Chapter 3: It's just a game
Dressing up in the outfit Natalie and I had chosen just for this particular day, I slid on my shoes and grabbed my purse. Digging around for my car keys, I gave myself a once-over in my floor-length mirror. My extremely long, black hair was just straight today, my bangs in their usual brushed back manner. My make up was done extra-carefully this morning, not wanting to look like a slob and spoil my plan. I had to admit I looked gorgeous, but I felt too plastic to be comfortable. I sighed. Deciding I looked good enough to start my devious plan, I walked out of my room and eventually found my way to my car. Once I was in, I checked my makeup once more, not wanting it to be smudging or anything.
As I began backing out of my driveway, I turned up my radio and began to sing along to the familiar song that played. I sang along to four more songs that played before I parked in my usual place in the school’s parking lot. I sighed as I got out of my car, trying to prepare myself mentally for the looks, the whispers, the bets. Not to mention for what I was going to have to pretend to be like. Yuck.
“Remember, Autumn,” I whispered to myself, slinging my purse onto my shoulder. I clicked the lock button on my car keys. “Don’t start off easy. Pretend to be completely uninterested. Slowly start acting more interested... in anyone but Brett.” I still planned on punching Brett the moment he said anything other than ‘hello’.
I opened one of the many doors to the school, instantly getting a few... disrespectful looks. So it’s clear most of the school’s students already know. Isn’t that just fantastic? I let out another deep, loud sigh as I walked down the hallway, trying to slip in my heels. I made a left turn once I reached the end of one of the main halls, and entered the first locker bay.
Walking straight to the back of the group of lockers, I stopped at my locker. The metal box that held my two, small binders for English and Chemistry, and my sketch book was numbered six-six-five.
I hung my jacket onto one of the hooks inside my locker, and grabbed my sketch book. Class began in five minutes, and I had a spare first period, which I would spend catching up on my art assignment. I closed my locker, half expecting to see one of the Six waiting behind the door. I smiled at myself despite the fact no one was there.
I turned around, almost running into another student and thought it was one of the Six. Again, I was wrong. Was it just me or was I incredibly jumpy today? I righted myself, flattening out my shirt and sweater. I pulled up my pants a little before exiting the locker bay. Am I going to go the whole morning without seeing any of the Six? I smiled triumphantly as I turned the last corner before my classroom.
And I ran into someone.
I hit them with a thud, and bounced off of them. With my feet taking two automatic steps back so I wouldn’t fall on my ass. I blinked for a long second. “Shit,” I mumbled. I opened my eyes and saw my sketch book had fallen and sprawled out a bunch of my loose drawings. I looked at the person I had run into. I had to admit I was a little disappointed when it wasn’t any of the Six. I was just dying to start my plan.
“Sorry,” the boy mumbled, bending down at the same time as me. We both picked up my drawings and he handed them to me. “These are pretty good, you know.” I finally took a good look at him. He had pretty eyes, good hair, straight teeth, and his features were pretty straight too. Over all, he was pretty good looking.
“Thanks,” I smiled a little. “Sorry for just... running into you. I’ve been a little distracted lately.” It wasn’t even a lie. The only things going around in my head are the Six and my little plan.
He chuckled. “It’s okay. I should have watched where I was going.” He smiled at me, and we both stood. He handed me my drawings, and the sketchbook he had beaten me to. “I’m Mark,Mark Brown I'm, uh... kind of new.” I had already known that. I’d seen him around the hallways for a few weeks now, but I’ve never really gotten a good look. Until now, that is.
“Autumn Philips,” I replied, smiling wider. “How do you like the-”
“Hello, Autumn.” I turned at my name, my heart clenching. Of course, it was none other than Brett. I gave him a dirty look, and turned back towards Mark. I was glad we were down a smaller hallway, well at the start of the smaller hallway. If he said anything, I could hit him and no one really had to know.
“Um,” I knew my face looked a little frightened, and I had enough reason to. “I have to get to class...” I started walking away, knowing Brett would follow.
“Autumn, babe, I was talking to you.” I rolled my eyes. I had barely gotten five steps when I felt Brett wrap his arm around my waist. I spun around in his arm, put my hands on his chest and shoved. His arm loosened, and I backed away a few steps.
“Listen, Brett, I told you-” He grabbed me by the waist and pulled me closer to him. With a few grunts, I managed to get out of his grasp, and damn was I ever pissed. I glanced behind Brett and saw Mark standing there, watching what was unfolding.
“You, honey, look smokin’ today.”
I punched him. Right in the nose.
He stumbled backwards, hitting the wall, and clutched his nose. I could already see blood streaming down his hands. “Stupid bitch!” He managed to yell before walking, almost running, away. I checked out my hand, making sure it was okay. I threw a hell of a punch, I knew that, though I have never tried to punch someone as hard as I did right there. God, he makes me angry.
“Holy shit... Autumn?” I glanced up to see Mark jogging the few steps I managed to make between us. “Are you okay? Who was that? Why did you-?”
“It’s a long story.” I mumbled, beginning to walk away. I knew Mark was right beside me even though I had not looked in his direction. “Basically, it comes down to the fact that I was involved in a... game I didn’t want to play. That guy, Brett Reiter, is the... ring leader. I told him if he tried anything I’d hit him... he just didn’t believe me.”
“W-what game?” He asked, a little astonished at my nonchalant behaviour, I assumed. I looked at him, stopping at my class room.
“I’m sure you’ll figure it out soon, Mark.” I opened the door and slipped through. “And when you do, I want you to know that there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it from happening. If you try to ruin their fun, you’ll wish you didn’t. I’m not trying to threaten you; only warn you. It’s all up to me.”
“Are you trying to scare me?” He asked, holding open the door I was trying to escape through. “’Cause it’s working... can you at least explain it to me?”
“It’s nothing you need to be concerned about. I’ll handle it.” I spoke firmly, placing my sketch book on a desk, and my purse in the chair beside the one I wanted to sit in. “Tomorrow, if you haven’t heard about it from any of your friends, I suppose I could explain it to you. Meet me outside of this door, ten minutes before classes start.”
He nodded, letting the door close. I couldn’t see his retreating figure through the door, but I knew he didn’t like the way I made this ‘game’ sound. The truth was, it was worse than what he was thinking already... at least in my mind.
I sat back down at the table, mentally preparing myself for my third period class. After my spare, followed by my art class, I would be in English. It would be the first class I had with one of the Six... make that three.