Author's Note: I DO NOT own any song lyrics I include in this, all credit goes to the artists.

She sat on top the porcelain toilet lid, earphones in her ears that trailed down to the purple iPod in her pocket. Her iPod was on shuffle, as always. She liked surprises and randomizations. Faintly lyrics swam in her head, but she wasn't paying attention to the music really, it was just comforting background noise while she was focused on something else, something more important. The scissors, of course. It was twenty minutes till she had to be in school, twenty minutes till deadline, and she had to stick to her morning routine. So she twirled the scissors idly in her thick fingers and then opened them so that the blades were as straight as possible, nearly at 180 degrees, but of course they would never be at that. They would never make the perfectly straight line, for that was not what scissors were meant to do (but almost). They were straight enough for her purpose and she was mildly impressed by the household object's versatility.

She took her sky blue sleeve and slowly rolled it back, revealing the pale flesh of her arm, marred with scars and bandaids. She created most of the scars by herself, but not all of them. Oh no, she did not create the first few that had taken up residence on her appendage, nor did she cause the scars that were not straight and clearly deliberate. She held her bare arm out, wrist upward and fingers laid flat. The blade of the scissors was then pressed to the soft flesh in between a scar and a bandaid. She did not swipe it across either, she merely pressed it down harder and harder until the sear of pain came and liquid ruby welled up along the stainless steel cutting tool. It trailed down under her arm, and dripped off onto the immaculate tile floor. She watched vacantly as more droplets splattered the floor and then removed the blade from her wrist. Time to tend to the wound.

She briefly examined it first-no, not examined. Admired. She admired the thin open slice in her wrist, admired the way that it was perfectly straight. The 180 degrees the scissors could never make. She gave a slight nod of approval and stood, going to the sink and rinsing the self-inflicted injury under cool water. After, she opened the medicine cabinet and pressed a square of soft gauze to it, cleansing the blade of the scissors in an awkward fashion as she did so. "Hey! Hurry up if you want me to drive you to school kid, my show's coming on!" Her mother shouted, pounding on the door. "You been in there for three minutes already! It only takes less than one to piss!" She frowned and shut off the water, slipping a hand down to the iPod in her pocket and turning it up to tune her mother out. Tuning out was her favorite way of dealing with things.

All the problems

Make me wanna go

Like a bad girl

Straight to video

"You better not be getting into my makeup! That's the good shit and it's expensive! Besides, makeup ain't gonna do crap for you, girl. You're a real heifer you know. Hey, you hear me in there, Ariana?!" Her mother yelled, pounding on the door again and annoyed by her daughter's lack of response. Ariana didn't hear her, not really. She tuned her out with the music, but she did hear muffled pounding and yells, though she couldn't make out what those said. "Almost out Mom, just brushing my hair." She called to her patiently, in fact cleaning up the glistening blood she'd dripped onto the floor. "Well hurry up! My show's coming on and I won't miss it just 'cause you're dillydallying in the bathroom. I don't even know why you bother brushing that mop on your heard, it ain't gonna make a difference." The older woman grumbled and walked back downstairs, smoking a cigarette while she waited for the girl.

Little darling

Welcome to the show

You're a failure

Played in stereo

Ariana didn't hear what her mother said of course, she was still listening to her the music (the ever so convenient and comforting music) and patching herself up with a wide rectangular adhesive bandage. She carefully replaced the cleaned scissors in the drawer under the sink and tossed the bloody gauze in the toilet, flushing it down. She pulled her sweater sleeve back down and exited the bathroom, jogging down the carpeted stairs and grabbing the indigo backpack she'd left at the front door. "I'm ready now Mom." Ariana said softly, turning her iPod down enough to hear the smoking woman's response. "Too late." Her mother grunted to her from her comfortable position on the couch. "My show's on in five minutes so you gotta walk. You could use the exercise anyway." The heavyset teenager sighed softly, used to pretty much anything that could ever be said about her unattractive appearance, but never failing to be hurt by what was said despite the routine of it. Especially when the hurtful words were from her own mother. "I'll be late if I walk." The older woman didn't even look over, just reached out to deposit some cigarette ash in the tray on the coffee table. "That's not my problem. This is what you get for taking too long in the bathroom."

