The danger in his eye was enticing. I only wondered if he knew how alluring he was. I bit down on my lip trying to hide my excitement. He leaned in slowly…I was yearning to trace his jaw with my fingertips. A chill of his breath was against my cheek. I lifted my palm to touch him…
My alarm clock sounded making me groan. There was a noise of something creeping up to my door it was my dad opening the door to see if I was awake, I’m sure.
I pulled the blankets over my head in a feeble attempt to convince him I needed to stay where I was. He sighed feeling exasperated, “Come on kiddo high school should be the time of your life! What about that Mason boy...”
Letting out a groan my voice was muffled by my pillow, “Not a selling point…” I decided I didn’t want to see Derek anymore. Nothing good would come of it. He is too perfect which implies there will be rivalry with someone from my new school.
He chuckled to himself and ripped the covers from over my head, “Alright now get up before you’re late.” I rolled out of the bed and walked into the restroom frowning to myself.
After I was presentable, meaning teeth and hair brushed, I walked back into my room trying to think of how I wanted to look today… The safest way to go was with skinny jeans but what shirt was my problem. After looking through my shirts twice I finally decided on a long sleeve shirt I didn’t need anything drawing attention to me. I felt this would keep people from wanting to talk to me right? I stabbed my arms into my jacket as I skipped down the stairs with my bag in hand.
My father was waiting in the kitchen with a bagel along with some orange juice. I swallowed the bagel down in a couple of bites and chugged my orange juice. We were out the door quickly so I wouldn’t be late.
As we pulled out of the driveway my father looked at the clock and sped up a little. I put my shoes up on the dash, “You don’t need to rush aren’t schools nice to the new kid anyway?”
He rolled his eyes, “Why are you so against this? It’s a chance to make new friends.”
I shrugged, “Maybe I want to be alone for the rest of my life…how much further?”
He looked at the GPS then back at the damp road, “Just a minute give or take.”
We pulled up to a two-story building with multiple chains of other buildings surrounding it. A giant banner plastered above titanium colored letters which spelt out “Oceanside High School” it wasn’t surprising considering that’s the name of the town… The banner above spelled out “Welcome Back Gladiators!” this only gave me one question on spirit day how do you go about dressing up?
“Are you ready?” My father smiled looking up at the sign.
“As ready as I’ll ever be…” I pushed the door open and walked up the stairs toward my death.
People watched me as I walked into the main office directly to my right as I walked into the large building. A plump woman with glasses propped up on the tip of her nose greeted me at the front desk. “Hello I don’t believe I recognize you…” Her voice sounded upbeat.
I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, “I’m Emily Miller I just moved here and I was wondering if you could give me my schedule…”
The woman looked through a stack of paper then mumbled, “Miller, Emily” every couple of seconds.
She pulled out a paper then pointed to the first class, “This is in room 413 it’s on the second floor in the south wing of the school. From there you can ask where to next, alright?”
I nodded, “Thank you very much,” I peered at her nametag, “Martha.”
The school had posters on the inside as well but as the students walked through the halls I began to feel a little crowded. Many people would glance my way and began to talk about me I suppose…there were 9th graders being shoved into lockers and girls checking their makeup. Matt was nowhere in sight so I gave up on the idea of seeing him.
As I walked up the stairs I bumped into a girl with wavy blonde hair with soft blue eyes.
She fixed her balance and smiled, “Emily right? I’m Izzy…you met me at Sarah’s.”
I bit my lip trying to forget that house, “Yeah right… where are you going to first period?”
She smiled, “Well all sophomores have English first while freshman have Math and juniors have Science. It depends with seniors and what credits they need…”
I nodded as we continued to walk up the stairs looking around, “So who do you have for English?”
She looked at her schedule, “Hmm Ferguson and you?”
I looked at my paper that had a list of unfamiliar names. “Me too…do you think you could maybe show me the way?”
After Izzy took my schedule she found that we ended up having first, second, fourth, and sixth period together. We took our seats in Mr. Ferguson’s class looking around the room I observed the way the girls here acted. At my old school I’d say the girls were more mature maybe because they knew more and these girls have much to learn… I wasn’t sure but I did like Izzy.
Mr. Ferguson was a tall man with chiseled bone structure and broad shoulders. He was dressed in a button down and black pants he seemed ready for business. As he addressed the class he seemed like he was spirited, “Welcome back guys! I guess you’re no freshmen now…that went by fast! So I’m going to pass back a list of materials you will need this year and I will issue out text books as soon as they arrive.”
After a couple of minutes the door opened and three boys walked in holding a stack of textbooks. One of them was Derek and the other two I hadn’t seen around campus yet.
Mr. Ferguson grinned. “Mr. Mason… Do you plan on leading us to victory this year?”
I must have had a confused expression because Izzy whispered, “He’s the star quarterback here but it’s surprising to us because he was only a sophomore when he started. He’s like some prodigy or something. His father was a legend too.”
