'In that moment of drilling December rain and bitter grey air, I hate him, more than I’ve ever hated anything before....'
Anyway, on with Chapter Seven! Hope it makes up for how long it’s been…enjoy, and please remember to rate and review :D
As soon as I’m part of the swarming tide of students churning through the grotty school corridors, it feels as though I’ve never been away. The harsh scent of cheap body-spray is as strong as ever, and the lingering stench of repulsive school dinners is sickeningly familiar, as is the loud chattering that fills the halls to the brim, the companionable sounds bouncing off the peeling walls making me feel lonelier than ever.
It’s less than ten seconds since the bell signalling the start of registration has rung, and the corridors are a Monday morning rush hour of uncaring students, sloppy ties and raucous laughter.
I’m pushed and shoved, crushed and trampled as I try and make my way through the teeming corridors to room 206, despite the fact I keep my head down, making sure I’m well hidden behind my hair and focusing on the hundred hurried feet scrambling and squeaking along the grimy polished floors, instead of the blur of faces.
Being smaller than average definitely has its drawbacks; I might be in the fourth year, but I’m barely taller than some of the first years, making it a great deal easier for people to ‘accidentally’ bash me with their schoolbags or pointy elbows.
However, the Monday morning crushes in the corridor do have advantages; when you’re amongst several hundred other students, it’s very hard to be singled out and subjected to the inevitable violent words and cutting fists. I just melt into the swarming mass of moody teenagers like everyone else.
Strange as it might be, it’s nice, for once, to feel like everyone else; like I’m not a freak, or a friendless loser. But then I’ll get an extra hard shove in the ribs by one of the brutal-looking sports jocks from my year, abruptly reminding me that I am a freak. And a friendless loser.
But most of all, reminding me that I’m weak, that they’ll be there to get me later and there’ll be nothing, nothing I can do to defend myself.
My heart’s juddering and thumping fearfully in my chest as I stumble through the crowds, feeling as if ribbons of barbed wire are constricting my lungs, making it feel as though I can’t draw a breath of air in the claustrophobia of the artificially lit corridor where I’m pushed and shoved and stood on.
However, after four years endurance of this bleak, grotty prison of bitter blood and stuffy classrooms, I’m pretty used to it- I just have to grit my teeth and force my way through the copious throngs of students, hair shrouding my face, hands shoved into my pockets to conceal their trembling fear.
I still hate it, but I’m used to it now.
All the pushes and shoves feel familiar, and almost, in a strange kind of way, soothing; it’s exactly the same as every other day I’ve had the misfortune to stumble into the building, and I can almost kid myself that it’s just another never ending day at school…that Steve’s sons never existed, and I’m living the boring old life I was before at home before the stepbrothers from hell descended.
I’m suddenly knocked sharply off course by a particularly violent elbow, ricocheting off some beefy jock who, thank god, barely seems to notice me, probably due to the vast size of his bodyweight. I look up angrily to see who sent me so abruptly off course, although still being careful to make sure my hair conceals my face.
My stomach plummets sickeningly as the face of my attacker swims into view, horribly clear in the blur of teeming students. Pale with a sneering lip, black eyeliner and hiding eyes.
I grit my teeth furiously, clenching my hands into angry fists as bubbling anger surges through me in recognition.
Smirking slightly down at me with those empty eyes and carefully dishevelled raven hair, is none other than Steve’s eldest son, Gerard.
Anger shoots through my bruised body, prickly and jagged, making me scowl even more furiously as I shake my hair back in front of my face and hitch my schoolbag more safely over my shoulder, ignoring the tiny, tentative tears of hurt that mingle with the fury.
“Sorry, elf. Didn’t see you there,” Gerard sneers loudly over the background noise and chatter, smirking infuriatingly. Before I can retort in retaliation, he’s sauntering off down the corridor in the opposite direction, melting into the crowd with his rebellious black attire, careless smirk, and mask-like face.
