A.N. Ahem. Crunch week, testing, writer's block, short term memory loss, technical difficulty...these are my excuses for this late chapter. I've been so busy.And even as I'm writing this, the technical difficulties are still prevailing...I am hopeless with a computer...
My mother and I were seated at our small table with full plates of tri-colored rotini in front of us. I took my first bite. It was delicious, as usual.
"So how was your first day, Bella?"
I told her all about it, going over my classes in detail. When she asked about my teachers, I described each one, and even added that my English teacher was particularly young and good looking. She told me about her own relaxing day. Apparently she'd been sewing a new sweater for me for the winter. She often sewed me clothes when she had the time, and I always loved them. The sweater was going to be a warm green cotton turtleneck. After touching it's material, I wished autumn would hurry up so that I could wear it soon.
All in all, that evening was quite relaxing, though I looked forward to the next day. I wouldn't have English tomorrow, but Mr. Greenfield would still be walking me home, which was an extremely exciting thought unto itself.
After finishing my minimal homework, I settled onto my bed with my scarcely used journal. I didn't like to use it-- I'd once read a quote about diaries and journals that went 'To write a diary every day is to return to one's own vomit.' and I agreed with it fiercely. I never wrote about my day, or gossip or anything that was normal diary material, but instead wrote about solitary people or events, just to get my thoughts on paper to straighten them out. That night I wrote about Mr. Greenfield. I had a similar entry from years past about my old crush. It had been two pages long. This one was six. How could I be so wrapped up in one person I'd known for only a day? That was no matter to me, only the fact that I was blissfully in love.
However, I didn't let go of my senses, or my instincts about people. I liked to think I was sensible, and tried to not completely lose myself in this new love. I was still in shallow water, so I had to make sure I could save myself if I didn't like the deeper parts. I grinned. I really loved metaphors.
The next day, I woke up in an unusually good mood. Let's get this straight-- I was not a morning person. But that morning I was not groggy, not sleepy, even though I'd woken up half an hour before my alarm clock.
The things love can do to you… I thought. I went about my morning leisurely, washing my face and teeth, brushing my hair and braiding it, eating breakfast, and so on. Twenty minutes before the start of school, I slipped on my shoes, slung my book bag across my chest, and walked out of the door. My mother always left for work a little bit after I woke up, so I got most of the early morning to myself. I locked the door carefully and stepped out onto the street, which was shaded by a thin layer of mist. It was a cool, quiet morning.
I walked along quickly, for some reason wanting to get to school early. I knew that however much you like the transition to school from summer at the beginning, it always fades back into dreading school again. But seeing as it was only the second day, I was still enjoying getting up early with a purpose and going to a place filled with my peers. My peers. Ugh. Once I've been around them for about a month, I get so sick of them that I want to scream. Maybe that's why I never had a boyfriend…all the guys my age must've just annoyed me too much.
My musing about peers was interrupted when I saw a slim figure walking on my sidewalk about twenty feet ahead of me. I hurried up to get a better look at the back of their head. Black…no, brown hair. A folder tucked in one arm- Mr. Greenfield! He must be running pretty late, I thought, don't teachers have to get to school early?
"Mr. Greenfield!" I called out when I was a little closer. He turned around, wearing a surprised look on his face. I guessed that not many people around here knew him yet, at least as a teacher.
"Oh, Bella! On your way to school?"
"Yeah. But aren't you late, since you're a teacher?"
"Oh, well, we're not required to be there until fifteen minutes before the bell rings, but I overslept a little, so I am in a hurry. You're up pretty early for someone who walks."
"Yeah, I was in a good mood this morning. I even woke up before my alarm!" I didn't, obviously, say a word about the fact that the reason I was in a good mood was striding alongside of me. His lips slid into a delicious smile. I tried not to stare. He looked so cool, in his long jacket and his black shoes and khakis, with an amused look in his honey eyes. I considered my luck. Not only was I walking home from school with Mr. Greenfield, I walking to school with him as well! Perhaps this will be an incentive to wake up earlier later on in the year, I thought.
