She doesn't fit in; He doesn't either.
It was a cold tuesday afternoon when I saw her. What drew my attention initially? I can't really say. It was a million things. The way she walked, stumbling over her feet before she even reached the doors of our school. The fact that she didn't make eye contact with anyone, instead focusing on her feet though that obviously wasn't doing her any good since she still seemed to be having trouble walking. Her lowered eyes made it seem as if she'd rather be anywhere else yet despite that... her mouth was still curled in to what most people would confuse for a smile so it was evident that she was trying.
She wasn't wearing designer clothing which was strange seeing as how my school was made up of the richest, most obnoxious students in the state. Her bag was falling apart at the seams, barely holding her books inside. She didn't look like a rich kid, not at all. So, why was she here?
"Brendon!" A shrill voice interrupted me, causing me to look back at the girl sitting across from me. "Are you even listening to me?" Not really, no.
"Of course." I threw on a cheesy smile, knowing it would make her melt.
And melt she did. "You're so gorgeous Bren." I hated when she called me that. I wasn't entirely sure which was worse though, being called Bren... or gorgeous. For one, I never wanted the fucking nickname. For the other, I felt like that's all anyone ever noticed. Oh, he's so gorgeous! You've got a really good looking son there... Wow, you're so sexy. It's like nothing else mattered. I stopped trying in most other areas of my life because it wasn't like they really mattered. All anyone wanted was a pretty face to look at.
"Looks like we have a newbie." Alexander Hall said, snickering. "What the hell is she wearing?"
I thought she looked adorable actually, but I didn't say anything.
Her clothing consisted of black flip-flops and a flowy white dress that ended at her knees. She was a slender girl, with pale creamy skin. It made her stick out under the glaring sun. All of the other girls that went to our school wore fake tans, as if it were an accessory they couldn't leave the house without. She had dark brown hair that was hanging loosely around her neck, a headband with peace symbols pulling it off of her forhead. I noticed now that the bag she was carrying also had peace symbols upon it. Hippy girl?
Chelsea Saunders made a noise of horror, "Ew, look at that bag. It's falling apart."
I wasn't sure how that warranted an 'ew' but I rarely questioned Chelsea because her follow up statements made less sense than her original statements did.
"Maybe she can't afford a new one." Spencer Smith replied, tone showing no judgement for the girl none of us knew. He was probably my only non-judgemental friend. He was the one you could actually count on to be there for you, no matter what.
"Then what is she doing here?" Chelsea asked, using an offending tone despite how simple sounding the question could've been.
"Let's find out!" Alex stated, standing.
This didn't sound good. For some reason I didn't feel like picking on the girl. Usually I would be right there with them, pushing people away and slaughtering them with hurtful words... It's what made me known school-wide as the slutty asshole that would use fake romance as a way to get between your legs, then rip your heart apart and leave you bleeding on the floor... Oh, the verbally abusive description women in this school had for me...
Still, my suddenly weak legs carried me towards the girl as my friends made nasty comments. She was currently kneeling in front of the door, picking up things that had fallen from her bag. It seems it actually did give out, a huge tear causing her items to come falling out. Now she was attempting to grab all of the items, with no where to put them.
Chelsea was the first one to do anything as she pulled her classic move, bumping in to the girl. The girl dropped all the things she'd been attempting to collect, still reaching out to steady Chelsea. The move caught me off guard. Chelsea was being a bitch but... She was still trying to help her? Chelsea seemed caught off guard too but she simply covered her confused expression with an unpleasant sneer. "Why would you have a bag with a hole in it? That isn't very helpful."
The girl stared up at us from her knees, eyes wide with innocence. "It didn't originally have the hole in it when I was getting ready for school earlier."
"Are you sure you aren't at the wrong school?" Alex chimed in, looking her over in disdain.
"This is Vagston Academy, right?"
Chelsea's eyes widened, "You do know that this is a private school for wealthy students, right?" She shot back, stepping closer to the girl. "You're clearly not very wealthy meaning you don't belong. Do you know what happens to students that don't belong?"
"They don't hang out with you?" The girl asked, in a calm tone.
