Luke was driving us to school. I was super nervous and I didn’t have my normal bag with me, I only had my penguin bag. Luckily, I had my pencil case and a spare notebook stuck in the bottom. Luke and Ashton were in the front. They did offer for me to sit in the front with Luke but I declined. His car was a pretty red.
We parked in the student car park and I tried to ignore the staring eyes as I jumped out of the car.
“Just ignore them, Ari. You’re better than them.” Ashton murmured. He didn’t realise that I was already ignoring them. Luke started up the engine again.
“See you guys at the end of school-
“Actually, I’m going to go home. I have to fix things with my mum. I will be back though.” I smiled at Luke and he shook his head at me through the mirror as he drove off.
Ashton followed me through the staring eyes and we went to sit with our respective friends. Carrie was sitting with three girls who I knew that I had met. One of them had blonde hair and white teeth, the other two, brunette.
I sat down, not talking, when I saw Iris making a beeline for me. She sat down on the ground next to me.
“Ari, I haven’t seen you for a while. Are you ok?” She asked me. She put an arm around my shoulders but I shrugged it off.
“Am I ok? Is that what people have been saying? What is wrong with the freaking world? Ali died and I should suddenly be ok?” I huffed. Now I had Carrie and the three girls staring at me.
“Ariel, hun, calm down… I know with you being kicked out of your own house and then being kicked out of Ashton’s was a lot for you but-
“So you are with Ashton? You are one lying, bitch and a massive bitch. Honestly, I don’t care if your twin sister died. You lied to me.” The blonde girl yelled at me and I remembered. She was the one that was asking me about Ashton the day that Ali died. She was the one that called me a word that I hate to repeat. She was the girl who ruined everything. Even though she didn’t really, but I felt like I had to blame her somehow.
Almost everyone was staring at her.
She stared back at everyone and one of the teachers told a girl named Nyssa to come to her office. I realised a second to late that the girls name was Nyssa. As soon as the playground returned back to normal, and the teacher had disappeared, I stared into Nyssa’s eyes and grabbed her by her collar.
“I don’t care what you think. I never lied once to you. So what if I stayed with Ashton over the weekend, so what if you aren’t with him. Nobody cares, Nyssa. Nobody cares about whatever you say because your biggest worry might be your hair being out of place, but my biggest worry- being able to survive the next year and a half without Ali.”
Sure I was yelling. But I also didn’t care. I dropped her collar and was happy when she looked scared. Carrie half smiled.
“What?” I asked her. She patted me on the back as the bell rang.
“You sure showed her.” She walked away.
I saw Ashton. He was standing on the other side of the quadrangle, staring at me with an expression I had never seen on his face before. For some reason it reminded me of Ali’s expression when she figured out our mothers password for her computer. I don’t know how she figured it out because her password was the weirdest password I had ever heard of.
She had that same expression as she typed it into the computer silently- There is no way to hack into a password protected computer- and Ashton’s face mirrored it perfectly.
I closed my eyes, opened them again and as usual, he was gone. In that spilt second, I knew that something was up with him.
And so I went as well. But I went and called Luke to come pick me up.
“Hey, what’s up?” He answered.
“Can you come pick me up? I’m sorry but I can’t face this school anymore today. I was already yelled at because some bitch wanted Ashton and it was all really confusing and stupid and please just come.”
“No.” He replied calmly, “this is all part of your mourning process. I’ve read about it online and in books. You have to go on with the day like nothing ever happened. You have to, babe, be strong.”
I almost dropped the phone when he said ‘babe’. Then I hung up on him. If he wasn’t going to pick me up, I had to find another way to get out of the school.
I thought about a TV show I once watched about a group of different kids, everyone in the world froze and these weird creatures started eating everyone but 5 kids remained unfrozen. There was one girly girl and another tomboy and a little girl and her brother. The brother was in love with the girly girl and another guy was in love with the tomboy. The tomboy hated the girly girl. They were stuck in a school, with no way out when everyone became frozen. They fought their way out. I decided to do the same.
But instead of fighting my way out because I would surely lose- I was not a super good fighter who had regenerative powers like the tomboy and I wasn’t brave enough like the girly girl. I wasn’t able to move things with my mind- I was going to sneak out. I knew a nice grassy place about a few hundred metres away from the school and it was easy to get out of the school if I wasn’t even signed in.
I sat down, hidden behind the garden just off to the corner of a classroom filled with reading people. I saw another bush rattle and I gathered my bag, ready to run, or be caught. The bush stopped rattling and I crouched on my knees.
“I have to get out.” I repeated to myself like a mantra. The bush rattled again and I looked down at my watch. The bell was set to go off in about three minutes.
I stood up, still crouched a little and stepped out from the bush, closer to the other bush. It seemed as though I was half forgetting everyone because the guy who walked out of the bush had a name which I forgot.
“I know a way out. You see, after that party a few years ago, when Ali ran out instead of answering my question, I kind of lost interest in everything for a while- I really did like her- and I found lots of ways out of the school without being caught. Come on.” He held out his hand. I remembered his name.
“Beau….” I whispered. He nodded and held his hand out further. I looked at it, contemplating my decision. He blinked at me and then started towards the back gate. He stopped and held his hand out again.
“Ari, the bell is set to ring in about a minute. If you don’t come now, we have no chance of getting out today until 3:00.”
I stepped forward hesitantly and blew out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. I took his hand much like I took Ashton’s hand and suddenly we were running.
“Where are we going?” He whispered to me as we ran silently towards the gates. I shook my head at him.
“Just get us out and I’ll show you.” He nodded and we continued running. Before I knew it, we were at the gate and I stepped out of them. I turned back and swore I saw Ashton through the window of the nearest classroom staring at me. He looked disappointed. He gestured inconspicuously for me to come back inside but I shook my head side to side again and bit my lip. He dropped his eyes and I averted my gaze and turned back towards Beau. He wasn’t looking at me; he was staring through the window as well. It seemed that there was a girl in there staring disappointedly at him also. “Beau, it’s just a few hundred metres up that way.” I pointed up the hill.
“Yeah….yeah c’mon,” He was distant from me-from earth- for a moment before he started running again. I followed him.
I came to the place I had only ever shared with Ali. I stopped him before he got to the grassiest area.
“Beau….This is a place I only ever shared with Ali. I know that you loved her. I know. And if she knew…maybe things would have been different. But this place under this apple tree was the most beautiful place that either of us had been. Please, if you tell anyone else I will be crushed. Please.” I begged. He looked like he understood and by the expression on his face I knew he was thinking of Ali.
“Sure thing Ari, don’t worry I am sworn to secrecy. Trust me.” I smiled heart fully at him.
Not in a way that meant that I was in love with him but in a way that meant we understood each other.
I felt better after that.