Drastically Different

Chapter One

Jake Malloy was what everyone at the local high school called an 'average guy'. He was tall and muscular, with short spiky dark brown hair and matching brown eyes, a tan from his days at the California beach, and a smile of a million pearly teeth. He liked basketball and video games, girls and McDonald's and hanging out with his group of similar friends. He lived in a nice two-story house with his mother, father, and older brother, shared by the dog. He listened to rock music way too loud, and mowed the lawn weekly. He liked his life just the way it was. Normal.

"Jake man, check out that babe over there. The blond." Harry Rimbower said, giving his best friend a poke.

Jake did, and let out a low whistle.

"She sure is a hottie." Jake replied, exchanging a grin with his best friend.

After a short conversation, Harry sauntered over, at Jake's inevitable encouragement,to talk to her and maybe ask her out. Jake watched with a grin lighting his handsome features.

While the girl was sneering at the short Hispanic boy, Jake noticed someone, actually several someone's, laughing in a cruel way and jeering at someone else. He turned and scanned the outdoor cafeteria. Over in a nearby corner, 'Nosebleed' Nick and his gang of thugs were apparently tormenting yet another innocent soul caught in the misfortune of catching their eye. With a sigh, Jake rose to go find out if the person was worth saving.

"Hey Nick, what's up?" Jake said, his arms folded over his chest and a disapproving frown on his lips.

Jake was not as big as any of them, though he was bigger than the average boy, but he always carried an air of authority that made even the bullies listen to him. Nick glared.

"None of your damn business, Malloy." He snapped.

"You shouldn't curse." Remarked a soft voice from within the semi-circle of bullies.

"Shut up!" Nick barked, and one of the thugs delivered a hard harsh kick to the poor victim.

"Now stop that!" Jake almost shouted, angry.

Nick sneered.

"And you gonna' stop us, are you?" He growled.

"I don't need to beat the crap out of you to make you stop, Nick." Jake said in a low, menacing voice.

Nick sneered again, but gestured to his cronies and slunk off.

"You're in for it now, Malloy. Kid doesn't deserve to live. You'll see." Nick hissed on his way past.

Jake went over to the kid, who was kneeling on the ground, winded from the earlier kick.

"You okay?" He asked.

The other nodded but did not look up, in obvious pain. Jake could see why. This high schooler was short, shorter by almost a foot than Jake, and had a lean, delicate build. Jake gave the kid his hand and helped the unfortunate hurt child up. When the other looked up, Jake felt as if he were looking destiny in the face.

It was a boy, not much younger than Jake himself. And such a shocking boy, Jake had never seen. He had a small, elvish oval face, highish cheekbones, skin a pale shining gold like nothing Jake had ever seen before. His eye were large and innocent, a dark, metallic green color, as if the irises were filled with the liquid, shining like gems, surrounded by thick gold lashes. His face held such innocence and sweetness that he seemed an angel made flesh, and was surrounded by a sheet of silvery-blond hair that hung just past his chin. His body was thin, but it was a lean, catlike muscularity.

"Do you always stare at people so much?" The boy said in his soft, slightly husky voice, which had a tinge of a southern accent, smiling shyly.

Jake was startled out of his hypnotic trance, realizing he had been staring at the boy with his mouth slightly ajar.

"Sorry. I haven't seen you before. You new?" He asked, feeling embarrassed at becoming so engrossed with the other's unusual looks.

The boy nodded.

"I just moved here from New Orleans with Pamela and James."

"New Orleans? As in Louisiana? Who're Pamela and James?" He asked.

The boy cocked his head.

"So many questions at once. Shouldn't we introduce ourselves first?" He suggested, smiling that lovely smile again.

Jake grinned.

"Yeah, we should. I'm Jake Malloy." He said, holding out his hand to shake.

The boy did not take it.

"I am Harmony Summerset." He replied shyly.

"Harmony? Isn't that a girl's name?"

"No. It is a part of a musical performance, and also a concept. It was merely adapted as a primary girl's name." Harmony answered.

"You talk like my homeroom teacher." Jake said, before he could stop himself. "Sorry." He said hastily, blushing with shame.

Harmony just smiled.

"Oh, that's alright. I am pleased I sound learned. I just read a lot." He replied, more softly than before, looking up shyly with his head slightly inclined.

Jake smiled. He didn't know why, but he liked Harmony already.

When Jake had made sure that Harmony was safe from the bullies, he went back to join Harry. Harry was lounging at the table, looking dejected.

"No luck, huh?" Jake asked his friend.

Harry sighed.

"The girl doesn't know a good deal when she sees it. Hey, who were you talking to over there? Looked like fresh meat." Harry replied.

Jake grinned, finding Harry's mistake amusing.

"I don't think you want to ask Harmony out. He'd probably slap you." Jake said, grinning.

Harry raised his eyebrows.

"That was a boy? Gosh, sure looked like a hot chick."

"I know, he does. Not the hot chick part." Jake said hurriedly, blushing.

"Uh-huh." Harry said. "Man, that's really too bad. I'd be drooling over any girl that pretty." Harry continued, sounding even more depressed than before.

Jake laughed and slapped his friend on the back.

"Oh, come on Harry. We're still young. We've got three years of high school left, and many years after that. You'll get a girlfriend soon."

"Yeah, babes can't resist my good looks." Harry said, slicking his hair back in a would-be suave motion.

Jake rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, sure."

* * *

Harmony watched Jake from across the lunch court. Jake was laughing and talking with a short Hispanic boy, looking like any other Californian teen. Harmony sighed. He felt unusually lonely. He had always been a loner, living with this Uncle or that Aunt all over the United States until he had been taken away and adopted by Pamela and James. But meeting Jake had somehow reawakened the unaccustomed need for a friend.

He knew that he had never, would never, fit in, and would only make Jake's life harder if he tried to be his friend. If there was one thing he had learned about people, it was that they did not tolerate differences well. Aside from Pamela and James, Harmony had never been loved by anyone. No friends, and thirteen years of no loving family.

Harmony really liked Jake, though they had just met. He was an excellent judge of character, and Jake was a nice guy. Jake caught him staring, and Harmony blushed and looked back down at his food.

* * *

Jake caught Harmony watching him from his corner. Jake flashed a smile, trying to be nice. Harmony blushed and looked down, his silvery sheet of hair falling forward to hide his face. 'He has such pretty green eyes...' Jake thought vaguely. He mentally shook himself. What a silly thought!

"Hey, Jake man, you alive?" Harry said, shaking Jake's shoulder.

Jake started.


"You looked spacey man. What's up?"

"Oh, nothing. I was just thinking."

"About what?"

"Eye color. I really like the color green, don't you?" Jake said.

Harry stared.

"Uh... I prefer blue myself." He said, sounding a bit concerned for his friend's sanity.

"Ah, well. Your loss." He said, shrugging and getting up as the bell rang.