Of the Full Moon

Skyler Chase is a student at Wulner High School. Surviving high school, maintaining perfect grades and graduating are her main worries. That is until a fateful walk home changes her life forever.

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1. The Volleyball

    "And that concludes my presentation."  
    The class erupts into soft applause as I shut my laptop off. I'm surprised a presentation on the French Revolution riles a group of high schoolers. I know this occurred only because it's considered rude not to. I can still feel the heat in my cheeks; my discomfort of standing in the spotlight surfaced the moment my name was called. Oh, how I hate oral presentations. 
    "Well done, Skyler. You may take your seat." Ms. Taylor says. Thank God. I close the lid of the laptop and make my way through the desks to my seat. 
    "Still need that bucket?" Kyle whispers.
    "Oh, don't remind me. I might just vomit all over you." I jokingly reply.
    "Just not the face please, we all know it's what attracts the ladies." He says with a grin, his light brown gaze smirks in accordance. His smile reveals dazzling white teeth and dimples. His perky brown curls spring as he sits back in his chair, folding his arms behind his head.
    Yes, he is indeed cute. Some 'ladies' have tried, but not the drop dead gorgeous kind that he insinuates. We have been best friends for so long though that I view him as such: a friend. Therefore, I am not included in the cluster of females he speaks of.  
    "Never the ones I like though." He adds. Clearing his throat, he pushes up his square glasses awkwardly with his slender middle finger. Before I can reply to this remark, our teacher calls out the next victim. 
    "Mr. Lander. You're up." Ms. Taylor announces. 
    "Good luck!" I say to him, hoping he will not have the same feeling of regurgitation that I had.
    "Don't need it, but it is much appreciated." Kyle tows his laptop up to the front. 
    He launches into a presentation regarding the endeavors of Maximilien de Robespierre. Kyle remains calm and composed, his words flow together in perfect composition. I've always envied his comfort in front of crowds. The end of his presentation comes a few minutes later. I join the rest of the class in clapping. 
    "Excellent display, Kyle." Ms. Taylor praises. Kyle returns to the seat next to mine. "Tomorrow we will finish the rest of the presentations and proceed with the Holocaust. You may converse silently for the remainder of the period." 
    I turn to Kyle. "You must teach me how to present."
    "Presenting 101 has yet to be created. Find a way to make your subject modern, young grasshopper. I think this generation likes old Maxi. " Kyle says. 
    "I forgot my note cards in my locker. Raincheck?" I pout sadly. 
    "Only this once, Skyler." He face is plastered with a faux stern expression. We stare at each other seriously for a moment, only to break the silence with laughter.
    The electronic buzz of the bell sounds, signaling the start of lunch. I wrap my bag over my shoulder and collect my things. 
    "See you at lunch." Kyle says. He then joins the congestion of students that are exiting through the small door. 
    "Have a great Friday, Ms. Taylor." 
    "You too, Skyler." She replies. 
Holding my things to my chest, I leave the classroom. As I pass through the doorway, another being and I collide.
    Bam!
    I fall to the the cold tiled floor. My laptop slams against the ground and my sketches sprawl across the ground. A mixture of laughter and exclamations emit from the students. Once I overcome my embarrassment, I groan. 
    "I am so sorry." I make eye contact with the source of the apology. Wow. Piercing blue orbs stare back at me. An extremely handsome boy is hunched over my form. I suddenly feel small. His tousled black hair frames his chiseled features perfectly. I was getting so lost in his face that I almost forgot to speak. 
    "Uh, i-it was my fault. I should've been paying closer attention. " I manage to stutter. I'm already making a fool of myself. He picks up my laptop and examines it. He seems amused. 
    "Luckily, I don't think it's damaged." This boy looks at the sketches.
    "Those are really good, you know."
    I panic and stuff the papers back into the sketchbook and give a quick and awkward thanks. He holds out his hand, which I gladly take.
    "Sorry. My name is Ryder." he says as he picks up my sketchbook.     

    "Skyler. Nice to meet you." 
