Chapter One.

Chapter One.

A Chapter by Leah Everett
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part one of my book so far. :)

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Chapter 1

The roof of her mouth turned arid as she managed to pace herself through the halls of her new secondary school. Pimply faced teenagers hustled past her, cursing and laughing too loud. The walls of St. James were naked. She was used to the ugly ‘artwork’ of year three’s surrounding her, and making her feel more idiotic than ever.  The corridors eventually stood serene. She looked down at her bulky blazer, and her over burnished shoes. Her bag hung painfully over her shoulder, weighing her down and not making it any easier to walk. Her tie leashed around her neck, barely leaving enough room to respire. She thought year six was bad, but what she would give to back there. To be happy again. With a pessimistic appearance, she shifted down the hall, dreading form. Steady up the steps, she heard familiar, ear breaking giggles. Her stomach roiled.
  “What’s that coming up the stairs, it’s a monster, it’s a monster!” they began to sing, terribly out of tune.
  “Grow up.” she hissed at them, trying to edge past without being harmed.
  “You forgot to shave this morning, sir.” said Steph.
They all began to laugh hysterically. She just sighed and looked down at herself. She started to believe she really did look like a man. She didn’t mind you. Her hair was vibrantly blonde and her eyes were large and cerulean, contoured by feathery eyelashes. She was rather lady like to be honest, but this was concealed by her stupid oversized uniform. She had it entrenched in her mind that she was this hideous, masculine freak, because that’s what she had been forced to believe. She stared at them all one by one, envying them for their dramatic characters and their popularity. As she began up the second flight of stairs, four of the girls lunged at her, seizing her bag and causing her to trip over. She hit the grimy concrete fiercely. She felt the splitting of her ankle as she tried to stand herself back up again, but she fell back with excruciating agony. She held back the continuous flood of tears in her eyes, knowing that if she let one tear fall, she wouldn’t hear the last of it. She had to sit back and witness them rifling through her bag, lugging money, food, books and homework from it. Leanne skipped over to a bin where she stood, ripping up paper by paper and letting them sink into the rotting stench of the bin. They stuffed money into their pockets, along with food and homework that they hadn’t completed for themselves. They threw the bag in her face, and sat down in a crowd around her, sneering smirks pierced on them. They sat happily masticating the previous contents of her lunch box. She couldn’t say anything, because she knew it wasn’t worth a beating.
  “You know Phoenix, your face is very disturbing. Cover it up Harriet, I’m eating and he’s making me feel sick.”
  “No. I’m going to form, just leave me alone.”
  “I don’t think so. Harriet, shut him up.”
Harriet was a silent, monstrous, gorilla. She didn’t speak, because one hostile glare from her could express all. She lifted the battered bag from the floor and widened the opening, grinning evilly. Phoenix gasped and endeavoured to run up the stairs, but the pain was too unbearable. Harriet garrotted her with the bag, attempting to suffocate her. She heard the sounds of hysterics simmering around her as she struggled with Harriet. She felt the zip engraving into her neck, cutting off the air supply. She started to choke violently and her head wanted to detonate. She tried to scream but the zip silenced her with a painful tactic. When she was just about to give up, warming to the thought of this ending eternally, she was saved by the bell. The girls scampered off, leaving Phoenix to recover with teary eyes. She managed to hold them back as she gathered the remains of her belongings. She looked up the stairs through drenched eyelashes, watching the crowds of carping adolescents trudging towards her.
  “Where were you? You missed registration.” asked Shira.
  “Oh, yeah. Well I was late, so.”
  “Oh my God! What’s that mark on your neck? It looks awful, like you’ve been strangled.”
She began to panic, and held her throat trying to think of some excuse.
  “Was it those year elevens?”
She gave a small nod and dropped her head into her hands, bawling. Shira just stood there, uselessly uncomforting.
  “Shall we tell Mr. Floyd?”
  “No! You cant tell anyone.”
  “He’ll sort them out, and then they’ll leave you alone.”
  “He wont sort them out, he has better things to do. Anyway he might tell my mum and then I’m laughing stock at home too. Lets just go to lesson and forget about it.”
  “Did you do your homework for history?”
  “Well I did, until they ripped it up.”
  “You’re going to get in so much trouble. This is the third time you haven’t handed homework in.”
  “I have better things to think about than a stupid detention.”
  “I don’t understand why you let them get to you so much, fair enough, they cant make life easy and that’s why you need to tell someone.”
  “Oh whatever. You’re lucky enough not to have to go through it, so be grateful and stop going on about it.”
  She marched heatedly up the playground, fearfully stirring her head as if someone was about to gag her. She wondered why she couldn’t put up a fight like everyone else. She acted it out in her mind, repeatedly going over callous sentences, and vicious punches she could use. She tried wearing a warrior scowl, and thickened her skin, in effort to be intimidating. It lasted for a few minutes, before wilting away as she entered the classroom, leaving her with no defence. She eluded eye contact with everybody, and shuffled shyly to her chair. She falsified a positive smile, and tried to look fine. She tossed her hair from shoulder to shoulder, somehow shaking earlier from her mind in order to concentrate. Suddenly, a bristly whisper came from behind her.
  “No one wants to see your albino hair, stop trying to draw attention to yourself stupid.”
