Glowing Eyes

When the person you love's life is hanging in the balance, how far would you go to save them?

Tori Pearson and Zack Martinez had been best friends since third grade. Now Juniors in high school, their friendship still shines strong...until Mandy moves to town. Amanda Blair, Thornton High's newest queen bee is seemingly beautiful, smart and charming, thought Tori can see something is off about her. Amanda's eyes glow, and Tori knows that nobody else can see it but her.

With a monster for a rival, and her whole life hanging off a single promise, will Tori be able to sustain her friendship with Zack and save Little Thornton? Or will it all crumble with rest of her life?

Note: Used to be called '30 Things A Guy Should Do'

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4. Amanda Blair

The weekend drifted by without much thought and before I knew it, Monday was here again. Great.

I woke with a start, as my alarm (LMFAO's 'Sexy And I Know It' - do you know how nice it is to wake up thinking about how sexy you are?) jerked under my pillow. Still half asleep, I fished my phone from under my head and squinted down at the screen - 8:07 AM. I groaned.

I am just too tired to move, I thought, attempting to sit up but ending up sprawled on the floor having fallen out of bed. Why does it have to be Monday...

When I finally managed to haul myself into the bathroom, I winced at my reflection. My usually obedient chestnut hair was spread around my face, resembling that of a gorilla and there was a red mark on my cheek where it had been mushed against the scratchy carpet of my bedroom floor - I must've stayed there for at least five whole minutes.

After jumping in and out of the shower as quickly as I could - which, if I'm honest, isn't that quick - I rustled around the discarded laundry on the floor of my room for my cheer uniform. Practice was definitely today, and since I was officially the captain for six weeks nobody could move the date but me...or the coach. Stupid teachers.

After righting my hair into something presentable and applying my makeup (not too much - I don't much prefer looking like an Oompa Loompa) my stomach let out a loud growl. I glanced at the time. 8:50, I still had ten minutes left. I decided I may as well eat something as I bounded down the stairs.

"Hey Mom," I greeted around a large yawn. As I opened the fridge, I frowned at its contents; no milk. I thought moms in general always made sure there was all those essential stuff like milk or eggs and especially chocolate...or is that just me? I noticed she hadn't replied. "Mom?"

I saw her shoulders shake as she jumped, even though I hadn't exactly been sneaky about my arrival. "Oh, Tori," she said, holding a hand to her chest as she sighed a breath of relief. Her blonde hair was a mess, and she was wearing her fluffy white robe which was odd considering she normally made sure she was dressed and perfectly pretty before she even dared coming downstairs. "You startled me."

"Okay..." I said, slowly, dropping two Pop-Tarts into the toaster as I studied my mom. I noticed that as she spread the jelly on her toast, her hands shook. She wasn't looking at what she was doing either, only staring out of the window at nothing in particular a vacant expression on her face. Her eyes didn't have the same light they normally had. "Mom...are you okay?" I asked, suddenly very worried.

She jumped again, making me frown. "I'm fine," she replied before returning to making her breakfast. "In fact I'm amazing...fabulous...fantastic..."

I nodded, the frown plastered to my face, taking my Pop-Tarts from the toaster and grabbing my backpack, without taking my eyes off of her.

"Well, I've got to get to school," I spoke hesitantly as she returned to her vacant state. "Tell Dad I said bye."

"Will do..." she said, wistfully, as I headed towards the front door, pulling my phone out of my bag.

'Look after mom - I dont think shes ok x' I texted my father, knowing he was still upstairs in bed (he didn't go to the lab till noon) before heading outdoors, facing the humid Georgia summer.

 •♥•

"Okay girls," I announced, holding my pom poms in the air. It was three o'clock, which meant cheer practice had begun. I much preferred practicing in the summer as we were allowed on to the football field, instead of the off-campus gym, where it was softer (hardly, but grass is better than a marble floor) and the air was more cleansing. "Today I thought we could make the routine for the big game next Saturday, so who's got any ideas?" The eight girls surrounding me looked blank.

