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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3. Glowing Eyes

After my melodramatic scene at lunch, and another bunch of boring lessons which I'd stayed silent in, I was delighted when the final bell rang, signalling the end of school. As Zack traipsed over to my car, he flashed me a cautious smile, avoiding my eyes. The ride home was uncomfortable, the elephant in the room (or, in this case, the truck) was larger than ever; it was clear that Zack was still confused about my behaviour, when I read his face.

Sighing, as I silently turned the wheel down the main road through Little Thornton, I spoke apprehensively, my voice rusty as I'd avoided speaking for most of the day.

"You still thinking about earlier?" I asked, focusing on the road ahead. There was a pause.

"Yeah," he replied in a small voice, nodding - whenever he could tell I was upset or angry, he knew it was best to say and do as little as possible to me. Some friends thought that was wrong to do that to each other, and that they always needed as much love and attention as you could give, but Zack knew I had a short temper and hated when people dwelled on someone else's problems, even if they concerned yourself. "Tori, I'm sorry."

"What do you have to be sorry for?" My eyebrows shot up. My eyes were still trained on the street ahead.

"For ignoring you..." he avoided looking at me, and I saw his cheeks go a shade of red. Aw, he was blushing! "And the guys too. When I joined the football team, all they could talk about was you; how pretty you were, how nice you were, how fierce you could be - you're even a cheerleader. To them you were the whole package. But...I knew you got uncomfortable around other guys, so I told them to just focus on something else whenever you were with me - I thought you would've been okay with it."

"Woah, woah, woah! How did you know that was the problem?" I stared at him, before remembering I was driving and narrowly missed hitting a tree. What he said was true, though - I did get uncomfortable around other guys. Mainly because I always thought they were constantly comparing me to all of their exes, or the other cheerleaders who were mostly prettier and way more experienced than me, always decked out in their short black and red miniskirts and tank tops, with their shiny blonde hair teasing them, waving pom poms around and doing high kicks and flips - I always thought that was a guy's idea of perfect, not me. He didn't reply.

I thought I heard my phone buzz, in my bag, but decided it was just my imagination and approached my house, leaving it alone.

"Well, thanks Zack," I said, pulling into my driveway. "That was really thoughtful of you, but I'll be fine, honest." He nodded, jumping out of the car and into my house, with me trailing behind him.

"Mom, I'm home!" I yelled, dumping my bag and keys on the table, as I climbed the stairs, Zack trailing behind. "Zack's here!"

"Hey, Shane just text - the guys are all going out to Shakin' Moo's," he said, jumping on my bed in a starfish position, so that I couldn't sit down. "They wanted to know if you and I wanted to come?"

I was just about to reply when my phone buzzed again, this time in my pocket. I checked the screen and froze. Cheer practice 5PM!!! said the reminder. My gaze found the digital clock on my dresser - 5:05. Shit. I'd completely forgot that this week's practice had been moved from Tuesday to Friday due to a gymnastics tournament or something.

"I'd love to," I started, locking the phone. "But I can't. I just remembered that practice is tonight - what about later?" I darted into the walk-in wardrobe, quickly stripping off my clothes and replacing them with Thornton High's red and black official cheer squad outfit, with my tennis trainers.

"Oh, the guys are all going now," he replied, as I emerged from the wardrobe. "Do you mind if I go on my own? I mean, if you're going to be at practice - "

"Yeah, sure that's fine!" I said quickly, fishing my pom poms out of my spare gym bag and running down the stairs and jumping in the truck, Zack next to me as we'd been less than five minutes ago.

 •♥•

"I don't get it," I said, staring quizzically at the locked door of the off-campus gymnasium. "Where is everybody?" I turned to face the parking lot, expecting to see more cars parking and other girls bounding up the steps to join her and Zack.

"Maybe it got cancelled?" he asked, shrugging. "Well on the plusside, now you can come with me for ice cream...or a milkshake, whichever you prefer."

Just then my phone started to sing Lady Gaga's 'Telephone', and I peered down to see who it was. Ashley, the cheer captain. Apart from Zack, Ashley was the closest thing I had to a friend. She'd always showed kindness to me and even though she can be bitchy to everyone sometimes and spread the worst rumors in history, she's a totally good ally to have and great fun. I quickly tapped the 'Answer' button. 

"Hey Ash, where is everyone?" I asked, frowning once again at the locked doors. "I thought you said practice was moved to Friday?"

