Chapter Three

Chapter Three

A Chapter by Caitlynxoxo

3.

Ella

Are you ready to go back to school today?


Not even close.

                                      *

                The foyer of the school was crowded. Ella felt suffocated as she fought her way through the tight maze of bags and winter coats and people who couldn’t be bothered to move. When she emerged on the other side, flush-faced and breathless, the immense determination she had spent all morning building up before leaving her house was already receding.  She felt drained of all hope for a good New Year. She wanted to go home and curl up in her bed, hiding herself from the rest of the world for just one more day. That’s all she needed; one more day in bed. She’d be ready to face everyone tomorrow, just not today.

                As she was contemplating this, Ella felt herself being yanked to the side of the hallway by her arm. She stumbled, caught herself, and then straightened up angrily to face whoever had pulled her.

Guten morgen, schöne!” Rachel was practically bouncing as she beamed at her friend. “That means, ‘good morning, beautiful’ in German! Sven taught it to me!”

Ella scowled and adjusted her bag, skewed from the sudden lunge she’d taken a second before. “Ow, Rach. I forgot you had a grip like an orangutan.”

“Did I tell you that I’m in love? Because I am. One hundred and fifty percent.”

“So your holiday went well then.”

Rachel sighed contently and held her binders closer to her chest. “Very well.”

“And Sven?”

“What about him?”

“Do you get his number?” Ella asked, receiving a blank stare in return. She tried again. “Is he going to call you? To keep this relationship going? Is any of this getting through to you?”

Rachel looked unfazed as she shook her head. “Oh, no we didn’t exchange numbers. Sven said it would be better for both of us if we didn’t stay in touch. Easier to move on that way.”

“Did you not just say that you’re in love?” Ella couldn’t believe she was hearing this.

                “Well yeah. But I’ll get over it. Besides, I’d call it ‘lust’ more than anything.” Rachel laughed and ran a hand through her cherry blond hair. “He’s not quite easily replaceable but I’m sure I’ll survive.”

                Ella was trying to follow her train of thought but it was proving to be very difficult. “I’m sorry but I really don’t understand this. You met a guy in Switzerland, called me to tell say that ‘this is what loves feels like’, and then after sleeping with him, you’re perfectly fine with leaving him there? Just like that?” She had a hard enough time talking to strangers. It was so alien to her, the idea of sleeping with one. Yet her best friend seemed to have no problem with doing just that every single holiday she took.

Rachel shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t put too much thought into it, like you’re doing. It’s great while it lasts but it never does, so what’s the point of getting attached?”

“Then why have you been calling it love? This is what love feels like. I’m in love. One hundred and fifty percent.”

                “Heat of the moment? I don’t know. What does it matter?” Rachel was getting upset. She stared at Ella through narrowed eyes, all of her previous joy gone. “I didn’t grab you to get a lecture. I wanted to talk to my best friend,” she paused briefly, letting these words sink in, “and have her share in this happiness I am feeling. Or was feeling, anyway. You’ve kind of ruined it for me so thanks for that.”

Ella’s scowl fell from her face instantly and she sighed. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t being a very good friend there, was I?”

“No.” Rachel responded flatly. “You really weren’t.”

“I’m happy for you. I am. But I find it so hard to show that when I had to spend the whole break by myself. We had plans, remember? Gingerbread mansion? ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’?”

                It took her a second, but finally a look of realization crossed Rachel’s face, and then it crumpled. “Oh my God, Ella. I completely forgot.” She looked horrified. “I ditched you to go sleep with a Swiss guy. You must hate me!”

Ella felt relief at the fact that she could recognize the problem, but she didn’t see the need to make her suffer. “I don’t hate you.”

“You should, El. There’s no excuse for what I did. I was a total b***h.”

Yeah, you were. “No, stop it. Your parents sprung the trip on you. You couldn’t just say ‘no’, right?”

Rachel didn’t look convinced. “I can’t believe you didn’t maul me the moment I grabbed you. I would have. I would have mauled the s**t out of me.”

Ella couldn’t help but laugh at that, and felt the bitter seed in her chest growing smaller. “It’s fine. Really.”

“You sure?” Rachel seemed doubtful, her face contorted with guilt. “I fucked up all our plans.”

                Just like any other time she’d done something to infuriate Ella, Rachel managed to make her anger and all previous loathing evaporate. It only ever really took a guilty stare (like the one Ella was receiving at that very moment), partnered with the worried forehead crease, as if she’d done something out-of-this-world terrible. And then Ella would forgive her. Just like that, not further mentioning of the problem or why she was angry in the first place. To be quite honest, Ella was too goddamn willing to forgive and forget.

