Aiden bolted to his class almost as fast as he could, almost slipping on the freshly waxed floors of his school hall. This made putting on his school uniform a little trickier, but he at least hadn’t missed his first class. Biology.
He didn’t care if his shirt was tucked in, it looked dumb and it was uncomfortable anyway. He tried to remain ambiguous by hiding his face with his hand, tiptoeing into Classroom 21.
Suddenly, an authoritative voice boomed behind him.
“Good evening Aiden, nice of you to join us”
It was the teacher, no surprise. Aiden glanced at her, almost recoiling at her poorly tied bun and stern eyes behind framed glasses. He’d actually forgotten her name, so he just called her ‘Miss’.
The rest of the class sniggered. Aiden just ignored this, slicking back his wavy dark hair and heading to his designated seat. On his table was a note.
Aiden, remember to meet me after class. Interview xoxo - Alex.
He turned to see the school’s journalist, Alex Brie. She smiled and waved, messing up her frizzy black hair with her other hand.
A more teasing voice came from behind Aiden’s shoulder. “Got a new fan girl, blue eyes?” Damien Drake flicked him around the ear as he laughed quietly.
Aiden rubbed the back of his neck and shuffled around for his pencil and books. “I don’t know man, looks like it”
“Dude, come on that’s my girl”.
Aiden quickly turned his eyes to look back at his friend, Danny Hickman, who had the biggest excuse for an Afro you’d ever seen. He leant over to his curls and whispered. “You got your name on her, Danny?”
“Nah man, I’m more of a gentleman than that, let her make her own choice, but with that look she gives, I know I’ll be that choice”
Damien peered in on the two of them. “What, you mean the ‘look at me or I’ll kill you’ look?”
Danny lowered his voice to a whisper. “Nah man, the way she smiles and fixes her hair when she sees me mate, if she’s Lois Lane, guess that makes me like the Clark Kent of the school”
Aiden tried not to burst out laughing and took a small breath. “You’ve certainly got the bumbling personality of Clark Kent down.”
Danny looked to the front to see what the teacher was writing on the board. He pretended to take notes.
Aiden turned to Damien. “Hey mate, how’s your brother coming along with the parkour?”
“Absolute pain in the ass” Damien wiped his brow and sighed quietly.
“He thinks you’re like his hero or something. I’m surprised he hasn’t built a shrine of you in his room. Well, at least I hope he hasn’t.”
Aiden smiled at the thought of having a dedicated shrine. “Leave him be man, my dad probably thought the same when I asked for his help sometimes, besides, I’m no one’s hero.”
Danny peered his eyes over whilst still taking notes. “You sure are a modest bastard, aren’t you Aiden?”
Damien put his hands in his head and sniggered. “He’s just happy he’s got a fan-boy.”
“Something you three want to share?” The teacher put her pen on the desk and crossed her arms, glaring at three of them.
They all froze, whilst Damien and Danny went back to scribbling nonsense on their paper, Aiden spoke up with confidence. “No miss, it’s nothing.”
The teacher carried on with the lesson, and the three friends just kept their conversation quieter. Damien tapped Aiden on the shoulder and signalled the teacher that he was asking for help. “Hey dude, did you hear about Michael’s competition?”
Aiden sighed and looked back with a questionable smile. “What competition is that? The world record for the biggest collection of hair products?”
“No, word is he’s doing a parkour contest with some of his inheritance, rumour is it’s ten grand.”
Danny kept his eyes glued to his paper, and hushed his voice “You could probably win if you practiced up a bit.”
“Competition isn’t really for me guys, sorry.”
“Oh, go on Aiden, I could get some sweet footage of you beating Chad.”
Aiden gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as a familiar chill rode up his spine. “So Chad’s doing it too, another reason for me not to sign up.”
Danny kept a look of encouragement on his face. “Maybe you could beat him this time, and ten grand is good enough to do anything, mate.”
“Ten grand would be nice, but competition really isn’t for me, guys.”
The bell then rang for second class. Luckily for Aiden, that meant a free period. Alex gave one last look at Aiden, indicating to meet him outside.
“Oi oi! Careful Danny, looks like Aiden’s after your girl.”
“Hey man, come on, back off.” Danny winked and smiled at Aiden.
“Don’t worry Clark...Lois Lane’s all yours.”
Damien walked past and patted him on the shoulder. “Think about the competition, will you mate?” Aiden’s stomach tightened, he was already sick of hearing about the competition.
“Sure, I’ll catch you guys later, Lois Lane wants an interview.”
The two said their goodbyes and with that, Aiden headed outside in the hall for his much-needed interview with Alex Brie. Even this was too much, imagine what would happen if he actually won that stupid contest.
Alex wouldn’t stop waving at Aiden as he walked over to her. She must have been really desperate to get this interview. She stood there with her notepad and her pencil, looking as if she had just booked an interview with the prime minister.
Despite wanting to do literally anything else at that moment, Aiden saw that journalism was a passion for Alex; he put on his supportive face and approached her with a smile. “Right, so what do you want to know, Alex?”
With the distant cluttering of footsteps in the hall, Alex rushed to write down her notes. She almost dropped her pen a few times, and Aiden tried not to smile too much. She fixed her glasses and got on focus. “Well, I want to write something about parkour for my uni application. Heard there’s a contest that Alison’s brother is doing?”
Aiden turned his head to make sure that no one was listening in. “So it’s true I guess, not a rumour?”
“That’s what I’ve heard, so are you going for it?”
“I don’t think so, competitions aren’t really my thing.”
“You don’t like competitions, Aiden? Why?”
Immediately, Aiden already regretted agreeing to this interview. “Look, it’s not that I don’t like them.”