"Okay, sorry. See you later." She said sweetly and waved, slinging the backpack over her shoulder and walking out the door. She didn't resent her mother, and she wasn't angry with having to walk, even if she would be late. Ariana was annoyed by it, but not angry. She was as used to her mother's behavior as she was to the insensitive comments about her appearance, and she was always a good sport about it. Why not be? Someone had to be polite and sensible in this discourteous world. She took a breath and began to run to school, knowing she wouldn't be able to keep the swift pace up any further than the first block, but attempting to make it on time anyway. Ariana did manage to run that far, though by then the cold winter air was burning her lungs as she panted, and a painful stitch was throbbing in her side. She tried to keep running farther than that though, her breath steaming up her crooked rectangular glasses as she ran, the pain of the stitch and freezing air increasing.

She still made it further than she thought she would have, she'd made a block and a half. Only twelve more to go.

Later in the day Ariana drummed her fingers on the table and focused on what her fourth hour economics teacher was writing on the board, ignoring the remarks and jokes from behind her. It was Elias Silven and Marcy Dover again, the couple that struck her as nothing short of obnoxious, even if everybody else seemed to love them. They made fun of everyone outside their circle of friends and Ariana was one of their favorite subjects. She was just too easy to laugh at! She weighed at least 200 pounds, had the stringiest shoulder length dirty blonde hair, and the cheapest glasses! Oh ha! She'd heard it all before. And anyway, she weighed 197 pounds, not over 200…

"How do you think it happened? I mean her mom is a freaking milf! Is her dad ugly? I've never seen him"

"She's illegitimate, no one's seen him. He's probably a sumo wrestler. Wait…Are you implying that you wish I looked like her mom!?"

"A sumo wrestler? Nah, more like a whale! And calm your tits Mar, I wasn't saying I wish you looked like her. I'm just saying she's hot, so it's weird her daughter came out so damn fugly."

"True. Shamu's mom is prettier than mine. Ugh, look at her back fat! I see like six rolls on either side. I wish would let us move seats. It's disgusting that we have to look at her."

Ariana swallowed hard and bit down on her bottom lip. She mentally scolded herself for being sensitive. She should be used to this by now, she should have been jaded to the insults long ago. She knew how ugly she was, and she'd been teased for it as long as she could remember. But it still hurt. She still felt stung that people were disgusted just to look at her. Her hand went to the pocket her iPod was in as if to turn up the volume, like she always did when to escape reality, but she stopped herself and put her hand back on the table. Her earphones weren't even in her ears, they were resting loosely around her neck and no music emitted from them. Economics was the one class Ariana couldn't tune out in, because she sat at the front of the room, and she would get caught. Most teachers didn't even care if students listened to music during class, even though it was school policy not to let them, but did care. She was a stickler for every damn rule, and she'd take an iPod if she saw it was in use.

"She isn't even wearing black. Most fat people have the decency to wear black, or baggy clothes to make themselves look a little better, but here she is wearing a tight ass blue so light it's almost white."

"I know, right? You'd look cute in it though, if it came in your size."

"Aw thanks, Eli."

She was relieved when the insulting stopped and the two of them started flirting and giggling at each other. Another fifteen minutes of notes and the bell rang, signaling the end of class. Ariana had lunch next, something that most students looked forward to, but she hated. Lunch was when even the normally decent students would smirk at her while she ate, the never decent ones jeering at her and making smart ass comments about what someone like her should be eating. It was the best time for people to pick on her, since there weren't any teachers in the cafeteria who might do something about it. She had food thrown at her on almost a daily basis, and a few times she'd even been smacked in the head with lunch trays by the students passing by. She sighed as she anticipated what today's lunch hour would bring and plugged her earphones back in in advance. Nothing I'm not used to, she wearily told herself and stood up, merging with the throng of students to get out the door.

"Out of the way!" Declared a seemingly irritated Marcy Dover as she harshly shoved Ariana into the whiteboard. The tubby teen slammed into it side first, so hard and fast that she almost fell against it and clumsily scrambled for her balance. "Sorry Shamu, but you have to wait for the rest of us to get out first. We can't have you getting stuck in the doorframe." laughed Marcy, flashing Ariana a cruel grin and leaving the room. A few students laughed with her and the rest of the ones that were in the room smirked at Ariana as they followed suit and left. The dirty blonde girl looked down, never saying anything as she left and headed for the lunch room.

