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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2. Nine Years

Mmm... The smell of cherry lipgloss and my beaten-up old truck in the morning. This was summer. This was also my car. The smell reminded me of summer since my convertible red pickup truck usually wouldn't start in the winter; some part of the engine freezes up, or something, according to Drake, my best friend Zack's older brother.

I touched up my makeup at the stoplight, as I waited for it to turn green; having overslept, I didn't exactly have any time to do my makeup therefore I had to do it on my way to school. Unfortunately, I had to stop off at Zack's house every morning - I was his own private school bus, apparently - which meant I never really had time to down a bowl of cereal before I had to run out the door and start driving, full speed (I never said I was a good driver).

As the light turned yellow, I floored it, speeding towards my best friend's home.

•♥•

"Knock it off, girl, I'm here!" Zack yelled as he ran down the drive towards me and my continuous honking. "Jeez, what are you trying to do, wake the entire neighbourhood?"

"Think I just did," I winked at him, before pulling on to the open road. "Sorry I'm late, I overslept again."  Zack switched the radio on, nodding, and began to drum on the dashboard as I started tapping my fingers on the steering wheel, both our friendship bracelets jingling in a woody tune as we sailed down the road.

Zack laughed, tickling my waist causing me to squeal and squirm away, making him laugh harder. "We're so in sync. Hey, that reminds me," he pulled out a large rhinestone picture frame out of his satchel and handed it to me. I took it, apprehensively, wondering what the meaning of the gift was. I struggled to keep my eyes on the road as I peered into the frame, studying the photos inside.

'What's this for?' I glanced at him, and saw that he looked like he was about to explode if he didn't say something. 'Zack-'

'Happy ninth-year-aversary!' he shouted, hugging me so tight that I almost swerved off the road. "Today's the day we've officially been best friends for nine years - ain't it great?" He grinned as Little Thornton High School slowly came into view, as I slowed the truck to find a space in the parking lot, I peered into the frame he'd given me. He'd made an adorable collage of pictures of us together, over the years we knew each other. In the middle was a huge photo of us at last summer's Football State Championship, Zack in his red and black Thunderbirds kit and me smiling next to him in my cheerleading stuff, waving my pom poms and hugging him, red lipstick and black war stripes on my face. I remembered that day so well; it was the only time Little Thornton High had ever won something - especially something sporty. Underneath the photo of the big game, the words 'Tori & Zack' had been written on in glittery black marker, with diamante stickers lining the letters. This was, by far, the sweetest thing anyone had ever given me.

"Oh my gosh, thank you so much, Zack!" I hugged him, after parking the truck. "Happy nine-year-aversary too you too, honey," Okay, so I hadn't remembered...I felt guilty, so I rummaged around in my hot pink tribal backpack for something to present to him as a gift, throwing my pink folder in the backseat as I did so. Aha! A heart key ring! I quickly scribbled a 'Z + T' on each side in black marker pen, making sure Zack wasn't peeking, before placing it in his hand. "Sorry, I know it's not much but..."

He looked as if he was about to cry, laugh or scream...a slight over reaction, if you ask me.

"Awesome," he said, grinning, putting one arm around my shoulders and pulling me towards him. "Holy shit, I almost forgot!" There was rustling as he unbuttoned his red varsity jacket. "Voila."

Oh my God, he didn't... I thought, grinning. He had on a figure-hugging ('it has to show off my abs,' Zack always says whenever he buys a new shirt. Why are boys so obsessed with the fact that girls have to see their abs? Zack's already in Little Thornton's only football team, so isn't it pretty clear he has abs as it is?) black Batman shirt and faded black skinny jeans - the exact outfit he had on when I'd first met him, in third grade. I thought that was so incredibly sweet and thoughtful, and it made me disappointed with myself as I glanced down at my grey NYC T-shirt, faded blue skinny jeans and black chunky-heeled boots. I couldn't even remember what I'd worn, back nine years ago.

I laughed with him as I parked my truck.

"Oh my God, you didn't..." I gasped, taking in his appearance, his shiny green eyes as vivid as they had been when we'd first met. "Aw, that's so sweet, Zack! I wish I could remember what I'd worn that day-"

"A Kermit the Frog shirt, blue jeans and sneakers," He winked. "I do remember everything...unlike you, who obviously forgot it was our ninth-year-aversary today."

Uh-oh. Busted.

I blushed, pretending examine my smoky black eyeliner  in the rearview mirror, avoiding his gaze. I sighed.

"I'm sorry, Zack," I apologized, sincerely. "I completely forgot - I'll make it up to you, okay?" I slung the backpack over my shoulder, and held the pink folder I'd tossed in the back seat, up to my chest as I stepped out of the truck, Zack at my heels. "Look, how about...you come over to my house tonight and we can have a slumber party? It's Friday so my mom will let you stay."

