If I were to place myself in the social hierarchy of highschool, I don't think I'd really be anywhere. I'd be lying if I said I truly didn't care, because if I really didn't, it wouldn't have even crossed my mind. But maybe due to the boredom of class, I was sitting here thinking about the ifs and maybes of life.
I could've been good friends with those kids in the back corner, had I actually stayed on the soccer team long enough to get to know people during my freshman year. Likewise with the swim team kids, if I had actually convinced myself to go to that first meeting. Hell, I could've had school friends period if I just stuck my neck out a little more and tried this thing called communication. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until the end of freshman year, when I realized in a panic this thing called a normal school-based social life that I severely lacked, which was also the same time when cliques were established.
Because I missed the deadline, during school I had to make due with what I had: myself. It's been more than ok though, and now that I think back, I don't know why I feel so inclined as to call this a problem. Because it really wasn't. I've become a keen observer, and I think I'd rather have this ability than to be oblivious. Not that I'd do anything with the knowledge I know, but I just feel more in control, just knowing.
I know that girl who sits next to me in history is troubled because her parents are going through a rough divorce. I know my lab partner in chem class is always worried about what his friends think, and how he's only going out with that girl because everyone else thinks she's pretty. That blond girl who quit cheerleading just had an abortion, which was paid by her best friend's boyfriend. I noticed how nobody messes with K-Rod and Toby because they're the token bad boys but it's perfectly okay because all the girls think they're attractive. Everybody thinks that Amara is a low class whore, and will do anything for a lay. And I've heard that my sister is a bitch and was slapped with a scarlet L for lesbian, because she makes an enemy and a fool out of any guy who tries to hit on her.
As for myself, I'm pretty sure most people don't know I exist, so... Hey, I'm not complaining. I couldn't give two shits about what people think, and quite frankly, I think it's stupid that anybody should. Except I'm bothered and am somewhat amazed by the stupidity of people, whenever I overheard someone go, "I didn't know he was in my class," in reference to me at the end of last year, after being in the same class with these people all semester.
The final bell rang, signaling the end of school, and with the rest of the students, I fought my way out of the classroom and slowly shuffled to my locker. I was carefully placing books into my backpack, the one I've owned since sixth grade and was currently held together by duct tape, amateur sewing skills and probably some fungi, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Emma. She stood with several of her friends, her long. brown hair held messily back with a clip. She casually leaned against the lockers, while she looked to the tall soccer player next to her and they laughed together as he flirtatiously poked her in the side.
Should I... ? I shouldn't... Whatever, I don't care.
"Hey Emma," I waved casually as I walked past her group. I can't believe I just did that.
She looked at me blankly, and quickly turned away.
"Whoa, hey, didn't know that kid knew how to talk," the soccer player laughed.
"Bobby!" another girl hissed and elbowed him, as she noticed I wasn't yet out of hearing range.
Ignoring them, I walked out the doors and headed towards the bike rack.
0 0 0
"Goddammit, I told you to get me the wrench, what the hell is this?"
"It's over there, you idiot."
"Oh, why the hell is it over there?"
"Because I put it there. Do you have the needle nose pliers?"
K-Rod and Toby were in K-Rod's one car garage, in various positions around a little civic hatchback. Toby slowly crawled out from under the car, careful to not get caught in the hanging wires.
"You know, we should get one of those roll-y things, so we wouldn't have to drag our asses under here like we do."
"Yeah, you should go and buy one," commented K-Rod offhandedly.
"Nah, we should go and steal one," snorted Toby.
They continued their tinkering in silence, until K-Rod's mother stepped out. "You boys are back from school early," she said, as she carefully tiptoed through the rubbish.
There wasn't even a pause. "It was a half day today," K-Rod casually said.
"Liar," she smacked him lightly across his head, "Do this again and I'll ground you."
"Mom!" K-Rod whined as Toby snickered, "You haven't grounded me since we were twelve."
"You still live under my roof, and my rules, got it? Now no more of this skipping school, I want my boys to get a full education that my tax money guarantees."
"I'm serious, we'll have a talk about this later, and next time I'll tell your aunt, Toby."
"Crap. She is serious."
"No more fooling around. Why can't you guys be a little more like Nali?"
"God Mom, it's because she obviously has a vagina?" the boys guffawed.
"Well it's true."
