had been awake long before his father came knocking on his bedroom. After Mr. Fairman rapped on the door three times, he pushed down the handle, entering.
Aaron was lounging on his bed, head resting on his hands as his elbows jutting outwards, creating a triangle on either side. He spared his father a quick glance, before exhaling deeply.
“Good morning kiddo,” he greeted, offering his son a warm smile. His father was a 6′2 white man, who was surprisingly fit for his age. He had a small bald spot near the back of his head, his brown and grey hair was slicked back by his hand, revealing his forehead. He was wearing black shorts, leg compressors, and a pair of sneakers.
“Morning,” Aaron replied with a rasp, having not spoken since falling asleep the night before. He was in a ten-by-fifteen-foot room with a desk tucked into one corner, perpendicular to his full-sized bed. The walls were a sky blue color, and the painted white closet door was open ajar, revealing the pile of dirty clothes on the floor.
“You should do laundry when you get home,” his father advised, making the corner of Aaron’s mouth turn upward. “There’s breakfast downstairs, I just came back from my run so I picked up food from the diner,” he explained.
“Ah, that’s why you smell so bad,” Aaron teased. His dad clutched his shirt, stepping back.
“You mustn’t hurt your old man’s heart, for it is feeble.” Aaron rolled his eyes at his father’s dramatic display. “You’d better come down quick, or Daniel will eat all of the home fries.” Those words forced Aaron to jump out of bed, closing the door so he could change into his school uniform.
The uniform for his school, Bluff Lake Academy, was a white button-down shirt and khakis. A blue sweater-vest with a golden-colored emblem was mandatory for entering the school. The emblem was a rectangle with a rounded bottom, a large “B” in the center.
Aaron trudged down the stairs, each footfall making a loud thump. When he reached the bottom, he saw his mother, and his younger sister, Gabby, sitting at the table.
Mrs. Fairman was a petite woman, with reddish hair tied into a tight bun on her head, a few wisps of grey and brown tickling her neck. She was wearing a faded red lipstick and her cheeks were dusted with a light blush. She was wearing a black business skirt and blazer, a white shirt underneath.
Gabby was wearing a blue skirt to match her sweater, her crisp button-down cuffed several times since it was a bit too long for her arms. Her mousy brown tresses were tied up into two ponytails with a few colorful hair clips keeping the stray hairs in place. She fiddled with her collar as she happily chewed a chocolate-chip pancake drenched in maple syrup and whipped cream.
“Good morning Aaron.” his mother said, sliding a white plate towards him. There was a pile of home fries and an omelet, flecks of red and green in the egg indicating vegetables. As he started digging in, someone came down, and it was his father who had just showered and was wearing a brown suit.
“Daniel isn’t down yet?” he asked, planting a kiss on his wife’s cheek and then on his daughter’s head.
“Of course he isn’t,” Aaron replied as if the answer was obvious. Suddenly, a heavy hand ruffled his hair, making him jump. “What the-” A tall, muscular male was smirking at him. He had black hair and tanned skin with slight eyebags.
“What’d you say?” He questioned in a menacing tone.
“How are you feeling Daniel?” His mother asked him kindly. He sat next to Aaron, sighing.
“You should start waking up sooner,” his father said. “Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you should sleep in.” Daniel raised a brow.
“That’s the whole point though.” He ran his fingers through his messy locks, revealing his chocolate-colored eyes. He glanced at his brother, scowling playfully. “Ready for your senior year?” He wondered aloud. Aaron set down his fork, feeling full and satisfied with his breakfast.
“Of course I am,” he declared confidently. Daniel chuckled.
“Right, the only thing you suck at is getting a girlfriend,” he said, needling Aaron with his words.
“Don’t be mean to your brother, he will have plenty of time to nurture a love life once he gets into university,” their mother promised, standing up and grabbing her purse. “We’re off then! You sure you don’t need a ride?” She asked, looking at Aaron. He nodded, putting away his plate.
