Hey people! Thanks to everyone who wrote to me in regards to the first chapter of this story. Sorry it took so long for the second chapter to come out, but I've been going through some person difficulties which, thank God, have now passed. I hope you all enjoy the second installment, and please write to me to let me know what you think. Much appreciated!
Chance Meetings - Part 1
The car ride to school was pretty ordinary. I just stared out the window in an effort to get acquainted with the streets I would be travelling along to get to school. It was a relatively short trip, and my mom kept filling the silence by asking me questions about everything! Do you have the house keys? Are you nervous? I just answered them accordingly, trying not to show how tense I really was. After all, I was starting at a new school and I planned to make a good impression, even if that meant I'd have to act like someone else. Maybe the edge would be taken off if I were starting school at the beginning of the year. But I wasn't! I was coming in exactly halfway through their school curriculum. All the other kids would have already known each other by now, and I had to start from scratch. It made me anxious and nervous at the same time.
I was snapped out of my thoughts when the traffic started slowing down tremendously, and I noticed lots of high-schoolers wearing identical uniform walking along the street to get to school. The road was congested with cars dropping off kids, kinda like ants leaving food for the queen ant before scurrying away to see what else they could find. My mom had an exasperated look on her face when she turned to me.
"Well...this is fun," she said shaking her head at the traffic.
"Don't worry mum, just stop up ahead and I'll walk back," I offered, not wanting her to be late for work. She did, and pulled into a nearby street before letting me out.
"Have a good day, and try to make some friends ok?" she said with a pleading look on her face.
"I will mom," I smiled to her. "Will you be home for dinner? Want me to make something for us?"
"I don't know. You know how it is. Here, take $20, and order a pizza if I don't come home. I'll call if I can't make it." She fumbled for her purse and started to get some money out when I stopped her.
"Don't worry about it, I got money," I told her. "You'd better go, or you'll be late."
She kinda paused for a second before smiling. I closed the car door and waved to her as she drove off, before heading back towards the street where all the other kids were walking along. I just followed everyone else hoping not to stand out too much, which wasn't hard since no one knew me anyway. My backpack was really heavy and I'd occasionally have to kinda shift the weight from one shoulder to the other.
I found my way to the main office, which was where I was instructed to go in the first place, where they made me wait while they got some things together for me. One good thing about waiting in the office was that it's overly heated. My hands felt like they were refusing to warm up. After what seemed like an eternity, I was finally given my timetable, a printout of the school's layout, and a combination lock for my locker. The lady at the main office, Mrs. Campbell offered to escort me to my homeroom, but I told her that I'd be fine. I'd have to learn it sooner or later, and sooner was better than later. She smiled and wrote the locker number on the back of the printout before giving me some brief directions to find it. As I left, she wished me a happy future at the school, and I thanked her before going on my way.
Walking through the school hallways, I was surprised to see that so many students had now arrived. They were all busily chattering away, talking about the holiday's they had just returned from. It was funny to see that there were two categories the students fell into. The first were the ones who were happy to be back among their friends, talking about their exciting vacation. Second, were those who just couldn't get out of the holidaying mood, with expressions of disbelief that school had once again commenced. The look on the latter's faces read, "I can't believe it. Has it been two weeks already??"
There were two kids talking around the locker where mine was supposed to be, and I waited a second before actually approaching. I hoped they didn't think I was looking for trouble by saying `excuse me.'
"Excuse me..." I said almost in a whisper, but they didn't hear me because of all the hubbub in the hallway. I was about to ask again when one of the guys turned his head and saw me standing there stupidly with my mouth hanging open.
"E-e-excuse me...my locker is right there," I stuttered, at least this time audibly.
The boy nodded to me before saying to his friend, "I'll see you later in class!"
After they moved, I opened my locker and proceeded to empty the contents of my backpack into it, already feeling like part of the student body. After doing that, I took a look at my timetable printout and grabbed the books I would need for those classes. All my textbooks gave off a strange aroma of plastic, signifying its newness and purity. I'm sure by the end of the year it would be full of notes and irreparable damage.
"Hey!" I hear someone say behind me.
