Sealed With a Kiss

Chapter 1

I laughed in my amused way. I found a certain comfort in the moments following the end of my first day back at school. If a person had any shred of sanity about them, he or she enjoyed the ring of the bell signaling the end of another day - the freedom that came with that hideous, yet familiar shriek. However, my joy came in being able to sit down and lean against a wall outside of my school knowing that no one would bother me. This was the freedom given when allowed out a period earlier than everyone else; this was the freedom I was going to thoroughly enjoy rubbing in my friends' faces. Ah yes, I could get used to this. Being a senior was nice.

I fully realized I could leave, drive home, and do anything my little heart desired. However, that held no appeal for me. For some reason, I found pleasure in knowing that I was free while everyone else was locked up listening to some teacher babble on about 19th century battles and how we must learn from our past mistakes, blah blah insert history lesson here blah. History was never my favorite subject; thank God for the infusion of government and politics senior year.

Maybe that's why I stuck around - the simple pleasure of relishing in someone else's pain. Yet, I knew there was something else... a feeling that I should stay... that there was something waiting for me. Something important. I couldn't quite place it.

I leaned my head back against the wall and closed my eyes, sighing softly. I savored the quiet and how it allowed me to be alone with my thoughts. No interruptions. It was rare for me to have these kinds of moments otherwise in my life, and it was the reason why I didn't want to be anywhere else. Going home held no appeal for me. Maybe by staying here, I'd get a chance to think.

Maybe I'd even get a chance to feel again.

As I let out a long, deep breath and began to sift through my chaotic thoughts, the silence was interrupted by a voice and the strumming of a guitar being carried on the wind. I opened my eyes abruptly and looked around, pushing my black, shoulder-length hair out of my face. Who the hell dared to disturb my "me" time? And where the hell was that coming from anyway? I didn't see anyone. As the seconds passed, I begrudgingly admitted whoever it was... well... they sure knew how to play. Grumbling a bit, I got up from my comfy spot and began to slowly walk around the corner toward the music. As I did so, my eyes fell on the origin.

I stopped in my tracks and leaned slightly against the wall as I observed her. A young woman about my age sat with a guitar in her hands, strumming softly as she sang along. Whatever she was singing held a melancholy tone and her voice expressed a certain ache. Yet she had such a beautiful voice. Haunting almost. Her eyes were closed and her light reddish-brown hair fell softly around her face, the sun highlighting the red tones. Something about her voice tugged at my heart and I began to feel an ache similar to the one she seemed to be displaying. As I watched her, I began to wonder who had hurt her. What? Why? What the hell do I care? I shook my head in slight amusement at my reaction, even if its appearance did bother me a little.

The music suddenly stopped and her eyes shot open. They were a lovely shade of green and... they had caught me, her intense stare focused solely on me.

I coughed a little bit in embarrassment. "Sorry, I was sitting around the corner and I heard you. Um, that's a beautiful song."

Her eyes conveyed their curiosity as she studied me. A little smile hiked up her face as she rested her guitar gingerly beside her. "Thanks. I thought I was alone out here."

I shifted uneasily on my feet and gestured back toward where I'd come from. "Yeah, sorry, I was sitting over there 'cause I don't have anywhere to be right now. I didn't mean to interrupt you. I'll just leave you alone. Again, I'm sorry." Feeling rather foolish, I turned to leave but then she spoke up.

"Did I say I wanted you to leave?"

I paused, kind of unsure and out of my element. She intrigued me; who would normally say that to a person? I turned back around to find that she had stood up from off the ground and her shoulder was leaning against the wall. Her standing up allowed me to get a real good look at her; I realized she must be a new transfer because I'd never seen her before. She wore a pair of tight jeans and a baggy t-shirt that said Screw Authority in big block letters. I had to grin a bit; she wasn't going to make any teachers happy with that one. And why she wore such a baggy shirt, I did not know – it really wasn't showing off one of her assets. Huh...she liked showing off her ass but eyes off the breasts. Walking contradiction. I kind of liked that.

I suddenly noticed I'd been staring and she was staring right back at me, patiently waiting for my answer. I blushed slightly as I remembered she'd asked me a question. "Um, no, you didn't. But I just thought you might like some privacy."

She shrugged. "It can get a little lonely." She looked me over once again and then gave me a warm smile. "I was cursed with the name Bree Crystal. What about you?"

I couldn't help but laugh. "What are you talking about? Bree's a pretty name."

Bree grinned and shrugged a bit. "If you say so, Blue Eyes."

Blue Eyes? I suddenly felt very self-conscious about the color of my eyes and looked away at anything, anything at all - didn't matter what, lockers, grass, the sidewalk, Bree. Shit. That's when I noticed she was waiting yet again for my reply. "Oh! Sorry..." I laughed a little nervously. Why am I acting so off around her? I'm usually so collected. "My name's Kendra Lachen, and unlike you, I kinda like it."

She smiled that crooked little smile again that rose half up her lips. "I do too."

