Portrait with a Daffodil

Chapter 3: Daisy

-innocence, youth, gentleness... (Who's being described by these three words?!)

It was Monday, meaning back to school. There is only one thing I look forward to on Mondays – and that is seeing friends. That is not to say that I'm a bad student or that I hate school; I recognize that it is a vital stepping stone in the road called life (can I get cornier?). But since I am in my final year of high school in the final months, we are reaching the point of revising everything we have learned for the past two years. It's good for answering the exam questions of course – but it is boring (and tasteless) as stale bread with all the repetitiveness. That isn't to say that I know everything. I know my basic stuff but that might not get me the marks I need to get into the university and degree that I want.

This is why I cannot be distracted by humiliating experiences and a good-looking guy (according to my hormones) like Luke Rinaldi. Nope! I mean, I wasn't staring at his neat script. Not at all!

...I have learned that it is very hard to lie to yourself...

I jumped when Ella threw my door open. I quickly stuffed Luke's note inside my drawer before scowling at my younger sister.

"What are you doing?!" Ella demanded as I opened my mouth, about to ask her the exact same question. "We're going to be late!"

Oops! "Sorry!" I exclaimed as I quickly grabbed my bag and followed her downstairs.

"Seriously, Cody," Ella said as she quickly got on the passenger side. "You should just let me drive if your mind's always off to a distant galaxy."

"And let you drive my baby?" I demanded as I started my small Mazda. "No way honey! You already crashed it once and just be happy that I'm even letting you learn in it!"

"It was a small tap! There's wasn't even a dent or a scratch!"

We argued the whole way to school. Most people outside the family think that Ella and I actually hate each other's guts and would end up killing each other eventually. What they don't know is that Ella and I would kill for each other. She's my baby sister and anyone who dares to even think about harming a single strand of her hair is going to be in the deepest corner of hell that I am capable of putting them in. Despite all the arguing and complaining, I know that she feels the same way. And although I never voice it out, I think she's the most adorable thing on Earth. To outsiders, she's gorgeous. To me, she will always be cute. It's just plain hard to change how an older sister sees her younger sister.

When we finally reached the school and found a parking spot, she got off and waited patiently as I got out of the car. We then walked to the school together before parting ways at the entrance.

"Have fun at school and don't get into any trouble!" I called, reciting our morning ritual.

"Ditto to you!" she yelled back as she ran off to join her friends.

"Isn't that the greatest display of sisterly love?" a voice behind me commented.

I jumped and spun around. I have no one I consider best friend but if there were someone that would be Ricki.

"I told you to stop doing that," I said as I hit her on the arm. "You know I jump easily at the smallest thing!"

She just grinned cheekily at me. "But it's so amusing to see that face of yours look so scared once in a while." She then threw her arm around my shoulders. "I'm doing you a favour! People don't think you're an ice queen if you don't look untouchable."

"Thanks," I said dryly. I jumped again when she snapped her fingers in front of my face.

"See?" she said a bit too loudly. "See? You, Cody love, should realize that you have a type of face that makes you look fierce if you're not smiling. Your have high eyebrows and you have an intense stare that just plain intimidates people."

"I don't mean to do it," I say weakly. She was right though. Most people find me unapproachable since I look like a snob who raises her eyebrows at anything and everything beneath her – which is everything. I'm really not that type of person! But I can't be smiling all the time just to show people that I'm not how I look like.

"Of course you don't," Ricki said with a flourish of her hand. Out of all of my friends, Ricki is the most outgoing and forward – my exact opposite. I often wish that I was more like her and she certainly tries her best to try and make me more like her. She's also a loyal friend who'll defend you with everything in her. Of course, like all good friends, she'll also point out if it's your fault – and oftentimes, a bit too bluntly. I always think that she's the kind of friend who wants to make her friends better people – even if it hurts them a bit sometimes. I admire and respect that, thus-

"Why are you staring at me as though I'm your salvation?" she demanded with narrowed eyes. But those eyes quickly brightened mischievously and she threw an arm heavily around my shoulders. I gasped at the weight she was suddenly putting on me.

"Darling," she drawled. "You know I flirt with anything on two legs – except kids of course... a girl has to draw the line somewhere – but I don't want things to get complicated between us. I hope you understand."

I shrugged her arm off. "Ha! In your dreams!" I replied with a smirk. "Sorry but I've always preferred green-eyed people. I want a green-eyed baby, you know."