“Gabby and I can walk.”
“Alright then, see you tonight!” His father said before waving as the two parents disappeared.
||𝓑𝓵𝓾𝓯𝓯 𝓛𝓪𝓴𝓮 𝓐𝓬𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓶𝔂||
was a private school, as suggested by the name. The entrance to the old fashion looking building was a large set of dark wooden double doors, already open so students could come inside. The building itself was a concrete structure towering over the streets and casting a shadow of the nearby parking lot. It had to be five stories or so. Why one may ask? Because it hosted kids from grades seven to twelve. The building next to it was for first-graders to sixth-graders.
Aaron stepped onto the large campus, parting ways with his younger sister as she rushed to meet with her friends. The pathway had become quite crowded as the students began to shuffle into the school with reluctance. The first day of school was always filled with disappointment and excitement. Many didn’t want summer to end, whilst others were looking forward to the new year.
When Aaron entered the building, he was greeted by boisterous chatter and stampeding seventh-graders trying to get to the right classroom. As a senior, he was expected to help said students, but Aaron had no interest in assisting them. He simply brushed past them, knocking over the occasional idiot who didn’t know how to move out of the way.
Eventually, after several minutes of navigating the sea of incompetent children, Aaron reached the clubroom, sighing as he found a few others already inside. He opened his locker, shoving his gear into it and making sure none would get damaged during the day as his things were left unattended.
When he turned around he felt his shoulders grow heavier in an instant.
“Fairman!” A voice shouted into his ear. Someone had slung his arm around Aaron’s shoulders.
A boy with blond tousled hair that stopped at his jaw and brown roots flashed his teeth at Aaron. He had hazel-green eyes and long lashes. He was about as tall as Aaron, which meant he was probably 5′11 to 6 feet tall, whereas Aaron was 6′1.
His name was Willian Brown, and he was the biggest pain in the ass Aaron had to deal with, out of everyone in his school.
William was considered attractive for his fairly muscular build and charisma. He had a very charming personality, which was not something Aaron had any interest in.
He wasn’t wearing the suffocating sweater-vest, and the first few buttons of his shirt were undone and the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He was, however, wearing the slacks and dress shoes.
“How was your summer?” He asked, clearly not caring about whether he was being invasive. Aaron didn’t reply as he walked out of the clubroom, William still attached to him. “Hey~ hey~ don’t ignore me,” he whined like a three-year-old. He poked Aaron’s cheek several times before giving up.
The boys had arrived at a classroom that they happened to be sharing this year, much to Aaron’s displeasure. After shrugging off William’s meaty arm, Aaron sat down in an empty, dropping his bag on the floor. William plopped next to him, resting his cheek in his hand. Aaron glanced at him, seeing William grin.
An ear-piercing chime echoed through the halls, signaling the start of homeroom. Those who had been loitering outside were now entering the class, a mixture of annoyance and eagerness visible from their expressions. A dense perfume cloud wafted past Aaron’s nose, as a female teacher appeared from the doorway.
“Alright, in your seats everyone! My name is Ms. Toussaint, and I look forward to working with you all this year!” She declared with a fake smile.
Ms. Toussaint had olive-colored skin and dark hair in a retro-afro style. She was wearing pinkish-red lipstick and an aquamarine dress. Her black heels forced her muscular calves to flex as he walked around the room. The small pearls on her ears shimmered from the rays of sunlight beaming through the large open windows.
Aaron sighed, bored from just sitting around and listening to the new curriculum. The sound of a desk chair squeaking from the waxed floors caught Aaron’s attention, forcing him to look to his left. Sitting next to him and by the window was an Asian boy. He had scooted backward, which caused the abrupt noise. The male had bent over and started rifling through his bag, which was hanging on the back of his seat. Aaron noticed a pair of ice skates, the blades covered with a fuzzy blue seal.
