Caged

Careful Jessica.
Those words, the same ones I get told whatever I do. I know that it's only because she worries about me... But it doesn't change the fact that I hate those words with a passion.


***


Jessica has always been told to be careful, ever since her Dad disappeared the night she was born, when all he was doing was driving to the hospital. She understands it was bound to make her Mum cautious and paranoid...
But when you cage an animal it only makes it more determined to escape...

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3. Sleepy

The first thing I notice when I get in school is the large cluster of people gathered outside my form table. When I say cluster, I mean literal cluster. Daisy (the resident cheerleader and American who transferred here when her Dads job made it necessary), John (the head boy, so named for his inflated ego, and not in anyway related to the badge that he wore), Taylor and Mary (the cute couple that everybody was sure would last forever) and Susan (brainbox of the year and known as somewhat of a snob). Those were just a sample of the assortment of people I saw gathered there that day. 

"Can I sit down please?" I ask them, moving in the direction of the plastic grey chair which sit on in form lesson. 

"Yeah sorry!" Daisy said quickly stepping aside and allowing me to sit down. "It's just we were talking to David here." she says, indicating the boy sat in the seat directly opposite mine own.  "Oh... Hey, sorry, didn't see you there!" I apologise to him, taking in his appearance as I do so. Same uniform as the rest of us, but with the shiny new look that all of ours lack after nearly five years of wearing it. His hair has that typical boy look that seems popular now, and he reeks of some type of aftershave. The tanned face and the obviously muscled arms and torso, which he'd emphasised by rolling up his shirt sleeves and removing his blazer, hardly hold my attention. However his eyes do... The ice cold blue of them, staring right at me as I feel myself blush slightly. A flicker of something darts across them as I watch him closely, and he smiles at me (revealing magnificently White teeth in the process). 

"Hey there, I'm new. Just transferred." he tells me, "My names David and yours is..?" David, his voice is a mixture of accents, and not quite as low as all the other boys here. 

"Jessica." I reply, "Jessica Casson." nobody could deny he's good looking, and the smiles he was getting from all the girls (bar perhaps Mary who had drifted off to sit with Taylor again in their seats across the room) proved this. Even Susan was staring at him mouth slightly agape. At this point, my form tutor walks in and takes her seat behind her cluttered desk. 

"Morning everybody." she calls, a few people chorus morning back at her, but most just ignore her and retreat to their sets and continue to gawp at David from their various positions.  I glance at my form tutor from where I'm sat, probably the only girl to do so (except perhaps Mary again) and think how tired she looks. Dark circles under her eyes and minimal make up today where there is normally lots. Her short and spiky hair hangs a little limp and flat without it's usual gel to fix it in place. 

"Everybody seems to be a little tired today." I hear David observe, and I  shrug slightly, looking around the room at everybody else to see if he's right. The whitewashed Walls of the classroom (newly painted according to the smell and distinct lack of chewing gum wads) blur as I swivel around at all the different people I see. A few people smile in acknowledgement of me when I catch their eyes and others just aren't looking this way. A few people yawn, and those that don't seem to be in a stupor. 

"I guess so..." I say slowly, turning back to him. His icy eyes are wide open, and he doesn't look drained like the rest of us here. "You don't seem tired though." I remark, and he shrugs at this. 

"I don't get tired often." he replies smiling at something.  "Oh?" I say, trying (and failing) to not let it sound like a question. I'm by no means an anti social person, but I do sometimes like my own thought when thinking through some things. 

"Alright guys, let me do the register." my firm tutor calls out again, and it sounds like it's coming from a distance in my ears. I hear myself respond to my name (which is of course near the top) and then rest my head on my hand, dreading P.E. next lesson. 

"You okay?" Julia, a friend of mine who sits nearby, asks me. I nod, hardly aware I'm doing so.  "Yeah... Just tired." I mumble. 

"You don't look so good, want me to take you to the nurse?" she offers. I shake my head, and the movement causes my head to reel. Suddenly I don't feel well. The sarcastic part of my brain ruminates on how this would of been useful earlier for getting a day off, while the smart part of my brain tells me I did a stupid thing in not accepting the trip to the nurse offered me by Julia  Everything seems to have slowed down, and I put a hand to my forehead and feel the clammy sweat which has broken out there.

"Ecris te lafas, Ecris." I hear, as though through a tunnel, and then everything goes black, as for the first time in my life I faint. 