“Don’t worry about it.” she said now with a shake of her head. “It’s over with anyway, right? Why dwell on it?”

                “Exactly!” Rachel suddenly brightened right up and linked her arm through Ella’s, leading her down the stretch of hallway towards their lockers. “I couldn’t agree more. Now, back to Sven…”

                                           *

                I should have stayed home. I should have decomposed in my bed until noon and then watched movies and eaten the left over turkey in the fridge and played with the Barbies Rory got for Christmas. That would have been a much better day than this.

                  By the time she found herself trudging towards the cafeteria for lunch, Ella felt like her entire body was collapsing into itself. She was done with all of this, she decided in the middle of world history. It was time for another holiday to start so she could avoid everything she hated about high school. This included the people (especially the people), the classes, the teachers, the routine of it all… It was too much to handle. She hadn’t realized how badly she would miss her Christmas vacation until it was suddenly ripped from her grasp and shoved away until next year.

The cafeteria was full, like always. That much hadn’t changed at all. Every table was surrounded with groups of people, some flying between multiple tables like little social mosquitoes. That was something Ella had never gotten used to about her high school, not even after three years of being surrounded by it: there weren’t really any cliché social groups. No designated “nerds”, “jocks”, “preps” or anything like that.

Everyone seemed to know everyone. Girls who flat-ironed their hair and painted their faces a second layer consisting only of makeup could sit with girls who wore dollar-store lip smacker and put their hair up in loose scrunchies. The varsity hockey team had players in the Latin club and in advanced placement mathematics. Band kids were hooking up cheerleaders after school.

At least having cliques would help Ella avoid looking like a total social outcast. Then, without everyone liking everyone for some reason, she wouldn’t be the odd one out. But in real life, where there are no wishes being granted, she was. She was the odd one out, the person who didn’t really fit in anywhere. A “glitch in the system”, if you would. She wasn’t instantly liked by everyone who met her. She couldn’t go to a random table, sit down, and be welcomed with open arms and choruses of “hey!” No. This was still a high school, and it still had to suck in some aspect of someone, at least.

That someone just had to be Ella.

                Looking around at the empty tables, she sighed and turned to head to the library where she would eat her sandwich in the French-immersion section. But that was when she saw him, walking towards the doors to the cafeteria with his ever-present posse flanking him.

                Paul Warrenton: as close to perfection as any mere mortal can be. Looking at him felt like a privilege, one Ella took advantage of most frequently. But how could you not? He was just so stare-worthy; light brown hair that was mussed so adorably it was lethal, sharp jawbones, broad shoulders, heart-punching smile… there was no end to everything that made Paul so wonderful. But the part of him Ella loved the most was his brain.

                Honestly. Out of everything about him, it was his brain that caught her heart and squeezed it until she couldn’t breathe. He wrote poetry. Good poetry, too. The kind that made your lips pull back into a smile, no matter what mood you were in. It was just so descriptive and sounded so wonderful when it was read aloud. Each and every time she heard his words, she wanted to capture them in a mason jar and open it later, letting the beauty fill her ears whenever she was upset.

                He was getting closer and he’d yet to notice her blocking the entrance to the cafeteria. Normally she would have moved out of the way. But on that particular day, he was wearing a lime-green dress shirt and white tie, his hair combed back away from his face. Whenever the hockey team was having an away game, the boys dressed up to look “classy”, something the team of ’87 had made a tradition or something.

                He looked too good. Way too good. Ella continued staring at him, forgetting she had the ability to move her feet and get out of his way. It wasn’t until Paul was stopped right in front of her, his posse stopped behind him as well, that she remembered she was blocking his path. He wasn’t looking at her. He was looking beyond her, over her head, at the mass of students eating lunch. And then, his eyes flickered to hers, and everything inside of her came alive.

“Hey.” He said. Such simple words, yet they knocked the wind out of her.

Ella fought to swallow the uneasy feeling in her throat, and smiled. “Hi.”

“You going into the cafeteria?”

They were having a conversation. Paul was talking to her. Had she actually woken up that morning or was it all just some sick dream? “Uh, no, actually. I was just-”

“Then do you mind moving please?” one of the guys behind Paul suddenly interrupted her.

