The painful secret (1)

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Chapter two

He found Jason in the hall, hugging his girlfriend, Alice, before she departed for her homeroom. Brian strode over to him, passing, and ignoring, the girls rushing up to him and giggling. To him, this was just plain annoying. If they weren't girls, there was no doubt in his mind that he would scare them off with a hard punch to the face.

"Yo, Brian," Jason exclaimed, noticing his raven-haired friend approaching. "How was your first day?"

Brian shrugged and they headed towards their homerooms.

Jason intertwined his hands behind his head. "You're妁uite popular," he pointed out, his azul eyes scanning the numerous on lookers.

"It's annoying," he spat.

The blonde blinked. "You kiddin'? You can have any chick here! They're practically throwing themselves at you! How is that annoying?"

"Brian! Brian!" Lydia came rushing up to him, batting her eye lashes and giggling. She completely ignored Jason. "Let's walk to homeroom together!" Hooking her arm through his, she went to take a step, but was baffled when he pulled away from her.

Brian just glanced at the irate female before turning to his friend. "That's why," he replied simply. He pushed past Lydia, leaving Jason behind, and headed down the hall, entering his homeroom only moments later.

A sigh of relief escaped him. He absolutely abhorred the numerous students who had been following and hanging on him since yesterday. Ino was at the top of that list. She was relentless and he just about had enough. It was like this in his old school too, but once everyone got a taste of his cold attitude, they would eventually learn to leave him alone.

Brian's obsidian eyes scanned over the empty desks, only finding that one was occupied in the far corner.

It was Allison Lia.

She didn't even notice him for she was sketching. In fact, now that he thought of it, she was the only one who hadn't taken notice of him. Not that he minded. The red-haired girl was like a breath of fresh air to him. It was rare to find a student, especially a female student, that wouldn't prod him with questions or try to flirt.

And he wasn't about to miss the opportunity to take the seat next to her again.

It was then that Allison noticed him and, through an opening in her veil of red hair, Brian caught her green eyes flick towards him for only a second. Then, she continued drawing again. He also noticed her attire that day; a baggy, long-sleeved white shirt and khaki cargos, also baggy. It was a stifling hot day and he wondered what made her dress in such heavy clothing.

"Um"

Brian sighed when her soft voice entered his ears. Maybe he was wrong and she was just like everyone else in the school. He didn't acknowledge her and just continued looking forward, crossing his arms.

There was a slight pause. "There aren't assigned seats," she finally said.

What an odd statement. He arched a questioning eyebrow at her. "Excuse me?" he replied, somewhat irritated.

"Sorr存orry," she said, stumbling on her words. "I just wanted to let you know存-so that you don't think you have to sit there just because you did yesterday"

Maybe she didn't want him sitting there because of all the students that huddled around him yesterday. Brian recalled her getting up and moving to another seat the previous day. She seemed to hate crowds just as much as he did. "Fine, I'll move," he said, but wasn't doing it for her benefit.

"You don't have to," she said quickly. "It's just that匈'm not used to people wanting to sit好ext to me," Allison explained. Then, she turned back to her drawing, letting her hair cover her face again.

Her voice quieted towards the end of her statement, but he caught it. She was definitely introverted and shy. He guessed people saw her as odd or strange because of it and that's why she wasn't expecting him to sit next to her. As he watched her fidget under his gaze and jump at every little sound, he could see why people would find her安eird.

But, he sensed, there was more to it. He knew she wasn't just weird. She was hiding something. He smirked at his analysis of her and accredited it to his two physiotherapists of parents. They had been pulling shit like this on him all his life and he'd be damned to start doing it himself. It was always hard for him to get away with anything, which is one reason why he started to keep to himself more. It worked on his parents and they finally learned to just stop their analyses on him.

The bell rang and students started filtering into the class. Mr. Jeffrey wasn't there yet and that was like a free pass for all of the students to hover around his desk again. Brian bit his lip, stopping himself from swearing at them at the top of his lungs.

Once again, Allison packed up her things and moved to another desk.

~~~~

Homeroom played over and over in Allison's mind as she took down notes from the board in her English class. She must have sounded like a freak when she told him that no one liked to sit next to her. She was more than happy to move to another chair after that little confession.

Frowning, she tried to concentrate on her teacher, Mrs. Benley. She was constantly projecting a tough demeanor, if only to earn the respect of her students, and Allison wanted nothing to do with the blonde woman's wrath if she caught her daydreaming in class. The red-haired girl shivered at the thought. So she shook the morning's embarrassing events from her mind and continued listening to her teacher recite lines from Shakespeare until the bell rang.

~~~~

It was her favorite class, but ever since
Brian Lake arrived and rattled her chains, art class became her most dreaded subject. Not only did her cheeks flare with color whenever she looked at him, but the room seemed to be boiling hot. It had to be the fact that she wore a long-sleeved shirt and cargos and not because of the raven-haired boy on the opposite side of the room. It couldn't be.

