Chapter Four
Of Dismay and Daunting

March Twenty-Fifth,Twenty-Seventh, and Twenty-Eighth—Of Dismay and Daunting

InAshes: I didn't even want to win the dumb thing anyway!

TrinitousBlazingStars: Why?

InAshes: It's so absolutely dumb and, like, I don't even like this dumb, dumb, dumb celebrity! And he's so arrogant and he acts like a jerk and he's so conceited and dumb!

TrinitousBlazingStars: That's five times you've said dumb in a sentence, dear . . . and who's this celebrity?

InAshes: Just search 'dumb' on Google . . . I guarantee you his name will be the first one.

TrinitousBlazingStars: Um . . . all I got as results were 'the definition of dumb' and stuff . . .

InAshes: *sigh* Obviously, you can't read . . .

TrinitousBlazingStars: Um . . . okay, I'm getting really bored.

InAshes: Ugh, why don't you ever tell me anything?

TrinitousBlazingStars: Because, InAshes, you hate celebrities, don't you?

InAshes: Um, I think you should know.

TrinitousBlazingStars: Exactly. My point exactly.

InAshes: Okay, um . . . sorry, but, homework. I gotta go.

TrinitousBlazingStars: 'Kay. Bye.

Ashlyn Kay Hendricks—Sunset City, Utah—March 25—11:25 PM

"B-b-bu-ut I-I n-never-r w-want-ted t-to w-win!" Ashlyn babbled out short, incomprehensible phrases to her father.

"It's fine, Pumpkin. You deserved it, since your singing is so great."

"Wait." She eyed her father suspiciously. "How do you know about my singing?"

"Well, my lunch breaks just happen to be during your choir classes, so I decided to just stop by. . . every time." Dave looked sheepish and embarrassed, like a child was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Ashlyn huffed dramatically and turned around. Sighing, she sulked upstairs to her room to continue her packing.

Why does karma hate me?

Mitchell Kres Hendricks—Sunset City, Utah—March 27—7:02 PM

Mitchell slung his backpack over his shoulder slowly. He hated Mondays, since he could never wake up.

He walked outside, not bothering to wait for Ashlyn. She was responsible enough, she knew when the bus arrived.

At the bus stop, Mitchell met up with Tyson, one of his friends, who also lived in the neighborhood. "Hey, bro," he greeted with a slight nod.

"Hey, Mitch with a 'b'," Tyson replied, addressing Mitchell with his long-time nickname. "Where's Ash?"

"Still back home. Texting Layne or something, I think." Mitchell shrugged nonchalantly.

Tyson nodded absentmindedly.

A few minutes later, Ashlyn appeared at the bus stop, panting, with her phone still in her hand. "Lost track of time," she explained to Mitchell, just as the bus arrived.

Oh great. School. Mitchell rolled his eyes as he boarded the bus, following Tyson.

Mitchell got off the bus, laughing at some nerds with Tyson. One of them, a girl with her red hair in a braid, sent him a glare with her dark green eyes, projecting shivers down his spine. Man, that girl can really glare. He shrugged, then continued into school as the cheerleaders sent him flirtatious looks.

"Hi, Mitchell," Mitchell's current girlfriend, a perky blonde cheerleader named Mattie Jace, popped up with another girl at her side. "This is my best friend, Lottie Mandel, who I was telling you about."

Mattie was wearing red skinny jeans, a white tank top, and a translucent, lacy top, paired with converse. Her blonde hair was in the usual braid, and she had a pink and red Vera Bradley backpack—he wasn't sure what the design was called.

Lottie Mandel, who was a few inches shorter than Mattie, was wearing a royal blue knee-length dress with short sleeves and a lacy collar, paired with pale blue ballet flats. Her eyes were a deep blue, and her skin was unusually pale. She also had a Vera Bradley backpack, but with blue and green designs stitched on. Lottie's long brown hair was kept down, with a black-and-white polka dotted headband.

"Hey, Lottie," Mitchell said in greeting. He elbowed Tyson discreetly, capturing his attention, before whispering, "Lottie." Tyson was currently single, which was rare, and Mitchell thought Lottie would help.

