Angel Falls High is a dead place, Ethan thought as he glanced away from his anatomy teacher to look through the window of the classroom. The subject was not a particularly dull one, but being who he was, Ethan had studied further and was now ahead of his class, so he was really bored now. His boredom wasn’t because of this specific class, he had just been out of it the entire week. Nothing interesting was going on at school and Ethan hated it.
As the oldest of three children, when Ethan was not helping his parents take care of his two little sisters, he liked to spend his time with his friends, study and play football. His parents were mostly out working since his father was a computer engineer and his mother owned the Angel Falls Diner. While they weren’t a very wealthy family, they did make enough to make ends meet. It was a really loving and close family which Ethan was thankful for. His parents had even managed to get him his first car when he turned sixteen a year and a half ago, so he liked to make them proud and be a good role model to his sisters which is why he studied so much.
He wasn’t a nerd in the stereotypical sense, he actually played football for the school team and was really good at it. However, the team had already played their last game so they were on a break. The next series of football practices were going to start next semester, and without football practice, Angel Falls High didn’t have much to offer. Ethan sighed as he turned back to his book and flipped a page. He tried to pay attention to what Mr. Collins, his biology teacher was talking about but that was starting to prove difficult for him when his eyes started closing on their own accord.
The bell for lunch rang shortly, making Ethan’s shoulders slump as a sign of relief. Finally. He picked up his books and headed to his locker where his friends, Shane and Dave who were also part of the football team, were waiting for him. Although bulling was quite rare in their school, there were some guys on the football team who made it their whole personality, but unlike them, Ethan, Shane and Dave didn’t like to bully the other students. They actually liked to help them. Ethan being a straight A student would have been one of the kids who got bullied if he wasn’t in the team, so he preferred to help other people like him. He never understood why nerds got bullied but it wasn’t something he was particularly interested in finding out so Ethan just did what he could and left it at that.
He quickly met up with his friends and they all headed to lunch. Ethan and his friends didn’t sit by the rest of the team during lunch. This was because some of the cheerleaders always sat next to the football players and that particular group was quite annoying. They talked too loud, made offensive jokes, and were just all-round annoying. It didn’t help that the other boys agreed with that particular group of girls. Of course, Ethan knew that not all of them behaved that way but he just couldn’t stand to be around them.
One thing about Ethan though was that he was gay. No one else knew though, not even his best friends. He was afraid of being judged by the rest of the school, and possibly getting kicked out of the team. That would ruin him for sure. What he was more scared of was that his family would disown him if they ever found out about him being gay. He wanted to come out, he felt like he needed to, but getting bullied and losing his friends and family over his sexuality wasn’t something Ethan was willing to risk. So coming out wasn’t an option for him.
Shane and Dave had their girlfriends sit with them during lunch. Ethan could deal with Meghan and Tris. They seemed to be genuinely good people, unlike those cheerleaders. So they were the only female friends Ethan had in school. His friends had tried to set him up with some other girl, Liz, who was part of Meghan and Tris’ trio. Ethan became friends with her for their sake, but when it got round to actually asking her out, he backed out. He knew that they would have had to kiss at some point since Liz kept asking to go out alone with him. Thinking about it, Ethan decided that he could deal with kissing her, but all that other stuff was a no-no. He didn’t see himself having a girlfriend and lying to her about who he really was. He just didn’t swing that way.
He never got to apologize to her after that little kiss and never even called her again, which was wrong, he knew that. She was also angry with him for his actions because the least he could have done was told her he wasn’t interested. She did hit on him from time to time, making Ethan uncomfortable but her friends spoke to her until she finally realized that if a guy isn’t interested, he isn’t interested. The only reason he even tolerated her advances was that Ethan knew his friends would be suspicious of him since Liz was a gorgeous girl and he was afraid of their reactions if they found out that he was gay.
Liz didn’t sit with them during lunch for the past week because Ethan hadn’t asked her out again and Ethan was fine with that. He wanted things to stay that way. But even though he did not want to lead her on, he felt a little bit annoyed that she would cut him off just like that. It didn’t also help that he sometimes felt slightly jealous when he saw her hanging out with the rest of the football team. But if he had to admit, he could deal with being jealous over Liz cutting him off than lying to everyone about who he was, so that was fine too.
Apart from these three girls, he didn’t really like the other girls in the school, which was mostly because he hadn’t bothered to know any of them. Ethan wasn’t judgmental, or at least he tried not to be. He knew not to judge a book by its cover but according to what he had heard in the locker rooms from some of the boys, some of the girls seemed like slobs, and while it was none of his business what they did but he also wasn’t going to become friends with people he had only heard bad things about.
As Ethan and his friends settled down at their usual table for lunch, he tuned out once he started eating the slice of cheese pizza he had gotten from the kitchen. With pizza being his favorite food, Ethan didn’t let anything distract him from it, not even when Shane and Dave began discussing the sleepover they were having that night. He only gave them a brief nod when they asked if he was still going and quickly continued eating.
“Ethan,” Dave called, making Ethan look up at him. The curly haired boy nodded over to the other side of the cafeteria where the football team usually sat and Ethan followed his line of sight. Seeing what his friend was talking about, the blond boy shrugged dismissively and turned back to his food.
“Aren’t you bothered?” Shane asked.
Ethan glanced back at the table and saw Liz sitting on Maxwell’s lap who just happened to be Ethan’s rival on the pitch. There was a slight pang of jealousy there but it was so minuscule that Ethan paid no attention it. If Liz felt like she was getting back at him by dating Maxwell, then she was wasting her time, he thought.
“No,” Ethan finally answered.
Shane and Dave shared knowing looks with their girlfriends before turning back to him. “Whatever you say bro,” Dave said.