I sigh angrily, having no option but to be forced onwards by the ever-pushing tide of sleepy students, away from my sauntering stepbrother and the overflowing crowd, chest scratchy with the remnants of unused anger and, although I hate to admit it, hurt.
I storm even more angrily down one of the slightly quieter side corridors to eclipse it, muttering ‘I hate him’ with the rhythm from every furious stomp of my scruffy, converse clad feet.
When I finally reach registration, the grubby classroom is almost full; my form class lounging on the desks, chattering away softly or scribbling down forgotten homework, comparing weekend parties and new fake tans or laughing loudly about the Saturday football match.
It looks the same as ever; one of the art rooms with endless exercise books stacked haphazardly on the side benches, the neutral, greenish wallpaper peeling and mouldy, especially where it meets the damp, wooden windowpane of then grimy windows looking out over the now deserted schoolyard. Obscenities have been crudely scrawled on the smeary whiteboard, and the floor is littered with empty sweet wrappers, charcoal smears and pencil sharpens, while the greying walls are limply adorned with ancient curling, artwork of long gone pupils.
Heart heavy, I shuffle, head down, towards the very back of the classroom, by the paint-stained ceramic sinks, the desk where no one else sits.
I sigh heavily as I flop down on the unwelcoming plastic seat and dump my schoolbag on the cracked floor, trying very hard to ignore the sniggering and spiteful comments thrown at me from the ‘popular’ row, where all the jocks and the fake-tanned, bleach-blonde, gum-chewing, hair-twiddling girls are sitting, flirting repulsively and comparing weekends.
Instead of joining in the bubbly chatter, I hunch over my desk, picking at the graffitied desk with clammy, shaking fingers, waiting for Mrs. Appleton to call for silence and the noise around me that makes me feel so lonely to cease.
I don’t look up, just continue to stare aimlessly up at the thick, grey cloud, eyes following a flock of geese flying across the skyline; just tiny, black flecks in the endless vastness, flying high above all the pollution and crime and bleak cities, living above the clouds that hide reality like a thin, fragile blanket sewn with insincerity and lies.
They can fly away from all the bad things, all the difficulties of reality, but I can’t. I have to sit here in this plastic seat, at the back of a class barely know I exist, trying to melt away and become one of the shadows so as I don’t get hurt.
It seems to take forever until Mrs. Appleton finally calls for silence; I’m vaguely aware of a slow stream of sleepy students trickling through the open door for the next few minutes, the classroom gradually becoming louder and louder as it fills up, my heart rate increasing nervously as I clench my fists angrily, furious with myself for feeling scared, trying hard instead to focus on the listless tears of grey rain dribbling sadly down the grimy window beside me.
“Okay, settle down, class,” Mrs. Appleton’s sharp tone slices through the noise and clatter of the room, and there’s a hasty scraping of chairs and bags thudding to the floor as everyone scrambles for their seats.
I keep my head down, gaze still following the raindrops from behind my curtain of scruffy hair, tracing shaky rings on the rough tabletop, trying to pretend I’m not here.
“Right, 4B, we’ve got a new addition to our class today,” Mrs. Appleton announces brightly, and I look up in mild surprise to the front of class, being careful to remain hidden behind my hair.
My heart drops.
Standing, actually visibly trembling, by Mrs. Appleton’s desk, with dangerously pale cheeks, wide, anxiously hazel eyes poking out from behind a pair of well-polished geeky glasses, and tufty mouse brown hair, is none other than Mikey.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone looking so nervous- not even that poor girl Ocean threatened during her last weeks at this school to ‘strangle with her own intestines’. He’s nibbling his lip, eyes on the floor, knees shaking, hands twisting sweatily inside his navy blue hoodie pocket.
I hear a couple of jeering sniggers from the ‘popular’ row, and see Mikey’s queasy complexion pinken.
“Everyone, this is Michael Way. I hope you’ll all make him very welcome,” Mrs. Appleton says firmly, glaring at the sniggerers. “Does anyone have a space for him?”
