The Ghost Of You

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Chapter 4

I couldn’t stop thinking about the boy I had caught staring at me. There was something about the encounter which unnerved me. I’ve had a few instant crushes in my short life, but none of them had consumed my attention as much as this one. When my stormy grey eyes collided with his oceanic blue ones, I could feel the thrum of energy between us from across the room. It was as if he really saw me, deep into my soul. Is that lame? I suppose someone could see it that way, but there’s no other way I can describe it.

“Mr. Bishop. Is there something outside of this classroom worth more of your attention than my class?” The teacher interrupted my thoughts, startling me.

I blinked at her, chewing on my pen. I was trying to decide if that was a rhetorical question or if she seriously wanted an answer.

“No ma’am?”

The class laughed at that, even though I wasn’t trying to be funny, which only seemed to make her angrier by the second.

“Quiet!” Mrs. Landon raised her voice, her face flushed red, her mouth set in a grim line. “I suggest, then, Mr. Bishop, you pay attention to what I am saying. There will be a test in a couple of weeks.”

The class groaned in unison, but Mrs. Landon’s eyes narrowed into little slits and the protesting whispers ceased immediately. It was impressive. I tried hard to pay better attention in her class, fearing her singling out even further. I would hate for mom to have to come down and bail me out. I had trouble controlling my impulses, especially my mouth. I even attempted taking notes with my left hand, which was a great feat, let me tell you. I determined that asking my mom to see about a voice recorder would be to my benefit for the six weeks I had left to wear my cast. Let the countdown begin.

*****

Up until lunchtime, things were pretty boring. I had already learned most of what my new peers were beginning. So, I didn’t have to pay close attention in most classes. I still tuned in every so often to see what they were discussing. If it was something I already knew, I went right back to daydreaming. I doodled in my notebook, trying to make my left hand do what came natural to my right hand. By the time the bell rang and I stuffed my things in my locker for lunch, I was almost able to write my name semi-legibly.

“Hi,” came a sweet, melodic tenor voice beside my locker. It was him. The boy from earlier.

I raised my eyebrow and closed the locker door. Up close, his skin almost seemed to glow in a strange, nearly translucent manner. I was so surprised to see the mystery man from earlier standing so close to me, I forgot to breathe. What was happening to me?

“Hey,” I said. I miscalculated the distance and tried to casually lean against my locker. Instead, I tripped into the metallic hollow wall with a clank, capturing the attention of snickering students. Great...

The beautiful boy’s mouth quirked up in a smile and his eyes danced, “You okay?”

“Yeah. My bad. I’m clumsy like that,” my face flamed with embarrassment.

What the heck was wrong with me? Why was I wigging out so hard?

He chuckled, “Yeah, I can tell. Meet you in there?” he said, nodding in the direction of the cafeteria.

“Uh huh,” I nodded like a mindless idiot, shoving my hands in my pockets.

As he walked off, I slapped my forehead, my face flaming as a few other kids stared at me. I am sure they thought I was a loser. Whatever. I didn’t care. At least there was one person who seemed interested in talking to me. Although, I didn’t understand why. When there was a new kid in Chicago, I wouldn’t go near them until I knew more about them. I never realized how isolated a feeling being new must have been until this very moment. It sucked.

I got in line like the rest of the drones forced into academic slavery, filling the majority of my tray with junk food. I reached for an apple, deciding I need something healthy to eat with my chemically altered food. I looked for him for few minutes, standing in the middle of the cafeteria like a loser. I was drawing too much attention and I couldn’t see him, so I sat down, hoping he would have no trouble finding me. I ate in silence, trying not to look at the curious, prying eyes that surrounded me. The only thing I had left on my tray was the stupid apple, which made me sigh. Did the mystery boy change his mind on meeting me?

“What’s your name?” the lyrical voice said out of nowhere, causing me to jump.

“What?” I said startled. I know he hadn’t been sitting there a moment ago, “Where’d you come from? I didn’t even see you walk up, or sit down for that matter.”

“I’ve been sitting here for a little while. You’d have to be blind not to notice me,” he said, then repeated, “So, what’s your name?”

I squinted at him, trying to judge if he was joking, he wasn’t, “Kai. And I know you weren’t there a moment ago.”

“If you say so,” he shrugged, flashing his teeth at me with a grin, “Nice to meet you.”

“Dude, why are you messing with me?” I exclaimed, too agitated to ask his name.

“How am I messing with you exactly?” he eyed me speculatively, his eyebrows knitted together.

I stared at him, frustration growing into anger as I pressed my lips together.

“If I’m bothering you so much, then maybe I should go,” he said, shrugging one shoulder, his blue eyes boring into me.

I sighed and looked away, “No it’s okay, you can stay. I’m so-” I cut off mid word when I felt myself drawn to look at him once more. He was gone again.

