Shifted | L.H

Ketsia Ramirez knew a lot of things. She knew that coffee was bad for you and should be avoided, despite what many considered a tempting taste. And she knew both the political and historical account of Sydney, thanks to her Local Cultures class. She also knew that her parents had the habit of being right, regardless what her opinion on the matter was. Ketsia Ramirez knew a lot of things about a lot of things, but perhaps most importantly, she knew that Luke Hemmings was trouble.

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2. Chapter One

With her wrist watch ticking impatiently, Ketsia was made only too aware that was running late for her first day back at school. No matter how fast she tried to prepare herself for the day, the minutes kept ticking by stubbornly, the hands grasping onto the time of eight forty five. In an ideal world, she would have been in tutor fifteen minutes ago, but here she was, her bag only half packed and her glasses left discarded on her desk – accidently, of course. She was running very, very late, and there wasn’t much she could do about it. With her mother out on a business trip and her father simply already at work, Ketsia wasn’t immediately screwed with her parents, possibly the only positive of the entirety of the situation. Unfortunately, when it came to the end of the year and her normally perfect school report had a harsh one marked against ‘late’, she was perhaps more than screwed, her parents more worried about her reputation than Ketsia was herself. The Ramirez family had no time for slackers, whenether it be an employee of their posh state or their own child. Ketsia Ramirez had no time at all, especially now she was twenty minutes late.

With her hair half brushed, she finally set out the door, her satchel banging heavily against her hip as she ran to the bus stop, her eyes only growing wider as the realisation set of how completely awful the situation was getting. All the buses had already ran, there was absolutely no way she was getting to school for first class. North West Sydney Grammar School for Girls, or NSGSG for short, was only five minutes away by chauffer, fifteen minutes by bus, and forty minutes at a standard walk. The only way she could even arrive in time for third period was to take a short cut, through the field, through Western Alley and past North West Christian College. Though the route wasn’t recommended, it was the only option she had left, even if it meant having to pass the college her parents were a little too serious about. Though Mr and Mrs Ramirez had a fine and quantifiable list of rules, avoiding North West Christian College was number three, just after avoid the Hemmings’, and two before ‘We are always right, so respect your elders, young lady.’ Ketsia herself had never once enquired her parents on why the Hemmings’ family was so inherently evil, though the question lingered in her mind most of the time. She knew their judgement was most likely correct, but she had always been brought up with a reason; it was the only way to gain answers.

Maybe it was simply a question for another day.

Hurrying her steps, Ketsia made her way through the field, the low cut grass scratching and grabbing at her ankles as she hastily avoided all the unknown substances that littered the murky floor. With the wind whipping though her hair and poking into her eye sockets, her mind cast back to the thick framed glasses left on her desk, their many uses filtering through her brain. Usually, she never would of dreamt of forgetting something as necessary as her specs, but on a usual day she never would have been late in the first place. She could only figure that today wasn’t to be a usual day at all.

Stumbling out the gate of the field, she hastily made her way through the back alley, her eyes firmly set on the exit, right by North West Christian College’s entrance. Her suede shoes hit the cobbled floor noisily, the row cutting through the silence of the air with a blade almost as sharp as the chill that just declined down her spine. It was only then she noticed a stooped figure at the opposite end of the alley, their black jacket pulled tightly over their frame as a long trail of smoke rose from the hood. She’d been briefed about alleys before, and suspicious strangers were never one they described as approachable. With the minutes still counting, she seemingly only had two options, turn around, go back the way she came and miss school completely, or advance ahead, her head held low as she avoided the stranger. Typically, she’d already been taught the answer; never miss out on your education. Sighing, Ketsia raked a hand through her wind swept ponytail before her feet began to walk the cobbled slope, her mind already running back, wishing to be anywhere else, anywhere at all, but here. The clatter of her footsteps finally caught the strangers attention when she fell short of them by a mere meter or so. The now visible cigarette was dropped from their hand as the hood was lowered also, a familiar stranger now in Ketsias wake. It had to be, it just had to be Luke Hemmings.

Her lips fell into a tight line as her eyes narrowed, the movement mirrored in Luke himself. His blonde hair was falling curtly in front of his eyes, his many facial piercings stabbing at society. Ketsia could tell why he was a soul to be avoided. Though she herself was never a fan of stereotypes, Luke was a glitch in the system, a formula of his tattoos, piercings and reputation already screaming out that he was trouble. Maybe she really just should of turned around after all.

Taking a final glance down at her watch, Ketsia broke the silence once again, her footsteps retreating into the distance as Luke fell back into the shadows. Ketsia had been warned about Luke Hemmings plenty of times, but what she didn’t know was that Luke had been warned about Ketsia Ramirez too.

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