Freshman Year: Part 2
It was the third period at East Coast High. Which meant that Tori had Biology next. On her way there, she couldn’t stop thinking about those three girls she met in Algebra. They would be watching her? She had to complete tasks to see if she was worthy? Who were they and what did they even want with her? What did they know about “Raven?” And why can’t she seem to find anything out about him? Who knew the first day could cause so many questions?
Their teacher, Mr. Lewis, was writing on the board. Already, they had a project. The first unit was all about plants. The first week is dedicated to learning how plants produce flowers. That means dissecting flowers for fun. Even if this project was interesting, Tori couldn’t get “Raven” out of her head. The mysterious air he carried around her was causing her interest in him to peak. She just wanted to know more. As Mr. Lewis was writing some notes on the board, someone came through the door. Everyone turned their attention to the door and saw…
“Well, look what we have here. Let me guess. You’re Roberts?”
“In the flesh, sir,” he smirked, as he stretched out his arms.
“Only by ten minutes.”
“It’s still late, Roberts. It’s only the first day. Where could you have possibly gone?”
“That’s my business. I’m here now, right. So stop stressing.”
“Excuse me?! Stop stressing? I have nothing to stress about. I’m not the one who needs this diploma.”
“Are you calling me stupid, sir?” He leaned up against the edge of the board as he glared at Mr. Lewis.
“I would never call my students stupid.”
“Whatever. I know where this conversation ends and I really would like to sit down.” Roberts turned his head to the class, his eyes searching for Tori. When he found her, he winked.
‘Did he just wink at me? Of course, he didn’t. But, he was looking at me, right?’
“So, here’s your stupid pass. I was in the office handling some things. Happy now? Good. Continue, sir.” With a wave of his hand, Roberts made his way to the only empty seat in the back of the classroom. The one next to Tori.
She could feel herself blushing and her body became warm as he stared, with a smirk on his face, as he calmly made his way over to her. Mr. Lewis cleared his throat and turned back around to the board.
“Now that that’s over, let’s begin this lesson. How do flowers develop?” Roberts slid in the seat next to Tori as she covered her face behind her hand.
“Hello again.” Tori sighed as his scent wafted over to her. It was strong but sweet. She smiled to herself as she admired the scent. “Someone’s enjoying themselves,” he laughed.
“Huh?” Tori snapped her head up to see him looking upfront.
“Something has your attention. What is it?”
“So, you were smiling about the beauty of the floors?”
‘Fuck! He saw me the entire time I was smiling? What the hell is wrong with me?’ “I could’ve been. It’s a nice floor.”
“There’s dried juice by your foot.” Roberts pointed underneath the table, still watching Mr. Lewis. Tori looked down and groaned as she moved her bookbag under the table.
“So, are you going to tell me what made you smile or not?”
“Ah. Mysterious aren’t we?”
“Hypocritical aren’t we?”
“You’ve been mysterious since I’ve met you. I don’t even know your name.”
“Not true. You know my last name.”
“What good is your last name to me?”
“You mean you weren’t thinking of scribbling, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Roberts. Tori Roberts.’? Or maybe you’ve already done it?”
“No, I haven’t thought or done it. What are we in? The fourth grade?” He laughed and turned his body towards her. She tried her best not to follow her instinct to turn around to face him. This seemed to amuse him even more because from the corner of her eye she could see him smiling.
“So, tell me, will knowing my name make you happy?”
“You could say that.” Roberts looked at the front of the classroom in thought.
“And now for the project. As you can already see, everyone is paired off. The person sitting next to you is your partner. Gladiola flowers will be used for this project. We will begin dissecting tomorrow. For today, and for homework, you and your partner will come up with a procedure on how to answer the questions on the sheet. You can use resources to help you with this. I will pass out the sheets so you can get started.” Mr. Lewis began to pass out the papers and students began working immediately. When he got to Tori’s table, he glared at Roberts.
“That’s not a nice look, sir,” he smiled.