That was about all the attention Aaron could offer the mysterious boy sitting next to him, as he refocused on what Ms. Toussaint was saying.
After she had finished, the students were left to their devices, many standing up and talking to others. Aaron half-expected William to try and pester him, but noticed the faux blond walk over to his other side.
“Matt!” William exclaimed excitedly. He was talking to the boy on Aaron’s left. The same one who made noise from before. The so-called “Matt” smiled up at William.
“Hi,” he replied. William pinched Matt’s cheeks, studying his face.
“Gah! You’re so cute!” Matt giggled at William’s words, shaking his head. “Oh, have you meet Aaron?” William asked, finally giving Aaron a reason to look up. Matt’s brown orbs met Aaron’s blue ones.
“Hi, I’m Matt Ahn,” he said. He looked like a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy. That bothered Aaron. Aaron didn’t answer.
“And this sack of teenage angst is Aaron Fairman!” William said, introducing the two. Aaron’s brow twitched at those words, but he stayed silent.
He was freed soon enough, as a second bell went off.
||𝓑𝓵𝓾𝓯𝓯 𝓛𝓪𝓴𝓮 𝓐𝓬𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓶𝔂||
was always something Aaron looked forward to. It had its downsides, like dealing with kids who didn’t know the first thing about the sport, or the other seniors who decided they could skip practice.
“Alright, everybody! Let’s start running!” the captain shouted, leading the group of high-schoolers around the track field. Aaron noticed almost everyone was out of breath before finishing the first lap. He clicked his tongue in disapproval.
If you weren’t going to work over the summer, you shouldn’t be in the club.
That’s what he thought, at least.
After several minutes of running and stretching, everyone headed to the locker rooms to change.
Aaron pulled off his shirt, grabbing his gear starting to pull it on. William was right next to him, reaching into his locker for his whites.* Someone whipped William with a shirt, making the boy jump and turn around.
“Hey!” He yelled with a grin. “Watch it!”
“Sorry, couldn’t help myself~” a boy replied, winking flirtatiously. The room erupted with laughter, everyone changing and messing around. Aaron did not partake. He finished getting dressed, slamming his locker shut, and exiting the space.
When he got to the club room, he noticed only a few others were outside, talking amongst each other. Again he clicked his tongue with disappointment.
No one was taking this seriously. They were all going to fail, in his eyes.
“Aaron,” someone said. The boy spun around, seeing his captain.
Jillian Miller was also a senior at Bluff Lake Academy and shared many classes with Aaron in the past. She was fair-skinned and about 5′6, with strawberry blonde hair. She had a few freckles scattered over her nose and cheeks and a pair of light brown eyes.
“Could you work with the new kids?” She asked with a pleading expression.
“Yeah,” Aaron spoke as he gritted his teeth. He watched as the other boys emerged from the locker room, still joking around. A few began to quiet down or trail of when they met his icy gaze.
No one liked Aaron. He didn’t like anyone either, so it worked out for the most part.
“Alright, guys!” Jillian said, clapping her hands and earning the attention of the boys and girls. “Pair up, we’re going to do some drills! All of the new fencers, you’ll be working with Aaron, over here!” She gestured towards Aaron, then pointed to the other side of the room. Aaron saw a group of kids following him as he walked away, making him let out another long sigh.
After three hours of teaching morons how to hold an épée, the practice had ended.
Aaron turned the shower handle, a cold jet spraying onto his back. As the water began to heat up, he ran his fingers through his hair, tasting salt from the sweat as the water washed over him. He closed his eyes, breathing from his mouth. He could hear the other guys talking to each other as they showered.
“Pass me the bottle!” One demanded.
“No, get your own!” A second shouted.
“So fickle,” the first muttered teasingly.
“He’s right,” a third chimed in.
“Shut up!” The second ordered, now annoyed.
“Did you guys see how pissed Fairman looked?” The third asked. Aaron’s eyes opened when he heard that.