I turned around so quickly, it almost scared the person who'd surprised me in the first place. "Hi..." I muttered back in return, before I was fully aware of who was greeting me. The boy had mid-length light blond hair which was parted above his left side, making it hang over his right eye, but just out of the way of his view; the back hung over his neck but no further. I couldn't help but stare him in the eyes for a few seconds. He had the most astonishing pair of hazel eyes I had ever seen, and I had to literally make myself look anywhere else but at him. He looked like he was a little unsure of himself, but ventured into talking anyway.
"Are you new here?" he asked me in a voice that matched his image...kinda cute.
"Yeah...my first day today," I answered. He had clear olive skin, a straight nose, and beautiful thin pink lips. He appeared to be the exact same height as me, maybe a little shorter, but I couldn't really tell. Once again, I couldn't stop staring at this boy that was in front of me and he gave me a strange look, so I looked away again, turning to my locker to busy myself. I had never thought about boys before, but this boy was definitely something to behold. I have to admit, he is strikingly beautiful. Cute? Beautiful? You sounding weird Aiden! Don't just turn away, say something!
"Umm...I'm Aiden Simmons," I said to him before reaching out to shake his hand and dropping my books in the process.
"Dude, let me help you..." he offered as we bent down and he grabbed the books that were closest to him. "I'm Dylan by the way," he told me as he turned to me offering his hand. I shook it and found his grip nice and soft, but warm. And something very strange happened when our hands parted. I felt like a part of me suddenly went missing, but I couldn't figure out what exactly it was. We both got back up on our feet and there was an awkward moment of silence. He brushed some hair out of his eyes.
"It's nice to meet you Dylan," I replied.
"Yeah, you too...Aiden," he smiled. God! Even his teeth were perfect! "So how's your day been so far?" He sort of looked frustrated with his question, knowing perfectly well that the day hadn't even really begun. "I mean...do you like it here so far?"
"Yeah, everything's been cool so far," I answered giving him a smile.
"So where are you from? Did you change schools? Suburbs?" he asked like he was genuinely interested.
"My mom and dad got divorced, and I live with my mom. I came here with my mom...we lived a few suburbs away from here," I told him.
"Oh...dude, I'm sorry..." he said with sincere regret, "I didn't mean to bring it u..."
"It's alright," I cut him off. "I've been here for a few days, and it's a pretty cool area to be around."
"It is...hey, let me see your timetable!" His eyes suddenly lighted up while he was looking at my timetable printout. "You're in half my classes! That's pretty cool! Come on, let's get to class. We'll talk some more." He handed it back to me and I grabbed my books before locking my locker and walked in the same direction as Dylan. He stopped a couple of lockers further down from mine and opened it.
"Looks like we're locker neighbors too," he giggled in the cutest way.
As he proceeded to get the books he needed for our morning classes I stood there leaning against the locker next to his, amazed at how fast I had already made a friend. Friend? Well, he definitely seemed like he wanted to get to know me. He looked happy when he found out that we'd be sharing some of the same classes. And what were the chances that I'd be friends witch such a good-looking, funny, gentle person?
"What's on your mind Aiden?" Something about hearing my name coming from his lips really excited me. It almost made me think that my name wasn't worthy of being said by Dylan.
"Nothing...just first day jitters," I replied. "So what do you do for fun around here?" I decided to venture out and try to find out more about Dylan.
"Mall, movies, normal teenager stuff. Hey, do you skate?" he asked with wide-eyed curiosity. It was cute beyond belief, making him look like a 5 year old kid on Christmas morning.
"I do a little...but I'm not very good," I confessed. And it was true, I wasn't very good at it at all. In fact, I couldn't even ollie properly without falling flat on my ass, which had happened many a time. And every time that it happened, it made me want to skate less and less. Dylan closed his locker and turned to me.
"Doesn't matter. How about we hit the skate parks sometime?" he offered. Me? He asked ME if I wanted to go?
"Really? That would be cool!" I exclaimed, probably sounding a little too enthusiastic. He simply looked at me and smiled as we made our way to class.
My first class was full of pleasantries, lots of smiling and shaking hands, and I kept finding my thoughts shifting back to Dylan. Something about him just made me feel alive...like I was worth something. Like maybe I did have a place in this world after all. He sat in the seat next to me during English and I found myself trying to steal glances at him every so often. How can God make someone so beautiful and have him sitting in the seat next to me, in the same school, in the same room? Dylan looked like the type of person who could live a perfect life with no troubles whatsoever. Not only because he looked good, but because he had a personality to match. If he couldn't melt you with his looks, he could do it with his soul, I'm sure of it.