“I have my eye on you. This is a young lady and I ask that you treat her as one, Roberts. I know your family pretty well. Money doesn’t buy everything.”
“It buys enough.”
“It buys enough,” he mocked. “Behave.” Mr. Lewis turned to Tori and said, “If he gives you any trouble, just let me know.”
“Sure.” Once he turned away, Roberts jumped over his chair, so he was facing her, and sat back down.
“Ignoring him, I have an idea.”
“Great. Because I have none. I was ready to ask Google what the hell to do.”
“The project. We have to make a procedure for this experiment. I just wanted to start cutting.”
“Man, fuck this project. I’m talking about you wanting to know my name so badly.”
“Now, wait. Badly is a stretch.”
“Twenty questions. We’ll play twenty questions. That way we can both find out more about each other and you don’t have to be so mysterious towards me.”
“Me? I’m the mysterious one?”
“Yes,” he smirked. “One rule though.”
“I didn’t know there were rules in twenty questions, but ok.”
“You can’t ask my name until your twentieth question.”
“Yep. Be happy you got my last name. I want you to get to know me first.”
“You know my name though. And you didn’t even know me.”
“Technically, your friend told me. And then you stumbled it out. I never asked,” he smirked.
‘Fuck life!’ “Fine. Deal. I won’t ask until the twentieth question.”
“Good. We can still work on the project as we go. Ladies first.”
“We’re starting?” Roberts nodded. “Okay. Um, what do you like to do in your free time?”
“Really? So, does that mean you’re trying out for football?”
“Smart girl. My friend and I are planning to. Does your name mean anything?”
“I think it means bird in Latin. Also, my parents derived it from Victoria.”
“Is Victoria your real name then?”
“Why don’t you use it?”
“It’s just so… ick! I just figured my parents were drunk that night. They say it was because it was my mother’s favorite character on this really old tv show. I know the truth though.”
“The belief that they were drunk?”
“The fact they were drunk.” Roberts laughed as he handed her a piece of paper.
“Here look this up while I ask my second question.”
There were only a few minutes left in class and the room was filled with everyone talking. Some were about the project, others were just talking, and Tori and Roberts were laughing while trying to work. Yes, trying. They got some sites down and a couple of notes, but whether they knew it or not, they would have homework.
“Question sixteen. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?” Roberts looked down at the desk for a moment before smiling.
“One time, my friend and I hid in an arcade until closing time and he was able to trick the machines to think we had put in money. So, we just played the games for free the entire night, got a bunch of tickets, and then hid in the bathroom ten minutes till opening.”
“Woah. How did you get out unnoticed?”
“We waited until he went back into his office and snuck back out through the front,” he smirked.
“How badass of you.”
“I try. My turn. How about you? Have you done anything crazy?”
“Not really,” Tori shrugged.
“Oh, come on.”
“I’m serious. The most I’ve done was break something of my dad’s and never told him about it.”
“Ooo, a beginner in the art of badassery.”
“Badassery?” she laughed.
“Yeah! I was top of the class at the school.”
“And what school was that?”
“The school of don’t worry about it, dove.”
“Yeah. Your name means bird, so dove just came to mind. A pretty name for a pretty girl,” he smiled. Tori felt herself beginning to blush and looked away, clearing her throat.
“What question are we on? Seventeen? Wow. Okay. My turn. What do you think is your best feature?”
“Can I name more than one?” Tori saw this look in his eye as he said it. His voice became lower too.
“Nah. I just like more than one thing about myself. There’s such a thing called confidence.”
“Touche. I’ll allow it.”
“Yes! Alright. I would say my best features are my hair because it’s soft, my eyes because they hold secrets, and lastly,” Roberts leaned in closer to Tori, stopping when his nose brushed against hers, “my mouth. Would you like to find out why?” he asked in a low voice.
“I… I… uh…” The bell rang as she fumbled over her words, causing Roberts to smirk before moving back.
