Jules was wide awake.
He pulled an all-nighter just like last night, rewatching his favorite scenes from Attack on Titans.
He was in his Math class just like yesterday, but this time he was wide awake. Why?
She was three rows beside him, with her legs on her table and her chair tilting back. Mrs. Rinehart was talking but her words washed over him like water. Why?
She was three rows beside him, three different bodies blocked her from him but he could still see her. Hear her.
"Petunia?" Venus was speaking. Even though he wasn't looking, he knew. Even though she had only just said two words to him the other day, the second she spoke he knew it was her.
Her voice wasn't loud but the class immediately shushed.
"Who's Petunia?"Jules heard from behind him. Then, absentmindedly, he thought to himself, who was Petunia?
The class was already silent but if silence had levels then it dropped even lower to subzero. Why?
Because Mrs. Rinehart, his math teacher was Petunia.
"That's wrong." Venus was still talking. Jules turned to look at her. He didn't feel awkward, all eyes were already on her anyways. Venus said some more, pointing at the board, her sentence using quintic, triangle and quartic in it. His head hurt just from hearing it. His head started to hurt even more because of what had happened after—
Petunia smiled and walked over to Venus with her notebook , "show me exactly what's wrong."
In a second, he replayed her words, taking them apart before coupling it back together. But still, it felt wrong.
Why? Because teachers didn't like to be corrected.
More specifically, Petunia didn't like to be corrected. Petunia had once given Know-it-all-Sally detention for interrupting her class to tell her she spelt Pythagoras theorem wrong. So why was the same Petunia smiling down at Venus as she dissected her work?
How did Venus—who just moved here—even know her name was Petunia when Jules who had been here his entire life didn't. Why was she calling Mrs. Rinehart by her first name? More importantly why wasn't Petunia chewing her out?
The questions kept on piling.
Murmurs broke out, their words buzzed around Jules. But he only had ears for one.
"Really, to think that the textbook is wrong."
"...okay, I'll change it just like you said."
"...thank you, Venus."
Venus's voice was so small that he couldn't catch her words but he heard the other half of the conversation. Petunia's half.
Jules thought it was a one-time thing but that's how all of his classes were.
"You forgot the latent heat, Dan."
"Oh, thanks, Venus."
"It's pronounced [pan-kres-tuh n] Mark."
"Slip of tongue, thanks, Venus."
All of his classes except one that it is.
Three things popped into his head as Venus kept calling the teacher.
One: Mr. Kennedy Alston was his favourite teacher.
Two: Biology was his least hated class.
Three: Venus was beginning to annoy the hell out of him.
Mr. Alston finally tore his eyes from the board to look at her. While he looked calm, Jules noticed the way he clenched his pen. "Miss Chambers, I'm pretty sure I introduced myself as Mr. Alston, meaning that is what you should refer to me as."
Venus cleared her throat.
He hated her.
"Ken, I just wanted to tell you that tussie-mussie is a small bunch of flowers or herbs."
"Miss Chambers, kindly leave my class."
"Right now, Miss Chambers!"
When she pushed her chair back all, he could hear was metal against metal.
He really hated her.
She didn't say anything as she walked out.
She was just...just.
Mr. Alston called the class to order, but it was near impossible. This was probably the most entertaining thing that has happened since the Jules's incident and the class still buzzing.
"What's wrong with her?"
"She's such a drama queen."
"She's so annoying."
"Like ew, who the fuck bleaches their hair that color and leaves the house?"
"Dude! She's dead sexy. I heard she calls all the teachers by their first names."
"Yeah, and they don't care."
"...she's so cool."
Their words were still resonating when Venus came back...with the principal. Mr Alston excused himself and met them head on outside.
"Oh wow, she came back with Mr. Hinata."
"I wonder what they are talking about."
"I can't believe she would go to the principal when she's the one at fault."
"Shut up! I can lip read."
From the small window in the door, everyone could see them. Venus and Mr. Hinata's back faced them but Mr Alston face was still visible.