There’s a dead silence. No one volunteers, despite the fact there are several spare seats. My stomach squirms guiltily. There’s a space beside me…should I put my hand up?
I don’t want to draw attention myself, I don’t particularly want to have to sit next to Mikey and have to fix on my false smile, pretending I’m okay to yet someone else, but most of all, if Mikey ends up next to me, he’ll be picked on for the rest of his school life, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
And stupidly, selfishly, I don’t want him to see how much of an outcast I really am.
But my emotions are getting the better of me; trickling slowly but surely through my steely, defensive shell of surly anger and slowly melting it away, much to my utter horror.
I glance up worriedly towards the front of the class just in time to see a scrunched up ball of paper hit Mikey squarely on the shoulder and the whole class to burst out laughing.
My heart tugs painfully at the strings of my chest, rusty and jagged.
“Silence, all of you!” Mrs. Appleton snaps crossly.
I bite my lip and look at Mikey, who looks ready to burst into tears, throw up all over the front row, or run from the room.
Heart heavy, I sigh and slowly raise my hand.
“Ah, thank you Frank,” Mrs. Appleton says gratefully. “Mikey, go and sit next to Frank there,” She adds, gently propelling Mikey in my direction.
The whole class stares at him as he shuffles shakily towards me and flops down, trembling, breathing unevenly as he stares dazedly at the desk in front of him.
I suddenly feel a little spasm of panic. I don’t know what to do; how to act or what to say. I’m totally and utterly new to this- I never socialise with anyone. Apart from Ocean of course, but that’s different- I’ve known her all my life.
But I haven’t had the guts to try talking to anyone new since the start of high school, where it all got twisted and tangled by hormones and social status.
I glance sideways at Mikey, nibbling my lip worriedly as I try and figure out what to do; panic is slowly filling me up, making me want to escape from the room and be alone again.
It’s so much easier to be alone.
Luckily, before I can chicken out and before Mikey’s attacked by any more paper balls or sneering comments, Mrs. Appleton starts calling the register, and silence falls over the room once more.
I peer out from behind my hair at the trembling teenager beside me again.
“You…You okay?” I whisper uncertainly, against all better judgement.
Mikey looks up from the table, surprise clear in his hazel eyes. “Um, y-yeah,” he stammers, going pink.
I feel a pang of sympathy for the mousy haired boy beside me. I, of all people, know how terrifying school can be. However, the little knot of panic inside me hasn’t loosened.
“Um, what’s your first lesson?” I ask tentatively.
Mikey blanches at the thought, and pulls a slightly crumpled timetable out of his pocket with clammy hands, his grasp shaking so much that it’s impossible to discern the lessons.
“Here, let me,” I sigh, gently taking the paper from his shaking hands and scanning the page. “Okay, you’ve got music first. And you’re in my class, I think,” I tell him, and he seems to relax ever so slightly.
I scan the rest of the page and swallow; double maths, physics, PE, French and chemistry.
“Um, and…let’s think about the others later, yeah?” I say tactfully, as Mrs. Appleton finishes with the register and the bell signalling first period shrills through the building, making Mikey jump.
“C’mon,” I sigh, getting wearily to my feet and pulling my schoolbag over my shoulder as there’s a sudden scramble for the door.
I wait for Mikey to get his stuff together, hovering by the desk while he tucks his chair neatly under his desk, when I’m suddenly shoved so hard I go stumbling back into the paint-spattered sinks behind me, wincing angrily as my already injured left wrist slams into the white.
“Watch where you’re going, freak!” The leader of the ‘cool’ gang, Danny spits venomously at me, gooseberry green eyes glinting coldly as I stagger to my feet, rubbing my arm furiously where it collided with the sink, the hard ceramic contributing to the already bruised flesh of my forearm.
“I was,” I growl more bravely than I’m feeling, shaking my hair defensively in front of the fear in my eyes, shoving my hands in my pockets to conceal their anxious shaking.