“Alright, class. If you didn’t finish your research in class, it is homework. I suggest you and your partner make time to meet after school. Have a nice rest of your day!” Mr. Lewis said. He sat down in his chair with a sigh as the students began to file out.
“Wow. It’s already time for lunch,” Roberts said as he stood up.
“We… we didn’t finish the game, though.”
“Don’t worry, dove. We’ll have other opportunities.” He swung his bookbag over his shoulder with a flourish and turned around.
“Can we at least finish seventeen?” Roberts stopped in his tracks and turned back to Tori with a smile on his face.
“Well, since you asked so nicely. Question seventeen. Can we have lunch together?” Tori could feel her words catch in her throat. She quickly gathered herself and pushed a stray hair out of her face.
“Yes! I mean, yes. We can.”
“Cool. I have to go find my friends, but I’ll see you at lunch.” He winked at her before walking away. As he was almost out the door, Tori called after him.
“But, how will you find me? Isn’t the cafeteria huge?” Roberts turned his head towards her and smiled.
“Don’t worry. I have ways of finding people I want to find.” And with that, he disappeared into the crowded hallway.
Lindsey and Tori had found each other through the crowd and made their way to the cafeteria. After they had gotten their lunch, they found an empty table to sit at. Tori had finished telling Lindsey about what happened in her Algebra class and with “Raven” in Biology.
“He did what?”
“I don’t know for sure. But for a moment it seemed like he was going to kiss me. Right there. In the back of the class.”
“Oh my gosh! He’s risky!”
“Maybe too risky.”
“Come on. What’s life without a little risk? You could end up having the best time of your life.’
“I don’t know. I guess we’ll see.”
“Speaking of “Raven”, I want to know his name?” Tori stared at Lindsey in silence before picking up her apple and biting into it. “Tori?”
“What’s his name?”
“I don’t know?” Lindsey looked at Tori for a moment, blinking her eyes rapidly.
“It’s the middle of the day, and you still don’t know Raven’s name?”
“How is that even possible?”
“He won’t tell me. All I got was his last name. Which is Roberts.”
“Roberts? So, he has no problem telling you his last name, but he can’t say his first name?”
“He didn’t even tell me that. I found out from some girls in my Algebra class. And then in Biology, the teacher kept calling him by his last name.” Lindsey sucked her teeth in frustration.
“He’s good. Having everyone keep his name on the hush, hush.” Lindsey picked up her pear and bit into it as Tori stared at her tray.
“I think I found a loophole.”
“We were playing twenty questions and he told me that at my twentieth question, I could ask him his name. But, the bell had rung just as we got to eighteen.”
“Stupid bell! Ruining everything! You were so close to asking Raven!”
“Now, I might never get to ask him,” Tori sighed.
“Ask him what?” The girls turned around to see Roberts smiling behind them. “And who is Raven?” Lindsey leaned over towards Tori.
“I think he heard us,” she whispered, loudly.
“Mind if I join?” he asked, as he sat down beside Tori.
“Why would you ask and then sit down?”
“So you wouldn’t say no. Besides, you already told me yes in the classroom.”
“I did say that.”
“So, are you two going to explain to me who Raven is? And what do you need to tell him?” Tori scratched her head as she looked around the cafeteria.
“Only if you remember my name.”
“Why wouldn’t he remember your name?”
“She’s right. I always remember the beautiful ones.” Lindsey covered her mouth with her hand as she giggled.
“Oh, stop. Such a flirt aren’t you?”
“You could say that.”
“I could name a lot of things that you are,” Tori muttered. Roberts leaned over to her ear, causing her to tense up.
“I know my eighteenth question.” He moved back, smiling to himself, as she sat there. “And your name is Lindsey.” Lindsey gasped, clapping her hands together.
“You do remember. So sweet. Okay, I’ll tell you. Raven is the code name we gave you…”
“You gave him.”
“You said it, idiot.”
“Because you didn’t want him to hear that you like him.”
“I don’t like him,” she said, low through her clenched teeth.