    "Under very unconventional means I might add." Ryder laughs softly, a beautiful sound that makes my heart melt. He hands me the laptop and sketchbook. "I apologize again, Skyler." 
    "It's okay. You don't have to apologize." 
    "Skyler!" The voice of a colorful haired girl sings. I turn around.
    "Molly. Hey." I greet my friend. 
    Molly is a very exuberant and outspoken girl. Her style is reflected by her personality. Her lilac hair is adorned with a daisy crown and her grey eyes are covered by a pair of aviators, even though she knows a teacher will enforce the 'no sunglasses' part of the dress code. I am well aware that she could care less, as long as she gets to express herself for a little while. 
    "And who is this?" Her polished fingers pull the glasses down the bridge of her nose so she can leer at Ryder. 
    "Ryder." I say with slight reluctance.
    "Well Ryder, it's very nice to meet you. I'm Molly Piper. " 
    "Molly, we really must be going. " I insist. 
    "May the next time we meet be under normal circumstances." He bids farewell and walks the other way, falling into the crowd.  I continue the journey to my locker as Molly runs to catch up. 
    "How could you let him go like that, Skyler?! Have I taught you nothing?" 
    "I'm not like you, Molly. I don't initiate anything with guys. I don't even know the guy. He could be a serial killer for all I know." 
    "A devilishly good looking one." Molly adds. After giving her a disapproving look, we finally reach my locker and I put the combination in. My heart is still racing over the encounter with the fine specimen that is named Ryder. 
    I can't reveal this to Molly; she is a very invasive person. I already know she is going to investigate him; the way she looked at him let me know that she was planning on snatching him if I took to long. She could accomplish this very deed too, she is a very beautiful and confident gal. Everything that I am not. 
    I shove my things in the locker, shut it, and close the lock. "I know you'll have his address and birth certificate by tomorrow." She laughs at this remark. 
    "You know me so well. Let's go get some food, I'm starving!"

***

     I pick at the salad in front of me. My heart has finally found its way out of my throat and back into my chest.  Molly and Kyle laugh at something that was said, but I wasn't paying attention. 
    "How could you not laugh at that, Sky?" Kyle manages through his laughter. 
    "Sorry, what?" I ask. I zone out frequently when I find something uninteresting. It's both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because in classes that contain loudly obnoxious students, I can block everything out. But a curse because of moments like these. When I don't even realize that everyone and everything has become mute. 
    "Oh, don't worry about her. She's still swooning over a guy." Molly gushes. God, I want to slap her. I can feel the familiar heat in my cheeks return. 
    "What guy?" Kyle asks curiously.
    "Some Ryder dude. " She replies.
    "Ryder Evans?" He asks. Evans? How does he know his last name? 
    "I guess. How do you know him?" I enter detective mode.
    "He's on the soccer team. A top player too. He's a beast on the field." Kyle answers. 
    This makes sense. I'm not involved in sports and I lack the athletic gene. So of course I wouldn't know any the team members. 
    "A top player? How could I not know of him?" Molly wonders. I can see how appalled she is with herself. 
    "Maybe because you try to date baseball players. Soccer just might not be your preferred sport." Kyle breaks Molly from her pity party. She punches him in the bicep over the remark.
    "Ow! Hey! That's tender!" He exclaims, rubbing his arm. I can't help but laugh. 
    "See, that was funny!" I take a satisfying bite of my salad, the leafy lettuce draped with Italian dressing tastes wonderful. Kyle regains his aloof demeanor.
    "So are we gonna do something tonight? We can go to Felicity's. Or even Lithe..." Her end syllable hisses.
    "I would never go to Lithe! Are you kidding me?" I say seriously. Lithe is a popular nightclub for teens. Molly is always persistent when it comes to the place; she thinks that I will magically want to go one day. 
    "And we already know how this conversation is going to play out: you're going to come up with a rather feeble argument about how Lithe is such fun and that I am a lousy teenager who is missing out. Save your breath." I say with more aggression than meant. Molly sighs dramatically but makes no attempt to counteract my statement. 