Derek smiled, “Yes, sir. Did you want us to pass these out?”
Mr. Ferguson nodded then turned to the class, “Go ahead and talk about your summer breaks while they pass those out. Make sure to write your name on the insides of them.”
While the three boys passed out the books I watch Izzy glance at one to another then the other. I smiled at her. “So you like one of them don’t you.”
She snapped out of her trance, “No, well they are really good looking but they’re popular… Promise not to tell Sarah? Well… I have a thing for her brother. If she knew I’d be on her hate list and no one wants to be there… Uhm is Derek staring at you or me? I think he is going to come over here.”
I shrugged trying not to look, “I’m not his type and he will come over here because of the books duh.”
“Hello, Emily.” I heard. I faced forward and was gazing into the eyes of Derek Mason.
He flashed a smile that probably got him out of a lot, “I thought would see you again.”
I shrugged, “You probably won’t because I tend to keep a good distance from neighbors.”
He chuckled, “So you’re the sarcastic type…”
I crossed my arms, “It’s practically my second language.”
Using my usual sarcastic humor made me less nervous around him. When I would say something I was dying to figure out what he would say next. It was like he had the perfect response to anything I would dish out. He gazed intently at me as if I had to say something next but my mind drew a blank…
“We should have lunch today.” He proposed.
“Or not.” I had forgotten that Izzy had been listening to our whole conversation.
“So then that’s a no…” He asked confused.
“No.” I said nonchalantly.
Without looking at him again I turned back to Izzy who was speechless considering what she just witnessed. The sound of a bell went off though this wasn’t the sound of the bell I heard earlier this morning…
Everyone rose and walked in the same direction as everyone else I felt like we were in a cult of some kind. I looked around and asked Izzy, “What is going on?”
She skipped dragging me along, “Pep rally! They always have one the first day to kick off spirit week! But what was that with Derek? He obvious likes you why won’t you have lunch with him?”
My arm was being jerked and pulled through the crowd, “Uh I’m not his type at all. Didn’t you just say you liked him?”
She shrugged, “Who doesn’t? It’s not like I don’t have other friends that like him. Besides there is a chance he likes you and no one passes up an opportunity like that when it’s Derek Mason.”
The way she said his name made him seem like some kind of celebrity. The mere thought of his name going through my ears gave me chills…maybe it was the weather. It was definitely getting to me.
I had never had a ‘real’ pep rally by definition. My old school was small and we didn’t have much to be peppy about. Our sports teams were a bit limited and nothing to brag about.
Everyone sat on the bleachers in facing the football field that was currently a small stage with a podium. A man stood there with a baldhead he wasn’t a very tall man but he seemed determined. Next to him was an older man who had a hat on with ‘Gladiators’ on it.
The bald man spoke with a strong voice filled with hope; “Oceanside High will be the champions this year! This week is the one-week we all get to show our spirit so make us all proud! There is a quick announcement that I’m sure all of you girls have been waiting for… The Fall Dance will be held September 5th that is a Friday. Now your coach would like to say a few words.”
The older man walked up to the podium, “Good morning Gladiators! Well don’t you all look tanned from the summer?” He chuckled at the thought of people getting tan here. “Well our football stars have been practicing all summer and they are ready for the big game against the Vikings! Now as you all know this is the day of the dance and I do have one rule girls please don’t come in dresses… I don’t want my boys…distracted.” There were nervous giggles from the girls in the stands. He continued, “You will have enough time to get ready at home. As for you Baseball stars out there who want to try out we will be holding them very soon so be ready. This team is depending on these gentleman and I would love for him to come up and say a few things and answer any questions you may have about the big day…Derek Mason come up please.”
Derek walked up to the podium and flashed his smiled at us all, “Hello, everyone. Boy I’m happy to be back! It’s good to see all of these pretty girls out here I can’t wait to take one of you to the dance… Now this team has been working extremely hard all summer to please you all. So win or lose we have tried our best. I have no doubt that we will win because we have the world’s best coach!” Everyone began to cheer then he continued, “Are there any questions?”
Hands shot up in the audience mostly girls he chose a red head in the front, “So do you have any one in mind for who you may be going with to the dance?” He chuckled, “Coach didn’t tell you about the auction? There will be about 20 girls picked from a hat. The 20 girls that get picked will be given a number and whatever number matches the one on our jersey that will be your date. In order to be put in the hat you must donate 10 dollars to the school.”
The crowd filled with giddy giggles from the girls around us even Izzy was a little excited. The pep rally was taken to the center of the field to have a barbeque and some activities.
The pep rally was supposed to take up the rest of the day, because ASB wanted to get the school more pumped about going to the games. Izzy took a bite of her nachos, “Are you going to do it?” I shook my head taking my water bottle from the volunteer parent, “No, uh, I don’t really plan on going I mean I don’t really like dancing. I used to but I guess I kind of lost sight of the fun of it.”
Sarah skipped up to Izzy, “There you are! With Emily…Hey, were you thinking of joining the cheerleading squad? We could use someone like you!”
