Curly Headed Cutie

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Chp. 3: The Girl In The Yellow Sweater

Let’s rewind a little...

What was Travis thinking when he met Tiffany???

*time warp noises*

******************************************

Friday...

“Yes, I’m at school,” I reply, holding my phone up to my ear. I park the car in an empty parking space near the school building, “I just got here.”

I push open the car door and step out as my mom continues to scold me with a thick New York accent, “Travis, I swear to god if you miss another day of school, I’m going to beat your ass.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I sigh, closing the car door, “I won’t miss any more days...”

No promises...

“Good. Mamma ti voglio bene.” She says, sweetly, in a light Italian accent now.

(Mamma ti voglio bene - Mamma Loves You)

Somehow, when she’s pissed, she becomes a New Yorker...

It blows my mind every time...

Andrea Reel, aka my mom. She’s a big-time Attorney, and always working on cases. I love her with everything in my heart, but she’s always picking on me.

“Ti voglio bene,” I smile, “Hey! Also, are you working late again today???”

“Sì. So, you’ll have the house to yourself if Richard doesn’t come over.”

I frown, my mood being ruined.

Ew.

Richard Hampton.

I don’t particularly like him. He’s my mom’s boyfriend, and I can’t stand him. He’s a police officer, so he’s always talking about peace and justice.

Like, okay, we get it. Peace and justice is great. Tell that to someone who cares.

“Alright. Bye.” I groan, and Mom laughs at the other end of the phone.

“Bye, neonato.”

(Neonato - Baby)

Hanging up, I sigh, slipping my phone into my back pocket. Looking around, I notice people walking toward the school building, laughing with their friends and whatnot. Some people stand near their cars taking turns hitting vapes and shit.

I frown, really considering just getting back in my car, and risking a brutal ass-whooping when I get home.

I don’t like being at school, and if I were being completely honest, who does?

School is like being in prison except you only have to be at school for 8 hours at a time.

Nonetheless, it still sucks.

I pull at my black t-shirt, trying to cover the ink lines to the big eagle tat I have across my chest.

As soon as people see those lines, they start asking to see it.

That gets annoying...

I stroll through the parking lot, people shooting me glances and stares. I walk past a group of girls, and they instantly begin giggling. I roll my eyes at that and walk up the steps into the school building.

As soon as I enter, people start turning heads in my direction. Including teachers. I look around as I walk down the hall and grin.

People talk so much shit about me in this school, it’s funny. Even the teachers talk shit.

I glance to my right, noticing a teacher staring daggers at me. My smile widens, as I turn and walk up to him; shoving my hands into my pockets, “Mornin’, Couch Simmons.”

He sighs, “Morning, Travis. What do you want?”

“Nothing. I just couldn’t help but notice you were looking kinda annoyed. So, me being the good person I am, came over to try and brighten your day.”

His chestnut brown eyes narrow, and I also narrow mine. There’s a long moment before he says, “No. I’m just fine. Just tired.”

“You sure?”

“Positive.”

“Okay. Oh, and I don’t think you know this, but your fly’s down,” I state, pointing to his pants, and turning to walk away. He jumps, looking down at his pants, “It is!?” I bite my lip, trying not to laugh as I walk down the hall past more people.

He actually looked, LOL!!!

He falls for that every day!!!

As I continue to glance around the hall, I finally recognize a face that isn’t staring at me weirdly. I walk up to him and stand by his side, “What up, dumbass.”

Christian, one of my closest friends, looks over at me and shakes his head, “That’s what’s up.” He points to his side, and I look over.

Instantly I begin gagging, “EWW!!! THEY’RE KISSING!!!”

They both lean against the lockers, lips basically sewn together as they continue rubbing up against each other. His hand grabs a fistful of her hair and he pulls it as her hands rub his low cut fro.

Disgusting...

“NO PDA IN THE HALLS!!!” I shout as Christian throws pencils at the back of Josh’s head, “SAVE THAT FOR DATE NIGHT!!!!”

Unless you’re into that kind of stuff...

They pull apart, both breathless. Stormy blushes, giggling, fixing her red blouse, “Sorry, Trey.”