She spun round to a Denis The Menace replica. He had a sour grin, arced under his freckles.
  “Have you not got anything other than me to preoccupy yourself with?” she hissed back at him.
He knitted his brow.  “Pre up your what?”
She sighed heavily and revolved her self back round, escalating her stare up to the window. She liked sitting by the window. Mainly because when the teacher was talking bollocks, and the kids were overly maddening, she could stare out into the empty playground, revamping it into an exotic paradise. She’d watch herself dance blissfully above gold plated sands, and picture perfect seas, the ones you see in holiday brochures. In her world, no one existed but her. It was better that way. But her globe of immaculacy was interrupted by a snappish voice. It was Mr. Cleaver. Or Pervert, whatever suits you.
  “Excuse me miss Applebe, but when you are out of you’re magical land of stupidity, could you kindly give me the answer to the question I have just asked?”
  “Which was?”
He smirked rather unpleasantly. “King Henry. What did he die of?”
  “If he was in a lesson of yours, boredom.”
  “You young lady need a long, hard lesson on manners.” he said this with obvious intent to cause arousal. All it did was make her feel queasy. She refused to reply, looking deeply into the glass of the window, trying hard to ignore his presence.
  “Phoenix? Are you trying to disregard me?”
  “Trying is an understatement. I think a lot of people are trying to disregard you sir. You’re futile and brainless, and you‘re the one in a world of idiocy. You‘re pathetic, no wonder everyone classes you as the school moron. Swaggering around as if you hold some importance, when in actual fact, you know f**k all.”
The class gasped at her sudden boorish comments. Especially at Mr. Cleaver. Phoenix held her breath as he strode towards her, gaining close with an impassive countenance. He came to a solid standstill, and knelt down, one elbow on her table and staring deeply into her eyes. She could see some signs of aggression, but he masked it well. She was stiff with fright, and could feel the tension of the class.
  “Do you have anything else to say?” his voice reverberating.
She shook her head in a soundless shiver.
  “Good. Because you know what I do to children who behave with such impertinence, don’t you?”
She looked desperately out the window again, and saw Mr. Floyd walking hurriedly across the playground. Her eyes began to humidify. 
  “Not so big and clever now are you, sweetie.”
She frowned at how he acted like he owned her. He bent closer, his abraded chin irritating hers.
  “I want you to look at me, don’t look at him.” he said, so muted that she only heard him by a hair’s breadth.
He sighed, but stood instantly, exaggerating his voice.
  “Forty minute detention with me at lunch. And no excuses.”
A tear fell naturally down her reddened cheek. She could sense the entire class ogling her, some sneering, some just plain speechless. She didn’t look their way, she stared at her work sheet, the letters all merging into a watery fog. She blinked viciously, and bowed her head. She couldn’t win either way, being alone in a classroom with Mr. Cleaver, or being orbited by bullies? What a choice. She considered faking illness, but it wasn’t all happy families in her household either. She glimpsed over to Shira who was deep in her work. Her russet hair sticking to her face, obviously feeling the terror Phoenix felt. She turned back to her sheet. She focused on the illustration of Henry. Were all men such b******s? She picked up her pen, and began to write, pages and pages of her views on Henry. Obviously relating to Mr. Cleaver. By the time the bell had rung, her fingers were pulsating with agony and her body throbbed with feelings. She seized her bag, hastening past the desks in order to be the first one out. A suited arm halted her, just as she was about to grab the handle.
  “A word.” Said Cleaver.
Her shoulders drooped, along with her expression. Shira held her shoulder.
  “You okay?” she whispered.
  “Run along. I just need to speak to Phoenix for a moment.”
  “Sorry Shira. Just wait outside for me, I’ll be fine.”
  “No waiting around. Just get to your lesson, she’ll catch you up.”
As Shira left, a flood of scare was poured into the classroom. It was eerie, with no other children filling the desks. Cleaver sauntered silently to his desk, his back turned to her. He shuffled his papers in slow motion, making room for something. This frightened her.
  “Sir. I need to get to my lesson.”
  “Do you now? Well you’ll have to wait I’m afraid, I need to talk to you.”
He spiralled back round in a stylish manor, and hauled himself into the space on his desk.
  “I’m going to forget about earlier. Providing, you do a little something for me.”
She swallowed, trying to eliminate the rock wedged in her throat. He leisurely ambled towards her in a cocky strut, symbolising authority. As he reached her, he thrust several papers in her sweaty palms.
  “Take these to Miss. Jameson, please.”
She felt stupid and guilty. But the ambience he was triggering off was still odd. She smiled slightly and left the room, hating herself for being so predictive. Besides, she couldn’t focus much on him. She was more concerned about making excuses for the bruises encircling her neck. Her life seemed to revolve around protecting these arseholes who made her life a working, living, breathing hell. She pattered down the steps frantically, filling a polystyrene cup with wintry water. The frozen liquid ran down her throat, soothing her nerves. She hated being constantly worried. She nibbled at the rim of the cup, breaking off bits in her mouth. She knew Miss. Jameson would start a full interrogation of her contusion. She leant against the wall. Breathing in. Breathing out. When she was near enough tranquil, she toddled slowly across the playground, following the exact direction  Mr. Floyd had travelled. She did mull over telling him, but she didn’t want him to think she was an idiot and laugh at her. She didn’t really know why. She cant ‘like’ him. She hadn’t even had any communication whatsoever with the man since she started the school. She didn’t bother, instead, she trekked painfully past his office door, and across to Miss. Jameson’s classroom. She drummed lightly on the plastic panels, listening closely. No-one answered. She tried to shove the door but it had been locked. She felt her heart battering her chest. She didn’t want to go back up to Mr. Cleaver, even though it was dense to think he would ever do something like that. She pressured herself into spinning back round, beginning to walk back up the hall.
