Part 1 – Crumbling
I rolled over and smacked my hand against the button on top of the clock, shutting off the radio alarm.
Ugh. I hated Mondays.
The only good thing about Mondays, or any school day for that matter, was the chance to see my girlfriend Tammy.
I felt like the luckiest guy in the world to have her; she was gorgeous, with shining copper hair streaked with gold in the sunlight, emerald eyes, a creamy complexion and a body to die for.
She was hot, and she was mine.
I walked through the school gates with my backpack slung over my shoulder.
I spotted her right away, over by the drinking fountains with her two best friends, Emma and Brigitte.
She was looking especially hot in a blue turtleneck sweater, shiny white sneakers and a pair of blue jeans that hugged her hips and long, slender legs perfectly.
She had permed her hair, which now hung around her shoulders like a fluffy golden mane.
She turned when she spotted me, but her face didn't light up the way it usually did, and she didn't come running over to tackle me in a playful bear hug.
"Hey, Tam." I greeted her. "I'll pick you up at seven on Wednesday night, 'kay?"
"Wed--oh, right, our anniversary. Jake, I need to talk to you about that."
She took me by the hand and led me away from her two friends, into a quiet corner behind the toilet blocks.
"Jake...I don't quite know how to say this, but...I don't think we should see each other anymore."
It was my turn to blink.
"I'm afraid I just don't feel the same way about you as I used to."
"What is it, Tam? What did I do?" I fought back tears. "Tell me, I'll fix it, I promise."
"You haven't done anything." She said. "It's just...people have a certain...image of me, and I've got to keep that up. I just...don't see us together in that image, I guess."
"You're dumping me so you can be popular, is that it?" The sadness was now rage, boiling inside me. "You'd rather be popular than be with a social screw-up like me?"
"I'm sorry, Jake." She said quietly. "I've...moved on."
"Who is he?"
"The new guy. Who is he?"
She lowered her head.
"David Cooper." She said quietly.
"The jock. Why does that not surprise me?"
She didn't reply.
She slowly looked up at me, her emerald eyes glittering.
"I'm sorry, Jacob."
She turned to walk away, but I grabbed her shoulder and turned her around to face me.
"Fuck you." I hissed, my voice low, venomous, frightening. "Fuck you and all the time I wasted on you."
She opened her mouth to spit a nasty retort at me, but I turned on my heel and left to track down Cooper.
I found him on the track, as usual, practicing with his teammates.
He was big, at least six foot, with broad shoulders, shaggy blonde hair, blue eyes and a thick, muscular body with a tan so golden it had to be a spray-on.
I hailed him over, almost positive I could take him.
"Who said you could mosey in on my girl, Goliath?" I growled.
"She told you, did she?" He scoffed. "Don't get all cut up over it, okay? It's nothing personal. I guess she just came to her senses, that's all. Realised she had to find herself a real man."
I lunged at him.
I felt warm blood trickle over my knuckles as they connected with his mouth.
He bellowed like a wounded animal, clasping his hands over his bloodied lips.
He swung a hand out and caught the left side of my face; no doubt there would be a black eye in a day or two.
His left foot swung and connected with my ankles, flipping them out from under me.
I fell, thudding into the track.
I scrambled to my feet and came at him again, head butting him in the gut.
Winded, he collapsed and I kicked at every part of him I could get at.
Two of his buddies hauled me off of him as he lay on the ground, bleeding badly.
A third ran off, presumably to find a teacher.
I didn't care. I stood where his two friends held me, glaring at Cooper, my black hair hanging in my face.
Cooper tried to get up but I kicked him again, knocking him back down.
Seconds later, Principal Sharp was there, hollering at me.
"Take your stuff and get out, Moresby!" He bellowed. "You're no longer welcome at this school!"
I threw the other two off me, picked up my backpack and left.
As I passed Tammy and her friends, I swooped in close enough to whisper to her.
"You'll regret this. You all will."
Then, I headed home.
My parents were waiting for me.
"Expelled!" My mother shrieked. "What in God's name were you thinking?"
"You're lucky you weren't arrested!" My father roared. "I hope that boy's parents sue your ass off!"
I hurled my backpack at him (damn, it missed) and ran upstairs.
Instead of going to my room, I stormed down the hall into my parent's bedroom.
Their wardrobe was open, and I knew exactly what I was looking for and where to find it.
I lifted the box down, carefully, and pried open the padlock with the key that my Dad had very stupidly forgotten to hide in a more secure place.
I took out the .38 Colt Cobra and stroked the shiny black barrel affectionately.
"Just you and me, now, buddy." I whispered to it. "I need you to help me with something. Something very important."
I pocketed it, hunted through my parents' room until I found where my dad kept his shells, and slipped back downstairs and out the back door.
I took the revolver out of my pocket, loaded it, and took aim.
I wasn't worried about the neighbours, my Dad was a licensed marksman so they were used to the sounds of him practicing.
I wasn't worried about my parents, either. I was already up shit creek with them, so one more little slip up didn't matter.
My finger tensed on the trigger and pulled.
There was little recoil, and the bullet slammed into the target dead-on.