She used to be so innocent...

Until she met Joshua who striped that from her...

Crazy, hormonal, jerk...

Joshua, another one of my closest friends, rubs the back of his head, red lipstick smudge on his face, “WHAT THE HELL, CHRISTIAN!!”

“No PDA in the halls, you animals!” Christian frowns, throwing another pencil at him.

I’ve known Stormy Lopez, Joshua Parker, and Christian Thompson since middle school. We’ve been close for a long time, and even if they piss me off sometimes, I wouldn’t know what I’d do without them.

Stormy’s an Instagram influencer, so everyone knows her. She’s got fans and haters all over this school building, and she’s well aware of it. She’s the sweetest girl you’ll meet, and naturally a social butterfly.

Christian’s the football player of the group, though no one respects him on the team because he hangs out with the school’s biggest “asshole”. He’s real chill.

And Joshua is...Joshua...

Josh covers his face as the pencil hits his arm, “STOP THROWING PENCILS AT ME, ASSHOLE!! WHERE ARE YOU EVEN GETTING THESE FROM?!”

“Uh, pretty sure it’s called a pencil pouch?” I reply, raising a brow, “If you don’t know that, you should probably go back to Kindergarten...” He glares at me, and I stare back, shrugging, “You ran into that, Josh.”

He holds up his middle finger, and I chuckle.

“Here, Joshy,” Stormy says, handing him a makeup wipe. He takes it and wipes most of the lipstick away.

Most of it.

“What’s up tweedle de and tweedle dum,” May says, appearing behind Joshua, “Oh! And hey Stormy and Christian. The only two people I like over here.”

“Ew! It’s the thing that follows you around, Stormy,” I state, pointing at her, frowning. “Ew! It’s the thing that never shuts up!!” May retorts, her grey/silver, short hair pulled back into a ponytail.

I’ve known May Clerc since middle school too, but I never liked her. I only spend time with her because she and Stormy are besties with her for whatever reason. She annoys the shit of me, and she does it on purpose.

She also has this nose bridge piercing that I’ll admit, looks pretty cool.

Will I tell her that?

No.

She’s super sporty and athletic but quit playing sports in her sophomore year. Her reason? Just didn’t feel like it anymore.

I roll my eyes, “I think you’re saying that to the wrong person.” I nod toward Joshua, and May snorts, “You might be right about that!”

“I hate both of you,” Joshua says, rolling his eyes. May stares at him for a moment, then looking from him to Stormy.

She pauses for a moment, then sighs, “You two go at it like animals. I can still see the lipstick on his chin...”

Stormy blushes furiously, and Joshua chuckles, using the back of his sleeve to his face, “May! Stop! I’m sure you and Jamie do this type of stuff all of the time.”

“Yeah! But not out in public! That kind of stuff is for behind closed doors.” May states in a matter-of-fact tone, “You two don’t know what ‘get a room’ means.”

“As much as I hate to, I agree with May,” I reply, crossing my arms, “It’s disgusting.”

“Haters...” Stormy mumbles, fluffing her long, straight, black hair. “Finally found you,” Jamie says, hugging May from behind, “You left me~”

May looks back at him as he kisses her cheek, and giggles, “Hey, babe.” She then grabs one of his short dreads and plays with it, staring lovingly into his eyes, “Sorry, Jam Jam. I saw Stormy and the boys, and I just had to rush over.”

Nasty...

She called him Jam Jam...

She then looks back to us, mostly staring at me, frowning, “I’d hate for Stormy to be around any of these dumbasses alone for too long. Their stupidity might rub off on her.”

Jamison Ralen Smith is also one of my closest friends. We didn’t grow up together, but we met in freshmen year since his brother is dating my sister. He’s also dating May for whatever reason. I’m not sure what he sees in her.

He’s also great at producing music. You know, DJ type stuff?

“I can see that. Especially since Joshua’s around,” Jamie agrees, looking over at Josh. Josh glares at him, “Why do all of ya’ll like to pick on me?”

I glance around the hallway noticing people staring at us as we talk.