"Will you please be just a little bit more mature? Oh and Toby, your aunt called, she wants you home by seven."
"Kaden, at 6:30 turn the oven on at three-fifty and pop in the lasagna that's in the fridge, and remember to take off the tin foil. By the time Dan gets home it should be done, and that'll be dinner so don't you forget."
"I'm working double shifts tonight, so I'll see you boys later."
"Have fun at work, Mom."
The two boys went back to their tinkering as they listened to K-Rod's mother pull out of the driveway in the old station wagon.
"So what'd my mom say again? Something about an oven?"
"No idea. She's your mom, you should've been listening."
"Psh. Hey, gimme back the needle nose, I need them again."
"Yeah yeah, hold on a sec... Hey is that your house phone ringing?"
".... Yeah. How'd you hear that?"
"Because I'm awesome."
K-rod snorted, got up and carefully hopped over the wiring he was working on. He tripped over the step and stumbled through the door that led into the house. K-Rod heard Toby laugh as he picked up the phone.
".. Hi, is my dad there?"
"Oh. Well um... is your mom?"
"She just left."
"Oh. Well... um... I just wanted to let... you... Or.. I mean, tell my dad, when he gets home that I won't be home for dinner, because I'm studying at a friend's house."
"Uh, ok, thanks. Bye."
"Who was that?" Toby asked, as K-Rod stepped back out, two cokes in his hand.
"Oh. Well here's the pliers. Do you have the soldering iron?"
0 0 0
I pedaled down the street lazily on an electric-blue framed bike, as that I really had no place I urgently needed to be. It felt good for the wind in my hair, as cliche as that sounds. It's been really warm lately, and I'd much rather have it be winter. I love summer as much as the next kid, but to me it's always been synonymous to bad job experiences. At least, now with school I can sort of turn a blind eye to the whole earning my keep thing as long as I work only eight hours on the weekend and get good grades. The main point though is that I'd have to do laundry more often, if the weather kept up like this, as that clothes tend to smell bad in short periods of time when the heat's up.
I turned the corner, and jumped the curb. I smiled when I saw a certain figure walking in front of me. She wore a short black skirt, hefty looking combat boots, a tank top which was most likely two sizes two small and one of those fake designer bags dangled from her elbow. She turned her blond bobbed head slightly, and I knew she had seen me out of the corner of her eye.
Excited, I pedaled harder and flew past her. I slammed on the breaks and turned so the back tire slid out and I put my foot down as I screeched to a stop. Now facing her direction, I draped myself over the frame of the bike and tried my best to look nonchalant.
The girl tossed her head, and tried her best to ignore me, until in the lowest voice I could utter, "Hey baby, you wanna ride with me on my sweet ride?"
She took three more steps before she burst out laughing. I smiled, amazed at my own audacity.
"Oh GOD, that was so..." she couldn't finish her sentence as another surge of laughter came over her.
I grinned like a fool, and waggled my eyebrows.
"As if you'd say that.." she scoffed. Finally calming herself down, the girl straightened up. "You're so goofy," she sighed, giving me this look I couldn't quite place.
I frowned. "Why for you so sad?" I asked, donning this made up faux-Asian accent.
"I'm not," she rolled her eyes, and waved it away and started walking.
Letting it slide, I righted the bike, and pedaled after her. "So what's up?"
"Oh nothing..." she replied nonchalantly.
I stayed silent, knowing she was going to continue anyway.
"Got a new boyfriend." Amara smiled at me, smug.
"Really?" I had to yell as I was going way too fast. I peddled around in a tight circle, waiting for her to catch up.
"He actually goes to our school," she stated.
"Do I know him?"
"Probably not, our school's pretty big. Besides that, do you know how many times I've seen you around school?"
"I dunno. But I never see you."
"Exactly. I'm surprised you know anyone."
"I know people," I protested.
She rolled her eyes again and blinked. "Is that a new bike?"
"It looks really nice, where'd you get the money to buy this?"
"I didn't," I shrugged. "I'm just.. borrowing it.."
She laughed gleefully, "Oh my god! You stole it? You out of all people..."
"I'm gonna put it back..." I pouted. Actually, I probably wasn't but I wasn't going to keep it either. I don't know why or how I just picked it off the bike rack and walked away with it... but I guess I just felt like being a rebel. Albeit, a sucky one at that.
