• Chapter 2: High School or Hell?

    By first period everyone had heard about the little quarrel on the bus. In the hallways, I was getting angry glares from all the jocks and preps, but I was getting high fives and shouts of congratulations from all the goths and emos I thought were hiding. Maybe I just hadn’t been looking hard enough for them. I had most likely been caught up in the hustle and bustle of my first day.
    The late bell reverberated through the walls, but I wasn’t in a classroom. I was stuck in a hall, the locker covered walls looming over me, caging me in. I didn’t remember where I was supposed to go for my first period class, and the map I held upside down in my hands didn’t help very much.
    Footsteps. Someone was coming towards me. Running, like in my dream, would just look stupid, so I stood there, unmoving as the footsteps came closer. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. I recognized the shoes as Adidas sandals.
    No self respecting emo kid wore Adidas so it was probably a jock. The footsteps were also too heavy to be a girls. I’m so good I can almost figure out who’s coming up behind me just by their footsteps. How many people do you know that can do that? My guess. None.
    Sweaty hands covered my eyes. The good girl inside me scratching to get out told me that it was playful. No harm would come out of it. My killer instincts told me that this guy was not playing around, and that an elbow to the groin would teach him a lesson. I had only been at this school two days and I didn’t know if they let psychos roam the halls, so I went with my killer instinct.
    I brought my arm up, and just as my elbow was inches away from making contact, one hand moved from my eye and caught my elbow.
    “It was supposed to be playful. If I’d have known you would’ve taken it this way,” the mysterious guy said, shaking my elbow, “I never would’ve done it.”
    We stood there in silence for about a minute, him still holding my elbow in one hand and one hand still covering my eye. I could feel the heat radiating off of his body, and I couldn’t take it anymore.
    “If you want me to say that I’m sorry. I’m not going to. You deserved what was going to come,” I said, twisting out of the hold he had on my arm and my eye. I turned around to see who I was in the hall with.
    It was Kale. I gasped involuntarily. I couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize his voice. I mean, I just had a dream about the guy last night.
    “That’s the reaction I get from most girls. I was kind of hoping you would be different.”
    “It wasn’t that type of gasp. I was surprised that it was you. That’s all. I didn’t know that you were the type of guy who skips classes.”
    “Oh, do I look like a goody two shoes to you?”
    “Isn’t almost everyone at this school a goody two- whatever you just said?
    “I’m Scarlet, by the way,” I sighed, sticking out my hand, knowing I had lost this battle. He proved that I didn’t know this school as well as I thought.
    “Kale.” He took my hand and shook it. “And don’t think you know everything about a school you just transferred too. No one is that smart. You see, this school is like an onion. You have to peel back the layers one at a time. If you peel them back too fast, you’re going to cry. Oh, that was bad. Just bad,” he laughed and ran his fingers through his hair.
    “No, that was a very,” I stumbled over the vocabulary in the head, searching for the right word, “creative simile.” I gave him a convincing smile, and tried to remove my hand from his. I pulled and pulled, but Kale wouldn’t let go. “Excuse me,” I laughed uncomfortably, “but I want my hand back. I need it.”
    “Sorry, sorry,” he let go of my hand and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Sorry.”
    “You said that already.”
    “Right you are, Scar. Can I call you that? Scar?”
    That was in my dream. Him calling me Scar. Maybe my dream was a glimpse of the future. If I didn’t let him call me Scar, who knew if my dream would ever come true.
    Seriously? Did I really just think that? Gosh! I have the most active imagination of anyone I’ve ever known. Thinking a dream, a dream, is a prediction of future event. That dream last night was just that. A dream. Nothing more.
    “Hello?” Kale waved his hand in my face, snapping me out of my reverie. “Anybody home?”
    “Yes, sorry, I was just thinking.”
    I stared deep into his green eyes, searching for an answer. He returned my stare with twice as much intensity. Kale’s black hair hung just slightly in his face. His hair looked windblown, like he had just stepped off a bike going 90 down the freeway.
    “Scarlet Snow,” the principal’s loud voice boomed over the speaker system, “report to the principal’s office, immediately.”