The bell for the next period rung and he had study hall. He emptied his tray and headed on out with his friends. He had a few essays to write on History and English so that would keep him busy until the end of study hall. His friends had a math test during the last period so they weren’t going to bother him much unless, of course, they needed help with something. They began talking about getting snacks and then some alcohol for their sleepover. They were only 17 but his friends liked to get wasted on Friday nights. He didn’t mind a beer or two once in a while though. He laughed at Shane’s stupid idea of bribing the grocery shop salesgirl with sex for a pack of beers, but his laughter was short-lived when the front doors of the school opened with a loud bang.
A pale-skinned boy with black hair walked through the doors. His bag hung on his right shoulder, he wore black clothes. A black T-shirt, a blacker jacket, black jeans, and black boots. His hair was combed to the left and covered his left eye, Ethan noticed. He also noticed that he had two lip piercings. The boy froze in his steps because everyone in the hallway had stopped to look at him. The boy stood there looking at the students and the students were also looking at him.
There was enough tension in the hall that you could hear a pin if it fell. Ethan looked at the boy and studied him. Ethan had to admit that the boy looked strange, mostly because he had never seen him before but he had the most beautiful blue eyes Ethan had ever seen. He didn’t understand it but there was immediate attraction toward him. He thought the boy was very cute.
Although they were quiet, Ethan still heard the silent whispers of some students who were near him. They asked questions like; who is he? What a freak? Oh look he’s emo! It almost annoyed Ethan but he paid no attention to them when his eyes met the piercing blue eyes of the new kid.
“What do you think he’s looking at?” He asked his friends in a whisper.
“He’s looking at you,” Shane replied, making Ethan gulp.
The last bell for the next period rang then, making the students disperse into their various classes, Ethan and friends included.
During study hall, Ethan couldn’t focus on his essays. He kept thinking about the pale boy with black hair and blue eyes. He hoped to get him out of his mind by helping his friends with their maths but the image of the strange boy wouldn’t leave his mind. He had never seen someone wear so much black in his life. Well, aside from black skinny jeans of course.
The boy though had a weird vibe to him and Ethan couldn’t put his finger on what it was being that he had only just met him. But after that weird moment they had where their eyes met, Ethan wasn’t sure he could simply forget about him. It was weird, and he wasn’t sure how to feel about it.
He looked up from his books to his friends. They were busy with their work and didn’t seem as bothered with the new kid at school as Ethan was. Maybe he was just overthinking. He shrugged.
Soon enough, the bell for last period rang, and Ethan packed his books and headed to his last class for the week. English. Sometimes he wondered why English was the last class. He walked quietly to his locker. He jumped when someone tapped him.
“What the hell was that for?” he asked when he realized it was Dave that tapped him.
“Woah, chill dude,” Dave rose his hands up in surrender. “You look worried.”
“I’m fine, just thinking,” Ethan sighed.
“Well, okay then. We gotta go blow up this test,” Shane said as they walked away.
Ethan tensed at the mention of the test. He hadn’t finished his essay yet, he hadn’t even started yet. And they were supposed to turn it in today. Last period. He hurried to class and planned on writing at least two essays before Mrs. Twist came in. She was always late so it was a good thing for him, now that he thought about it.
He took his seat which was at the right corner in the back of the class as fast as he could and began his essay. He loved sitting at the back because he could focus on the teacher without raising his head too much, he didn’t want pains in his neck. Also, he had very good eyesight anyway. The essay was about the kinds of things that one would like to change in society if they were ever given the chance. Ethan had already thought about it and the only thing he wanted to write about was how society was stereotypical and prejudiced about “homosexuality”. He feared that no one would take his essay seriously and the teacher might call him out for being gay. So he decided to change it, and since he had about ten to fifteen minutes before Mrs. Twist came in, he started to write about racism.
Luck was not on his side though, because the minute he put the pen on his paper, she walked in and the class went dead silent. He sighed. Well, no credit for him then.
“As you all know, you’re supposed to turn in your essay for your finals today,” she began without even greeting the class. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and continued. Ethan didn’t hear the rest of what she said though because he was too busy trying to finish the paper he hadn’t even started.
“Now you all listen up.” Ethan’s head shot up at the loudness of her voice.
“I’ve decided to let you have till the end of the semester to turn in those papers.” Ethan smiled. That was the best news he had ever heard in that whole week.
“And you’ll be presenting it as well.”
Not so great news after all, Ethan frowned. If there was one thing he hated, it was talking in front of a whole lot of people, alone. He absolutely hated it. He didn’t like to be in the limelight. Being on the football team didn’t mean he was that confident, because he wasn’t at all. But luckily, he had until the end of the semester to figure out how he would get out of the presentation.
The class went on fairly quickly and when the last bell rang, Ethan along with the rest of the class gladly packed his books and headed out. He walked to his locker and took out the books he needed for the weekend whiles waiting for his friends. He was going to drive them since Shane’s car was at the mechanic’s. His phone buzzed in his pocket and he received a text from Dave saying they were waiting for him at the car pack.
He put his phone back in his pocket and walked there to meet them. He didn’t see them by his car so he looked around to see if they were with Meghan or Tris. His eyes stopped circulating when they met a familiar pair of blue eyes staring at him. It was that boy from earlier. Ethan was sure the boy was glaring at him, he didn’t know the reason for the glare but he wanted to speak to the “strange” boy. He started to walk towards him but as soon as he moved, the boy turned and walked away.
A hand fell on his shoulder and he turned around quickly to look at who it was. He sighed in relief when noticing it as Dave.
“That’s kinda weird, isn’t it?” His friend asked.
Ethan shrugged. He wasn’t sure what that was about but for some reason, the new guy intrigued him. There was just something about him and Ethan wanted to find out what.
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Edit (26/7/2022): some edits have been made.