"I'm so sorry, Tori I completely forgot to tell you!" she whimpered down the phone. "I broke my leg on Wednesday when we were trying out the pyramid; someone hit me with a ball and I...well...went splat, I guess."

"I-you're kidding right?" I asked, panicked. "Oh my God, Ash! Why didn't you tell me?"

"I would've but with my leg being broken I haven't been in school to tell you," she sighed. "I'm sorry if you already made it there, it's just my phone was dead and-"

"You think I'm talking about practice?" I laughed. Sometimes, it was good to have a female friend for once. I glanced over at Zack who was leaning against the truck, looking as if he didn't have a care in the world as he peered up into the afternoon sky. "Come on, girl, I'm talking about your leg! Are you okay?"

"Ohh," she giggled. "Yeah I'm better now, I guess, but it still hurts like Hell, I'm tellin' ya!"

"Well, if you need anything at all just call me and I'll be right there," I said, sincerely. "I'll see ya later."

I hung up, and faced Zack.

"What happened?" he asked, frowning at my expression. "Something wrong?"

"Ash broke her leg," I replied. "She's in pain."

"Shit, really?" I had to resist the urge to laugh as I saw his eyebrows shoot up to his hairline. "How'd that happen?"

"She fell off when they were trying out the pyramid," I replied. "Well, on the plus side, I guess now I can come to Shakin' Moo's with you, huh?"

I thought about what was going to happen in terms of cheer captain, as we started to walk to the heart of Little Thornton; Shakin' Moo's - the place where you will find anyone you're looking for, Moo's is Thornton's most popular hang-out and my favorite place in the whole world...apart from New York, that is.

Little Thornton was a dusty town, near Savannah, Georgia just on the East coast. It was a town nothing like what I remembered of New York City, with fairly large houses with low roofs, most with balconies, and large gardens, nothing like the brownstones of Brooklyn. Thornton also had its fair share of sunshine, with the hot summer sun beating down on my back, presently, like I was in a tanning bed - it was awesome. As Zack and I walked down Main Street, I noticed the afternoon light fading, slowly but surely, the sky turning a light shade of purple as the sun sank low near the horizon. The stores lining each side of the cobblestone path were all bright and cheerful, most with some kind of fairy lights hanging in the trees or bushes nearby, making the evening feel wonderfully magical. A slight breeze whistled through the air, gently whispering into my hair as I twirled around to admire the view of the beautiful sea and the beach it lay upon, before Zack pulled me into Moo's claiming I was stalling just because I didn't want to see anyone. Yeah, right.

As usual, Moo's was bursting with people, mostly high school students socializing  and college kids studying. The booths were almost all taken, without any seats left, but Zack headed towards one next to the window.

"Hey, man," Justin called, beckoning us over. "About time you got here. Dude, where were you?" Justin's eyes rested on mine and I noticed his eyes widen and his cheeks go a shade redder - subtle, but not subtle enough. "Tori!" he yelped, elbowing Shane and Donny at each of his sides. "What are you doing here?"

"Um... Hey Justin?" I tried, though I was thoroughly shocked - none of the jocks talked to me. I was invisible. "Practice was cancelled so I thought I'd come along. You don't mind, do you?" I challenged, arching one eyebrow and placing a smirk on my lips.

"It's fine!" Donny and Justin both cried at the same time, shuffling down the hot pink couch with its cow print throw, to make room for me.

"Okay, well," Zack said, taking out his wallet. "I'm getting an oreo milkshake - Tori, do you want anything?" He glanced at me, counting his bills.

"Well, duh - but there is no way I'm letting you pay for me," I demanded, looking pointedly in his direction. He studied my face, puzzled. "You already got me a gift for our nine-year-aversary, so it's my turn to treat you." But then I remembered something. "Oh crap, I forgot my wallet...okay, how about you go buy drinks for both of us, and I'll pay you back when we get home, deal?"

He rolled his eyes, grinning. "Got it. So one oreo for me and a chocolate with Snickers for you - coming right up." he walked over to the bar and waited to get served. It was sweet how he always just knew exactly what I felt like having. Justin, Shane, Donny and Jake all turned their eyes on me.

"What?" I asked, uncomfortably shifting in my seat. "Do I have spinach in my teeth, or something?" They continued to stare, seemingly frozen.

"How come you're here?" Jake asked slowly, scrutinizing my face. "I thought you were supposed to be at cheer practice."

