After School Club

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IV - Maddox

Yeah, trouble is best stayed away from. If only it were that easy.

Miss Becklea was typing busily on her computer, nodding at us absent-mindedly as me and Melissa sat in our normal seats. Maddox was already there, crowded by popular girls and jock boys sitting around him and trying to make conversation - but he didn’t seem too interested in the popular girls playing with their hair and smiling. He mostly talked to Harley and his small group of friends. Lavinia scowled in annoyance, whispering furiously to us as Melissa tried to calm her down, with Carmen kicking her football around under the table and joining in every now and then.

The school bell’s shrill echoed through the halls and classrooms, and a symphony of scraping chairs and footsteps could be heard throughout the building as Becklea firmly told us not to push, then called me over.

“Esmerelda? Hi - would you mind showing our newest addition, Maddox, around the school?”

My mouth was open slightly in shock and I looked back at Maddox, who stared back innocently, with a hint of a smirk in his expression.

“Uh...” I bit the inside of my lip, cursing my teacher’s pet attitude.

“Sure.”

Miss Becklea nodded and smiled, pleased, before turning back to her computer. I stifled a sigh, walking out the door with Maddox following.

“You set this all up, didn’t you?”

Maddox shrugged, stuffing a hand inside his hoodie pocket.

“Hey, we arranged it all earlier. And you can’t be mean to me either,” he said, with a smug smirk, “I’m the new boy.”

I scoffed, starting to walk down the corridor and away from the form rooms.

“Seriously, couldn’t you’ve just asked Harley or some other girl to tour you? I’m missing double math, and-”

“Double math?” Maddox repeated, a brow raised in judgement. “You don’t want to do this, because you’re missing a math lesson?”

He snorted with laughter then, and I rolled my eyes, annoyed.

“Look, can we hurry this up? Stop being so annoying!”

“I’m not being annoying,” he responded, “I’m just puzzled by how determined you are to get to a math class. Are you that much of a geek?”

“No, I’m not,” I snapped, the amused smile not leaving his face, “What’s wrong with liking math? You’re just wasting my time anyway - don’t you know your way around by now?”

“Aren’t I supposed to be asking the questions?” Maddox glanced at the school’s buildings are pitches as we stepped outside, autumn breeze tangling in his golden-blonde locks.

“Do you like it here, Esme?”

I shrugged and thought about it, a little caught off guard.

“Uh... I guess?”

He shook his head, grinning.

“Nah, you’re supposed to give me a paragraph on how great the learning system and staff are, aren’t you? That’s how it goes in most schools.”

“No,” I replied, “you give your honest opinion. It’s okay. Some of the extros are annoying, but-”

“Extros?”

“Yeah, the extroverted and extras. There are extros, semi-extros and wallflowers. Every student here fits into one.”

Maddox nodded slowly.

“So, what are you classed as then? A wallflower?”

“Probably.”

“Huh. Okay. Oh, by the way,” he added, as we walked into the main block and passed the empty break rooms, “am I gonna be smothered by cheerleaders everyday? It gets tiring.”

I rolled my eyes, not convinced.

“You say that, but I bet you love the attention. It’s just because you’re new, and they all think that you’re an extro bad boy.”

“Yeah, that’d be me,” he responded, smirking and checking the time on his phone.

“You’re definitely an extro,” I commented, arms crossed. “Extros are all annoying and immature.”

“Are they? Some of us just wanna have fun, Esme.” Then he looked up at me, interest in his eyes.

“Hey, are you going to Beth's party?”

I shook my head.

“I’d rather not.”

He raised a brow, leaning against a wall.

“No? Why not?”

“Because it’s a bad environment to be in. Besides, I’m not a party girl.”

“And how would you know? Come on, Es, loosen up. If you decide to come, I might even give you a lift there-”

“Hell no,” I said quickly, and he grinned, rolling his eyes and sauntering off down the corridor. I frowned, confused.

“Where are you going?”

He looked back, blonde hair flopping at his forehead.

“To class. Duh.”

