limply with a sigh as resignation to the situation at hand seemed to flood my body. It appeared that there was no way I could avoid this precarious situation, and I would just have to accept and deal with it.
Well isn’t that just peachy, I thought despairingly.
“Alright,” I finally uttered in a defeated tone, standing up straight. “Thanks for the help, Mrs. R.” With nothing left to say, I turned and walked out of the class, calling a 'see you later' behind me as I deliberately ignored Will as I left.
Unfortunately, the blue-eyed boy did not take my obvious ignorance of his existence as a hint, and caught up to me with ease. Without even asking, he had the audacity to toss an elbow onto my shoulder with a simple laugh.
“Are you as excited as I am, Princess?” Will taunted me, obviously referring to the fact that I felt like throwing myself into an erupting volcano so I could burn in a vat of molten lava.
Okay, so I might be acting a little over-dramatic at the moment.
Will continued to speak when I didn't respond, somehow thinking that my silence was consent for him to continue talking. I stared straight down the hallway in front of us as we walked, wishing there was a camera in front of me so I could deadpan into the soul of anyone watching us. “'Cause, you know, I am really looking forward to teaching you a few things,” he said suggestively, wiggling his eyebrows in the process.
I immediately pushed his arm off my shoulder and leaned away from him to gag at the the words he had spoken.
Maybe that death-by-volcano thing wasn’t so bad after all.
He laughed at me reaction and placed his forearm on my shoulder, seeming to not grasp the concept that he did not have permission to touch me in any way, shape, or form.
I scowled at him and slapped it off, taking a step away from him. “Don’t touch me,” I snapped at him vehemently, at which he only smirked and tried to slip his arm around my waist. I gasped at this, frustrated and annoyed at the fact that he didn't seem to be respecting my boundaries or opinion at all.
I'm going to crush him.
“I said don’t touch me!” I exclaimed violently, grabbing the middle finger of his hand that was in contact with me and ripping it back with as much force as possible.
"Holy shit!" He yelped, ripping his hands away from me and taking two giant steps back. "Weren't you ever taught to keep your hands to yourself?!"
The sudden tightness I felt in my neck and the back of my jaw, and the throbbing in my right temple were evidence of the amount of pure rage that overwhelmed me.
How dare he! What right does he have to lay hands on me and not expect the same in return? Does he think it is okay to just touch me without my consent? Who does he think he is, that he would be able to live by a pathetic double-standard that allows me to be harassed?
This child has no idea what it is like to be physically and verbally abused for years. He hasn't lost either of his parents, and he hasn't felt the pain that I have. You know what? None of those factors even matter. My past doesn't define how many rights I have.
He had no fricken right.
I spun on my heel to directly face the presumptuous, pompous, jackwagon that was William Thatcher. He raised an eyebrow at my motion, somehow believing that I was about to explain myself. Unfortunately for him, he did not deserve any such thing. Not hesitating a moment, I raised my hand in the air and slapped him across the cheek. As I stepped back, the side of his face was already beginning to turn red. I sent one last glare at his stunned face before turning and marching down the hallway in vented annoyance. I only stopped once I reached the other end of the school, which took a good few minutes. I didn’t really care at that point if I was late for class or not.
That freaking terd bucket! Who does he think he is? He has no right to grab me without my consent. He was lucky that I didn't punch him straight in the nose. What century does he think we are living in, the eighteen-hundreds? If he so much as pokes me without asking, I'll drive my foot so far up his butt the dentist will be picking my toes from between his teeth.
I was too caught up in my rant to realize that the very person that I wanted to avoid had caught up to me and was bent over, breathing heavily from the run that he apparently had to make. Keeping a safe distance, I glared at him in hatred as I watched every move closely.
He could attack me at any moment, if he wanted, I thought in wariness as I kept my stance in a minor defensive position. What happened to the Will from last week? The one who called me beautiful and was actually human for once?
He was faking it just to mess with you and make you let your defenses down, the doubtful thought bloomed.
I wanted to slap myself.