I couldn't help but smile in response. It took me a moment to realize I was staring at that smile of hers again. It seemed to know something about me and I didn't like that; it made me uneasy. Shit. Talk, Kendra, stop staring at her and open that big mouth of yours. "So uh, why aren't you in class?"

Bree shrugged nonchalantly. "For the same reason you aren't. I don't have a seventh period. I wasn't really into the idea of baking cookies or grading some teacher's papers, so getting out of school early sounded good to me. Besides it's their job. I have to write my own papers; they should have to grade 'em. It's only fair, I think."

I could feel my eyes twinkling in mischief as I replied, "I'd expect no less from a chick that's wearing a Screw Authority t-shirt on the first day of school."

She glanced down at her shirt and a slow grin spread across her face. She shifted her shoulder a bit against the wall. "Hey, I could have worn my Screw Me t-shirt if you think that would have had gotten more of a response."

I gawked at her in shock. "You have a Screw Me t-shirt?"

Bree's grin grew even wider and her left eyebrow rose ever so slightly. "Maybe someday you can find out for yourself."

I stared at her for a ? As her words began to register in my head, I felt my face turn a fiery red. Was she flirting with me? Was that a... no, I've got to be imagining things.

At that very moment, the bell rang to signal the end of seventh period. Students began to file eagerly out of the classrooms next to us. More like a bum rush, to be honest. I glanced around at the students before allowing myself to look back over at Bree. I felt my stomach do a mini-flip as I noticed she was studying me once again, looking me up and down. Do I have toilet paper hanging out of my ass or something? I glanced down just to be sure.

"Hey babe!" I felt an arm slide around my waist and pull me in as lips were planted on mine.

Caught off-guard, my lips didn't quite return the kiss and I quickly pulled away. I smiled awkwardly up at my boyfriend. Tyler Hamilton's token goofy grin smiled right back down at me and his pale blue eyes were playful. He leaned down to whisper into my ear with a low grunt. "I've been waiting all day to get you alone. Let's go."

I felt my blush grow even worse than it already was and I coughed loudly. I took a step back from Tyler as I twirled my thick hair around my finger, stealing a glance over to where Bree was. She was now standing up straight and kind of looking off into the distance, a blank expression on her face. Dammit, Tyler had bad timing; quite frankly, he normally always had bad timing as sex was forever at the forefront of his mind. As I turned my attention back to him, I realized I must have hideous timing as well because his eyes showed a bit of hurt at my pulling away from him.

I sighed softly and brushed his blond locks out of his eyes. "Sorry honey, it's just...people are around." I motioned around me to all the students retrieving books from their lockers, although my eyes more fell on Bree as I saw her placing her guitar back into her case with that same blank expression.

Tyler didn't notice. His lanky body bounced a little bit, his loose jeans almost falling off his hips. It didn't take long for his goofy grin to return to his face. "It's okay, babe. Basketball practice hasn't started yet, so I just want to spend as much time with you as I can." Tyler was the star basketball player at our school, Edmington High, and had held the coveted role for a couple of years now. Even when he was a sophomore, he excelled over many of the seniors. Now as a senior, I was sure he was only going to shine all the more. That was the nice thing – being able to watch him grow into his position over the years. We'd been together romantically for almost two years, and while some of the excitement had worn off, it was always nice to see his smiling face at the end of the day. It was comforting. I mean, who could resist that goofy smile? I sure couldn't; it always made me want to laugh.

"Do you need to stop at your locker before we go?" he asked.

I shook my head. "No, I have all the books I need in my backpack. It's around the corner."

His forehead wrinkled a bit as he glanced back toward said corner. "Why don't you have it on you?"

I glanced over at Bree flipping the latches closed on her case and taking the handle into her hand as she stood back up. I shook my head. "No reason. I was just walking around."

Tyler shrugged a bit. "Alright, well let's get going. I don't want to be in this place one minute longer than I have to." He leaned his full weight on me dramatically. "Why, oh why, did summer have to end?"

I laughed and bumped his ass with my own to get him off of me. "Because the fates hate you?"

"I knew there was a reason," he replied with a grin. Standing up straight, he wrapped his arm around my waist once again and began to steer me in the direction of the location of my backpack. "C'mon."

I let him do so, but not before sneaking a peek back at Bree over my shoulder. I didn't get to say goodbye; I didn't like that. Maybe she didn't either, because now her eyes turned towards me. They looked a little puzzled for a moment, but then they twinkled a little at me. She grinned as she bid me adieu with a bow before turning to walk the other way.

As my eyes lingered, it took me a second to notice a lone sticker on the side of her guitar case.

I blinked. Several times. Is that a...? Yes, it was. A rainbow. Like the stickers you'd see sometimes on the bumper of someone's car.

At first, the only image that came to my head was one of the Rainbow Brite cartoons I used to watch as a kid. However, my expression quickly changed as realization dawned on me. Ohhh... she's gay. That explained the t-shirt comment. And the flirting. I felt like I should look away given this new information, however I couldn't help but watch her hips sway one last time before she rounded the corner and out of sight.