“Don’t you talk back at me,” Danny hisses, advancing on me, eyes narrowed icily. Behind him, I see Mikey gulp fearfully. “You’ll pay, Freak Iero. Later,” Danny whispers threateningly, the venom in his icily green eyes deadly as he throws me a sadistic smirk and turns to go.
My heart’s thumping in my chest, beating a violent taboo of fear against my ribs. I sigh angrily and look up, humiliated to have Mikey see me at my most vulnerable.
The classroom’s empty now, apart from Mikey, who’s still standing by the desk, waiting for me anxiously, hazel eyes uncertain.
“A-are you okay?” He stutters in concern as I straighten my arm cautiously and wince in pain.
“I’m fine!” I snap crossly, ashamed and humiliated.
“Are….are you sure?” Mikey presses tentatively.
“Yes!” I snarl angrily, pushing past him and storming from the classroom, out into the swarming corridor. I kind of hoped that Mikey would take the hint and leave me the fuck alone to hate myself in silence, but he’s feebly pushing his way through the masses behind me, a shaky blur of mousy hair and hazel worry.
I sigh, trying to expel all the pent up humiliation manifesting as irrational anger, and don’t push him away as we reach the end of the corridor, push our way through the double doors and start up the stairs to the music block.
I’m glad it’s music; it’s possibly the only subject in this living hell that doesn’t make me want to kill myself.
Obviously, I don’t love it the way I love playing my guitar, but it’s like my little safe haven in a churning sea of acid, deadly blood. And although my classmates might be foul, the teacher’s okay, and appreciates my work. As often as I can, I just slope off and play on one of the shitty school guitars on my own.
Remembering Mikey plays bass, I hope that having a lesson like music first might relax him slightly. Well, as long as he’s not sat beside one of the brutal jocks.
That would be an experience and a half.
There are only a few people in the room when we push open the door to the music room and Mikey follows me inside, across the grey carpeted floor and towards the back of the class by the big, grey windows. That’s another thing I like about music; all the other classrooms make you feel trapped and claustrophobic, but the music room is on the top floor, up the spiral stairs, with big bay windows that look out across the school playing fields.
I fling myself down in my usual seat, using up the rest of my angry energy while Mikey hovers anxiously in front of the desk, unsure as to whether to sit down beside me or not.
I roll my eyes and nod impatiently at the seat beside me. Mikey smiles a small, shaky smile and sits down gratefully as Miss. Lily drifts into the room, her wild amber hair piled up into an elegant bun, but there are already curling tendrils escaping down the back of her neck and around her eyes.
“Good morning, class,” She says slightly breathlessly. “Sorry I’m a little late, but I see that there aren’t many of you here anyway.” She frowns, looking puzzled as she sets her overflowing flowery bag of papers down on the desk and takes off her long coat and trailing scarf.
“The football trials for the new team are being held,” a blonde girl says at the front of class, and Miss. Lily nods, a look of realisation spreading across her heart-shaped face.
“Okay. Right, before you all get on with your composition pieces, I have an announcement from Mr. Davidson, the guitar teacher- those of you who take after school lessons with him and wish to continue after the Christmas holidays need to come up here at lunchtime and put your names down again so he knows who’s continuing.”
A couple of girls at the front sigh, obviously unhappy that their lunch hour will be disturbed. However, I’m secretly relieved; it’ll give me something to do other than sit in my solitary haunt between the yard and the playing fields, under the old oak tree.
“Great,” Mrs. Lily smiles, getting out her notebook and sitting down at the desk. “Well, as you know, you’ve only got two weeks left before the holidays to finish your composition essays, so get cracking.”
There’s a sigh from the few remaining students, but everyone gets out their jotters anyway, including me.
Mikey just looks blankly at the desk, biting his nails. I’m about to put my hand up and ask Miss. Lily what he should do seeing as he seems to be completely incapable of doing so and is just going to irritate me if he sits there nibbling at his nails, but before I can do so, Miss. Lily is sweeping down the classroom towards our desk.
“Michael Way?” She smiles at Mikey, who looks up nervously at her appearance, and then nods slightly.