I knew it, I wanted to say, I knew it was too good to be true. He was just tricking me and playing with my feelings, just like everyone else who liked the pick on the ‘lonely’ orphan. Finding someone who genuinely respected my personal boundaries and valued my sad, pathetic opinion was just too much for which to hope. I was better off believing that everyone in my life--besides Jordan and Mrs. Rayley--was out to somehow hurt me.
Tears pricked the back of my eyes sat the depressing thoughts running through my mind as Will stepped toward me wordlessly, his hands raised in feigned peace. I shrunk back in disgust as he came closer than I wanted him to.
“Tessa-” He began, but I cut him off before he could feed me any lies.
“No, Will, just no," I spit out in agitation. "I am tired and feel really violated right now. It isn't okay to just grab a person who doesn't want to be touched. It isn't okay to keep going when I say stop. I thought you would have known better.”
Guilt and regret formed on his face, though the pessimistic side of me fought to believe that he was just putting up some farce to retain his innocence. Will opened his mouth to speak but I cut him off once again. “For the tutoring, just meet me in the library sometime this week or at some coffee shop where there are people around. I have to go, so I'll see you later.”
Before anything else could be said, I quickly rushed off, hoping that he would not follow so that I could gather myself and get back into a safer mindset.
“Tessa!” A familiar and cheery voice called from down the hallway. I turned my head to the right with a smile as my best friend Jordan ran up and greeted me with a warm hug.
“Hey, Jordan,” I said casually with a smile. He flashed me a million dollar smile in return.
Meet Jordan Rayley. Yes, he is Miss Rayley’s son. He and his mother are the closest thing I had to family. Following the death of my father, they were always there for me. Jordan would bring me food when I was starving and couldn't get any myself; Miss Rayley would help me fix my skateboard or up my grades. They were my support and my foundation--without them, I would have gone down a darker path, most likely.
“Hiya,” he chirped, swinging an arm over my shoulders and walking us toward the cafeteria for lunch. Hopefully, it was going to be a pizza day, and I would be able to eat the pepperoni that I had been craving the past few days.
Carbs, sauce, cheese, and greasy meat--what more could a girl ask for?
“So how is my extremely tall and bulky friend been doing today?” I asked with a small smirk. He always whined childishly when I talked about his extremely well built physique.
With a groan and a roll of his bright green eyes, Jordan flicked my arm as he responded. “Well, this completely normal sized friend of yours just aced a quiz in American History for fourth period. You?”
Now it was my turn to groan. “You aced that?! I got a D minus! D! Minus!” I exclaimed exasperatedly, throwing my hands in the air for dramatic effect as we approached the line to buy food. Although we were preoccupied with conversation, I couldn't help the anxious, hungered look I sent towards the menu boards in hopes that there was some type of pizza available today.
Tater tots and chicken sandwiches are the main foods today.
Fudging jungle monkeys.
Releasing a saddened and melodramatic sigh, I leaned backwards into the chest of my best friend only to realize that it wasn't my best friend. As I made eye contact with Jordan, who had taken a few steps ahead of me with the moving line while I was distracted by the menu, I felt my eyes narrow in annoyance.
Oh, he's gonna get it.
“Whoa, Tessa, I didn’t know you wanted me that bad,” a cocky voice commented, the vibrations of his voice traveling throughout his chest. I groaned in annoyance and quickly hopped away, turning around to see a smirking Will.
Where is a volcano when you need one.
“I would rather die a slow and painful death that makes me scream in agony as my body rots into mutilated flesh than do anything with you," I deadpanned, making his eyebrows raised in surprise at the gruesome death I had described monotonously.
Apparently, the uninterested, off-putting attitude that I had whipped out was not enough to deter the raven-haired boy. “Princess, if you wanted to scream, I could make you do that plenty of times," he retorted with a corny grin, sending me an equally corny wink that made me want to punch him.
At this point, I just rolled my eyes as Jordan physically gagged from behind me. I giggled as my best friend dry heaved dramatically.
“Ugh, bro. That’s fuc--” Jordan looked at me and hesitated “--freaking nasty. Go get a room for crying out loud," he shivered in disgust and spun on his heel, rushing away quickly to get food.
I moved to follow him when a large hand clasped around my wrist. My head snapped back to glare at Will, who was looking at me with innocent eyes.
