Chapter Three: First Glance

Chapter Three: First Glance

A Chapter by Joshua Donahue
"

Forbidden. After moving and getting settled in, Evan must now attend Hale High School where he needs to learn to fit in, communicate with his cousin, and make new friends.

"

FORBIDDEN

 

BY: J O S H U A  D O N A H U E





Chapter Three

First Glance

 

I could feel the midnight breeze brush against my face, painting it with a coolness and an essence from the forest wall that was before me. The wind blew from me to the meadow behind me, allowing the weeds and grassy particles to swivel in the air as if they were waving a simple “hello.” But there was no one there"just me. The night was fresh, windswept, and dark. The moon loomed high above me, shining down its luminous light that assumed the role of guardian for me.

Yet, regardless of the remarkable vista before me, I just stood there blankly.

I didn’t know where I was or what my intentions were for that matter. All I knew was that I was here in this moment waiting. No, I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but even that helped build up my curiosity causing my curiosity to rise.

A few minutes ticked by.

My legs began to throb a bit, so I decided to sit and relax on the soft weeds. As I sat, I twisted the grass under my fingers unknowingly, but I did not remove my eyes from the forest. I was still waiting without distractions.

Suddenly, I heard something"a rustle of leaves it sounded like. Then there was a twig that cracked, followed by the sound of a pinecone falling down from a tree. Someone or something was right through the trees ahead of me. Whatever it was, it made sounds, as if it wanted me to know it had arrived"the curiosity swelled inside me. I got to my feet, and I ached to edge my way forward to get a clue as to what it was. But I didn’t. Instead, I just glared forward.

More sounds occurred.

It was like something was beckoning me to follow"not a good sign.

And yet, my dim-witted self crept ahead. My inquisitiveness was too strong for my will; I just had to know what lay ahead of me. I made it all the way to the very edge of the trees, where, if I had taken another step, I would have found myself inside the forest and within impenetrable darkness. It was eerie to be here, just knowing that there was something within mere feet of me that either wanted to hurt me or know me. Either way, it wanted me.

Unexpectedly, as I peered forward, craning my neck as far as I dared to get the best view possible within the obscurity of the trees, something lunged at me. It was dark creature, coated in thick mounds of fur with a fierce growl that made its entire body shake. It was like a huge dog or something; the most distinctive feature about the beast was its eyes. Those dark brown eyes glowed so fiercely and so radiantly; they seemed to be so intense, searing through every part of me. They struck my soul, causing me to stop as this creature pushed me back with such force that I was surprised I didn’t shatter like glass. I heard a robust growl once more as I hit the ground from the impact.

*      *      *

I awoke.

I gasped for air, as if lunging from the depths of the ocean itself, wishing gasping for air. I was sweaty; my body glistened with beads of sweat even though it was still very dark, much like my dream. My bed had been ravaged with blankets and pillows tangled in one giant mass.

I sat upright and rested my head in the palms of my hands. I reminded myself: It was just a dream. Only a dream. That’s it. Just a dream. How many dreams had I ever had that involved a creepy forest where darkness enveloped me as a hairy animal lunged at me with alarming eyes that I would probably never forget? None"at least, not until now. So I give all the credit to Hale, or Hell.

I glanced at my nightstand and the clock read five-twenty in the morning. School wasn’t supposed to start for another two hours and forty minutes. I would need rest, so I tried going back to sleep"no luck"followed by a failed attempt to dwell on some music. Still nothing. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep again. I let out a groan of irritation as I snatched up my laptop and decided to get online, pushing the dream out of my mind.

I had nothing particularly interesting in my inbox. I got onto my social networking sites, where I updated my profile information and tweaked it a bit. Then I switched back to my search engine and Googled the news. There were not any stories that fascinated me: Miley Cyrus Tops The Charts With “Party in the USA”; Peanut Butter Recall; New Mexico Is The New State With The Highest Teenage Pregnancy; and so many other prosaic headlines. For the next little while"until it was time for my alarm to sound"I played around on the computer. I assumed that the real reason I wasn’t sleeping well was due to the time zone difference. But I knew better.

As soon as my alarm sounded, I responded by slamming down the buttons to shut out the annoying racket. I closed my laptop and began to get ready. I didn’t have any plans as to what to wear on my first day, so I snatched a pair of blue jeans, a light blue plaid shirt over a white t-shirt, and some sneakers from my closet. After getting ready for the “big day,” I sent a few texts back and forth to my beloved people back in California who loved to party in the wee hours of the night, and then I went to get some breakfast from the kitchen.

When I got down there, I saw that my mom was already awake and assumed her favorite role in the kitchen making Martha Stewart look bad. She went overboard and made a bit of everything: pancakes, eggs, sausages, grits, toast, bacon, muffins, and cereal. Did she really expect me to eat all of this? I mean, my stomach was already churning due to nervousness. I wasn’t going to be able to keep down a piece of buttered toast, let alone a meal fit for a king.

My hands snatched only a bowl of Cheerios. Nevertheless, my mother tried several times to advise me to get something else. I refused quite easily.

After I had accomplished everything that I could think of"getting dressed, breakfast, gathering books and cell phone"I believed I was truly ready. Well, I could only hope.

During the ride to the school, I kept sliding the screen to my cell phone up and down, revealing the keyboard every few seconds, with a clicking sound. I caught several glances from my mom, and I knew she knew I was really nervous. I continued my routine of clicking my phone for several minutes until my mom finally said, “Evan, calm down. It’s okay. I am sure that you will love Hale High School. Plus, you have Luke.”

I simply nodded"rigidly.

I was tough, of course, but this was all so new to me. I had always attended the same school district since kindergarten. Now, I was on the other side of the nation. What if they dress different than the people in San Francisco? What if they don’t like me? What if I am a freak to them? What if…

My thoughts rushed by with every possible scenario.

I have to face this some time. Don’t I?

As my mom urged me to relax, my thoughts brought up scenarios and my fingers edged the screen on my cell phone up and down until we finally arrived.