“First day? Pleased to meet you, Michael- I’m Miss. Lily. Do you like music?” Miss Lily asks warmly, pulling out a chair from the desk in front of us and sitting down facing us.
Mikey nods again, cheeks pink.
“Play any instruments?” Miss. Lily presses, tucking her unruly hair behind her ear.
“B-bass,” Mikey stammers, twisting his hands nervously again.
“Great,” Miss. Lily smiles encouragingly. “Well, just let Frank explain the essay to you this lesson, if that’s okay?” she looks at me.
I sigh, but nod in grudging agreement, scrawling the end of my sentence and closing my jotter slightly more forcefully than I’d intended.
“Good. Right, I’ll leave you to it then. Good luck with your first day, Michael- let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you,” Miss. Lily smiles warmly again, and gets up, going back to her desk.
“Right,” I sigh, shaking my hair in front of my face and looking round at Mikey. “Basically, we’re writing an essay on what we’re going to do for our practical composition.”
“Okay,” Mikey nods, though he looks innocently confused.
“Have you composed anything on your bass?” I ask tiredly, rubbing wearily at the frown lines on my foreheads. This is going to be one long lesson.
Mikey nods again, nibbling at his lower lip.
“Well, just write about that,” I say, getting my iPod out and putting one headphone in as I open my jotter again.
After selecting Black Flag to vent my frustration and hatred for my surroundings, I settle down to write again, letting the soothing scrawl of my stubby pencil on the cheap, lined paper soothe me.
Near the end of the lesson, something lightly taps me on the shoulder and I look up questioningly to see Mikey biting his lip anxiously and fixing me with nervous hazel eyes.
“What?” I sigh, putting my pen down.
“Um, I just wanted to say sorry about Gerard,” Mikey says unexpectedly.
I blink, totally taken aback.
“Oh,” I falter, not sure how to respond.
“And thanks for helping me with the essay,” Mikey adds, then his lips curve up into a tiny, trembly smile, and he leans back down over his jotter and carries on scribbling away at his essay.
I blink again and try and go back to concentrating on my essay, still totally taken aback, but also slightly touched, which is a warm, slightly peculiar feeling in my shattered soul of anger and broken dreams.
All too soon, the bell for break rings, and there’s a mad rush as everyone shoves their work into their bags and makes for the door. I snap my jotter shut and get hastily to my feet, grabbing my pen and making for the door without waiting for Mikey.
He might not be as bad as I thought, but I still don’t want to be lumbered with him all day. I don’t to be responsible for him getting picked on.
But most of all, I don’t want him to see how I really am.
I stomp down the stairs, two at a time before he can follow me, and push my way through the double doors into the hiving hallway, gritting my teeth and forcing my way once more through the teeming teenagers.
Blood. Scarlet and sickening, hot, metallic red spurting from my lip and choking me as endless fists pound and pummel my chest and stomach, staining it with purple injustice.
The incessant thudding of fists connecting with vulnerable flesh is sickening, making my stomach churn queasily beneath the flurry of brutal fists.
I’m crushed up against the cold, unwelcoming metal of the lockers, arms pinned down as the seemingly never-ending stream of violence shatters through me, making me gasp and plead my attackers to stop. They only laugh, cold and cruel.
I knew I shouldn’t have taken that shortcut to the yard through the quiet locker room. I can’t go anywhere alone and stay safe here.
A particularly hard blow connects forcefully with my stomach, knocking the air out of me, and I crumple, hitting the cold, polished floor and collapsing in defeat at the feet of the icily green eyed demon that’s laughing coldly at my weakness.
“C’mon, guys,” the venomous voice of Danny from my form class hisses. “Lets leave the freak all on his own.”
He kicks me in my chest, hard, making me issue a muffled yelp through the stream of hot, soured blood of shame.
They all laugh, the merciless sound rupturing off the walls, getting fainter and fainter and fainter until I hear the soft click of the double doors at the end of the hall, and I know that I’m alone once more.