In about two minutes, because of our fast pace, we arrived at the CB bulding, where we went our separate ways. I felt remorseful about going to first period History instead of just walking with Mr. Greenfield in the crisp, cool morning.
"Well, it was a pleasure walking with you, Bella. I suppose I'll see you in the afternoon as well?"
I nodded and gave him a kind of shy little smile. He looked at my face silently for a few moments, without any expression on his face. Then he smiled, his beautiful lips curving up as if nothing could have pleased him more than the smile on my face. By this point, I was flushing uncontrollably, so I was glad when I was able to turn my back to head to the building my History class was in. Why was he staring at me? I thought. I certainly hope there's not anything on my face!
TUG. "Ouch!! Durnit, Sav, what is wrong with just a regular hello?!"
"Oh, I dunno…it's just so mundane."
"And non-painful…" I muttered, but she took no notice.
"I saw you talking to Mr. Dawayne back there. His name is Irish, you know, I researched it. It means 'dark.' But anyhow, what were you talking about? He was staring at you."
"We were just saying goodbye till the afternoon. And I honestly can't say why he was staring at me."
"Well, I think he was mesmerized by your beautiful face. You're very pretty this morning, Bella."
My previous blush came flowing back into my face. "Wha-what?! Where'd that come from? Why would he even care if I was looking attractive?!"
Sav blew up at her bangs in an exasperated fashion. "It's very simple- he's a young guy who is very possibly looking for a romantic interest, and there you are, a beautiful young girl, standing right in front of him."
"Oh, come off it! If he ever were romantically interested in a student, it wouldn't be me! Do you know how many prettier girls are already interested in him in this school?!"
"Oh, pish. He's not that shallow! He'd look for something more than that in a girl…for instance, common sense, basic intelligence, and similar interests. In that case, you're his best match."
"Well, let's not get carried away. We don't even know much of anything about him yet."
"Oh, what a spoilsport! Here I am, trying to dish out advice on romance, and I'm having it shoved in my face!" said Sav mock-angrily. The two minute bell rang, and we had to hurry to our History class, which we shared by another coincidence, without a chance to talk further.
Bella and I slipped into the History classroom with a bare thirty seconds to spare, watched by nearly the entire class. The teacher, a young, quite attractive woman, observed disapprovingly as we sat together on the far left of a middle row. Just a few other harassed looking students burst in after us before class started. The teacher stood and introduced herself as Ms. Lavis. She was extremely strict, and made it clear that she was not a teacher that would take any sort of horseplay or slacking off. I took an instant dislike to her. I'm not quite sure why- okay, maybe because no student really likes a strict teacher, but something about her unsettled me. Maybe it was because she was so young? She was certainly as young as Mr. Greenfield.
For that matter, she was also very attractive. Slim but curvy, with a thin face and perfect delicate features. No makeup either, because she really didn't need it with her red lips, dark lashes, and rosy complexion. I'll bet every girl in that class was inwardly moaning with envy. Nevertheless, she had a permanent frown on her face, as if working as a teacher for us teenagers was not an idea she very much liked. She was also new like Mr. Greenfield, but that didn't deter her at all.
She had total control of the class. No one dared to not pay attention to her, and her pace was so swift that you had to follow as well as you could. Within the first two minutes, we were working on our student info forms, which she allowed approximately five minutes for. Thus, everyone's hands were practically writing themselves off their wrists in their hurry to finish.
I finished with a little time to spare. I pulled my braid around and fiddled with it, as I always did when I felt like I was under pressure. Ms. Lavis briskly walked down the rows, pausing now and again to let students cram the last bit of bus information onto their sheet. Even though I was finished with my sheet when she got to me, she paused for a moment, looking at my spiky handwriting with a hint of distaste on her face. She looked at me and semmed as though she were about to open her mouth and say something, but she didn't. Instead, she looked intently at my eyes and then her own blue ones flitted down to my long braid. I squirmed a bit, aware that I was being scrutinized by this new teacher. She moved on after a moment, collecting the rest of the class's papers. A couple kids were still glancing between me and her, wodering why Ms. Lavis had just done that.