"Hurry quick! What's Mr Alston saying to Venus? He's holding her hand."
Jules was no lip-reader but even he could understand the soundless words.
I'm sorry, Venus.
"He's apologizing? No way, I thought you said you could lip read Alex."
"Really that's what he said—shit, quiet they are coming..."
Mr Alston entered the class with Venus in tow, everyone watched silently as Venus took her seat, curled up on her table...and went to sleep.
Just like that.
Mr Alston went on with his class like nothing happened. Like Venus Chambers wasn't snoring.
Damn, he hated her.
"This makes it two times that you have decided to grace me with your wonderful presence and yet again because of my sister," David said when Jules cornered him after class.
Jules paid no mind to his tone. Just answer the question.
What is Venus' story?
David sighed. "I don't know what you want me to say J, Venus' dad passed away when she was a kid to cancer and since then it's been her and her mom...she's just an oddball and she's trouble, you know you should steer clear."
Isn't that your sister you are talking about?
"Why?" Jules swallowed. Why is she so devastating?
Everything she did pissed him off so why did he feel like offering her his bleeding heart?
"Why does she act like an I-know-it-all and, why do all of the teachers let her." Jules said instead.
"You picked up on that, huh? What am I saying, of course, you did." David laughed. "Venus acts like a know it all because she is. She has an IQ of roughly 197 or around that number."
His eyebrows flew up. "Crazy, huh? I'm not kidding I've known her for months now, and there isn't a question that I've thrown at her that she hasn't answered yet. Dad says she's a walking talking encyclopedia—wait, here she comes! I'll show you."
Just as David finished that sentence she arrived right next to him. "Venus, what's the population of Moscow?" Jules couldn't make out exactly what emotion was splaying on her face.
"12.19 million." Her answer was fast and clipped. Like David asked what was the color of the sky— blue, obviously.
"What's the capital of Pakistan?"
"What's the square root of 349,824,390?"
"See?" David laughed again, "I'm not making this shit up!"
Jules finally realised the emotion on Venus's face, and a second later, she grabbed David's shirt and pulled him off to a corner. Anger.
He watched as they started arguing and after a few moments, Venus reared her fist back and slammed it into David's face. Funny enough the force sent her spiralling back, rather than David who just cupped his jaw glaring at her.
Venus caught herself in the last second and barked out one last warning to David. With a flick of her finger, she turned and marched towards...Jules.
Jules stood stock still. It was like he was transported into the animal documentary that he watched three nights ago. That second where the prey arches its ear forward sensing danger, but it's too late. The predator has already pounced.
Venus grabbed his shirt like she did David's balling it up in her fist, she pulled him down so their eyes were leveled.
There was nowhere to look but her eyes, her washed up blues so Jules succumbed to the whirlpool that was Venus. He was trapped in the intensity of her gaze, of anger. He didn't know how long they stood there. His neck was beginning to ache, but he couldn't look away. Her eyes reminded of a tornado he was able to witness. The violent air, whirling around sucking everything in its vicinity, including the air in his lungs. He had been a good distance away from it but for all Jules knew he was at the centre. There had been people running past him and he stood paralysed, unable to hear, to move, to breathe. That's what he felt then, and right now.
He was trapped in the eye of hurricane Venus.
Time managed to move again and the shock waves lessened. She must have felt her eyes had said everything for her.
I hate you.
Stay away from me.
Why are you so sad?
She released his shirt silently with a push that was supposed to send him spiraling back, but he didn't budge. It was Venus who took the tumble, just like last time, but this time she couldn't catch herself.
He didn't remember moving, but suddenly Venus was in his arms probably saving her from a concussion, and a number of thoughts pulsed through his head.
His arms were built for her. Whatever he had been using them for before now was a waste of potential, because his arms—from his shoulder down to his pinkie was carved, molded to hold Venus Chambers.
Why was she so light though? He didn't see himself as an overly strong guy, he was never one to stop himself from complaining loudly about his mom's weight anytime she tried to jump on his back—which was frequently. So, Jules knew what heavy felt like. He pulled her body upward. She was so light that he could forget he was holding her.