She filled her tray, thanking the lunch ladies even though they also smirked when she took a chocolate chip muffin, the of-course-the-fat-kid-took-a-dessert look in their eyes. "Come on Aripotamous, don't think you really need that, do you?" snickered a girl from behind her, Maura Smithers from her second hour math class, a girl who was normally one of the decent ones. Ariana ignored her and hurried to the table she always sat at, taking a seat and starting to fork at the macaroni and cheese. There was a time in middle school (when the teasing got hurtful enough to bring her to tears) that Ariana had tried dieting. She went bulimic and actually lost weight after awhile. But it didn't make her any prettier. Sure, she'd been thinner, but that didn't change her unappealing stringy hair, her grotesque corpse-pale skin color, her wide beak of a nose, or her crooked thick-lensed cheapo glasses. Also when she'd lost weight, she still had her same attire, and everybody laughed at the way her XL 'thrift store' clothes had hung off her body.

Once back in eighth grade, a belt hadn't been enough to keep the jeans on her new scrawny form, and they'd fallen down in front of everyone. People still brought that up and made fun of it to this day, three years later. So Ariana went back to eating normally, gained her fat again, and then ate more than what was called normal. Food was a comfort to her, a sweet comfort almost as good as music, and she would never ever be pretty, so why not indulge? Okay, so that was unhealthy and had risk to it, but so what? She really didn't care if she died. She hated herself, she was a pitiful, pathetic excuse for a person. No one gave a shit about her, and she didn't really blame them. She didn't care about herself. She couldn't stand her looks but beyond that, she couldn't stand her sensitivity and her weakness. Ariana didn't make up for that in any other aspect of herself either, she wasn't that smart. Her grades were only average, Bs and Cs. She wasn't talented in any sort of way, she had no knack for instruments or drawing, or painting. Things which she had tried to be good at. She was a kind person that was true, sweet and polite. But that wasn't a talent. That was her being nice because no one else was, and someone had to be. The only thing she was really good at was cutting herself, and that didn't count as a talent. But oh, was she good at it!

She could wound herself near the most vital of places and always stay out of real danger. Ariana inflicted perfect wounds too, perfect straight lined scars. Symmetrical in form and alignment. And she could cut herself with anything. She'd used razors at first, as most people did, but later she'd cut herself with other things. The scissors for example, but she used other things among that. She cut herself with glass, she cut herself with needles, with handheld can openers. All different items, not always in traditional horizontal slices and sometimes in designs. But whichever way, the cuts were always symmetrical. And they were in other places aside from the wrist. She'd cut her legs, her stomach,(if there was a god, he'd know there was plenty of skin to cut there) her feet, even her breasts once. Ariana's sister always said people cut themselves to get attention, and Ariana supposed that might be true for some people. But it was not true for her. She had attention, she always had attention. She had the attention of jeering and food throwing peers, and she did NOT want it. She would give ANYTHING to be left the fuck alone! The first time she cut herself, she'd done it to just try it. Heard it was a method for dealing with problems, and since tuning out didn't always work, why not give cutting a try?

It wasn't as if it would make a difference if she had ugly scars. The rest of her was ugly too, so really why not? "Maybe some of this fat will bleed out of me." she'd muttered to herself with a joking smile as she'd drawn the sliver razorblade across her wrist. That was after she knew being thinner didn't make her any less unattractive. After that first time, she realized how much she liked cutting. She liked the pain, the physical pain was a distraction from the emotional one. And not only that, but a physical injury was an injury she could take care of. She could mend herself with cream and bandaids. There were no creams or bandaids for emotional pain. So she kept cutting, and then she realized she had another reason for doing it. At first, she'd told herself that ugly scars wouldn't do any harm to an already ugly person, but after she'd been cutting for awhile she saw that the scars she made weren't ugly at all. After getting into the habit of self-infliction, she'd become good at it and her cuts were the perfect smooth and symmetrical ones. They were as neat as wounds could be, and they were the only pretty thing about her.

