If Looks Could Kill

Ellie LaTraille

Part One.

The halls were newly cleaned with the fresh scent of ammonia. Footsteps resounded in the emptiness. The creaking of a metal door opening; hinges moaning warily; then some rummaging around.

Then silence.

The creaking sounded once again, and the door shut. It was a locker door, and when it shut, it let an echo into the thick silence of the hall.

More silence.

All of a sudden, separate footsteps approached; quicker, more rapid footsteps, hurriedly. As they drew nearer, they accelerated with every step. Faster and faster…soon, they were running down the lengthy hall in a frenzy…

"JEREMY!" the voice to whom the first set of footsteps belonged called to the other in delight.

In return, he shouted her name, although they had known each other for what seemed like forever—their whole lives. Firm hands grasped her slim waist and lifted her relatively short frame to meet his taller one in a quick embrace. "Dakota!"

Jeremy set the spunky red-head down and mussed up her hair playfully. "Hey!" she cried, long, slender fingers attempting to grasp his, preventing them, from further mussing her already unruly hair. Finally, he gave in and discontinued the hair-ruining game, his tall frame making Dakota's average figure seem diminutive. He swept a bit of his own hair from his eyes, revealing soft grey orbs, and stepped back to obtain a good look at her.

To him, she appeared to be pretty. She had blossomed, since the last time he had laid eyes on her, into a girl with the appearance of a young woman—she was fifteen now, growing into her body, her curves becoming more defined. Clear, translucent, ocean-blue eyes bore into his own silvery-grey orbs, mystifying him. Shiny, dark red hair cascaded over her shoulders, the slight wave even more accentuating her newly-found developing body. Full lips further decorated her china-doll face, topped off with a mischievous button nose. She had soft features, though her demeanour was tomboyish and playful. A light yellow sweater embraced her torso; blue, fitted jeans shielded her average-length legs from the slight breeze outside. At the moment, her eyes were filled with laughter, with no intention of allowing this young man standing beside her to be hurt in any way, shape, or form.

Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ears, Dakota studied him as well. Laughter filled his grey eyes also, the laughter than almost never failed to reside there. He was broad-shouldered, athletically built; calm, but relatively quiet. Jeremy was the puzzle that Dakota could never solve, much to her distaste, though it kept her intrigued. She lost patience with him often, though it never kept her from keeping their friendship. They were almost polar opposites, like hot and cold, with her neverending temper and his boundless patience.

Jeremy was nice-looking: he was blessed with fine, soft, dark brown hair and soft grey eyes, which both equally contrasted against his mild skin tone; very attractive, indeed, though Dakota had been down that path before with him—he had attempted to date her when she was thirteen and he was fourteen, though their clashing personalities had gotten them into a pointless fight (one of the few times he actually lost his patience), then decided that the relationship was much too strenuous, and that they were better off friends. It was awkward, and it was simply more natural this way; it was a mutual agreement.

He was now sixteen (and she fifteen), still good friends with her, and he was now dating another girl, Sadie.

She, however, was single as could be, though she minded not. In all actuality she much preferred it this way.

She was about to open her mouth to say something, probably to ask about his summer, to break the silence. However, at that moment, a new student—a stranger—came up behind Dakota gruffly and shoved her gently aside. More people were beginning to fill the hallway by this time, so Dakota's grunts as she fell to the floor went inaudible to most everyone—except, that is, Jeremy, who immediately stuck out his right hand to give her assistance and pulled her back on her feet—Jeremy shot a glare at the newcomer for pushing down his best friend.

As the rush of students washed around them to the other end of the hallway, the stranger stuffed his books in the bottom part of Dakota's locker. The red-head had her mouth gaping open, expression aghast, disbelieving her senses at the appearance, impression, and nerve of the boy that was so uncouth. A creak and a metallic clank announced the shutting of the locker door, and the stranger turned to the expectant (and quite offended) faces of Jeremy Scandovitch and Dakota Gemeni, both annoyed, both pointedly awaiting an explanation.

He donned unnaturally iridescent blue eyes, at the moment seemingly cold and grey, the colour entrancing Dakota (and temporarily distracting her from the rudeness at hand). She knew only one other person who had those eyes—her deceased cousin, Adam, the only person who she had ever trusted completely. When he died, her heart and trust died as well…and she gained something, too—that which shall remain unspeakable.

The newcomer's eyes locked with hers as well, sending a shiver down her spine. They were so deep, though an opaque blue, and appeared to have experienced some sort of dreadful pain. Dakota knew that pain. She had, after all, undergone trauma of the same level herself, and now was indifferent about the entire thing, though at the time her depressed self was weaving through an emotional labyrinth. She had never really vented about Adam's death, appearing jaunty and cheerful to anyone who crossed her path, and she was surprised at her own mobility and her ability to continue on with her life.

