Read the note at the bottom to see this story's origins.

"Forming Ties"

Chapter 1: Watch out for That First Day…

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! SLAM! I mashed my hand on the offending alarm clock and slowly emerged from my cocoon. I peered at the timepiece which, luckily for me, was unharmed even through my irritated outburst. It read 6:25. With a groan, I removed myself from the sanctity of my comforter and rose from my haven to greet the waking world.

My name is Nicholas Williams. Today will be my first day at Crystal Ridge High School. It's not the beginning of the school year; actually, it should be about the beginning of the second marking period. I move around a lot, and Crystal Ridge just happened to be my current residence. I, unlike most people my age, have no real friends; this is a rather unfortunate side-effect of my family's nomadic nature. One would likely be surprised, then, to find out that I'm really not too upset over this fact. I attribute it to the fact that I've never had a close friend to feel the pain of not having one, and I'm perfectly alright with that. As long as I can make it through school without too many complications, I'm golden. …Or, at least that's what I like to believe. Part of me wishes I could live in one place long enough to create ties to someone, to have a real friend that I can rely on in any situation. I shrug these thoughts off most of the time, but some days they overwhelm me. When they do, I simply grab a pencil or hop on the computer to spill my mind onto the white canvas until it forms itself into a poetic legacy of my thoughts that day. Or I used to. I'll explain it later.

I grabbed my glasses and formed an outfit. It consisted of a white somewhat loose t-shirt, and simple blue jeans. With that in place, I placed the glasses from my nightstand on my face, blinking a few times in a futile attempt to clear the sleep from my eyes. Failing as I always had, I simply resigned myself to the slightly blurry vision and traversed the still-dark hallway to the spiral steps which served as the portal to the lower floor. Carefully, holding onto the rail, I made my way down, arriving in my living room with no damage. I yawned, a delayed reaction to my disturbance from the restful status I had been in, and went into the kitchen.

I greeted my mom, who was cooking a relatively large, given the school morning rush, breakfast consisting of fried eggs, toast, and bacon. The smell glided through the air to my nostrils, and I was forced to inhale the delicious scent. This made my mouth water in anticipation as I went into the bathroom to begin my morning ritual. I brushed my teeth, removing most of the plaque and miscellaneous food fragments from the previous night, and proceeded to battle the gnarled beast that my hair formed. Something I've never quite understood about that which covered my scalp was its surprising resilience to all attempts to tame it. I wet it, like any normal person would, and combed it like any normal person would. Through all my efforts, however, it remained almost as unkempt looking as before I began the fight against it. Looking at myself in the mirror, I decided it wasn't worth my while, as appearances had never really concerned me in the first place.

After my defeat by my hair, I returned to the kitchen from whence I came, and sat down to devour the small feast before me. When I finished, the taste still leaving its impression as was normal, I prepared for the impending arrival of the school bus which would pull up in… I looked at my watch… five, four, three, two, one. When I hit that final number, I heard the telltale sign of the vehicle's slow stop, waiting for me to exit my abode to board it. I said goodbye to my mom, and with that, slung my backpack over my shoulder, rolled my shoulders to stretch them out a little, and walked to the door. Once outside, I took a final look at the house. A picture perfect place, it had vinyl siding in a sort of steel blue color. With its black shingled roof, two stories, and white trim, it was an overall quaint, welcoming place.

I looked on at the citrus colored behemoth that would be my transport from here to Crystal Ridge High School. It was a rather dull, ordinary bus; however, I'd grown used to this fact as the bus companies never seemed to understand that presentation could affect performance greatly.

'Maybe if a bus LOOKED fun, students would be a little less useless first period, hmm?' I mused as I entered. The interior was even duller than the outside. The inner walls were off white, the seats a strange mix of gray and olive. I looked around, and was satisfied to notice only one other student had boarded prior to me. They were seated all the way up front, so the back, my seat of choice, was left completely open. I trekked to the rear of the bus and sat down, head leaning onto my hand, my elbow being propped up on the small ledge the side window made.

I looked out upon the town as it whizzed slowly by. Almost every house was neat and tidy looking from the outside; this tended to, rather than add to the beauty, create a sort of sterile, uninspired looking environment. My house's lawn was not neatly trimmed by professional landscapers like most of these houses, and I rather preferred that. It gave it a sort of down-to-earth feel, rather than the high and mighty 'We're so rich and wonderful we can have our house fixed up whenever we like' feel I got from the other homes.

The bus gradually began to fill with more and more students, and with them came busy chatter that pierced and shattered the former tranquility I had been experiencing. I caught a couple of strange glances; these were not foreign to me, as I'd seem many of them before, especially on my first day at whatever school I attended that year. I chose to ignore them, seeing as the owners chose not to confront me directly, instead choosing to hide behind the shell of discussing 'the new kid' in a low, almost imperceptible whisper.