When I saw the high school and its sign out front, my stomach gave convulsed. I thought my Cheerios were about to resurface, but I gulped with force to keep them down.

The place looked like any other high school environment: it had multiple buildings that were connected by sidewalks and small buildings with grass growing in between them and students loitering the grounds. Picnic tables were scattered everywhere with books piled on them, and trees had students leaning against themk, clutching a reading book for dear life. Just like any other high school alright.

My mom parked her vehicle off down the first driveway of pavement, stopping in front of a small building that had Main Office imprinted above the doorway. Obviously it was the place where everything vital to the school was located.

My mom tried to convince me that I needed her to come in with me as if I was still in grade school. I refused and told her that I was not a baby anymore, so she needed to stop acting like I was. She looked a bit hurt, but hid it quickly. Then, after a motherly hug and a goodbye, she tried to give me lunch money, but I assured her that I had it covered with my own cash. I wanted her to be gone already! And eventually"after much prying and reassurance"she was. (However, she was the one that was reassuring me only moments before). She drove away unwillingly to get through her interview at the local seafood restaurant.

I glanced around at the awkward place before me and stumbled into the office building, unsure of anything conventional to say or do.

Inside, there was a main counter where I was supposed to go. Behind it, resided an elderly-looking woman sitting in a chair, indulging in a chocolate candy bar with glasses dangling at the end of her nose. She had fixed hair full of hairspray and wore a red, businesswoman-like outfit with red earrings to match.

“Yes? May I help you?” she asked, glancing up from her papers she was peering over with her chocolate becoming fondue by the second. She reminded me strangely of one of the women from Whoville in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“Um, I’m Evan Woods. The new student from San Francisco, California.”

“Evan? Evan Woods?” She seemed to be talking to herself. “Oh, yes! Your mother is Elana right? I remember her. I use to teach her! She was one of my brightest algebra students, you know. Let me see…” Then she began rapidly attacking the keys on her computer.

“Okay, Evan, here is your schedule for today. Your locker number as well as your combination, Hale High’s student handbook, and a special map in case you have trouble getting around to your classes. Your first class is here,” "she scribbled a poor star on the map" “Mr. Wallace. He teaches chemistry. Very nice man, of course. I’m sure you’ll like him.”

“I bet,” I muttered under my breath, too low for her aging ears to hear.

“Okie dokie, then. I guess that’s it. Do you have any questions for me?”

“No. I’m good, thank you.”

“Would you care for me to walk you to your first class?” she asked politely, although I sensed she did not want to leave the comfort of her chair and her candy bar.

“Um, no. I’ll manage on my own, thank you,” I replied just as politely as I could muster.

“Okay. If you will, just stop back by here before your mother picks you up, so I can send home a few standard papers.”

“I will.”

“Bye,” she said in an almost too cheery voice.

“Bye,” I said, although I don’t think she had heard me as she returned to her candy bar.

I pushed open the glass door back into the outside world, and I walked out to the sidewalk. Now all I had to do was find"

“So, what do you think of the place?” a familiar voice said from behind me.

I whirled around to find Luke standing there.

“Um"okay…I suppose.”

He let off a grin"he must have sensed the anxiety within my voice. Was it that obvious? I guess acting was a career that was officially out of the question for me.

“So, ready for your tour then…newbie?” he asked me.

I gave a slight nod and a smirk in response, and then I proceeded with him. 

Although the situation was odd for me, it was somewhat easy since I had my very distant cousin to give me a personalized guided tour. I was given the tour of the various buildings and classes. Building One was the teacher’s building, storage rooms, teacher lounges, offices, and many other so called “important” essentials. All of my core classes could be found in the second building. Other classes, such as my elective classes, were located in Building Three"some were also located in Building Four as well as the library. Building Five contained the cafeteria and a main courtyard for lounging outside. It was also the only two-story building on the campus that was freestanding, besides the gymnasium. Even though Luke referred to the buildings as “buildings” they technically were not. They were all connected by short annexes and hallways, which made it an actual school instead of a college campus. It was lacking to say the least.

One feature I saw quite frequently were lockers"one of which was mine. Luke stopped with me so I could store what little contents I had inside. I had enough room to keep the basic essentials for any class: paper, pencil, and books. I had a decent memory so I as to remember the basic layout of the school.

Along the tour, I was introduced to plenty of people"many who seemed friendly and others who seemed not so friendly. There were even quite a number of people who had already knew about my coming and who my relatives. So typical of Hale.

While strolling down the school’s hallway with Luke (who seemed pretty optimistic throughout the tour), I peered down at my schedule for the first time. It had appeared that “lounging”"which was apparently everyone’s first task"had ended. Now, it was time for chemistry with Mr. Wallace"whom Luke clarified as an “okay” guy"to begin. Back in California, science-related classes weren’t necessarily my best, but I managed to make good enough grades to pass the dreary course.

I didn’t need a babysitter or anything like that, but still, Luke insisted on showing me the way to chemistry. People were rushing to and fro and some even into their lockers before the bell rang. After Luke invited me to sit with him during lunch, he told me he would introduce me his friends. Then, he departed, and the bell rang.

As soon as I passed through the classroom’s threshold and Mr. Wallace spotted me, he laid down the chalk from the chalkboard (how outdated of this school to still have those, I noted), and he sauntered over to me. He presented me with a long welcoming speech, and he pointed out the fact that he knew some of my family members. Lucky him, I thought.

Mr. Wallace wore a pair of dress pants, a white button-up shirt with a collar that made his round belly bulge outwards through the fabric, and a tie that had Einstein’s E=mc2 imprinted on it. He also had glasses on his face which were pushed up to his eye sockets as if they were glued in place.

Other than his awkward interrogations about where I came from, some background history on my family that he provided me, and his welcoming statement (which I found a tad funny considering the obvious similarity between Hale and Hell whenever he mentioned the town’s name), the man was okay"well, at least just as friendly, and yet, boring as any other teacher. I was very pleased with him, however, since he did not make me stand in front of the class like a first grader.

After the movement of his lips slowed, Mr. Wallace indicated that my seat would be at the very back.

