1. The first day
She got dressed at a decent pace and finished her breakfast in record time. Her mom was already at work for the day. Her dad was off somewhere with his new beau, probably enjoying some tropical island getaway.
Once she cleared the table of her food, Caroline headed out to her car and drove off to school, feeling only slightly anxious for the day ahead. Her ensemble was perfect, like always.
Her silver Infiniti pulled into the schools parking lot with fifteen minutes to spare before she had to really start thinking about school stuff. Time to get back into the old routine.
Caroline had seen them over the summer, but they had been busy the last couple of weeks before school started. All of them trying to get in some last minute time with their families.
"Hey guys!" Caroline squealed as she joined them, taking a seat in between Claire and Matt.
"Hey Care!" They all said, practically in unison.
"So…someone tell me we have some classes together. I can't stand the thought of spending my senior year without you guys in my class!" Caroline smiled and they all talked about their schedules for the next ten minutes.
At the end of breakfast, the bell rang and they all knew it was time to head to the gymnasium.
The first bunch of people she noticed was the cheerleaders. Well, she noticed the trio that led the pack for the most part. There was Ashley, the head bitch, and then her minions, Jules and Vicki, who followed closely beside her.
Then there was the football team. The seniors on the team were in the assembly as well, but mostly she thought it was just to intimidate the freshmen.
As Caroline and her friends entered the gym, the group went their separate ways. The girls went to the very top of the bleachers like they always did for assemblies.
Liam was dressed in his usual black attire, sporting sunglasses even though they were indoors. She was sure he would be skipping out on the assembly. The rules weren't something he usually followed.
Caroline noticed that she had been staring a second too long, and caught him glance in her direction. She quickly shot her head forward to avoid looking at him any longer. To keep herself distracted, she started talking to Claire and Megan until the assembly started.
"I'm so glad this is our last welcome assembly. I hate these things." Caroline said in a bored tone.
"Agreed." Megan and Claire stated in an equally bored tone.
It was, thankfully, over pretty quick. The cheerleaders had started the school off with some routine they were going to use at the first football game. Then the seniors were introduced, followed by the principal giving his speech on the school rules. Once they dismissed, she headed off to her classes. Hopefully they would go by quickly too. She wasn't really interested in learning all about algebra.
As the group entered the lunchroom, it wasn't long before the first fight of the school year broke out. They were standing in line when Caroline witnessed the scene.
"Watch where you're going, Jefferson." Nick spat.
Liam stopped where he was and turned around to face Nick. Under those sunglasses, she was sure that those blue eyes had a fierce glare going for her jerk of an ex. After about a few more seconds of intense staring, they both went for each other. Both were throwing punches left and right. When it looked like Liam was about to get the upper hand, Mason jumped in. After a couple more minutes, even Edward jumped in! He was only trying to pull Liam out of the fight though.
The fight went on for about five, very long, minutes. Finally, the principal and a couple teachers rushed in. The teachers went for Mason and Nick, while the principal called for order.
"Jefferson, Baxton , Evans and Baxton! To my office, now!" Principal Anderson shouted.
Both Baxton boys stomped off to the principal's office, while Edward and Liam walked in silence together out of the lunchroom. The teachers and the principal were close behind.
"Wow, I can't believe Nick would just lash out like that. I know Liam isn't the best of students, but damn he didn't deserve that." Matt said, looking a little confused as to why his teammate would do such a thing. He always did try seeing the best in people, even if they didn't deserve it. She admired it most of the time. Caroline knew her ex though.
"It's Nick…I'm not that surprised." Caroline said coolly.
As they headed to their table, Caroline saw something on the ground. She realized that they were Liam's sunglasses. Surprisingly, they weren't broken. She could see a little crack at the top, but she figured they were made of steel or something. Before anyone could see, she quickly picked the glasses up and put them in her purse. She would be sure to return those to him later.
"So guys, what are we doing after school?" Claire asked.
"It'll have to be something without me. I've got practice you guys, remember?" Matt said, a grin playing at his lips.
"Oh right. I forget you're actually on the same team as that group of Neanderthals." Megan stated.
"Well, we aren't all Neanderthals, now are we?" said a smooth voice from behind.
Caroline looked up as Derek came up to their table. How did they not hear him approach? She noticed that he stole a quick glance at Claire before turning to Matt.
"I was just going to remind you about practice this afternoon and that we were going to stay a little longer to discuss plays for the game this Friday." He said.
"Thanks man, I had forgotten we were staying longer for the game plans." Matt chimed, a frown on his face for having forgot.
"It's just the seniors discussing though," Derek stated, "So if you want, your girls are more than welcome to sit on the bleachers and stick around. As long as they pinky promise not to go babbling about our plan." He said, a smile playing at his lips.
