I kept my eyes on the familiar tiled floors of Whitmire high school. I was aware of the pointing fingers and the whispered conversations behind closed hands, this was the usual routine. My small dainty hands closed tightly around the books which were pressed against my chest, making the knuckles a scary shade of white. A small voice hissed to me at the back of my mind, the recurring whispers was surely a sign of insanity. “You don’t belong here and you are well aware of that. Look at them all…” And stupidly- i did.
As soon as my eyes lifted from the floor they were met with Whitmire’s own sports obsessed freaks; the jocks.
Elyar Miles- the head of the basketball junkies- leaned forwards, parting himself from the rest of the group, and rested his colossal palms onto his knees. His dark brown hair was tousled and his green eyes were blazing with black humour. ‘Miles turned the corners of his lips up to reveal his pearly whites before sniggering a very snide comment. “Hey solo, speaking to your mom a few days ago...even invited me to her room for a couple of rounds!” My hands tightened their death grip on the spiral bound notebooks, it was the only way to bear the weight of his words.
I carried on my long and even stride praying on my every wish that i didn’t do something stupid today. It seemed to be a regular routine for me now. Behind me i could hear the howls of laughter from the sport mutations, the loudest being Elyar.
School was school. It was even more stereotypical American high school here in Whitmire. It was like it was full of more jerks, more annoying cheerleaders and even more pressure.
Exams may have been over but that didn’t lessen the nerves in anyway. I still had to wait 2 months for my results and it wasn’t exactly a thrilling time.
The sport mutations weren’t a great help but it wasn’t as bad as Tiffany Jefferson. Tiffany was the head cheerleader and just so happened to be dating Elyar. She had the figure of a glass bottle- all the curves in the right places and all the gentle soft features which made her look like she was a Vogue model. Tiffany also had the longest golden legs for about 90 miles around and she certainly didn’t hide them. This made all the jaws drop open, including the male teaching staff. The only thing that let her down was her sour personality. She matched most of the girls at Whitmire high, but she was definitely the worst. She fed off other peoples misery like a gorgeous parasite and enjoyed causing innocent students inconveniences frequently.
Just so happens that today was the day she decided to strike again.
My locker creaked open and rattled vigorously as i launched my geometry textbook into the back where my gym kit sat, folded and waiting. The locker was one of hundreds in the English block. It was closer to the library and that was my safe haven. My hideaway from the outside world.
Up ahead in the corridor there was an ear splitting bang. Every pair of eyes lifted to see Tiffany. Her face was a mask of rage and her small bony hands were stretched out in front of her, pinning Thomas McClark to the last block of lockers in that row. “Answer me!” Her high pitch shrill echoed out over the corridor. Everyone had frozen in the position they were stood in, whatever was about to happen, it was going to be good.
Thomas, who was partly familiar to me as he was in my French class, glared at Tiffany with the same hatred i held within my head. It was no secret that no one took a liking to her. Only adults were that delusional to her looks. Tiffany didn’t shy away from his penetrating gaze, she only returned it. No one ever got on the wrong side of her and lived to tell the tale.
“Well?” She demanded, her nails seeping into his collarbone and making her knuckles the same shade of white as her nail polish. “What did you say to me?!”
Thomas surprisingly started to grin. Then he laughed.
“You’re so pathetic Tiffany” he chuckled, his shoulders shook from laughter but she kept her grip. Each word he spoke her nails dug deeper into his bone. Without it wanting to, a small whimper escaped my lips. What was he doing?
“One last chance Thomas.” she threatened him, her voice was just a whisper.
In spite of the situation he was in, Thomas did one simple shuffle out of her grip and stood to the side of her while she looked on in confusion and bewilderment. He stuffed his hands into his jean pockets and stuck out his tongue at her like a 3 year old. “Y’know your pride I’ll be the death of you, Tiffany” he was calm and relaxed, he sounded like he was almost bored.
“Oh whatever Thomas, i don’t care about your opinion anyway” She replied trying to match his tone of voice and failing miserably. He laughed again. “Of course you don’t” He leaned against the creaking lockers and gave Tiffany a lazy grin. She scoffed and rolled her eyes at his body language. “If Elyar was here-” “But he’s not.” Thomas yawned loudly “And neither is anyone who cares about you” He added gesturing at the sea of gawping faces. Thomas McCall was still alive, even after Tiffany had struck.