                Ella blinked at him and then gave an awkward shuffle to the side. The flock of people behind Paul filtered into the cafeteria, but he stayed put, adjusting the strap of his back on his shoulder with his eyes lowered on the ground. It wasn’t until all of his friends were gone that he looked at Ella again. Two times in one day. Was she going to have to pay for this later, like some sort of reverse karma?

                “See you later, Emma.” He flashed her a smile that sent her soaring up into the cosmos and dancing on stars. As she brushed past her to join his friends, his right hand grazed her arm. His sweet cologne assaulted her nose. And his verbal mistake was forgotten while Ella fought to stop herself from dissolving. She could be “Emma” from now on. Paul Warrenton wanted her to be “Emma” so she was going to be “Emma”.

“Ella.” Rachel came up beside her and gave her shoulder a nudge with her own. “You look like you’re going to vomit.”

“I feel like it.”

“Want me to take you to the nurse or something?”

“No. It’s a good kind of vomit.”

Rachel wrinkled her nose. “I don’t really think that exists.”

“It does.” Ella began to smile a very goofy, elated smile. “And it’s called the ‘Paul Warrenton kind of vomit’.”

“Right. That kind… You sure you’re okay?”

                Was she? Everything inside of her body was working on trying to keep the sensation of his hand touching her arm locked away in her memory so she could retrieve it for later. At least she wasn’t “Paul Warrenton” vomiting. So that meant she was okay. Maybe later she would but her brain understood the social repercussions of doing so when Paul himself was just a few feet away.

“I’m fine.” Ella replied slowly. “Perfectly fine. Little shaken, sort of star struck, but fine.”

Rachel stared at her a moment longer before shaking her head. “Okay then. Awesome. Should we go find somewhere to sit?”

“I’ve already been in there. All the tables are full.”

“Typical.” Rachel gave an airy sigh. “I suppose we’ll have to eat in the library again. That’s always fun.”

                Ella was going to respond when she felt her sweater pocket vibrating. Signalling “one minute” to Rachel, she pulled out her phone and checked to see who was texting her. It was Clayton. No surprise there, really. She’d been expecting him to all morning.

Is it too much to ask you to kill me maybe? Sort of like a late Christmas gift to me?

          Giving a light chuckle, Ella proceeded to text him back, very much aware of Rachel’s curious gaze as she did so.


I take it your first day back is going about as well as mine is?

 

Worse, I’m sure. But I guess I can’t say that for certain.

 

We’re at equal parts on the “horrible day” spectrum. Deal?

 

Deal. So where do we stand on that whole you-killing-me thing?

 

Can’t. I’ve got chemistry next and I’d hate to miss out on my daily dose of hell on earth. Sorry.

 

I’m in grade twelve chemistry. You have nothing to complain about.

 

Grade twelve? I thought we were the same age.

 

We are. I’m just kind of really smart.

 

So a nerd, basically?

 

Basically. But I don’t enjoy grade twelve chemistry. So I’m a reluctant nerd.

 

          Ella was still smiling down at her phone when she realized Rachel had inched closer and closer until she was practically standing over top of her. She was trying to read the texts. Well that wasn’t going to happen. Ella pocketed her phone again and looked up at her friend, watching as Rachel’s face fell flat.

“What? I don’t get to see?”

“See what?”

She pointed at Ella’s pocket accusingly. “That guy you’re texting! Clayton-something. Who is he? Does he go to this school?”

“…No.” a furious blush was creeping up on Ella’s face. She fought to remain nonchalant but she could just see that her secret was about to be forced out of her.

“Does he live here in town?”

“No. He’s from out of town.” Not a lie. This was good. She could avoid lying and in doing so, avoid giving herself away. She was a terrible liar.

Rachel seemed confused. “Out of town? Like a cousin or something?”

“Not my cousin. A guy. From out of town. Clayton.”

“Why are you talking like that?”

“Like what?”

“In short little sentences.” Rachel’s eyes were narrowed, and she took a step closer, staring Ella down. “Are you hiding something from me?”

Yes. “No.”

“Don’t lie to me, Ella Hamilton.”

“I’m not.” She really wasn’t. She’d yet to say a single lie.

Rachel drew back and shrugged. “Fine. If you’ve got nothing to hide, hand me the phone.”

Ella’s hand flew to her sweater pocket protectively. “No.”

“Why?”

“Because…our texts are private. You don’t need to see them.”

“Private how? Like, private-private?” Rachel gave a suggestive wiggle of her eye brows, one that Ella didn’t understand.

“What?”

“Oh my God they are! You’re sexting this guy!”

Sexting?! “No I’m not!” Ella began to blush furiously, the mere idea of that being too outrageous. “I’m swear we’re not doing that.”