    "Felicity's it is then." Kyle mumbles through a mouthful of burrito. 
    "One day Skyler, one day..." Molly says ominously. 
    "Only in your dreams." I smugly say. I got her off my back this time. I need to get Lithe off her mind before she persists. "Lunch is almost over, are you ready for volleyball? Cause I'm not" 
    "That's because you don't possess any athletic bone that one could possibly have. I don't know how you pass Phys-Ed." Molly says. Mrs. Bryant understands that I am no athlete. She goes easy on me. And she let's me turn in papers on anything sports related for extra credit. 
    "I try at least. She gives me some points for participation." I get up from the table and collect the empty plastic container. Molly gives me a look and holds up her trash
    "Please?" Molly asks, lacing her features with sadness. She's good at acting. She resembles a toddler who yearns for the toy on the television screen. I cannot deny that face, so I pick up her trash as well and make the journey to the trash can as Molly yells about how grateful she is. 
    A warm wind gently whips through my hair, I inhale the breeze. I've always loved days like these;  it's not too cool or too warm. Wulner provides a scenic courtyard where students may eat lunch. It's enjoyable weather and peaceful on this particular spring day. 
    Once I dispose of lunch, I take my phone from my bag to check the time. The digital numbers read 10:59 a.m. I am a minute away from that dreadful class. 
    You pass this year and you will get the credit. It'll be out of the way. Easier said then done, but the year is already half way over. It won't be too horrible. I release a sigh and look up; only to be locked in with the familiar piercing blue gaze.
    Ryder stands multiple yards away located on the opposite side of the courtyard surrounded by other guys, whom I assume are his teammates. He stares with disconcerting intensity. I quickly look away, trying to overcome embarrassment once again. How does this boy get such a reaction from me?
    The bell rings, relieving me. I almost run to the gymnasium. Reaching the locker room a couple minutes later, I am greeted with the sound of teenage girls conversing amongst each other about boys and the drama that occurs in their lives. 
    Molly is already in the process of undress by the time I reach the alcove that our shared locker is in. 
    "Hey, I lost you when the bell rang. You ran away. Something wrong?" She asks with genuine concern. This is why Molly is one of my closest friends. She can always sense when I am upset even if I am trying to hide it. I don't want her knowing that a certain blue eyed boy was in my head already. So I made an excuse:
    "I just didn't want to be late for class. You know me!" I smile brightly. She gives a look of uncertainty, but decides to accept the lousy excuse. 
    "Yea, you're all about perfection." I reach into the locker and grab a pair of capri leggings and a tank top. Molly is already tying her shoes by the time I shed my jeans. 
    "Kiera is going to mop the floor with us." Molly announces. Kiera Jackson is on the girls volleyball team and is somewhat of a celebrity here. She is the epitome of a female athlete. I put on my free runs and tie the bright laces ( My mom thinks if she helps me dress the part of an athlete, it will help me somehow ).
    "Well yeah, this is her element. Let's just hope we're on her team." 

***

    "Sorry, Skyler." Molly apologizes as she is sent to the other side of the net with Keira. Mrs. Bryant gestures for me to join the the other team. My team consists of lesser athletic girls, who are still more attuned in this department than I am. Everyone takes their places on the court as Mrs. Bryant throws the volleyball to Kiera. 
    "First serve!" Mrs. Bryant yells. She picks up the whistle that hangs from her neck, licks her lips, and puts the instrument to her mouth. The loud shriek follows seconds later. 
    Kiera slaps the ball to the ground several times, testing it's bounce. She then rushes forward, tosses the ball in the air with her left hand and bounds toward it. Her right hand hits the air-born ball with a satisfying smack
    The high speed projectile ricochets off the court and barrels towards us. One of my teammates, Sarah, attempts to hit the fast ball, but ultimately fails when she slides across the wooden court. Mrs. Bryant blows the whistle.
    "Point. Nice serve Kiera." She praises the star athlete. Of course it was 'nice'. She has been playing this sport since middle school. 
