The hallways are busy and no one wishes me a happy belated birthday. No one had called me on my birthday, as usual, and I had not been very disappointed; acceptance is the reality of the life I live.
I walk past the different social groups that gather in the hallways towards my locker and as always I avert my eyes to the ground. My backpack is heavy on my back and music blares in my ears, shutting out the noise of a life I never wish to live.
Someone steps in front of me and though I see the shadow, I only just fully realize that they are in front of me when I bump my head, hard, against his chest.
I look up at the face of Paul Lowes and realize that he is saying something, but I am deaf to his voice due to my music. Pulling it down I raise my eyebrows.
"Sorry," I murmur and begin to make my way around him.
"Lorena, wait," he says as he puts his large hand on my shoulder, making me seem small and fragile. "I'm Paul, you know, Charlie's brother. How was your summer?"
I can't believe this.
I continue my path towards my locker after taking his hand off of my shoulder and I feel his stare burning my back.
I reach my locker and put my bag inside after taking out the notebooks that I need.
The classroom is quiet and I can't take my eyes off of the blond head of hair that sits in front of me. I had never thought that I was going to be in a class with Charlie Lowes. We have, I am sure, close to nothing in common, so when he had walked in through the door of my writing class I had been surprised.
He hadn't said anything to me, of course, why would he? What did I expect? A simple thanks for passing his fleeing ball?
I put my hands at the edge of my table and clutch at it tightly. I can smell his sweet scent from where I sit. Oh God.
He had said hi to many of the girls in class, but like last year, he had missed me in his roll call. I grab my ponytail and hold onto the ends of my hair out of habit.
Beside me sits Patricia Hale, the girl that every guy in the school wants to date at least once; except for Charlie. For some reason he doesn't look at her the same way, to her dismay. Today she is wearing a mini jean skirt and a tight red tube top. Her curly brown hair is, I must admit, beautiful as it flows down from a silver hair accessory. She is stealing glances at Charlie and I pray that my despair doesn't show.
I take a deep breath and remind myself that this is just another school year and things will be as quiet and simple as they had always been in my world.