Well, it had finally happened, the moment we were all waiting for: Rhea had snapped.
I speculated her and Tom from my usual seat at the back, beside an unnaturally quiet Chrissy. Rhea was talking to Tom about us, obviously, as Tom kept glancing back at us every five seconds. Sheesh, at least try to be discreet about it...
'Chrissy you okay?'
'Yeah,' she murmured. 'Just shocked you know? No one's ever spoken to us like that before.'
'Ignore her, she's a freak.'
'Mhmm, I suppose.'
The rest of the lesson passed by fairly uneventful, I spent the majority of it either studying the clock, counting the seconds down or casting surreptitious glances at Tom and Rhea. Whatever had been said about us, Tom actually looked pretty annoyed. He genuinely looked like he was gonna shout at us.
Sure enough, as soon as the lesson ended, I ran straight into him in the corridor where he blocked my path.
'Erm, excuse me?' My heart was hammering wildly against my chest, but not for the reason that most girls would have guessed, but because I could sense an argument, a confrontation, and it was something I was not used to.
'What have you said to Rhea?' he demanded.
'Absolutely nothing,' I scoffed. 'Now can you please get out of my way?'
'Look Isobel, you may think you and your friends rule this school but you don't. You're all just a bunch of pathetic, immature little girls who have nothing better to do than to gossip. You should just all get over yourselves.'
Before I could stop myself, I was speaking.
'Let's get one thing straight Tom Parker. I am not like other girls, okay? I will not collapse at your feet, kiss the ground you walk on. You're the one who think's their God's gift, not me. You tell Rhea if she has a problem with me, she sorts it out herself and she doesn't get people like you to do her dirty work. Now MOVE out of my way,' I shoved past him, ignoring the shocked glances of passer-by's and I didn't stop until I had rounded the corner, where I finally sagged against the wall.
Whoa. What had just happened? I had never spoken to someone like that before, especially Tom...
'Isobel?' Chrissy appeared in front of me. 'What was that about? You just flipped at Tom!'
'Yeah did you hear what he was saying?'
'It doesn't matter! He could have your social life like this,' she clicked her fingers. 'You know how many girls like him, just one bad word against you and you'll become a social pariah. They don't take kindly to haters-of-Tom.'
'Haters-of-Tom?' I laughed at her phrase, not even remotely bothered. 'That felt good to get off my chest though. I hate guys that think they can get any girl they like. And as for Rhea, don't even get me started on her!'
'Look who's gotten feisty over the holidays!'
'Yeah okay then,' I sniggered. 'I have Photography now, so I'll see you at lunch.'
I waved her off and headed to my next lesson, taking my usual seat by the window. My eyes scanned the room hopefully but I couldn't find what I was looking for...yet. There was still time.
As the room slowly began to fill and I studied each student that came through the door, my heart flipped as I met his eyes. He only held contact for the briefest of moments but it was enough to send my heartbeat into override and my nerves to go haywire.
He wasn't what many girls would consider handsome, but that was only because half of the school were shallow, narrow-minded conformists.
Elijah Gilbert kept to himself, he was a definite loner, but that was what drew me in. I could relate to him, even if it didn't seem like I could. His jet black hair fell around his forehead in a stylishly messy way, framing striking blue eyes and a face that looked as though it had been sculpted by the finest Renaissance artist. Cheesy, I know, but that's what he genuinely reminded me of.
There was absolutely no doubt about it, I was crazy about him.