I wondered too. It seemed like she was just about to comment on my handwriting, but suddenly recognized me and decided not too. Other than that incident, History class went along fairly normally. We definitely got a lot more done than in any other class. By the end of the class we'd read a chapter on Asian agriculture and had taken two pages of notes. Our homework was to define a set of vocabulary words and answer ten questions from our newly acquired huge History textbook.
When the bell finally rang, you could tell that the kids wanted to leap out of their seats and out the door, but they wisely restrained themselves. Ms. Lavis dismissed us row by row, seeming to enjoy the fact that we were all dying to go. But due to the broken zipper on Sav's backpack, the two of us were the last ones out into the hallway. As we passed by Ms. Lavis, who stood by the door, she gave me a small, rather wry smile. I was too surprised to smile back. That was the first time I'd her seen her smile, and she was ten times as beautiful that way. I might have recovered my senses eventually, but Sav dragged me out of the door, angry that I'd wasted time waiting with her anyway.
Sadly, we had different second periods, mine being Art, and Sav's being Band. I walked down the hall, trying to avoid my noisy, clumsy, stupid peers. If you weren't huge and muscled or else surrounded by a huge group of friends, you had to be cautious in the hallways or risk being squashed against the lockers. After being a semi-loner in high school for three years, this becomes a sort of second nature, so I had time to think while I dodged, ducked, and squeezed myself along the way to Art. That day had been full of odd expressions directed towards me. First Mr. Greenfield staring at me in the morning, then Ms. Lavis looking me over, and later smiling at me. I was thoroughly confused, and couldn't think of a good reason for any of them.
In Art class, we had no student info forms, once again because it was an elective. The teacher was a cheery middle aged lady who smiled a lot and didn't give you weird looks. I was grateful for that, just like some other kids who'd been in Ms. Lavis's class. The Art classroom had a quiet, warm atmosphere, as most Art classrooms do, with the wooden tables and paintings hung everywhere and large drying racks in the corner. I sat next to the shy girl in the green sweater from Drama (whose name was Rachael), except that she was wearing a blue hoodie that day. I had fun drawing Rachael's portrait, but I was more looking forward to lunch, which I had an hour earlier on B days than on A days.
Our second period class went to lunch together, since we'd be returning for thirty more minutes class time before third period , but luckily we could sit where we wanted. Rachael and I stuck together in the lunch line and succeeded in finding both Sav and David, neither of which I could find the day before. We sat on the opposite end of the table from a group of loudly chattering girls with another friend of David's, Roger. He was a bit annoying and followed Sav around like a puppy dog, which was extremely fustrating to her since she had a crush on his best friend. But even if he claimed to be in love with Savannah, I saw him making eyes at Rachael. I almost giggled out loud. It was going to turn into a huge soap opera soon, if I wasn't mistaken. Of course, I'd be there for Sav if she got hurt (supposing that I couldn't prevent her from getting hurt in the first place), but I always found angst teenage romance fun to watch and giggle at.
"-ella! Bella!" I reverted to reality when I heard Sav hissing in my ear.
"What?" I whispered.
"Look at the teacher's table, a couple seats from the left."
I looked. Mr. Greenfield was sitting there, next to Ms. Lavis, and the two of them were chatting away as though they knew each other quite well. I even saw her smile at him a few times. A small swell of jealousy rose up in me. I couldn't help it. I just wished so much that I was sitting there, so close to him, talking without fear of jumbling my words. The power of my gaze eventually caused Mrs. Lavis to turn in my direction. Our eyes met across a few tables. I tried to look down, but I couldn't. I had to keep staring at her bright, severe blue eyes. After a small while, I could see out of the corner of my eye that Mr. Greenfield was a getting little confused. He began to follow Ms.Lavis's gaze…which obviously meant he ended up looking straight at me! A small sweat broke out on my brow. I felt like I was naked on my chair, alone in the cafeteria under the spotlight for the both of them to watch.