    Everyone repositions themselves. Kiera holds the ball firmly and begins the process of serving again. I don't realize that I am beginning to tap into the gift previously mentioned. I begin to zone out.
    Molly is to the right, she mouths something. I'm too busy trying to decipher what her lips spoke that I don't notice the ball flying towards me. It was only then that I realized she mouthed "pay attention".
    "It may leave a bruise. Keep the ice on it to make the swelling go down." Nurse Riley had tended to me after the incident. I sit in her office with a bag of ice against my cheek. Today is just not my day. First, being the locked door to the ram that was Ryder, then having a volleyball connect with my face. Luck is not on my side. 
    Molly had to drag me all the way here. Kiera was apologizing excessively; I joked with her by complimenting the serve (calling it an excellent serve instead of a nice one). 
    "Do you wanna call home?" Nurse Riley asks, her words laced with concern. 
    "No. I'm fine." I manage through slight pain. 
    "I'll write you a note then. Sixth period, miss." She reaches for a post it and a pen, scribbles on the paper and hands it to me. 
    "If you change your mind, just come down." I take the note and nod.
    "Thank you." I say genuinely and leave the office. Now I just have to survive three more periods. 
    After returning to the locker room to change, I venture through the halls to room 130: the small class of digital photography. The artificial glow of the ceiling light shines against the tiled floor. The corridor is completely empty, only the sound of the janitors floor buffer in the next hallway to signify life.
    I take the time to appreciate this silence until I reach my class. Hesitating for a moment, my hand grasps the door handle. With a turn, it opens and I am greeted with the halt of Mr. Adams' speech about proper lighting. 
    "Oh, Skyler! How nice of you to join us.You were not just missing a very informative discussion about lighting." Mr. Adams greets me warmly. He has always been one of my favorite teachers. His wacky appearance - grey hair ( "Not because I'm old! I just love the color!" ), glasses too big for his face, and an out-of-date wardrobe - is paired with an equally wacky personality, which I adore. 
    "You look like you've been through a war!" He exclaims. I close the distance and hand him the note from Nurse Riley. 
    "A war that involved a volleyball and a very athletic girl. As you can infer, I lost the battle." He examines the note. 
    "But not the war! You may gather your handy, dandy image capturing device." Ignoring the pain,  I head for the camera rack. You can definitely survive this period, I think to myself. Retrieving my Canon, I find my seat next to Reggie as Mr. Adams continues his rant.
    "Hey, Reggie." I say.
    "Hey, Skyler. Do you need me to fix anything on your camera?" He asks. 
    "Yeah, actually. There's something wrong with the resolution." I hand him the camera as he begins teaching me the functions in depth. 
    The remainder of the school day flies by a lot quicker than I had predicted . I wait in the parking lot for my mother; she insists on picking me up everyday. But I also insist that if she were to invest in a car for her loving daughter, she wouldn't be burdened with such redundant labor. So far, this is a lost cause. 
    "Skyler!" A honk of a horn and I immediately know it's her: my mother, Claudia Chase. She stops the car in front of me, her chestnut curls remaining perfect against the breeze. 
    "What happened?!" She asks with motherly concern. 
    "Volleyball. Kiera Jackson. Wasn't paying attention." I mumble. She instantly understands at the mention of Kiera. I open the door of the Murano and climb into the passenger seat.  
    "It was an accident though. " I add, not wanting her to think that I am the target of bullying. This reassures her. 
    "Okay, honey. How was school?" She pulls out of the parking lot and onto the road home as I relay the days events. 
***
    The car pulls into the driveway of my residence. It's a medium sized house resting on Woodland Drive, number 1335. It is easily recognizable from the bright red garage and front door that differs from any other on our street; the house itself is a dark shade of green. This is what I call home. 
    Walking up the steps of the porch, I open the storm door, making sure to wipe my Chucks on the Welcome mat. The sound of erratic movement and scraping can be heard on the other side. I know who it is: Russell, our border collie. 