“Dude I know... he got stuck with the kids,” the first replied. Several others started laughing.
“Man, he deserves it though, he’s such a dick,” the third pointed out.
“Probably has a stick up his ass,” the second boy said, sounding almost serious.
“Pffft.” The three chuckled amongst each other.
One by one, the showers began to turn off, as students changed back into regular clothes and headed out for the day.
Aaron waited until everyone was gone, before twisting the knob, the water thinning into a trickle. Droplets landed on his shoulders, sliding down his skin, as he grabbed a towel, wrapping his waist. Grabbing his clothes and changing, he shouldered his backpack and turned off the lights, locking the door.
He dropped the key off, before leaving the building, the afternoon heat drying his hair up.
His phone chimed, so he fished it out of his pocket, checking the screen.
|| Mom: Can you pick up your sister... ||
Aaron sighed, swiping the message, and replied with a simple, “Yes.”
Gabriela, or Gabby Fairman, was the youngest of the Fairman siblings. She was twelve and had recently taken a liking to ice-skating. Of course, it was still summertime, so only indoor rinks were an option. There happened to be one on campus for the hockey and curling teams to use.
Aaron walked towards the rink, pushing open the heavy doors. It was dark, only the sheet of ice was illuminated by ceiling lights. There were only a few people skating, maybe six or seven. His sister was amongst them, hold hands with a taller girl, who was wearing black leggings and a black running sweater that hugged her body tightly.
Aaron sat down on the bleachers, watching his sister keep balancing as she awkwardly moved across the ice. She bent her knees and had her toes facing inward, butt stuck out and arms extended forward as she tried to skate. Aaron glanced at the other skaters, watching them struggle as well.
Eventually, his sister spotted him and waved with a grin on her face. He waved back and got a clear view of her instructor’s face.
She was a physically fit girl with lean muscle. Her face was a little round, and her dirty blonde hair had pink highlights on the tips. She held onto Gabby’s hand, gliding over to the exit. She helped Gabby onto the foamy floor, then followed after.
“Are you Aaron?” She asked with a sweet, smooth voice.
“Gabby talks about you and Daniel all the time,” she explained while giving him a bright smile. “I’m Laura.”
“I see.” Aaron looked at his sister, who was looking back at the rink.
“Well, I have to get back, do you know how to take of skates?” She questioned.
“It’s just laces, right?” Aaron clarified.
“Yep! Nice meeting you! See you tomorrow Gabby.”
“Bye,” Aaron said not unkindly. Gabby sat down, and Aaron shifted himself so he was crouching in front of her. He grabbed on leg and placed the blade of the shoe on his knee, untying the knot. As he did so, he noticed his sister was still looking at the ice. A loud beeping noise made him look over his shoulder, as a machine slowly rolled over the rink. A Zamboni.
In the corner, a group of ten people was walking in a single file line, looking fairly serious. He squinted when he recognized a face.
The boy that sat next to him in homeroom.
What was his name? Aaron wondered, trying to remember. Matt?
Sure enough, it was Matt Ahn, a bag slung over his shoulder, and his skates in his hand. The crowd disappeared on the other side, and the Zamboni backed up. The ice looked wet, shimmering like water.
Aaron went back to taking off Gabby’s skates when she tapped his shoulder while pointing behind him.
“Look! They’re skating!” She exclaimed. The group from before had begun skate, warming up, and stretching. They did laps around the edge and splits against the boards since the plastic had been taken down. While there were quite a few, Aaron’s eyes kept drifting back to Matt.
The male was focused, nothing like his frivolous self at school. After a few minutes, he started talking to someone, before skating to the others side. The person he talked to watched him as he jumped up into the air, and landed whilst spinning
That must be dizzying.
“Can we go now?” Gabby asked.
“Huh? Oh, yeah.”
As the two were about to leave, a voice called out.
“Hold the door!” Laura pleaded as she rushed over. Aaron kept it open as she walked out, thank him.