Now as she sat in the lunchroom and ate her warm gooey macaroni and cheese, taking small bites of some salty crackers in between and sips of Coke, she saved the muffin for last. She saved the muffin for last, and as the teasing and food throwing started up, she had her (ever on shuffle) iPod handy and turned up the volume. She tuned out and welcomed Sum 41 to her ears.

Everybody's got their problems,

Everybody says the same thing to you.

It's just a matter of how you solve them,

And knowing how to change the things you've been through.

Ariana woke up ten minutes earlier the next day, since she didn't want to have to walk to school again. It was much too cold for that, and her english teacher had not at all been pleased by her tardiness the day before. She picked out her outfit, some soft slate-gray sweatpants and a sweater identical to the one she wore yesterday, aside from the color. Yesterday's sweater had been sky blue, today's was violet. She dressed quickly and made her way to the bathroom, running a brush through her hair to get the tangles out and then pulling out the drawer under the sink. She took her mother's miniature sewing kit out of the drawer and put the lid of the toilet seat down, sitting on top of it and looking at the needles in the mini kit. She selected the longest one and twirled it through the fingers of her dominant hand (the right), holding her opposite palm up and wondering what she'd cut into it today.

Ariana decided to give herself a design. She hadn't done that in a while, lately she'd just been cutting herself in lines and a change of pace would be nice. With no hesitation, she drove the sharp tip of the sewing needle into her palm and dealt with the stinging pain that followed in silence, carving the shape of a heart into her skin. She removed the sharp object and admired the small scarlet heart that was cut into her flesh. She smiled slightly at how symmetrical it was, and as she studied her latest infliction it occurred to her that the way the blood ran from the heart in shiny rivulets made it look like the heart was crying. But that was stupid of course, shapes could not cry. Especially not tears of her blood. She shook the strange observation away and stood up, going to the sink as she had the day before and cleaning both wound and needle. She then tended to her injury as she always did and replaced the mini sewing kit, finishing her morning routine just as her mother came up the stairs with a "hurry up" warning.

When Ariana stepped into the english classroom and went to her seat, she was surprised to see that someone was sitting in it, and more surprised to see that it was a person she'd never seen before. He was a small, slim boy with shy hazel eyes and messy black hair not too much shorter than her own. She blinked and just stared dumbly for a moment, until a word formed. "Oh…" He tipped his head to one side, looking up at her with what seemed to be wariness. "I'm sorry, is this your seat?" he asked quietly. She nodded. "Yeah, well kinda. We don't really have assigned seats in this class, but most people have a spot that they stay sitting in, and that's mine." she said softly, not expecting to get her seat back and surprised already that this stranger hadn't shooed her off. "I wouldn't know, I'm new. But you can have your seat back. He stood up and stepped aside to make room for her.

"Thank you." She smiled softly in surprise and genuine gratitude. That was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her in a long time. Ariana took the seat and was pleased when he took the seat next to her. No one sat ever there, that seat was always empty. No one wanted to associate themselves with someone like her. "No problem." The boy murmured and smiled just a bit back at her. "I'm David by the way."

"I'm Ariana. Ariana Blake."

"It's nice to meet you."

Her smile broadened. She couldn't help it, that was just so…So kind! No one ever said that to her. No one talked to her like she was a person. She was Shamu or Aripotamous, or Chub Chub Chick. "Ooooooh, what's this?" A voice jeered, the voice of the ever so popular and handsome Simon Pear. "Hey look guys, the beluga is making friends with the eel!" Laugher greeted this and Ariana's smile vanished as quickly as it had come. David narrowed his eyes and abruptly flipped Simon off. No words, just flipped him the bird double time, both hands raised in the air. Obnoxious ooos followed that and Simon's smirk twisted into a scowl. Ariana knew there wasn't any way this new guy was going to get away with that, and she felt guilty for initiating the situation in the first place. She had initiated it, hadn't she? Of course she had, by being the beluga.

