"Jake, are you listening?"
I snapped my eyes back to look at Olivia, who had her patented glare directed right at me, full on. "Of course I was."
Clearly I was unconvincing. But I was saved by the PE teacher calling me for the next match. "Coming." I got to my feet. "And Olive," I gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll give you a ride home today." I smiled, the one thing I could do to make her smooth out that glare. It worked too.
"Leave your affections for under the bleachers, Mr. Riley." Mr. Bailey said testily as I walked towards the previous victor. I swear, that man has no sense of fun. but then again, most adults around here don't. Go figure.
"Now, here is your situation." He began, all the while glaring at me. I seem to have a sign on my forehead saying, 'I irritate you today.' "Mr. Riley here will be the target. He is aware of his status." figures. "Miss Sampton's goal is to be quick and forceful. Ready...begin."
Emily flashed a grin at me, which told me that she had something I don't think I'll like up her sleeve. But they didn't call me Jake Improvisation for nothing.
Ok, ok, they don't really call me that, but you know what I mean.
Deciding to use brute force to stop her "mission," just as she reached forward to do something I wasn't going to wait for, I grabbed her wrist and flipped her onto her back. Before she knew what had happened, I'd gotten behind her and had her in a headlock.
"Nervous target." Someone quipped behind me and I grinned down at Emily, who had yet another glare going.
I'd better be careful or I'd really be a target. But fighting is strictly prohibited on the school campus. Once outside the grounds though, it's all fair game.
The bell rang before Emily could retaliate. I waved at her then collected my stuff to leave. She didn't return it and flounced away.
Olivia met me by the door and we walked to English together. She slipped her hand into mine and smiled.
"Bet you five dollars she gives us an essay." My best friend Trey clapped me on the back.
"I'll take that bet." I smirked. "She said we were having a debate today." I thoroughly enjoyed his groan as he shelled out the cash. "Ahh, victory is sweet. Hey, Olive, I'm taking you to ice-cream today."
She rolled her eyes. "With dirty money? In your dreams."
We entered the English classroom and sat. If you weren't in your seat by the time the bell rang, Mrs. Kinslow would send your butt right back into the hall.
"Take out a sheet of paper and a pen." She said, beating the bell by about a second.
I glanced at Trey, who returned my previous smirk tenfold.
I raised my hand. "Excuse me, Mrs. Kinslow, but weren't we supposed to have a debate today?"
She looked at me. "That is scheduled for tomorrow, Mr. Riley. You would do well to remember that observant eyes and ears do not miss significant details." She waited for me to flush and nod before continuing.
"Harsh, man." I heard from behind me, but I ignored it, content to be an angel for the fest of the period.
"Your prompt is - pens only Miss. Clanton - this is a covert operation. It must look like an accident. The man is staying in a hotel, one that does not give out keys or room numbers."
"In other words, a hotel for big-shots." I found myself muttering. I heard a snicker which Mrs. Kinslow ignored.
"You must get in, find his room, do the business, any accident of your choosing and it must be convincing, then get out before anyone knows you're involved. Your time limit is one week. You may begin."
I'll give something to Mrs. Kinslow, she knows how to give out one heck of an essay.
Fifty brutal minutes later, we walked outside, free for the day. Olivia stopped short and looked in horror at the rain pouring down from the sky.
"What's the problem?" I asked, already out from under the overhang and getting soaked. She looked at me like I was an idiot.
Nothing else needed. I sighed and dug my sweatshirt out of my backpack, handing it to her to use as an umbrella. Trey rolled his eyes. "Man, she's got your number."
We entered the parking lot and Olivia and I waved to Trey as he separated towards his own car. Oliva got into the passenger seat and I drove her to her house - down the street from school.
What can I say, I'm a sucker for her attention.
As I pulled up to her house, she turned to me and gave me a lingering kiss before getting out and sprinting for her porch. Her long legs strode gracefully across the wet lawn; she was the best runner in our class, which would be good for her when we're older. She'd probably get all the jobs that included force and running.
When I got home, my six-year-old brother came barreling out of nowhere, rolling right in front of me, springing to his feet and pointing a toy gun at my chest.
"Bang! You're dead!" He yelled.
"Hey, little man." I said, dropping my bag and twisting how arm behind his back and disarming him of his plastic weapon. "This what you learned today?"
"Nooo." He said, twisting out of my grip and ducking as I made to grab him again. He ran back to the living room and showed me a plastic doll minus its head.
"We learned how to snap its neck. I got to keep mine 'cause I did it the fastest!"
I slapped him a high five. "That's great! You'll be the best in your class, I bet."
He scoffed. "I am the best in my class, Jake."
"Of course you are."
Ok, I think I should explain something. I come from a small city - population about 600 peopole - up close to the mountains. We've got everything a city has - a school, police and fire departments, government offices, districts, libraries, malls, all that fun stuff.
But we've got one major difference than most cities you'll come across.
This city is a very special one. Everyone who lives here was born here and bred for one reason and one reason only - to kill.