He gave me a lopsided smile, his satchel dangling on his shoulders, as we rushed our way up the steps and into the main hall, which was bursting with students.

"Deal," he said, bumping his fist against mine. I could barely hear his response over the sound of lockers slamming, people yelling and the first bell that signalled first class.

With that, he was gone. Scampering off to his first class, as I quickly stopped at my locker before hurrying to catch up with the rest of the kids, headed my way.

•♥•

At lunch, I grabbed my usual tray of tuna salad, a green apple and a can of diet cola as I searched for Zack's table. When at last I found him, I inwardly groaned at the jocks that surrounded him. As I swiftly tried to avoid them, heading towards the staircase by the basement to be alone, I was hyperaware of my boots clicking on the linoleum floor and then Zack's eyes on mine as he beckoned me over.

"Hey..." I said, simply, hoping he'd decode my curtness into wanting to be left alone. No such luck.

"There's my favorite girl,"  he said, scruffing my hair causing the boys around the table to laugh at me. Show off, I thought grumpily, righting my hair. "Hey Tor, what's new?" I shrugged, playing with my salad, clearly uncomfortable in the presence of LTHS - Little Thornton High School - Football Team, also known as the Thornton Thunderbirds.

"Nothing, I just had math-"

I was interrupted by one of the jocks - Justin - who hollered at Zack, even though he was right next to him.

"Dude, look at that girl's butt!" he said around a mouthful of burger. "She is hot!"

I glanced at Zack's face, trying to ignore their conversation, and felt an unexpected stab of jealousy when I realized that all the boys around the table where gazing at a girl who I didn't recognize, claiming that "she is so totally hot, hot, hot!"  No one had ever called me hot. I sighed.

"Well, I-" I tried again.

"Dude, she's looking at you!" Justin interrupted, playfully punching Zack in the arm.

"Uh, Zack-"

 "She winked! Man, go talk to her!" That awkward spike of jealousy again. This didn't make sense: Zack was my best best friend, yeah, but he wasn't just mine. He had other friends, like Justin, Donny, Taylor, Jason, Shane...I could go on. He was most likely the most popular guy in the entire school, and lusted after by so many of the girls here - why do you think I never had any girl friends? They all hated my guts because they were so envious of me. I was Zack's only female friend, and that made me different to the rest of the guys, right? If Zack got attention from another girl, would he just forget me? Of course he wouldn't, I thought, annoyed with myself. He made me that collage, right? I'm different - he cares about me as much as I care about him.

"So Zack," I started, trying to forget my thoughts. "What time do you want to come over-"

This time Donny interrupted, with a loud whoop as the girl started to walk over, a look of pure seduction on her face. Gross. Something snapped inside me, frustration taking over as I pushed my chair away and started to stalk away, ignoring Zack's helpless calls: "Tori! Where are you going?"

I walked outside, breathing in calming breaths of fresh summer air, before plopping myself on to a nearby bench, dragging my knees up to my chest. I tried to figure out what had just happened, cursing myself for the childish tantrum that it was, and slowly calmed myself.

Okay, I thought. So you had a math test right? That obviously stressed you out, and you've never liked those jocks, yes? That made you mad. You weren't being jealous of that new girl, because you know that Zack wouldn't ever ditch you for someone like her ever...right?

I really hoped not.

Just as I was about to return to the canteen and apologize to everyone for my spontaneous rage, the school doors banged open and Zack was jogging down the steps towards her, concern in his eyes.

"Tori, what happened?" he asked, sitting next to me. I sighed.

"Nothing," was my reply, though really it was everything. I had a hundred thoughts a second whizzing through my head, each one stranger than the last. I looked up at him, and he looked down at me as we sat there in the shade of the oak tree. He was still worried about me, I could tell, so I decided I'd give him a little white lie just to make things easier for him. "I'm sorry it's just...you know I don't like any of the jocks, and whenever I was trying to talk to you they were interrupting. I guess I just got mad and left." So it wasn't a complete lie; I didn't like any of the jocks, he knew that.

"Yeah, 'cause I totally believe that," he answered, a knowing look on his face. "Now tell me what really happened. C'mon, can't you trust me?"

"Of course I can, jackass." I smiled - something you can't help but do whenever Zack's around. I sighed before blurting: "I'm fine, really. I just got a little stressed out from the exams I just had and...well I guess I was just overreacting. I'll see you later okay?"

With that, I hurried away, my eyes dry as the Georgia streets.

When I didn't want to tell Zack something, I knew I wouldn't tell anyone. It wasn't that I was jealous - I wasn't the type to get jealous - but I was just afraid that Zack would stop being my friend...it had happened over a million times to other people I knew, and I knew it could happen to us. What if it did? What would I do then? I guess I could start hanging with my cheerleader clique, like I'm supposed to, but all they'd talk about would be boys and fashion and...well...girl stuff. Like comparing bra sizes or something.

Zack won't leave you, I thought. He would die before he did.

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