Chapter One: Teenage Angst

First days. Aint they wonderful? I'm sure that possibly, maybe, in the distant future, I'll think back on today and smile. Not.

Started off well enough, as you can imagine. The average battle with alarm clock, resulting in, as always, me staggering into something resembling wakefulness at 7:45 this morning. Not bad, really. Last term it was usually 8:30, leaving me exactly eight minutes to get ready and out the door.

At least today I looked halfway decent, having had time to drag a comb through my hair after diving in the shower. I even managed to scarf down a few pancakes before I left.

It was as I was closing the front door behind me I heard a female voice shout my name.

"Hey Harper!"

Wait, let's pause. Okay, I have to mention, I hate my name. I really do. And I blame my mother totally for it. If she'd had her way, mind, she'd probably have named me something even more effeminate, if that's even possible.

I turned, instantly setting eyes on Kit as she jogged towards me. She was hard to miss. Neon pink hair tended to catch your attention quite effectively. She was clad in mostly black clothes otherwise. A tight-fitting crop top supported the message 'I (heart) My Attitude Problem!' and loose black jeans rode low on her hips, held there only by a metal studded belt.

She reached my side as I stepped out of my gate and onto the street. I could see her eyeing my critically.

"God, don't you put any effort into what you wear?"

"Why should I?" I asked, keeping pace with her as we began heading for the school.

She tutted as if I were dense. "First impressions count," she told me.

I smirked. "I'm sure they'll remember yours." Looking at her, I could see the tiny details she insisted upon. Immaculate electric blue nail polish, freshly applied. A pink bandana tied around her left wrist, and several pieces of new silver jewellery. She wore blue mascara as well. Really, I have no idea how she pulls off so many clashing colours, but she does.

Anyway, to return to the point: I think my day went downhill from there.


We were late, but that was only to be expected. We were always late, despite my best efforts at getting up a whole forty-five minutes early.

We had to visit our form classes to get our timetables before we did anything else. Kit walked beside me through the hallway, snapping at any unlucky first-year who inadvertently got in her way. Bless them, they almost cowered before all her neon glory and general scariness.

It was then that we were joined by James, my other best friend. He crashed into me from behind, wrapping his arms around my neck with a cry of, "Harper!" Thankfully, I didn't pitch forward in a tangle of limbs… like most times. This was his customary greeting, and by then I was quite used to ending up in an ungraceful pile on the floor somewhere beneath him.

"James Madden, there's something wrong with you boy!" Kit growled from nearby, looking thoroughly mortified that she had to be seen with us.

The boy in question grinned and looked toward her, his chin resting on my shoulder and his arms practically asphyxiating me in their hold. "Wow, like the hair." The last time he had seen her, she had sported electric blue.

She seemed grudgingly mollified by that comment, reaching up to tug a pink strand that hovered in front of her face. It didn't stop her, however, from adding in an undertone, "Eugh… you're such a freak…"

This coming from the girl whose hair could probably be viewed from space…

James finally let go of me and stood back with his hands in his pockets and an annoying grin plastered all over him. He was dressed in pointedly average clothing. A white and pale blue button-down shirt and baggy jeans. His brown hair was slightly spiked with gel, but not to an extreme. Next to us, he looked decidedly normal.

You see, schools are always divided into set groups. You get the geeks, the freaks, the sports players, the goths, the emos and the trend setters – and what was left over supposedly included all of society's '2.5 average children'. James was probably in the latter, whereas I was the emo boy. Kit was labelled emo too, but only because nobody could think of anything else to call her.

James was considered weird because he'd broken a fundamental – if unspoken – social law within our school. He'd crossed the boundary between our groups; something which just wasn't done. For example, a trend setter wouldn't be caught dead conversing with one of the lowly geeks, and a goth wouldn't deign to look twice at one of the popular sports players. See how it works? I've always found it kinda weird that well-adjusted, Christian-raised, undoubtedly-normal James was one of my best friends. For one, his parents detest me with a passion. His father once told me to my face that I was an unnatural child, just because he dislikes how I dress and act and the music I listen to…

Seriously, what's wrong with MCR???

And for a second, we were complete opposites. I was the one covered from head to toe in teenaged angst; I was the one who was unnaturally talented in art, music and writing, but fucked everything else up completely; I was the one who had a blatant grudge against authority… And then you had James; mild-mannered, God-fearing, straight-A student who for some reason had remained my best friend since primary school.

We started walking again, all heading for the same form room. James was chattering away about nothing and everything, seemingly able to go on for hours without anyone having to comment. Usually, neither of us did, but he happened to say something that caught our attention.

"… and he dresses like a slut too!"

Kit looked toward him sharply, one eyebrow arched. "Who does what now?"

James sighed. "Haven't you been listening? The new guy!"

"What new guy?" I asked, frowning with confusion.