As I walked down what seemed like an endless aisle in between lab tables, people gawked at me as I passed them. It was like looking at a color-filled photo among those who could only see black and white.

Time seemed to stand still as I managed to get in my seat. I was lucky enough though, because I the seat beside mine was vacant, so I didn’t have to go through another long conversation about myself and California.

Through the windows that stretched across the left side of the classroom beside me, I could see the campus grounds. It was entertaining to me, in a weird way, to watch people and their behavior when others are not around. This helped me ignore the constant stares of my fellow classmates. Every two minutes and thirty seconds"I counted"one of the females up front would look back my way, giggling with her friend. I found it rather annoying, so I gazed out to try and spot the students who were skipping class or forgot some homework in their car. This reminded me of something: I needed a car. My father was supposed to get me a car for my birthday when I got my license, but he died on Halloween of last year, before November 18th. My mother had too much on her plate to even consider a car for me, so I didn’t bother requesting one. But now that things were settling down a bit, a car was a necessity. Everyone around me was driving their own way to school, and I felt so elementary with my mom dropping me off at school. Still, I didn’t even have my license yet"only a permit"so a car wouldn’t be possible until then.

Many thoughts like this came and went throughout the sleep-inducing chemistry class. I never quite figured out what it was exactly that Mr. Wallace was trying to explain, but it had something to do with molecules bonding together. The chalkboard presented a poor imitation of circles and them meeting their twins.

When the bell rang an hour or so later, I walked out of the classroom door as the last student, still pondering over the whole I-miss-my-original-home and the I-need-a-car/license situation. Suddenly, Mr. Wallace interrupted my occupied mind. “Mr. Woods, may I have a quick word with you for a moment, please?”

He must have noticed I was dozing off during class. I walked over with a bit of skepticism.

“Yes?” I questioned, trying to act natural.

“Mr. Woods, I would like to give you a diagnostic test"you know, to make sure that you are placed in your right class and all that sort of thing. You don’t have to take the test right away, of course. I’ll give you a bit of time to adjust to Hale and everything. Is that all right?”

“Yes, sir,” I replied with as much of a sincere manner as I could conjure.

“Good. I just wanted you to be aware of it,” he said. Then he turned back to his papers at his desk, which he seemed to try and organize, although he didn’t seem to be accomplishing much.

I guess he didn’t notice my boredom after all. Just as I was about to walk through the doorway, Mr. Wallace distracted me again by saying, “Oh, and Evan. I know you are going through some changes in your life right now, but give it some time. You’ll come around to chemistry, even if it may seem somewhat boring at times.”

I nodded slightly and then rushed out before he could say anything else.

My next two classes, Algebra 2 and Integrated Business Apps One, were just as boring. Algebra was not the easiest thing on the planet. I obviously didn’t receive many math genes from my mother, that was for sure. Mrs. Clark (an old, pale woman who yelled at anything and would argue with the walls if they could argue back) did not make it any easier for me. Apparently, she didn’t intend on hiding her true colors from me on my first day.

My next class was okay, though. I knew all of the tips and tricks concerning computers, so my class with Mr. Garrison"who was a fairly cool teacher"was a breeze. But this appeared to be my only ray of light. The only thing I sort of dreaded now was what I had next: lunch.

Luke seemed to be coming around some, so that was a start. But lunch was where I knew that I was going to have to meet new people and learn the ropes of this place.

And so it came. Lunch.

I walked through the double doors of the cafeteria, as did the other half of the school. Students filed in with books in their hands, iPods to their ears, and cell phones under their celerity thumbs. I noticed that the lunch room was dominated by individual cliques like animals pairing with their own kind in the animal kingdom. It was really noticeable because many people decided not to battle for the food like in the animal world, but to merely chat with their friends and gossip about something new. I could only guess what the gossip topic was for today, considering the fact that many stared at me as I worked my way over to Luke and his friends through the jungle of a crowd. I tried to ignore their bothersome stares, however.

As I pushed through the people that were already settling into their “positions” in the cafeteria, my stomach began its churning again. I felt completely out of place once again.

Luke and his friends were seated at one of the round tables towards the far side of the cafeteria. Luke was fairly easy to spot because he was resting on the top of the table with his friends laughing at some joke he had apparently just conveyed to them. When I got over there, Luke noticed me and bounded up, greeting me with a pat on the back as if I was an old friend of some sort.

“Good to see ya, Ev. Evan, this is the gang. Gang, this is Evan Woods. He’s my long-lost cousin,” Luke said with an easy-going smile. 

“Hey, I’m Austin Smith,” the nearest guy said, giving his hair a small flip to the side.

The second person to introduce himself said, “Hey, what’s up dude? I’m Mitchell Bush.”

I gave a slight nod to acknowledge his presence.

The only other two people at the lunch table were females.

“Hi! My name’s Jessica Outen. Jess for short,” one of the girls stated welcomingly.

“And I’m Kimberly Williams. Cheyenne is my middle name. You can just call me Cheyenne or Chey, if you want,” the last remaining girl said.

During the introductions, I stood awkwardly. That is, until Luke said, “Come. Sit. Laugh. Mingle.”

I obeyed his command just as he sat down with his friends.

“So…how you likin’ the school? Anything like Cali?” Mitchell asked me.

“Well, it’s…interesting,” I replied. It had appeared that the cat was out of the bag"Luke must’ve said something about me and where I was from. My face began to burn with embarrassment.

“Wait a sec, you’re from Cali? As in California?” Jessica asked me with such surprise. I guess he didn’t tell everyone.

I nodded in response.

“Whoa! That is so cool! What’s it like? Tell me, tell me, tell me!” she pleaded.

“Yes, do tell! What city did you come from? Is it big? Are there a lot of cute guys there? I bet there are a million things to do there,” Cheyenne chipped in.

“Um…San Francisco. Yes it’s big. I wouldn’t know about that. And yeah,” my mouth replied while my brain worked to answer all of the questions being thrown my way.

