Warning: Language! (Rated T for a reason)

Chapter Three

The rest of the day sort of went like that. I spent half of my class time wondering why I was even alive; the rest, I dreamt of Mason.

It's silly, really. To be so mesmerized with a guy who I didn't really know, who I shouldn't really care about. I wasn't ever supposed to feel like this. I wasn't supposed to care. And yet… I did. What was wrong with me?

Okay, you're probably rolling your eyes. "You have a crush," you'd say. "You're a teenager. It just works like that." Okay, I get the whole science of hormones and growing up and all of that crap, but you don't get it. This is me we're talking about. I don't "fall in love"- in fact, I don't love at all. I don't believe it in. But then again, with my influences, how am I supposed to?

Let's just say, those are thoughts that I'd rather not dwell on.

So, anyway, I basically flunked my history test, not to mention that I missed the whole chemistry assignment. And all of this was because I couldn't get a certain boy out of my head. Not to mention the fact that I seemed to be swimming in my own personal vat of depression.

You must be scoffing at me again. "Why don't you just take your damn medicine?" Well, why don't you just shut your damn mouth! You don't know what it's like; you don't know what those little pills of lithium can do. Unless you're like me- unless you're bipolar too. Maybe then you can understand my struggle with them.

I've heard lots of stories, where the benefits outweigh all of the detriments. But to me? I think not. Is it so wrong that I'm afraid that I'm going to gain weight? I mean, not only that, but some of the less severe effects of the drug is vomiting, soreness, and the tiredness. Lithium is kind of like a sedative- it makes you want to sleep your life away, because you're too exhausted to do much else. And let's not forget the weakness. I'll be so… pathetic, if I start taking my pills. I can't risk the weakness. I can't live with vulnerability.

Besides, I've told you about what they do. The hollowness they leave behind, the emptiness that creeps inside of you and overtakes you. It's a strange sort of levelness; it's like an alright numbness, a sense of nothing that tells you that you're okay. But I hate it- I feel like one of those wooden puppets with those smiles painted on. Everyone can do what they want with me, but I don't really care. I can't really feel it. And, while I look real enough on the outside, on the inside, there's nothing there.

I'd rather feel that be like that; I'd rather be a human on a rollercoaster of horrifying emotions than a puppet that can do nothing for herself. I'd take my manic depression over the warm numbness of my pills any day.

"Jacey… Pssst. Ja-acey…"

"Hm?" I said, hardly paying attention.

"Miss Marten."

I glanced up. "Mr. Green."

The blond boy in front of me grinned. "Welcome to earth, Marten."

I quirked an eyebrow at him. "Go to hell, Green."

The boy laughed. "You're such a card, do you know that?"

I sighed, massaging my temples. "Listen, Alex, I'm not up for your usual dumb ass, douche bag self today, okay?"

Alex Green raised his eyebrows, his blue eyes giving me a quizzical look. "Not in a good mood?" he guessed.

I gave him a sardonic look. "No," I said sarcastically. "That couldn't be it."

He rolled his eyes. "You can be a bitch, do you know that?"

I gave him a hard look. "And you're an asshole."

Alex opened his mouth to say something more, but was interrupted by another voice. "Miss Marten, Mr. Green, care to inform the class about what's more important than your studies?"

Marco and I both glanced up to the front of the room, where our teacher, along with the rest of the class, was watching us expectantly.

Marco gave me a quick grin before turning back around in his seat. "Why, of course, Mr. Berger," he said, addressing our teacher. "I was just telling Jacey here how lovely she was looking today."

I snorted, rolling my eyes. Against my better judgment, I spoke up. "And I was just telling Alex about how completely gay he looks right now."

I saw Lyra smirk from her place at the front of the room, giving me a thumbs up.

Mr. Berger, though, was not as impressed. "Miss Marten, Mr. Green, please leave your flattery for after class, alright?"

"Whatever you say, Mr. Berger," Alex said, and though I couldn't see his face, I could hear the laughter in his voice.

God, I wanted to strangle that kid.

It's kind of been that way from when I first met him in second grade. He had put worms in my lunchbox, so I pushed him off of the jungle gym. As a result, I had been afraid to eat my lunch for months, he had suffered a broken arm, and we had formed this strange, mutual understanding of each other. I really didn't understand it myself, but I couldn't deny that it was there.