"The one I've just told you about! If you hadn't been ignoring me, you'd know…" We stared at him blankly, and after a moment he let out an exasperated noise. "Right, well I heard he transferred or something. I caught a glimpse of him this morning on the way here – God, his last school mustn't have even had a dress code! You should have seen him… His clothes are two sizes smaller than Kit's and show more skin!"

We both looked shocked. There were very few girls who could dress sluttier than Kit, let alone guys…

"And," James finished dramatically, "he's gay!"

Kit tutted. "So?"

We turned a corner as James sputtered something indignantly. "Didn't you hear me?? He's a fucking queer! As in… he looks at other guys! What if he looks at me like that?"

Kit gave him a disdainful glare. "Honey, don't flatter yourself. You're too… plain. I've found that the boys who like boys like boys with a bit more… I dunno… originality?" Here, she broke into a grin and winked. "And besides, your ass isn't cute enough."

James was obviously caught between being relieved and offended.

That's the one thing I dislike about my best friend. He's a massive homophobe, just like his parents. Pfft, screw Christianity and its prejudices…

"What about you, Harper?"

I blinked. "Huh?"

"Don't you care that some guy might end up crushing on you?" James asked, expecting an answer that suited him.

I hesitated. "Not really." His eyes widened and I quickly added, "I mean, it'll be his problem if he does, right? Why should I care?"

He narrowed his eyes and shrugged. "I just think it's weird."

We were almost to our class room by now, and the conversation was cut short. Kit reached the door first and opened it, allowing myself and James to enter before her…

…just in time to hear our teacher, Mr. Howard, shakily introducing a new student.

"Well, erm… I do hope you'll all make Lucca feel… comfortable…" I'd never heard him sound at such a loss before.

But I could see why.

James – who had abruptly frozen in horror at my side – hadn't been exaggerating when he'd called this boy a slut. I stared at him in shock, looking over the clothes that clung to him.

Black jeans looked as if they'd been painted on, and hung on his hips even lower than Kit's. Along the outside of his thighs, they were held together by criss-crossed red cords that revealed tiny glimpses of pale skin. New Rock boots could be seen beneath the flares of black denim. His midriff was blatantly bared, showing a black tattoo around his navel. I stared at it, noticing that the design was a silhouette of a rose, curving in around the centre of his flat stomach. From where I stood, I could see the thorns curving to points, and how the leaves splayed out slightly towards one sharp hipbone. The black hem of his T-shirt hovered a couple of centimetres above the tattoo. The article of clothing sported the words, 'Love's Bitch' in bold, red letters. Over that, he wore an ankle-length leather duster that came in at his waist as if it had been made for a woman.

The boy was stood near the obviously uncomfortable teacher, his arms folded and looking bored. I noticed his nails were painted bright red. Upon our entrance, he tipped his head and looked toward us without interest. He wore glasses that were tinted pink, probably for no other reason than they looked good. Above them, amber coloured eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner and grey eyeshadow, enhancing the unusual colour. They regarded me emotionlessly. Raven hair was sleek and shiny and fell midway down his back. A side fringe fell neatly over his left cheekbone.

I closed my mouth with an effort, but was unable to wipe the wide-eyed expression off my face.

Next to me, I heard Kit hiss in my ear, "That's a guy?!"

James made a disgusted sound and moved past me to go take his seat. Mr. Howard cleared his throat and looked toward us. "Harper, Kaitlin, please take your seats."

I jumped and shook myself out of my shock, quickly crossing the room to sit down behind my desk. I kicked my rucksack under my chair and looked back towards the front of the classroom.

My form teacher was still talking to the boy. "And, uhm, I'm sure it may take you a few days to adjust and all…" His eyes flicked over us all, before settling on me. I'd probably caught his attention by being late. Again. "I know. Harper, you're to show mister Lucca around the school until he gets used to everything here. Is that okay with you both?"

Lucca didn't respond, looking off to the side with disinterest. I couldn't respond. I sat there blinking, only able to see James's look of horror out of the corner of my eye and the way half the class was suddenly smirking and whispering.

With a light sigh, the boy unfolded his arms and walked towards me. His eyes were downcast behind the pink glasses. The silky long hair drifted slightly behind him, and he seemed to walk without noise.

I stared straight ahead as he dropped elegantly into the seat next to me. I could suddenly smell the scent of roses.

Okay, remember that whole teenaged angst thing I mentioned? Yeah, well there are five things I hate about my life:

5) I'm an insomniac.

4) I cry way too easily. I cried at the video for Always by Bon Jovi…

3) My parents.

2) James, when he goes on a homophobic rant…

1) …because I'm gay, and he's oblivious.


Sakuri: So what d'ya think? Any good? Terrible? Let me know please.

Okay, first, let me just state that I hope nobody takes offence at the references to Christianity. I have absolutely nothing against the religion, I'm a Christian myself.

Second, the whole deal with the school and the groups (emo, goth, etc) is based on what my high school is like…

Anyways, read and review?