Cheyenne and Jessica started to ask more but Luke butted in, “Hey. Chill, girls. Give the guy some breathing room, will you? This is his first day after all.” Then he smirked at me.

The girls didn’t seem too offended by Luke’s words; instead, they talked amongst themselves about San Francisco, imagining its possibilities. These people really needed to learn to get out of this hell hole and have some fun. Let loose every once in a while. I just wondered how many more times I would be obliged to answer these repetitive questions before the day was over.

“Oh, great. They are here,” I heard Austin whisper into Mitchell’s ear.

In reaction, I followed Austin’s intensive gaze all the way up the stairs along the west wall, across the banister, pass the buffet bars of food on the second story above, to a particular table among a few other tables up top. They were sitting alone, and they all seemed to sit in the same manner: their legs crossed, their luscious hair resting easily about their shoulders, and their hands resting under their chins. They sat with such keen eyes. Their skin was so toned and smooth that they looked like mannequins. The only thing differentiating them was their hair color. There were six of them, as I counted. None of them bothered to look my way as I examined them acutely.

“Who are they?” I asked with a nod of my head in their direction, still mesmerized by their presence.

“Well, you see the one on the very end, the red head?”"Austin said to me with everyone at the table looking at the six targets now"“That’s Rose Knight. The next one over to the right with sort of brownish hair is Jasmine Sanders.”

“And the next two brunettes are Heather Tucker and Autumn Powell,” Mitchell told me. “And the two dark haired girls are Holly Jenkins and Lily Walters. See, all of them stick together. Like some sort of chick band or something. The entire school stays away from them. They’re not normal.”

This was strange. Especially their names. So I started to ask, “But what’s with all the"”

“Nature names? Well, there are rumors that they live in a forest or something,” Mitchell said.

“We all live in a forest, Mitch. You and I both know that those rumors aren’t true at all. That’s why they’re just rumors,” Luke said with a grin spread over his lips, playing it cool. But I could tell he was being a little defensive of the girls.

“Yeah, well, that’s just what people say. Some say that they live in the trees or something. Hell, I don’t know. But since you’re new and all, I’ll give you some friendly advice: stay away from them.” Mitchell had a serious look on his face, and it was hard to know who to believe, he or Luke. They did seem a bit…odd. But this whole place was odd! I was so distrustful at this moment.

“Hey, ain’t there another one? I thought there was like seven of them or something? What’s her name…?” Cheyenne said while fixing her hair in a pocket mirror with her gaze apparently lost to the attraction of herself.

“Yeah, there is another one. I think her name is something like Spring or something,” Jessica answered while peering into a mirror she had extracted from her purse. Mitchell chuckled a little.

“Summer. It’s Summer Hope. She’s the blondish one, I think. Looks like she might not be here today,” Austin said.

While the two girls gazed into mirrors, the two boys looked upwards at the table where the girls were seated; Luke remained oblivious to their existence. Mitchell and Austin seemed mystified while at the same time, frightened. There was something definitely strange about these females. It was hard to explain, but they weren’t like anything else here in Hale. They didn’t belong"but then again, neither did I. So I dropped the subject like a textbook that was meant to be opened later.

As if to follow my thoughts, Luke said to me, “So, Evan, you hungry?”

“Um, no. Not really. Too much of a head rush. Got any aspirin?” I joked on the last part.

In reply, everyone smirked, pulling themselves form their own worlds.

“Well, me and Mitchell’s gonna go get something. Want anything, Luke?” Austin said.

“Nah. I’m good. Just grab me and Evan a soda,” Luke replied. Then they walked off and up the stairs to the lunch bar. Jessica and Cheyenne remained still for a moment until they agreed to follow each other to grab a bottled water. That left me and Luke alone at the lunch table.

My gaze danced around the room from table to table and from person to person. It felt a bit awkward sitting in silence with just Luke, so in order to amuse myself, I snatched out my cell phone and checked my inbox. I had five new messages from my friends back home. I replied to them quickly and then just fidgeted with the buttons until Luke said to me, “So…you find your classes okay?”

“Um, yeah. They’re alright, I guess. Nothing too special.”

“Cool.”

“Yep. Hey, where’s Derek? I thought he was in the same grade too?” I didn’t really know the dude, but he was supposedly a part of my family as well.

“He is, but he’s got Lunch Two. He won’t be coming in until we leave. We rarely see each other here.”

“Oh…”

Then the conversation"if that was the right word for it"ended. He was my cousin, but apart from that, he was still kind of a stranger to me. It would just take me some time to get accustomed to this place and the people.

We remained in silence once again until everyone else got back. It seemed as if Austin and Mitchell brought the entire buffet because they came back with two plates full, with enough for everyone at the table to share. They handed me and Luke our sodas and told us to help ourselves. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I ate a few fries in hopes of easing my stomach. It helped somewhat.

“Hey guys! Did you hear? Miss Simon has been infected,” Cheyenne said a minute or so after arriving back from the vending machines, with beverages in tow.

“For real? Dang. Sucks to be her then,” Mitchell said with very little sorrow in his voice.

“Yeah, Mikey told us,” Jessica said.

Austin laughed. “Figures. That guy has always had the hots for Cheyenne. He’ll tell you anything just to talk with you.”

Cheyenne merely rolled her eyes.

“Infected?” I asked, obviously sticking out like the sore thumb I was.

“Oh, yeah. Well, see there’s a virus thing going around town that’s been infecting everyone lately,” Mitchell explained to me.

“A virus? What kind of virus?” I questioned. “The government-conspiracy kind of virus? Like where everyone turns into zombies or something?” This was the kind of excitement I needed, regardless of the fact that I knew it was fiction.

“Don’t we wish! But nah. I don’t think it’s that big yet. But it’s been happening all over the state. Men, women, adults, kids, whatever the virus gets a hold of,” Mitchell continued.

“What does it do? Just make you sick or something?”

“That and many have already died because of it. But"”

Luke intervened, “Okay. The guy doesn’t want to hear the most depressing news on earth on his first day at Hale High, okay? So lay off, will ya?” Luke seemed more friendly than angry about discussing the topic for my sake. He was becoming defensive for me, trying to make my adjustment less difficult, so obviously he was trying to work on some kind of familial relationship with me. But was I ready to help him? Not quite.