I began to choke on my water, “By you need a person like me do you mean someone who is against the whole thing?”
Yanking at my hand Izzy begged, “Please! It will be fun and it’s the perfect way to meet more people! Like guys…” That would be ridiculous I don’t even like gymnastics.
After the pep rally kick off was over with Sarah invited us to go to The Hut. I called my dad letting him know where I was going and who I was going with. From school Izzy and I walked a couple of blocks to get the little café. When we arrived Sarah was already inside sitting in a booth by the window with some kids from school.
Inside the café the aroma of coffee and pastries fresh from the oven filled the room. Izzy grabbed my coat and hers hanging it up on the coat rack. In the corner of the café Sarah sat in the booth closest to the window. Before going to the booth I walked up to the counter to get a coffee.
The teenager at the counter smiled, “Hello what can I get you?”
I looked up at the menu with a sigh, “What’s good here?”
He grumbled. “Honestly nothing…but the water is good as long as you don’t get the store brand.”
I giggled, “Thanks then I’ll have water.”
From behind the counter he placed a bottle on the table and then said, “That will be $2.50. So you’re the new girl? “
Handing him the money I nodded. “Yeah I’m new I just moved here two days ago. I’m Emily. It was nice meeting you,” I peered at his nametag, “…Oliver.”
Walking to the booth Sarah smiled, “Hey Emily! Everyone this is Emily, one of our new cheerleaders.”
My eyes grew wide, “I uh I don’t do the cheerleading thing or gymnastics. I mean the closest I got was the splits.”
She scooted over for me, “Come on we wouldn’t even make you do that just lifting. Wait…you can do the splits? We need someone like you Emily. Forget try outs you’re in.”
After an hour of discussing the teachers and their lives outside of school Derek walked up, “Sarah it’s time to go.”
She rolled her eyes, “I’m not done here, and besides Emily still needs to get picked up.”
He glanced at me then back to her, “I’ll drive her home okay. Can we just go?”
I shook my head, “No it’s cool I can wait here.”
Sarah faced me, “Alone? No way Emily I invited you here I’ll wait until you get picked up.”
I shrugged, “I won’t be alone I can go talk to uh…Oliver.”
Derek smiled, “Come on we’re neighbors it will spare your father the drive.”
There was more debate about me getting home and eventually I gave into Derek. Once we pulled into the driveway we all got out and went inside their home.
Sarah skipped up to her room while Derek hung up my coat in the closet. I kept my backpack on my left shoulder as I walked through the house. He smiled, “Can I get you anything?”
I shook my head, “No thank you I’m okay. So what do you for fun? I don’t exactly feel like discussing cheerleading with Sarah no offence to her…”
He chuckled, “I have no problem picturing you in one of those outfits… Hmm…we have videogames, movies, or we could go skate.”
I grinned, “A movie sounds fine. Should I get Sarah while you pick one?”
He began to walk towards the den, “Not until after we pick the movie in because she will complain about every one that we pick. You are picking the movie by the way.”
I followed him by his side, “No I want you to why don’t you pick your favorite. I love to be a movie critic so I can either trash your movie of praise it.”
“Hey you guys are going to watch a movie? Can I pick?” Sarah exclaimed from the threshold.
Derek sat next to me on the couch and smirked, “Told you.”
After Sarah put in the movie she sat on my other side with the remote in hand. The main menu was on the screen she had picked Mean Girls…
Through the whole movie Derek seemed completely uninterested as he stared blankly at the screen. When the credits began to roll he looked like he was ready to scream ‘thank god’ but didn’t.
Sarah smiled, “Ready for another?”
I shook my head, “I should be getting home it’s a school night and it’s almost my curfew.”
She sighed, “Okay. Well I’ll see you Em.”
As I began to walk out Derek helped me into my jacket, “I’ll walk you home since my sister has no manners.”
I smiled, “Thanks. And I’m sorry about the movie.”
He chuckled as he walked out the door after me, “Yeah well it looks like you owe me a movie Emily.”
I chuckled, “I guess I do.”
We approached my porch in silence but with smiles. He gazed intently at my eyes then at my lips. My body froze and nothing seemed to be functioning at the time.
My palm was itching for him to press his lips against them once more…but he didn’t.
He smiled, “See you later Emily.”
I gulped, “Yeah.” He didn’t touch me at all. Did I do something? No. This is what I wanted. It wouldn’t have worked out anyways. Without thinking I walked into the house and slammed the door. I leaned against it for support when a clearing of a throat snapped me out of my trance.
My father walked up to me with curious eyes, “What’s going on with you?”
I looked up nervously, “I uh-nothing I just…Night.” Running past him I raced up the stairs and into my room before he knew what hit him.
In my room I collapsed on my bed staring up at my ceiling thinking why my body shut down on me. I sat up and ran my fingertips across my cheek replaying what happened on my porch. Getting off my bed I walked into my bathroom to take a shower and clear my head.