Resting in my strangely comfortable position, I started to nod off as the bus continued its patrol through the area, picking up the remaining students as it did so. My eyes grew heavy, my body attempting to snatch a few final winks of sleep before the arrival at our destination. However, the plan was just barely foiled; a few seconds before my light sleep could claim my body and mind, the vehicle stopped, doors opening to the outside world. I heard the clamor of the bus's other occupants start to move away from me, and realized we were here.

With a sigh, I picked myself up from my place in the back of the bus and made my way to the outside, ready to greet whatever this new educational establishment could throw at me. The sight that I emerged to startled me. I felt as if I'd gotten on the wrong bus when I saw the high school's campus. Campus is the only term I can really use to describe it, as this high school was massive, far larger than any I'd seen previously. The almost treeless front lawn was perfectly groomed; I figured it must have been recently worked on by a landscaper or the school's groundskeeper.

The building itself was truly magnificent. It had stairs leading to the main entrance that were flanked by pillars. It almost had a feel akin to a library or courthouse, without the uninviting, foreboding look that either of those two buildings normally possess. The outer walls were an orange-tan color, the roof a simple flat black surface. Together these, along with the many windows scattered about the outer limits, created a serene, almost happy, atmosphere.

'The designer of this building definitely needs some credit. I haven't seen a school that was this inviting, ever.' I thought to myself as I slowly sauntered to the front stairs. As I walked, I saw a few stares at my passing form, from the many small groups of people that were strewn about the lawn. I sighed inwardly.

'Don't these people ever get new students? They're looking at me like I'm some sort of strange newly discovered creature or something…' I mused to my inner self as I finally decided to scale the stairs and introduce myself to the interior of this rather unique seeming establishment.

Making my way into the school building, I smiled as I felt the climate control.

'I missed this…' I thought, remembering my most recent school before this one. It was an icebox in winter, and in summer? Trust me; you were lucky if the teachers didn't have to sponge you up and put you in a glass or something. It was actually hotter inside than out. When it's already over a hundred out… That's highly unpleasant.

As I entered the twin doors that marked the entrance of this, and almost every, school, I was impressed a second time when I looked at the inside. I almost felt like I'd gotten on the wrong bus. The walls were an off white color, and there were several large windows allowing sunlight to breach them, filtering through to create an inviting atmosphere.

'This place is by far the best school I've ever seen. I'll bet the students, after the initial unfamiliarity phase, are all really nice, too. I just have this hunch that a school like this can't help but foster positive attitudes from the occupants,' I thought as I slowly made my way to the guidance office, following the paths indicated by the signs. Within about four minutes, I'd arrived at the door and slowly pushed the door open. I was startled for a third time when I saw how nice and clean the office was. It had a single dark colored table in the center, which I assumed was used for peer mediation or something of the sort, based on the chairs surrounding it. In the back of the office were the desks where the receptionists worked, busily typing away at their keyboards. I approached, and was greeted with a warm smile.

"Hello. You're our new student, correct? Nick?" the kind lady queried. I nodded, but made sure to say one thing before collecting the things she was gathering for me.

"I prefer to be called Nicholas, if that's alright," I stated. The girl nodded, and actually apologized.

"Oh, that's alright. I wouldn't expect you to know that," I responded with a small smile. 'I like this place already, no doubt about that.' I thought as I picked up the papers the girl had handed me. I rummaged through them, verifying what exactly was there.

"School map? Check. Calendar? Check. Schedule? Check. Assignment book? Check." I said quietly to myself as I slowly walked out of the room. I was walking through the labyrinthine hallways, paying attention to the map I held as I went. This school was far larger than the average high school; that meant if I took one wrong turn, I could be lost for quite a while. According to the information on my schedule sheet, my homeroom was labeled 'K11'. I was in the D hallway, which, by the layout of the school, was somewhat nearby my destination. However, I would not be going right there, I soon discovered.

I heard a noise as I made my way through the halls, though I hadn't been paying attention to it, so I focused, trying to determine what exactly it had been. It wasn't long before I found out, since the noise rang out again. It was a shout, no, a scream. I dropped my books and papers at that instant, and bolted towards where I heard the voice. I committed my items' location to memory so I could collect them when I finished with whatever it was that I was running blindly into. I turned a corner, and saw something that made my blood boil. This person was a little taller than me with blonde hair parted neatly down the center and a cold look to his eyes that could freeze many people in their tracks. I, of course, was not among those many. He had a girl's wrist held high above her head with his right hand while holding her other wrist at waist-height with his left. The girl's face… That image burned itself into my head the instant I saw it. Her hair, dyed a deep blue like the depths a deep blue like the depths of the ocean, was cut rather short, not extending any distance at all. Her eyes, though, were what captured my attention. They were emerald orbs much like my own eyes, except hers were widened with fear at the one holding her.

When I saw those eyes, fright practically tangible from within, I started to snap, slowly at first. I held my tongue just long enough to catch a short snippet of their conversation.

"C'mon, babe…" the boy said in a tone that immediately brought the image of a cobra into my mind's eye. "After all I've done for you; the least you can do is give me a little…thanks." After this, he moved his left hand to her waist and began to caress her, though not at all lovingly as one does to someone they care for. Before he could go any farther, I spoke out.