"What?" he whispered at me, and I didn't even realize that I was sitting there with a goofy grin on my face before it was too late.
"Oh...nothing." I quickly turned my face into my textbook and cursed myself for being such an idiot.
"Hey, wanna know something?" he asked just above a whisper this time.
"Our English teacher, Mr. Andrews...look at his hair." Dylan motioned toward our teacher with his head and had a devilish grin on his unblemished face. I did look at it as he wrote on the board, and didn't see anything special. He had dark brown hair...so what?
"What about it?" I asked Dylan, not looking away from Mr. Andrew's hair...that strange looking hair. Dylan's grin grew even wider and his eyes went wide.
"It looks like a dead squirrel!" he whispered loudly as he tried to stifle his own laughter.
I gave him a confused look, before turning to see Mr. Andrews make his way to his desk and sit down. Then I noticed it...that strange line where his forehead and hair met in the strangest way, and wondered how I could've missed it before. It wasn't that funny, I wanted to tell Dylan. But then the whole picture fell into place and I looked at Mr. Andrews' face and the toupee just did NOT fit in with his image. It was so obvious, and it looked absolutely ridiculous.
I turn my head into my textbook once again, pursing my lips together trying not to let laughter get the better of me, but even thought I wasn't looking at Mr. Andrews directly, the vision stuck in my head, like it was burned into my retina. I could feel my shoulders shaking with laughter, and I turned to Dylan who was grinning at me. Not because he found it funny, but more so because I couldn't control myself from laughing. And he was enjoying it.
"It looks like road-kill!" he whispered loudly in my ear.
Suddenly my laughter broke free, but luckily I choked on my on saliva and went into a hysterical coughing fit. The silence of the room was broken and everyone was looking in my direction, and all I could do was continue coughing. I still wanted to laugh, but every breath I took only made it worse.
"Mr. Simmons...are you ok?" Mr. Andrews asked concernedly.
"(Cough) Yes...(cough)..." I managed to get out.
"Perhaps you'd like to go get some water."
I started to get up and leave the room when I turned back and saw Dylan get up and say, "I'll go with him...Aiden doesn't know where everything is yet." And Mr. Andrews allowed it and Dylan put a hand on my back and led me out of the room. Once we were out of earshot Dylan burst out laughing, almost doubling over in his own fit.
"You...(cough)...idiot!" I exclaimed and gave him a shove, but that only made him giggle even harder. And it was a giggle that was highly infectious as I found myself laughing so hard my stomach started to hurt. "I almost laughed right in Mr. Andrews' face!"
"It wouldn't be the first time," Dylan told me as he wiped tears away with the palm of his hand in the most adorable way.
"Who else did? What happened?" I asked with disbelief. Dylan mere looked at me for a second and then raised his eyebrows expecting me to have figured it out. "You didn't!" And he burst out laughing again, and I couldn't help but join in. Something so very childlike and pure about the way he laughed, it wasn't held back or anything.
"Yeah, I did laugh in his face at the start of the year. I couldn't help it! Really, I would have if I could. But he was talking to me and all I could focus on was that fake hairpiece," he said trying to defend his actions.
"So what happened?"
"Well, he asked what was so funny, and I just told him I thought of a funny joke. I don't think he bought it but he left it at that, saving us both the embarrassment. He knew the truth, I'm sure of it."
"Lucky," I agreed with him.
"Luck has nothing to do with it buddy! C'mon, let's get you some water."
"We can go back if you want, I'm fine now," I told him. My coughing fit was gone, and all that remained from our episode was now a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. He turned to me and smiled.
"Are you sure?"
After the class was over Dylan started packing up his stuff and it was time for us to go our separate ways as we had different classes. Before he left, he told me to meet him by our lockers when it was lunch time, and we'd go have lunch together in the cafeteria. Suddenly the idea of having lunch was all I could think about, and I wandered aimlessly to my Art class. When I got there, I was snapped out of my little daze and wondered how the hell did I get here? I had absolutely no recollection on how I got there. Weird.