"She's cute," Tyson murmured decisively so only Mitchell could hear. "Maybe I'll try her." Mitchell grinned.

Mattie slipped her hand in Mitchell's, intertwining them. Her smooth, soft hand fit perfectly with Mitchell's larger ones.

As the four walked into the building, many cheerleaders were giving Mattie and Lottie dirty looks, whilst trying to flirt with Mitchell. He ignored them, walking coolly to his locker after kissing Mattie on the forehead.

Mattie and Lottie both quickly waved goodbye to Mitchell, before they were whisked away by fellow cheerleaders.

Life is good . . .

Mitchell did not have to gather any items for the last period of the day, which was, fortunately, physical education. 'Physical Education' was basically a fancy name for 'gym'.

He did, however, need to retrieve his gym shorts from his sports bag. Walking down to the boy's locker room with Tyson, Mitchell heard a surprised shout.
In front of him, was cheerleader Andrew Winters, or more widely known as Andi Winters. And Andi was sneering at the girl Mitchell saw in the morning; the red-haired, green-eyed girl.

The redhead was snorting back at Andi, saying, "Oh yeah? You're not exactly better than everyone else either, you know."

Andi rolled her eyes. "Puh-lease, nature girl. That's all you got?"

Compared to Andi, the redhead looked underdressed. The redhead was wearing simple jeans, a bright green sweater with lively designs sewn on, and plain sneakers. Whilst Andi was dressed in bright red tights, a white shawl, a bright red tank top, a red scarf, and light brown Uggs. Andi had a dash of makeup applied, and anyone who didn't know her would deem her a beauty, both inside and out—but of course, others would only assume so after a brief examine. Those who had known her longer would detect the slight tilt of her eyebrows, the challenging look in her eyes which made her look angry.

Mitchell had never talked to Andi before. The other jocks had warned him to stay away, and so stay away, he did. Now, he carefully examined her.

Andi was a brunette, with her light hair flowing just past her elegant shoulders. Her eyes were an icy blue; a manipulative blue. Her nose was slightly upturned, and her lips were always smiling coldly. She didn't have too much makeup on; clearly she had experience in that department, as she still looked gorgeous, although her upturned nose gave her perfect face a slight flaw.

Mitchell watched the scene curiously, his eyebrows raised. "Dude, chick fight!" Tyson whispered to him from his right.

"And what makes you think you are better than me?" the redhead was saying, her arms crossed.

"Oh, nothing, except for the fact that I'm practically the ruler of the school," Andi sneered.

The redhead threw her hands up in disgust. "Gosh, I never knew!" She quickly shook her head. "And no, that wasn't sarcasm."

Andi rolled her eyes. "You are such a loser."

"Says the girl with the total boy's name," the other girl shot back.

"Going to the names now, huh?" Andi rolled her icy eyes. The other girl did similarly.


Andi sighed dramatically. "I do admit my parents might have been crazy when naming me 'Andrew'," she admitted.

"They thought you were a boy," the shorter redhead sneered.

"And your parents thought you were a flower," Andi waved her perfectly manicured nails around. "If we're insulting each other's names now."

"Ferns are not flowers," the redhead—Mitchell guessed her name was Fern—shot back.

"I don't care, Fern Everson," Andi shoved Fern. "Now get out of my way, freaking girl. I will ruin your social life, if you even have one."

Fern rolled her jade-green eyes. "I don't give a crap about that."

"Oh, you will, once I send the captain of the soccer team to beat you up. Right now," Andi threatened. The well-known captain of the soccer team, Sunny Menderfield, was a third degree black belt, and she was known to knock people out. This year, already, seven students had already been knocked out by her. Sunny had been not quite well known before she'd gotten her role as the soccer team captain; her popularity was quite sudden. Mitchell wasn't sure if Andi was just giving Fern empty threats, or if Sunny would really listen to Andi.

Next to Mitchell, Tyson tensed. Fern visibly paled. "Oh, no you w-won't," she stammered, her confident aura quickly fading.