"Let her go," It was a simple command, not shouted, nor whispered. It hung in the air for a few seconds, then its target turned to face me.

"Stay out of it, loser. This is none of your business." He replied, eyes like ice. I, naturally, wasn't to be dissuaded by the ordering of someone like him.

"Let. Her. Go." I repeated, emphasizing each word as I glided slowly toward the aggressor.

"I told you to stay out of this. This is between me and her." I listened to this, and sighed. 'Why do the bullies always have to be so cocky?' I pondered for a second or two. Then, I grabbed the boy's right wrist with my own right hand, pressing a pressure point that I knew of in that area. He quickly let go of both the girl's wrists to massage the painful area.

This current situation necessitates mention of some of my experiences in past schools. With my lone wolf nature, one would not expect me to lash out at people as I did in this instance, but I have issues with certain things; they push me over the edge. One such thing happens to be when someone's bullying someone else. When I see such an act of cruelty, when people in schools have enough to worry about as it is, I just lose it. Of course, I'm talking about serious things, like what was going on at this time in particular. Actually, seeing a guy trying to do things like this to a girl is what I hate more than anything else.

As a result of my temper in these situations, I've gotten into my share of fights. After the first few, I started learning how to actually fight back. There was one time in particular where I was actually hospitalized, but that's another story entirely. That time is, however, when I started to take courses in self-defense, like at karate studios and the like. After some time, I'd reached a point where I could more than hold my own in a fight, though my appearance belies that fact. I like that. Returning to the situation at hand…

I looked into my target's eyes as he finished tending to his injury. My eyes were fixated on him, boring deep into his obviously wretched soul. I saw the girl starting to flee, but he grabbed her wrist again.

"Don't even think you're leaving!" he shouted at her, causing the fearful look in her eyes to intensify. I was seething on the inside, wanting to rip this boy apart; luckily, I managed to retain my stoic gaze, not letting my emotions slip through beyond what I carefully metered out.

"I'd suggest you let her go. I am patient to a fault, but even I have my limits. Let the poor girl go. You're scaring her beyond words. Do not make me ask you again," I commanded, my voice remaining barely in check. The boy, poor delusional fool that he is, simply laughed at me.

"You must be new here. Everyone else knows not to interfere with MY business," he began. "My name is Richard. Richard Kestler. I pretty much run this pathetic school, outside a few faculty members who are too stupid to fear me. You'd do well to know your place in the hierarchy, you freshman brat. Now then…" he continued, turning towards his unwilling companion. "Where were we?" He grabbed her close to him and leaned in, about to kiss the defenseless female within his grasp. As soon as I saw him begin to move, I moved as well. I yanked his right wrist around to his back, and pushed violently up between his shoulder blades. He let go of the girl, and turned, facing me fully as I released him.

"That's it, you little idiot. You've made the wrong enemy!" he bellowed as he tried to punch me with everything he had. I shook my head after I'd spun to dodge, feeling the air he'd displaced whiz by slightly.

"With a punch like that, you'll never beat me." I said, coolly. My endurance was wearing thin as he continued his assaults, missing me as I rotated to either side. I noticed with distaste that a crowd had begun to form around us. I sighed with relief mentally when I saw that the girl had escaped during this commotion. Finally, after one attack nearly connected, I decided to retaliate. Richard swung his fist at me, and I grabbed it from the air, my hand a blur of motion as I stopped the impact just under an inch from my face.

"You've made three mistakes here. Mistake one." I began, twisting his wrist around almost an entire rotation. "You were bullying someone, in my presence. Being cowardly enough to resort to bullying is despicable. Doing it when I'm around is just stupid." I continued by releasing Richard's wrist and grabbing his collar, hefting him into the air far higher than someone would expect my lean frame to be capable of.

"Mistake two. You called me a freshman without even asking or being told anything about me. People who judge based on looks alone should learn that everyone can hide things within a façade of a certain look." I punched him hard in the stomach, causing him to spit up violently as he coughed and wheezed at the force. With one final look into his ever stubborn, hate filled eyes, I threw him. Not to the side, but over my head, slamming him on the ground like a rag doll.

"Mistake three, young Richard. You underestimated me. This ties in with your previous error. When you looked at me, you no doubt expected a sniveling little dork who would run to the office and have someone else deal with things. That was a very bad call on your part. Learn from it." I said as I dusted my hands off and proceeded towards the area where I'd left my belongings. I could hear the excited chatter buzzing around me, catching a few bits of conversation.

"Whoa! Who's that new kid?"

"Did Rich just lose a fight to that scrawny little guy there?"

"I must be dreaming! Someone actually stood up to 'The Cobra', and trashed him!"

As I heard these comments, I sighed, lowering my head into my hand as I shook it from side to side. I raised my head again, and saw a rather tall person in my path. I looked up and saw it was a faculty member. He said tersely, "You have some explaining to do, young man."

This originally was a Creative Writing assignment. How am I doing thus far? Reviews are appreciated, and will be responded to next chapter!