Ughh. School. I mean, I hated it before. Who doesn't?! It's school! But now it's somehow worse. I could be out there using my powers to help people. And I could easily make a living out of appearances, if I became some sort of local hero! Then I could drop out of school and- Who am I kidding? I could never expose myself to others. Somehow, I don't think they'd understand, and the fact that Scott tries so hard to keep his talents hidden supports my thinking. If our abilities were accepted, we'd be out there doing useful, helpful things with them. But no. I'm trapped. We're trapped. Stuck in a bubble away from the rest of humanity. It's only been two days and I'm already struggling with keeping this from Sara and my mother. I momentarily wonder how Scott has coped for so long, before - rather guiltily - remembering what he told me about the plane crash when he was ten. Poor Scott.
Scott is like the guiding star in all of this - the light shining through the foggy haze of confusion. I don't know how I would be coping without him. After just two days, he's already helped me start to come to terms with my... Problem.
Problem. That's what this is. Scott's ability is beautiful. Mine is not. Mine in annoying. Nobody likes fire. Who could ever love a girl who can engulf herself in flames? No one.
I lie in bed and stare up at the ceiling. I feel so empty, so numb. This changes everything. Life will never be the same, simple way it was before. I liked the way it was before - everything was easy. If people find out about my problem... I don't even want to think of it. Three rapid knocks on my door shake me from my thoughts.
"Evi! Breakfast! I made pancakes!" My mother sings. I sigh. At least, right now, I can pretend things are - and will be - normal. I can eat pancakes with my mom and walk to school with Sara. Tear out my hair with the stress of Calculus homework. Eat lunch with the girls and talk about shopping and boys. At least I can do that. At least I can pretend.
And that is what I do. After changing into school-appropriate clothing, I eat pancakes with my mom, while discussing school, and head out to meet Sara. On the way to school, just as I expected, she begins her interrogation.
"Right, missy!" She pokes me hard on the shoulder.
"Ow!" I laugh. "What?"
"You know what!" She narrows her eyes at me as we walk, I'm surprised she's not already walked into something. "Scott Summers!"
"What about him?" I ask innocently.
"YOU SO LIKE HIM!" She squeals.
"No, Sara... He's just an acquaintance." I lie.
"Ha! Lies!" Goddammit! Sara has been my best friend since third grade, she knows me better than anyone - definitely well enough to know when I'm lying.
"We spoke at prom, that's all." I say casually. Part of me wishes that was all.
"About what?" She questions, trying to catch me out.
"He asked me if I was okay after the fire incident." I fiddle with my hair, trying to look uninterested.
"Bullshit!" She calls, too loudly (about four girls walking in front turn back to look at us).
"Sara! He's just a friend!" I hiss.
"Oh! A friend now? He was an acquaintance a minute ago." She winks at me. I go to roll my eyes and stop myself as I remember Scott's words again - it's a bad habit. We continue our walk to school in a similar way - Sara trying to catch me out, me replying with a quick casual answer. She won't drop it. And in a way I don't blame her - she knows I'm lying.
When we arrive in the school parking lot Sara points my attention to a few of the football team huddled around in front of a car.
"What's going on?" I ask, squinting my eyes to see better, with no luck.
"I think they're trying to start a fight!" Sara's eyes widen suddenly "OH MY GOSH, MARCUS IS THERE!"
Marcus is Sara's boyfriend. I know he's a jerk. Everyone knows he's a jerk. Even he knows he's a jerk! Sara, however, somehow does not know this. Being captain of the football team kind of makes him the prize to win. But his tall, muscular physique, blue eyes and dark blonde hair have never appealed to me.
She hurries off across the parking lot and I follow her at a walking pace, rolling my eyes. I never understand why she's so surprised when Marcus is in a fight or beating up some nerd - that's basically his daily routine. She could do so much better.
"Hey, babe!" Marcus calls to Sara, after he turns and notices her.
"What's going on?" I say sternly as we reach the boys.
"Relax, Evelyn. We're just having some fun!" Marcus winks at me. I try to see what the boys are doing behind him, but he obstructs my view with his large frame. I suddenly hear an impact, followed quickly by a moan. They're seriously beating someone up again?!
"Marcus! I swear to god, if you're-"
"We're just doing a little... Experiment!" He cuts me off, smirking. I look down, disgusted by the look on his face. I have to stop this. Six football players beating up one innocent guy isn't fair! It's vile! It's- Something catches my eye, glinting in the sunlight. Dangling from Marcus's fingers are a pair of red sunglasses...