A/N: Revised on 07.24.09
Nadia Cole bit back a sigh when she stepped foot onto her high school campus. From the outside, minus the multitude of parked cars at her back, the place looked deserted. Not a person in sight. However, she knew from years of experience that they were only hiding out, taking cover any place they could from the rain that fell in light mists over both her and the school. The land was now soaked, muddy, and littered with numerous puddles that she was forced to avoid from the rain, but the skies were beginning to clear up so she knew that soon the heavens would return to a crisp shade of blue.
Walking up the cement steps that would take her deeper into the school she couldn't help but wince as she glimpsed bright pink, red, and white signs taped to all of the buildings within her line of sight. Although they appeared to be slightly soggy, ink running down in ruining stains, they still weren't something she had wanted to see when she woke. The view of such things did not help to put her in a mood that was better than the one she was in already. If anything she would say that her mood now matched the weather: gloomy and cold. Just the thought of what those signs meant and represented made her yearn for the school year to end.
She was more than halfway through her senior year now and she couldn't wait to rid herself of the school, its petty students, and the annoying teachers it contained. It had been a long three and a half years of pure misery for her and it would all come to an end in just a few short months, although each passing day seemed to stretch on for an eternity to her.
Every school had its stereotypes. She too was classified among the thousands of students who were judged from the moment they set foot on a high school campus. It was just another ordinary part of the school life, only she was the one every male on campus supposedly wanted to be with. She was the one every girl wanted to be best friends with.
Because she was the daughter of a very rich man who enjoyed soaking up Hollywood's limelight, thus making her the most popular girl in school, that's why.
For some, the money and popularity were what they dreamed of. For her, it all seemed to add up to a never-ending nightmare. They thought she had the perfect life and the perfect family, but they were sadly, sadly mistaken.
Her mother, a one Katya Alkaev-Cole, walked out on her and her father when she was barely two, and Nadia had been too young to even remember what she had looked like, sounded like, smelled like—and dear old dad, being a new hotshot screen-writer-turned-director, was never home longer than three days in a row. It was truly a lonely life to lead. A life the rest of the student body knew nothing about, yet, assumed they knew everything there was to know because the media said so.
But, amidst the profiling and the occasional media frenzy brought on by her father's chosen lifestyle, she just thanked her lucky stars that she wasn't shipped off to some boarding school or even put into another private school for her high school years. She couldn't imagine it would be much better there then at the public one she currently attended.
Turning the corner that revealed a large part of the school's students, Nadia ran a slender hand through nearly waist length flaxen hair before readjusting the straps of her denim backpack. She merged into the early crowd of students waiting for classes to begin, catching a glimpse of her reflection in a building window. The sight made her roll her eyes and quickly avert her gaze.
Never once had she looked into the mirror and liked what stared back at her. She had the makings of a model about her: Tall, slender, blonde, with piercing baby blue eyes, perfect pink lips and the cute button nose.
She wanted to gag.
It was because of those looks that she got the highest ask-out rate in the entire school. However, she also had the highest rejection rate, but that didn't seem to stop anyone.
The pressure to avoid any males at any cost was high on her list of things to do ever since one of the candy companies' favorite holidays was fast approaching. She couldn't come up with enough excuses to get rid of some the guys who continually hounded her, asking her out like it was the only thing they knew how to say and some never seeming to take no for an answer.
She admired how upfront they were, but they weren't for her. None of them were. And each day that passed she grew more and more distressed, for her least favorite of all holidays, if it was actually considered one, was fast approaching.
And may God help her.
She briskly walked—more like ran—past a set of lockers which were practically home-away-from-home to the young males who hung out there. Dunstan Hill was the so-called 'leader' of their little pack and one of the worst stalkers one could ever have. Luckily, he was too engrossed in hearing himself speak than to notice her as she passed by.
For that she gave a huge sigh of relief.
When she rounded another corner she could see her dark blue locker, paint chipping away from harsh weather and time, straight ahead of her and the only thing on her one track mind at the current moment was getting to it and hiding in the nearest unlocked classroom until school officially began. She had managed to succeed doing this without being spotted only twice in her time at the school, and she was determined to make it thrice that morning.
Once at the locker, she hastily input her locker combination and as the lock released the door swung open. Books, papers, and notes proceeded to fall out of the locker once the only thing keeping them in place was removed. Her Literature book landed squarely on her foot and she had to bite her lip in order to keep herself from saying anything that would bring on more unwanted attention. When the tsunami of school related items finally ended she glanced around cautiously, making sure she didn't cause too much of a scene, when in fact no one had seemed to have witnessed it at all, or they had chosen to ignore what they had observed.
"Well shit," she muttered, bending down in order to begin shoveling the books back into the metal box and leaving out only the ones she needed for her first class. When she lifted the notebooks, however, she noticed something that she hadn't put in her locker and reached for it with hesitant fingers.
In her hand, secured by loose fingers, was a red rose. It was possibly the most beautiful one she had ever seen. It was only half bloomed and its crimson petals were thankfully unharmed by the fall from her locker. It almost looked to perfect to be real, but it was. Attached to the healthy dark green stem with a red silk ribbon that nearly matched the shade of red of the rose petals was a note, written in a messy script, like the person who wrote it was in a hurried rush. But it only contained two words and they didn't help in identifying who it was that had broken into her locker.
