I just want to say thanks, to the best beta I have ever had. Freethephoenix you have taught me more about grammar in the last week than my grade 7 teacher did in a year. :) ... umm did I get the than right ;) Also I would love to hear what you all think so please RnR thanks!
For the gods keep hidden from men the means of life. Else you would easily do work enough in a day to supply you for a full year even without working; soon would you put away your rudder over the smoke, and the fields worked by ox and sturdy mule would run to waste. But Zeus in the anger of his heart hid it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he planned sorrow and mischief against men. He hid fire; but that the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the counselor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in thunder did not see it. But afterward s Zeus who gathers the clouds said to him in anger: "Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire--a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction." So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud.
~Excerpt from Works and Days by Hesiod
I woke with a start to the sound of my name being shrilly butchered across the room. Looking up with blinking eyes through a curtain of my red curls, I could see the woman at the front of the class was not Mrs. Carmichael, who would have been more than happy to just let me sleep through her class, but a sub who looked like she had her sphincter sewn shut. She was taking attendance, her beady little eyes scanning the room and looking for whom ever was guilty of having my messed up name. "Spearo In…Ing..Inganus," she said once more, much louder than the small room justified. The mispronunciation of my name was also garnering more then a few chuckles among the rest of the class.
Sighing softly, I was about to raise my hand and claim the embarrassing name, not bothering to correct her, not seeing the point in it when someone else spoke first. His soft, deep voice cut through the noise of laughter in the class like boat through water. "No one in this class has -that- name." I heard the chair creak as he leaned back in it, his deep piercing eyes daring the teacher to retaliate to his tone. I was sure he knew she would not. No teacher ever did. "But if you're looking for Sparrow -In-genius," he nodded his head in my direction, "she is over there, sleeping." There was no one in the class left with any doubt that he meant to be insulting to both the teacher and me.
Taking a peek at him from under my hair, as I still had not pushed it out of my face, I wondered what in the world had prompted him to say anything. He was not one for words as far as I could tell. He usually sat silently reading or daring people with a look to piss him off enough so that he would blow his town wide famous temper.
"Why thank you, Lucien." I watched the teacher smile, suddenly turning all sweet. It figured she would in the face of Lucien Mars, son of one of Pandora's three founding families. "I would never have guessed from the spelling of her name that she was named after that ugly little bird." At that comment I lifted my head, pushed back my mane of red curls to glared at the overly neat looking woman. What could I say but that I liked sparrows. Besides, technically I was -not- named after them. Something I was about to point out only to be cut off once more by Lucien.
"Actually, her name means hope." He told the teacher condescendingly, causing the boy sitting in front of him to snicker. To which the overly angry Lucien kicked the back of the snickering boys chair. Something the teacher conveniently ignored. It must be nice to own half of the town, I pondered bitterly. I was also starting to wonder if maybe I was still sleeping and this was all a bad dream. It was, to my logical mind, the only plausible answer to the bizarre events unfolding before my eyes. How the hell would Lucien know what my name meant unless he had a working understanding of Latin? And frankly, why was he bothering with any of this?
The teacher moved on to the day's lesson, shrugged off the whole strange event, patted her tight granny curls nervously before picking up a piece of chalk, pretending that nothing had happened at all. Ostrich imitations were something the people in this town seemed disturbingly good at. I ,though, was not about to forget how the tall menacing boy seemed to know so much about me or how he so cavalierly volunteered that information to the entire class. An action that was as out of character for him as me staying in Pandora to have babies after graduation. Something everyone else in this town aspired to, but I dreaded above all else.
I could not help but feel the flames of curiosity burn through my blood over the whole situation. I wanted to know more but did I dare approach Lucien to ask him anything? I was not so sure that was a wise idea. I would be lying if I said I was immune to his charm, but the boy terrified the shit out of me. He had something of a bad rep with property damage and assaults. Not that you would find any official records of any of it. It helped his father owned most of the town and that his best friends were the chief of police and town mayor. Both of whom were the other two founding families of Pandora. Their sons' had been born all around the same time and had grown up together. They were known as the kings of the school…Princes of Pandora.