"Oh, yes she will." Andi smirked, satisfied at finding Fern's weak point. By this time, a circle of students had gathered around the two girls (who were making quite a commotion and drawing a frankly large crowd), including Mitchell and Tyson. Mitchell was glad P.E. wasn't until 2:30, in five minutes.

"Yeah, right," Fern muttered sarcastically, her voice once more strong and confident like before. "Sunny doesn't listen to anybody."

"Except me," Andi corrected smugly. "Because, if you haven't forgotten, I can ruin your social life."

"You say that like it's a bad thing," Fern raised her eyebrows.

"It is," Andi screeched. "Get out of my way, bi—" she paused.

Sunset City Middle School had high-tech security cameras everywhere, even in bathrooms (but thankfully not in the stalls). It was a known fact a single swear word would get you expelled. It was most unfortunate the security cameras recorded sound especially well. This was particularly bad for the elites, such as Andi.

Fern was smirking. "You know you want to say it," she put her hands on her hips tauntingly.

"Shut. Up." Andi whispered. She brung her hand out and slapped Fern, leaving a fresh red mark on her cheek. The group of students watching stood paralyzed in their messy circle. Only the fast breaths of Fern could be heard.

There were hints of tears in Fern's eyes, as her hands automatically raised themselves to the slash. Fern walked slowly towards Andi - who stood tall - raised herself to Andi's height, and whispered something in Andi's ear.

And Mitchell was pretty sure Fern didn't say "pitch".

"Wait here," Mitchell instructed Tyson, who was looking blank. Tyson nodded absentmindedly.

After Fern ran off, Andi had smirked at everyone and led her followers who-knows-where. Everyone was chattering about the slap, and Mitchell was sure that by the end of the day, everyone would know the news. He just wasn't sure which version of the fight would be the correct one . . . rumors got pretty distorted by the end of the day.

Mitchell ran off in the direction of Fern. He stopped at the end of a hallway, a choice of turning either right or left. He ran down the right hall, praying he was correct.

This hallway was a darker hallway; it was where the principal offices were located, and no one wanted to be in sight of the principal, who was a highly serious man. This hallway was also so the only hallway without security cameras, but nobody could take advantage because the principal office was here. But pearing in the windows, Mitchell wasn't sure where Principal McKane wandered off too.

Turning left, to the sound of stifled sobs, Mitchell caught a glimpse of Fern. She was crouched down in the corner, besides the door which lead to the nurse's office. The hallway she was in displayed various sculptures and paintings, including a sculpture by Andi.

"Fern," he called out, testing her name. Fern looked up, surprised, but her expression changed quickly into an angry one

"Shut up," Fern snapped. "And go away." Mitchell was taken aback by the harshness of her tone.

"Hey, I just wanted to check on you . . . jeez!" Mitchell put his hands up in the universal surrender gesture.

"I don't need 'comforting'," Fern sneered. "Go. Away. Now."

Mitchell scratched his head and backed away. "Are you sure you don't need—"

"Go. AWAY!" Fern screamed, interrupting him mid-sentence. "I don't need charity! I don't need people being nice to me! Shut. Up. And. Go. AWAY!" She stood up and walked over to Mitchell, whipping her hair—which was in a tight braid— around, smacking Mitchell square in the face. Mitchell wouldn't give up. I can get this girl to like—er, admire—me. His ego took over.

"Hey, hey, play nice now." Mitchell suddenly smirked at her, earning himself a blow to the stomach.

"Come anywhere near me, and you will feel pain," Fern threatened. He took a step towards her, and Fern grabbed the nearest item she could find—a ruler. She pointed it at him, glaring. Mitchell chuckled.

"You are so not scary, Fern." Fern took aim and threw the ruler at Andi's sculpture, hitting it perfectly on target and making it shatter.

"Now, are you scared?"

Mitchell couldn't admit to her that yes, he was scared. Besides, it would ruin his ego. He took a deep breath. "No," he said, trying to keep his voice from wavering.

"Yeah, right," Fern smirked, not playfully. Mitchell blushed—wait, what? Mitchell never blushed around a girl . . .