Detaching the note from the rose's stem, she flipped it over to see if there was more writing on the opposite side.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
"A bit early for valentines and roses, isn't it?" a lighthearted yet definitely female voice declared from behind her. "And where's the chocolate?" she added with a slight pout, crossing her arms tightly over her chest.
Kylie Scott. She was quite possibly the second richest person on campus, along with her step brother, Dean. Even though the two weren't related by blood they still played their roles of brother and sister to the tee. It was hard to say they weren't from the same parents, both having light brown hair and bright, blue-green eyes.
Nadia had to suppress a chuckle at the sight of her best friend. From the way she was dressed it looked like she expected there to be a freak snow storm. Her long hair was covered with a woolen beanie that matched the light blue sweater she was wearing. Her jeans looked thicker than the average pair and partially hid the tops of her shoes that Nadia deeply suspected were snow boots. It was California. As much as Kylie wanted, based on her attire, it was highly doubtful that it was going to snow.
Knowing better than to ignore her friend's question in order to criticize her wardrobe, Nadia shrugged her shoulders instead at Kylie's words before reluctantly handing her the crimson rose to hold while she finished loading up her locker.
"So, who is it this time?" Kylie asked, smelling the rose's sweet scent and smiling as she noticed that all the thorns from the stem had been carefully removed to prevent the pricking of fingers.
"I have no idea," Nadia replied honestly, standing up straight and taking the rose back after shutting her locker door, all while ignoring her best friend's saddened expression to having the rose taken away from her. "All the note said was 'be mine'."
"Oooo. Mysterious," Kylie said with a grin and dazzling turquoise eyes. Nadia couldn't help but reflect her smile. It was infectious.
"What's mysterious?" Dean Scott asked, coming up behind his sister.
If Kylie was dressed for a freak winter storm, Dean was dressed for a heat wave. His hair, slightly this side of too long, was lightly gelled and pulled back from his face, drawing more attention to his bluish-green eyes and his firm facial features. The thin black shirt he wore was tight enough that one could see the faint outline of muscle through the fabric while his blue jeans were washed out with a small hole near his right knee. He completed his outfit with an old pair of gray flip flops that had seen better days, but rain or shine he always managed to wear them.
The drastic differences between the two wardrobes were almost humorous.
"Nadia got an early valentine from a secret admirer," Kylie told Dean with excitement. A little too much excitement at six fifty in the morning than a teenager in their right mind should have.
"She did?" His curiosity appeared mildly forced as he glanced over at Nadia who was looking oddly at Kylie, almost as if she would pounce on her at any given moment if she wouldn't calm down. "Secret admirer?" he repeated.
Nadia groaned, rolling her eyes, yet clutching the rose tenderly to her chest.
"Oh, come on!" Kylie yelled, catching the undivided attention of a few curious freshmen passing by. "You can't tell me you aren't the least bit curious to find out who it is."
"Of course I am, but I am so sick of this stupid game they all seem to want to play with me."
It was Kylie's turn to roll her eyes. "Just because Zach only wanted you for your money and popularity doesn't mean all guys only want you for your money and popularity."
"It has nothing to do with that, and you know it." Nadia's voice was low, almost dangerous. It was taking a lot of self control to keep from unleashing her pent up rage over that particular person.
Kylie raised her hands in surrender. "Alright, so you get asked out—a lot," she established while Dean nodded his head in agreement beside her. "That doesn't mean you can't agree to go out on at least one date with one guy, right?"
Nadia had no response, so she chose to glare instead.
"Just give me a week, and by Valentine's Day, I'll find you a guy who wants you for you," Kylie finished, but Nadia looked skeptical.
Sapphire eyes darted from Kylie, to the strangely silent Dean, and back to Kylie again. Those darn puppy dog eyes worked wonders for both of them, although Dean looked just as skeptical as she did.
"All right. You have your week," Nadia gave in, knowing there was really no way of getting out of whatever plans her friend had for her.
Kylie immediately clapped her hands together, an excited giggle escaping her perfectly glossed lips.
Before anyone could get another word out the bell rang, alerting all of the students to the fact that class was about to begin.
"Alright, let's get a move on," Nadia said, though she both looked and sounded less than eager. "We can talk about this some other time."
The two girls immediately began to walk toward their first class, something which the two friends had together, while Dean's first class was located in the opposite direction. They bid him a brief farewell, leaving him to stare after them.
For some reason Dean couldn't bring himself to go to class just yet so he decided to stand there just a little while longer. He could still hear them talking to each other as they walked a little ways, however, their voices were beginning to be drowned out both by the distance they had travelled and by the thick crowd that was forming seemingly out of nowhere in the narrow hallways.
"Do you truly believe there is such a guy who would want me for me?" he heard Nadia ask, still sounding disbelieving.
"Yes," Kylie replied firmly in a voice that said she fully believed in her answer.
He couldn't hear his sister's answer but he knew his.