Groaning, I struggle to push myself up into sitting position, slumped against the lockers behind me as I try and catch my breath, shakily wiping the scarlet dribble from my face.
The bruises feel as if they’re tainted purple has sunk much further than the fleshy surface. Angry insecurity of humiliation tugs painfully at my chest as I slowly get my breath back, wiping impatiently at the constant spewing of my burst lip.
I want to curl up on the cold, grimy floor in a tiny ball and never face anyone again.
But I get up, despite the protests of my bruised, battered body, and start limping towards the doors to the yard, teeth gritted in steely determination.
I suddenly wonder how many more times I’ll have to go through that and worse before I succumb to escape and give up entirely.
Because, quite honestly, I’m running on anger.
Deep down, I know that the real reason I don’t give in is something of my core, my original essence, a piece of my soul. But they’re tearing me apart, body and soul.
I can feel it.
So if they’re destroying my soul, how much longer will I find it within me to keep going?
Five minutes later, after a painful struggle through the yard, hiding my bleeding lip behind my tangled hair, I’m sitting under the old oak tree where no one else goes, shivering in the misty grey drizzle that seeps through my hoodie, headphones in and blaring AMEN to distract me from the happy, companionable chatter that fills the yard.
Carefully hidden behind my tangles of chestnut hair, I stare across at all the little clusters of friends dotted all over the bleak, damp yard, from the geeks sitting under the veranda, reading up on their chemistry homework and hunched over never ending novels, to the giggly gangs of girls flirting with the jocks over by the sports field, twirling their well-conditioned hair round their manicured fingers.
How come everyone in this school has found a group but me?
I sigh, wiping the gradually clotting flow of crimson from my congealed lip, suddenly feeling horribly, bleakly alone.
I try and shake the feeling off; if I let myself feel sad, that’s when things fall apart most. Angry, scowling and hating is okay, but sadness isn’t, because it makes things seem far too real.
I look back across the yard to distract myself from my own reality, and something suddenly catches my eye.
Sitting, on one of the peeling wooden picnic tables as if he owns the place, amongst a gang of the coolest rebels, arm slung round some girl wearing way too much eyeliner and laughing with the strawberry blonde guy who asked me if I was okay after I’d been beaten up on Friday afternoon, is none other than Gerard.
Jealously churns sickeningly in my stomach, eclipsing the lonely sadness with glutinous serpents of self loathing that make me queasy.
It’s not fair. He’s just as much of a misfit as me, but everyone’s flocking around him, eager to be his friend, hanging on his every word and flirting shamelessly with him. He’s been in the school for an hour and a half.
And he’s lapping it up like a vampire offered with the richest scarlet blood. He’s laughing back, mingling with everyone, flirting back equally shamelessly.
Rich, copious ropes of hatred constrict my skeleton; slimy and smarmy, slithering under my skin and filling my contaminated bloodstream with a thousand tiny needles of desired revenge.
He’s got everything I want, and he hasn’t even had to try.
In that moment of drilling December rain and bitter grey air, I hate him, more than I’ve ever hated anything before. I loathe everything about him, from his empty, shimmering, emerald eyes to his ridiculously tight skinny jeans.
But what I hate most of all is that I’m bitterly jealous of someone I loathe.
I force myself to drag my eyes away, the pure, hot hatred still surging through my body. Instead, I stare in the opposite direction and suddenly see Mikey, mosuy and shy, hovering nervously by the wall, all alone.
A pang of spiky guilt shoots through me, snagging on my innards.
He might be related to Gerard, but they’re the total opposite. Just because I hate the older Way brother, doesn’t mean I should take it out on the younger.
Suddenly, Mikey looks up, hazel eyes finding mine through the murky drizzle, and sending another pang of guilt through me as I see the hurt and fear in the wide orbs.
Suddenly, just wanting to hide my social status from him seems an utterly pathetic reason to leave someone as nervous and nail-biting as Mikey alone in a harsh high school on his very first day.
