I Know You're There

At every single school, there's always an emo that gets bullied. The one at Tori's school is different. He still gets bullied, and he never speaks, and no one ever sees him outside of school. There are rumours. Many of them. The main one, his parents have abandoned him. Tori starts suspecting that he lives in the abandoned house next to hers. As she starts getting close to him, and unveiling the horrific truth, she realised his pure beauty. If only everyone else could too...


3. 'What's he doing here?'

He sat on the chair in front of my desk, one leg crossed over the other. I sat on the end of my bed, ignoring the fact that I had homework due in the next day. It could wait, or I could do it in the morning.

"What do you want me to play?" he asked, unzipping his guitar case. 

"Uh... I don't know," I frowned, trying to think of a good song he may know.

"Have you heard How To Save A Life?" he asked, tuning the top string.

"Once or twice, do you sing?" 

"A little. I'm not very good, but just go with it," he smiled, sliding his black pletrum out from under two of the strings.

He placed his fingertips in the correct places for the first chord, and strummed it, just to check it was tuned. Happy with the sound of it, he pulled the guitar further up his lap, and made himself comfortable.

Ever so gently, he started the song. The original started off with piano, but I preferred Reuben's acoustic version. He was actually amazing at playing guitar. I was not musically talented, except for keyboard. That was it. For my options I'd taken art and psychology, so I had nothing to worry about for music.

The opening instrumental was over, and the first verse was up next. Reuben started the first line. Just as I'd expected, it was perfect. He had said he wasn't that good, but he was. He really was. You could hear his thick London accent when he sang, and it was just... I was speechless. All too quickly, he finished, and his gaze was distant as if remembering something.

"Wow," was all I could manage.

There was literally nothing else I could say... Wow summed it up pretty well. 

Reuben blushed, and placed his guitar back in the case, turning all insecure.

"Thanks," he said quietly, avoiding eye contact.

"Tori, what-" Ollie walked in, but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Reuben, "What's he doing here?" Ollie said, as if Reuben wasn't even there.

Angered bubbled inside of me. Why couldn't he just deal with it!? Wait... calm down, Tori.

"Go away. You have five seconds," I hissed, waving him off with one hand.

Frowning, Ollie backed out of the room, narrowing his eyes at us. He closed the door a little too loudly, not slamming it, but close to it. I took a sip of my coffee, almost choking on it due to my anger. What had Reuben done to make everyone hate him so much? And who was Ollie to judge? Well, I'd never really stuck up for Reuben, so I couldn't say much myself. At least I had never actually hurt him like everyone else had. Reuben was actually one hundred per cent innocent. He was kind, polite, cute and he took whatever was thrown at him. He was a whole lot stronger than the bullies. 

Actually, I was surprised Ollie had recognised him. If his boss hadn't shouted his name, I really wouldn't have. He was so different with his hair pushed back like that.

"Sorry..." I mumbled, really peeved off with my brother.

"It's fine. You get used to it," he bit his bottom lip, and I bit mine too, "Ollie's in my music class. He's not too bad, but his friend, Daniel, is horrible."

I wanted to hug Reuben and tell him that I was there for him, but I knew I wouldn't be. I knew that the next day, I would go back to ignoring him, and let him fall into the same pattern as always. Like I said, too much pride. 

It was true, Daniel was horrible. Not just to Reuben. I hated him, my Mum did too, but somehow, Ollie saw the good in him. Not that it existed, but what can you do? Exactly; absolutely nothing.

Someone knocked on my bedroom door.

"Come in," I called, turning around on my bed to see who it was.

"Dinner's ready. My friends and I are in the living room, 'kay?" my Mum smiled sweetly.

"'Kay. Mum, this is Reuben. Reuben, this is Mum," I laughed slightly, and Reuben stood up to shake my Mum's hand. See? He's just so polite.

"Nice to meet you, love," my Mum disappeared again, and I followed her down, Reuben behind me.

She dispersed into the living room, where I could hear a bunch of women gossiping. I lead Reuben through to the dining room, where our dinner was on the table. I assumed Ollie had taken his up to his room, and I didn't know where my Dad was. We sat, ate, chatted, just like we were old friends. I wished we were. I wished we were more than friends. I wished Reuben was the guy I could call my boyfriend. First things first, become friends.

It could go either way. I could be friends with him and we'd both be unpopular. Or, I could be friends with him, and he could become popular. 

At about 10, he left.

"See you around," he smiled, kind of walking backwards down the front garden path.

"Yeah, see you," I smiled back, leaning in the door frame.

I closed the door, and leant back against it, staring at the ceiling. This guy was driving me insane. This guy who everyone bullied. This guy.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I didn't either... but then I met Reuben...

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