Simon slapped David's hands out of the air and onto the desk in a fluid harsh movement. The sound of it echoed through the room and everyone else grew silent. The aggressor stood back and folded his arms across his chest, awaiting the reaction of the eel. David was clearly pained, and blushing brightly despite his attempt to save face. Before anything else could happen from there, Mr. Harrelson, ambled into the room and took his place at his desk. "Alright students, I apologize for being a minute or two late, you see I was in the lounge with Mrs. Abrams and we were discuss-Mr. Pear? Mr. Pear I'm happy that you're greeting our new student, but class has started. Go take your seat." The burly teen grinned in what seemed to be triumph and went to his seat as the teacher had asked. "Of course Mr. H, sorry about that. Just trying to make the new guy feel at home."

"Yes, I'm sure he appreciates that, but now it's time for us to get to work. Today you all have to turn in those reports you did…" The teacher went on, but Ariana was no longer listening, she was looking apologetically to David with an anxious frown on her face. "I'm sorry," she murmured, soft enough for him, and him alone, to hear. He looked up finally and then to her, shaking his head. "Don't be. You didn't do anything. He was the asshole." he said, and his tone was dark enough to slightly alarm Ariana. "I know, but he wouldn't have been an asshole to you, if I hadn't been talking to you." David smiled then, an unreadable emotion in his hazel gaze. "Yes he would have, I'm used to this kind of thing. I'm only 5'2, built like a pole, and the new guy." he told her, a bittersweet lightness in his tone.

Ariana blinked in surprise, but nodded to him. She realized what he said was true after all. "Be careful of Simon though, he's beat up students for embarrassing him before. Bad too." David paused. He almost told Ariana that he was used to that too. He almost told her he was just released from a hospital only a week before after having the crap beat out of him by three bigger guys. He almost told her that wasn't the first time he'd been hospitalized for a beating either, and he'd had it about up to here with all this bullying shit. But he did not tell her that. He simply gave a grim nod and then asked if she would help him get caught up to speed in the class. She smiled and nodded, eager to help this boy she hoped would be her friend in any way she could. He smiled back at her.

Two hours later, in science, Ariana jotted down notes for the upcoming science quiz and mentally groaned at the not-so-whispery whispers surrounding her.

"Little-or I guess I should say big- Ariana has a crush on the new guy. She was all smiley to him in first hour and he actually sat next to her."

"Ha, ha, wow. You know what they say, opposites attract."

"Wait, what new kid?"

"The faggot kid who flipped off Simon."

"That really happened? I thought that was just a rumor!"

"Nope, Simon really got flipped off by this queer kid."

"How do you know he's a queer?"

"Dude, wait till you see him. You can tell just by looking at him, he has that wimpy faggy look to him."

"So Jabba the Hut has a crush on a cock muncher?"

"That's about the size of it. Heh, get it? The size of it?"

"Maybe's he'll actually go for her, you know? I mean you can't say you've never thought she looked like a guy."

"Oh yeah, she looks more like a guy than a girl. Too goddamn ugly to be a girl, she's more like a guy with tits."

"She'd probably break him in half if they fucked."

A crush on David? Seriously? She just met him! And all the gay slurs just…People were ridiculous. Ridiculous and terrible. She plugged her earphones in and blinked back tears, turning up and tuning out to Halou.

Break it all down into simplest terms.

There, was that so bad?

Now, is that so bad?

You doubt yourself so much you don't even

Know what you really want, or how you really feel.

And I'm so tired

Of you constantly over-thinking

Ariana didn't have any more classes with the new boy aside from first and second hour. At least, as far as she knew she didn't. It was now lunchtime and David was nowhere in sight so she assumed he was not in her lunch hour. This disappointed her a bit, but in a way it relieved her. Sure he'd been nice to her in the classes they'd had together, but lunch was another story. What if he got disgusted with her when she ate? Or had his two cents about a person like her taking dessert? It was better that he wasn't in her lunch hour. She liked him, hoped she'd finally found a friend. She didn't want to drive that friend away. So Ariana picked up her spork and dug it into a bowl of lime jello, spooning it into her mouth and savoring the substance.