I know exactly how it feels to be scared, to feel lost and hurt and alone.
And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, no matter how much I like or loathe them.
Before I have time to grudge up second thoughts, I raise my hand and motion for Mikey to join me. He blinks disbelievingly, and I wave at him again, trying to wipe the scowl off my face along with the congealed remains of blood.
He blinks again, and approaches me tentatively, pausing apprehensively as he reaches the tree.
“Um, you can hang out with me if you want,” I mumble, suddenly feeling embarrassed. The words of relent feel strange and foreign in my mouth.
Mikey smiles a little shakily. “T-thanks.”
I shrug, feeling horribly awkward as Mikey sits down beside me on the harsh grey concrete and I nervously flatten my hair over my freshly injured face.
There’s a slightly awkward silence for a moment, broken only by the rain that drizzles around us, percolating the thick, uncomfortable cloud of silence hanging heavily over our heads.
“Uh…how do you like the school?” I ask lamely after a few moments, fiddling with my fraying sleeve and staring at the chewing-gum speckled concrete.
“It’s…okay,” Mikey mumbles, shrugging.
There’s another silence.
I try very hard to ignore the loud laughing that sets my teeth on edge, coming from the picnic bench where Gerard’s sprawled so recklessly.
“Um, headphone?” I offer Mikey a headphone slightly awkwardly.
“Thanks,” Mikey says gratefully, taking it and plugging it into his ear.
There’s another silence as we both listen to the raw screaming of Black Flag, unsure of what to say.
I can’t get used to the feeling of having company in school.
“I love them,” Mikey looks up at me, gesturing appreciatively to my iPod.
“Me too,” I feel my lips twitch into a half smile before falling back into their scowling lines of misery.
“I saw them live last year,” Mikey says shyly.
“Really?” I look up, interested, despite myself.
Mikey nods. “Yeah. They were amazing.”
“Live music is,” I say quietly, discretely stemming the blood flowing from my lip.
I think Mikey catches what I’m doing, but he says nothing, just smiles with uncertain shyness and drops his gaze to the floor.
“Yeah,” he says after a moment. “Live music. Best feeling in the world.”
I look round at him properly, and smile. A real smile, small and uncertain, but real all the same. It feels like the first real smile I’ve smiled in forever.
And it feels almost okay.
Sitting beside the shy outcast with mousy hair and geeky glasses, under the old oak tree.
It feels okay.
The music room is silent when I cautiously push the door open, minutes after the lunch bell’s dulcet tones have drilled through the school. I go across the silent classroom to the little adjoining room where I usually have my guitar lessons.
Pinned to the glass of the door is a list of hastily scrawled names, presumably names of the people continuing their lessons.
It’s definitely dwindled since last term, which I can’t understand. I’d never give guitar up. It’s the one thing that’s mine, and mine alone, something that can’t be tainted by the outside world.
It’s the one thing I’m still true to, the one thing I put my heart and soul into.
I dig in my pocket for a biro, draw one out with a considerably chewed end, and scribble my name on the list, smiling slightly at the thought of the raw, bittersweet chords strummed from my guitar, the vulnerable, pure notes that make me feel safe and happy.
Just as I turn to go, I notice the timetable for after school lessons on the teacher’s desk.
Scanning down the page of small groups, I find my name under 3:30 PM and Mr. Davidson’s name, beside the name Eric Whitby, the slightly odd, geeky boy I’ve shared my lessons with all term.
Then I see something that makes my heart slam to a groundbreaking stop.
Under Eric’s name, in our little 3:30 afterschool group, is another name.
My stomach drops like a stone, writhing in horror as I read the two tiny little words printed in black.
A/N: Hmmm, little bit of a cliffhanger there xD What did you think? I really hope it was okay- I’m still not ultra confident with this yet. Are the characters okay? Please let me know what you thought- it’s what keeps me updating (: Hope you all had a great Christmas (:
Please R&R, and I’ll update within the next week…thanks for reading!
[*Love you guys…:D