Art class was a blast, not only because it was the first day of the semester, but because...well, its Art class! I had always wondered what constituted as art, because it always seemed to me that it could be absolutely anything! Who's to say what art is and isn't? An artist? And what makes an artist so? This stuff is too deep to think about for my first day of school.
"Hey Aiden, wassup?" I heard someone say from behind me. "I'm Jack."
"Hi..." I said, unable to bring my voice to anything much louder than a whisper. I cleared my throat and tried again, "Nice to meet you."
"I'd shake your hand, but..." he showed me his hands and they were all covered with paint. "...but it's nice to meet you too."
I was doodling away with a piece of charcoal at the tables which surrounded the sides of the room. Easels were placed in a circle around the centre where there was a skylight above, letting natural light into the room. It was a really sweet setup for an art room.
"Why don't you set that up at one of the easels, it'd be much easier," he offered.
"Umm...yeah, maybe you're right," I answered thoughtfully, before grabbing my paper and a stool to move to the easels. Jack motioned for me to use the one next to him, between another girl. I set up my easel, and whilst doing so I had the feeling that I was being closely scrutinized. I tried my best to ignore it and sat down and continued my masterpiece...charcoal on paper! I'd always had a passion for drawing, and while I was locked away in my room, I used to draw endlessly. Whether I was good at drawing or not, I didn't know, but I could definitely copy things easily. I started when I was young, copying pictures of Spiderman, Batman, and Superman from comic books. Then I took the next challenge and started drawing things that were in `real life', trees, houses, just things that I saw all around me. Sometimes I'd get it wrong, and other times I got it perfectly right. It was all a matter of practice. When I seem something I want to draw, I see it in terms of lines I have to put down on paper. And the end result was always something I was proud of. It was too bad I never had the chance to show my mom or dad...I was scared of being put down.
"Oh, that's Emily next to you Aiden," Jack told me after I had set up.
"Oh...hi Emily," I stuttered giving her a shy wave with my hand.
"Hi," she smiled in return and took a peek at what I was creating at my easel. "It looks really good."
"T..thanks. So does yours," I reply, thinking it would be polite to return the compliment.
"You really think so?" Oh great, I was just being friendly. I gave her a nod and smiled.
I continued on with my work, adding more charcoal here, smudging it there, and rubbing it out all around. And Dylan kept creeping back into my thoughts as I wondered what he was doing. What class is he in now? Is he paying attention? Or is he distracted? I can't wait until lunch when I get to see him again. I kind of...miss him. And once again while I'm consumed in my thoughts, my work was becoming something that looked really good to me. A futuristic city complete with little space ships zooming around the tops of buildings. I even added in a little monorail which twisted and turned throughout the city. I sat there for a second pleased with my work in front of me. Very pleased.
"Dude! That looks fucking awesome!" Jack exclaimed.
I couldn't help but laugh a little because he had to use profanity to describe my work. "Thanks."
Our art teacher Ms. Williams obviously heard Jack's vulgarity, but decided to ignore it, came over to see what the fuss was about. She was a pretty young woman with long wavy brown hair and glasses which fit her face perfectly. I thought she could be one of those models in the magazines.
"Where'd you learnt to draw like that?" Jack asked me.
"I dunno...I just like to draw," I told him matter of factly. The drawing of the city was something I had seen in a Star Wars book. I copied the concept, but I created this city! Aidentopia!
"Very impressive Aiden," Ms. Williams added, "do you draw a lot?"
"Come with me, and bring your work," she told me and I did as I was told. I unclipped my drawing from the easel and followed her to the front of the room where above the sinks were bottles. She carefully found the one she wanted and motioned for me to follow her out of the room and onto the balcony. Taking the picture from my hands, she lay it down on the tiled floor and proceeded to spray it with a light coat of whatever was inside the spray can. I gave her a strange look, wondering what she was doing.
"This is a spray that will protect your work. You see, you used charcoal which will smudge. This spray will make it so that it won't."
"Oh...ok," I nodded.
"Aiden, what else do you do...art wise?" she asked curiously, as she picked up my drawing and examined it once again.
"Well...uh...I just like drawing a lot. I draw comic book characters, things I see...houses...stuff like that."
"Have you tried still life? People?"
"Well, you seem to have a real flare for drawing...we'll see if we can explore it a little more," she smiled.
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