“Then why did I have to give him a code name?”
“Well, I sure as hell didn’t force you.” Lindsey held up her hand to Tori’s face as she focused her attention back on Roberts.
“Feisty, eh?” he muttered.
“Anyway, we gave you that code name because of your hair and because we didn’t know your name.”
“Raven, huh? Mysterious creature.”
“Exactly! And then, Tori was just talking about how she didn’t get to ask you your name yet because of the game you’re playing.”
“Oh, really? Well, go ahead and ask your eighteenth question.”
“Seriously? Okay. If someone came up to you and told you that you had twenty-four hours to live, what would you do?”
“I would ask them if they were God, and if they said no, then I would tell them to fuck off with such lies. If they said yes, I would tell them to tell me a secret only God would know.”
“What if they guessed correctly?”
“Then they should have no problem surviving a bullet to the head.”
“Oh my gosh!” Lindsey laughed.
“Wow,” Tori laughed as she shook her head.
“Alright, my turn. What’s the perfect idea for a first date for you?”
“First date? Wow, uh, I guess I would say mini-golf and burgers. It’s relaxing and a great way to talk without any pressure. Except for making the hole in three or fewer swings.” Roberts smiled at her, amused. He looked at her like he was in his thoughts. Lindsey cleared her throat, loudly, causing both of them to look at her.
“Sorry. Pear got stuck in my throat,” she smiled innocently. Tori rolled her eyes and shifted in her chair.
“Sure, Linds. Question nineteen. What’s the most beautiful thing or place you have seen?” Roberts smiled for a moment before opening his mouth.
“Roberts!” He sighed as he dropped his head. “Roberts! Dude! I know you hear me.” The girls turned around to see another guy waving towards them.
“Who is that?” Lindsey asked.
“My idiot friend, Josh. Sorry to cut this short.”
“No, it’s not. We have to get to twenty.” Roberts brushed Tori’s hair, laughing.
“Can you at least answer the question?”
“Sure. It’s you,” he winked.
“Shut up! I’m coming! I’ll catch you later.” He walked off towards the guy and some other people. Lindsey started to elbow Tori playfully.
“Someone’s got a boyfriend. Someone’s got a boyfriend!”
“He is smooth.”
“He’s good at delaying question twenty too.”
“Oh, come on. It adds to his mysterious persona. Maybe he wants to get you alone.”
“Whatever. Deny all you want, but the blush doesn’t lie.” Tori covered her cheeks, sticking up the middle finger.
“Rude,” Lindsey laughed.
Tori had finished getting her art book out of her locker when Roberts walked up beside her. He leaned up against the locker next to hers and just smiled. Tori closed her locker and looked at him.
“What’s with the face, beautiful?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that I still don’t know your name. And how you manage to avoid my twentieth question.”
“It’s not my fault we’re on a bell schedule.” Tori raised an eyebrow at him before sighing and turning to walk away. He followed after her laughing. “Why are you walking away?”
“I have to get to the art classroom.”
“Me too,” he smirked.
“Seriously? Well, then I can ask my question?”
“Well, I still have to ask my nineteenth question first,” he smirked. Tori rolled her eyes.
“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” He just laughed. “Fine. Go ahead.”
“Cool. What do you like most about yourself?”
“Uh… my hair. My turn. Finally. What is your name? Your first name.” He smirked at her for a moment before sighing.
“Alright. I guess you’ve earned it.” He sighed, scratched his chin, and said, “Ma…”
“Hey! There you are!” Another guy had slung his arm around Roberts’s neck, smiling. It was the same one that called him during lunch.
“Josh, dude, not so hard.”
“Aw, man up. Come on we have to stop somewhere.”
“We’re going to be late for class.”
“We’ll get a pass. Let’s go.” Roberts groaned and looked at Tori.
“See you in class,” he winked. Josh pulled him off in the other direction and Tori sighed.