She smirked right back. "There's only one true-green-eyed person in our grade and he will never, if you believe in an eternity, look your way since he doesn't boogie that way-"

"You're taking boogie lessons?" a new voice interjected. "Cody, how come you never mentioned-"

Ricki rolled her eyes and shook her head. Amy glared at her, causing Ricki to laugh and dump that hulk of an arm around Amy's shoulders.

Amy is another of my close friends. She's one of those girls who lives and breathes on gossip. Despite that, she'd rather go to the grave than spill any of her own friends' secrets. Amy's head is also usually up in the clouds; sometimes, she'd just suddenly space out and you have to at least make physical contact with her (i.e. elbow her) before she snaps out of it. A lot of people find her weird because of that but I think everyone has those moments. It's just that Amy has it more often than people...

Amy also tends to enter conversations without warning and because of it, often mistakes what's going on.

"Anyway," Amy said. "We're going to be late for homeroom if we don't get moving."

"Yes, sir," Ricki replied as we walked off together.

The day went on without a hitch. The last period for the day was Physics – a subject I had a love hate-relationship with. The hate relationship stems from the fact that I hated the projects (and the marks) we received. I loved it because despite the difficulty, it is a very interesting subject...

...Plus, my favourite teacher was the one teaching it.

Our teacher, Mr. Churchill, held his left arm out, pulled up his sleeve, brought his arm back closer to himself and stared at his watch. I could just see him counting to ten before...

"Shut up, you cretins!"

The class's attention immediately focused on him. "Hey, Sir!" Everyone chirped.

Yeah, it's the class where the students are verbally abused and the whole class still loved him.

60-year old Mr. Churchill then went around his desk before pushing himself up so that he could sit on it, and started swinging his legs like a 5-year old. I might mention that although he's 60 years of age, he only looks as though he's 55.

"Now, kiddies," he said, looking at each and every one of us. "We have gone through all the topics we need to get through. Is there a particularly hard one that you want to focus on for your revision?"

Everyone was silent for a moment then people started talking amongst themselves about his question.

"What about all the quantum stuff?" one of the guys called out. Without further ado, Mr. Churchill grabbed a piece of chalk and tossed it at the student, who merely grinned cheekily.

"Oh shush, Mr. Reeves," Mr. Churchill said. "You received the highest mark for the mini exam for that section. Go brag to that poor school down the road."

The "poor school down the road" was actually a private and selective high school for high achievers called The Reginald Beauford College of Excellence. They always ranked number one in the whole state – fourth in the country – in terms of student performance. "Poor" is the last thing that school is ever going to be.

"Ah, bitterness," I muttered. Mr. Churchill, however, immediately perked up.

"What was that Miss Cordelia?" he asked, his eyes pinning me. Instead of being intimidated, I straightened up and smirked at him.

"You're just a bitter old man, Sir," I drawled, knowing my grin was getting wider. "Were you rejected more than once?"

"For your information, I never applied," Mr. Churchill said, thrusting his nose up in the air. "All those poor fresh-graduates can fight for a spot there. An experienced mind such as mine is always up for the challenge of teaching you cretins."

Everyone "oooohheed" and snickered until he jumped of the desk and began writing on the board. Everyone readily pulled their books out.

Mr. Churchill was one of the most easygoing teachers in our school although he's strict when he needs to be. He's also a clown of a teacher – eccentric but highly entertaining. Sometimes I think he's almost one of us despite the huge age difference. He has told me once that he's always been a kid at heart but he can easily put on that air of an adult whenever he needed to get down to business.

Not too soon later, the bell rang, signalling the end of the school day. As always, no one wasted time or lingered. I always take my camera out at the end of the day just in case I suddenly saw something interesting – a moment I could capture forever. And as I walked towards the school gates, I was not disappointed... Rather, I was disappointed but not because of not seeing anything picture-perfect.

A young couple – I knew they were in the grade below mine – sat by a bench under the shade of the tree a few feet away from the school entrance. As with all young couples, they were completely and utterly enamoured with one another. The guy had his arms wrapped around the girl, who was staring up at him with a soft smile on her face. They then began kissing chastely – more like gentle pecks than a full-blown kiss – and kept on murmuring words between kisses. The girl looked away as she pulled out her phone and the guy turned his attention to her neck, burying his face-

"Cody!" I jumped and turned to Ricki and Amy. It was, of course, Ricki who had yelled out. "What is with that distant – dare I say longing – look on your face?"

I instantly felt warmer. "Nothing," I muttered. "I'm just envious."

"Not jealous?" Ricki asked with a wink. I gave her a frown.