It took Tiffany about 3 minutes to realise she was defeated. This only happened when she couldn’t be bothered to finish the fight. This time she was bothered but sadly to no victory. Her soft brown eyes flickered from each face staring back at her, each time she saw another expression she realised that no one here did worship her like the other cheerleaders did. Her facial expression was priceless and no doubt never to be seen again. And with that she turned on her heel and stalked off down the corridor and turned the corner.
All the eyes returned to Thomas. It was all silent until someone congratulated him. “Thomas, that was amazing!” “Yeah! You’re incredible!” a couple more like that followed before he actually spoke again. Except it wasn’t anything close to a victory speech. The realisation had sunk in deep enough now, he had sealed his own fate.
“If Elyar was here-” “But he’s not”
The fallen leaves from the diminishing winter skipped and danced around my feet as i strolled to school the next day. This morning seemed brighter than the last, everyone seemed a little happier. Even though this morning had been a relatively quiet one it seemed like everyone was a little perkier than yesterday. Everyone bar Thomas McCall.
As i wandered past the only Pentecostal Church in town that morning i heard Thomas speaking to a friend in rushed jerky words behind me. By the sound of his voice it was clear that the amount of sleep he got last night wasn’t enough.
“Dude, Elyar’s gonna kick my ass…” Thomas hissed, his friend sighed and replied “Well maybe you shouldn’t have gone all ‘I’m going to make you feel this big’ on his girlfriend” It was a good suggestion but it didn’t help the current turn of events being played out in Thomas’ favour. “Maybe you could have told me that yesterday.” Thomas replied sounding distressed. “It’s not my fault you made a show of yourself.” his friend chuckled. “What the hell am I going to do?” Thomas asked to no one in particular and ignoring his friends comment. “Whatever you do decide to do, which avoids you getting beaten up, will be a flippin’ miracle.”
It happened as the rest of the class and i piled out of French and into the hallway. Elyar was leaning against the nearest wall with Tiffany under his arm. She was giggling at a lame joke Elyar must have cracked and made her whole body shake uncontrollably. Thomas spotted them about a moment after everyone else because all of the colour had drained out of his face and his bright green eyes grew wider and wider. Without being told to the people in between them parted and it was a clear distance. Elyar was pointed in the direction of ‘the boy who made his Tiffany upset’ by who other than Tiffany herself.
“That’s him babe, he hurt me” She whined, everyone inwardly groaned. She was so pathetic.
Thomas let out a small whimper of pure terror as a 6”4 Elyar came storming towards him with tightly clenched fists. “You.” Elyar said sharply “Did you hurt my Tiffany?” his words were strong and his fists clenched and unclenched repeatedly. He was ready to beat Thomas bloody. Thomas glanced at the boy who stood next to him who only shuffled nervously from one foot to the other. He turned his attention to the meaty wall of muscle standing over him and gave one rapid nod of his head which was enough of a response for Elyar.
All the students had stopped and were all motionless as they watched and waited for the scream of pain. One strong hand clutched at the material of Thomas’ shirt and the other was waiting to break his glass jaw. “What gives you the authority to hurt her?” Elyar roared, spit flamed up from the back of his throat and pattered down onto Thomas’ scrunched up face. Almost like the Hulk, a loud thunderous cry escaped his lips as he drew back his balled up fist. Just as he was about to lunge forwards a voice from behind him made him stop and turn in surprise. As did everyone else.
“What gives you the authority to hurt him?”
Stood behind him was a boy of equal height, brown tousled hair that was turned up into a quiff, gorgeous ocean blue eyes and chiselled features. Everything about him was attractive and everything was mysterious. From his accent i could tell he was from California. Oh god, a surfer. Since when was there suppose to be a newbie in town? I would remember a face like that anywhere.
“Excuse me? Who the hell are you?”
Elyar was clearly taken aback by this stranger trying to question his ‘authority’ to hit anyone. “I” He began stepping towards him and clutching his textbooks in one hand, his phone in the other. “I am here to save my friend from a huge mountain of beef like you” Elyar had to almost do a double take. “Get out my way you-” “Actually no, no i won’t. And would it kill you to say please? Look sweetheart, from what i’ve gathered your girlfriend’s an absolute bitch. So he-” The boy gestured to Thomas with the end of his cell phone. “had every right to hurt her.” Elyar let his grip on Thomas’ shirt go loose so he slipped and fell to the floor in a quivering heap.
