AN: This is the third entry of my free writes. It is another excerpt of "The Walls We Build," this one occurring long before the events of "Taking Down the Walls." It might make more sense if you read that one first, though.

Song: So Cold- Nikisha Reyes-Pile. I used this song loosely; it fits Gabi's feelings of abandonment, but it doesn't fit perfectly.

Isolation and Introductions

Gabi sat on the bench as close to the edge of campus as possible. The way everyone was treating her… she couldn't believe it. She should have known they would all side with Dylan. Who would take the side of the "ice princess" over the star football player. Even if he was an abusive drunk.

Someone sat down beside her and Gabi tried to wipe away her tears. A handkerchief inserted itself into her view and she accepted it before she looked up.

It was the guy from that night over the summer. The one with the long blonde hair and eyes the colour of gray flannel. Gabi didn't understand. Why was he hanging out around her?

"Hello. My name is Jefferson Evans, most call me "Jeff" but I hate it when they do. It seems rather déclassé."

He held out his hand. Gabi stared at it for a moment, confusion still on her face. She had heard about Jefferson before. Or rather, had heard Dylan demean him whenever they hung out and he had just had a run in with him. Jefferson was apparently a bit of a loner, someone who didn't socialize with other people much. So why was he talking with her?

Staring at his hand a moment longer before deciding that his motivations didn't matter, Gabi slipped her delicate hand into his elegant-looking one.

"Gabriella, but you can call me Gabi. Everyone else does."

Jefferson made a face at that.

"You don't really look like a Gabi. It sounds almost immature and you do not look immature. However, Gabriella seems a bit stuffy. Hmmm…" he commented while Gabi looked at him in shock. Who went around analyzing people's names when they were introduced to them for the first time?

"I've got it!" He said suddenly, a small smile appearing on his face. "Ella. You look like an Ella."

Gabi thought for a moment. This guy was clearly crazy cakes. But the more she thought about it, the more the name seemed right. It was a new year, and she certainly didn't feel like the old Gabi anymore. Maybe she could let him call her Ella. After all, it isn't like she had anyone who would be calling her "Gabi" without some snide comment to go along with it.

"Alright then," she amended. "It is nice to meet you, Jefferson. I'm Ella."

He smiled wider, then and brought her hand up to his lips.

"I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, Ella." He intoned, before pressing his lips to her hand.