  “Phoenix?” came a subtle voice.
It was Miss. Jameson. She let out her breath in relief. Miss. Jameson was a young teacher, and slightly nuts. She had tiger-orange hair, cut choppily around her neck, with weighty jewellery on every aspect of her body. She wore stripes and polka dots of all sorts of various colours. Glasses cased her eyes stylishly in an emerald frame.
  “Did you want me for something, love?”
  “Yes Miss. Mr. Cleaver asked me to give you these.”
She took them with a slapstick smile, each of her fingers jewelled.
  “Ace! I’ve been asking him for these for bloody centuries. Men are stupidly slow.” she said.
  “I know.”
  “What on earth are those marks on your neck?” she gaped, changing her tone.
  “What marks?”
  “Don’t be naive. Come on who did that to you?!”
  “Nobody. I must of slept funny. Now I must go, I have a lesson.”
  “Who do you have next?”
  “Mrs. Scout.”
  “Right, well, I will walk down with you and have a word with her.”
  “About what?”
  “Your neck. No doubt she would probably be concerned anyway. Maybe I should just take you to the nurse.”
  “No! I’m fine, honest. And you don’t need to speak to Mrs. Scout, it would be a waste of your time because nobody has done this to me.”
Her eyes were brimming with doubt, but she just smiled uncertainly and walked into her classroom without another word. Phoenix puckered her brow and let out her breath in a slow wind. She had to make her way past Mr. Floyd’s door again. Just then, she felt her heart clout her ribcage, rooting herself to the polished floor. He was standing outside his office. She hesitated, wondering whether she should tell him. He looked at her briefly before raising his eyebrows and shutting his office door behind him. Her fleeting chance was gone instantly. She slugged against the wall and closed her eyes for what seemed like forever. When she opened them, her vision was blurred, and she felt nauseous. She took two deep breaths and stumbled frailly to her next lesson. The hallways were much nicer when they were soundless. She tapped timidly on a door and opened it to a dull and deadly classroom. The ugly grins of youths wasn’t welcoming. Neither was the teacher.
  “Late again? There’s a surprise. Every lesson this is Phoenix, its becoming beyond a joke now!”
  “I’m sorry Mrs. Scout. I had to take something to Miss. Jameson. Mr. Cleaver told me to.”
  “And that’s taken you nearly 20 minutes?”
  “Miss. Jameson wouldn’t stop talking. I did tell I her I had to get here.”
  “Well in that case you wont mind me asking Miss. Jameson?”
  “No! You cant ask her!” she cried, worried about her neck.
The class erupted into giggles. Mrs. Scout was clearly not amused.
  “So, you have been lying to me have you? Where have you been?”
  “I’m telling the truth! For God’s sake, just ask her then. I’m not bothered.”
  “No wonder you‘re so bad at maths, all this lack of motivation you portray!”
Phoenix scowled at Mrs. Scout. In a way, she was extremely pissed off that she hadn’t noticed her bruising. She was sat next to Rhian.
  “Where were you then?”
  “With Miss. Jameson!”
  “Don’t lie, were you getting hot with Cleave?”
  “Oh yeah man, how on earth did you just, like, crack me like that?!” she said, sarcastic.
  “Seriously, were you? I mean everyone thought he was about to kiss you in History. Shira was well scared when she left you.”
  “No, honest. Nothing happened, he just gave me some papers to give to Miss. Jameson. He said if I did that errand for him, he’d drop the detention! I was like sorted.”
  “He so likes you.”
  “You are so stupid. He’s a teacher and I’m only in year seven! That’s just… dirty.”
  “Oh whatever! Have you f*****g seen yourself? You look as if your sixteen. Anyway, it’s common nowadays.”
  “What paedophiles after minors? Yes too common!”
  “Well. If that’s what you want to call them. You get them perverts after girls of like five and six, but if you see them in the newspapers, a lot of them are teachers and secondary school pupils. And it wasn’t harassment or whatever, they were proper relationships. I’m telling you, it isn’t wrong, because it was wanted on both sides.”
  “I cant believe this discussion! Shut up and do your algebra.”
  “I’m serious! If you wanted a liaison with Cleave, then I just want you to know, that’s fine by me. I wont judge you!”
Phoenix just stared at her, with extensive eyes.
  “You are unbelievable. I do not want anything to do with some skanky, over aged teacher, thank you very much.”
  “Coming from someone who fancies Mr. Floyd.”
Phoenix shot up rigidly, fuming.
  “I DO NOT FANCY MR. FLOYD!” she bellowed at Rhian, spitting flames.
Rhian just hunched up, her mouth falling into an oval. The entire class was in silence. Even Mrs. Scout jumped.
  “Phoenix Applebe! I have just about had enough of your sudden outbursts. You keep your disgusting comments to yourself in future!”
