"Laylie!" I heard a familiar voice call from far behind me. I stopped abruptly, interrupting the flow of corridor traffic, in turn extricating various grunts and sighs of annoyance. I resisted the urge to just keep moving at a snail's pace for shits n gigs and expertly moved off to the side. It was the start of my senior year at Warmsley High and I guess you could say 'just being excited' was an indefinite understatement. Being a senior at Warmsley was everything to anyone who was anyone. I mean, sure it's a big thing at most schools, but at Warmsley, it's more than just a 'big thing.' At Warmsley, when you're a senior at this school, you're not only a big thing in this school, but you're big at Blacksley, Tuck, Jaded and Terra Sancta, the surrounding high schools in our areas. It didn't matter if you were in the 'in' crowd, the 'out' crowd or the upside down crowd. Attending Warmsley was a privilege and honor that everyone cherished and appreciated and most of the time, abused. Not me, though. Okay, maybe sometimes, but that's beside the point.
So what makes Warmsley so amazing in comparison to the others?
Blacksley had an atrocious name, so it just couldn't be the best of the best and besides, it was only really known for Black Friday back in 18BC when the whole population died because of fire or something, so that was depressing.
Tuck, I don't know why that wasn't chosen. I think the two representatives of their school were douche bags, so they were just automatically excluded.
Jaded High, well, the name is very relevant in relation to the types of students that attend there. I'm sure you can figure that one out, no?
Terra Sancta was in the middle of nowhere and a co-ed catholic school so that was definitely a no-go. God wouldn't appreciate half the things that went on at that school.
Warmsley however, was perfect. There were beaches, babes, hunks and perfect weather; even better company if you ask me, and with the square-like shape the four other schools created, Warmsley was smack dab in the middle. It only made sense that at the First Leadership camp between our four schools that Warmsley would rule.
"We're seniors!" A warm, excited voice whispered huskily in my ear from behind me before turning me swiftly and embracing me tightly, lifting me up off the ground.
I grinned maniacally, "I know!" I squealed, clinging back to him just as fiercely.
He placed me back down and held me at arm's length examining me closely. He furrowed his eyebrows and proceeded to spin me slowly. He released his hold and looked me up and down curiously. Goose pimples prickled my skin nervously, "You did something." He sufficed.
"Oh, did I now?" I teased, cheekily.
"You did. But I can't quite put my finger on it." He growled. "Tell me."
I gave him a look and he rolled his eyes, "Please?" he pouted.
"Worked out all holidays, highlights in my hair," I said, ticking them off on my fingers, stopping to think about number three, "oh and new eyeliner: makes my eyes POP!" I mimicked the sale's lady at the mall who sold me on it. A thirty dollar, five centimeter bottle of liquid eyeliner, I shuddered at the thought.
"Ohhh, sexy." He said gruffly, winking mischievously.
I sniffed hard, refusing to let the blush appear on my cheeks. Before he had any chance to notice though he continued on, "I'm so tired!" he moaned loudly, causing people to peer curiously at us as we passed, "I mean, I'm excited and all, but I'm so tired!" he repeated, "I'm just unbelievably – "
"Tired." I deadpanned, interrupting him, "I got it."
He laughed at me and shoved my shoulder lightly, pushing me into the person next to me, who in turn went flying into a locker.
"Caelan!" I growled, annoyed, "Now look what you did." I huffed shooting him a menacing glare, before hurriedly walking over to the person I'd bumped into.
"Hey, I'm so sorry! I was just messing around with my friend and he got a bit carried away and now I'm here apologizing for something he started and it's not my fault but me being me felt like I should come apologize for my ape of a best friend's actions and…and…and…I'm so sorry!" I breathed, helping him up.
An unfamiliar face, I noted. That was something new. We all kind of grew up together, so it was a strange occurrence to see a new face. Who in their right mind would move to this place? Sure a lot of people came, but usually only for holidays and stuff, this isn't a 'settle down and make babies' location. As I studied him, quite obviously, he chuckled a bit and ran a hand haggardly through his lengthy black hair, before scratching the back of his neck. The light pink blush that spread across his face like wildfire, definitely did not escape me, "S'okay," he grinned.
I grinned back, standing there awkwardly.