"Claire Dove! Derek Evans was just stealing glances your way." She giggled. Claire hadn't really been lucky in the guy department. If Derek could manage to not be an ass to her, Caroline could see the two of them together.
"Uh huh. Sure he was." Claire rolled her eyes, smiling all the while. She hadn't missed his wink though.
"Anyways…you guys are more than welcome to come and watch. We could do something after practice if there is time." Matt said, a little happy that there might be a chance he could spend some time with his friends.
"Sounds like it would be fun!" Megan said enthusiastically. Caroline narrowed her eyes at Megan. The girl was being so obvious around him.
"Sure, why not. I'll be there too." Claire chimed in. She would just keep quiet about the fact that she was only interested in going because of what Caroline said about Derek earlier.
"Ok, ok, I'll go too. I have to stop by my car first and drop my books off. I'll meet you guys at the bleachers." Caroline said, a wide grin spread across her face.
The final school bell for the day rang and she waved a farewell to Megan and Claire. She would see them soon, but she still needed to drop her books off. The sun was still shining pretty brightly, and kids were chattering all around her.
As she was heading down the stairs outside, she glanced toward a shady spot near the wall. A large tree stood near the school, and sitting under the tree was a lonely looking Liam.
"Hi." She said, giving a small smile so this wasn't totally awkward. She threw in a small wave. Caroline wasn't entirely sure how to go about talking to him. He seemed too lonely not to say something though.
"Hello." He spoke reluctantly in his British accent, like he wasn't interested in company. Liam never even looked up at her. What could she possibly want with him? Hadn't his day been bad enough?
Well this was fun. Caroline gathered up what courage she had left and bent down on her knees, seeing as it was difficult to sit with her dress. She rummaged around in her purse and pulled out the glasses. She looked at them one last time before handing them to Liam.
"I found these in the lunchroom…I figured you would want them back." She bit her lower lip, not sure how to continue.
Liam finally looked at her. He watched her for a minute before slowly reaching for the glasses. He played with them for a bit until he decided to speak. "Thank you…um…" He didn't actually know her name.
She smiled. "Caroline. You're Liam, right?" Of course she knew who he was. Everyone knew him.
"Yea. The one and only." He scoffed. His reputation obviously preceded him. Great. A girl finally talks to him and she sees him just like everyone else did. Was he really expecting anything different?
Caroline bit her lower lip again before digging around her purse again. It was kind of like Mary Poppins's bag. It held everything you could possibly need. She grabbed a handkerchief and walked quickly over to a nearby water fountain and wet it just a little. When she came back to Liam, she held up her hand, wanting to help with his cuts.
Liam looked at her for what seemed like the longest time. She wanted to help him? Even the nurses preferred helping Nick and Mason to him. It was the reason he still had some dried blood on him and his bruises looked as bad as they did at lunch.
It hurt a little when she dabbed at the gashes on his face. He winced as she touched the cut above his left eyebrow.
When she finished, she stopped and looked at him for just a little longer than she should have. Caroline smiled shyly and put the dirty handkerchief back in her purse. While the blood was now gone, it wouldn't help his bruises.
"You know…I'm sure there is some first aid near the football field. I bet there would be an icepack there." She gave a small smile, knowing that it would probably be the last place he wanted to be.
"I don't think I would be very welcome there if someone saw me hanging around." Liam gave a tight-lipped smile. He wasn't interested in seeing Nick and Mason again.
"You don't have to stay there very long…just long enough for me to get you something for your bruises, and then you can go. Promise." She smiled and crossed her heart with her fingers.
Liam couldn't help but chuckle at the child like gesture. He looked at the bubbly blonde once more before realizing he probably didn't have a choice in the matter. She seemed persistent.
"Wouldn't dream of it." Caroline put her hands up in surrender. She grabbed her purse and decided she would put her books up later.
When they arrived, she dropped her stuff and headed straight to a closet she had seen Matt go into before. Just like she thought, there was a first aid kit on one of the shelves. She looked in the freezer that was also in the closet and found an icepack.
Caroline looked into the first aid kit and found some Band-Aids. She put one over his left eyebrow and one on his cheek, patting them lightly.
"Thank you Caroline…for…well, everything." He shrugged and placed the icepack on his eye, hissing a little at the pain before setting it comfortably on the bruise again.
"It was no problem at all." She smiled and grabbed her stuff from the ground. She was about to walk off when she thought of something else to say. "You know…if you ever need a friend to talk to…I'm always here. You always seem so lonely and…"
"I don't need your pity." Liam said, a chill to his tone. His walls quickly going back up before he showed too much vulnerability.
"I'm not saying this out of pity. I'm saying this because no one should have to be alone. Everyone needs someone in their life to help them through it." She smiled sadly before turning toward the bleachers. "See you around, Liam."
"Yea…see you around, Caroline." He whispered to himself. Liam slowly walked off toward his car, shaking his head to rid the image of the perky blonde from his memory.