He was still standing there holding her. Was he crazy for wanting this moment to last forever?
This was Venus Chambers.
The girl with pale hair, paler skin and red lips. Venus from Jersey. Venus the step sister. The know-it-all with the high IQ.
He hated her, but he didn't. Looking at Venus then, her eyes closed, the bags under her eyes were a crystalline of purples and blues—his hand itched to take them away, to paint them. The pallor of her skin was a canvas for the blue veins underneath to shine. Her lips were red...too red. Jules adjusted her in his arms and brought his thumb to her mouth, the second it made contact her eyes fluttered open, ensnaring him once again.
He froze. What was he doing? He had wanted to wipe it off. Wipe off the red, her lipstick.
Her mouth was warm, so soft. "It's so quiet."
Her words were soft, so soft he barely caught it. Quiet? He could hear noise coming from the classroom right beside him. Damn, even his heart was beating so loudly that he was sure she could hear it. Venus raised her hand, and he watched frozen as it came in contact with his face and rested there. Her small, dainty
"It's always quiet when I'm with you. I like that." She smiled then, the first one he had seen.
And then the ground opened up underneath him and he fell.
Boy, did he fall.
David was nowhere to be seen. Sometime between Venus's nearly cracking her head on the concrete and the next second David had walked off.
Where was he supposed to take her? The nurse's office or home?
"Don't take me there."
She was still looking at him and his heart was still doing weird flips. How did she know what he was thinking about?
"I don't have to be a mind reader to know what you're thinking." Venus said with a conspiratorial smile, "I can read your expression. Don't take me to the clinic."
"I'll direct you."
He weaved through Oak High with Venus's voice as a guide. It was like he was the new student and she was the veteran. The spot they arrived was all too new to Jules, outside the school on the field. Behind the bleachers was a patch of grass that was made to be someone's hangout.
It was Venus' hangout.
By the time they reached the field, Venus seemed better. Her pallor had cleared and she looked like she could stand again without collapsing again. The only problem was that he didn't want to let go.
He could hear her heart right next to his. They were beating together. He didn't want to let her go.
Venus. Venus. Venus.
The way she looked at him made him want to hold her forever.
Jules hated Saturdays.It used to be his favourite day of the week. No school, no teachers, he got to watch anime, play games without his mom giving him the stink eye, heck he loved being home with his family. Saturdays were the best.Then his family broke.Then he broke.Saturdays were the worst. The house was so quiet he could hear everything...and that included the noises coming from downstairs.Was it a thief? Had Jared the mailman, finally made good on his threat of coming to rob him if he didn't start locking his door?Jules mulled it over in his head as he stared at the darkness. He didn't want to leave his room, leave his bed.He listened harder. How far would they go? What would they take? Even as he thought it over he didn't care as long as they didn't come to his room he didn't care. They could rob him clean if they liked. He'll just send the bill to
Wait, what?It had been a long time since he had been the butt of a joke, but it still stung. Damn, it stung really bad. He sat up abruptly, angry, sad, fucking heartbroken—Warm small hands were pulling him back down.I don't want to fall Venus. Fuck, please don't make me fall.He let her pull him back down. "You don't believe me. That's okay, I'll prove it.""Mrs. Johnson," she began. "Your neighbor, full name Karen Paulina Johnson, age 53, family; late husband, four kids, ten grandkids, her middle son, Jeremy is serving his eight months before parole, the only people who know this other than Karen and her family, is you and your dad, Jeremy's lawyer."It was the longest thing he heard her say, her voice, drove him wild. She was still sprouting other things he ignored the words turning instead to watch her mouth move.Beautiful.Her words didn't matter. He believ
Jules was tired.He woke up tired and went through all his classes tired. He had called his dad five times last night and then on the fi fth time his dad didn't even bother letting it go to voicemail instead declined the call on the second ring. He was tired to his bones then he looked at Venus. She was sitting opposite him in the cafeteria eating a bag of potato chips with chopsticks while reading some maths textbook.The sight made him feel light because Venus was the type of girl that ate potato chips with chopsticks and read math textbooks in her leisure time. She caught him staring and gave him a funny look. "You want some chips?" She asked waving the bag at him. When he reached over however she snatched the bag away before he could indulge."I-I didn't think you were actually going to accept my offer." She mumbled.Jules raised his eyebrows. "So you offered expecting me to say, no?"She nodded sheepishly and Jul