"Hey, are you new here?"
I didn't realize Caelan would be waiting, I should of; his distraction was welcomed warmly.
"Yeah." He straightened up, confidently meeting Caelan's inquisitive gaze head-on, shaking his hand hard, all traces of his previous nervous system gone. Huh. Must be a male thing.
After sizing him up, Caelan released his hand and smiled warmly, patting him on the back in a friendly manner, "Well then, welcome to Warmsley!" he exclaimed, "I'm Caelan, hunk of sexy man and this here is my best friend, Layelle, smart ass extraordinaire." The new kid's eyes met mine and he grinned at me amused.
I rolled my eyes at my best friend, "Really Caelan? That's a bit of an exaggeration, if we're talking about you, it's more of a, "Dumb-ass jock whose only just passing classes and couldn't get a girl in bed if he was the last man alive.' I said off-handedly.
He wasn't affected, "See? Smart ass;" He grinned, pointing a thumb at me, "And I'm not 'just passing' classes, I'll have you know, I'm excelling in physical education." He said defensively, "And I can get a girl – many actually – I'm not even exaggerating that one and you know it." He directed the last part of that sentence to me and I rolled my eyes.
"Well, maybe if you stopped studying the female anatomy, you'd be excelling in more than physical education, huh?" I suggested as we continued our playful banter.
I completely forgot we had a new audience though and noticed new guys amused eyes flicking back and forth between us.
"So anyway," I exclaimed loudly, interrupting whatever it was Caelan was about to say, "what was your name, new boy?"
He chortled before replying with a, "Its Case."
"Well, nice to meet you man, play any sports?" Caelan asked eagerly.
Before Case could reply though, two similar and familiar heads popped up in front of us.
"Hi!" They exclaimed loudly.
"Hey guys," Caelan and I both replied, smiling fondly.
Their eyes slid to Case and they both furrowed their eyes synchronically, turning their heads to look at each other.
"Who is he?" They asked at the same time, pointing a thumb in Case's direction.
"I'm Case." He smiled warmly, subtly bringing himself into the conversation.
"Oh, hi." They said suspiciously, the twins weren't really attuned to new people, they preferred a tight-knit group to a large one.
"And you are?" He asked politely.
"I'm Emma," she said, "Emma Leigh." At this, his eyebrows bunched together furtively.
"And I'm Rosa," she said quietly, blushing at having to repeat her own name, "Rosa Leigh."
Case turned his gaze to Caelan and I and I pleaded with my eyes, begging he wouldn't ask.
"Yes. Emily and Rosalie, you got it new boy! Gold star for you," another annoyingly familiar voice purred.
"Our mother is an English Teacher at Blacksley and she always loved compound words." Em said, embarrassed.
"Said they were her favorite," Rosa finished.
"Thought it'd be funny." Em growled, clenching her fist tightly.
"Yeah, real funny." Rosa too, growled, sarcasm lacing her annoyed tone.
A slight breeze blew through at that moment, and there long, strawberry blonde hair flew beatifically around their faces, emphasizing the anger that clearly showed on their faces. It was beautiful in a scary kind of way; very poetic.
Case's eyes held that slight amusement again, but just nodded politely at their story.
"Whatever, no one cares." Bay Leigh attempted a change of subject, "I'm Bay Leigh – cousin of tweedle blonde and tweedle blonder over there." She pointed a thumb at Em and Rosa and their eyes flashed to Bay's dangerously, she grinned mischievously, silently coaxing them. All hell was about to break loose and I bit my lip worriedly running through outcomes in my head – none of them good – when Caelan broke in thoughtfully unaware of everything around him.
"You know guys, you're names aren't really compound words. Rosa and Leigh, Emma and Leigh, they're just normal names split into two names, you're names could be hyphenated!" He exclaimed proudly.
Everyone's eyes turned to him, before exchanging worried glances with each other, we all burst out laughing. God, he was classic.
We all shook our heads and continued to walk, "Come on guys! I was serious." Caelan pouted from behind us, stubbornly immobile and refusing to move. When we all ignored him and continued walking though, he quickly ran to catch up.
"I was being serious," he mumbled, moodily.
"We know, Caelan, that's why it's funny!" I grinned.
He playfully pushed my shoulder and I once again hit into Case, who was walking beside me. I gave Caelan an angry glare and he quickly moved to position himself as far as possible from me.
"Good move," I growled at him and then quickly apologized.
"It's okay; I'm starting to think I should get used to it." He smiled at me.
It wasn't a teasing smile, it was just a smile. I was surprised because if it were Caelan it would have been a completely different situation. He would've droned on and on about how much of a klutz I was, made fun of me, mocked me, all that jazz. It was strange to get this kind of smile, which was just a smile…
Out of habit, my eyes slowly made their way over to Caelan. He now had his arm casually draped across Bay; I felt the overwhelming swell of hurt that puffed in my chest and averted my gaze. I dropped my eyes to the floor and we all continued on our way to class. They were an item now and I'd just have to get used to that. He'd still come to me when he'd need to discuss anything important, right? We were…are best friends. He trusts me more than he'd ever trust her. I pulled at the hem of my shirt, anxiously.
"Are you okay, Laylie?" Em's sweet voice broke through my chain of depressing thoughts.
I plastered on a reassuring smile and nodded. She looked about ready to call me out my façade, but Case quickly asked her a question, inevitably keeping her occupied and me with my own consuming thoughts.
After what seemed like forever, Caelan and Bay headed off to P.E, their first class. Rosa had already slipped off to her class, wanting to not get stuck sitting next to a gum popping, pubescent, obnoxious red headed fellow, like last year, who annoyed her to the point where she put a pen to his throat. True story, except, it proved to excite him further and egg him on. You had to be on the outside of it all to really understand the hilarity, but Rosa refused to accept a sense of humor and was dead-set out for blood this year if she had to put up with him. I was sure she'd make good on her promise too. So it was, Case, Emma and I headed off to our first calculus class of the year. Goodie. Emma and Case talking excitedly, well I could only really hear Emma, but whatever.
Calculus turned out to be even more of a drag than I predicted – figures. I sat in between Case and Em and that was fine with me. After Case went through the whole, new kid introduction, we got straight into numbers. Though it was a welcome intrusion for my constantly working mind; it seemed that as I solved each problem on my sheet, I created another unanswered question in my thoughts. It was driving me mad. You could only imagine the sheer relief I had when the bell rang. I sprung up from my seat, grabbing my already packed bag and split, Em and Case following closely behind.
"In a rush are you?" Case smiled clearly entertained.
I smiled sheepishly and shrugged. Realizing Em wasn't following Case, I asked, "Where'd Emma go?"
He frowned thoughtfully, lips twisting to one side and closing an eye, "I don't know." He sighed, not being able to find a memory of her explaining her where-abouts; I shrugged again and just kept walking.
"So…" Case said easily, it wasn't an awkward 'so' it was just a 'so' "going to give me the run down?" he asked. I scrunched my face and shook my head, probably not my most attractive look. He grinned in reply and nodded anyway, stuffing his hands in his jean pockets.
"You first?" I asked quietly, not looking at him. From the corner of my eye I saw him smile briefly, look ahead, then nod, "Sure. Anything in particular you want to know?"
"Um, not really. You can just start from where you came from I guess," I suggested, not wanting to pry.
"Well, I came from–" he paused and looked at me very seriously. I bit my lip feeling apprehensive. What if he was a CIA Agent, on a secret mission and couldn't tell me unless he was going to kill me? I cringed inwardly at the thought. "My mother's womb." He beamed proudly.
My mouth dropped open and he laughed heartily at my reaction. I slapped him playfully and pouted, "You really had me going! I thought you were a CIA Agent." At that, he laughed even harder, now clutching his stomach to my embarrassment.
I frowned, thinking over what I had just said and burst into a fit of giggles also, "Wow, that did sound kind of dumb huh?"
He just nodded, straightening and chuckling lightly.
We entered Biology and were greeted by a wide, friendly smile.
"Hi Lisa," I smiled as we walked in.
"Hi guys!" She greeted back, "Oh, and who are you?" she asked Case as I walked passed her, while she marked off our names, pointing her pen thoughtfully at him, as if trying to remember his face. Case stayed up front to introduce himself and sort some other issues out and I took my usual seat. Case sat next to me and Lisa began class animatedly.
