Gutter Flower

Chapter One

The sun rays danced on the rain puddle, shining a thread of colour into the pool of metallic blue water. Beads of rain water ran down the bright red of the newborn spring leaves of the maple tree. Drip, drip into the puddle making rings of blue that turned into silver, until finally dying into a dark purple.

Blue pine trees surrounded the red maple, making it stick out like a sore thumb. Its bright red, spangled shaped leaves clashing with the blue green of the bristle branches of the pines. While the ground was sprinkled with the pines dead needles, the maple had never been removed from the Christmas tree forest. Instead it lived and thrived while its neighbors' were cut down, and dragged away each year when the maple tree had fallen asleep.

A young girl sat down at the very side of the maple, her long brown hair falling into her face as she held a notebook in one hand and a pencil in the other. She placed the pencil on the top of the empty page.

"A story is best written at the beginning. If you don't start at the beginning the ending isn't as fulfilling as it should be." She wrote in neat penmanship. "This is a story that needs to be told. Of a boy, of a girl, and the way they were the maple in this forest, stuck out from everybody else, though nobody knew that he had started out as a pine tree."

Rance Walker stood at his locker, leaning his back onto it. His chestnut brown hair, mottled with dark strips of chocolate brown and black fell into his face. He had the build of the classic baseball player that he was, the star pitcher of the high school team. Tall at his six foot two, though graceful and well coordinated that typically didn't come to such a guy at his physic.

"Hey Rance," Jack Morton called as he jogged up. Best friends since they could talk, they were very much alike, popular, athletic, rich, the best of the best.

"Hey," Rance greeted as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his whitewash jeans that had gaping holes in the knees. "Practice doesn't start for another hour, why are you at school early?"

Jack shrugged nonchalantly. "Have to go to Mrs. Jefferson for some extra math help; I need the credit if I'm going to play at regionals. What's your excuse?"

"Also extra help," Rance muttered. Not willing to share how dismal his science mark really was. "I'm getting help from Ramona Shell."

"Good luck with that!" Jack snorted with laughter. "Why are you getting help from one the geekiest girls in school eh? I swear she's a freak."

"It wasn't my idea." Rance said defensively. "But yeah, she's a freak. I'll be surprised if she actually talks like an average human being instead of growling and hissing."

"I don't think she can speak." Jack said. "But hey look man; I will have to catch you later. Good luck with the Freak."

"Bye, man." Rance said as he watched his best friends departing back.

Mona Shell stepped off the transport bus onto the high school grounds. Her curly auburn hair was brushed back out of her face and cascaded down her back. She wore knee high black and white striped stockings, black converse shoes, a short mini jean skirt and a black tank top covered up with a heavy leather jacket.

Black fishnet gloves covered her arms and hands while her fingernails were painted black and she had an old fashioned ring on each one of her fingers. She walked up to the school doors with a swagger of mock confidence.

She found Rance Walker easily since the hallway was pretty much empty. He was leaning against the lockers, hands shoved far into his pockets. His plain white t-shirt, though baggy still hung off his full frame faultlessly.

"Hello," She ventured.

He turned, casting a bored glance in her direction.

"I thought we were going to meet in the library." Mona tried again. Talking to people was like pulling out teeth, something she rarely did, but when she did they all turned into marble statues, pretty to look at, but not something that had the intelligence to carry on a conversation.

"Hi Ramona," He finally spoke. He took a pair of sunglasses out of his pocket and put them on, covering up his green eyes from her scrutiny. "I thought we'd study outside, it's nice out."

"Call me Mona." Mona insisted. "And I think the library is a better choice, less distractions." Code for: no hot girls for you to start gawking at.

She turned to the direction the library, not even waiting for his answer. If his baseball was so important to him, he'd follow her for sure. If he didn't, well it wasn't much of a loss.

Rance watched Mona turn away from him and walk done the hallway with a stunned expression on his handsome face. Not only had she'd spoken to him, but she had taken control of the whole situation. She'd left him no choice, but to follow her to the library.

He followed her about five paces behind. He didn't want the small number of students there was in the school to see that he was going to be with Mona Shell, of all people, early on a Tuesday morning.

The library was small compared to the high class high schools around. Its rows of musty books were cramped and tight. Computer tables lined one wall and then in the center there were round tables.

World of Warcraft nerds were already at the computers, as Mona sat down at a round table in the back of the center of the room, the closest to the stacks.

Rance sat down beside her in a dark blue plastic chair, watching her spread out science text books and notebooks.

"What's your current mark in the class?" she demanded quietly as she opened the gr. 11 chemistry textbook.

"It's at a 45." Rance answered, taken aback slightly to her sharp tone.

"Why?" She asked, looking up into his puzzled face. "Why is it so low?"

"Haven't had the time," Rance answered.

Mona looked over his write of his marks. "You started out good," She murmured, mostly to herself. "But lately you haven't been handing stuff in."

"Kind of hard to hand stuff in when it's not even done," Rance said smartly.

Mona rolled her eyes. "Your big shot mojo isn't going to work with me, so if I were you I'd shut up."

Rance didn't say anything more as they got to work on the most overdue assignment. The silence stretched over them like a force field surrounded them both. Leaving one in each bubble, close, but not close enough to touch each other.

The morning bell rang loudly overhead, causing Rance to look up from the books and towards the library doors.

"Well," Mona said as she started to quickly shove books into her lime green knapsack. "When do you want to meet up next?"

Rance hesitated, shoving his hair off his forehead and running his finger casually through it.

Mona stood up straight and stared at him, waiting for his answer expectantly.

"I'm busy the rest of this week." He said after a few seconds of silence. "Maybe this weekend?"

Mona nodded. "Ok, sounds good."

Rance walked casually out of the library. Mona watched his departing back and felt something inside. Her heart skipped a beat and shivers went up her spine. She liked this Rance Walker way to much already.