The class passed in a haze of monotony, as I paid little attention to what the sub was trying to teach us, her voice a soft whisper in the otherwise silent classroom. It was sadly obvious that this was not a topic she had a great grasp of as she mixed up and stumbled over her facts. All of which killed any guilt I may have had over tuning her out, my attention only being taken back by her momentarily when she informed the class in a haughty voice that France was the capital of England. Urgh where did they find this woman? I could not help thinking in disgust as I proceeded to return to my thoughts.
My mind wandered over what had happened, replaying the moment over and over again as I tried to put my finger on what exactly was bothering me about it all other than the obvious; Lucien was not supposed to know I existed, never mind know what my name meant, let alone tell a whole class full of people.
Before I knew it the bell was ringing, signaling the end of class and with slow movements I started to pack up the books I had not really used and stood up to head to my next class. As I walked through the door I was suddenly shoved to the side from behind, nearly falling. Catching my balance after stumbling a bit, I looked up to see who had been the jerk and was only half surprised to see Lucien storming down the hallway, people making way for him as he went. It was an odd sight to say the least, and more than a little reminiscent of Moses parting the red sea. The oddest part, though, was that I seemed to be the only one who saw this as odd.
Grumbling something 'not-so-nice' under my breath, I turned down the other way to head to my next class watching as the other students did the same thing. I did not get far as I saw the sea of students start to part once more and did not contain my eye roll as I followed suit, watching the people around me get excited little looks on their faces in the prospect of who was to come. I could not help but smirk at the whole thing.
Wondering which one of the other kings of the school was going to bless us with his presence, I shifted my back pack from one shoulder to the other, damn but I hated waiting around for the sake of another person's ego, but to do anything else would be different and that was a no-no in Pandora-- frankly, I would rather not have the attention.
Luckily, it did not take long for the curly head and boyish face of Gabriel Owl to come into view. He was the son of the town's Mayor and head of the school's chess club, how that made him popular I will never know. Slipping into the shadows of a doorway, I watched him as he passed by me. I could see the smirk on his lips as if he found this all very amusing… interestingly enough that made two of us.
As I thought this his head suddenly jerked around and he looked right at me, his smirk becoming a full on grin as he sent me a wink. Not stopping, however, he passed me quickly, the crowd filling in behind him. The whole moment lasted little more then half a second. I stood shocked and more confused than ever. More curious then ever.
Shaking my head, I noticed the halls were clearing out. The bell was about to ring and I was not even close to my class. I grumbled to myself as I dash down the hall, hoping I would not be caught running inside the school. Hearing the shrill sound of the bell, I felt my heart drop, knowing I would not be able to sneak into class and that Mr. Snopes would rip into me for a lack of punctuality. He was a teacher who seemed to get off on tearing students down. Being in his class was like walking on egg shells-one wrong move and suddenly you were sliced up by his sharp tongue.
So far I had managed to avoid all of it,the condescending tones, cruel punishments, and raging insults. I was only a witness to the blood soaked walls from all the egos he had murdered. Well, looks like it was my turn. Taking a deep breath, preparing for the second teacher of the day to insult me, I opened the door to my next class.
Wouldn't you know it, he was actually waiting for me and I swear he had a look of delight in his eyes over this opportunity. Sitting on the edge of his desk and facing the door, his body had the tension of a predator waiting for his prey. The rest of the class sat silent, waiting for the show to start. They all knew better than to interrupt. His eyes bore into me, waiting for me to speak first, hoping to unnerve me… if he was lucky I might stutter or stumble over words nervously. I knew what he got off on, having seen this happen on a daily basis.
He, though, was in no such luck with me. "Sorry Mr. Snopes, I know being late is unacceptable, and I need to learn some basic lessons in respect… I promise it will never happen again and I know I deserve any punishment you think I should receive." I told him shamefacedly…He was not impressed. In fact, I would say he was livid.