    "Rus!" I call as I open the red door. He jumps up, panting with excitement. I bend down and pet his black and white fur. Russell lays on his back.
    "You want belly rubs, Rus?" He whimpers longingly. I run my fingers along his stomach, he responds by letting his tongue hang out of his mouth. 
Mom comes in through the garage, watching me with her green eyes. 
    "Your father will getting home at..." She examines the watch on her right wrist, her favorite watch. I remember when my dad bought it: it was for their 9 year anniversary. He had taken me with him to pick it out when I was seven. We had gone to Macy's, I remember how big everything seemed. 
    "Are you absolutely sure, Skyler?" He had asked. I had picked out a rose gold chronograph mini that cost roughly 275 dollars. Of course I was sure, it was beautiful. 
    "We'll take it." He tells the store clerk. He would later have 'Ti amerò per sempre' engraved on the back; Italian ( my mother is of an Italian descent ) for "I will love you forever." 
    For a seven year old, it was the sweetest thing imagined. Now, I think it's sappy. But the way my moms face lit up, how genuine tears poured from her, it had been sentimental. The watch still is 10 years later. 
    "Four I believe. What should I make for dinner?" Mother finishes. 
    "Well, I was planning to go to Felicity's with Molly and Kyle. But, make your Gnocchi. You know it's Dad's favorite." 
    "Oh, Felicity's? Will you bring back those cream puffs?
    "Of course." I smile at her. 
    "I'll go get some cash. Oh I can taste them already!" Leaving the foyer, she heads for the kitchen. I pat Russell's head and straighten up. 
    "Enough belly rubs, Russell. I gotta go put my stuff up." He whines, but I still make the ascent up the staircase. 
    My bedroom is easily identifiable. The door has a sign that reads my name, this is to notify newly visitors that this door does not lead to a bathroom. Yes, an incident like that has happened before. I pass the threshold to my territory. 
    The floors are dark wood and the walls are a brilliant mint. A black tree is located on one wall ( I begged my dad to let me paint it), Banksy's Girl With a Balloon is stenciled underneath the tree. A black chandelier is suspended from the white ceiling. I hope to one day paint something on this as well. 
    The white framed bed against the right wall has a grey and white chevron patterned duvet with mint sheets. The pillows are grey and mint too, to match. A tulle canopy laced with lights hangs over the bed and a bedside table lays beside it; an alarm clock and lamp on the surface.
    Against the left wall is a white desk, art and school supplies lay atop. Above hangs a memo board; pictures of my friends and family are on it. One of my favorites is Russell as a puppy. My bookshelf sits in the corner of the left and window wall. A window seat is embedded in the wall directly ahead. Russell's favorite fur rug lays on the floor in front of it.       
    This is my sanctuary, it's just how I like it. 
    I toss my backpack on the cushiony window seat and set my laptop on top of the desk. Ryder held it in his strong hands... 
    This boy has been on my mind all day, I cannot comprehend the reason. A  gorgeous person had bumped into me, assisted and apologized. A normal guy that fits his physical description would have told me to watch where I was going, and walked away. I am overthinking things as usual, I don't even know him. Only his name. I need to-
    "Skyler!" A knock on the door snaps me back to reality. 
    "Come in." I say. My mother walks in, money in hand.
    "I found some cash, here you go." She lifts her arm up, her nimble fingers gracefully holding the green bills. Taking the money, I give my thanks. 
    "How is your cheek, sweetie?" I almost forgot about that. The unwanted pang returns. Another part of my gift must be the ability to also tune out pain.
    "It still hurts. I'll put an icepack on it later." I take my wallet from the bag that hangs from me and put the bills in. 
    "I'm going to go prepare dinner. See you soon." Mom says as she heads through the doorway. She shuts the door behind her. I hang my bag from a hook on the wall shelf and take off my jacket. The full effect of today's events hits me like a brick wall; I feel sore, exhausted and dirty. I need a hot shower. They always calm me. 