I couldn't take it anymore. I tore my gaze away from their's, looking down at my half eaten sandwich.
Well, I thought, that makes four weird looks for the day..and it isn't half over…
"Bella? What was that about?"
I turned to Sav and said, "I have no clue. I've been getting weird looks all day. First, you saw Mr. Greenfield staring at me this morning. Then Ms. Lavis was looking me up and down in class, and while we were walking out the door, she actually smiled at me for some reason."
"Smiled at you?! This must be some type of historical event! Wow! I wonder what's up with her…"
"Whatcha talkin' about?" Roger interrupted.
"About how I will strangle you if you interrupt an obviously private conversation again!" Sav said viciously. And once again, they began to banter about virtually nothing. I sighed and went back to my sandwich.
"Hey, Bella, if you don't mind my asking, what was going on just now?" It was Rachael. David probably would've asked as well, but he was trying to stop the bickering between Sav and Roger.
"Oh, well, I'm not quite sure… Well, I suppose- no, I haven't got a clue." I debated over asking her whether she could keep my secret, but in all honesty, the only person I wanted to know was Sav. But it's not as if it mattered in this situation. I didn't know any better why I'd been receiving weird looks for it.
"Huh. That's pretty odd… Oh! How's your portrait in Art coming along?"
And that's what I discussed with Rachael for the rest of lunch, while the other three in our company abandoned their lunches in favor of throwing nasty insults/ defending themselves against the nasty insults/ trying to stop the nasty insults altogether. We went back to our respective second blocks and finished up the last half hour. The rest of the day floated by, third period coming and going, fourth period hardly seeming to be there. School was out.
I started down my familiar sidewalk, keeping an eye out for Mr. Greenfield. I felt a bit apprehensive about having to face him after the weird incident in the cafeteria. I had spent the second half of the school day piecing together any clues I could think of. So far, I had put together this less-than- mediocre story: Mr. Greenfield and Ms. Lavis know each other, and Mr. Greenfield told her about me, describing what I looked like. She was surprised at who I was when she looked at, so she decided not to comment on my handwriting. It was a little vain sounding, what with supposing that Mr. Greenfield would be talking about me to anyone, but it was the best I could think of. Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn't.
Quite suddenly, (or it seemed that way because I hadn't been paying attention) a person standing behind me said,
"Bella!" I melted. The voice wrapped around me, the raspy honey sound of my own name taking over my senses. I felt just a little faint. I realized that I was slipping. I was losing composure. Oh no, oh no, don't slip now, don't let him know…
I closed my eyes and finally turned around.
GAH! I didn't know he was standing that close! I thought, panicked.
"Bella? Are you alright? You seem a little feverish. You're all flushed."
I raised a hand to my forehead and said "My temperature seems normal…"
"It always does to the person with the fever, because your hands are warm as well. Let me see."
And before I could react, his hand was on my forehead. My heart was trying, and succeeding, it seemed, to beat it's way out of my chest. I could feel more heat rush up to my face. He was standing not much more than a foot away, with a warm, slender hand on my bare forehead. He looked concerned. I knew it must feel as though I had a fever, but I was trying to force down my flush, trying to compose myself as hard as I could.
"Bella!" A familiar female voice came, "What's wrong?"
It was Sav. I nearly groaned. She'd know that I didn't have a fever, she'd know why I was red and shaky. Please don't laugh, I thought, please don't laugh!
"Miss Bella seems to have a fever-"
"Let me see," Sav cut in. She brushed his hand away, took his place in front of me, and laid a relaxingly cool hand on my forehead. Making sure that Mr. Greenfield couldn't see her face, she grinned at me. She removed her hand, touched one finger to her own forehead, and pointed skyward. That was one of our more obscure signals, meaning, I know what's up.
She twirled on her heel to face Mr. Greenfield, brushing the end of my nose with her hair. I wrinkled it, but was glad that she was hiding me.
