Author's thought: "If you don't open yourself to others, you are missing out on the good things too."
Here I was, the crazy girl, sprawled out on her belly, covered with leaves in the schoolyard.
No, I wasn't bullied.
It wasn’t because I was showing off how popular I was, nor was I skilled in martial arts and training outside. The bullying - I had presumed they just hadn't decided to do it, yet. The thing was, I would have done anything for my art, regardless of what others might have thought, and the reason I was on the ground was my art.
"Alice, maintain that pose, and let me just get that off.” Linda, my best friend, spoke as she bent forward to remove a leaf from my face.
"Now it's perfect!" She exclaimed and resumed her work.
She was amazing and very loyal, and I loved her for that. Linda was Korean, not that it mattered one bit. I would have loved her even if she had horns and a tail. If anything, it made her even more special. We became close in eighth grade when she had transferred to our school. We just clicked. One day, when I was going back to my house, I noticed her walking on the other side of the street, and just like that, we ended up talking a lot.
Her family had moved to our city because of a job her father had taken up. Now she lived just a few away from me, and we were together most of the time. We did look a bit strange together, because I was one head taller than her, even though she was seventeen-years-old like me. I wasn’t any giant, rather, she was just small. No, not a dwarf, but just a ‘pocket girl’ in the words of my father. That’s what he liked to call her. Linda’s facial features made her look very cute.
With her long, luscious, black locks which were mostly up in a ponytail, sharp yet understanding tar eyes, and a perfectly flat belly which she liked to show off by wearing short tops. Even her legs always seemed longer than they actually were because of the tight shorts she usually wore; today being an exception.
It didn’t matter to me, though. What mattered was that she understood me by only looking at me. Her cheerful and positive aura along with her sharp mind had the power to make even a dreary rainy day brighter. There was never any judgment in her eyes, and she was very supportive.
She took a few steps backwards, angling her new phone in her tiny hands to take the most creative picture of me. It was what I requested her to do, and the reason why I was rolling on the ground, covered with dry leaves and pale yellow sunlight, falling down on me with a soft glare, in front of other students. Like I had said, I didn’t care what they thought of me. I liked being different.
I needed the photo to make a portrait. I was trying to paint the four seasons and it was time for Fall. When I heard the click of the shutter, I glanced at Linda’s face to see if she was happy with the result. She stared at her phone for a second longer and I placed my head in my palms.
"Is it okay now?" I questioned, getting a little annoyed by how long she was taking.
"Oh, yeah! You can get up. I had just got a new comment on my blog." She explained and I groaned audibly.
"Seriously?! I said I was tired, but not that tired to enjoy laying on the ground, so you can gossip with someone about your weekend." I spoke with an irritated undertone, while removing the leaves from my clothes and hair.
"Relax! Here, look at the photo. It will cheer you up." Linda said and showed me the picture.
I took it from her and inspected every little detail. I was a perfectionist at heart. I liked to make sure my paintings were nothing less than amazing, and this photo was going to be my muse.
"Oh, Ms. Alice! Glad I found you here. Outstanding! I wanted to speak to you. " Mr. Webster called out to me and increased his pace to reach where Linda and I were standing.
Mr. Webster was the dean of our school. The man was easily in his late fifties, with a receding hairline and sported a salt-and-pepper hair look.
"Ms. Kim," he added with a nod when he stopped near Linda.
She shrugged and mouthed an inaudible, ‘Why?’ just when he turned to talk with me, and I tried my best to contain the laugh, that was bubbling inside me, and threatening to break through. He always referred to me by my first name, for reasons I was unaware of; I was the only kid I knew whom he subjected this to.
"I think I have something you would like to be a part of. We will be repainting the walls in the gym building, including the walls in all the rooms. We have decided to let the students carry this out as an art project. Now, this is where you come in. If you wish to, of course," Mr. Webster rambled and when he saw me exchanging looks with Linda, he added, "It will give you extra credit. That is the idea. One of the ideas, I mean. There will be other students from detention too, so you will have help."
I scratched the side of my forehead in thought, measuring the pros and cons of the deal, while Linda stared at her phone again, as she tuned out our Dean, not even bothering to mask her boredom.
"What kind of painting are you implying? Just some colors or is there more?" I asked, unsure how much art a kid from detention can do.
"Oh no, not just colors. You can do whatever you seem fitting, as long as it doesn’t bend any rules or offends someone."