It was laughing that interrupted her from enjoying her jello, and when she looked up she realized that David did have her lunch hour. The boy was surrounded by a crowd of laughing spectators and reaching for something that a much taller burly male teasingly held up high. A bright orange backpack. "I need that!" David yelled indignantly, his hazel eyes narrowed sharply and not so shy now. Ariana was dismayed that this whole thing was happening, but she had to give the guy credit. Despite being two heads smaller than his tormenter, he was not asking or pleading for his backpack. He was demanding. Simon snickered and swung the bag back and fourth. "That's not my problem." The smaller male clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. He refused to jump for his backpack, that would be too humiliating. That would be giving this bastard what he wanted. He really did need the backpack though, the heavy hardcover textbooks he needed for one thing, but there was something else in there. Something VERY important. Ariana dropped the spork as she continued watching. The scene made her lose her appetite. She was tempted to stand up for David, but she realized that was ridiculous. She was weak, she'd never even stood up for herself. How could stand up for someone else?

"Getting pretty upset there, Queer. I'm a nice guy, if you say the magic word, I'll give it back." Simon taunted, tossing the backpack high up in the air and then leaping for it, catching it again before David even had a chance to make a grab. Please David, please just ask for it back, Ariana silently begged the boy. He'll give it back, he just wants to embarrass you. "Fuck you." The messy haired teen growled as he did something that made Ariana's gasp. He drove his fist into the Simon's stomach. The taller male gasped, as did the crowd of spectating students. He staggered back a few feet, his fist still tightly clenched around the strap of the backpack. Now though, his arms had dropped, so David reached out and grabbed both straps of backpack, pulling it forcefully. He achieved his goal, stumbling back a few steps as he did. He whipped around and went to break through the crowd, but Simon snapped back into the times right then and grabbed David's collar, jerking him back roughly and whirled him around. He ripped the backpack out of the skinny males hands and lifted it, bringing it down on his head.

David's legs buckled when he took the weight of four five pound textbooks on his head, along with the added three pounds of his secret special. Simon smirked when the smaller teen sank to his knees, but that wasn't enough. The kid had embarrassed him, gotten the better of him for a moment when he was supposed to be pleading for the bag. That wouldn't go unpunished. He swung the bag and smacked it across the side of David's face. The boy unintentionally cried out when struck for the second time and Ariana watched in distress, her stomach twisting and churning. Simon laughed at the sound of the chair and grabbed a nearby rolling trash can. He dumped the backpack in it and walked off to his normal table, the crowd dispersing in accordance and also returning to where they sat.

Ariana stared, brown eyes (ugly brown, such ugly eyes they were. Not the color of chestnut or chocolate, but the color of sloshy mud) wide and darkened with worry and consternation. She wanted to get up and go over to David. She wanted to help him up and console him. But she didn't do that, she sat still and upset while the skinny teen slowly pulled himself to his feet and grabbed the orange backpack with had caused so much trouble. Well actually, the backpack didn't do anything. Simon caused the trouble. Thought Ariana, her eyes still on David as he slung the bag over his shoulder and left the cafeteria. She swallowed and considered going after him, but that was a stupid consideration. Why would he want to see her?

The attention for once was not on the overweight teen, everyone too busy talking about what just happened and too excited to even spare her a single fat joke. Ariana was not grateful for this though, after watching Simon hurt David she was too shocked and upset to even notice or care. Her stomach was in ropes now and her cheeks were bleeding from being chewed on, while her food remained untouched. So she did what she always did when she was distressed, she tuned out, turning up the volume on the iPod that she only now noticed had been playing music the whole time.

Happy in the club with a bottle of red wine

Stars in our eyes 'cuz we're having a good time

So happy I could die

Be your best friend

Yeah I'll love you forever

Up in the clouds

We'll be higher than ever

Idly, Ariana wondered if happiness really could kill someone. She wouldn't know, she couldn't remember the last time she'd ever been happy. No, wait…She could remember the last time she'd been happy. It had been earlier in the day, when she'd first met David. He'd been nice to her, so nice. Kindness she was rarely ever treated with. But look how she repaid that. She watched him get humiliated and hit with his own backpack. And didn't even help him up afterward. Maybe happiness was just something she didn't deserve.