As the adage flows, "Life goes on…"

Dakota never fully acquiesced with this statement. Rather, she definitely had not accepted it since Adam's loss (which she denied with every fibre of her being). From simply looking into the newcomer's eyes, she had begun to get lost. Time seemed to halt, freezing the moment like a meticulous ice cube that was defiant, insisting on not melting. The time was such an ice cube, frozen and cool, as were the eyes of the boy standing in front of her, the ones in which she had gotten lost…

"Excuse me," were the first words that the speechless girl heard out of his mouth. She shivered, the chill making its way from her spine to her manifold personality. Perhaps she was receiving some sort of malady, some sort of illness that could not be cured, perchance a cold. Her heart fluttered slightly, though she was oblivious as to the elucidation. His voice played a lyrical, almost poetic, tune. It was soothing, a rich baritone that caused her heart to melt, then freeze up again.

However, these two simple words were not kind, despite their poetic sound. In fact, Dakota detected a hint of iciness in them that, she notised, matched his eyes. The relatively petite girl didn't know whether to be offended or confused—his words were polite, but his actions seemed to be quite in the opposite direction. And so, Dakota decided to, temporarily, remain neutral.

Dakota stared at the stranger, her face assuming a poker-playing position, so that the emotion was undetectable. Without twitching in the slightest, the red-head asked steadily, "What are you doing?"

The stranger appeared somewhat amused by the simple question. As if it was perfectly obvious, he replied, "This is my locker as well, half-wit." As she could in his yes, Dakota could now detect a hint of good-natured something in his voice that wasn't there before. That trace of a "something" was all she needed in order to know that he was kidding about the 'half-wit' part. The change in his attitude startled Dakota, but she only relaxed and let her guard down the slightest bit, still cautious and aware.

Looking back and forth between his best friend and the stranger, Jeremy was rather skeptical. What, exactly, was this guy trying to do? Insult her? Flirt with her? In all honesty, he was rather confused on the other boy's intentions as well as on what he himself was supposed to say, so he said the first thing to spring into his mind in order to fill the new silence (not even considering not saying anything at all), though he didn't notice that Dakota had said the same thing simultaneously (though with less hostility): "Who are you?"

Jeremy actually didn't care who the newcomer was; but Dakota seemed not to know what to say, and neither did the puzzling, unsmiling newcomer, but neither of them seemed to want to leave. Hence, it was inevitable that something was said.

Moving his eyes for the first time to seemingly rest on Jeremy, the mysterious stranger gave a slight snort. "Wouldn't you like to know?" he asked in a pompous manner that Jeremy fore-heard in his mind, looking back at the girl. Dakota merely looked at him for a moment, deciding to spare him. Still, no one got away with sarcastic remarks to Jeremy.

Tuning out her surroundings, the girl stared at him for but a few seconds. All of a sudden, the newcomer began to choke, and a droplet of blood fell from his nose and onto the ground, the sound seeming to echo in the still-deserted hallway. Time slowed for a blatant second, then sped up to normal once again suddenly as the stranger stopped choking and the droplet soaked into the hallway linoleum, completely disappearing after flashing a Korean character imprint in it at Dakota. It was as if nothing had ever happened. It seemed that it could have been…invisible, seemingly, to no one, since no one actually saw it occur, even though it was probably more visible to people now that the crowd had started to thin out once more.

"Jonathan Weiss," she announced coolly, looking back up at the newcomer. There was not even the slightest hint of doubt playing in her voice.

Coughing one last time to rid himself of the choking sensation that had suddenly overcome him and left him in what felt like the same instant, the now-half-frightened, -half-impressed stranger stared blankly into Dakota's now-steely ice-coloured eyes.

She gave a somewhat triumphant smirk, closed the locker door shut, and began to walk away with her head held high.

But the stranger—Jonathan—stopped her, and she felt his hand on her shoulder before he spoke. "Wait. Who are you and how did you do that?"

Dakota simply gave a rueful laugh, not turning around. The blond-haired boy was letting his guard down. Looking at his hand on her shoulder, eyebrow arching into her hairline at the fact that doing this was someone she had barely met and didn't even know her name, the red-head took his hand and placed it by his side. As much as he resembled Adam, Jonathan had barely even met Dakota for three minutes. Still, she liked playing mind games with him.

A challenging smirk played on the corners of her lips. "Wouldn't you like to know?"