    “Wow, I’m impressed. Second day here and the principal already wants to see you. It took me a week before I got called down to his office. That has to be a record, Scar.” He started walking down the hall, back toward where he came.
    “Yes, you can call me that,” I said, getting his attention, “but I have a major problem that maybe you can help me with.”
    Kale turned around and walked back to where I was shifting from foot to foot, chewing nervously on my lip. “Yea, what is it?”
    “I have no idea where the principal’s office is,” I whispered.
    Kale just laughed. He stood there, and laughed.
    I don’t know what he was laughing at. It wasn’t that funny. I had an excuse. I was new. Why was I even thinking about this? I didn’t have to explain myself to anyone, least of all Kale Matthews.
    “Come on, follow me.” He motioned with his hand for me to come as he started walking toward the double doors that led out into the courtyard.
    I didn’t move. My hands on my hips, I stood in the same place. I wasn’t moving. I didn’t care how many times he flipped his beautiful charcoal black hair. Seven times. I counted, but I still didn’t care.
    “What are you doing?” Kale asked, annoyance obvious in his voice.
    “Nothing.” I shrugged my shoulders, and played with my hair.
    “Then why aren’t you coming? Mr. Gerth isn’t a patient person and you better not keep him waiting.”
    “He can wait. This is more important.”
    “What is?”
    “Figure it out.”
    “I don’t have time to,” Kale sighed, stomping over to where I was standing, and scooped me up in his arms.
    I threw my arms around his neck, afraid that he was going to drop me, or something. My mind flashed back to my dream. It was slightly blurry and distant, but I remembered his arms around me with perfect clarity.
    The breeze greeted us when we pushed through the double doors. I shivered and Kale’s arms tightened around. I guess it was a reflex, but I didn’t care. The feel of his muscular chest against my bare arms felt good.
    “Here we are,” he said dropping me.
    He probably thought I was coordinated enough to land on my feet, but I wasn’t. I fell to the ground. My hands were still locked together behind Kale’s head, so he came down with me. I screamed two times. First, when my a** hit the pavement. Second, when Kale came tumbling down on top of me.
    My head hit the hard, dirty ground with a boom. Kale’s body came down on mine with a thud, knocking all the air out of me. I gasped for air that wasn’t there.
    Kale propped himself up on his elbows, allowing me to take in lungfuls of air. They were much needed and much appreciated.
    “Sorry,” he apologized, but didn’t move.
    “It’s fine,” I said, propping myself on my elbows too, so I could see his face.
    I looked deep into his eyes. I was practically swimming in their deep green beauty. My face was only a couple inches away from his. I could feel his breath on my face. Mmm. Mint.
    Kale dipped his head down, and I closed my eyes, scared and excited at the same time. “My goodness,” Mr. Gerth exclaimed. “Are you two kids okay?”
    Kale pulled back his head and jumped up off me. The breeze chilled all the spots his body used to be, and I shivered involuntarily.
    Kale offered me his hand. I grabbed it and he pulled me up.
    “Scarlet Snow,” Mr. Gerth said, sounding surprised, “come into my office, please. You can tell your friend goodbye. I don’t need to see him, just you.”
    “Bye, Kale,” I murmured. “Hopefully, I’ll see you later.”
    “Hopefully,” he whispered. Then he bent down and kissed my cheek. That’s not where I wanted that kiss, but I’d take it.
    I watched as Kale turned around and walked away from me. I didn’t follow Mr. Gerth into his office until Kale was completely out of sight. His black basketball shorts. His snug navy blue shirt. His adidas sandals.
    “Come Ms. Snow,” Mr. Gerth commanded, tapping his foot impatiently.
    Spinning around after Kale was completely out of sight, I followed Mr. Gerth into his office. He let me in first and shut the door behind us. I walked over to his desk and plopped myself down into one of the maroon chairs in front of it.
    I yawned. “So, what do you need?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer. It was actually pretty obvious. He definitely heard about the nose thing.
    Mr. Gerth smiled uncomfortably. “It is not often that someone comes into my office for violence. You’ve actually been the first in a while. I heard about the outbreak on the bus, and I even saw for myself the damage. Roxanne is in the nurse’s office now, and her nose does not look pretty.” The smile was wiped from his face. “I’m very sorry dear, but you have to visit detention after school tomorrow.”