Fern directed a roundhouse kick to Mitchell's stomach, a perfect hit. He doubled over, hoping security cameras caught what she just did. She then performed a sidekick, a few more roundhouse kicks, and some fancy kick Mitchell couldn't put a name to. After Mitchell groaned and begged her to stop (it was a pathetic sight, really), Fern slid her foot under his foot, and swept him to the ground.

She bent over, her braid brushing his chin. Her hands were grabbing Mitchell's loose t-shirt, preventing him from standing up. "Never mess with me again," Fern hissed, straightening before giving Mitchell one last kick on the side, and threw the ruler at Mitchell's feet.

As she sauntered down the hallway, Mitchell raised his head and said meekly, "Uh, are you going to at least say thank you for me being caring?" He knew what the answer would be, but he still wanted to ask.

Fern spun around. "If you think I'm going to say thank you to your dumb a—er, butt . . . you are so wrong." She spun back around after giving him a dirty glare.
"Wait!" Mitchell called again, his stomach aching. He desperately searched for a question. "If you're . . . if you're so tough and good at karate, why were you afraid of Sunny coming over back there at that scene with Andi?"

Fern slowly spun around, her lips in a tight line. "None of your business," she answered tautly, then turned back around.

Mitchell stared at Fern . . . she was what Tyson would call 'feisty'. Tyson likes feisty girls . . .

He wasn't sure if he liked 'feisty girls' though.

As he stared at Fern's retreating back, her fiery red hair swinging in her perfectly tight braid, he quickly found an answer to his own question.

"Dude!" Mitchell heard Tyson say. Mitchell had been staring at Fern's fading figure, and apparently Tyson had become worried and found Mitchell lying on the ground in the middle of a deserted hallway. "What happened? It's last period! We're going to be late! Please tell me you did not get beat up by that nerd!"

"Nerd?" Mitchell questioned.

Tyson sent him a strange look. "Yeah, well, duh. She takes photography, her best friends are books, she's the head of some school newspaper we have here—"

"Wait, we have a school newspaper?"

Tyson barely spared him a glance before nodding. "Exactly my point. But we need to go now. It's gym today, remember?"

Mitchell smiled cockily. "Oh, good. Now I need more pain from stretching."

Tyson widened his brown eyes. "Whoa, man, not cool! You did get beat up by the nerd? That's . . ." He trailed off, raising his eyebrows at Mitchell.

Oops, Mitchell smiled wryly to himself. He wasn't supposed to find out about Fern's . . . skills . . .

"No, I didn't," he lied. "I accidentally tripped on something and fell. That nerd is weak, man!"

Tyson laughed. "So true. C'mon, let's go to gym. You know, if the nerd did, that would be so weird. I mean, you would go down a million rungs on the coolness ladder!"

Mitchell rolled his eyes, but mentally smiled tightly to himself. If only you knew . . .

The next day, Mitchell ignored Mattie, Lottie, and Tyson. He walked straight to Fern, and looked her in the eye.

"Fern, I know you don't like me, but I will make you. I promise."

He left, leaving Fern confused.

Fern Scarlett Everson—Sunset City, Utah—March 28—7:00 AM

Fern stared after him.

Mitchell was a mystery. Why he came to her and tried to comfort her yesterday made no sense. He didn't even know her!

And, just seconds ago, he'd said, "Fern, I know you don't like me, but I will make you. I promise." What did that mean?

Sure, she didn't like him . . . he was a huge jerk, and why did he even consider comforting her? Fern didn't need any comforting. And why would he try make her like him?

And as Fern said goodbye to her friends, she kept thinking about the blue-eyed, brown-haired boy. Then, as she had just entered the school building, she felt a pair of rough hands settle on her shoulders, spinning her around.

~ Author's Note ~

Aha. Cliffy. Review and you'll get an update! You can guess who spun Fern around in a review :)

Hah, it's snowed last night, so we got a delay :) Perfect time to update...sorry for the short chapter though.

Leave a review! They are love...^.^

- Emmeline Alicia Mary -