  “I wasn’t the one being disgusting, its her!” she yelled, pointing to Rhian.
  “Yeah well, you don’t move off the topic of him. You’re always on about ‘ Mr. Floyd this,  Mr. Floyd f*****g that!’.
Then the class started to join in the piss take.
  “Ugh! That’s sick! Phoenix loves Mr. Floyd!”
   “Err! He’s like forty something! Why do you want screw someone your dad’s age for? You f*****g weirdo!”
She slumped into her chair, secreting her face away in her hands, tears trickling down her face.
  “Now look what you’ve started! I hope you’re happy with all this attention, and ruining my lesson over stupid, childish things like this. The class can thank you for staying behind thirty minutes at lunch time.” said Mrs. Scout.
The class moaned and groaned for England, as if it was her fault. She didn’t even bother to make up with Rhian, they wasn’t like proper friends to begin with anyway. She started to graffiti her book with scrawled hearts and stars, then got even more depressed as the teacher droned on and on about pointless algebra. She covered her tears with her hair, squiggling pictures of doom. The exorcist, knives and guns, Jesus hung in obvious pain on the cross, pictures of hatred, pictures of horror. She covered the entire book cover, in daunting, livid images. She felt rather stupid afterwards, she had just made herself out to look like more of a maniac. The work books were collected in not long after, by one of the boys. He came to hers, picked it up, and scanned it with interest. She gulped, convinced he was going to scoff at her. Their eyes met. She hadn’t noticed him before, he wasn’t like the other boys in her class. He had dark hair, gelled into spikes, and he had strong masculine features, with acne free skin. He was smaller than her, but was very muscular. He smiled gently.
  “They’re very good.” he spoke with a deepened tone.
  “Thanks. Lets hope Mrs. Scout thinks the same.”
He laughed. “These would scare her to death.”
  “With any luck.”
He laughed again, and walked off in front, mounting everyone’s textbooks on top of each other. He put hers right to the bottom, so Mrs. Scout didn’t see and give her another lecture. He took the long way back round to his desk, deliberately. He winked as he passed her, and she mimed her appreciations. She sat in a state of unusual happiness through the last ten minutes of the lesson. Rhian nudged her, with her razor elbows.
  “What?” she hissed.
  “Sozard! Look, I just to want to, you know, say sorry for earlier.”
  “You do this all the time.”
  “What?”
  “You take the piss out of me, humiliate me in front of everyone and then try and weave your way back into my good books again.”
  “I was only joking about Mr. Floyd. I didn’t mean it.”
  “Yeah well the rest of the class took it seriously enough didn’t they?! I am now a laughing stock.”
  “Too be honest, you already was.”
The bell rang, and the classroom quickly emptied. Phoenix had to stay behind. Surprise, surprise.
  “Miss?” she squeaked.
  “Mrs. Scout. You know I don’t respond to ‘Miss’.” she mimicked the ‘miss’ part, making herself sound pathetically unlike Phoenix.
  “Well. Technically you just did. But anyway, you know that boy who collected in the papers?”
  “Yes. What about him?”
  “What’s his name?”
  “That’s Grayson Cassel. Why?”
  “Oh right. No reason, I just… recognised him from somewhere.”
  “You’ve been in this school for two months. And you don’t know who your classmates are? Preposterous.”
  “I thought you might be thrilled to know that I concentrate on my school work, and not so much on larking around with my other peers.”
  “You? Concentrate? On school work? That’s the most ridiculous thing I have heard from a pupil.”
  “You wont be saying that when I’m making my millions will you?”
  “All that you will ever be making, is burgers in McDonalds.”
  “For your information, I am going to become a writer and my own illustrator too.”
She ruptured her spine, she laughed so hard.
  “Oh do me a favour Phoenix! Nobody would take you as a serious writer. You may act intelligent with your words, but it doesn’t make you intelligent at all. You’re absolutely crap at maths, lets be blunt. I have explained things to you, time and time again, yet you still cant manage simple division!”
  “Just because I’m not great on one thing, doesn’t mean I’m rubbish at everything.”
  “No. Well. I just cant see you making it big. You’re not the type, you couldn’t cope with it all anyway.”
She stood in anguish, and left the room, leaving Mrs. Scout with her new humorous side. She stepped out into the corridor, where she ironically walked straight into Mr. Floyd. She was expecting him to tut and tell her to ‘watch where you’re going, stupid!’ but he surprised her.
  “God! You nearly gave me a heart attack!” he said. He had a small, shy and gentle laugh that seemed to sprinkle chills through her body.
  “Oh. Sorry Sir. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
  “Are you the new girl in year eleven? That started last week? Because I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”
  “I’m in class 7.O!”
  “You’re not in year seven are you?! You look a lot older than that.”
  “Oh I get that all the time.” she was secretly flattered.
He laughed again, and she bit her lip to stop herself from telling him. It was dark in the hallway, so he couldn’t see her bruised neck.
  “Have you just been in a detention?”
She bashfully hung her head, and stared at his smart and shiny shoes.
  “I take that as a yes. I hope I haven’t got myself a right handful.”
  “No, no. I can confidently say it was a complete misunderstanding.”
  “Right, I see. That’s what they all say. Well, I‘ve got to get off. How is school though? Is it okay here?”
