2. No apologies needed
I am not the prettier girl ever lived in our town or some skinny model, but I sure understand art when I see it. I know how to take my own pictures, so I posed in front of the mirror, smiling charmingly and made one with my phone. I love that my eyes are blue, but still I love it more when I make them with no colors. Just black and white photo is my favorite, which is strange considering that I paint with colors. Maybe I have to admit that I look nice when I smile.
Satisfied with my look, I considered myself ready for the new school day and went downstairs to wait in the living room for my siblings to come. I had my hair in a ponytail and light make up. I was in mood to wear my loose black “Disturbed” T-shirt and gray tight jeans.
“Good morning, Alice.” The sleepy voice of my step-brother mumbled as he was coming from the staircase.
“Good to you too, Steve.” I answered while plopping on the couch, tossing my backpack behind me as a pillow and lifting my legs up.
I started scrolling on my phone, checking what’s not really important on the social medias, and he did the same, taking his usual spot on the lounging chair. This is pretty much the amount of talking we do. We are not close and do not like to stay together for long. If we do, we start yelling and pushing each other.
He sure looks like a star athlete, and kind of is, considering his many medals from swimming competitions. He is a typical jock. Perfect body, stylish messy blond hair and shallow thinking.
Our father divorced his first wife, robbed her from her two twin children, and then married my mother, but she left him, so I guess he has no luck with women. And yeah, you get that right! Twin children. Steve is my step-brother, but I have a step-sister too. She doesn’t like me either and its mutual. Let’s just say that we stay away from each others’s way so we can coexist without giving a heart attack to our father.
“Are you two ready?” Father asked, announcing his presence.
I didn’t have to look up to know that he is wearing a suit on his tall body and his black shoes are polished until they start functioning like a mirror. His hair is always cut so short, it’s like he is bald. I don’t know why he does that last thing. It’s somehow strange to show up in the court room, looking like the mafia’s boss with wide shoulders and confident expression. He is a lawyer, amazing at his job.
My father got to keep all of his children because of the connections he has and the law...you see he is very rich lawyer for a reason. We live in a giant house, and we have our own well polished brand-new cars since the day we turned 16. All three of us. I am not a girl, who is into sharingwith her father, but we get along just fine, I guess. He is doing his thing, I mine, and he is equally fair to us.
Mother is not involved much in my existence. She lives not in other state, but in other continent, so I don’t see her much. It’s not from a lack of ways to do it, though. I try not to think about that.
“We sure are, but princess Tina is late like always.” Steven complained. Then he cuddled in his leather jacket, using it like a blanket and started fake snoring.
“Tinaaa.” Father yelled towards the stairs, letting a sign out. “Very funny, Steven.”
“Coming, dad.” Her childish voice yelled back and the sound of thin heels started announcing her steps on the corridor upstairs.
“I am going to wait in the car.” I said, standing up and picking my backpack.
Accidentally, sleepy me dropped it on my snickers and a few papers with sketched ideas for painting the walls spilled near my fathers’s feet. I have to start zipping this thing.
“What is that?” He asked and leaned to help me pick them up.
“It’s for a school project I am participating in.” I simply explained.
“Okay, that’s my cue.” Steven said and started for the door. “I am driving us, dad.”
“What project?” Father asked, ignoring my brother’s statement.
He can say whatever he likes, but dad will not let him drive his car. Today we are carpooling with dad instead of using our own cars, because he wanted to drive us to school like a normal family and take us back home after. He said that we are too separated all the time, and we have to start acting like a family. Yeah, good luck with that.
“They are repainting the walls at the gym building and I will be part of it. Some kids, hopefully able to paint and I will be responsible for what will be on those walls for years.” I explained and stretched my hand, waiting for him to give me the paper he was looking at.
“That’s nice. Teaching you all to do some real labor, huh?” He teased and then laughed when he saw the look at my face.
“For a minute there, I thought you are serious, dad.” I nervously laughed too. “Painting is never work for me. It’s expressing myself using art as a tool.”
“I know, I know. I am proud of you, no matter what you decide to place on those old walls.” He said and for a moment I thought that he might actually hug me. It’s awkward, we never do such things. We are not that close.
“Thanks.” I said, not knowing what else is there to tell, and we both stared at the staircase until Tina finally used them, making noise with her heels.
“About time!” I and dad both said.
“Oh, shut it!” She hissed through her teeth and went outside.
