Rubber Band

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Oliver: Foreign

"Here's a list of your classes, along with their buildings, floors and room numbers."

The plump, obnoxiously round lady behind the desk seemed to blend in with the very concept of the chair. She was sat cozily in its plum shade, her dress matching the hue almost symmetrically, so closely she became one with the cushion suffocating beneath her. Oliver was holding his breath in an effort not to laugh.

"And in case you weren't aware, we go by a certain schedule here at Laketown," She began, a smile grazing her red, utterly overpowered lips, plush and unnaturally large across her features. "You attend four classes, even or odd, every other day."

Oliver nodded, slowly beginning to grasp the concept of such a strangely different high school, "So what's today?"

"Even."

"So I go to my second period first?" Oliver clarified, clutching his schedule closer, as though it was his lifeline; which, technically, it was.

"Precisely. And then your fourth and then your sixth and then your eighth," The woman rose, her entire body jiggling just slightly, as though a vibration had fluttered across her whole figure, and then leaned forward, extending a hand to Oliver, of whom stood, patiently and politely, awaiting further directions.

"Welcome to Laketown High, Mr. Emerson."

Oliver bobbed his head, grateful for the kind welcome, and turned on the spot, heading leisurely toward the office doors. In order to divert getting lost, he glanced down at his schedule, scoping out the room and building number of his current class period.

"Pre-Calc," He sighed aloud and quietly to himself, shaking his head as he exited the room, the sound of typing and filing fading out behind him.

He peered onward, noting the difference in the hallways with no students, how eerily quiet everything seemed, how innocent and vacant, as opposed to a crowd of bickering, immature, noisy high-schoolers. Classes had already begun, and so he marched quietly toward the fourth building on the school's grounds, exiting the current construct, and trudging outside through the courtyard, admiring the green grass and decorative willow trees. Autumn was nearing, slowly and torturously, each leaf falling hesitantly to the ground, each branch sporting the metamorphosis of green to red to orange to brown. It was peaceful. Like this. Quiet and empty, though also hauntingly still.

Smiling shakily to himself, Oliver ran a tan hand through his locks of dirty blonde hair, smoothing out its floppy nature, relaxing under his own restless touch. He was anxious for the year. It would be, in its utmost entirety, different. He was a senior, he needed to look into medical collages, and scholarship opportunities, search through local and foreign universities. He had to take senior pictures, celebrate the annual graduation bash, get fitted into his cap and gown, go to prom. He wanted to make an impression, meet new people, perhaps even find someone to love.

The list was endless. And it was only just the beginning.

He chuckled to himself, temporarily hindering the stressful thoughts as he stepped forward, having arrived in front of the very door to his math class. With a deep breath and a hesitant clearing of his throat, he brought his fist down onto the blue surface, knocking patiently. Oliver dropped his eyes down to his feet, observing the flat outlook of his shoes, their navy hue, how wonderfully new they looked, until the door swung open before him, revealing a small girl, her black hair drawn up into a braid against her neck, her eyes wide and so very dark in their brown shade that they appeared black.

"Hi," He beamed at her, admiring her curvy figure, her flimsy, flowered yellow dress that was just long enough to be considered within the dress code.

"Welcome to hell," She smirked and pulled the door open further, extending the gap so that Oliver could make his way inside. He shuffled in nervously, though slightly relaxed by the strange girl's openly sarcastic nature.

"Mr. Robo!" The girl called out, making her way around Oliver and slipping into what was most likely her desk, beside a boy with thick-rimmed glasses.

Oliver lifted his gaze, peering around the classroom, observing the current situation. It seemed students were paired off into groups of two, each working alongside a partner, arguing, deducing, calculating, what looked like a whole bunch of terribly disgusting math problems.

"Ah! You must be Oliver Emerson," A voice stated to his left and he quickly turned to face the being, a tall man with a half-grown beard and thick hair, both a shade of dark brown, along with eyes of which were matching entirely.

"Yeah," Oliver nodded and smiled, extending his hand, "Yes, that's me. And you're-" He paused, slightly confused with the teacher, seeing as how the strange girl had called him an entirely different name than what was on his schedule.

"Mr. Robotskney. It's of Russian decent. Everyone just calls me Mr. Robo," he chuckled, dropping Oliver's hand reverently, "Perhaps because they find both math and I monotonous."

Oliver grinned up at his teacher, amused by the man's enthusiastic attitude, the way he held himself, standing tall in his red button-up shirt, brown slacks, and brown bow-tie - even the manner with which he spoke, open and charismatic.

"Take a seat beside Max here," Mr. Robo beamed politely, gesturing towards the thick boy and his big glasses, of whom was grinning up at Oliver like he was one of his favorite celebrities or some sort of God. "He's already finished his group work. Perhaps he can explain it to you. If you need help, I'm around here somewhere. Welcome to Pre-Calculus, Mr. Emerson," The teacher bobbed his head toward Oliver and then took off in the direction of a raised hand, eager and ready to help a student in need, like some sort of nerdy superhero.

Inhaling deeply, Oliver hoisted his backpack tighter over his shoulder, one hand gripping to the black strap, as he made his way over to the empty seat beside the ginger-headed kid, freckles blending with his complexion. With a small lift of his free hand, he waved to the boy as he slipped into his assigned seat, dropping his bag to the floor with a thump.

"Oliver, right?" The pitch of the nerdy kid's voice was slightly aggravating, but his tone was friendly and polite, so Oliver nodded his head in response. "Remember me? We were in kindergarten together!" He exclaimed, eyes wide with admiration, mouth hanging open ridiculously.

Oliver froze, swallowing at the uncomfortable pause in conversation, wracking his brain for any memory of this boy, or who he was to him. Then again, that was fucking kindergarten.

How the hell was he supposed to remember anyway?

"No, sorry," he shrugged apologetically and gazed awkwardly around the room, inwardly rolling his eyes at the inspirational poster across the wall in front of him portraying a small unicorn sat on a couch before his supposed therapist sitting in a suit stating, 'You need to believe in yourself.'

"Aw, too bad," He chuckled and extended his hand, his palm pale and littered with more freckles, "Maxwell Brown. Good to meet you. Again."

Oliver scoffed and nodded, reaching forward to accept his greeting, shaking his hand reverently, "Right. Good to meet you too."

"So! Enjoying Laketown High?"

"I've been here less than an hour."

"Well, how did you like that hour?" The boy beamed respectively, eyes flashing with intrigue.

"It's been," Oliver paused, frowning, "different."

"I hear that," Max sniggered, "I bet things have changed a bunch since you've been here."

Oliver cleared his throat, biting his lip at Maxwell's words, feeling oddly patronized, "Yeah. Yeah, they have."

Max's eyes widened a fraction as he chuckled, weary and skeptical, "For better or for worse?"

With a smile acting as a mask for the depths of his nervous expression, Oliver shrugged his shoulders and sighed, long and shaky, "I haven't decided yet."


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