***

I remember when I turned thirteen, me and mum went to the cinema to go and see twilight. The first one when it came out. I remember how I looked at it and fell in love with the edgy and thrilling relationship of Edward and Bella. A forbidden love, something to be desired but not allowed. At the very end, after a dramatic showdown between the Cullen's and James, Bella collapses, or faints. Whatever you want to call it. She sees dramatic visions and life stages flashed before her eyes, most of which now include Edward. Then she wakes up in a hospital bed surrounded by Edward and her mum.  In real life, fainting is nowhere near as cool.  When I came to, I was still in my form room, and although I was getting stared at by my entire form, the only real concern I saw was in my friends and tutors. David was grinning at me, though when I frowned in his direction he instantly sobered up. I looked away a little hurt. Had I made such a first impression on him that my fainting and being ill was amusement for him? I slowly sat up from where I'd been laying on the floor. 

"What happened?" I ask the room at large somewhat shakily. 

"You fainted Jessica." My form tutor tells me, taking my arm to pull me up. I stand up weakly, my legs wobbling a little beneath me like I've just stepped on shore off a boat for the first time in weeks. Finally gaining my balance I sit down in my chair once more. 

"How long was I out?" I run a hand of my head, wincing as the palm of my hand brushes a tender spot. I must of banged it on my fall from my chair. 

"About a minute, if that. Not too long." Julia tells me, her eyes wandering all over me as though checking me for any signs of major damage. Her soft Hazel eyes are wide with fear, I give her my best smile I can. 

"I'm fine Jules, honestly." I wave my hand to illustrate this, and stand up again. 

"I want you to go and visit the nurse." my tutor tells me, handing me a red pass that shows I have permission to be out of lesson. I take it gratefully, and go to get my bags and folders. 

"I think somebody should go with Jess, to make sure she is okay." David says in his combined accent, his eyes fixing me with their cold glare, before turning to our tutor again. "I volunteer."  Around me everybody breaks into a grin and starts to make "Ooh" sounds as the make kissy faces in our direction. 

"Good idea... David isn't it?" she replies somewhat indistinguishably as she yawns at the same time. 

"Yeah, newly transferred." he says now, collecting his bag from the ground and slinking his blazer across his arm so it hangs over and doesn't trail on the ground.  I have no choice but to follow him, and in all honesty... I'm not some film or book girl who will say she doesn't want to have him accompany me. My heart rate races as he falls into step alongside me as we walk through the English corridor, and I'd have to be a fool to deny it has anything to do with his presence.  "Sleepy much?" he asks after a few seconds of walking. I turn to look at him, and his grin which seems ever present, the pictures of the head boy and head girl are just a way behind him. Their grins for the camera pale in comparison to the one he's flashing me now. I don't answer his question. "Do you really want to go see the nurse?" I stare up at him in shock as he presses on hastily, "I can guarantee she won't be able to help you."  I shake my head to clear it a little, and set off walking again. 

"And your medical degree from Fantasia tells you that." I mutter incoherently under my breath so he can't hear. Unfortunately, and impossibly, he does.  "Close enough." I hear him say, causing me to spin around and face him. 

"I have no intention of going." I say, although that wasn't the words I'd wanted to say. They were the ones that had come out though. 

"Good, you got what you wanted, a lesson free of P.E. I just handed you that." his attitude irks me, and I'm beginning to think his attractiveness hides a horrid personality. This is further confirmed when he turns away before I do and walks right out of the school doors. 

"Wait!" I call out to him, using my hand to keep the door open still. The cold air bites at any exposed skin of mine, and I wrap my arms around my body trying to physically trap any remaining heat inside me with them. 

"Yes Jess?" 

"It's Jessica." I inform him, the suddenly frosty tone in my voice putting the weather outside to shame, "Where are you going?" I go on to ask, trying to maintain my ivy air. It's somewhat ruined by my teeth chattering though. 

"Why don't you follow me and see?" 

"I can't just leave school." I tell him, completely abandoning my tone now. 

"You can, but you won't." He sighs, "I'll be back, try not to fall asleep again darling." he says walking off.  I glance back in the school behind me as the bell rings, signalling the start of lessons. I slowly turn away, back to where David was, but my retort that I never fainted dies when I see he's gone. A figure in the distance is the only person in sight, but it's too far ahead to be him. Must be hiding just behind one of those trees or cars parked here, is my first thought, but he doesn't appear. 

"Jess!?" Julia screeches, and my friend sprints outside to where I'm stood. "What are you doing stood here you idiot?" she asks shivering slightly. A thought dawns on her suddenly, and a slight fear creeps into her voice. "Are you leaving?"  I shake my head, hitch my bag up my shoulder, and head back inside with her.  I can, but I won't.  I can almost picture David's grin growing even wider as this thought crosses my mind.

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