“Damn he’s good.” Tori continued walking to class. Roberts and Josh walked in moments after the bell and sat in the front. Which meant that she still couldn’t ask him his name. Again. All she got was an m and an a. Ma. Matthew? Mark? Marcell? Malik? Mario? Wait, that’s a game.
A few hours later, it was finally the end of the day and Tori and Lindsey were walking out of the building. As they made their way down the path to the sidewalk, Lindsey was ranting about tonight’s episode of Real Hollywood.
“Tori! Wait!” The girls turned around to see Roberts running up behind them.
“I just wanted to ask you if we could meet-up later?” Lindsey started elbowing Tori in her arm. Tori back-handed her in her stomach, making Lindsey grunt.
“Well, we do have to finish our science project. Is your house okay? My house is, uh, too loud. So, uh, I think it would be better.”
“Of course.” He smiled and handed her his phone. She put her number in and handed his phone back.
“Hey! Roberts! Ashley’s mom is here!”
“Could you give me a fucking second?!” he shouted back.
“Um, attitude!” Josh scoffed.
“Anyway! I’ll see you around seven.”
“Later, dove.” He smiled before running off where Josh was standing. Tori and Lindsey looked on and saw Roberts hug a girl with dirty blonde hair. He whispered something into her ear before taking her hand in his and walking off.
The girls were sitting in front of the TV watching Real Hollywood. Lindsey had just finished ordering some Chinese. She walked back into the living room and sat next to Tori on the couch.
“You’re still pouting.”
“I am not.”
“Yes, you are. I had to jog to keep up with you on the way back. Now, you’re sitting on the couch with your arms crossed.”
“So?! Has it ever occurred to you that you could be overthinking this whole situation?”
“What was there to overthink? He played me!”
“You don’t know that! It could have been his sister.”
“Please, that was not his sister.” Lindsey rolled her eyes and turned back to the TV.
“Welcome back to, Real Hollywood! If you’re just tuning in, I’m your host, Sharika! And today is a special day. Earlier this afternoon, Amber Evansdale dropped by to talk about her new book, Feeding Your Body. A book that is already helping millions of women get back to the body they love. It’s a great and safe way to take care of your baby and yourself. It even works for women who just want an easier and safer way to lose weight. She also shared some of her favorite recipes with the help of Chef Juliana Barnes. You guys got the chance to taste the food, right? How was it?” The audience cheered and applauded in response. “I thought so. For my viewers at home, you buy the book by clicking on the link on our website. If you want to try these recipes, the videos are on our website and the links to the recipes are there as well.”
“It sucks we didn’t get to see Amber in the kitchen.”
“But, that’s not going to stop me from trying them.”
“You can at least fake it better.”
“That’s what he said,” Tori laughed.
“What? Oh… Oh! Ew!”
“It is time to welcome our second special guest of the evening. As promised, please welcome, Aiden Evansdale!” The audience went wild as he stepped onto the stage, waving at the crowd. He was smiling and winking as he made his way to sit next to his mother on the couch. Tori rolled her eyes in disgust.
“This is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.”
“So, Aiden, tell us how you’re feeling? With adjusting to the spotlight and everything?”
“Uh, I think I’m adjusting very well. Stepping out and making a name for myself has been a great experience. It’s like finding myself through all these projects I’ve been getting.”
“Fascinating. I remember when you were younger, you were starring in toothpaste commercials for kids, now you’re already the leading role in a new TV series, Lockheart Academy. We know that it premieres next week, but do you think you can tell the audience a little about it?”
“Sure. Lockheart Academy is about this group of students who attend this boarding school. I play, Brian, who’s been there for over eight years. He meets this new girl who is completely different from everyone else. She comes from a non-rich background and has to adjust. And Brian wants to help her and everything, but he knows his parents won’t allow him to see someone who isn’t up to their standards. So, that gives the romance element of the show. There’s also some mystery elements in it, too. Because of the strange things that happen at the school.”
“Oooh! Sounds amazing! I know landing a huge role like this has to have some kind of effect on you.”