“Okay. Since you’re new and all, Evan, we are gonna tell you about Hale"well, the lunchroom of the school, anyway,” Austin told me while munching on some food and obviously trying to change the subject for his friend Mitchell.

“Yeah. You’ve already met them, but there are other people you should know about as well,” Mitchell said, following along with the conversation topic. “For instance, the cafeteria is divided among several groups.”

“Yeah. The jocks are always trying to catch a nerd,” Austin said. “So if you’re book smart, stay away from them as much as possible. Then there are the Goths who are forever talking about death, the antichrist, curses, and that other crap. Hey, Luke, remember last year when one of them came up to you and whispered in your ear: ‘death is hilarious’? It was funny as mess. Luke was freakin’ creeped out the entire day by that dude!”

“Was not!” Luke argued.

“I thought he was kinda cute for a Goth,” Cheyenne said.

“I know, right,” Jessica agreed.

“Fine. Fine, whatever.” Austin continued, “Anyways, who’s next? Oh yeah, the preps. Those suckers act so high-class and everything that the only way you’ll be able to join them is if you shop at Tiffany’s. They try and flaunt themselves in the school hallway all the time like they are the best of the best. But the truth really is: they are snotty brats. Especially the chicks. They are the worst. Jessica and Cheyenne got into a huge fight with a few of them a year or two ago. All of them got suspended for it though.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember! It was that b***h Laura. She loves starting stuff with everyone. Gosh, I hate her,” Cheyenne exclaimed while giving off heat waves towards the girl she despised. She laughed with Jessica about it.

“Didn’t you ask her out last year, Mitchell?” Austin asked, shining the spotlight on his buddy.

Mitchell looked away with a red face from obvious embarrassment.

Everyone laughed.

Then Mitchell continued the conversation, turning the attention from him. “Then there are the nobodies. Those people are the quiet ones that keep to themselves all the time and don’t say a word. The jocks and preps like to tease them. Especially the jocks. They are always shooting spitballs at them in class and making fun of them.

“Then the gangsters are next. Those are the people who always have their stereos booming, trying to act gangster with their walk and talk. But when they fight, everyone stands clear, because when two start fighting, more jump in. It’s chaos when that happens. So I wouldn’t recommend associating with them in case hell was to break loose.

“The cheerleaders are the other group. They are kinda like the preps, only they are always talking about the jocks and dance routines. It’s annoying really.”

“And then there is us!” Austin said enthusiastically.

“Yeah. We are like a mixture of them all…well, sort of,” Jessica said while digging through her purse for something she needed to retrieve.

“We’re the cool and hip version of them,” Cheyenne established.

“Hey, now. Don’t get too carried away with yourselves, alright? We have our flaws too,” Luke said. He was obviously trying to be the reasonable one out of the group.

“Well, you might have your flaws, Luke, but we are flawless.” Cheyenne then put her hand to her cheek as if to prove herself true, then she giggled at her own words.

Luke merely snorted. “Right,” he muttered.

Cheyenne seemed a bit hurt by his reaction but quickly withdrew the emotion and began chatting on about some new subject: me.

“So, Evan what"” she began.

“Enough! Cheyenne, Jessica, leave Evan alone. Today is his first day and he doesn’t need two chicks clogging his air space,” Luke snapped at them both, even though Jessica was now replacing some eyeliner in her bag and paying the least bit of attention to the conversation.

“Fine, Luke. Chill. Dang…” Cheyenne replied. She then leaned back in her seat to text on her cell phone, fuming.

Luke just looked away from the glares from Austin and Mitchell. It seemed as if something had just set Luke off. Like he had just…snapped! But then, as if to quickly recover, Luke turned back to the lunch table and said, “Look, Chey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go off like that. I just…well it’s been a bit stressful for me lately and all. So much going on, ya know?”

Cheyenne laid down her cell on the table with ease and said to Luke, “Yeah, yeah. I know. Failing two of my classes would stress me out too. I was just joking around though, and I was gonna make Evan feel welcome. That’s all.” She said it in a way as if I wasn’t even at the table, even though I was looking away to act as if I wasn’t paying attention.

“We good, then?” Luke asked her.

“Always,” she muttered with her lips beginning to stretch outwards towards her ears to reveal a smile.

Then, to burst the lovey-dovey bubble that now shrouded the table, Austin piped into the conversation saying with a wide grin, “Aw…well, would you take a look at that, Mitch. I think that was just a lovely kiss and make-up session. But would you guys please lay off the Dr. Phil script because it’s bad enough that my mom is obsessed with him as it is.”

Then Mitchell added on, “Now we are all one big happy family again. But can we get back to our lunch, please?”

“Yes, please do. Because all of this is affecting my ability to eat,” Jessica added, reaching for another fry in the middle of the table.

Cheyenne stuck here tongue out in amusement at the guys, causing them to unleash flirtatious smiles in reply.

After a bit with my new-found friends, I began to think that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have to meet any more people. But typically, I think wrong.

A guy (total jock) came up behind Jessica and tickled her sides, which struck me as a bit odd because he appeared to be just a random stranger. However, Jessica giggled, turned around, and they played tonsil hockey for a few minutes"during which, most of us ignored them or looked the other way.

Austin then said, “Get a room, will ya? Cause the last time I checked, this is still a public vicinity. People would actually like to keep their food down in their stomachs. Jeez.” Hell, if it wasn’t for Austin, they would have never stopped kissing.

Jessica giggled and the guy smiled. He was the typical blue-eyed, blonde-haired, athletic dude that attracted every female around and made every guy jealous for doing so. A total jock, no doubt.

After realizing that there were other people at the table with them, they stopped looking at each other and peered at me. “Oh, sorry. Evan, Kevin. Kevin, Evan Woods. Evan is from San Francisco,” Jessica said in order to provide a formal introduction"the kind that was beginning to become annoying for me, like I was one of those toys to say only three phrases programmed inside me.