As I tried to pay attention to Mr. Berger's lecture, I heard a light plop on my desk. I looked down to see a perfectly folded note sitting on my desk, yet when I looked up to see who had given it to me, everyone seemed engrossed in the lecture. Not that I didn't know anyway.

I unfolded the note quietly, trying my best not to attract the teacher's attention in doing so. When it was straightened flat on my desktop, I tried my best to read the almost illegible writing:

Hey Marten. So, you think I look gay, eh? Like… happy or something?

I sighed, grabbing my pencil. I didn't really feel like doing this today, but what could I say- I always ended up regretting what I did on manic days. And, because I was so friendly to the point of flirty with him during my highs, I just had to endure it as best as I could on my depressive days.

No, Green, I started to write. Gay, like homosexual?

I slipped it under his arm from behind, managing to stab him with my pencil in the process. He jumped slightly, but otherwise didn't react.

Yes, I could be a real bitch during my worst days. Denying that would be nothing less of a crime.

Only moments later, the note was sitting on my desk again. I unfolded it an read:

First of all- for a girl with an actual gay friend, you sure do use that term loosely. Secondly: Why the hell did you stab me?

I smirked- suddenly, I wasn't feeling quite so bad. I took my pencil and sketched my words across the notebook paper.

Dominique wouldn't care whether I used the term loosely or not. At least I don't treat him like he has some rare disease. And I stabbed you with the pencil because I don't like you.

I slipped the note onto his desk when Mr. Berger's back was to the board, then resumed my bored position of pretending to care about what we were supposedly learning.

When the note was back on my desk a few minutes later, I read his witty reply with a roll of my eyes:

Fuck you, Marten.

I tucked the note into my pocket, knowing that there was no more to say. That was just how Alex and I worked- we fought, we insulted each other, we complimented each other, and in the end, I didn't really know where we stood with each other. Sometimes, I was kind of glad that I didn't.

"Miss Marten, do you mind summarizing this chapter in your own words?"

I glanced up at the teacher, obviously perplexed. I took a deep breath and scanned my psychology textbook, which was flipped open to a random page to prevent suspicion, then looked back up at the teacher. "Um… I'm sorry, Mr. Berger. Alex's big head was blocking my view to the board, so I didn't really get to write down much of what you put up there."

A few of my classmates snickered; Alex turned around to glare at me, though I saw the corners of his mouth twitch up. Mr. Berger wasn't quite as amused. "Miss Marten," he said, letting a small sigh escape his mouth. "Do you need to visit Ms. Delores?"

Ms. Delores was our vice principal. She gave out all the punishments. She looked like a Barbie doll, prim and beautiful and completely plastic, but don't let that fool you- she was one hardcore woman, to say the least.

"Um, no thanks," I replied eventually.

"Then stop with the mouth," Mr. Berger replied. "Okay, so your projects will be due next week. Don't forget, and don't slack. Your grade depends on it."

I clicked my tongue at that. I guess it was bad that we had some important assignment due and I wasn't even aware of it, but I knew I could just ask Lyra after class. Mr. Berger had purposely isolated her at the front of the room, away from all the guys in our class- even he could see just how distracted she got if there was a good-looking guy within speaking distance. It was a total letdown for her, but it was obvious that it was actually helping- her grade had improved, and she was actually starting to understand what was going on in the class.

The bell rang and I shut my textbook, grabbing my bag from the floor and slinging in over my shoulder. Alex turned to me, bowing slightly. "Until tomorrow, my love?" he asked, grinning cheekily.

"Unfortunately," I sighed, but I couldn't suppress my smile- I was suddenly feeling great, better than before.

"I'll be sure to bring flowers," he said as I walked past him.

"Whatever you say," I called over my shoulder.

Did I mention that this whole faux romantic thing was part of our strange relationship, too? It probably had to do with how he asked me to marry him back in second grade, right before I pushed him off of the playground. I guess old habits really are hard to break.

I took my place beside Lyra as I waited for her to gather her things.. "Ready to go home?" I asked her.

"Yeah," she said, slinging her bag over her shoulder. "I promised Dominique that we'd meet him at his locker, though."

"Alright, then," I said with a smile as we made our way out of the psychology room.

Lyra glanced at me. "So," she said, changing the subject. "That outburst in class was pretty interesting."

"Alex was being a douche," I replied.

Lyra grinned. "A dead sexy one."

