Sarah Jane and Calum were childhood friends. They grew up together and have been best friends since diapers until they drifted apart at the end of middle school. What will happen when the two old friends meet each other again?


2. 01. Mali-Koa

Diana and Katelynn have been my best friends since freshman year and are the only ones aware of my previous friendship with Calum. Diana is the most fashionable in our small group of friends. She's always wearing trendy clothing such as crop-tops that show off her attractive curves, tight leggings, and matching Adidas. She's also the type of girl to keep up with the latest trends and is always doing what everyone else is doing. Her boyfriend of two years, Keith, happens to be one Calum's team members. Diana sometimes has conversations with him when she's with Keith, and she always comes to me with the latest conversation and gossip. Katelynn is almost the complete opposite. Her thick blonde hair is always up off her neck in some hairstyle. At that moment, hers was up in pigtails, the tips of each stopping at her chest. Katelynn always has her nose stuck in a book. She claims it's to help "escape reality," which I understand completely. She also happens to be very shy. She wears thick-rimmed glasses that rest on the bridge of her nose. Her gray bag is always with her; her intials KKW etched in dark blue cursive letters on the front. 

"Are you reading that damn book again?" Diana asked as soon as she made it to our lunch table, her dark ponytail bouncing as she shook her head in disbelief.

"Yes, and it's called The Virgin Suicides," Katelynn corrected, keeping her eyes on the page she was on before slipping a ripped up index card between and shutting the book, placing it face up on the table, "It is an amazing and inspiring novel. It really shows the strengths and weaknesses of adolescence." 

"You've read it a hundred times!" Diana exaggerated, pinching the bridge of her nose with her index finger and thumb. Katelynn just shrugged before picking the book back up and continuing to read in silence. Diana turned her attention to me.

"Why're you so quiet?" she asked, furrowing her eyebrows. 

I swallowed, fiddling my thumbs. "I got assigned my tutor today."

"No shit," Diana laughed, "Who is it?"

I bit the inside of my bottom lip, turning my gaze to the jocks' table. He was instantly the first person I saw. He was sitting across from Keith and in between Luke and Alex who were trying and failing to toss French Fries into Keith's mouth. Calum was laughing. His eyes were crinkled and a big goofy grin appear on his face before he threw his head back and roared with laughter. I sighed, remembering the times I made him laugh like that. Diana must've noticed because she gave me a knowing look. "It's him, isn't it?"

I nodded, placing my hands in my lap, looking back at the table, still watching him in the corner of my eye. This time Calum was facing Luke who was on his left, giving me almost a full view of the brunette's face. He was smiling and his plump pink lips were moving in conversation. Suddenly, Luke yelled unintentionally loud, " Fuck you, Calum, I'll never conform!" My face heated up and I forced myself to look away. Katelynn comforted me, placing her hand on my back. 

"He's an asshole, Sarah Jane, for not realizing what an amazing person you are," she said softly, and I smiled at her, giving her a quiet 'thank you.'

The rest of lunch went without no one mentioning the brunette, even Keith who joined us only moments after to greet his girlfriend. After lunch was study hall, which went by in a breeze when I spent the whole class writing. I wrote "song lyrics," which is what Katelynn refers to them. I just refer to them as pent-up feelings. 

"I wanna be on the front line, knotted up suit ties,
Talking like a headstrong mama.
Got a picture in your wallet,
Making me a habit, wearing your vintage t-shirt;
Tied ribbons on your top hat,
Telling me I'm all that, just like the girls from your hometown.
Sweet blooded and up-stranded, see
If I can stand it, shrinking in the shallow water.
Magnetic everything about you,
You really got me, now.
You took to me so well,
Hypnotic taking over me.
Make me feel like someone else;
You got me talking in my sleep.
I don't wanna come back down;
I don't wanna touch the ground.
Pacific Ocean, dug so deep,
Hypnotic taking over me."

Katelynn leans over my shoulder. "You know, you should try singing them."

I turned my head, facing my best friend, who sat behind me. "They're not songs," I protested.

Katelynn placed her paperback copy of The Virgin Suicides page-side down on her desk before leaning forward and taking the notebook paper in her hand. "Oh really? Because it sure is worded like song lyrics."

I crinkled my nose, snatching the paper from her. "Well, it's not. It's just how I feel."

Katelynn raised an eyebrow but didn't question it. "Whatever. Just don't tell Diana you're writing songs because you know she'll tell Keith and end up blurting out it's about Calum, and then, Keith will end up telling Calum, and then he'll know--"

"It's not about Calum," I snapped.

She giggled, twirling her left blonde pigtail with her fingers. "Whatever you say, Mrs. Hood."

I gave her a look but she was already back buried in her book. I let out an exasperated sigh, folding up the notebook paper and putting it in the first pocket of my backpack, giving myself a mental reminder to put it in my private box when I get home. Suddenly, the bell rang dismissing the class and signalling that school was now over. I smiled, remembering it's Friday, and I have two whole days away from Ms. Dovenhall and the other asshole teachers. 

As I was exiting the classroom, I noticed Calum. He was at his locker, some girl standing next to him. It wasn't Britney, which made me feel a little better because as far as I knew, they weren't back together. The girl looked familiar, her complexion almost matching Calum's but a little lighter. Her dark hair pulled into a bun. They were arguing, and I could barely make out the conversation, but I already recognized the girl as Calum's older sister, Mali-Koa. It struck me as odd because Mali graduated about five years ago, but she was standing against the locker next to her younger brother's, arguing with him.

"You know you can't go spending twenty-five dollars on some sport shit off my credit card!" Mali all but shouted, hands gesturing in anger.

Calum slammed his locker shut, turning to his sister. "Yeah, well, you shouldn't fucking show up here, Mali! You graduated five fucking years ago, and you're still walking in those doors, thinking of any little goddamn thing to get onto me because you love the attention the guys give you as if you don't get enough from those thirty-year-old perverts you bring home once a month. You're like a fucking attention whore!"

Mali-Koa gasped, mascara-stained tears now rolling down her cheeks. She stared at her brother in shock and hurt. The boy she had watched grow from a newborn baby just insulted her and broke her. She said something to him, so soft I couldn't make it out, before she turned and walked out of the school, wiping away her tears as Calum just watched. 

If I didn't have a reason to hate Calum before, I did now.

**Full credit to Zella Day for "Hypnotic."

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