School is hell. Ever since I was little, it had just been a seven-hour exercise in self-control. There was no real reason for me to go to class when I could easily learn everything on my own, except it helped me stay under the radar. No one would look too closely at me if I just slogged through the works like everyone else.
Now I just had to fumble through another two hundred-odd days of this before I'd be free from the tyranny of compulsory lower education.
But it seemed the new friends I'd made didn't exactly feel the same way. Which is why, at the earliest possible iteration of this humid morning in August, I was standing in the courtyard of this dismal public school I so aptly named hell.
Ever since dinner, all the guys had been very gentle with me, inviting me to Nathan's to swim in his pool or Gabriel offering to come over and go through my closet. I'd turned them down, saying that I had to spend time with Lulu and Sarah before going back to school, or that I hadn't felt well - not that either of those things had been lies.
I used the Lulu and Sarah excuse much like new parents did to get out of social events. It was the same reason I had used to avoid staying at Victor's on Friday night and often like having real children with the number of times they'd gotten into some sort of trouble and required my supervision.
Kota, Nathan, Silas, and Victor all stood together as I approached them, one by one, eyes lighting up in that familiar happy way as I walked their way. They all seemed hopeful, but Victor's eyes held some indefinable extra emotion that looked much less joyful.
I wrapped an arm around his waist as I came closer, pulling him towards my side in a show of comfort, his fingers finding my ribs and starting to flutter over them lightly like piano keys.
Everyone else just smiled at me, as if they were afraid of pushing their luck. I made a note to give them all hugs or some friendly touch throughout the day. They were touchy, and if it were on my own schedule, I could be touchy too.
Affection might be foreign to me, but that didn't mean I was afraid of it.
I saw another familiar face across the courtyard and her arm swung wildly in the air as she waved at me. I smiled back at her and she grinned once more before turning back to her conversation with her girlfriend.
She and I had been in a few classes together last year and we'd worked on a few projects together when necessary. Karen was sweet and kind and didn't ask too many questions.
I rummaged through my bag to pull out my phone and send her a text, asking if we could catch up sometime soon.
It was only a few minutes later, after a brief conversation involving class schedules and upcoming plans that the boys tried to draw me into, that North, Luke, and Gabriel came along; Gabriel's bright colors clashing with North's dark ensemble and it warmed something inside me that I didn't fully understand.
I stood to greet them.
Luke stepped up the pace and stood only a few inches from me before tapping his finger lightly on the tip of my nose, "Beep." He said quietly.
I smiled at him and reached up to return the motion, noticing the dark circles around his eyes as I looked him dead in the face, shoulders squaring off as I watched him closer. "You should get some sleep, Luke." I said softly.
His smile dulled slightly but he nodded and turned away.
Gabe was talking to North quietly and I tapped him on the shoulder lightly, which got his attention. He swung around to me quickly and grinned; beautiful face framed by those two locks of blonde hair.
YOU ARE READING
Sang isn't a fifteen-year-old cowering at the hands of her stepmother. She's on her own. Eighteen and living in a house her father bribed her with alongside two faithful dogs, she's been paving her own way since the payout a year ago. When Marie di...