Jules knocked really hard on the wooden door, and the sound resonated in his heart. His hand fell to his side where they stayed bawled up and stiff. He thought about the reason he was knocking on the door of the Beckett house while he waited for the door to open."Come over to my house tomorrow." Venus had looked at him over the book she was holding. It sounded like a weird mixture between a question and a command. Her eyes never left him even when he looked away, he could still feel her stare.Like waves crashing violently upon the cliff.After an incident as a kid when he nearly drowned, Jules has had an unreasonable fear of water. He hated the sea and everything that had to do with it. Nothing reminded him of the sea more than Venus's eyes so why didn't he feel like running away? He hated it but he wouldn't mind drowning in them."Why? You said you liked hanging out at mine because it
Jules didn'tknow what to think.It had been a week and a few days sinceJules and Venushappened—that's exactly what people were calling it— and while Jules expected for a major change in his life as he knew it.The last thing he expected was the masses to be just as aware of the change in his life as he was."What's Venus thinking? Jules, really? I wonder what that freak must have done to get her attached to his hip."Jules the freak, had just exited his English class and was heading for Calculus when the voices stopped his descent down the stairs. Two girls were in front of the water fountain which just happened to be next to the stairs."I know right, I mean it's bad enough that that weirdo Venus is the shiny new thing that everyone's obsessed with. Now she's hanging with Jules?! Did you know she blew me off forhim."Girl number one replied. "She blew you o
Venus fell ungracefully on top of her bed with a sigh and Jules watched her awkwardly by the door as she stared at the ceiling. She looked like a teenager, an angry angst teen and although it shouldn't, it made him want to smile. She motioned him forward without looking at him, he approached her bed slowly.He had only intended to sit at the edge but immediately he made contact with the bed she pulled him down so he fell unceremoniously beside her.He got a strange sense of déjà vu.Her eyes were still trained to the ceiling, Jules turned his head and stared at the side of her face. "Do you enjoy making me fall for you?"Her only reaction was a blink and Jules sighed looking away from her to the ceiling. It was like every other ceiling, there wasn't much to look at but she was still staring—like there were words written only she could see. It made him notice the tiny plethora of fractures that were
Venus traced Jules's lips with her fingers and although they were cold it left a trail of fire against his skin.He thought of nothing, then everything as he held her. He thought of how clouds of gas and dust collapse into itself to form galaxies, he thought of how she was a star that had a person's name. Vee-nuhs. He thought of Venus.When he closed his eyes he could still see her engraved on the back of his eyelids asking the same question she asked the day they met. Are you alive or just existing?He opened his eyes finally ready to answer. "I'm alive."She smiled like she knew what he was talking about but she probably didn't—since it all happened in his goddamn head, after all—or maybe she did, maybe she was lying when she said she couldn't read his mind.He looked at her. Can you hear me, Venus? If you can I just wann
"What do mean you can't come home?! Now you listen here Johnathan you better get your ass back in this house in the next 24 hours!" Marie screamed over the phone.Jules let his head rest on the door with a thump he wasn't really eavesdropping he could already hear Aunt Marie having a screaming match with his father over the phone from his room upstairs, so he decided to come downstairs to feed the pain growing in his chest. He listened to the one-sided conversation outside his father's study."—Johnathan," Marie gasped. "That boy is your son! Why would you ever say that?""—that's no excuse! I can't believe you left him alone for this long! What would Moria say? Do you think my sister would have wanted this?!""—Don't you dare raise your voice at me, Jace! She was my sister first before your wife.""—shut up! Just shut up!" She sobbed. "That boy did not