  “Yeah. It’s great. Thanks.”
  “Oh good. Well, I’ll let you go.”
  “Ok. Bye Mr. Floyd.”
  “Bye, erm… what’s your name again, sorry?”
  “Phoenix.”
  “I’m sure I’ll remember it.”
She smiled at him, and watched him disappear through two doors at the bottom of the corridor. She felt strange. As if, someone had just massaged her all over, she felt active and revitalised. And she had only spoken to him for forty-five seconds.
She started to think to herself. ‘Ok. So, this is Mr. Floyd were talking about. I am in year seven. This isn’t happening! He is a nice person. That’s all. Forget him, FORGET IT. Walk on, walk f*****g on, and act n-o-r-m-a-l.”
She strolled straight outside and straight into the ‘loser crowd’. Her mates, that is.
  “Here she comes. Come on, lovebird, how was detention.” mocked Rhian.
  “Thrilling.” she said, flat.
  “Aww. Come here, is Mr. Floyd giving you the cold shoulder? B*****d!” cooed Eve, along with heartless giggles off Felicity, Iris and Gemma.
  “Tell you what Rhian, why don’t you just phone BBC1 and ask them to broadcast it.”
  “Oh take a break Phoenix, were only joking. Calm down! You’re so miserable.”
  “I have a mob of mental cases after my blood, the school thinks I get off on O.A.P’s, Mr. Cleaver jacks off over my name, and my f*****g HOUSEHOLD is a war zone. And you expect me to be bouncing off the school walls in joy? F**k, off.”
  “Why do you always want sympathy?” asked Iris.
Phoenix held her temper, and closed her eyes, stroking her forehead.
  “I suggest you shut up, before I ram this bag, right up your…”
  “OH MY GOD! Girls, stick your tits out, Hunky Monkey, two o’clock.” said Gemma, fluttering her eyelashes weirdly.
  “Ooft! I would!” grinned Shira.
  “What are you perverts lusting after now?”
  “Someone who is way to good for you. Just stay you know… at the back.” said Felicity.
  “Move out my way!.”
She got to the front and hunted for this so called sex-god. The playground was swarming with hyperactive children. All the boys were just, plain, boyish. Except of course, for Grayson, who stood out like a sore thumb.
  “Oh you idiots. It’s not Grayson Cassel is it?”
  “Erm… Yes! Have you seen him? He’s gorgeous!”
  “Well. He’s a bit of alright I suppose.”
Rhian started to laugh bitterly.
  “I bet you, by the end of this week, I will be dating him.” she said.
  “Arrogant.” spat Phoenix.
  “Maybe. But, like I said, I’m going to ask him out. Anyone offering to lose a score?”
  “Twenty pounds! You must be joking.”
  “Well, just goes to show, you all know it’s going to happen. I’m going to love seeing the green eyed monster come out in all of you when he has his arm round me.”
  “His arm! He’d need a f*****g aeroplane to get round you, chubbs.”
  “Oh. So I’m fat now am I?”
  “You’re slightly obese. Everyone agrees on the sly, but none of them say it to you.”
  “Now, come on Phoenix. That’s a bit mean.” said Gemma.
  “No it isn’t. She is always complaining that she feels and looks like s**t. She admits that she’s over weight herself. She cant expect false flattery from me, its for her own good that I’m telling her. What would she benefit from, if I told her a lie?”
  “Fine. If that’s what you lot think of me. I’ll go on a diet. But the bets still on, Grayson and I will be officially love-struck by the end of the week.”
  “Good luck. But don’t set your up hopes too high.” said Shira.
At that moment, Grayson sauntered past them, pursued by the rest of his posse. He turned and stopped to look at them. One of the boys whispered something to someone else, and they all exploded into fits of laughter. Grayson simply smiled, flawlessly. It drove shivers down each of the girls spines. They all, apart from Phoenix, appeared to be posing, in an awkward, desperate posture. Frantic twiddling of hair, and fluttering of eyelashes kind of gave it away.
  “Hi girls. Phoenix, what did Mrs. Scout say to you? I bet she had a right go didn’t she?” he chuckled.
  “Oh my god! The cheeky cow only said that I was basically thick, and that all I’ll end up working in was McDonalds!”
  “No way! I’m sure you can get her done for that. Ugh, take no notice of her. I mean, she‘s working in this place.”
  “Yeah. Hardly what I’d call job satisfaction!”
They started laughing with each other, as if they had been best friends since birth. They continued their conversation without realising that the bell had gone, and they were the only two left standing in the playground. The only reason they became aware of it, was because of Grayson’s sudden change of expression and a tender touch that Phoenix felt on her shoulder. She spun around to find Mr. Floyd towering above her, arms crossed and creating a very strong sense of authority. She actually felt a huge sexual kick, and it sent her woozy. She had forgotten completely about Grayson, who was staring at the chipped playground markings on the floor, as if it was blanketed in twenty pound notes.
  “Enjoying yourselves?” he said, with a miniature smile.
  “We hadn’t realised the bell had gone. Sorry, sir. We’ll get to lesson now.” she said.
  “Yeah it’s not very often we lift a smile in this place. We were just making the most of it. That’s all!” cheeked Grayson.
  “You see Phoenix, this is what I mean by a handful. I wouldn’t get involved with Grayson, he’s a right bad influence. Take it from me.”