She shook her head, "You know..." she stopped herself.
"You know what?" I prompted.
I looked away. Amara always started her sentences and then just stopped. I've gotten used to it, but it's still annoying. "Hey you wanna ride?"
She eyed the bike. "No, I'm fine."
"You can sit on the handle bars."
"No, I'm okay, I'm wearing a skirt anyway."
"Oh." In a short spurt of energy, I pedaled furiously and slowed down to let Amara catch up again.
"Hey, you don't have to wait up for me, I'm not going home yet."
"I have to go see Kell, she didn't come to school today." She added, in a sing-song voice, "And after that I'm stopping by the boyfriends!"
"Okay. I'll see you around," I waved and immediately took off. I decided I wasn't going to go straight home either.
0 0 0
Emma shifted her shoulders, but the soccer player's only response was to pull her closer. She turned up to smile at him, but he was too caught up in telling his story to a couple of his friends about that prank he pulled today in history class.
"Hey what's up with what's-his-face who said hi to you today?" Her friend Lilian asked, falling in step with her.
"You know who I'm talking about," Lilian's teasing tone caught the soccer player's attention.
"That weird, quiet kid who thinks he knows you or something?" he butt in.
Emma sighed, "Guys, he's in like, most of our classes. He's just being friendly."
"Friendly?" scoffed Melissa, another of Emma's friends, "I don't think anyone in that family is capable of being friendly."
"Huh?" the soccer player was confused.
"Didn't you know? That senior girl, the one who slapped my older brother's best friend is his sister," Melissa snapped.
"Whoa! That man hating lesbian? Holy shit, I didn't know that."
"They do look kind of alike.."
"I can't tell, quiet boy never looks up."
"Hey guys, we're at the mall!" Emma cheerfully cut in, relieved that she was able to change the subject. She ducked out from under the soccer player's arm, and still holding his hand, pulled him forward.
0 0 0
"Hey look, it's Nali."
"We haven't seen her in like, three days."
"Yeah we have man, we hung out with her like... two days ago. Didn't she come over for dinner?"
"I think so. Wait, was I over for dinner too?"
"Probably. Hey, you know who else we haven't seen in a long ass time? Amara"
"Goddamn, you're right. Like, forever."
"I know. NALI! NALI MOMA! HEY! YOU. GIRL. C'MERE!"
Nali sighed. She had a small headache, starting from right after third period in school, lasting until she got out of work. Nonetheless, she turned towards the sound of the voices. She was greeted to the sight of K-Rod, shirtless and laying out on a brightly colored pool side lounge chair in the middle of his driveway. Opaque aviator sunglasses graced his nose, and he listlessly turned his head towards Nali as she came closer.
"You," he slurred.
Ignoring him, she glanced around, "Where's To- Oh, never mind." Her gaze settled on the other listless, shirtless form, who looked as if he had just conveniently collapsed on the small patch of dead grass which made up the front lawn.
Nali sighed, not at all perturbed by the strange sight in front of her. It was summer, all over again. Not a day had passed during then, from about eleven to two, when they had set about campaigning that no man, woman or child should wear a shirt when it was over eighty five degrees. So naturally, until Toby's aunt or K-Rod's mom started yelling about decency, they would be sitting around, shirtless. If it were any other guys, Nali would've been disgusted by the obvious arrogance, conceit and narcissism but she knew it was more of an immaturity and horniness factor and that they just loved to harass people. The fact that it was on her porch that they sat on, everyday, as they hounded her to join the revolution also helped with that conclusion.
Toby shift his head, so he was now looking straight at her. He grinned lazily, his eyes squinting close in the process. Nali couldn't help but smile. The kids in school would probably never believe how immaturely weird these two actually acted when they weren't out trying to prove something. Everybody most likely thought that Toby and K-Rod went parading through the streets, picking fights, hooking up with girls and dealing drugs.
"Join our club..." K-Rod ominously commanded, still talking as if he were a zombie with too many shots of novocaine in his mouth.
"What club? Oh, not that again..." Nali was starting to feel awkward, being the only one standing. She also knew exactly where this was heading.
"The coolest club ever," Toby said, and blinked lazily at her, holding the grin.
"You mean the hottest club," K-rod said, returning to normal human speech. He tilted his head, and pushed his sunglasses forward so he could give Nali a piercing gaze over the rims with his clear green eyes.