"All the walls? The gym, the swimming pool, and the halls, as well?" I questioned, as my curiosity piqued at the opportunity.
"Yes, Ms. Alice, all of them, except the locker rooms, of course. We will have them painted. " He finished off with a soft smile and waited for my answer.
It sounded like a fun idea. I could give it a try, and maybe forcing everyone to look at my artwork by putting it there for years to come, wouldn’t be that bad, after all.
"Okay, so how do I do this? Do I sign somewhere or...?" I trailed off, as I raised an eyebrow at the dean, and he flashed me an excited grin, his eyes wrinkling at the corners.
"Outstanding! Come to my office after your last class today. I will be there to give you more detailed information. I am afraid I have to go now." He stated and with a quick ‘goodbye’, he brisk walked towards the parking lot.
When he was away from the hearing range, I playfully punched my best friend who was deep in thoughts, staring at her phone. She yelled in surprise and rubbed the spot I punched with a pout on her lips.
"Did you hear? I will be making history." I gloated sarcastically with a laugh and she joined in. We sobered up and walked towards the entrance, but we both knew that I was excited about the project and ideas were already boiling in my creative mind.
A few torturing and seemingly never-ending classes later, I was finally walking towards the dean's office. It was at the end of a long corridor with benches placed on both sides. Other than that, there were six other rooms. The school’s nurse, our psychotherapist, a few rooms reserved for the teachers and the Dean's office. Being in this corridor only meant two things--either you messed up or you were somehow hurt.
I walked slowly, tightening my hold on the right strap of the backpack, as I tried not to bump into someone’s knees, which were almost in the center of the corridor as they sat on the benches… and stared at me, wondering what I did to deserve to be here. What have they done to be here?
Avoiding their inquisitive gaze, I reached the door with a small, intricate wooden sign, which had ‘Dean’ on it. I took a deep breath and knocked on the door twice with my knuckles and patiently waited for someone to answer. A moment later, I heard a feminine and muffled voice, inviting me inside. Assuming it was Mr. Webster, I pushed open the door and walked in.
I had never been in there, so I was surprised to see a small waiting room with another bench with cushioned seats pushed up against the wall. I had thought it was the Dean that called me in, but it really was a female after all.
A woman in her forties, with silvery hair which was cut in an immaculate bob, dressed in an official brown jacket, and thin, wired frame glasses perched on her nose. She was sitting behind a desk right next to the door, completely absorbed in some paperwork. I walked to stand in front of her which made her look up and give me an appreciative look.
"Ms. Stevens, right? You may sit there. Dean Webster will talk with you soon." She spoke in a hurried yet professional tone and resumed her work, not even bothering to point where the supposed ‘there’ was.
The room was bright and had decorative plants placed everywhere. It looked like a small jungle with the amount of green present in the room. An old wooden bench placed on the opposite side of the desk where the woman was, along with a small glass table, the only other furniture here. I wondered how it was still standing, given the weight of all educational books placed on it, seemed more than it could hold.
I made my way to sit by the table where a guy was already seated. I decided to not pay any attention to him, but soon changed my mind and turned my head towards him to say ‘Hi’. However, before any word could have left my mouth my eyes caught sight of him and the words got stuck in my throat.
Oh My God!
I couldn't believe my eyes. I knew that face. I could recognize it anywhere. I was starstruck; I was pretty sure I resembled a gaping fish at that particular moment because of how my eyes widened, and my mouth opened and closed simultaneously to form a coherent sentence.
A teenager who was very famous in our town. He was a talented singer and guitarist and played in the band called Victory Run. They released one song on the local radio a month ago, and most teen girls went crazy over it. It was a big hit and became a favorite in no time.
He was absolutely stunning, looking like Alex Band from The calling in the song Wherever you will go. I was not the one to be easily impressed, merely by the physical attributes. ‘Looks aren't everything’, that’s what I believed in, yet here I was, with words stuck in my throat; speechless.
"Are you just going to stare at me?" He questioned and I noticed how his lips twitched to contain the smile for a fleeting moment. He didn’t even turn his face to look at me, since he was looking at his phone from the moment I entered the room.
"Err… hi." I stuttered out, as I came back to my senses and grabbed some random book from the table, acting like it was something I would read. He did not answer back and I subconsciously frowned.