"Where's Ashley?" Stacey asked, her cold green eyes looking me up and down as she twirled a strand of her ebony hair that had escaped its high bun, with a long manicured finger. I'd never much cared for her, as she'd never cared about me; she'd had this huge crush on Zack since, like, sixth grade and, like most of the other girls at Thornton High, Stacey would rather see me dead than hang out with him for another day. Bitch. "And what gives you the right to just assume your the captain now?"

"Ashley broke her leg and can't cheer for another six weeks," I answered, my voice laced with subtle venom as I crossed my arms over my chest and internally glared at her. "And I'm captain now because I've always been vice captain. Are we clear?" I pointed at the badge above my right breast as evidence. Sure enough it read 'Vice Captain' underlined with Thornton's symbol of the black lightning bolt and its red outline, underneath. Stacey snorted and turned away, fury scarring her beautiful features.

"I have a few ideas, Tori," Monica, a short girl with dark brown hair and dark skin, spoke flashing me a brilliant white smile as she bounced up and down.

"Go ahead, Monica," I said and stepped aside watching her. She threw her arms up into the air, like a gymnast, before kicking her leg so high that it was parallel with them and then she bounced back down, thrusting both arms to the side. She clapped twice and did a cartwheel, followed by a backflip, topped off with the splits, her brilliant white smile shining throughout the routine. It looked terribly complicated to me, but then again, cheerleading was a lot harder than a lot of people expected it to be. "Wow...that was great!" I exclaimed, applauding her. "We could definitely use that."

"I haven't worked out the actual cheers yet," she said, laughing as she happily scampered over. "But I think it could be a great cheer...well, I guess I would considering I made it!" As she giggled, there was a loud clapping behind us. As I turned, I felt my body freeze, muscles tense - it was her.

Her blonde hair and pale skin looked exactly like it had when I'd seen her outside Moo's, her icy blue eyes boring into my soul, glowing yet again. I took a sharp breath and realized that everyone had gone silent, but the girl wasn't looking at any of them - she was looking straight at me.

"My name's Amanda," she said, walking over to me and shaking my hand. "Amanda Blair. It's so nice to finally meet you, Tori." Her voice was sweet - too sweet, like candyfloss; it tastes good, but once you get used to having it your teeth rot away. That was exactly how I'd describe the girl - I mean, Amanda. She was standing inches away from me, smiling like the Cheshire Cat, blinking her wide blue eyes. My instinct immediately told me that I didn't like her...at all.

"How do you know my name?" I asked, frowning at her. I wished she would stop making those googly eyes at me - I was starting to think she was a lesbian or something. "You've never met me before." I stood there, my back straight, sizing her up. It was so quiet, it felt like you could hear a pin drop...except you probably couldn't considering the air was filled with the grunts and shouts of the Thunderbirds practicing for the big game. I resisted the urge to glance over at Zack in his bulky padding, rolling around in the mud (though, I must admit, that would be pretty funny to watch). Suddenly, Amanda laughed causing the girls around me to exchange puzzled glances - did I say something funny?

"Well, obviously you're the vice captain!" she squealed, pointing at my badge. "Coach Kowalski said I could come over and...relieve you of your duties." She stood there, sickly sweet, watching me as what she'd just said sank in. Amanda was replacing me? That almost made me laugh.

"Oh, I see," I said sarcastically, noticing how slutty she made her cheer kit look; all tiny skirts that barely covered her, and a shirt so low that it showed the top of her bra. What is even remotely attractive about that? Okay, boys, don't answer that. "Okay well I guess I'll just go sit off-side and let you do my dirty work, yeah?" I snorted. "I don't know how they do it up in New York, but here in Georgia you have to work your way to the top; I've earned my spot as vice captain - you can't just waltz over here and call yourself the new one, capiche?"

She met my gaze with the same smirk, her cold eyes the only feature betraying her growing hatred for me.

"Well then," she spoke after a long pause, her voice slick with venom. "I'll just do what you say then, captain." And with that she glided away, joining the rest of the team, and continuing to stare pointedly at me. She seemed to like staring.

"Okay then," I started, trying to block Amanda from my mind. "Monica, can you talk us through steps?"