Kevin then reached across the table to shake my hand, and I did it, with a forced smile. “What’s up, Evan? You finding the school okay?” he said to me. Man, he had a strong grip!

“Um…yeah. I’m still in the adjusting stage,” I said.

“I hear ya. But after a while, things will begin to feel like you been here for ages. Hey, are you the one that moved into that house on McGregor Street?

“Yeah. My mom and I.”

“Cool. Nice place, by the way.”

“Thanks. But to me, all the houses look the same.”

“That would be Hale. Same old, same old.”

There were a few chuckles at this from the jokers of the group, Austin and Mitchell, because even they knew that he was telling the truth.

“You any good at sports?” he asked.

I knew exactly where this was going. Sports came as a natural for me, but I most surely was not going to tell him that, especially since it was my first day.

“Sure. Although, it’s different when other people rate my skills.”

“Oh, well, maybe you should come see a game or two and maybe we could talk. We are always looking for new players with skill.”

“Okay. I’ll think about it.”

The bell gave a loud ching! sound that lasted for almost a near minute to indicate the ending of our lunch period.

Kevin and Jessica said their goodbyes, and then Kevin departed.

“We better go too, Evan. You got lounging next, right?” Luke asked.

“Uh…yeah. I think so,” I said, trying to recall my schedule.

“Okay. So do we. So we can hang out together.”

Then we all got up from the table at the same time, and we threw the remainder of the food away along with my barely-touched beverage.

Afterwards, Cheyenne and Jessica said to us, “We’ll meet up with you guys outside. We got to go to the bathroom and swing by our lockers.”

“Okay,” we all muttered back. After they were out of earshot, simultaneously, Austin and Mitchell said with roaring laughs, “Girls!” I supposed they thought it was funny due to the fact that by “going to the restroom,” Cheyenne and Jessica were actually going to double check the part of their appearances that their pocket mirrors couldn’t establish.

While we chilled outside on the grass, Austin and Mitchell cracked a few jokes (which began to strike me as their basic personality), and Luke helped me recognize the point in lounging on my schedule, considering the fact that I had never heard of such a thing back home in San Francisco. I mean, I never thought students ever had the opportunity to relax and do anything they wanted at school. At least, that was how I had viewed it. Luke explained it was to study, catch up on work, do some extra credit, or whatnot. Study hall, basically. So for their lounging, they typically sat under the shade of a tree and laughed and hung out just like at lunch.

After a few minutes of jokes from Austin and his buddy, Cheyenne and Jessica returned. They seated themselves on the ground with a bit more makeup on their faces and their hair adjusted a little and a few books clasped in their hands.

“Nice of you to join us, ladies,” Mitchell said to them.

“Nice to feel welcomed. Anywho, you guys will never believe this,” Cheyenne said with excitement prancing in her eyes; we all keened our ears to the juicy news she had to share.

There was a pause.

“Tell us already, Chey,” Austin urged her.

But instead of Cheyenne starting, Jessica said, “Okay. Evan’s name was on the girl’s bathroom wall!”

Damn, damn, damn…way to go Evan! You have completely blown your entire wannabe reputation. Congratulations! I thought to myself.

“But"How could"” I juggled around with my words like a total dork.

“How?” Luke managed to speak for me.

Both Cheyenne and Jessica shrugged. “All we know is, is that the wall clearly had Evan’s full name on it. But that’s not all of it. His name was written under the category of Hottie!” Cheyenne said.

Some impression I apparently made.

“Who wrote it?” Austin eagerly inquired.

“No clue. But it had to be someone popular among the student body because only certain girls are allowed to write on the wall. And usually, the writing takes place in the morning, around lunch, and after school. So they had to have written it around lunch.” Cheyenne could barely contain a grin on her face the entire time she spoke.

Luke’s shock immediately flipped to a mischievous grin. “Well, looks like you got fans, Ev. At least you are well-known now.” He laughed loudly.

“Psh. Whatever, dude,” I said. Then I playfully punched his shoulder.

“Dang. Well as long as the one who wrote it ain’t a stalker, then you got it made. But if you start getting weird notes or strange phone calls, don’t come crying to me, cause that my friend, would classify a stalker. So be careful, dude,” Mitchell warned.

“Oh, hush, Mitchell! You’re just jealous,” Jessica told him jokingly.

“Hey, I’m just sayin’!” he said, holding his hands up in innocence.

“So you found anyone you’re interested in. Cause you know if you ever need the hook-up, I’m your guy,” Austin said, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Oh, yeah, like the time you tried to get Luke hooked up with Jenny?” Cheyenne exclaimed.

“Hey! He was really into her and she was really into him. She just didn’t know it,” Austin fought back as the jokester.

Luke kicked Austin’s leg for mentioning his name.

“You guys are crazy,” I told them. And that was the truth.

But honestly, I didn’t know how to process the news that my name had been imprinted on some bathroom wall. It was cool to be categorized as an attractive guy, no doubt, but I just didn’t want things to turn into a bigger fiasco than they needed to be.

*      *      *

The guy rambled on and on and…well, on. He just wouldn’t shut up! But that was what teachers were paid for, right? Only, except this teacher was different. It wasn’t his old, grayish-looking hair, nor his old bifocals that were stuck to his face, or even his blue eyes that looked like they were looking at you, but were only glancing at the blank wall behind you, that made this certain teacher different. No, this guy was different because he was one of those “goody-goody” teachers; the ones that get mad in a “nice way.” Like for example, at the beginning of class, a kid was goofing around with his two buddies that sat next to him, and Mr. Brayson (my health teacher) said to the boy, “Would you please stop? I’ve asked you over and over. Okay?” He said it in such a monotone way, but withheld a serious expression on his face. I didn’t even think the guy ever got so upset that he could have an angry expression. The “goody-goody” act was just…so irritating.

But not only was his act irritating, but his talks were embarrassing. No teenager ever wants to have a sex talk with an old guy with gray hair. Evidently, I started school the very day that Mr. Brayson started the chapter about sex and reproduction.

