Prologue: Isaac (Flashback- 1 year ago)
"Class, please turn to page thirty-five in your history textbooks. We are going to look at how life was before Christopher Columbus came and… "
She had been droning on about Christopher Columbus and the Native Americans for quite some time. I looked at my watch. It was 9:53 a.m. Great, there was still a half hour left until class was over. I sighed, wishing that this class would just be over already and I could go to homeroom. At least I would be able to sit next to someone I know…
As I pondered over the slowly-passing time during my social studies class, I looked around the room and observed the people surrounding me. It was my first year of high school, which meant that there were going to be a lot of people in my classes that I didn't know. Despite having said this, I still was able to spot some familiar faces. There's Jack Birmingham (a.k.a. The "Jacuzzi," which is where he takes girls every night and… well, you get my drift), your average jock, sitting in the back napping on his open binder. Sally Keeler, the school slut, was sitting a few desks in front of me, filing her nails with a bored look on her face. Harry Nosehew (yes, that's his actual last name), the class nerd, even looked a little out of it that day, reading a book about foreign literature while sitting in the very front of the room. Wow, him not paying attention to the teacher? That was a first. Other than him, everyone looked normal, doing anything else but listening to the teacher. I didn't count myself because I always attempt to listen to the teacher no matter how boring the lesson is (I'm overly obsessed with my grades- it's a curse!), but even I was starting to zone out at this point.
I looked over at my friend, Chad, who sat next to Jack. As if he knew I was looking at him, he turned around with a drink in his hand and pretended to pour it onto Jack's head. I snickered. Even if he did pour it on Jack's head he probably still wouldn't wake up. I started to focus my mind back to the teacher's lesson, but then a peculiar sight caught my eye.
In the back corner of the room sat a girl. Straight blond hair, short height, pale complexion. She was paying rapt attention to the lesson, miraculously, not taking her eyes off the teacher as she wrote down long, detailed notes about whatever Mrs. Matherson was talking about. Sometimes it seemed like she zoned out at times, but whenever she did she caught herself and blinked rapidly. Then, she would resume taking notes. She looked like a normal teenage girl in a social studies class. So why would you think I would notice this girl?
Well, for one obvious reason she's the only one paying attention to the lecture. All the other kids were either talking to their friends or texting or doing something highly productive with their boredom like twirling a pencil or tapping their shoes on the floor. Another reason was that she was isolated from the rest of the room. She wasn't sitting next to another person like everyone else was and all the desks around her general area were empty. I couldn't figure out why, though. Did she choose to be alone? Did people not like her? The curiosity was starting to get to me.
Finally, the teacher stopped talking about the lesson because the bell was going to ring in about 5-10 minutes. "For your homework, I'm going to assign a project," she said. "Over the weekend, you have to pick a person that we just talked about today from the 1500's and do a short little report on him or her."
This weekend? It was the first day of school and we already had a project due? Everybody groaned because whatever weekend plans they had were just ruined by those couple of sentences. I looked back at the girl again to see her reaction; she had none. She just stared at the teacher like a zombie had sucked out her brains.
"Calm down everyone, this isn't a big deal. Just do a little bit of background research on a person of your choice and write a 1-2 page paper about him or her. And you can have a partner, if you want. Class dismissed," she said as the five-minute warning bell rang.
Well, at least we were allowed to work with someone. My first thought was Chad. We've been best friends since elementary school. We hang out at each other's houses all the time. I was supposed to hang out with him this weekend anyway, so why not ask him? But as I was going to ask him, he had already woken Jack up and asked him instead. Crap. There went my chance… Since when did Chad become friendlier with Jack, anyway? Maybe they hung out during summer vacation or something…Whatever. It's his loss.
My choices were slowly dwindling as I saw everyone finding partners very quickly. Hmm, I thought. What about that girl I saw earlier? She looked smart; she was the only one that was paying attention, after all… I looked to see if someone hadn't already snatched her up.
I was off by a long shot. No one even bothered to glance at her; it seemed like she was invisible. And she still had that vacant zombie look on her face. Was she sad? Mad? Indifferent? Since I couldn't tell and I still needed a partner, I walked over to her desk.
"Hey," I said casually. It felt a little awkward talking to someone I didn't really know all that well.
The girl's reaction was immediate, as if she was startled because someone had scared her. She looked at me with genuine surprise; it was as if she was taken aback that anyone would even think to acknowledge her. "Hi," she said with a panicked but cautious look in her pale blue-green eyes. It was like she was trying to figure out what game I was playing. Nope, no game here; just curiosity.
"Do you not have a partner? Because if you need one, I…don't have one either," I stammered. I didn't know what else to say. It sounded so uneasy and wimpy that I was sure she was going to turn me down.
The girl stood up and started to pack up her things. I didn't realize how short she actually was until she did that. What was she, only like five feet tall? No wonder people probably didn't notice her.
"It's not that I need one, it's that I usually choose not to have one. Or no one ever asks me. It's either one of those two situations, and it's usually the second one I get stuck in," she said. She sighed in frustration. "Does that answer your question?"
"Not exactly. You still didn't agree to be my partner yet." I smirked and put a coy smile on my face to give her a hint. I've never been one to get the girls to hang out with me, but whatever façade I was putting on at the moment seemed to be working.
She examined me one more time, looking up and down. I wondered what exactly she was looking for. "Deal," she said and smiled a little bit. I saw that she had braces and was wearing rubber bands. I felt bad for her; she probably hates those things as much as I hated mine when I had them in middle school. "I'm Jadelyn, but everyone calls me Jade. So what's yours?"
"What's my what?"
"Your name, silly. Were you paying attention to a word that I just said?" She seemed a little exasperated with me already, even though we had just met like two minutes ago.
"Oh, sorry, I got distracted; your name just sounds pretty, Jadelyn," I said, using her full name. I think she blushed a little bit, but I couldn't tell since her cheeks were partially hidden by her long, dirty blond hair. "My name's Isaac, but people call me Izzy. Isaac just sounds boring." I chuckled a little bit, wondering how my parents could have given me such a stupid name.
"It's fine. I kinda like it. It's different," she replied. "Here's my phone number." She handed me a piece of paper. "How about we meet up at the library tomorrow around noon? I'll call you right before I get there. Is that all right?"
"Yeah, that's fine. Sounds good. I'll see you then. It was nice meeting you, Jadelyn."
"You too, Isaac. See you around." She started to walk away, but turned around and came back at the last second. "Oh, and rule number one? Don't call me by my full name; otherwise you will be sorry," she said. Uh-oh; I couldn't tell if she was teasing or not. She continued to walk out of the door.
"Okay, I'll remember that!" I yelled back. I had a good feeling about that weekend. She seemed different from the other girls; smart, witty, hard to get. She was baiting me along without even knowing it, and I was falling for her tricks. She said that my name was different? She was the one that was different, but in a good way. I had a feeling that after this weekend, we were going to end up getting along very well.