                Despite her serious tone, Rachel began to laugh. “Oh don’t be so embarrassed about it, El! Everyone does it at some point. It’s totally natural.” She looked around them, at the handful of students milling close-by, and then lead Ella towards a quieter part of the hallway, away from the cafeteria.

“So tell me,” she said in a hushed whisper, her eyes alight with intrigue. “When and where did you meet this guy?”

                It was then, with Rachel’s face close to hers so that no one could hear what they were saying, that Ella realized it had happened. She was finally getting her wish. She had the stories now. She was the one being milked for details about her love life, having to whisper them to avoid being heard. For once, Ella had the answers Rachel wanted, and the stories she longed to hear. It was her turn to be the scandalous one.

                “Rory had a hockey tournament in Windsor.” Ella said, the lie pouring out of her so easily it nearly frightened her. “We all went down a couple days before New Years. I met Clayton at the arena, when his little sister’s team was playing Rory’s. We got to talking and…I don’t know, I guess we just hit it off.” She shrugged her shoulders innocently.

Rachel was leaning towards her, obviously expecting more. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“How far did you go?”

Ella wasn’t following. “Go?”

“You know, go?” when she remained confused, Rachel sighed. “The bases, El! How far did you let him go?”

                The bases? How long had it been since she’d even heard what the bases were? Ella swallowed and tried to remember them as quickly as possible. So first base was probably kissing. Saying he only got to first sounded too virginal. Second base was...tongue? Was tongue a base? Okay, so then third would be groping. And fourth…wait, no. There was no fourth base. That was home. That was a home-run, all the way, out of the park. They definitely didn’t get to home.

“Uh, you know, like, third base.” Ella answered casually, and then immediately regretted it when Rachel’s eyes began to bulge dramatically.

Third? You actually went to third?”

“Is that…bad?”

“You tell me!” Rachel began to laugh, still wearing a look of disbelief. “Was he bad at it?”

It? “Okay, I may actually need a review on what the bases are.” Ella admitted.

                Rachel leaned up against the wall beside them, and began to number them off on her fingers as she said them. “Okay, base numero uno: kissing. Simple enough, maybe some frenching, that sort of thing.” Ella nodded. So tongue didn’t get its own base.

“Two: groping.” Rachel smiled. “This can be over the clothes or under.”

“O…kay.” That she hadn’t known; it could be under?

“Three: oral.”

Ella began to vigorously shake her head at that. “No then. I change my previous answer. We most certainly did not go to third.” 

Rachel looked disappointed. “Damn. And here I thought you’d let loose a little. Well, base four is obviously all the way. That’s all of them. So which was it?”

                If she were being perfectly honest, Ella would have told her that she and Clayton were still sitting in the dugout…of two different baseball stadiums. But that was the old Ella’s answer. New Ella wasn’t going to let her good story fall flat with a less-than-grand finale. So they didn’t reach third or fourth. Second still sounded pretty scandalous, at least in her opinion.

“Second base.” Ella said finally. “We got to second before I told him to stop.”

Rachel nodded slowly, musing over this with an impressed smile. “Second huh? Was he any good? Or did it feel like he was trying to knead you into pizza dough?”

“No, it was good. Most definitely not like pizza dough.”

“Cool.” Rachel grinned. “I can’t believe you hooked up with a guy, El. I’m so proud of you!”

                When she unexpectedly wrapped her arms around her, Ella tried to relax into it and hug her back, but guilt was gnawing at her relentlessly. She hated lying, and she especially hating lying for personal gain. Dear God, she silently prayed. Please don’t let this bite me in the a*s.



© 2012 Caitlynxoxo


Author's Note

Caitlynxoxo
Depending on how busy I am tomorrow, I MAY (keyword: may) be able to post a fourth chapter, but we'll have to see xD thanks for reading!1

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I liked this chapter. We get a glimpse of Ella's personality and I agree this will most definitely come back to haunt her.

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on November 25, 2012
Last Updated on November 25, 2012


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Caitlynxoxo
Caitlynxoxo

Ontario, Canada



About
About a year ago, I left Writers Cafe because I fell into this awful period of not being able to write anything. It was like all of my inspiration had gone, and I wasn't doing anything with my account.. more..

Writing
Chapter One Chapter One

A Chapter by Caitlynxoxo


Chapter Two Chapter Two

A Chapter by Caitlynxoxo


Chapter Four Chapter Four

A Chapter by Caitlynxoxo