Most of us knew about male and female body parts, and I was sure that everyone had seen one of those Trojan commercials with the man and woman in a boat out on a lake, so protection was covered. Still, this guy thought it was necessary to tell us about"wait for it"sex! Although, I kept trying to find a good side to this, and the only thing that I could come up with was: that it was like have “the talk” by myself with my mother, or have “the talk” with twenty-something other kids and an old guy. The latter seemed the better of the two. But seriously, I didn’t need “the talk” at all! Although I never had actually heard “the talk,” especially from my dad, I guess he was saving it for a later time. Still, I had television for stuff like that.

So I tried extremely hard to push his words out of my head. And eventually, I managed to do it long enough until the class ended. I let out a sigh of relief as we were released (with no homework on sex, thank goodness!). My next class was world history with Mrs. Miller. I used my little map that I had gotten from the woman in the office to make it there before the bell rang. I breezed through the formal introduction with her, and then she gave me a history book and a seat towards the back of the classroom, in the corner.

As it turned out, Jessica’s seat was right next to mine, and Austin’s was in the front of the room. Immediately, I could tell this was one of those classes I could easily fall sleep in because me and history don’t really blend well. But instead of dozing the class away, I chatted with Jessica whenever Mrs. Miller wasn’t looking. We would have included Austin into our conversation, but he was too far off to have three-way communication.

Some time after class started and Mrs. Miller was in a heated debate with one of the students over something historical, the classroom door opened and in came a girl.

I froze at the sight of her.

She was of average height with regular, everyday clothing, yet, she had silky skin and dark blond hair that fell past her shoulders, down her back in curl-like twirls. As I worked my eyes to her face, her spring green eyes instantly mesmerized my entire body. The shimmering green color seemed to glisten brightly to me. Did anyone else notice how bright they were?

She walked over to the teacher, handing her a slip of paper. The teacher gave a small nod in return and pointed to the girl’s seat, which was about three spots over from me; the girl then proceeded to her desk. I was watching her intensely. Others seemed intimidated by her, noticeably squirming in their seats, but I had no reaction. Her eyes still held my attention like a powerful tonic even though they weren’t returning the favor. However, just as she was about to sit down, her head flicked graciously in my direction, and our eyes locked. My heart beat a little faster, pumping more blood through me, and my body got a tingly feeling through the skin like when you start to wake your foot up from hours of resting.

Seemingly, hours passed.

But suddenly, a kind of shock jolted through my body and I jerked my head away quickly.

Did she notice? Probably. Did Jessica? Probably not because she never said anything about it during class.

Throughout the remainder of the class, Jessica talked to me, and I gave small hints that I was listening like “yeah” or “okay” and sometimes “cool.” But I wasn’t really listening. Of course, I probably would have listened if that girl hadn’t walked in. But ever since she did, my eyes keep glancing around Jessica’s head and into the girl’s eyes. I only got a side view of her and her eyes, but any view was better than no view. All the same, she never looked my way again.

She was just so…compelling. Yet, I had no clue who she was; she was just a stranger to me at the moment. But a very tantalizing stranger. I wanted to ask Jessica after class, but I decided to keep it to myself. When the bell rang, I still gawked at her as she departed from the classroom, but I hid it well from Jessica and Austin as we exited class together. Unfortunately, by the time all three of us reached the hallway, it was too crowded to spot the girl I saw, as if she had never existed.

My next class was literature; it was taught by Mrs. Stanley. She was humorous and very exciting to the class, but she wasn’t enough for me to pay close attention to her teaching methods. Well, at least not at the moment, because right now, I wasn’t thinking of Shakespeare or anything like that. I was thinking of her. She stayed on my mind the entire time. Nothing anyone did, like Mitchell sitting to my left or Austin sitting to my right, or even Cheyenne who was right behind me, could have broken this trance. It didn’t matter that they talked and I barely listened to what they were saying. All that mattered was her.

Yet, the bad thing about my situation was the fact that I knew I was in this trance. I didn’t want to be, of course. I just didn’t know how to get out of it. It was like someone who had an addiction, and knew they had it, but yet, they were powerless to overcome it. It was indeed a pitiful state to be in.

Maybe I was crazy. Maybe I was insane. Or maybe I was just a little neurotic freak. Or maybe there was something else, something that I couldn’t quite touch with my finger, but something that was there. I knew it. I could most definitely feel it. And in some weird way, it was connected to that girl who had never existed at all.

 


*FINAL VERSION 04.16.11





© 2011 Joshua Donahue



Author's Note

Joshua Donahue
FINAL VERSION 04.16.11: A much improved version has been added thanks to an English master of mine who is reviewing this for me. (Only grammar/vocabulary edits have been made. Plot changes may be made at a later date). Thanks.

v4.0 UPDATE: An error concerning the introduction of a character (Jessica's boyfriend, Kevin) was fixed. :) Thanks reader!

v3 UPDATE: some grammar issues pointed out by a reader were fixed! Thanks!

v2.0 UPDATE: I altered Evan's class "biology" to become the class "chemistry". it isn't that big of a deal now but it will be a little bit later in Chapter 8. I had to readjust it to fit the scene I am rewriting. But if you've already read it, it isn't necessary to re-read it all. Just remember: his class his now chemistry, NOT biology.

This is suppose to be the last chapter that I post. After all, I only intended on posting the first three chapters. HOWEVER, if I get good enough feedback, ratings, reviews, etc. then I will continue to post the rest of the novel. So make it happen! (NOTE: Goal was accomplished, and the entire novel is up for reading)

Also, I didn't really get a good chance to proof-read this one as much as I wanted to, so there may be some mistakes (as usual). If you see them, please point them out for me, especially if anything doesn't match up in the previous chapters--but that shouldn't be a problem because I am sure everything matches up. And I KNOW there is excess information in this one. PLENTY OF IT! But that was planned to push Evan's problems out of his head for a day so he can enjoy himself as he takes on the big ordeal of high school. :) We all remember our first days! (especially if you have moved between towns like me!). As always: Read. Rate. Review. xoxo ... now go!