Nali narrowed her eyes, and stared back.
"Nali," he said seriously, "don't you think it's hot outside today?"
"Unusually so, yes."
"She said yes," sang Toby.
"I said, 'Yes, it is hot out today.'"
"You're in the club!" K-Rod shouted.
Toby jumped up and before Rylie knew it, he was standing right behind her, tugging at her shirt. She slapped him away, "What the hell are you guys-"
Toby grabbed her wrists, "You're in our club now. The No-Shirts Club. Welcome to the revolution."
"You're kidding me."
"You. Girl. You're breaking the rules. President Toby? You're decision?"
"Off with the shirt now, or else it's off with the pants too."
"Excellent decision, President sir."
"Ow- Yes, agreed. Thank you, General. However, she appears to be not cooperating."
"Yes, I see. Excellent evasive maneuvers by the way, President sir."
"Thank you, General."
By now, Nali had pulled out of Toby's grasp after she nearly kneed him in the crotch. She stood off to the side, watching as he and K-Rod continued with the formalities. Finally, she cut in, "You guys are idiots. How long was that planned out?"
"All improv, baby," K-Rod said, and settled back into his lounge chair. "You liked our show?"
She smiled. Nali knew they weren't serious, or that serious at least. She's known the both of them ever since she and her brother moved here to Bowlan street, a little less than ten years ago. It took her over a month to realize they weren't true blood brothers, about the same amount of time it took them to realize she wasn't a boy (more because they refused to accept that a girl could beat them into the ground), but it didn't matter because since they all lived on the same street, and all the neighborhood kids of the same age bracket roamed as one pack of gangly, messy kids.
And then puberty hit.
It was quite awkward when all of the boys realized that the girls they used to wrestle with suddenly had breasts hanging off their chests.
Nali laughed softly. "You guys are dorks." She looked down, and sat down next to the once again listless form of Toby. She sighed, and realized she still had a slight headache. Toby rolled over, so he was now on his back, so Nali took this opportunity to lay down, using his stomach as a pillow. But not before poking him several times, just to see him twitch.
She missed the look the two boys exchanged.
"So," Toby said slowly, careful to not shift his abdomen around too much, "the sun is strong right now."
"So it is," observed K-Rod.
"Nali," Toby look down towards her, "don't you think, that in order to avoid weird tan lines, you should take off your shirt?"
"OW. Why'd you hit me first, he said it!"
"Ha! You- OH HOLY SHIT! Holy... I can't believe you just grabbed my nipple, woman."
"Best believe it."
Toby took the liberty to jam a finger into her side, and as Nali squeaked, took that opportunity to roll over and start running, because he knew he needed that extra time.
"Asshole!" she roared and after chasing him across the street and back, zig zagging, she finally threw herself on him, causing Toby to stumble.
"You started it!" Toby attempted to pry her arms off his neck.
"No I didn't!" Nali was beginning to lose her grip, as that the fact that Toby was shirtless and partially sweaty didn't help her any.
"Be glad I didn't try grabbing your nipple!"
K-Rod, having not moved since the altercation in front of him started, clucked his tongue at them. "Children, children, children," he sighed.
A.N.: So... thanks for the reviews kids, I felt I had to update this. It was rather open in the first chapter, so I had room to do basically whatever, but what it finally evolved into is more or less two separate sort of... plots? We'll see how this goes. And p.s., unlike all of my other stories, I'm not trying to make this humorous on purpose... but life is funny anyway. Ya dig?
HOSPITALS-ARE-FUN: interesting name, haha, though I can't say I agree.... But thanks for being the first reviewer! I don't know if I'm gonna remember to email you, because I'm not good at remembering things like that...
Tornado-kun: Yo, I thought you died! Yeah, I'm really ashamed of OP:CD, so I'm glad you said I evolved... but speaking of which, I did write a continuation of that, featuring the same characters in this other story I'm dong right now (So I was hit by a car...) So this was more of a side project... And wow, professional? You flatter me. Ha! Anyway, hope I'll see you around (in this vast internet world). Thanks a lot! Peace.
Jenneh: Thanks, I hope I don't disappoint with the direction I'm taking this. I'm glad you like the writing style as well, it's something new I'm trying to pinpoint.
Thanks again everyone!