Chelsea's eyes narrowed but it was Alex that spoke. "You look more like the kind of girl I'd pay to give me a blowjob. Would you like to give me a blowjob?" The way he looked at her even disgusted me.
"I find it sad that you have to pay girls to give you blowjobs."
Spencer choked on his laughter as I tried my hardest to hide mine.
"I bet I wouldn't have to pay you. Cheap girls like you aren't hard..." Alex was cut off.
"Would you like some help?" Ryan Ross came up from behind our group, making his way to the stranger.
Ryan and I used to be friends... way back in middle school. Now we were both seniors in high school and things had changed. Ryan and I drifted apart when I started hanging out with the 'cool kids' because Ryan didn't like them. Hell, I didn't even like them... but I felt more important when I was with them so I let a good friendship drift right out of my grasp.
"Speaking of blowjobs." The words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop myself. It was always like this. Whenever I saw Ryan I was always the first to bad mouth him. I missed him but I couldn't help but hurt him, or think badly of him... Quite honestly it hurt a hell of a lot less to hate him, rather than to completely and utterly miss him.
Also, Ryan started getting a lot of shit sophomore year when he came out of the closet, declaring that he was gay. I mean, some people already knew but... as soon as he announced it, it was as if the student body had launched an all out war against him. He was now officially one of the biggest 'losers' of the school.
"Oh, sure." The girl stuttered out, losing her cool... only slightly. "T-thank you." With that she smiled at Ryan, seeming to forget about the rest of us.
Ryan began to help the girl with her belongings, placing them in his own bag. "It'll just be easier this way. I'm sure that I have an extra bag in my locker."
"Wow. Thank you."
"No problem." Ryan sent her a flattering smile in return.
"Oooh, new girls got a crush on the school fag." Chelsea commented before walking directly through the mess, stepping on a calculator in the process.
I followed, closing my eyes as she looked at us. Why did I feel so horrible? I was just as mean as them, if not more so, every single fucking day.
"So, I'm Ryan and I swear I'm not stealing your stuff. My locker is at the end of the hallway." Ryan smiled again.
"I'm Juliet and I completely believe you." I replied, finding myself extremely grateful that he had basically come to the rescue. I expected to find myself drawing some negative attention. I mean, this was a school for very wealthy children. Of course I was going to become a social outcast. Every school had their groups, just as every town did... Wherever I went I never seemed to fit in.
This year was supposed to be different. It was supposed to be better. I had won a scholarship to this 'fancy' school and so my parents had moved, in an attempt to help me succeed. I would've been happy at any public school but they were right in the end. Private schools looked better on applications to colleges. So, here I was.
"Juliet, eh? Where's your Romeo?" Ryan joked, stopping at a locker.
"Far from here, I'm guessing." I replied, looking at all of the people that were glancing at us.
Ryan laughed, "Yeah, people here are assholes. Just ignore it. You already ran in to the worst of them so if you can handle that then you'll be fine."
"They were the worst?"
"Yep." Ryan seemed careless about the situation.
"Who are they?"
"Alex, Chelsea, Brendon and Spencer." Ryan replied, "But Spencer really isn't that bad. I mean, he can be but usually... he doesn't just pick on people to pick on them. You have to actually piss him off to get him to fuck with you."
"Good to know." I didn't really like conflict. My family was pretty huge on peace and being nonjudgemental so... walking in to a conflicting situation filled with judgement was kind of hard for me. I expected it though, so I wasn't super surprised.
"Yep. So, got your schedule? What's your locker number?"
Shoot. "Oh yeah, I still have to go to the ... um ..." I looked around, seeing nothing other than lockers. "Where exactly is the office?"
"I'll show you." Ryan replied, looking through his locker. "Bad news though."
"I don't have an extra bag like I thought I did." Ryan replied, "But have no fear... You can simply keep your shit in my bag. There's no rule against sharing."
"Are you sure?" I didn't want to inconvenience the one person in this school that happened to be friendly.
"One hundred percent." Ryan answered, throwing a few items in to his locker. "Now let's make our way to the heart of the school!" His voice suddenly got dramatic and he clutched at his heart, choking out, "The office!"