My Review

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For some reason, even though it was just as long, it didn't seem as long as the first two. There were some mistakes, like you had Evan know Kevin's name before he was properly introduced, and going straight from the lounging hour (is that kinda like study hall?) to Health was a bit confusing, but it didn't take long for me to get straightened out. Great job, anyway, and I can't wait to read the rest of it.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




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For some reason, even though it was just as long, it didn't seem as long as the first two. There were some mistakes, like you had Evan know Kevin's name before he was properly introduced, and going straight from the lounging hour (is that kinda like study hall?) to Health was a bit confusing, but it didn't take long for me to get straightened out. Great job, anyway, and I can't wait to read the rest of it.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I'm still liking this story. I'm still interested.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A few things bothered me reading this.

1. Imprinted is not the same as printed. Imprinted implies a depth, something etched into a material. Printed is surface.

2. The typical break-down of the lunch room cliques has been done to death so that it is officially a cliche. Never use cliches unless you tweak them enough to make them unique.

3. Does the character need a car or is this a hold-over from living in San Franscisco?

4. A girl nick-named 'Cheyenne' is commenting negatively on a group of girls named Holly, Rose, Summer etc?

5. Also, I understand that by writing a teenage-vampire-romance novel you are going to have parallels with already existent teenage-vampire-romance novels. However, so far this is exactly Twilight. Don't do it. The story has been done and it's Meyer's story. If you like Twilight and the novel moved you, think about what moved you, distill that and create your own story.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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This chapter was good. Some grammar problems That I nearly missed myself:

And sure enough, just a few moments later, after Luke told me to sit with him during lunch and he would introduce me to every one of his friends, then departed, the bell rang.
*Edit* This part may or may not be wrong I just thought it was a bit akward to read.

As walked I down what seemed like an endless aisle in between lab tables, many people gawked at me as I passed them. It was like looking at a color-filled photo among nothing but others that were merely black and white.
*Edit* As walked I down, My brain read it correctly but a second look proved differently : 3

I was lucky enough though because I had the seat beside me was vacant, so I didn’t have to go through another long conversation about myself and California.
*Edit* I had the seat beside me was. Made me sort of laugh when Said outloud.

But honestly, I didn’t how to process the information that my name was imprinted on some bathroom wall. It was cool to be categorized as an attractive guy, no doubt, but I just didn’t want things to turn into a bigger fiasco than it needed to be.
*edit* I copied and pasted this, and rereading it myself I see no problems strangely. But a reuse of the commas may make it flow more smoothly. A comma doesn't necessarily have to be used twice.
*Edit again* Hah, I punched myself in the face after reading this over again (Yes, I'm that dedicated to being a grammar nazi) "But honestly, I didn’t how to process the information that my name was" This: "I didn't know how to process" Sorry for the cluttered reviews.

CTRL-F Should help find em, If you don't use it already.

I'll have to apologize about my lack of reviews, but. This chapter KILLED me. I'll have to say... I hate Evan. Because his high school is so Loose... ipods at school? Blasphemy. Phones? Pssssh. And god knows you won't be able to go out of the school for ANY reason but to leave at the end of the day. Plenty of other reasons reminding me of how much I hate my own school, but Onto the actual story. I really like the developments, though I can't wait to see whether this is simply romance or actiony. My guess, If it wasn't obvious to anyone else, Is the blonde girl was at the bathroom during lunch, and wrote his name on the wall. And Evan's obvious tantilization, (I guess, spell check says it isn't a word XD) Shows she is probably an important person. And looking back, the foreshadowing with the dream and the fact that this is a werewolf-esque book, Correct me if I'm wrong It's one in the morning and my brain isn't working perfectly, Makes me think that The group is a group of werewolfs and the dream shows an encounter with the blonde girl.

I'll get to reading the rest later!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Much better than chapter two-not that I'm knocking it. It reads better and isn't as cluttered.

However, and this is just my opinion, feel free to ignore it, I did feel like some of the dialogue was a bit stale. Try reading it out loud as the characters to see if it sounds realistic enough.

I personally can't relate to the high school cliques-they don't exist in my country. I'd keep them as the backdrop and not let it take over or it will get old quick. It wouldn't be as original if you stuck to them.

But you've got a good style. It's eloquent without being too pretentious. Good stuff! I'll read more when I can-always busy these days!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

fantastic job great write i loved the imagry and the emotion in this peice fantastic job once again

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nice chapter :)
The emotions and the description of the high school atmosphere was really good, but I thought it was a tad cliche. You used a lot of labels when describing the different cliques of the high school and it kind of reminded me of "Mean Girls". It's not a terrible thing- I promise! :)- but, it makes the story sound a little catty.

Also, the conversation seems like it doesn't have a flow to it- almost like it's not natural conversation. I don't know why, but I had a little trouble really connecting with the characters as they were talking.

And, one last thing: When Luke, Mitchell, Austin, Jessica, and Chey are telling Evan about the "mysterious girls", it reminded me (unfortunately) of Twilight and when Jessica (haha, coincidence?) is telling Bella about the Cullens. That seemed a bit trite, but other than that, I liked this chapter. (:

I'm really excited to see what happens next!!!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Another great write :)

I hope you post more, I just love the story/book/novel

~ Love Emily

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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bbb
This really took me back; to "back in the day." I felt like I was back in high school reading this. ( I honestly hated high school though) But enough about me. Very realistic emotions, conversations and situations. My favorite part is probably the very beginning, describing the dream. I am probably more interested in that and Evan's extracurricular activities than his time spent at school. I know it's a necessary element for the story, but the school day seemed a little long to me. The only thing I would change would be that, maybe shortening it up a bit. Other than that, I just want to know what happens next! I hope you're getting enough reviews so you post more:)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really like your story! It's really exciting. :) I hope you post more!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Joshua Donahue
Joshua Donahue

Jefferson, SC



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UPDATE! 06.27.13 Hello, WritersCafe! I realize that I have abandoned my account since the summer of 2013. Since then I have started college, and I have experienced... a lot. However, this does no.. more..

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