"I'm sorry but I will never go for someone younger than me," I said firmly, holding my nose up in the air. "I will never be a cougar or a paedophile."

"Cody, he's only a year younger than you," Amy pointed out dryly.

"I don't care if he was only 11 months younger," I insisted. "It's just... wrong. Besides, he's not my type."

"Oh! Oh!" Ricki exclaimed gleefully. "So you have a type now, eh, Cody? Come on, do tell!"

"Yeah, tell," Amy echoed with a snicker.

Actually, I didn't have a specific type and-

Why the heck did Luke Rinaldi just appear in my head?!

No waaaaayyy is he my type!

I mean, he had brown hair- "I like guys with black hair..." –brown eyes – "...green eyes..." –angular jaw line – "...a square jaw..." –lean figure – "...well-built..."

Basically, the opposite of Luke Rinaldi.

"Basically the opposite of-" OH wait... I wasn't meant to say that part out loud.

"The opposite of what?" Ricki asked in confusion.

"Speaking of the guys you like," Amy began slyly. I winced.

Even Ricki looked at her warily.

Amy is a good, nice, demure model of a girl. That means that whenever she suddenly becomes sly, it's either Ricki or I is in trouble OR the rest of the world is in trouble.

"Your sister has a boyfriend," she sang happily.

I quickly perked up. "Ella?!" I demanded. "Who's the bastard who's calling himself her boyfriend without asking for her hand-"

"Jeez!" Ricki exclaimed. "You're making it sound as though he's eloped with her!"

"But," I somewhat whined. "I don't want her to get deflowered!"

Ricki – Ricki – gave me a disbelieving look. "Dude, what do you think of your sister?"

"But-" I began to protest. "But isn't that what young people do these days?"

Ricki – Ricki – threw her hands up in the air. "Stop acting like you're in your freaking sixties, woman!"

I began grinning... I was the only one I know who could frustrate Ricki like this.

"You imp!" she boomed before proceeding to tackle me. Thank goodness for the bench behind me!

"Stop manhandling me, you beast!" I yelled then she began digging her fingers at my sides, making me laugh hysterically.

"Stop talking like you're from the 1800's!" she retorted.

"Anyway," Amy said loudly, as she tried to compete with my laughter. "If you're really curious, he doesn't go to this school."

"W-Where-haha! Ricki, stop it!- is he from th-then?" I was then lost in my laughing.

"Oh, you know," she said lightly. "The school down the road..."

Ricki's fingers never stopped as she looked at Amy. "You mean the old The Reginald Beauford College of Excellence?" She said the last part in her own imitation of a posh English accent.

"Uh-huh," Amy said slowly. Her devil-may-care attitude was making me even more suspicious. "I took a photo of them together. Want to see?"

Ricki yelped in surprise as I pushed her off me before I ran to Amy and looking over her shoulder at her mobile phone.

Amy had taken a shot from somewhere higher than my sister. I could tell that Ella was just over the fence. I could only see the side of her face but I immediately saw that she was smiling. Her smile wasn't also the normal flirting smile she had. It was the "flirting-to-get-him-for-keeps" kind of flirty smile, meaning she was interested in him!

But that wasn't what caused my jaw to drop and for me to take a step back.

It was the guy.

It was Luke!

A/N: I'm soooooo sorry for posting this up late! I've been REALLY busy with university! Hopefully, people like this chapter!

Girlwithideas – Haha! That's great! I really wanted Cody to be someone likable, and someone people can relate to! I hope you liked this chapter!

Fallingpanicamore002 – Well, Cody's not a complete expert on photography so don't expect her to get technical! She basically has a digital camera, which is "photograph for dummies" 'coz you just click! =P

AbbySomebody – I just LOVE your reviews!!! =D I'm glad you like Luke so far! He doesn't make much of an appearance in this chapter though, except for that last bit about being in the photo with Ella. I am hoping that Cody is hilarious because I myself love reading about characters who aren't too serious or have a very sunny disposition... You can bet that she'll see him again! =D

E. Kryza – Well, Ricki explains in this chapter why. She's just one of those people who physically looks like snobs. I'm sure you've met some people like that. I certainly have met a number of people who look scary but are, in fact, very nice people. Cody is just one of those. Although of course, more about this will be elaborated on later in the story!

Jayjack – Haha! Yeah, Cody is a good and understanding girl! She's also quite forgiving! I wouldn't be too quick to forgive my mom in that situation as well! Hope you liked this chapter!

Thanks for all the reviews!

R. D. Joli