You know that walking when a Barby clone is in a hurry with tall shoes? Yeah, the same one - like a duck. I laughed behind her and followed out.
I have no spare understanding for her. She is mostly mean, like I-will-make-you-pay-by-really-embarrassing-you-in-front-of-everyone-if-you-touch-my-things kind of mean. She cares about her look and fashion too much. Practically obsessed. Hers and Steven’s hair are naturally so blonde, it sometimes looks like white. Her perfect makeup and cute face are very popular at school. That popular that makes students ask themselves “How the Hell is Alice part of this family?” when they see us together in the hall.
Finally, we arrived at school parking lot and I jumped from the car like it was on fire. Twins did the same and we all went our ways. Tina towards her pack of hyenas and Steven with his horny jock group.
“Bye, dad.” I was the only one to say something to our driver.
“Bye, Alice.” He smiled at me and added on a high tone so I could hear him”You should use that... the one with the crows and the girl.”
I waved to him and hurried inside to avoid people, watching me as my dad yelled to me. It was a compliment yelling, but it drew attention. He was talking about the sketch he helped me pick up at home. I smiled to myself and deep in thought went for my first class. Remembering the fact that I will start my work on the project after school, I sended a message to my dad, letting him know that he can’t pick me up with the twins.
The teacher was rambling some history lesson as the door opened and dean Webster walked in with him... Alex Band version 2.0. Of course, he will be at some of my classes. No biggie, I will just ignore him like I do with most people.
He was introduced to the starstruck students and history teacher, I must add, and placed to sit across from me on the other last desk, near the window. When the lesson resumed, I mentally went in the gym building and planned what can I paint. I made a few scratches on the last page of my notebook when a ball of paper hit me on the hand.
Annoyed, I turned to the source to find the new popular boy in school, grinning at me. What? That is totally different from what I saw yesterday. I mouthed “What?” and lifted my shoulders.
“Sorry.” He said with a smile and I wondered if I get it right. His attitude wasn’t like that at all! Maybe he has a twin brother or really is some kind of clone of Alex Band. I lifted my shoulders again, not sure if I hear right or even if I did, it doesn’t really matter. He is in my ignore list with every living person until he become someone in my life like Linda did.
I turned around to what I was doing, and a minute later another paper ball hit me, this time on my head. What was his problem?!
“What?” I whispered angrily, and he said “I’m sorry” with sad expression.
“Okay.” I answered.
What does he want me to say back to his apology? To get up and hug in front of everyone? He shook his head and pointed to the paper ball and fake opened it to let me know what he wants me to do. I raised my eyebrows, but did what he said and unfolded the wrinkled paper. Inside with the most unreadable handwriting I saw the words “I am sorry for how we met. I am not like that, I promise. Let me make it up to you.” I turned with surprised face to him, not knowing what to say.
“Please.” He whispered and I signed.
With red coloring pen, I wrote under his words “How? And why should you make it up to me at all?” Then I tossed it back and he caught it. His smile grew as he was reading, and he wrote something again. This was fun, I have to admit. I wish Linda was here too.
Ones I had the paper back, I read “Let’s meet properly. You know, start from the beginning. And I want to show you that I am not mean ass.” A smile was covering my face as I turned to him and nodded positively. I can give him a chance. It’s nothing more, but a chance.
He seemed so cheerful today, grinning again at my response. I started painting again when a thirth ball hit my pen. Fast I turned to him with my hands up in question and mouthed “What?” He made that same moves to show me he wrote to me again and I fast opened it to read “You have the most charming smile, you know. “Automatically, I placed a hand over my lips, feeling the heat invading my cheeks.
I let a small giggle escape my control, and he also laughed, but we were not quiet enough, because Mr. Rogers spotted us.
“I see you are getting to know each other. Making new friends, Mr. Black?” the teacher said, approaching us.
When he was close enough, he saw the wrinkled papers around me and his furry eyebrows narrowed. It was too late to hide them now. He turned his back to me to look at the new student.
“Don’t think that I don’t know your story, boy. I might be seeing you for the first time, but I know why you are here.” He scolded and the room became so silent, I could hear myself blink. “Detention is what will show you that here is not a place where you have special treatment, Mr. Black... you too Miss Stevens.”
And with that, I got my first detention ever! What Mr. Rogers didn’t know is that I was voluntarily going to that detention, because you see... the project was starting after school today and the punished kids were going straight to the gym halls with me.