“You’re right. I feel grateful for this opportunity. I think doing this show will allow me to achieve making a name for myself.”
“Of course it will. You’re sixteen and already landing leading roles. It should be a dream come true!” The audience laughed.
“No doubt about that,” he smiled.
“So, I know that you are sixteen, and that is usually the age where young men have an idea of what they want in a girl. Do you have any ideas?”
“Actually I do. I see some girls I would be interested in in your crowd tonight.” Aiden turned to the audience and smiled, causing the younger girls to sigh.
“Idiots. All of them.”
“He’s so dreamy though,” Lindsey sighed.
“Please,” Tori scoffed. Just then, the doorbell rang. Tori pushed herself off the couch and walked out into the foyer. She opened the door and immediately closed it. “Fuck life!”
“Is it the Chinese food?”
“No! It’s…” Tori lowered her voice and said, “Roberts.”
“And so you slammed the door?”
“Do you not see me right now?” Lindsey walked into the foyer and covered her mouth. Tori had her hair in a messy bun and an acne patch on her nose. “Wait, what time is it?” There was a knock on the door and Tori began to freak out.
“It’s almost seven and oh my gosh! He was supposed to come here so you could work on your project!” He knocked again, making Tori jump.
“I forgot! Here, take this.” Tori ripped off her nose patch, squealed, and handed it to Lindsey. She tore her hair tie out of her hair and shook her hair down. Once she was presentable, she opened the door to see Roberts standing there with his hands in his pockets.
“You forgot didn’t you?”
“No! I just had to clear the dining room of some… things.”
“Sure, dove.” Tori looked at him, tilting her head to the side, confused.
“Why are you here? No, how did you even find me?”
“It’s very easy to find information on students,” he smirked.
“But, they don’t just give that out to everyone.”
“I have my ways. Money goes a long way.” Tori tilted her head in confusion as he laughed.
“So, what are you doing here?”
“Well, we kept getting interrupted at school, so you never got to ask your twentieth question.”
“You mean, you came all the way here just so I could ask you a question?”
“Pretty much. Also, I still didn’t get the chance to ask my last question.”
“Huh. Alright. Roberts?”
“What’s up?” he smirked.
“What is your name? Your first name.” He stared at her for a moment before sighing.
“Mason. My name is Mason Roberts.”
“Of course it’s Mason. I don’t know why Mario even came to my head.” Mason tilted his head, smiling.
“The video game?”
“Yes, the video game.” Tori folded her arms as Mason laughed. He moved closer to her and looked her in the eyes.
“I still have to ask my question. The final question of the game.”
“Okay. Shoot.” He moved closer to her again, stopping when his nose brushed hers.
“What would you do if I kissed you right now?” Tori’s eyes widened as she stumbled over her words.
“Um, I… I… I wouldn’t know, exactly. I know I would, uh, be nervous about it.”
“I-never kissed anyone.” Mason smiled a little.
“I can change that.” Before Tori could respond, Mason had gently pressed his lips on hers. All the nervousness that she felt seemed to disappear. It was a little awkward, but she didn’t mind so much. Mason pulled back, chuckling, as he looked at the ground.
“That was… different. But a good kind of different.”
“Good. Can I get a bonus question to ask you?”
“Do you want to hang out tomorrow? After school?”
“Like as friends?”
“Of course not, dove. A date.” Tori felt her breath get caught in her throat.
“Yes! I mean, yes. Sure.”
“Cool. So, uh, maybe we should finish this project.”
“Oh, right! Come on in.” Mason walked inside, closing the door behind him.
“Thanks. The dining room is the first entryway on your left.” Mason nodded and passed Lindsey on his way.
“What’s up, Lindsey?”
“Hey, Mason.” Lindsey quickly ran over to Tori, who was still standing in front of the door in a daze. “Why do you look like that?”
“He kissed me.”
“I’m sorry. Rewind. He did what?!”
“I have a project to finish. Bye!”
“Wha- Tori!” Tori waved as she disappeared into the dining room.