    I stared at him blankly, my leg twitching from being in the same position for too long. He handed me a yellow sheet of paper with my name scrawled across the top.
    “Please don’t be late.”
    “No lecture?” I murmured, grabbing the paper, standing up, and heading towards the door.
    “Excuse me?” Mr. Gerth confusedly asked.
    I didn’t reply. I needed to find my first period before I got in even more trouble. It would be harder now because
    1.I didn’t have Kale anymore, and
    2.I didn’t have my map anymore either.
    Slapping myself mentally for probably dropping the map in the hallway, I stumbled through a set of double doors. I took my schedule out of my back pocket, unfolded it, and examined it, trying to find where it is I was supposed to be.
    Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Footsteps, again? Hadn’t I endured enough in one day?
    “I thought you might want this,” a familiar voice said, shoving the crumpled map in my face.
    “Oh, thanks Toby. How did you know it was mine?” I asked, surprised, but also thankful.
    “Lucky guess,” he replied.
    “Why aren’t you in a classroom?”
    “Bathroom,” he said, waving a neon orange pass in my face.
    “Can you help me out?”
    “Sure, where you headed?”
    I looked at the schedule still in my hand. “Holster. Room 5-212”
    “Alright, we’re in Building 5, so that’s good, but you have to be upstairs for your class. That’s what the two means. And you’re looking for Room 12. Should be the third door on the right side. Good luck.”
    “Thank you, so much,” I said, giving Toby a hug.
    He hugged me back awkwardly, and then let go and pushed me towards the doors. “Go,” he shouted after me.
    I pushed through the doors and ran up the stairs. Pulling the doors at the top of the stairs open, I followed what Toby said. Third door on the right side. Third door on the right side.
    Ms. Holster
    Room 5-212
    Geometry 2
    I turned the handle slowly, afraid. Everyone stared at me as I walked in.
    “Why are you late, dear?” a middle aged woman, dressed in a paisley-print blouse and a black pencil skirt, asked. Her shoulder length brown hair had stripes of gray in it, but it looked flattering on her, not old.
    “I was in the principal’s office,” I whispered, staring down at my flip-flops.
    “Scarlet Snow. Oh, sit down. Sit down,” Ms. Holster smiled at me. “We were just going over the assignment I assigned yesterday. I remember I told you, you didn’t have to do it, so just find a seat until the bell.”
    I slumped to the second-to-last row and sat down in one of the hard, plastic, blue chairs.
    “Charity,” a blonde-haired emo girl stuck out her hand. Shaking her hand, I noticed the lip ring she kept playing with.
    “Scarlet,” I said, pulling my hand back at the same time. Charity turned back towards the front of the class, and I did too.
    I tried to pay attention and it worked, for a while, but I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering back to Kale. I wondered if I would see him today, or if once he figured out I broke his girlfriend’s nose, he wouldn’t want to see me ever again.
    The bell rang bouncing off the walls. I stayed in my seat until the room was empty. Then, I stood up and walked out the door, heading to my next class. Surprisingly, I knew where it was.
    The rest of the day flew by in a rush. I had lunch with Toby, Charity, and all their friends, who were now my friends too. Kale would not stop popping into my mind. At the end of the day, I hopped on my bus, shunned by everyone except Toby, who sat with me again.
    When I got home it was still pretty early, but I was drained. I kicked my flip-flops off at the door, and stumbled into the kitchen. Julie and Jim were still at work, which was a good thing, I guess. I opened one of the cabinets and pulled out my injection fluid.
    Since I couldn’t ever eat without throwing up, I had to take a shot that provided my body with the nutrients it needed, but didn’t make me nauseous. Placing my forearm face-up on the counter, I looked for a vein. I wasn’t supposed to inject myself, but I always did. I pushed the needle into my skin and winced in pain. I pressed the plunger down and watched as the gooey red liquid drained into my skin. I pulled the needle out and put back in the cabinet.
    I stumbled down the hall to my room, and jumped into my bed, too tired to take my clothes off.
    Soon, I was out cold, but who would’ve guessed that it would become a bad thing?