She started giggling, and felt herself going very red.
  “I’m not a bad influence, I’m a good boy.” muttered Grayson, his face upturning.
 Mr. Floyd leant closer to Phoenix’s ear, and whispered softly,
  “And a bad liar.”
She laughed again, and noticed herself weaken. He walked on, past Grayson, and ruffled his spikes.
  “Watch the hair!” he said, fretting.
 Mr. Floyd just laughed and asked him to sort out his uniform. Grayson didn’t make much of an effort, so Sir just sighed and said he was obviously not one for presentation. Instead, he took Grayson’s tie into his own hands, and Phoenix and Grayson stayed hushed as he knotted the tie tightly beneath his neck.
  “That’s better. Now you look smart, and don’t undo it when my back is turned.”
  “It’s squeezing the life out of me!” Grayson complained.
  Phoenix butted in on behalf of Mr. Floyd, “Beauty is pain, I should know, I’m a woman-ish. Mr. Floyd’s right, you look a lot better like that.”
  “Thank you, Phoenix. See, that’s what you call an intelligent and well respectful pupil. Maybe you two should be friends after all. Now, go to your lessons please.” and he hurriedly scampered off up the playground.
Grayson and Phoenix watched after him in silence, like a couple of perverts. After a short while, Grayson let out a strong breath and spat how much he disliked Mr. Floyd.
  “Aww, why? He’s funny.” she said as they walked through the building to science.
  “Funny looking you mean. You heard him ‘bad influence’ he’s trying to put you off me.”
  “No he isn’t! He was just joking, you touchy sod. I like him.”
  “Hmm… I wonder why.” he mocked.
  “Meaning?”
  “Oh, nothing, nothing. Sorry.”
They travelled in utter quiet for most of the way. Grayson glimpsed at her and smirked.
  “I wonder what he would say, if he knew you fancied him.”
She pushed him lightly and started laughing.
  “I don’t know. Lets not find out.”
  “So, you don’t deny it then?”
  “No. I don’t understand why I’m telling you, I hardly know you. Then again, you’re the only person who has paid any good interest in me since we started.”
  “Why shouldn’t I?” he said, confused.
  “Have you never noticed me before? Everyone else makes me out to be a div.”
  “Did you know that ‘div’ actually means mathematical genius?”
  “I didn’t. Wow, so you know a lot about literature then?”
  “I know enough. I’m into all that creative writing, artistic and imaginative stuff. I don’t understand people who get a kick out of a Bunsen burner, or researching endlessly about rockets. I mean where’s the life in that?”
  “No, I understand perfectly. I write my own books you know. Well, whether they’re any good, I don’t know.”
  “You should let me read one. I’m good at proofreading, editing and all that. If it’s as half as good as your art, it will be brilliant, I’m sure.”
  “Aww don’t, you’re making me blush!” she hid her cherry cheeks, “Anyway, I bet you are good, but I never let anyone see my writing.”
  “That’s a bit pointless isn’t it?”
  “It’s even more pointless showing it to people. I’m already a knob. If anyone saw my stories, they would crease!”
  “Why are you putting yourself down so much? Don’t you realise, that these idiots get a kick out of seeing you down? That’s what they want, you cant expect people to treat you with more respect, if you don’t have any respect for yourself.”
  “You don’t understand. It’s not just year seven, its all years. It’s so difficult to stand up for myself, I don’t know why and because I don’t know why, I just breakdown.”
  “I think its horrible, the way they way treat you. I cant believe how unfair they are. I mean earlier with the Mr. Floyd thing, I thought that was pathetic, who gives a s**t who you like, that’s up to you, nobody else.”
  “You don’t think I’m sick then?”
  “No. I don’t at all. Anyway, can I just point out, that Mr. Floyd is more like fifty than forty!”
  “He isn’t. He’s definitely in his forties, you can tell he isn’t that ancient.”
  “I heard him talking, he said something about a mid life crisis, and somebody said ‘how can you have a mid-life crisis in your fifties?’ and he said, well in my case it’s possible. Working in a school, age has no limits. So, there.”
  “I don’t believe that. It’s just like, not possible. He cant be that old. He’s too…” she struggled with finishing her sentence.
  “Sexual?” Grayson hooted.
She laughed heartily and agreed. She didn’t believe he was that old, he must be mistaken, or of course, jealous. Maybe Grayson fancied her?
    They reached their classroom. The entire class raised their heads and stared in disbelief. Grayson was the sexiest, most admired boy in the school. It was strange to see him laughing and joking with an underdog. The lessons dragged on, all seating plans arranged in alphabetical order. Phoenix didn’t benefit from this whatsoever. She sat through verbal abuse, class after class. Though, reassuring glances from Grayson comforted her. At one point, he even stood up for her, angrily snapping at some tart who pulled her hair.
  “Why did you do that for me earlier?” she asked, on the way to dinner.
  “I saw how upset you were. I couldn’t stand it, she was being a knob-end.”
  “Well. Thank you.” she said, smiling at him. He smiled back, timidly.
  “Ah well, I’m just that sort of guy aren’t I?”
  “Certainly.” she giggled.
They reached the hall, lengthy tables filling the room. One table held the ‘loser crowd’ and Grayson’s friends sat on the table opposite.