"Sure!" she squealed, bounding towards me, waving her pom poms like she was high on caffeine. "Okay so first, we have to hold our arms up straight, then bring one leg up to match it..." I zoned out as she went through the routine, all of us mirroring her movements...except one. Sure enough, Amanda stood through the crowd of girls watching me, as she seemed to have a habit of doing. Though, when she glanced at the other girls - Monica, Stacey, Jenna, Gretchen, Jasmine, Kat, Stefani and Lacey - the glow seemed to fade from her eyes, though, I noticed the strangest thing: whenever one of them was caught observing her, the fluorescence of her eyes returned, yet whenever they looked away, it vanished just like she always did whenever I caught a glimpse of her. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself gazing over at Zack and his fellow team mates, running the length of the field, tossing the ball to one another. Even whilst I flexed and stretched my body to fit Monica's steps, I somehow managed to keep my view on him as he pulled his helmet off and fist bumped the other guys, before heading to the locker room. I inwardly sighed. Even though he was my best friend, even I had to admit he was totally hot.

 •♥•

As I leaned against my truck, listening to one of my many favorite Skrillex songs, waiting for Zack to finish changing out of his football uniform, I noticed Amanda out of the corner of my eye. Deciding it was best to ignore her, I continued to scroll through my phone, letting the music take over my mind, though there was no escaping her as she clamped her hand down on my shoulder, glaring at me with such a strange intensity - I could almost see a spectrum from how bright her eyes were. I blinked.

She was gone.

My mind turned to ice as fear pricked my stomach - how the Hell could she do that?

I must've been standing like a goldfish for a long time, because four more songs had played whilst I'd been dazed out staring at the spot where Amanda had been, befiore realizing Zack had already strode towards me and was saying something. I quickly popped an earbud out and looked at him.

"Sorry, what did you say?" I asked, my eyes still flicking around hoping or fearing to see Amanda and her gaze again. Zack was frowning down at me.

"Are you okay?" he asked me, inspecting my face as if looking for some kind of blemish. "You look like you've seen a ghost...you're really pale, ya know? And you're shaking. Do you want me to take you to the nurse?" Concern lit up his green-eyed stare and I could see how worried he was about me.

"I'm fine," I shook all thoughts about Amanda from my head, attempting a smile. "Just thought I saw something."

"Okay," he replied, walking over to the driver's side door. "I think you better let me drive today. I'm not taking any risks with you."

I thanked him and climbed in just as he started the engine. Through the wind that whistled through my hair, I heard Zack trying to make conversation."

"So, what happened today?" he questioned, eyes fixed firmly on the road. "I heard you met Amanda? Everyone's talking about how she showed you up about being captain."

I tried to laugh, but it was a hollow sound that held no humor. "Oh, I met her alright," It seemed unfair that I already hated her, even though I barely even knew her...but there was something about her. Something that nobody could ever explain, and my gut instinct just told me to steer clear of her - but why? Okay, so she'd seemed to think herself superior earlier, but apart from that what could really been wrong with her? And what was with the way her eyes glowed? I'd been wondering about that since Friday night, and no matter how I put it in my head, it just didn't make sense. No human's eyes physically lit up. I shuddered. "I don't like her...at all."

"Why not?" he sounded surprised. "I spoke to her earlier and I thought she seemed pretty nice - I think she's really pretty too." I glanced over at him, eyebrows raised, and stayed there. He never said anything like that about anyone, especially not another girl. When I finally managed to tear my eyes away, they found the street...and there she was again. Eyes bright as usual.

"Because she's...." I began, but didn't quite know what to say. "I don't know. I just have a bad feeling about her, that's all."

"Prejudice isn't a good trait to have," he spoke quietly, his eyes vacant. Deja vu hit me like a brick, then. My mother had that same look in her eyes this morning. I shook the thought away, knowing I was overthinking things, when Zack missed the turnoff to my house.

"Uh, Zack," I started. He didn't reply. "Zack!" I shouted this time, making him jump. "You missed my house." He looked around, as if to get his bearings and turned the truck around, apologizing. I hugged my arms, trying to keep that chill that threatened to freeze my bones at bay.

"So sorry," he apologized, shaking his head as he pulled onto my driveway. "Don't know what just happened - got carried away, I guess." He flashed me that lopsided smirk of his, and I nodded, grabbing my bag as I headed towards the front porch.