“Seriously?” I muttered aloud. He was like a freaking ninja or something!

I caught a few students staring at me, eyebrows raised like I was a crazy person, when I looked up to see where he had gone.

“What?” I asked. I shoved my tray away and retreated out of the cafeteria. It annoyed me that he ditched me, but I was also angry at myself for pushing him away.

He vanished without a trace and I still didn’t know his name. I got my books for the next class or of my locker, slamming it a little harder than necessary. I tried to balance everything in one hand, losing the battle when my books slipped from my grasp and toppled to the floor. I cursed under my breath and squatted down to pick them up.

“Here, let me help,” a soft voice said wearing a great pair of black combat style boots.

They were attached to a girl with dyed black, short hair and ripped leggings. She smiled at me when I looked her, cheeks flushing pink as she handed me my stack of books.

“Did you see a guy come out of here?” I blurted, trying to avoid an awkward conversation on the first meeting.

“A guy? Can you be more specific?” She said, cocking her head to the side, studying my face shyly.

“Never mind. Forget it,” I muttered, standing up, “Thanks for your help.”

“Forgotten and you’re welcome.” She grinned as she stood up, her dark rimmed, brown eyes lit from within.

“Uh, I gotta go. See you around, okay?” I said over my shoulder, walking away.

“Okay,” she laughed, “I’m Kayla, in case you were wondering.”

“I’m Kai,” I chuckled, waving before disappearing down the hallway.

Girls. They’re so weird.

I shook my head, looking for my next class. I figured I’d just take a seat and wait for it to start. I knew I should have explained to Kayla she wasn’t exactly my type, but I wasn’t very comfortable with my newly discovered self as it was. I didn’t want to piss off the only other person who had been nice to me my first day of school. I hadn’t even talked to my mom about that stuff yet. I wasn’t even close to ready to talk about it.

“You’re early. Class doesn’t start for another ten minutes,” spoke the teacher inside the classroom, looking up from his desk.

“Oh, sorry,” I started, stopping in my tracks, “I’m new here and I uh...”

“Well, welcome, but you still can’t be in here until class starts. It’s policy, I’m sorry,” at least the jerk actually had the decency to look apologetic.

“Oh okay. I’ll uh, go wait in the hall then,” I said, backstepping into the hallway.

He nodded once before hunching back over his desk that seemed much too small for such a large man as himself. He was scribbling furiously in some kind of day journal or book. I slid to the floor, my back against the wall, legs outstretched. I leaned my head back, my eyes closed for not even a minute before I felt someone sit down beside me. I kept my eyes closed, hoping if it was that girl, Kayla, again, she would just go away. Maybe she’d think I was asleep.

“Hey you.”

I answered without even bothering to open my eyes, “Why do you keep disappearing on me?”

“Why? Did you miss me?” he teased.

“Stalker much?” I countered, opening one eye to peek at him.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” he was smiling.

I laughed, lifting my head off of the uncomfortable wall. “Do you always answer every question with another question?”

Shuffling feet distracted me for a moment, as I looked up at a very annoyed teacher.

“When I told you that you could wait outside, I had assumed you knew how to be quiet. My mistake,” he barked.

Wow, he really was a jerk.

“You know what they say about assuming things, right?” I joked.

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, sir,” I grimaced, wondering if any of the teachers here had a sense of humor, “We’ll keep it down now.”

He narrowed his eyes at me, “Are you trying to be funny again? I don’t find it humorous. Take your conversations with your imaginary friends elsewhere, please. I’m trying to plan my class, if you don’t mind.”

“Wait, what?” I said confused, looking over at the space beside me, then back up at him like an idiot, “No, he was right there. I swear.”

“Who was?”

“Well, I don’t know his name, but it was a guy in a peach button down and black rimmed glasses.”

“Look, I’m not trying to be rude, but it’s my first day at this school too and I don’t appreciate class clowns. It will not be tolerated. Is that clear?”

“But he was there,” I pointed, for emphasis on my sincerity, “Right beside me. I swear!” I pledged, but he just looked down his big dumb nose at me before he shook his head and closed the door behind him with a soft click.

I looked beside me where Houdini had sat only moments before and rolled my eyes towards the ceiling. He really needed to show me how he did that. I’m sure it would a useful skill I could hone to play tricks on people. Especially my mom. Although, I don’t know how much she’d appreciate it, if at all. The rest of the school day breezed by without another sighting of The Invisible Man.

And the teacher, who’s name I learned was Mr. Sanderson, was actually pretty great, despite us getting off on the wrong foot. The next time I laid eyes on that kid, I was gonna get his name, I vowed. Or I was gonna pop him in the face good. I couldn’t decide. Maybe I’d do both. Whichever came first. It would be a shame to ruin such a wonderful face, though, even if it was temporarily. Decisions, decisions. They were the bane of my existence.

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