"Don't worry, she's just not feeling well. She might have a little fever, but she'll be able to get home alright. 'K, Bella? See you tomorrow!" She ran off to her bus. I stared after her, half grateful, half annoyed. She didn't have to act so smug…
"Are you sure you're alright?" I wished he would stop talking. Just hearing his voice was enough to make me flush a couple shades brighter. I nodded and grasped the strap of my book bag, walking forward a little unsteadily. I stared straight ahead of me as I walked, not daring to glance sideways at him. Even so, I could tell he was walking closer to me than he had the day before, as if he wanted to make sure he could catch me if I collapsed or something. In actuality, he was making my condition even worse, but I tried not to notice him there.
"So…" he said after a while, "How was your second day?"
"About the same as yesterday. I did get a particularly strict teacher for History, but my Art teacher, Mrs. Baker, makes up for her." I responded in all seriousness. Mr. Greenfield found my answer pretty funny, and he chuckled a little, which nearly made me start myself.
"Ah, yes. I met her at a staff meeting during the summer. Is your History teacher Ms. Lavis by any chance?"
"Yeah. Do you know her?"
"I do. We're both new teachers here, so we're helping each other out here and there."
"She seems like she's got perfect control over her classes, kids and lesson plans, already though!"
Mr. Greeenfield chuckled once more. "Oh, I know. I just like to say that, it makes me seem less pathetic. I've known Marie--Ms. Lavis--for a while before we began teaching. She's very strong-willed."
I groaned. "Yes, she certainly is. Did you go to the same college?" I knew I was being nosy now, but it didn't feel like I was talking to a teacher.
"Yeah. We studied together to become teachers."
"Do you like teaching so far?"
He turned to me and smiled. "I do."
I didn't ask any more questions, so we walked along silently for a while.
"How long have you been growing your hair?"
I started a bit and clutched at my aforesaid hair. He was definitely making a habit of scaring me out of my thoughts!
"About five and a half years. One day in middle school I just decided to stop cutting it."
"When do you think you'll cut it again?"
"I don't know. I almost decided to cut it short a while ago, but I just went with these," I said, picking up the boring chin-length bangs framing my face. "I can never decide, so I leave it. What do you think?"
"I think it's beautiful. You'll have to cut it eventually, but it suits you perfectly like it is."
I couldn't hide my blush this time, but Mr. Greenfield probably thought it was just my "fever."
"Ah…thank you. I would probably feel a little lost without it. My braid kind of…protects me, in a way.'
He nodded. Silence came once again. We walked slowly, probably because he didn't want to overexert me. Taking nearly twice as long as usual, we finally reached my street. Mr. Greenfield looked at my still pink face and shaky hands concernedly.
"Do you need me to walk you to your house?" he asked.
"No thanks. It's only a couple houses down, and I don't think I'll collapse or anything."
He nodded. Then, reaching out a hand, he pressed it briefly onto my cheek, and turned and walked away. I stood stunned. What was that?! Overly dazed, I walked robotically down my street. Too many strange things had happened that day.
A.N. This chapter, I feel, is not as good as the first one, not tomention a good bit shorter. Meh. I'll be able to write better once school is over, in about eleven days. But those of you who still feel good about this story, stick around because I AM going to finish this, even if it takes allsummer.
Thank you so much to my few reviewers sofar! It's great to get positive feedbackwhen you're a new, weak writer like me. To risingofthebluesun: Ooooh, no, I'm not claiming originality rights on this plot idea at all. Well, I daydreamed it up myself, but I definitely had a lot of subconcious influences from stories I'd read before. I'm writing this for myself though, and anyone else who'd like to read it. Constructive criticism is always welcome, dear reviewers, but don't expect me to apply it to this particular story! It is miiiiine! >:D But thank you so much for complimenting me! It makes me feel all glowy inside!
Yeesh! I shouldstop rambling before my A.N. becomes longer than my story! I'll try very hard to write the next chapter quickly for any of you looking forward to it. (I actually already have a couple pages already! .) Now I will go defeat my technical difficulties before I erase all my editing again.>: