White Knuckles

By Felixfelicis

"You never get that taste,
Out of your mouth,
You never get the paw prints,
Out of the hen house now,
And you can't go back,
Same way you came,
Round all the pieces up,
But they just don't fit the same,

White knuckles,
Maybe it's not so bad,
So let your hair down now.
White knuckles,
Yeah maybe it's not so bad,
Aw go ahead and let it down."

"Three thousand, seven hundred and sixty-nine."

The teacher, Mr. Mayer, nodded his head. "That's exactly right, Mrs. Scotsfield. Very good." It was nothing out of the ordinary, which was why the teacher wasn't surprised, even though it was an extremely difficult problem. After all, it was Jordan Scotsfield. And when it came to things like this, she was, quite literally, always right, even when she was in a class of all seniors as a junior.

Jordan tossed her light brown hair over her shoulder with no acknowledgment that she was even happy she had gotten the problem right. She had expected it, after all. Math was her best subject, the one that she got 100s in as opposed to her usual 97s. Calculus made sense to her, because it was always the same. It was what she liked about it- no matter how much other things changed, math was consistent.

The other people in her class looked bored. They were all seniors; she was the only person in the entire class that wasn't. It didn't bother her, though. She was still the best in the class. And it had been that way for all of her classes since before she could remember- the kids in the class weren't her biggest fans, but the teachers were, and that was what mattered to her.

"Okay, now, I have your tests from last week," Mr. Mayer started. A universal groan echoed throughout the classroom. "My thoughts exactly. The class average was a disappointing 72. Now, one of you managed to get a 100, so this test was obviously doable. So, the corrections will only allow you to get a fourth of your points back."

Another groan. Ryan Berklee rolled his eyes and said loudly, "Well, I wonder who got that 100?"

Glares like daggers were pointed in Jordan's direction, but Jordan didn't even flinch. It was absolutely nothing new. She kept staring straight ahead until her test was handed back by Mr. Mayer, refusing to make eye contact with anyone else. Only then did she look down to see the inevitable 100 lying in front of her.

After all the tests were passed back, Mr. Mayer clapped his hands. "Alright. Class dismissed."

Jordan slung her bag over her shoulder and left the classroom, headed off in the direction of the lunchroom.

"Hi, Jordan!" A perky girl named Natalia who was in one of her classes called.

"Hello," Jordan said politely, then kept walking. She knew that Natalia was nice, and they probably had potential to be friends. But Jordan didn't have too many of those, and she didn't mind it. In fact, she rather liked it. It forced her to focus on her schoolwork and extracurriculars- after all, social lives did take up quite a bit of time.

She got in line and grabbed a salad with very little dressing, then walked outside. It was about a week into spring term in Rhode Island, so it was really quite lovely out. She found a tree that was unoccupied by the hoards of students that normally hung out out there and leaned against it, pulling her physics homework out of her backpack to get started on tomorrow's reading. As she took out her homework, a flyer fell out of her bag that she had gotten at a college fair the other day.

Stanford University, the front read in fancy lettering. A smile spread across Jordan's face as seemed to be a habit whenever she heard the name of that school. She clutched the flyer tightly, as if releasing the flyer would release all her chances of getting in.

It was her life's dream all bundled up into a sunny, beautiful, elite California college. She was in love with the school. She had known ever since she was in sixth grade, when she had watched a movie that featured the school, that it was where she simply had to be. Ever since then, everything had been working towards that school. It was her motivation to continue, her motivation to ignore the fact that she had no friends. Because, if she worked hard enough, in a year and a half she could be headed off to the best college in the country. And these people, these insignificant people of Fulford High School would be just a speck in the distance.

Jordan picked up her sheet and started on the problems. It was so quiet out here, and it really-

Jordan's thoughts- and her schoolwork- were interrupted by the sound of a guitar strumming- rather loudly- close by. She looked up from her work annoyedly to see a group of guys standing around a tree near the one she had so carefully selected, listening to a boy in the middle with a guitar around his neck play some ridiculous sounding song. He was singing, but the guitar was way too loud for her to hear it at all. The guys were nodding their heads in approval.