***
    My reflection stares back at me through the haze covered glass. The girl's timid eyes are mine; a light green with flecks of brown. Her chocolate brown hair is mine. Her full lips. Mine. This girl in the mirror lacks self confidence. Most definitely, this is me. I sigh and head into my bedroom. 
    After pulling on a V-neck and a pair of jean shorts, I disconnect my phone from its charger and press the home button. Two new messages, four notifications, and one voicemail. I type the four-digit passcode and view the messages. One is from Kyle and the other if from Molly.
Molly: Hey! Kyle and I agreed on 6. So help me God, if you are studying... 
Me: No. I was taking a shower. 6 is fine with me. 
Molly: Great! I'll tell Kyle :)
    Kyle's text was also about the time. I send a quick reply: Molly got to me first, better luck next time. Just to be funny, I add a devil emoji.  
    I'm going to hear about this at Felicity's, it's totally worth it. My left cheek throbs. I get up and decide to get that ice pack. 
    The aroma of Mom's cooking fills my nostrils when I reach the base of the stairs. I can hear the soft humming coming from her. This is something she always does when preparing dinner. Cooking has always been a passion of hers.
    "Hey, mama." I greet her as I enter the kitchen. She jumps a little, then laughs. 
    "You scared me." She exclaims, but continues rolling a giant sphere of potato on a cutting board. I lean against the counter next to her.
    "I'm sorry. I'll be leaving around six. Is that fine with you?" She stops and looks over her shoulder at me, her features show endearment. 
    "Of course. Why don't you help your mother? Get a pot of water boiling for me." She picks up a knife and begins cutting sections of the potato ball. I bend down in front of the island, opening the cabinet, and grab a silver pot. 
    The jingle of keys alerts Russell to an approaching presence. I can hear the door open, then close, and heavy footsteps. I quickly stand back up. 
    A man stands in the archway. He wears a crisp black suit, the buttons recently undone, and a striped tie hangs of his neck. He has black hair and a single streak of silver. His green eyes scan the room
    This mans name is Nicholas. His friends call him Nick, but I call him Dad. 
    His lips curl into a smile at the sight of my mother cooking. He comes up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist, and kisses her cheek. She giggles with delight. After 19 years of marriage, they still love each other deeply. 
    "Welcome home, daddy." I say to him as he releases my mother. Yes, I still call him daddy occasionally. 
    "Is this your Mother's famous Gnocchi I am smelling?" Dad asks with evident delight. He peers into the pot that contains a top secret sauce; it's a family recipe. 
    "Why, yes it is. It'll be a date night for us; Skyler is going out with her friends." Mom answers. 
    "Kyle and Molly?" Dad asks. 
    "It could be other people. I have more friends you know!" I joke. They love poking fun at my lack of social interaction. My dad conjures a guffaw, as my mother joins in. I set the pot in the sink and begin filling it with water. 
    "I'm only teasing, honey." He comes up behind me and rubs my back, his hand presses damp hair into my back. This comforting gesture is welcomed. 
    "So how was school?" He asks. I shut off the water and turn to him. His features contort from shock, concern, then to worry. 
    "What happened?" 
    "I'm not very good at volleyball." I smile, wanting to let him know that I am indeed fine. He takes the pot and sets it on the stove for me, then gets into the freezer and hands me an icepack. I thank him. 
    Relief floods my body at the numbness the ice provides. I sit on my bed. The clock on my wall reads 5:44. I had been passing the time by studying my English notes. Getting up, I pull on a pair of knee highs and commence with tying my signature Chuck Taylor's. 
    Felicity's is a few blocks away, my estimation is a ten minute walk. My phone vibrates against my sheets.  Molly is calling, probably to check if everything is in order. I press the green button, making sure to hold the phone against my uninjured cheek. 
    "Hey!" Molly's bubbly voice sings on the other line. "Are we still on?" She asks. 
    "Yes, I'm getting ready as we speak." I skillfully put on my varsity jacket with one hand. "Leaving house now. " I announce. Grabbing my bag, I run down the stairs.
    "Bye!" I yell to my parents. I leave through the red door before they can even register that I spoke.

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