  “I’d sit with you, but you know what the lads are like.”
  “No, its fine, don’t worry.”
He squeezed her shoulder and sat with the boys. She slumped next to Shira, feeling depression mist over her.
  “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.
  “Oh nothing. Just feeling a bit down that’s all.”
  “Why? Because Grayson has finally figured out that your warped and twisted?” laughed Gemma.
  “No. Because I’m sat here with a bunch of morons who can just about spell their own names. Apart from you Shira.”
  “What was you doing with Grayson at break? You were, like, a whole lesson late near enough.”
  “Nothing, just talking and that. We didn’t realise the bell had gone till Mr. Floyd saw us and asked us to get to lesson.”
  “Ah I see. She had a threesome.”
  “Oh ha-ha. Pervert.”
  “Speaking of perverts…” whispered Eve, as her eyes glazed over behind Phoenix.
Everyone turned around to find Cleaver standing behind them. Arms crossed, sinful eyes.
  “What are you girls up to?” he asked.
Everyone just stared at their lunch boxes, thinking it was fairly obvious.
  “Strip snap, want a game?” Phoenix joked.
  “Wish I could.” the crowd stopped laughing immediately, “but I’m busy with a detention.”
  “Who’s?”
  “Yours. Come on.”
  “But I thought you…”
  “Yes, but I’ve been thinking, and your actions were far to harsh to forgive so easily. I want to see you in my room in ten minutes. Hurry up.” and with that he left.
  “B*****d.” she snapped.
  “I thought you said that he gave you an errand instead?” Rhian looked puzzled.
  “He did. Oh he isn’t a pervert, were just being stupid. I’m going now anyway, wish me luck.”
She passed Grayson’s table and smiled briefly.
  “You going to be in Goth Gardens?” he asked.
Goth Gardens is a small patch of greenery, in was full of  mainly sticks, benches and of course, Goths.
  “Nope. Cleaver’s classroom.”
He raised his eyebrows.
  “Can I ask why? Or is it a bit too personal?”
  “Don’t be stupid, that is the last thing on my mind. Nah, the dickhead’s only said I’ve got a detention.”
  “I wouldn’t go. He’s a bit… weird.”
  “That’s putting it politely. Only I didn’t. That is why I have the blooming detention.”
  “Want me to come with you?”
His jade eyes shone. “He wouldn’t let you. But thanks even so. I better be off.”
Then he hugged her. He actually slid his arms around her waist, as if they were a couple. He held her very tightly, his warm breath sensitively making her quiver. As he pulled away she was, for once, speechless. She could feel her cheeks flaming.
He laughed when he saw her face. “You look as if you’ve just noticed you’re naked. Just some reassurance.” he stroked the bottom of her chin and sat back down.
  “Oh right. Yeah, erm… well, I better go. Like now. So bye.”
She turned to a million eyes, staring and staring, like there’s no tomorrow. She gulped, as she passed a group of cake-faced girls. They all glared through their mascara clumps, as if Phoenix had just killed their pets.
   She felt a natural high as she sauntered the corridors and playground, until she was greeted by Cleaver.
  “Ah there you are Phoenix. Right then, sit down, I’ve got an essay for you.”
  “An essay for what? We haven’t done enough revision for an essay.”
  “No but I’m not talking about ‘we’ I’m talking about you. You’re a bright girl with words, I thought you could do it earlier than the others. I want to get a taster of your assessment levels.”
Clearly seeing it pointless to argue, she sat herself in a chair closest to the door, in case of need for a quick exit. She watched him charily while he sorted through cabinet files and papers. Then she noticed him glance back at her, smile, and turn back towards the cabinet.
  “Are you getting me a sheet?” she asked warily.
  “Yes, one minute.”
He walked towards her and thrust a lined piece of paper under her nose along with a sheet crammed with questions.
  “Oh I cant do all this!”
  “Oh yes you can. There is no such thing as ‘cant’ in my classroom.”
  “No. I didn’t think there would be.”
He grinned evilly and sank back behind his desk. It was horribly quiet. She tried to make sense of the words, but she couldn’t stop herself glancing at Mr. Cleaver every so often. He didn’t do anything though, just sat there, scanning into workbooks of other children. She felt a strong vibe of sympathy towards him. The assumed judgement that people have made for him, was very unfair.
  “Why are you staring at me?” he said, without moving his head at all.
She jumped with surprise.
  “Oh err.. Nothing. I was just thinking about the answer.”
His mouth built into a smile again. “Are you stuck?”
  “A bit yeah.”
He came and knelt beside her, reading through her effort of answers so far. Which wasn’t much.
  “You need to work at a much quicker pace to get this finished you know.”
He looked at her, but she didn’t make eye contact.
  “I know. Look, sir. I’m very sorry about earlier. I’ve just had a bad morning, I didn’t mean to take it out on you.”
  “No worries, sweet. I found it quite funny actually. Even though, I shouldn’t say that.” he laughed, “but still, in future, try to hold that tongue of yours. It’s proved to be quite painful.”
She started to feel terrible.
  “Cheer up! You can go soon.” he said, whilst ruffling her golden tresses.
She smoothed it back to perfection, and chuckled with him. They began talking for a while, before the bell went. She had realised that he wasn’t as bad as she thought.