"Yeah, so that you can cheer us Thunderbirds to the State Championship." Shane, this time. I frowned at them.

"It was cancelled - I just told you. Ash broke her leg." I replied, wondering why I'd agreed to come here. "I know I'm the vice captain, but I figured we could just wait till Monday."

The guys all did that whole man-grunt thing and continued talking about the latest baseball game, as Zack returned to the table, milkshakes in hand.

"One choco-Snickers for you," he said placing mine in front of me. "And one oreo for me."

I thanked him and stared out the window to my right, watching the sun as it sank and the sky as it grew darker, the fairy light lining Main Street shining brighter than ever. I let my thoughts get lost in the stars that appeared like magic in the sky, and as I looked down I saw a beautiful girl, with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes, similar to mine staring at me. She looked like a predator contemplating her prey.

I looked at the boys around me, wondering if they'd seen her, but when I looked back out the window she was nowhere to be seen. I frowned, peering into the darkness for her but she had vanished.

Well, I thought. That was...weird. 

I removed my focus from the window, telling myself that I was just seeing things - even though, I'd been sure she'd really been there - and concentrated on the conversation the boys were in the middle of.

"...all I'm saying is that she's gotta be hot, if she's from New York," Justin was saying. "All girls from New York are!" I frowned. Were they talking about me? And if so, did Justin just call me hot? I had to keep myself from gagging.

"Tori's from New York," Zack said, nudging me as I took a sip of my drink. "So does that mean she's hot?" I almost choked on my milkshake.

"Tori's just..." Jake began, looking me up and down as if considering how hot I was. "Different." I lifted an eyebrow and crossed my arms, pursing my lips as I thought about this.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I dared, glaring at him. "Are you saying I'm ugly?"

"Of course you're not ugly!" Shane jumped in, his dark hair flopping over his eyes, like Zack's.  He blushed, realizing what he'd said. "I mean... All cheerleaders are pretty, right?" He busied himself with his ice cream.

"Well, I happen to think Tori is gorgeous just the way she is," Zack announced, softly tousling my brown hair. He winked, like he always does. Jake grunted and went back to scrolling through his phone, without a care in the world. Asshole.

"Anyway," Justin continued. "Word on the street is that she's a keeper; hardly anyone's seen her, though. And apparently she's super good at sports - she's real fast according to Austin."

I perked up. Super fast, huh? Could he be talking about the girl I'd seen in the window?

"Who is?" I asked, suddenly feeling the need to know. "Who's super fast?" Justin looked at me like I'd just grown two heads.

"The new girl," he answered slowly, still staring at her like she was an idiot. "Amanda Blair. She starts tomorrow." Amanda Blair... I felt a funny shivering feeling down my spine, like someone was watching me. I turned around and there she was again, standing across the street from me, her body shrouded in darkness. A halo of platinum blonde hair on her shoulders, her icy blue eyes seeming to glow through the shadows. And then she was gone. Vanishing just as quickly as she had not five minutes before.

I was watchful, peering into every shadow outside of Moo's. That girl had creeped me out; why would someone be standing there in the dark and staring at me?

She was probably just staring at Zack, not me, I reasoned with myself. I mean, Zack's hot, I'll admit that, but that still wouldn't explain why her eyes were glowing. It didn't make sense no matter what way I tried to put it, in my head. I cursed myself for being paranoid; just because she was looking at me doesn't mean she's stalking me, for Christ's sake. And besides, maybe she can just run really fast? Some of the girls on the cheer squad can run super fast...but not as fast as that. How can someone be there one minute and gone the next? And when she'd looked at me, it felt as if she'd literally implanted fear and paranoia into my brain - nobody does that, no matter how intimidating. It shouldn't make sense. It doesn't make sense. This was something that happened in movies and books, not real life - not the romance movies, or the mystery ones, or even the fantasy ones.

She reminded me of something out of a horror movie.

 

-NOTE-

Thank you everyone who reads my stories! I know it takes a long time for me to write a new chapter but I try to write some of them at least once a day, if I have time. Okay, I'll get to the point... At first this story was supposed to be a Chick Lit/Romance novel for the John Green Writing Contest, but now I've changed the plot - a lot - and it's now a Horror/Fantasy with a little dash of Romance too, and it will need a new name! If you have any name ideas feel free to comment what you think. Chapter 4 is almost finished and I will probably publish it this week, so keep checking back!

Thank you so much for all your support <3

Jess xoxo

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