I elbowed her in the arm lightly. "Please," I said. "Don't use 'Alex' and 'sexy' in the same sentence unless you want me vomiting up my lunch."

"Oh, come on," she replied. "He's not that bad! He's delicious, not to mention he's totally been drooling over you since second grade."

"Drooling," I said a bit distastefully. "Are you talking about the time he put worms in my lunch? Or when he pulled my skirt down in front of the whole school during an assembly? Or when he gave me a black eye when we played dodge ball?"

Lyra rolled her eyes. "For guys, those are all, like, compliments. Terms of endearment. Ways of saying, 'hey, I'm a prepubescent boy, and I want to marry you someday.'"

I raised my eyebrows at my friend. "You have the weirdest logic," I said after a moment.

"And you can't see what's staring you in the face," she retorted.

"What's staring at her face?"

My friend and I turned to look at the guy who was now standing beside us. I swear, he was the definition of tall, dark, and handsome, with his raven hair and tan skin.

"Oh, I was just trying to tell dear Jacey here about how Alex Green wants her to have his babies," she said casually. "Right, Jace?"

I choked slightly, then laughed. "Whatever you say, Lyra," was all I said.

"You know, Alex is pretty damn hot," Dominique said after a moment.

"You aren't helping," I muttered.

Dominique merely shrugged. "Just stating a fact."

I sighed. Alex wasn't joking about Dominique- he really was gay. He had come out of the closet two years prior, though he still had yet to tell his family about it. From how he made it seem, his father was a huge homophobe.

The three of us began to walk home together, and I felt like skipping. "So," I said without thinking, speaking in a sing-song way. "Guess who I ran into today!"

"Who?" Dominique asked, though he didn't sound very interested.

I paused, wondering if I should even bother bringing it up. "Mason Carnegee!" I cried after a moment.

Lyra stopped walking suddenly, grabbing my arm and pulling me back. "Woah woah woah!" she said. "Wait, what now?"

I grinned. "Mason Carnegee," I repeated.

Dominique raised his eyebrows at me. "Black hair, dark-eyed Mason Carnegee?" he questioned me.

"The unattainable, hotter-than-life Mason Carnegee?!" Lyra asked, her face seeming to be frozen into a mask of shock.

"Um, yeah…" I said slowly, then grinned. "I'm pretty sure there's only one guy with that name at our school."

Lyra suddenly smiled, her face lighting up. "Get out!" she cried, hitting me on the shoulder.

I beamed. "I'm serious! Right before English class!"

"What happened?" Dominique asked.

"Nothing much," I admitted. "I just ran into him, and he made me stay there until I apologized and told him my name. That's all…"

"That's all?" Lyra basically screamed. "Jace, that's a step up from what most girls get!"

I couldn't suppress my smile. "I know," I admitted. "But, fortunately for me, I'm probably never going to run into him again!"

Lyra's face fell. "What?" she asked, giving me a confused look. "How is that a good thing?"

"No reason," I lied, then pulled on my two friends' hands. "Come on! Let's get going!"

Dominique and Lyra exchanged a glance that I probably wasn't meant to see, but did anyway. Then Lyra shrugged. "Why not," she said, then skipped up beside me. "But oh my god, I have to tell you about what Hunter Gordman did today!"

"Alright," I said, smiling at my friend.

"Okay, so anyway, he was sitting there, and-"

I glanced at Dominique, who rolled his eyes. Gay or not, he had never been interested in me and Lyra's boy talks.

As I tried and failed miserably to pay attention to Lyra's words, my mind slowly drifted away. I was entering my highs, I could feel it- it was in the way I felt like laughing, the way every breath seemed to make me higher and higher. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, or sing my heart out to the world. I wanted to dance, for some odd reason- I just wanted to do something.

By the time we made it to my house, I hadn't even processed one word Lyra had said, but to me, it didn't matter- I was already a thousand feet off the ground.

Author's Note: Okay... Sorry if it's not that great... I just wrote it up, and didn't have too long to edit through it. So there will definitely be some mistakes. Just tell me if you catch any, please! I was writing this at 2 in the morning the other day, and characters I never intended to even put in here just happened to pop up. Wow... I just made this so much more complicated than it was originally supposed to be :). Sorry for that!

Anyway, thanks for anyone who has read and reviewed! You guys are very much appreciated.

So, tell me what you think?