Maybe he was this way because he was a famous ass. Why should I care if he replied to me or not?
An awkward silence surrounded us like a thick blanket on a hot summer day, almost suffocating me with its intensity. After a very long and agonizing five minutes later, the door to Dean’s office was opened by a chubby, red-haired woman. I jumped from my place, disregarding what someone might have thought, like I always did, and walked towards the Dean with tentative steps.
"Thank you so much, Mr. Webster. I appreciate you taking a chance on my boy. I promise you will not regret this!" She said, her cheeks turning a deep shade of red. "Come on, Thomas. Let's not waste any more of Dean's precious time."
She beckoned the self-absorbed guy sitting on the bench, waiting for him to get up and walk to her like a little boy. I smiled, unafraid of him noticing, and dared to steal one more look at him, before going inside the office.
Damn, he was hot!
He had small, black hoop earrings adorning his ears, and a thin, silver braided metal chain around his neck, which glinted now and then as the light fell on it, and rested perfectly on his collarbone. A black t-shirt hugging his seemingly ribbed torso, complemented by an unbuttoned jean jacket, and black, distressed skinny jeans finishing off the look.
Sitting with his legs apart and elbows resting on his thighs, anyone could have made out the annoyed look on his face from a mile away. He sure didn't want to be here. His lustrous, blond hair flowed like a serene river, ending on his cheekbones, covering a part of his forehead, and almost obscuring his steely, icy blue orbs from my vision, as they pierced my own. I whipped my head away from him, almost getting a whiplash.
I am not one of those girls!
I shook my head to get rid of the lustful thoughts, as I mentally chastised myself. I could not have a crush on someone who had never met me, learned who I really was and what I liked. I would never fall for the bad boy attitude!
"Outstanding! Goodbye, Ms. Black, Mr. Black. I am looking forward to your success here!" Mr. Webster exclaimed happily with a clap. Just like calling me by my first name, he was used to saying "outstanding" way more often.
As I closed the door behind me, our eyes met again. I looked away almost instantaneously and cursed under my breath for letting myself get caught for looking at the famous, pretty boy for the third time.
I was not the prettiest girl in my town or some skinny model, but I understood art when I saw it. I knew how to click my own pictures, so I posed in front of the mirror. My full lips stretched in a bright, charming smile. I maintained that pose and clicked a picture with my phone. I loved the blue in my eyes. But still, I loved it more when I make photos and paintings with no colors. Just black and white, which was strange considering the fact I usually worked with colors. Maybe, I had to just admit that I looked nice when I smiled.Satisfied with my look, I considered myself ready for the new day and went downstairs to wait in the living room for my siblings to come. I had my hair in a ponytail and light makeup. I was in a mood to wear my loose, black "Disturbed" T-shirt and gray tight jeans, so that's what I had gone with."Good morning, Alice," the sleepy, muffled voice reached my ears as my step-brother rubbed his eyes while descending the stairs."Good morning to you too, Steven,"
The bell rang, indicating that the history class was now over. I gathered my things, stuffed them in my backpack, and zipped it this time. When I got up from my desk, I saw the hot, new boy in school standing in front of me, as he patiently waited and also prevented me from moving."Um, you are making my personal space smaller," I stated, without looking up at his face, because I knew it was too close for my liking."Yes, but we had an understanding… sort of," he spoke softly, not moving one bit, as he put out his right hand, "Hi, I am Thomas Black."Oh, yeah? I didn't know that.I mentally rolled my eyes and thought about it for a moment. I guess he was really up to do this from the beginning. Let's get just this over with, so we can get on with our lives."Alice Stevens. Nice to meet you, Mr. I have two identities." I greeted him back sarcastically, and took a half step back, to make eye contact. That was the only space I had."Hey, we are starting over. Don't be the mean one now. A
The most exciting detention was over an hour later. I was both thankful and disappointed when Thomas went to help Daphne, the older girl, after he stated that ‘I painted his heart’. Whatever that was supposed to mean in his head."What a self-oriented, annoying...like he is made of confidence!" I bit out angrily as I climbed inside Linda's Chevrolet."Hi to you, too!" she teased, as a small giggle escaped her. I shot her a serious look which made her continue, "Ok. Who?""Like you have to ask. That… Thomas." My face scrunched up in annoyance when his name left my lips. Linda placed a hand on my shoulder and I sighed. A second later, someone unexpected appeared outside my window making me jump in my place.It was him, of-freaking-course!He knocked on the glass and bent down slightly to look at me with his perfect invading-my-space smile. I turned to Linda to send her This-is-what-I-was-talking-about look, and she just shrugged at me apologetically. Another knock on my window followed,