Opening her locker, Ariana took out her pencil and sketch pad then tucked the pad under her arm. She slammed it shut and hurried to her sixth hour art class, the last class of the day. She tried to hurry anyway, she was late along with many other students and the halls were crowded. "Move Chub Chick, I can't get around your rolls!" The annoyed yell came from behind her (the voice of Justin Leppenraub she was sure) and was then followed by a crash as whoever yelled it elbowed her forcefully into the row of lockers and continued on his merry way. Ringing sounded loudly in her ears as Ariana's head smacked against the aluminum and her body momentarily when slack, causing her to slip down into a crumbled pile. "Oh!" The alarmed gasp came from a student who had to leap over her. "Do you think she's okay?" asked the voice, a female though Ariana couldn't pick out who from the crowd. Her ears were still ringing insistently and she couldn't identify who by voice either. "Of course, look at all the padding she has." A dry voice replied, also female. After that the two shared a laugh and she heard no more from them.

Ariana tried to pull herself up, but there wasn't enough room in the crowded hallway and she was getting stepped on. So instead she shrunk up against the lockers as best as she could, holding her knees to her chest. Shortly after the sound of the second bell the halls cleared and she stood up, brushing herself off. "Oh no!" she moaned, realizing she couldn't find her sketch book. She spun around, expecting to see it behind her and more likely than not trampled. "Looking for this?" asked the coal haired teen softly, tapping her on the shoulder. She turned again quickly, nearly stumbling back again and facing David with surprise. Her surprise faded slightly, replaced by sorrow when she saw the side of his face had already bruised. He was holding her sketch pad out to her, and yes, it had been trampled. "I-It is. Thank you." She murmured, taking it from him. Ariana was puzzled as to how David had shown up so fast, practically coming out of thin air. She wanted to ask, but didn't dare. That would sound critical, and he'd just found her sketch pad for her. "I was in that classroom." The young man said suddenly, as if he'd read her mind. He was pointing to the classroom across from the art room, the chemistry room. "I'm supposed to be in art, but I got mixed up and went to chem. I left and then you were right here so-Hey, you're bleeding!"

"W-What?" She stammered, blinking rapidly. "I am? Where?" She instinctively looked down to her palm. "You're head." David murmured, pointing. Ariana raised a hand and touched it to her head, and felt the warm liquid there, pulling away to see the ruby on her fingers. "I guess I am. I must've hit someone's padlock…" David frowned, hazel eyes narrowing. "How'd that happen?"

"I guess I got pushed." She shrugged, hoping he wouldn't inquire any more about the matter. She hated how weak she was and didn't like to dwell on anything that exemplified it. He shook his head, still frowning with a dark look in his eyes. "People." was all he said. Ariana wasn't sure what to make of that, but the thin boy's expression was making her uneasy. "It's not really bad though, just a little cut." She said, even though she in truth had no idea what it looked like. But surely it wasn't bad? She would have noticed earlier if it was bad, she would have felt the blood. "And we're already late, so let's get to class. I have art too." He nodded slowly, the grim expression softening slightly. "I'm glad." He told her, smiling a bit. "Glad that we're late?" Ariana tipped her head in confusion. David chuckled softly and shook his head. "No silly, I'm glad we have the same class. You're the first person I've met here, and the nicest one too. I'm comfortable with you." A big grin lit up Ariana's face. "I'm comfortable with you too." She said and led him into the art room.

The duo sat next to each other in the back. Luckily, their tardiness was ignored by the art teacher, Miss Marlene. She was an odd one, an African-American woman in her late thirties with huge round blue glasses, lenses as thick as they come. She always dressed in unusual clothes, often wearing fancy things that Ariana would think the last thing an art teacher would wear. After all, art teachers often got covered in pant, marker, clay, etc. Today for whatever reason she was wearing a salmon colored traditional kimono and in the middle of one of her art rants. From what Ariana could gather, today's art rant was about drawing with charcoal. "Why is she dressed like that?" David asked, his tone hardly above a whisper. He was new to the school, but he already seemed to know that talking during one of Miss Marlene's art lectures was a big no-no. "I don't know, she always dresses like this." Ariana replied, her voice just as low. "Always dresses Japanese?" he questioned. "No, always dresses weird. Yesterday she was wearing a fur coat and a necklace of animal teeth." she answered, idly wondering why it was her teacher dressed in such fashions. All through the rest of class, she and David whispered back and fourth, bothered by no one and smiling freely. None of the students would dare talk over their eccentric teacher.