Rolling up her sleeves, careful not to reveal any bruises, Allison pulled out her sketchbook and a pencil from her bag and continued working on the project. She already knew what angle she wanted to do the still life from. Her favorite image was of a Cherry Blossom Tree branch with buds that hadn't quite bloomed yet. It rested on the bottom corner of an ornate picture frame.

Also in her image were three black marbles, scattered around the base of the frame. It was the first sketch she had done and knew it would be her final composition too. But Jeffrey insisted that everyone do a few so that they options to choose from地nd he was also grading them on their sketches tomorrow; the end of the week.

"Agh! This is so boring," Jason complained, throwing his pencil down. "Why do we have to do this Mr. Jeffrey?"

Jeffrey lowered his book and lazily looked at the blonde boy. "Because," was his only answer.

"Jason," Alice started, retrieving her boyfriend's pencil with a slight blush on her cheeks. "Please just do your work. You're already in trouble with a couple of your other classes because you don't do anything." Her voice was quiet, hoping to draw that attention away from them.

He sighed, taking his pencil and nodding to his girlfriend. "Sorry, Alice." He apologized, but now he just tapped his pencil on his desk, still unable to become interested in the project.

Brian was becoming annoyed at his friends tapping. "Stop," he practically demanded. "You're annoying me."

Jason raised an eyebrow at him. "It's not my fault this project is lame. It's just a pile of crap that Jeffrey threw together. The only reason we are doing this is so that he can read his damn book."

The accused looked up from his said book. "This is a warning, Jason. Keep talking and you'll end up at the principle's office地gain."

Allison saw Jason grumble something under his breath before scribbling on his paper. She wouldn't be surprised if he hadn't completed a single drawing.

Shaking her head, Allison wondered how Alice put up with him. She also wondered how Jason and Brian ever became friends. Their personalities were as different as cats and dogs. Then again, sometimes it was better that way. It sure made things interesting.

She drew her eyes away from the group and continued working until the end of class. To her surprise, she was able to keep her attention completely on the still life without even glancing across the room at a certain dark-haired student.

Finally, when the last bell of the day rang, Jeffrey dismissed everyone. Allison gathered up her supplies and headed for the door. As she passed Brian's empty desk, she noticed that he left a book under his chair. After debating over whether she should leave it bring it too him, she quickly grabbed it and hurried down the hall in the direction he went. She hoped he didn't leave yet.

Thankfully, he had stopped at Jason's locker. Allison walked over to them, cautiously, suddenly feeling really nervous. "Um"

The two boys turned to her at the sound of her voice. When she didn't say anything at first, Jason raised a blonde eyebrow. "What is it?" he asked loudly.

Allison swallowed heavily, feeling their gazes on her. She held out Brian's book. She was painfully aware of the glares she was receiving. Their gazes dug into her back like knives. "You奸eft this in the art room," she said softly, keeping her eyes glued to the tiled floor. "I didn't want you to奸eave without it" Seconds seemed to turn to minutes in the time it took for Brian to reclaim his book. When she felt the weight of the hardback leave her hands, Allison bowed slightly and disappeared into the crowd of students.

Brian watched her go with curious eyes. The way she acted was odd to him. She was jittery and nervous and he was sure she wasn't another giddy girl who had a crush on him. No. She was acting like she was afraid of them. He turned to his friend. "That was Allison Lia right?" he asked, pushing through the female groupies around them.

Alice emerged from the crowd and Jason slunk an arm around her shoulders. "Yeah," the blonde finally replied. "She's weird, isn't she?"

"Jason," Alice scolded. "Don't be mean."

"I'm not being mean, A. It's the truth after all," he said, scratching the back of his head. "The girl barely speaks and she is always fidgeting and stuff. She's weird."

"Do you know why?" Brian asked, exiting through the school's doors with Jason and Alice in tow.

The blonde sent a questioning look towards the dark-haired boy. "It's not like you to be interested, especially in someone like her."

Brian shrugged, but didn't reply.

"O-h," the blonde started, nudging Brian in the arm. "You like her don't you? But, she is so weird," he repeated again. "I don't get why you would like her. There are a ton of other girls who are far better looking and normal. I could set you up with one of them instead. When we go to the coffee house today-"

He frowned and glared at his friend. "Get a life, Jason and I don't like her." With that, Brian walked away and got into his ebony hybrid. A sigh escaped him. He didn't like her, he knew that. He wasn't fond of relationships at all actually. He favored one night stands and no attachment the next day. Never had he even thought about a girl who he wanted to have a relationship with. Hell, he never had a girl intrigue him like Allison had.

Grunting the red-haired girl out of his mind, he put his car in reverse and left his parking spot. He didn't care about the shrieking girls who had been hovering around his car and sped off.
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