  When the bell rang, and the teenagers of St. James bustled in the corridor, she skipped down the stairs and ran all the way back to her form room for registration. The time passed quickly and it wasn’t long before she was walking out into the streets to go home. Her dad’s car was perched on the kerb, and she made out the crackles of sniggers from passing children.
    Her father was incredibly handsome, but his eyes were blooded through excessive drinking, full of life and intellect, although blinded to the fact his daughter was an outcast. He had millions of friends, he was only young, late twenties, and too many women fell at his feet when they met him, consequently, Phoenix felt isolated from the fatherly role he was supposed to play in her life.
  “Good day?” he asked as he drove off.
  “Nothing new happened.” she lied, not even bothering to create conversation.
  “I’ve had a brilliant day a work. A new temp started, her name is Rebecca.”
  She set a flat tone. “Terrific.”
  “She’s ever so nice. You’d like her, she’s only about 19.”
  “God’s sake dad. You’re 28! Let her begin her life at least.”
  “Oh shut up you! Were both adults. Anyway, she’s ever so pretty, perhaps the best looking woman I’ve seen for a long time.”
  “You mean since mum?”
He didn’t answer for a few minutes.
  “No body will replace your mother Phoenix, but she is lovely all the same. Anyway, I was just letting you know that’s all.”
She didn’t answer, just left the conversation to slip into silence.
   The instant they were inside the house, her dad headed straight for the kitchen, then the fridge, then the bottle. She despised that familiar clink from the bottle top against the rim of the glass. She grated her teeth, and stormed upstairs, smashing the door behind her. Her bed springs cried as she slumped backwards onto her pillow, laying her heavy thoughts to rest. In the safety of her room, she allowed her self to cry. A daily routine, the part of the day she longed for, a time to just let previous pain of the day to leak out of her. She wept quietly, her mascara streaks decorating her pallid skin. Around ten minutes later, she heaved her self up with great force, her throat as dry as an ashtray. She shifted her eyes about the room, her carpet crispy white, and her walls succulent ruby. She adored red. It made her feel somewhat powerful, despite the fact she wasn’t. She like the way the blend of passionate colours could hypnotize her into another dimension.
    Trekking downstairs now, being welcomed to the vision of her dad sprawled out across the settee, clutching a vodka bottle and his eyes tightly shut. She saw a blanket hanging loosely on a radiator, and draped it over him, removing the empty bottle from his grasp. She kissed his forehead, and moved into the kitchen where her dog lay, desperate for a walk.
   “Okay Fuzz, I’ll take you out.”
His fluffy chops seemed to shape into a smile as he bounded onto his gangly legs. They ambled around the streets for ages. She couldn’t bare to go back home to her dads hangover. Just then she remembered! She reached deep into her pocket until she handled her mobile. She phoned Grayson.
    “Hello?” his voice smoked into fatigue, as if through working out.
    “Guess who!”
    “Fee! You alright?”
    “Ugh! Is that a trick question? Meet me at Kingsbury park?”
    “Cant you just come to mine?”
    “Not unless you want Fuzz to piss all over your mothers carpet.”
    “Ten minutes then.” said he.
She toddled quickly to the park, letting a smile stretch from ear to ear as she made out Grayson’s athletic build in the distance. When she reached him, Fuzz leapt muddily up his jeans. She expected him to be vexed, but he simply giggled.
    “Aw isn’t he lovely?” he said, tousling his fur.
    “Try living with him!”
    “So, what’s wrong then?”
    “Just home. Dad.”
    “Ah, I see. Being a dick is he?”
    “Well, its just he’s met another woman, and the minute we got inside the house, he opened up a vodka bottle.”
    “Jesus. Have you told him how you feel?”
    “Oh give over Gray, he wouldn’t listen, he doesn’t give a s**t. He cant even figure out I’m the school freak, and my so called friends treat me like one too.”
He listened in silence, hesitant of what to say to her. She preferred someone with ears than a tongue anyway.
    “How was detention?”
    “Oh! He isn’t as bad as I thought you know, Cleaver is really nice when he’s on his own.”
    “You’re having me on! He’s a b*****d.”
    “No honestly, he is very agreeable when you know him more.”
    “I don’t want an opportunity to know him more, he is just so baleful.”
She shrugged and decided to head back, standing up, staring down into his reddish face against the winters air, his shiny eyes were so piercing, she couldn’t bare to leave.
    “Want to come back to mine?”
    “With your dad there? He might be pissed off to find his daughter is bringing a strange fella into the house.”
She exploded into laughter. “True, true.”
He stood, brushed her hair to the side, and lightly allowed his lips to kiss her cheek. She looked to the floor, feeling herself burning up.
    “See you tomorrow.” and with that he left.



© 2011 Leah Everett


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Hey....you are right! This is LONG! LOL Maybe you should break it into smaller chapters.

But it was very good. I can relate to these feelings for sure. I am a school teacher myself so much of this is very close to what I do each day for a living. I really liked the beginning where you describe the extreme bullying scene. That was very good. I like the rest too!

Awesome!

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on August 6, 2010
Last Updated on June 27, 2011


Author

Leah Everett
Leah Everett

birmingham, United Kingdom



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Secret Secret

A Poem by Leah Everett