“Well, math block’s the other way.”

“Yeah,” he replied, “I know. So go ahead. Don’t wanna miss out on that double maths, right?”

And with a flash of his signature smirk her wandered off, leaving me spellbound in irritation. Lavinia pushed open the door and caught sight of Maddox, glaring at him and passing swiftly. He, on the other hand, smirked and winked at her.

“Alright, Lavvy?”

Then he pushed open the door and disappeared through it, Lavinia left with her eyes wide in disbelief and a furious expression on her face.

“Did you hear what that smug little jerk just called me?! What were you doing with him?”

“He got the teacher to ask me to tour him,” I told her disdainfully, and she shook her head, still aggravated.

“Well, I’d steer clear of him. I don’t understand the stupid fuss over him anyway - all those extro girls trailing after him like lost puppies. Ugh, if he calls me that one more time...”

I tuned out of Lavinia’s threats and angry comments, Melissa eventually managing to calm how down and get through the rest of the day with more ease.

As the bell rang at the end of the day, Carmen joined us and we made our way to Mugshotz, sitting at the outdoor seats.

“Hey, Leroy’s gonna help me with my free kicks, and-”

“Can we change the subject? That boy makes me sick,” Lavinia said defiantly, and Melissa sighed.

“You don’t have to, Vinnie, just sit with us. Can’t you just learn to ignore them? They annoy you because you always give them a reaction, you know.”

As we were walking, Maddox and Harley came strolling outside, smirks on their faces. Lavinia snarled and yanked her bag up from the floor, getting ready to leave.

“I’ll see you all tomorrow,” she said, shoving past them and leaving the café in annoyance. Harley grinned at her, and Maddox looked over to me, smiling.

“Get to your math class in time then?”

I rolled my eyes and glared at him.

“Can you just go away?”

“Woah, why the hostility? Don’t turn into a Lavinia.” Harley sat with Carmen and they chatted about football, Melissa edging nearer to me as Maddox sat opposite.

“Hey, Melissa,” he said suddenly, and she jumped a little, looking up.

“You going to the party?”

Melissa glanced at me before shrugging in uncertainty.

“Um... I don’t- I don’t know yet...”

“No,” I said, “it’s a bad environment, I already said. It’s filled with extros smoking and drinking, which isn’t fun. What’s the big deal about it?”

Maddox rolled his eyes, smiling.

“What’s you’re definition of fun then, huh?”

“I don’t know... something safe? Being with friends, studying or doing something that doesn’t involve drugs or sports or something stupid that you could probably die from?”

“You know, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic,” Maddox said, grinning, “or if you’re actually speaking your mind.”

“I’m not being sarcastic,” I replied, rolling my eyes. “Why would I be?”

Maddox didn’t respond for a moment, then started laughing.

“I refuse to believe that a girl as good as you exists.” Maddox rolled his sage green eyes, raising an eyebrow and smirking that signature smirk of his. “Haven’t you ever, like, gone to some crazy party before? Rode a motorcycle? Anything that mummy and daddy won’t smile and simper proudly about?”

I rolled my eyes, folding my arms defensively.

“Have you ever tried finding your own personality instead of copying, I don’t know, Marcus Burnett from Bad Boys?” I shot back, trying to seem as confident as he did.

Maddox looked taken aback for a moment, and then he laughed.

“The kitten has claws after all,” he said, grinning at me. “How the hell do you know who Marcus Burnett is, Esme Taylor? Or don’t I want to know?”

"Okay, can you just go away? Stop being such an idiot, Maddox. I know you're trying to wind me up - it's what the boys do to Lavinia."

"No, I'm not," he said, still smiling, "I just don't understand how you're so happy being such a good girl." He stood up, nudging Harley.

"Huh, I'll figure something out," he said, smirking at me, and the boys left me and Melissa watching after them.

"What does her mean, he'll figure something out?"

Melissa shook her head, smiling a little.

"I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure he's just teasing, Es."

He rolled my eyes, leaning back on the chair as his words repeated in my head.

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