Scarlet Bray preferred isolation. He changed that. But one secret was going to change it all.


2. The Moment

Day 165 at Summer Vale Private School. 165 days in and I still hated it. You would think that after all this time I would have managed to uncover one measly thing to appreciate about this place. Truth be told, it was no one’s fault but my own that I still hated it here; they had tried, again and again to include me, to make me feel welcome, but I didn’t want their pity and their pity was all they had to offer me.

“Scarlet, do you have your essay?” My plain teacher stared at me, with her plain eyes and her plain clothes; the lack of excitement in this building was going to drive me into an early grave.
“No,” you may assume that my teacher would have a problem with my obvious lack of respect for her, never mind my clear lack of homework, but she didn’t protest. She wouldn’t dare. You see, once you lose the people you love most in this world, people see you as something broken. They think they know what demons keep you awake at night, and no matter how okay you protest to being, they are determined to make you feel fragile. I was not broken, I was certifiably sane, but they didn’t seem to notice that.

My parents died six months ago. Two weeks later, my eldest brother voluntarily joined them. My younger sister and I were swiftly shipped away to a rich relative we only knew as a stranger. We were opposites, my sister and I; where I ran from attention, she soaked it up. You may think it was insensitive of her to use our family’s death as a means of seeking attention; but what you must understand is, we are not, were not an average family. We were, in all senses of the word: different, and I missed that. My life had become unbearably ordinary and if there was one thing I hated above all else in this world, it was ordinary.

The clock moved onwards, taking with it hours of my life I would never redeem. I counted the familiar heads of the class before me, thirty six bright, rich, spoilt teenagers, each one knowing deep in their hearts that they deserved the best. Each one knowing they were God’s gift to this humble planet and each one knowing they were better than me. Well of course they were better than the skinny, quiet girl at the back, the one who had no friends. Seeing as my choices were so limited, being friendless seemed like the most bearable way of surviving my final year chained to a desk, but they didn’t know that. Then, the door opened, he entered and the clock seemed to stop, begging me to finally seize a moment and not allow it to go to waste like so many had before it. And I did.

Miss Henry tried desperately to control her rapidly blushing cheeks as the tall boy stated his name. I watched his lips form the most beautiful words I had heard up to that point in my short life,
“Flynn Piper,” I watched from my vantage point behind Natalie White’s platinum blonde head, he was one of those boys who knew he was attractive. The sort of boy who your father would hate. Good thing mine was dead then. It also seemed wrong to call him a boy, for one thing his height was beyond any boy I could name, and he held himself in such a way that he demanded attention, he was no boy. Flynn’s eyes were filled with the boredom I knew so well. He looked up, confidence radiating from him like heat from the sun. His deep brown eyes darted from each member of our large class. He was looking for someone. I knew he was looking for me, I don’t know how I knew but I was sure of it. My hypothesis was proven when his eyes rested on mine. He knew me, it was obvious in his stare, what was also obvious was how amusing he found my confusion.

“Scarlet.” He used my name as a greeting as he slumped in the seat beside me. Unlike the adult woman and the onslaught of girls in my class, I did not stare, I did not blush and I did not react to the outstanding man seated to my right.
“You know they’re all staring at you?” My purposeful lack of reaction to his mysterious knowledge of my name was hopefully lost on this striking stranger.
“You aren’t surprised that I know your name?” The shock in his voice was evident, he clearly didn’t know me as well as he thought he did if he was expecting any form of reaction to escape me.
“Well you obviously know me, how you know me doesn’t affect my life so I don’t feel the need to react,”
“Well spoken for such a young girl,” a life spent folded between the pages of books was almost surely going to have an effect on a person’s vocabulary. Most would have tried to hide it, tried to dumb down their speech in fear of being ridiculed, but I didn’t speak to enough people to care. Although there was not a fledgling of doubt in my mind that I was intrigued by this new character in my life, I was not about to turn into a babbling idiot just to impress him.
“However, I am curious, how do you know me?” My question was answered with only a laugh. It seems Mister Piper likes to keep secrets as well.

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