BEFORE I KNEW HIM is a prequel to my other novel REWRITING HISTORY.
What was life like back before him, Williams and everything he brought to my life? Who was I? What was it about myself that I was trying to change and why? Well, let's find out. Introducing myself, Lexi Grant at the delightful age of sixteen.
It’s not about the destination. No. It’s about the journey. We all know where most love stories go. We all know where they end. They kaput, end, finish, normally with someone’s heart and life destroyed and left in tatters. Someone crying in their room, disappointed and all of that. You get the idea.
You know, I know where this story goes before. We have all read, heard, know how many other love stories, but here I am, me, Lexi Grant hand in hand with the trouble maker of the year – if there was such an award, and there should be – James Stevens.
He wasn’t your average run of the mill guy, sure his looks were, but underneath the pretty blue eyes, the hair, oh the hair! There was more to him. It was scratch the surface type of situation. Only those that were brave, or stupid - the jury were still out on that - took the challenge to know him. When I had surged ahead and was in love with him.
Our two weeks of suspension was up and we had spent most of it on my farm. Only a few times did he go home, and I noticed that when he returned he was more and more energetic. It had me thinking about his home life, where he come from and most importantly, what was I involved in.
He never really wore fancy clothes or other things that gave hint to his family’s money, and for that I was pleased. I would never be able to match him that way. He just always looked like James. His unique style of jeans, a band shirt and his hair barely brushed and tucked behind his ears. It was longer then most guys hair, touching his shoulders and nearly the length of mine. It was straight and just hung there, or flowing over my pillow when I woke in the morning.
But the holiday or suspension – depends on how you look at it – was over and now we were back in our school uniforms and plonked in the office awaiting our demise.
The office lady, Geraldine, had a soft spot for me and always gave me a small hint on what was awaiting. A small smile told me that Mr Went was only going to chat with me, warn me or simply request a form to be signed by my mother. But today, she frowned. Oh O.
Mr Went, the small structured man, looked like a hobbit without the strange small person features, walked out of his office with a sigh. He didn’t glance at us, or even look in our direction.
“We’re in for it.” James whispered beside me. He gave my hand a squeeze. I guess I wasn’t the only one that had their own mood reader.
“Just be polite.” I told him, squeezing his hand back.
Over the last week or so, James’s hands had started to grow rough like my own. Farm life did that to you. You ever sat inside and watched the world go by up in the country, that also meant that you only bought the boots to look rustic. Or, like my family, you worked the land to pay the little bills you have and provide yourself with a little pocket money.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying poor. After all, I was one of the very few lucky kids that got to go to the city for school. I was also lucky enough to get into the selective high school here at Cashton High. It meant I had to sit an exam before I got here, three years ago. It also meant I was expected to be of high standard. After all, it’s not like teachers expected kids from rough homes or lower lifestyles to be bothered and smart enough to be here. They were wrong. They were also wrong in expecting those kids from luxury homes to be perfect and well behaved, James made sure they were wrong on that point, also.
Finally, like dooms day, Mr Went turned to face us. His eyes danced between us, then focused on our joined hands. I’m not a mind reader, nor a psychic, but I know with at least ninety eight percent accuracy that Mr Went was mentally cursing himself for not having our suspensions separately.
He confirmed it when he shook his head, rubbed his rather large forehead and gestured for just me to come with him.
James flinched beside me as I rose from my seat. I pulled my hand from his and gave him a reassuring smile.
“Relax, I’ll be ok. The worst is over. You know how these conversations go. ‘Behave or else’, or he might chose his more firm speech, ‘one more time and you’re out of here’.”