A Boy in my Seat - Chapter 1
The door succumbs with a creak and screech while I try my best to close it as quietly as I can. The weather was appropriate for the date, a day in the middle of October. It was brisk and gloomy, a morning fog settling over my exposed shoulders. A cold-shoulder top may not have been the best idea I suppose but it was too late to rethink my outfit now, I didn't want to wake Ms. Jane. The Jane family was expecting and at half past six in the early morning I didn't want to be responsible for waking a pregnant woman.
At least the top looked nice with my dark blue jeans. After all, it was burgundy and hugged nicely to my features. I'd just have to accept being cold.
A shiver runs through me as I glanced up at the early morning sun that was climbing its way up through clouds and flocks of chirping birds. Lily had off from school today for a teacher inservice so there was nobody to chat my ear off as I walked to my bus stop. It gave me time to think, as well, about my dream. All I remembered was a college lecture hall, actually, which made me suspect maybe I needed to start filling out more applications for scholarships and the like. Yes, I was only a sophomore, but being a sophomore in my financial position meant that I needed to start preparing now. I wasn't even sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was passionate about the idea of being a cardiac surgeon, I'd wanted to be a doctor for as long as I could remember. But becoming a surgeon was years of schooling, tons of money, and time in medical school that I couldn't afford.
I hike my backpack up and start out with a walk over the crackling fallen leaves and admiring the sunrise cutting through the dense fog. That is, up until I looked at my watch and realized I'd be late for meeting up with Ethan if I didn't hurry.
Briskly jogging through the forest in the early morning was a calming experience, almost a humbling one given why I was running. With the wind generated by my body's movement running through my scalp and the scent of rain lingering in the treetops, my skin felt dewy and fresh from the morning mist that clung to it. A brisk chill ran over my skin and goosebumps raised on the surface as I broke through the more dense area of forest, with trees that were closer together and muddy trails.
As I went out towards the road I saw Ethan standing a little ways from our bus stop and my eyes grew wide as my eyes settled upon the image of his royal blue locks. It contrasted sharply with his blue eyes and I tried not to stare at his red scalp. I wasn't shocked by his red scalp or blue hair, it was the life of a dye freak. Quite often he'd have allergic breakouts from the dye he used and spend up to a week picking flakes of dead skin out of his freshly colored and still bleeding hair. I wasn't sure why he did it, it didn't even look good all the time. I somewhat suspected it was all for the shock value.
"So you decided blue was your new color?" I ask him with a suppressed chuckle trying to force its way out. He nods in response.
"Any color is my color, you just gotta know how to work it." Ethan says while jokingly making duck lips at me. At any rate the blue matched his complexion and wimpy build. I couldn't say I agreed with the bleaching it must've taken to turn his formerly black hair into that.
I sigh and ask, "Weren't you just bragging the other day about how your hair was growing in so natural and soft?"
"It needed a little reality check." He laughs as we walk along closer towards the bus stop and then stood at the curb.
"How long did it take you to bleach the black light enough for that shade?" I ask, picturing what his black bowl like cut looked like the day before.
He smirks and says, "I only had the bleach in a few hours longer than it recommended."
After a few more minutes of waiting and no bus still I began to get a little worried. "Did we miss it?"
Ethan frowns and remarks, "I sure hope not. Papa won't let me borrow the car and dad won't even give me a ride. They might still be mad about last weeks incident."
"To be fair," I chuckle, "You did dent up pops' car pretty bad."
As if to answer my question the bus came rumbling up and stopped in front of us with a groan. "It nearly missed us." Ethan responds as we get on, both saying a polite hello to the bus driver and then taking our usual three seater across from Astryd sitting in a two seater by herself as always. She takes her headphones off and gives Ethan the most appalled look.
"Honey, what were you thinking?" Astryd asks with a very true and real look of horror smeared across her face.
"I was feeling blue." Ethan tells her and makes a mocking sad face. To which she raises her arm as though she's about to hit him.
The bus lurches forward before Ethan and I have even sat down. I slam into his back and my hand touches where I didn't want it to. "Ay, at least buy me dinner first."
"Sorry!" I say and after that the bus ride is relatively mellow, silent even. Astryd and Ethan both put in headphones and I do the same, listening to cover bands that I enjoy.
As we roll up to the school I groan a little. I can't say I hate school because I enjoy the learning and seeing my friends but I didn't enjoy the actual task of being there. Every day as I look out a classroom window I can think of a thousand more productive things to be doing. Ethan nudges me as he always does and I follow him off the bus, leaving my headphones in my ears and stuffing my phone into my pocket.
This year was our sophomore year at Athens Regional High School and while I can't say we had quite as much entitlement as the seniors we still weren't as helpless as the freshman. I watch as one drops all their books and the first bell rings out, releasing the kids from breakfast to their classrooms. Poor kid.
I head to my first period class after saying my goodbyes to Ethan and Astryd, both of them heading off to gym class. I watch them as they leave for a moment, seeing them standing closer and her bumping him with her hip.