The three walked in silence, all appearing to be heading in the same direction. Aaron could feel Laura glancing at him, clearly trying to start a conversation, but unsure how to.
“How long have you been skating?” Aaron asked, breaking the ice with reluctance.
“Six years! Since I was eleven,” she replied, looking relieved. “I started teaching kids like your sister about a year-and-a-half-ago, though.” The two grew quiet again. Clearly, Gabby couldn't stand the pauses, since she started telling Laura about Aaron.
“Aaron has been fencing for eleven years!” She boasted with a tone of pride.
“Really?” Laura asked, looking at Aaron for confirmation since little kids were known for exaggerating.
“Yeah, this will be my eighth year competing,” he declared, still managing to sound modest.
“Impressive,” she praised, her voice going up half an octave.
“That’s why he has so many muscles!” Gabby explained, making Laura laugh.
Before long, they had arrived in front of the Fairman household. The door opened, Mrs. Fairman coming into view.
“Mama!” Gabby said, running to her mother and hugging her. The woman laughed, patted Gabby’s head. His mother looked towards the girl beside him. She nodded towards Laura, who appeared to be a bit nervous.
“Laura, darling! Great to see you again!” His mother said.
“You too, Mrs. Fairman,” Laura replied.
“Would you like to stay for dinner?” She offered. Laura smiled, shocked by the question.
“Oh, I would love to, but I actually have to get home,” she explained. Aaron met his mother’s eyes. While she was completely silent, he groaned internally, knowing exactly what she was conveying.
“I’ll walk you,” Aaron said, surprising Laura.
“Oh, that’s alright-” she started to decline.
“Please, let me,” Aaron said gently. Laura nodded, and the two ambled down the street.
Laura had her hands clasped in front of her as the two walked at a slow pace. Aaron rubbed his neck, then shoved his hands into his pockets.
“So, do you pick up your sister often?” She asked, already knowing the answer.
“No, but I plan to do it more in the future,” Aaron replied, looking at Laura blankly. She smiled to herself after hearing those words.
“So, you go to Bluff Lake Academy?”
“Yeah, do you?” Aaron questioned without really caring for an answer.
“Yes, but I’m a Junior,” she said, which explained why Aaron had never seen her before.
“I’m a Senior,” Aaron said.
Again, it had grown awkward.
But then, out of nowhere,
“I think you’re cute,” Laura blurted out, cheeks turning a bit pink. Aaron raised an eyebrow, looking at her.
“Thanks... I think you’re pretty cute too,” he returned, digging himself into a hole.
“Uh-ah-thank-thank you!” Laura stammered, tucking a strand of loose hair behind her ear. She fidgeted with her fingers nervously.
Does she like me? He wondered. Should I ask her out then?
Aaron had only dated a few girls during his first years of high school. His last girlfriend broke up with him at the end of his Junior year, but he didn’t feel upset or relieved when it happened. He was not someone who craved attention like most hormonal teenagers. He liked affection to a certain degree, sure, and everyone has sexual urges, but it was never necessary for him to “survive” his everyday life.
Of course, he wouldn’t mind having a girlfriend again.
“This is me,” Laura said, pointing to a white-painted house. Aaron stopped in front of the steps, watching her climb up to the landing. She turned back, running her fingers through her hair anxiously, and changing her parting. “Thanks for dropping me off.” She gave him a look of appreciation.
“Hey,” Aaron said in a deep voice, looking at her with a calm expression. “Want to go on a date sometime?” He asked bluntly, making Laura cough.
“Ah-um-y-yeah! Sure.” Aaron held out his palm, asking for her phone silently. She placed it in his hand, and he added a new contact, typing his number into the device. He handed it back, looking into her eyes.
“Text me when you’re free,” he ordered.
“Yeah, I will!” She promised. Aaron nodded, backing up.
“See you around,” he said, bidding her adieu.