“What do you want, Thatcher,” I growled at him, considering what would happen if I kicked him in the family jewels.
He smirked. Smirked!
“I was just wondering if you would be willing to let me give you a ride home today?” He asked calmly, releasing my wrist as he stoop upright.
“Yea, I'll accept a ride home with you when I become Cinderella,” I deadpanned sardonically.
He chuckled to himself, shaking his head with a smile before taking a step back as he placed his hands behind his back. “You know, Princess, the relevancy of that statement is quite ironic,” he contended with amusement in his voice.
I scowled at him with pursed lips before spinning on my heel and making my way to Jordan. Of course, I don’t make it far before the king of cockiness decided to draw all attention to me.
“See you after school, Princess!” He called to me, causing me to whirl around and glare at a smirking Will. Many surrounding people turned their curious gazes towards me and Will, and I wished from the very bottom of my heart that I had a fireman's hose to point at Will.
Well isn’t this just peachy. It’s the peachiest thing since peaches were freaking invented.
That son of a banana.
“Go to hell!” I snapped, causing a round of gasps to sound within the cafeteria. His eyes were alight with amusement as I rolled my eyes as his casual response before I spun around and marched over to eat tater tots and chicken sandwiches.
Now I really wish I had a volcano to put to good use.
“Hey, so are you coming over my house for dinner tonight? You definitely look a little bit thinner than usual, and that's not because you suddenly decided to go on a diet. Is Jill putting you on a crazy diet again? You need to have a good meal. Yup, it's decided--you're coming to our house for dinner tonight, I'll let Mama know.” Jordan rambled as we walked out of the school building during the afternoon.
As we exited, I couldn't help but take a deep breath, inhaling the sweet scent of nature, gravel, and fresh air.
“Well,” I replied with a small smile, “since that is all in order: I have to be tutored for a little bit this afternoon, but after that, we can just hang out for the rest of the day. Is your Mom making enchiladas again?”
He flashed me a bedazzling grin. “Yes! I'm so excited to have Mama's enchiladas.”
“Tessa!” A familiar (and recently annoying) voice shouted from a distance. Jordan and I turned to see Will flagging me down with his hands. I sighed and looked at Jordan apologetically.
“One sec, Jordan,” I said, stepping away from him and meeting up with Will towards the edge of the sidewalk.
“You called?” I asked him, crossing my arms over my chest and leaning on one leg.
He huffed. “I thought I was driving you home today?” Although I felt guilty that I had somehow disappointed him, that feeling was squashed when I realized that I had never agreed to drive with him.
“Please, I think the zombie apocalypse would have to happen before I went anywhere with you.” I replied in agitation.
He just smiled. Why does he always smile!?
“Princess, don’t act like you have a choice in this,” he remarked in what was probably supposed to be a taunting manner.
However, this just made me angrier as I thought about all the times in which I had never been given a choice. I scowled at him as I took a step back, letting my hands fall to my sides as they clenched into fists.
“Don’t you dare say you have any say in what I can and cannot do. You don’t own me, you don’t know me, and you have no right to talk to me like I am a freaking dog to be tamed. If you talk to me, you will do it with respect. No. Less.” I finished my frustrated rant at him, breathing heavily as I felt my temples begin to throb.
He just stared at me, completely dumbfounded at the idea that I had spoken against him in such a rage-filled manner.
Why do I always feel so angry around him, I pondered, wondering if there was some specific reason as to why he pissed me off so much.
Maybe it's because he borderline chauvinistic.
He opened his mouth to respond, but I beat him to it, not really wanted to hear anything he had to say at the moment.
“Now, I will be riding home with Jordan. I will meet you at the library in two hours. See you later, Will,” I stated in a finalizing tone. I whirled around and marched back to an astonished looking Jordan. When I reached him, he looked me up and down and whistled.
“Remind me to never get on your bad side,” he observed, amazement clear in his voice.
I blushed and looked at the floor, but not before lightly punching his arm and shaking my head disapprovingly. “Shut up you lard. Let’s go home, shall we?”
He nodded and began walking beside me towards his car. “We shall.”
And with that, we left the school parking lot, with one pair of deep, piercing, blue eyes following us the whole way.