Needless to say, by the time we reached the office my face was bright red from laughter.
Ryan opened the office door for me and curtsied, calling out that he would meet me after his first class since that's about how long the orientation as a new student was. I'd never before had an orientation so I wasn't sure what to expect. My last school just gave me my schedule and let me find my own way...
I only looked away for a second, as I turned the corner inside of the quiet office. My body collided with another body and then I began stumbling back thanks to my amazing balance. Someone's arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me up and then I was pulled against the person's body. The situation was awkward, very awkward.
My eyes widened as I realized I was in the arms of one of the kids who had been making fun of me earlier. Well, he hadn't actually said anything but he was there and had been identified as an asshole by Ryan. "Oh, sorry." I quickly tried to pull away, finding that I couldn't due to the grip he had on my body.
"For?" Brendon's eyes burned in to mine, catching me off guard. It was like he was trying to communicate with me by using his eyes ... unfortunately I'd never been good at reading signals. I was all about using words to convey a meaning. You know, be upfront and I'll understand you? Yeah, that's how I was.
"Knocking in to you?" The statement came out as more of a question since I was simply confused as to why he wouldn't clearly understand what it was that I was apologizing for. Oh wait, he was one of the cool kids... He was probably expecting the apology to be for breathing his air. Wait, wait, no. I had to force bitter angry thoughts from my head as I tried to be a nice person. It was harder than one might think. It used to come so easily but... the last few years had been quite the struggle.
"I'm enjoying that you did." Brendon replied, voice as smooth as fucking honey.
"Yeah well, I should probably be going now... I have to get my schedule and talk to the office person and..." Ramble away. It's not like you have anywhere to be.
"I bet you could use someone to show you the grounds." Brendon said, still staring in to my eyes.
Did he get off on being so damn awkward? It seemed that way. Stop.Fucking.Looking.At.Me. "Uh, I can probably find my way if I look long enough..." Yeah, right. I'd be looking for the rest of my fucking life. This place was huge.
Brendon laughed softly and shook his head, causing a stray piece of brown hair to fall in front of his eyes. "I guess I'll be coming along." Wait, why?
Once Brendon let go of me I realized I now faintly smelled of him. He smelled delicious. Wait, take that back! There was no use trying to lie to myself. Brendon smelled good. He had a cute smile, and an even cuter laugh. "You really don't have to." I finally said, awkwardly standing in place.
Brendon shrugged, "Come on." He wasn't even listening to me.
Together we walked to a smaller office in the corner.
The man sitting inside stood up immediately, smiling widely. "Mr. Urie, did you forget something?" Then he nodded to me, "And you must be Ms. Leyton?"
"Hello." I nodded in reply, taking the man's outreached hand to shake. How very formal.
"I'm here to ... show Ms. Leyton her way around our beautiful school." Brendon spoke in a dramatic voice, staring in to the the man's eyes as if he was daring him to tell him to leave. I obviously had a lot to learn about the structure of this school... Just who was in charge?
"How kind." The man said, in what seemed to be a sincere tone.
"I'm Mr. Smith." Brendon sniggered but said nothing. "It's very nice to meet you Ms. Leyton. I've been looking over your records and your school work is fantastic, leaving you in the top of all of your previous classes."
I wasn't entirely sure what to say to that statement so I remained silent, feeling Brendon's eyes on me. Why was he here again?
"There was one thing that stuck out to me, as well as the rest of the board."
"That being?" I quietly asked, nervously hoping it wasn't something bad.
"You did a performance last year that impressed quite a few people. Your old choir teacher sent it to the music teacher here." Mr. Smith watched me, as if testing my reaction.
"I don't sing anymore." I stopped as soon as my mother's cancer came back. It was something I was very sensitive about. She was the one who urged me to sing in the first place but... singing made me feel happy. It released something inside of me that I couldn't even understand. What gave me the right to be so happy when she was in such constant pain, fighting the cancer that was ruining her body?