This kid’s got it coming for him…
Elyar turned his body to the new boy and took a powerful swing at his stomach. The boy moved with unexpected grace as he dodged Elyar’s oncoming fist with ease. “Ooops. You missed.”
Who does this kid think he is?
Several students let out the breath they were collectively holding and the rest of us slowly edged away from the plucky new boy and the furious jock that was clicking individual bones as if to prove his strength.
“What are you doing?” Thomas hissed to the new boy. “You’re going to get yourself killed” he added. Thomas was lying on the floor with his upper body propped up on his elbows, a clear space of people around him who didn’t dare bend down and help him. “Oh he won’t hurt me” The boy grinned a crooked smile at Thomas. This infuriated Elyar even more.
Run, whoever you are run!
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that one newbie” before the cocky kid had the chance to turn and retort a snide reply, Elyar was already swinging again.
the words were out before i could choke them down, immediately colour flushed my cheeks and my feet began to tingle with the urge to turn and run as fast as i could away from here. I wasn’t supposed to speak, it only made everything so much worse.
All the eyes turned to me. Some held the look of remorse as they knew how this was going to end, others simply looked at me in shock. It was extremely rare to them that little Maia Ramirez ever spoke out at all, let alone to Elyar Miles.
Elyar turned his head in my direction, so did the new boy. His eyebrow was raised and a small smirk spread across the corners of his mouth, right then and there i regretted even saving his sorry ass.
“Shut it Solo” Elyar snapped behind his clamped jaw. “Who the hell cares about you?” he sniggered like a 5 year old.
Ever since i had set foot in this dreaded school Elyar and Tiffany had been the duo couple to break down my self esteem and my confidence. So i had had enough. I had been walked over more times than the doormat to welcome anyone into my house, any more times and there would be consequences. I tensed every single muscle in my body as tight as they could possibly go, i let my notebooks drop to the floor in anguish and i took a deep breath.
“Maybe if you started to sort your rotten personality out then we might all actually like you” I spat, my voice didn’t shake and my stance was steady unlike my heart. My heart was in my mouth and i swear if i was to move in that moment my knees would give way.
Elyar’s eyes burned with the flickering signs of anguish, he was ready to prove his authority to everyone who doubted his superiority in which he so deeply believed in. Strangely the mysterious boy wasn’t cautiously eying up Elyar like i was. Out of the corner of my eye i saw that he was directing his full attention to me. Me!
Elyar took one swift glance at the plucky newbie and then back to the shaking corpse with the lifeless brown hair.
“C’mon Tiffany…” ‘Miles spat in disgust.
Like an obeying slave Tiffany trailed along behind her master, forever loyal and devoted. Everyone’s eyes trailed from her and Elyar who were hissing harsh words about the new kid and about me no doubt as they disappeared down the corridor to the new kid and i. With all the sudden attention, which would have seemed foreign to me anyway, i began to feel faint.
The colour slowly began to drain from my face and I began to see stars blotting out the people who stared back. I needed to get out of there. It was the middle of the school day, the bell had just gone for 4th period which was just after lunch and it was the last day of the school year. Then I was free, free to do everything i desired to do away from these idiots that meant absolutely nothing to me. So, feeling the call of desire, I took one last look at the plucky new kid before turning swiftly on my heel and sprinting out the closest double doors.
The school parking lot was far behind me by the time i gained the courage to look back over my shoulder. But something else was quite close on my tail as well. Or more rightly someone. He was there, leaning on the wooden telegraph pole which stood sturdy and protective at the school gates. He looked so out of place. His hair was different, his style was different- black and earthy tones compared to the usual red and cream of our sports team that failed in every competition. Whoever he was, he certainly didn’t belong here at all.
By now i had stopped in my tracks and, quite rudely, was just blatantly staring at him as if there were no unwritten rules between us. He may have been a stranger, but he was absolutely mesmerizing.
It stayed like that for a few moments. Just me staring at him, the cocky adolescent newbie smirking at me as if i had made a terrible joke and it amused him in some way, like a past memory. Without warning he just stood up to his full height and gave a small salute before striding away back to the gates of the dull red brick building.
That was day one of my ordeal. Little did i know that what was coming was a whole lot bigger than just reading books all summer. He would be my saviour from something i didn’t know I needed saving from.