No lights were needed for me to know that Tina's eyes were throwing lightnings my way. Yet, she flipped open the switch and revealed her angry posture. Her eyebrows narrowed, and her lips pressed into a thin line.I gulped at the thought of what cruel revenge she could muster up for me being here… and she didn't even know that I read her message. Hell was coming my way."Your phone." I managed to say and pointed to the desk behind me, afraid to turn my back to the mean angry girl.A look of realization dawned on her face as she followed my pointer to the device, and she let out a sigh."I went to look for it. Where was it?" she asked with a calmer tone, but I could tell she was still on edge."In the bathroom." I simply answered.I was no coward, but I didn't want her wrath to spill on me. I didn't want to be complicated… but I made it anyway."I know your secret, but don't worry. I am not judging you or anything." I said, looking away for some unknown reason."What did you say? What
6. Shop me my style"Good morning, everyone!" I spoke, while looking in my phone’s camera and posed for a picture. ‘Day one of twin sis makeover (TSM)’ I captioned the photo I had just made, and posted it on social media.I had my ‘Stained’ T-shirt on, dressed like myself with hair down and only mascara on. I wondered how I would look at the end of the day, when Tina would have forced her fashion ideas on me.I went to the kitchen and grabbed a banana for the road. It was my favorite breakfast. Sweet, easy to eat when you are not in the mood and most importantly healthy. I liked to get one to-go and eat it in my car while I was driving to school. That's what I did today too. The only difference was that I spotted Tina in the yard when she was going to her car, and she actually said ‘hi’ to me with a very big not fake smile. That was a first!"I will see you by the lockers at half past two, okay?" she asked, and I nodded in reply.In the parking lot, I was making a list of things I c
As soon as we got back, we went to the Dean and delivered the painting supplies that we bought on our way out of the mall. I actually picked some pretty interesting stuff that would really make our paintings pop up from those old walls. After that, I went to my last class, which was Thomas free. The two classes I skipped were with him, so I hadn't seen him all day.After school, I went to paint with others, and they actually enjoyed the stuff we got at the mall. One used glitter to make a snow sparkle, another placed small gems, instead of painting them and made it look crazy realistic. Some electric colors that I bought made Daphne's northern lights look just amazing. I was glad about my purchase, and it gained me some respect from others in the project.My first idea was mostly in black, gray and white (no surprise there), a girl sitting on the ground somewhere in the school. Many crows above her head, attacking. She had her hands up, protecting herself from them. My imagination was
When the light was taken away from my red face, I hid it in my palms. I could not believe what had just happened. I thought that those things only happened in movies, or when someone is getting engaged or something. This was so crazy!"I shouldn't have come!" I yelled, still hiding my face with my forehead resting on Linda's shoulder."What?! What are you talking about? It was amazing! How many people do you think can get this kind of attention?" She yelled back, removing my hands, so she could see me. "Come on! Enjoy it while it lasts. It doesn't have to mean a thing!""I don't like attention. If he knew me, he wouldn't have done it." I pointed, and risked a shy look to the band on stage."Who knows what it would have been? Does it matter?" Tina rudely remarked behind me."The thing is, Thomas seems to like Alice," Linda explained, her voice fighting over the music and the crowd's screams."Interesting. Do you like him?" my step-sister asked directly, and I felt like I was going to ha
"So, spill away." Alex said.I sighed, wondering how much I felt comfortable sharing."Well, you know the new boy at school, right?" I started and he nodded. "He is not leaving me alone.""How did he offend you?""He didn't say anything bad to me. Just, I don't believe that he really feels the way he acts as he feels." I tried to organize my thoughts."You think it's a game to him?""What else can it be? He does not know me at all. How can he like me?" I stated."You should know that with us guys, things are a little different." He told me, and turned to show me his smile, like he was hiding a part of what he was about to say."I know it can't be the same. But, can you blame me for not believing that he met me the other day, we barely talked and here he is; greeting me from the stage as someone special to him?""He did that? I must have missed it… But the answer to your question is, yes. I can blame you. Not that those are the words I would use. It's more like I can relate to him." Ale