For a few years now I'd hoped they'd get together.
Striding into first period, an English Honors class, I'm caught off-guard by a new face sitting right in my assigned seat. New students hardly happened, and even more rarely were they gorgeous with shaggy brown locks and a toned figure. His eyes were piercing grey which I only discovered as we locked eyes for a few moments.
He smiles at me for just a moment and I see his white teeth and pink gums, he must brush and floss. Now that's rare.
I take a seat beside him and stare up to the board, seeing my first assignment of the day listed which I begin to work on. As the bell for homeroom rings, Ms. Machinsky stands up in front of the class. Her welcoming eyes and robust pear figure are displayed before us as she gestures beside me to the new kid. He looks down at his desk as she does so, seemingly studying the graffiti there.
"We have a new student joining us today," She announces and then asks, "Could you please introduce yourself to the class."
"My name's Griffin," He tells us and then adds, "And I'm happy to be here."
And suddenly all the heart eyes went away. What kind of an introduction was that? Everyone around starts whispering about him and what he's said as Ms. Machinsky returns to her desk, leaving us to do independent work for the rest of the period I'm sure. Despite this being an English Honors class she wasn't a fan of teaching very much.
I do my work for a little while, nothing but a writing prompt, before hearing something to my right. It's Griffin, trying to talk to me. "Excuse me?"
I ignore it for a moment and then hear it again, he asks, "Excuse me? What's your name?"
"Parker." I mumble without taking my head up from my work. This causes me to lose my train of thought several times. His voice is smooth and sweet, rather gentle. It's hard for me not to talk to him but I just didn't want to take my head up from my work. My grade in this class wasn't very good and I wasn't going to let some new guy come into my life and make that grade drop even lower.
"Not a talker?" He asks and laughs a little. I take this in stride and continue scribbling some more. There's a brief and awkward silence before he goes on, "I could use some help navigating this place."
I finally look up and over at him, putting on an icy facade so I'm not swept up in his good looks. "Did me taking my assigned seat naturally make me your welcoming crew?"
"I hope so," He says and adds, "It would be nice to look at you while pretending I'm admiring one of the schools murals."
My face grows hot as the bell rings, how had class gone by so quickly? I grab my bags and leave quickly, getting away from Griffin as soon as possible. As I'm walking to second period that I have with Astryd I'm trying to recall a more awkward conversation than that one and I can't. His words were smooth, my responses were awful and it felt like I was stumbling through our chat.
I wished I'd stayed cold and quiet.
Flouncing into my elective theatre class I take my seat beside Astryd and take a moment to admire the stage up ahead. They'd just started setting up for the winter concert so the set was relatively plain. I looked forward to whatever the spring musical was, though.
"Did you hear about the new guy in school?" Astryd starts gushing, "All the girls in the locker room wouldn't shut up about this guy. It's like he was a god! They described him like he was magic and-"
I cut her off, saying, "Yea, about him. He was next to me in first period and wow he's a weirdo."
"Is he as cute as they were saying?" She pouts, "If he's cute it's still worth it."
I cringe and tell her, "Trust me, it's not worth it. He's peanut butter and pickles sandwich kind of crazy."
"What a combination." Astryd admires and then says with a smirk, "I guess his good looks are the peanut butter and I still wanna see his pickle."
"Astryd!" I shout and she keels on to her desk laughing, exclaiming minutes later that she can't breathe. However, class starts which delays our conversation.
I open my notebook and it feels like only moments later that I was closing it again and packing it up to leave class.
Out in the hallway Astryd continues asking me about Griffin.
"So he was saying some weird stuff?" She asks, pulling at one of her curls unconsciously. It was a habit of hers, one I'd known her to have since we met in the fourth grade when I moved here. Back then her afro like hairstyle was much shorter, now she had a voluptuous and untameable main of kinky, black curls. I started school when I was ten after I was out of foster care. I'd only been in the foster system for a year but nonetheless it was horrible. And before that I don't remember a thing. My records say I was placed into care with severe amnesia.
"Not super weird, but definitely flirty." I tell her and Astryd rolls her eyes.
"You freaked out because he hit on you? Parker, you're hot. The whole blonde hair, blue eyes thing really helps with that." Astryd tells me and I scoff as I look at her. She was far more gorgeous than I could ever be with smooth umber skin and natural curls. Her amber eyes looked like a pool of honey and were set ablaze in the sun. Not to mention they were always wide and expressive. Her body was curved and exceptionally fit. Astryd was a cheerleader here which kept her in shape and skyrocketed her popularity. Of course, being friends with people like me and Ethan probably hurt that just a little bit.
"I freaked out because he tried to lure me into giving him a personal tour around the school." I say confidently, positive this wasn't nothing and then adding, "He was practically undressing me with his eyes!"
Astryd rolls her own and then stops outside of her next class. "We'll talk more about this at lunch, alright?"
"Agreed." I nod and then head in the direction of my science class, thankful that the rest of the time until lunch passes quickly.