"Do you want to come inside for a while?" I asked, searching his face for anything out of place. He shook his head, glancing at the sky which was forever darkening.

"No thanks, Tori," he replied. "I better head home. I'll see ya later, ok?"

"Bye..." I said quietly as he headed away. Something was off about today but I just didn't know what it was or why. As a headache started to blossom in my brain, I slung my bag on the hook by the stairs, as I trotted into the living room, feeling remotely like a zombie. "Hey Dad." I smiled sitting on the sofa next to him.

"Hey Tori," he said, scruffing my hair up as he flicked through the channels on the TV. "How was school?" His eyes were trained on the TV, even though he was changing the channel so quickly that not even I could see what was on. I studied his face. He had some stubble on his jaw and looked very tired...drained, almost.

"It was okay," I replied. "Are you okay? No offense, but you don't look too good." He dropped the remote on to the coffee table he had his feet propped up on and cradled his head in his hands, elbows supported by his knees as he sighed.

"Truthfully? No," he answered, rubbing his face. "It's your Mom. She's just acting...different." Alarm bells started to ring in my head; that was exactly what I'd thought this morning.

"I know," I spoke after a long pause. "She's acting, I don't know, distant and it creeps me out. Is she okay?" I nibbled on my red friendship bracelet that clung on to my wrist, unsure of wanting to know the answer.

"She's fine," Dad said, looking me in the eye. "Probably just tired." I nodded, trying to convince myself that that was the realistic solution, but I was worried. What if it was something more? I thought back to earlier, when Zack had completely missed the turnoff to my house. His eyes had looked exactly like my mother's had, all glassy and unseeing. I shivered. What was happening to them?

Deciding it was best if I just lied down for a couple of hours, I headed to my room, plopping myself on my bed and staring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars I had stuck on the ceiling when I was ten. No matter how hard I tried to avoid the subject, it felt as though it was constantly there, etched into my brain until I addressed it, and I started to think about Amanda.

Admittedly, I didn't know much about her. I knew her name was Amanda Blair, and I knew she was from New York, too. I also knew that she wanted to be cheer captain and that her eyes lit up whenever she made eye contact with anyone. I knew that she could move at incredible speeds - so fast that even if you blink you could miss her - and I also knew that she was nothing that a human could ever be.

Slowly, my eyes closed and I drifted away in a deep, long sleep.

•♥•

The  Thornton Thunderbirds were at their peak, as they ran for another Touchdown even though they knew it wouldn't make any difference - they were already way ahead of the Savannah Serpents. I stood on the sidelines cheering them on with my team, waving pom poms in the air, and chanting the same words over and over: "We won't come second, we'll come first 'cause we are the Thornton Thunderbirds!"

Zack ran ahead of the line, ball in his hands.

We are the Thornton Thunderbirds...

Even as the line of defenders tried to charge at him, he dodged them, aiming for the edge of the field.

We are the Thornton Thunderbirds...

And suddenly Amanda was in front of us, waving her arms like she was conducting and orchestra. Suddenly I couldn't move at will, couldn't stop her and as I looked around in panic at the other girls I saw strings on their arms. String that led right up to Amanda who was now up in the air. She cackled loudly as she controlled us like puppets.

We are Thornton Thunderbirds...

Her eyes glowed as bright as the sun as she formed the base of the pyramid with the team. She wanted me to stand on top. The pyramid was at least five meters high; I'd never liked it as I'd always been afraid I'd fall off.

We are the Thornton Thunderbirds...

She tugged at my arms, making me climb all the way up to the top, resting each of my feet on Stacey and Monica's shoulders and I stood straight yelling the same line over and over again, wondering if I'd ever be able to stop.

We are the Thornton Thunderbirds...

I saw Zack as he was punched in the mouth by a guy who'd ripped off his helmet. His nose was bleeding. I tried to scream for help but I couldn't say anything. I could only scream the same words.

We are the Thornton Thunderbirds...

I gazed up at Amanda who looked like she was about to lose her tearducts, she was laughing so much. I tried to glare but I couldn't. She didn't want me to.

"That's it, little Tori," she said, her voice having a fuzzy effect on my brain. I wanted to obey her. I needed to. "Jump."

And I did.

We are the Thornton Thunderbirds.

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