"Excited little thing she is." Case commented, smiling as he watched her teach us enthusiastically.
"Pf, little?" Bay interrupted, taking her seat in front of me, "hardly." She curled her lip in disgust, looking at Lisa.
Case's smile dropped off his face and he curled his own lip at Bay, "not cool," he muttered, shaking his head at Bay. Sure Lisa wasn't the skinniest person in the world, she was well-rounded I'd say, but she was an amazing teacher and lots of fun. She had a quirky sort of personality and always told us fun stories about her life to help us remember science information easier. She was great, Bay just had this thing where she thought she was all high and mighty and holier than thou. It was disgusting and I didn't understand what Caelan saw in her or how she related in anyway, to Em and Rose. They were polar opposites.
Class was pretty full on after that so Case and I couldn't talk much, but as soon as this class was out, it was our lunch period with the others, so that was cool.
"Where are you really from?" I asked once class was over and we were headed to the cafeteria.
"Brunswick." He smiled, "how about you? Always been here in Warmsley?"
I nodded, "boring huh?"
He shook his head no, before changing his mind and nodding, "yeah, kind of."
I grinned and pushed him lightly.
"Tell me something else," I urged.
"Uh, so, my last name's Tiernan?" He stated in a question, seeking approval.
"Ahuh." I noted, waiting for him to go on.
"Um, I don't know what you want me to say." He laughed; his cheeks tinted a light pink.
I raised an eyebrow, "Maybe you can explain to me why you do that." I inquired, motioning to him rubbing the back of his neck.
A confused look flitted across his features and then he instantly dropped his hand to side and shoved them into his pocket forcefully, as if it was hard to not rub his neck.
"Uh, long story, 'nother time." He answered vaguely.
"Okay, how about, why you moved then?" I suggested.
He nodded, "I actually come here a lot." He grinned at me as I sifted through my memories trying to recall a time when I could've seen him, "You wouldn't remember me though. We didn't stay long. Maybe a day or two at a time a couple times a year. Sometimes more, sometimes less."
I nodded, "You said 'we'?"
"My brothers and I,"
"Mmm…" I replied, "How many?"
"Two." He stated.
"That's cool." I affirmed.
"So, you ready to tell me your story?" Case nudged me lightly and I nibbled my lip.
We entered the cafeteria and my eyes automatically zoned in on Caelan.
I inhaled a quick, sharp breath and willed my heart to slow down or I might have a heart attack.
I felt Case beside me, studying my strange reaction, but I didn't care. Each resounding step we took closer to the table was an elated step of bliss. I watched as Caelan reached across the table to pick a handful of chips from Emma's plate. I watched as his eyes crinkled affectionately in the corners as he smiled at her frowning face. I smiled tenderly as he cringed when Rose stood from her spot next to Em, reached over to him and smacked him hard across the head. His blue eyes sparkled with amusement and I couldn't stop the grin that braced me as he rubbed his head lightly pouting and then poking his tongue at Rose when her head was back in her book. My heart kicked into over-over-drive when his eyes lifted to meet mine, as if sensing my presence. His smile picked up a notch and I felt my heart liquefy. He raised a hand to wave at me. But another hand wrapped around his arm before he could bring it up. I felt it all. I felt the liquid turn stone cold and then crack and break into thousands of little pieces all over again. Bay's eyes burned malevolently, as her fingers gripped his face hard; she turned his face to her and smashed her lips against his. He was shocked and immobile at first, but Caelan was quick to respond, giving it to her just as eagerly. I felt her eyes flicker to my broken ones with triumph.
My heart slowed to an almost painful rate and I took my seat on the other side of Caelan. I pulled my lunch out and took a bite, stiffening as I felt someone come dangerously close to my ear.
"Or, we could skip all the trivial bullshit and just get to the real story." He whispered in my ear.
I pulled back a fraction and looked at him confused.
"How long have you been in love with your best friend?"
A/N: Hi, this is just a rough thing I've been working on, I'd really appreciate feedback. n_n
I need to edit it a bit more. And I don't know what the whole school paragraph thing was about. xD It just popped into my head, so I thought I'd take the money and run.