“It’s just that you can never win at them,”
Aiden’s stomach tightened along with his fists. He rolled his eyes as he turned to see whom that irritating voice belonged to.
Chad Harrigan stood in front of him, with his blond buzz cut fitting perfectly on top of his oval shaped head. He wore a shiny yellow shirt with a visitors badge attached, new trainers and a freshly bought tracksuit; all you needed was a classic villain’s theme to accommodate it.
At Chad’s elbow was Scarlett Hazelwood, flicking her crimson red hair back away from her dark eyes. It was clear she didn’t care much about the school uniform either as her tie hung from her collar like she’d tied it in the dark. Then there was Alistair Stevens, wearing the uniform but with no sense of cleanliness whatsoever, with his grubby, unwashed shirt hanging out, long greasy blond hair and evil snake like eyes.
“No Chad, because...”
“What, Alistair? Oh don’t tell me.”
Chad stopped and put his hand to his head. He grinned as he put his finger to his skull, showing off his sparkling white teeth. “It’s because…because ‘passion is the key’ or some bullshit like that? You’re scared, Aiden, just admit it, you’re scared that I’ll beat you, that any one of us could beat you.”
Alex redirected her attention to Chad with her notepad and pencil intact. “You’re Chad Harrigan, right? Do you think you’re going to win this competition?”
Chad laughed obnoxiously and rubbed his scalp. “Is there any doubt it’ll be me with the ten grand?”
Aiden smirked. “Good, maybe you can use it for a new wardrobe.”
Scarlett stepped in front of Aiden and raised her eyebrow before turning to Alex. “Why are you wasting your time interviewing this guy? I thought you journalist types liked the winners,”
Alex kept her eyes glued to her notepad. “Well, when Chad wins, I’ll interview him”
"When I win? Ha, I’ll be ready for your interview then.”
Aiden’s eyebrows narrowed. “Look, don’t you guys have a kid to go shove in a rubbish bin or something?”
Alistair sniggered in the background, wiping snot from his nose. “Why, are you volunteering?”
“You know I could kick your arse right here”
“Whilst we’re on the subject of arses, why is yours on the top of your neck?”
Chad sniggered at Aiden’s joke and put his hand on his shoulder. Aiden immediately shrugged it off. “Now, now boys, play nicely. Aiden, since you’re so confident, what’s say you and me race after you’re done here? I’ll go easy on you this time”
Scarlett grinned and chipped in. “Yeah, why don’t you show us you’re not scared?”
Aiden smiled a pathetic grin and looked down at her. “See...Scarlett, I’d love nothing more, but I got nothing to prove to you three. Sorry to burst your bubbles, but your attempt to bait me has not been very successful. Try again next week, we’ll see what happens.”
More footsteps and voices were heard approaching. Two of them belonged to Alison and Damien, who walked in between them. Alison smiled at Aiden and scowled at Scarlett. “Who wasn’t successful?”
Scarlett sniggered and looked down at Alison’s bandaged ankle, almost admiring it like a work of art. “Well, you don’t look so lucky yourself, do you?”
Alison’s voice quietened. “Shut up, Scarlett.”
Scarlett grinned at her. “Touchy one, aren’t you?”
Alison pulled away and made a face. “So you guys are still in the whole parkour game? I figured as much.”
Scarlett blew a bubble with her gum, spraying juices from her mouth and rolling her eyes. “Yeah, I…we’re still here, and you clearly aren’t going back anytime soon.”
Damien stepped in between them both and put his hands out, separating them before a catfight was sure to ensue. “Right, what do you guys want?”
Chad’s eyes darted around before he turned to Damien. “Oh, nothing Drake...we were just leaving.”
The group turned around to go, with Chad turning to give Aiden one last word.
“If you ever fancy my offer, you know where to find me, Aiden.”
Aiden looked on as he walked off. “Yeah, I’ll just follow the slime trail.”
Alex shrugged as she put her notepad back in her bag. She crossed her arms before dragging her finger all around her forehead. “Aiden, can you please win the contest so I don’t have to interview him?”
“Nothing would give me more pleasure, but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction. Competitions aren’t for me.”
“Well, I need to go study for Spanish, shame we couldn’t get that interview done quicker”
Aiden smiled at Alex in hopes of cheering her up. “Hey, don’t worry about it, some other time, I promise.” Her frown moved to a slight smile, but she still looked disappointed.
“Sure, catch you later then.”
Alex turned to leave. Damien, Alison and Aiden all walked along the corridor, with Chad, Scarlett and Alistair’s words still fresh in their memories.
“That was sweet of you, Aiden. Really sweet.”
“Thanks Al, can’t exactly blame myself for having the terrible three drop on by.”
She didn’t look up. “It still hurts, you know? My ankle.”
Damien put his hand on Alison’s shoulder. “It’ll get better, your brother makes sure you’re well looked after, doesn’t he?”
Aiden looked ahead with desperation enveloping his face. His eyes stopped and stared at each window, peaking his interest to the max.
Alison smiled and leant her head on Damien’s shoulder. “He’s all I’ve got without my parents here, oh and Aiden, you should come and sign up for his parkour thingy, it’s true.”
Aiden pretended to smile and tried to put the encounter with Chad at the back of his mind. “That sounds just like your brother, yeah sure I’ll come but I’m not signing up, besides, drinks are on you today, remember?”
Alison gave him a playful punch and stuck her tongue out. “Yeah, yeah I know, catch you at the rooftop after school?”
Aiden rubbed his shoulder, pretending to be in pain. “Yeah, I’ll be there.”
“See you there Aiden, come on Alison, we should go study.”
Aiden stopped in his tracks and waved goodbye. “See you guys later.”
His free period had about half an hour left. He could go to the library and study, but outside had been calling to him all day and no one could see him. Biology homework could wait until later.