Like creeps...

Jamie, May, Joshua, Stormy, Christian, and I are your school’s misfits.

Not my words.

The schools.

Lunch...

I lean back in my seat, back against the wall. I grab a fry from my tray and toss it into my mouth as May, Stormy, Josh, Jamie, and Christian all talk with one another. I glance around the cafeteria and notice people staring at our table.

I yawn, tuning out as I scroll through TikTok. My black hair falls into my eyes, and I groan annoyed.

I need a haircut...

“Ew. Look who’s walking by.” May frowns, rolling her eyes. I look up and find Daniel Green and his little posse walking by my table. Everyone looks to him, annoyed looks on their faces.

Daniel Green. A football-playing, attention whore who sadly thinks I give any kinds of fucks about his opinion of me.

His friends aren’t very different...

Sebastian, Simon, and Luka.

We watch as they walk by, they glancing at us with the same annoyance. I smile and wave at them, and they all frown, shooting me glares. I chuckle, as they walk away.

“I can’t stand them...” Joshua grumbles, rolling his eyes, “So damn annoying...”

“You can say that again...” Jamie agrees, picking food off May’s tray.

“Hey, uh, guys!!! You kind of forgot someone!!!” A little voice shouts over the loud cafeteria.

We all look back up and I notice a girl; long, black, kinky, curly hair, and round-rimmed glasses. I stare at her as she stumbles trying to catch up with Daniel and his friends. She suddenly trips but catches herself, and I snort.

She almost tripped on air...

She looks over in our direction, and our eyes meet.

Her eyes a soft brown color.

Honey brown to be exact.

She has a soft round face, and not to mention soft full lips and a button nose. Her skin’s a soft coffee brown, and I find myself just staring at her in awe.

Damn is she cute~

Who is she??

I look her up and down, noticing her outfit. A baggy, yellow, sweater which seems to be swallowing her small body whole, some blue jean shorts, and some white high tops.

A deep red blush spreads across her cheeks, and despite her brown skin, I can still see it. She looks around our table, frantically, and eventually runs away; her short legs trying to move as fast as they can go.

“DANIEL!! WAIT!!!” She shouts, “You can’t just leave me behind!!! Jerk!!!” She runs after them, disappearing into the crowd.

Everyone at the table just falls silent we still looking off into the crowd. There’s a pause, and Christian is the first to say something, “Who was the cutie???”

“Hell, if I know...” I reply, still staring off.

“You think she’s with Daniel???” Jamie asks, raising a brow. Suddenly everyone burst into fits of laughter, including me.

Daniel isn’t the type to date.

He’s more of the hump-and-dump type of guy.

I’m surprised he actually dated Jennifer for as long as he did.

6 months to be exact.

“That’s funny, Jam Jam, as if Daniel would ever settle down. You know he’s a man-whore,” May laughs, shaking her head, grey-silver hair falling in her face.

“Then who is she? I’ve never really seen her around before until now.” Stormy explains, truthfully.

I shrug, “I don’t know...”

I’ll meet her again one day...

******************************************

Saturday Night...

“No.”

“C’mon, Travis! This party could be lit, and you’re passing it up?!” Joshua whines, a dumbfounded look on his face, “You never pass up parties!”

“Well, I might have to for this one, bud,” I state, we driving down Franklin Avenue to this party Josh was texting me about.

Apparently, everyone’s gone to a party I had no idea existed.

Until Josh texted me saying, ‘You have to get yo ass up because we’re getting wasted tonight!!’

It’s currently 11:00 pm, and he wants me to go out and party.

Not that that’s a terrible thing, however...

“My Mom’s still pretty pissed at me for skipping school. I was lucky I was even able to drive you out here.” I add, in a matter-of-fact tone.

“Yeah, I know, but c’mon! Everyone’s there!!” Josh pleads, “Christian went! Jamie, Stormy, and May!! I wasn’t going to go but then I heard about all of the booze and-”

“Got excited, I know you did,” I laugh, shaking my head. “What can I say, I like getting wasted.” Josh admits, shrugging, “So, you’ll come to the party???”