"That's too bad." Mr. Smith was careful with his words but I understood exactly what he was saying. "That was a big reason as to why you were accepted for the scholarship. The music teacher here was very, very excited at the idea of having you for a student..."
"Seems thats something you should have made clear before accepting me." I replied, keeping my tone light.
"You can go far in this school..." Mr. Smith's finger dragged along the edge of his desk, as he stared me down. "Or you can fall short of expectations."
Brendon scoffed, "Don't let him intimidate you. He tries it with everyone and fails horribly." Why was he kind-of standing up for me?
"Just one song?" Mr. Smith smiled innocently but the innocence didn't fool me one bit. He had already shown how much of a jack-ass he could be. Besides, why would they want me to sing for them? I really was not that great. "Derek really wants to hear you."
"Derek?" I asked. That didn't sound like a teacher reference.
"Music teacher." Brendon answered.
"One song." I repeated, realizing I was caving.
"Great!" Mr. Smith's face lit up. "Derek has a free period right now. Let's go see if we can catch him in his classroom!"
Brendon looked hesitant but for some reason he followed along, keeping pace with me as Mr. Smith buzzed in front of us. "Are they always so... pushy here?" I whispered, not wanting to be overheard.
"This school is notorious for pushiness." Brendon replied, not bothering to keep himself quiet.
"You seem upset." I couldn't help but notice, what with the sudden pouting.
"I don't get along well with the music teacher." Brendon replied, giving no further information.
"Are you in his class?"
"He wanted me to be." Brendon replied, tone showing that he didn't care to continue the conversation.
"Hey Brendon?" Ryan's words were still floating along in my mind.
"Yeah?" Then his lips pulled in to a smile. "You know my name?"
"Obviously." But I couldn't stop the small smile from appearing on my face. His smile was cute. "Why are you coming along when you evidently don't want to?"
Brendon didn't miss a beat. "Because you need someone to show you around."
I really didn't need him to show me around and he really didn't have to be as nice as he was being... So, what was the true reason?
"Here we are." Mr. Smith stopped abruptly, holding the door open for us.
Brendon stopped in place so I decided to go first. No sense in wasting everyone's time. I would just come, show how horrible I was, and then get to studying.
"Hello!" A loud voice greeted me and I found myself staring. "I'm Derek. Who might you be?"
"Hi." I replied, throat dry. Derek was... gorgeous. He didn't look like a teacher, not at all. "I'm Juliet."
His eyes widened dramatically. "Oh yes! Of course. How could I forget? I've watched your performance over and over again for the last few months..." Creep-tastic.
"I'm... glad you enjoyed it." I awkwardly replied. "I have to warn you... I haven't been practicing anything musical for the last year."
"Why not?" Derek demanded with an intensity that left a sting.
He made me feel as if I were a criminal for giving up music.
"Personal reasons." I choked out, unused to the intensity that Derek possessed.
Mr. Smith spoke up and it was as if Derek was just realizing that other people were in the room with us. "She has agreed to do a song for you so that you can see just where she is at, musically speaking."
Derek nodded, his eyes landing on Brendon. "And you?"
Brendon shifted, uncomfortably. "What about me?"
"Are you here to actually show your talent, or have you shoved it so far away that you don't even know what it is anymore?" Derek snapped.
That seemed incredibly harsh. "There is no reason to be so mean to him." I found myself cutting in, my voice a lot stronger than I expected it to be. I could see Brendon was visibly upset though and... That just wasn't okay. I hated when people said things to intentionally hurt another person. There was absolutely no reason to be that cold.
Brendon shot me a confused glance so I looked away, "So, are we doing this or what?"
Brendon leaned forward, "You seem nervous."
"I haven't even sung in the shower for the last year." I replied, realizing I was really, extremely, horrifyingly nervous.
Brendon grinned, "I just learned your name and we are already talking about you in the shower? I'm liking how this is going."
I didn't reply, rolling my eyes instead.
I was surprised when Brendon spoke up, "Why not test both of us? I'm in. Find us a duet Derek." Brendon said.
I watched as his confidence seemed to crumble slightly.
Derek seemed pleased, "Will do."