His normally tanned completion had turned red, his brown eyes narrowing as he slid his slim fit body off his desk and stalked up to me. "You think you're clever?" He towered over me not because he was tall, but because I was disgustingly short. Being five feet flat in height had it's advantages, like when I wanted to hide, or squeeze through some narrow area, but when it came to matters of intimidation it sucked ass.
Damn it, my attention had wavered and he had noticed. I was in for it now. "You think you're above all of us? You think I don't see you sitting at the back of the class, never saying anything, turning your nose up at us all? Now you can't be bothered to show up to class on time?" His voice was slowly rising and I swear he wanted to hit me. One of his hands balled into a fist and I took a step back. I was about to answer him but it quickly became obvious he did not want to hear anything I had to say. He silenced me with a slash of his hand as soon as I opened my mouth.
"Well now you can sit here." He motioned to a desk right in front of his. "And I expect you to put up your hand for everything or you will fail, and if you are late one more time I will never let you back into this class again and you will fail…" I blinked at him stupidly, not understanding how anyone could over react to a person being late once in her life to his class. It was not like I ever did anything else wrong while I was in his class, but it seemed that might have been the exact issue he was having with me.
Nodding my head, making sure to keep it bowed in shame just enough to be believable, I slunk over to my new desk feeling as if my skin was crawling now that I was in clear view of everyone. I liked to watch not be watched. Mr. Snopes was truly a master at humiliation and torture; the Spanish inquisition had missed out by happening hundreds of years too soon.
Sitting on the school steps, I waited for my father to pick me up. Lame I know, but I had a bad habit when driving called crashing. He was late, but considering the day I had so far I had been expecting it. We were in the latter months of the year and so the sun was already setting in a blaze of purple and orange. A color mix that would look horrific if you wore it, and yet was breathtaking when in the sky.
Wrapping my arms around my mid section to keep the chill at bay, I tried to make rings with my breath as I blew it out into the cold air. Apparently this trick only worked with smoke, something that did not stop me from continuing to try. It is oddly quiet for a school at this time of day, and the only reason why I heard the faint sound of crying. Deep inside I knew I would be better off ignoring it. Staying where I was and not getting involved would be the easy thing to do. With a resigned sigh I stood up and looked around, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from exactly.
Walking down the pretentious length of steps, I followed the sound as it got louder with proximity. A gust of wind suddenly blew through my curls, obscuring my sight momentarily as I went to war with my hair. I almost missed the slight rustle of leaves as someone moved from behind a bunch of bushes to my left, as I struggled to push my hair out of my face,
As the wind died down I managed a temporary victory over my hair. No time for a victory dance though, as I walked around the bushes I came up short at the sight of what who was crying. There, in a crumpled heap and with mascara running down her cheeks, sat the queen of pep herself ;South High's very own head cheerleader Stacy Glimack. I honestly had no clue she was capable of tears.
"Umm are you okay?" I asked in a soft squeak. In response her head shot up and she gave me a look of pure hatred. Taken aback, I sucked my bottom lip into my mouth and started to chew on it, not sure how to proceed. I felt too bad to just leave her but it was obvious she did not want me as an audience.
"Are you hurt?" I figured I had to ask, it was the right thing to do after all. At my question all the anger in her dissolved into a fit of tears and I was not sure how to interpret that. Taking a few more steps towards her, I closed the gap between us and crouched down so our faces were level. "Should I go get you some help?" I ask in a hushed tone that was laced with concern.
She only shook her head and asked "could you just... hold me?" in a horse, nearly inaudible voice.
Had I walked into an episode of the twilight zone today? I must have, and yet, there were too many days like this littering my history since moving to this town six years ago, for it all to truly be considered strange. There were very good reasons why I tried to keep a low profile in this place, and wanted to leave it as soon as I could. Despite all of this I found my self compelled to do as she asked.
Awkwardly, I wrapped my arms around her and patted her head, wondering what the hell I was doing. I am not sure how long we stayed like that or why she was out there crying. Only that I wished I was anywhere else but there.