“I don’t know, Josh.”

“At least make an appearance...”

I look over at him, annoyed, and he stares at me pleadingly. I sigh, looking back toward the street, “Fine. I’ll make an appearance...”

“Yes!!! And maybe you’ll even stay...”

“No...”

“You might.”

“Yeah, no...”

“But you might.”

“I really don’t see that happening.”

We continue down the road and eventually, reach this house down by Western Avenue. The music can be heard outside, and I just stare at the flashing lights and dancing people in the yard.

If you were to ask me, this looks like a typical high school party...

I park the car in front of the house, and Joshua immediately hops out, shouting, “WOOOO!!! LET’S GET WASTED!!! C’MON TRAVIS!!!”

I roll my eyes, as I grab my keys and phone. I hop out of the car and slam it close behind me. I look down at my white shirt, making sure there aren’t any stains.

I just bought this shirt.

Sixty damn dollars.

I’d be damned if I let anyone, or anything stain it.

I look around and finally spot Josh near the entrance of the house. He motions for me to come over, and I roll my eyes. I walk down the walkway past people smoking and drinking. I walk onto the porch and Josh runs inside.

I follow in after him, the music becoming unbelievably loud. Dozens of people dance in the living room to the loud music. Couples are grinding on one another, making out, chugging beers.

Wait, what’s that smell???

It smells like...

Sweat and perfume just had a baby...

I shake my head at that thought and continue to walk forward. I glance around the area, looking for Josh anywhere, but it’s like he just disappeared. I sigh and try making my way through the crowd with as little touching as possible.

The white shirt, remember?

I eventually reach a spot where there are fewer people. I look around the chaotic mess around me, and scratch my head, “Where the fuck did he go?”

I look toward the kitchen area and squeeze past more people to get closer to it. As soon as I’m about to step into the threshold, someone bumps into me.

I grunt, as something cold splashes onto me, seeping through my shirt and blue skinny jeans.

“WHAT THE FUCK!!” I growl, looking down at my shirt, angrily, “SON OF A BITCH!!!”

This is brand fucking new!!!!

What the hell!!!

“I just fucking bought this shirt!!” I groan, still looking at the pink shit splashed onto my shirt.

It smells fruity...

But nonetheless!! Whoever ruined my shirt!!

I look up, thoroughly pissed, “The fuck’s your-”

I pause, recognizing that face, pretty brown skin, and curly hair from anywhere. She stares up at me, nervously, her small hands holding onto her cup, tightly.

It’s the girl I saw earlier in the cafeteria...

The girl in the yellow sweater...

“Hey...” I mumble staring into those same honey brown eyes, “you-”

“I’M SORRY!! I DIDN’T MEAN FOR THAT TO HAPPEN!!!!” She shouts, her grasp on her cup slipping. And before you know it, it crashes into the floor, more pink shit splashing onto my clothes, and hers.

“JESUS CHRIST!!!” I yelp, looking back down at my shirt.

“I’M SORRY!! I’M SO SORRY!!!!”

I continue staring down at my shirt, feeling angry again, “Why the fuck is this shit pink?? It smells fruity!!”

I look back up and my face just softens at the sight of her.

God, she just looks so scared...

I groan, rubbing my face, and look away from her, “Fuck me...don’t look at me like that...” I take a moment to relax and find myself looking back at her.

She stares at me, eyes wide, and I sigh, “Look, it’s not that big of a deal, okay? So, you can just relax, and-” “I SORRY FOR RUINING YE SHIRT!! FEEL BETTER SOON!! GOODBYE FOREVER!!”

And before I could try to say anything else, she runs past me. I turn around and chase after her, “HEY! WAIT!”

She runs into the crowd, I now noticing people staring at me in shock. I continue to run after her as she makes it for the front door, pushing people out of her way.

Damn, she’s fast...

I make it to the front door and outside onto the porch, seeing her runaway. I watch her, breathless, and call out to her, “HEY! WHERE YOU GOING!!” She doesn’t turn back and continues running into the night.

Like Batman...

Except, cute...

I watch, breathless, and mumble, “I never even got your name...”

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