Jordan didn't care if the song was amazing or whatever, it was incredibly disruptive. She had clearly been here first, and she wanted it quiet. She stood up abruptly and crossed over to the tree, the physics sheet that she had been working on still in her hand. As she neared she saw that the boy's fingers were flying across the neck of the guitar, so fast they were a blur. He was playing what sounded like some sort of guitar solo, and, although she was a little bit ticked off at this moment, Jordan had to admit that he was good. Really, really good. Good enough for her to stop for a moment and actually kind of forget about what it was she had gone over to the other tree for.

She remembered, though, when one of his friends, taking a long drag from his cigarette, turned around and said, "Can I help you, babe?" Guitar Boy stopped playing and looked up, smirking at her.

Jordan was fazed for a moment, intimidated by the inquiring stares of the group of guys. She cleared her throat, then, after a moment, replied. "Yes. You can help me by please keeping the volume down. I'm trying to do work over there, and it's very distracting."

The boy with the guitar's eyebrow raised. "Is that right?" He asked.

Jordan wasn't stupid, she picked up on the sarcasm there. But she ignored it, and continued, "Yes. It is. I was here first, and I need quiet to get my work done." When the boys just looked at each other amusedly, Jordan got frustrated. This wasn't fair. It wasn't like they had anything important to do. "I mean, you can hardly try to argue that that music is of any importance... My schoolwork is a little bit more pressing."

Guitar Boy looked up, with a dangerous type of curiosity in his eyes. "Oh, really?"

He didn't seem to be getting it, so Jordan continued, "Yes. Really. My homework has to get done. It's essential. It's worth something... Unlike..." She trailed off with a haughty glance at his guitar.

Guitar Boy looked surprised at first, then offended. He stepped forward, off of the tree that he had been leaning against. "That's what you think? That my music isn't worth anything?" Jordan nodded, backing up slightly, because he was continuing to approach her. He didn't stop, though, so neither did Jordan. He kept walking closer to her, until he eventually had her with her back pressed up against a tree. "Who the fuck do you think you are?" He asked, with his face so close to her that their noses were only inches apart. He glanced down at the sheet of paper in her hand and a slow smile spread across his face. "You think that your precious numbers and science problems are more important than this?" He pointed to the guitar that was now slung over his back.

Jordan didn't know how to respond. She studied him closely. He was a very attractive boy, with dark hair that was relatively disheveled and, by contrast, very light blue eyes. He was taller than her, which made her more intimidated, considering he had a good five inches on her. He was wearing a "Ramones" t-shirt and black jeans. Jordan didn't know who the Ramones were, but she automatically didn't like them if this boy did. He reeked of cigarettes, a smell that Jordan absolutely despised.

Noticing that she didn't respond, the boy started laughing in a semi-maniacal way. "I'm sorry. It's just tough to believe that you think that that bullshit actually means something. Music... it means something. That?" He waved his hand at the physics worksheet she held in her hand, as if brushing it aside. "That doesn't mean anything. It's pointless." He reached over and pulled it from her hand. Jordan was so surprised that she didn't even have time to take it back before he had crumpled it up and tossed it aside.

"Hey!" She cried, ducking past him in order to pick it up. Jordan started frantically trying to smooth the sheet out, brushing off the dirt that it had gathered the best that she could. She looked up at Guitar Boy with anger in her eyes. "How dare you," she hissed.

The boy just smiled. "I feel sorry for you." With that, he walked away, and his friends followed suit.

Jordan watched them go, waiting until they were further away before walking back over to her stuff by the other tree defeatedly. Once there, she opened the paper onto her lap and scanned it briefly, the numbers and figures all blurring together into one jumbled mess. She bit her lip, unable to keep her mind from mulling over the boy's words.

"That doesn't mean anything."

A fleeting thought flashed in Jordan's mind that maybe it didn't. It was gone in a heartbeat, though. Of course it meant something. It was important. After all, if grades weren't important, then getting into college wasn't important. And Lord knew that that wasn't true.

Right?

Hey guys! This is my first time posting on FictionPress, and I would love some feedback on my story. What do you like? What do you hate? Honestly, I'd appreciate anything!