A/N: Well, I might as well make this one out to the anonymous viewer who apparently goes to my school. Since I've dedicated this chapter to you, will you please tell me who you are? Oh well, in any case. I hope someone enjoys this. I guess I'm back on my fluffy streak. R&R It really means a lot to me :D
Skip Hood, or in reality, Scott Hood, made his boring way down through each boring hall to his next boring class. That was Skip's outlook on life. It was just boring. Nothing exciting had happened to him since last quarter when he witnessed a fist fight over Sally McKinley. He was a senior in high school. He should live a little; however, Skip acted like his goal in life was to have absolutely no life.
It was obviously unintentional, but it didn't change the fact that everything was boring. Skip trudged his way down the unappealing hall to his even more unappealing advanced English class. The walls looked more bland than usual, if the pale brown coloring could get any blander, that is.
Each step seemed to cause physical pain. Maybe running would make it less monotonous. Then again, running was strictly forbidden in the hallways. Running would then make him a rebel. A sad pang went through him as he realized his type of rebellion was running through halls.
Skip meandered into his class a good five minutes before the bell was to ring. He sat in his corner in the far back and waited patiently as his peers walked in themselves. It was one of his pastimes in between the time he came in, as he was always early, and when class actually started – people watch.
He noted that Kelley Markel had her hips surrounded by the arms of Nate Greening. Apparently they were again an item. They were the most talked about on again off again couple – of the smarter group of course – and Skip was a number one information broker. Details like these made him a quick buck when necessary; this was the only form of adrenaline he ever had – other than running in halls.
The only thing other than "Natelley" that interested him was a new girl with her head aimed at the floor. She had shaggy brown hair ending roughly at her jaw bone with a streaks of florescent red stripped through. She was very pretty with an ashy pale complexion and sharp countenance. He wanted to ask her what her name was, but he decided against it. The teacher would probably announce it in class.
The new girl went straight for a back desk, all in a tizzy. She didn't look happy in the slightest. Skip was wondered what could've put her in such a mood. He gazed at her from his vantage point in the corner of the room. She was only two desks down from the fair-haired boy.
The teacher made the girl stand up, come to the front, and introduce herself as soon as the period started. Her face turned as red as the streaks in her hair. It was only then did Skip realize just how very short the girl was. She couldn't be more than five feet tall.
The girl tried to duck her head to keep her face from showing, but the teacher coarsely instructed her, "Chin up!" She grimaced, but obliged. The girl toyed with the ring in her lip as nervous habit.
"Hi," she muttered dry, per the direction of the teacher once more. "I'm Arietta Sumpter. I, uh, came here from New York. I guess Idaho's gonna take some getting used to," she laughed without humor. Arietta fiddled with the strings of her black hoodie and tried to make her way back to her desk "stealth style". It was rather hard to be stealthy when an entire class had their eyes on you.
Skip leaned back in his seat and held his breath to keep out a laugh. This girl was a piece of work, he could tell that already. She went from New York to Idaho? Not that he had anything against Idaho; he had lived there quite a bit of his life, but the transition from California to Idaho he had made when he was twelve had been hard and Skip had lived in, more or less, a farm town. How could a girl go from the "Big Apple" to "Home of the Potato"? He shuddered at the thought.
Skip let his mind wander rather than pay attention to Mr. Rosen. He didn't need any knowledge his teacher was vomiting unnecessarily from his utterly unnecessary being. Skip was the most advanced senior in English out of his whole school. He could teach the subject.
After the fifty minutes was up, Skip packed up as slowly as possible. English was his last period before lunch, so it was pointless to get into a fit over packing. He watched Arietta gather her things in as much of a hurry as he did. She just looked pissed, for reasons unknown to him.
Skip gazed after her as she fled the small room out into the open corridor. He understood that going from a big city to Idaho, be a big city in Idaho or not, it was still Idaho, was enough to put anyone in a bad mood. It just seemed like there was more emotional turmoil rummaging around in the girl's head other than just Idaho shock.
Days passed and Skip watched the girl from a distance. She was a hot topic in the broking business and he needed to observe every move she made; the more the detail, the more the cash. Skip felt relatively bad about using her for money, but he wasn't going to stop his only form of rebellion for her sake.
After the first month, Skip took a different interest in the girl named Arietta Sumpter. He started to notice, after his initial first impression, how pretty the girl was and how much she looked like she could use, at the very least, someone to talk too.
Skip though maybe he could try asking her to a movie on some weekend. He was a senior in high school who hadn't had a girlfriend since sophomore year. There was something wrong with him.
The only problem was that Skip had confidence issues. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the girls he asked out rejected him, and the ones that did say yes ended up dumping him two weeks later. Skip also realized Arietta probably had no idea who he was. She did always have her head angled at the floor.
Skip began listing all the reasons it would be bad – and most likely hard on his mental state – to ask her out. One, he didn't like rejection and that was most likely coming his way. Two, she probably hadn't the foggiest idea who exactly he was. Three, hell they hadn't even made eye-contact! He would be royally screwed if he asked her out.
Then again, there was this small nagging voice in the back of his mind telling him he should do it. He might not be shot down, and he'd been sadly deprived of a girlfriend for so long. Plus, Skip really thought he liked this Arietta girl, so why not?
Skip held the phone close to his ear that night as soon as he got home. His father was working the night shift and his mother was asleep in her bed. She was often in bed before nine o'clock due to chronic migraines that immobilized her to the point of having to stay in her bed with all the curtains drawn and doors shut tightly.
He dialed the number he knew to Arietta's. What kind of information broker would he be if he couldn't even find out a girl's number? After the first the few rings, a girl answered the phone.
"Sumpter Rez, what's up?" The voice was high-pitched and rather obnoxious. It couldn't belong to a girl any older than ten. Skip was stumped until he realized Arietta probably had a younger sister.
"Hi, I'm Skip Hood. I'm calling for Arietta." There was a long dumbfounded pause on the other end of the line before the girl broke into uncontrollable laughter.
"I'm sorry, Skip was it? Well I think you might be mistaken. Now if you were calling for Quinn I might understand. Are you sure you aren't calling for Quinn," the little girl giggled.
"I'm pretty sure I'm calling for Arietta." There was another long pause from the girl before she started laughing again.
"When did Ari get a boyfriend?" she shrieked, still laughing. "This is gold! Ha! I'm dying over here. I'm dying!" the girl shouted melodramatically.
"I'm not her boyfriend, but I'm assuming she doesn't have one."
"Nope!" sang the girl. "Not since, like her freshman year. She's kinda lame," the girl whispered, still giggling.
"Oh," Skip laughed hypocritically. It was funnier when it was someone else on the same dating boat.
"Yeah, so why exactly do you want to talk to Ari? It's like, eight fifteen. She might be in bed. She goes to bed early 'cause she "depressed". More like she just feels sorry for herself," the girl muttered angrily.
"Why's that?" Skip asked curiously. He felt he could get along with this little girl. He could pry and she would spill her guts, no questions asked.
"Our parents just divorced. Daddy stayed in New York and Ma dragged us here," she said with obvious disdain. "Just 'cause Ari's the oldest doesn't mean she should have the right to mope when I get knocked when I even talk about it a little.
"You see, I'm the youngest. I'm ten. I'm Rita by the way. Ari's the oldest; she eighteen. Then Quinn who's fifteen. Then Jacquelyn who's thirteen. Ya see that leaves me the baby. I like being the baby, but I don't like being treated like I can't handle things. It's not fair," the girl, Rita, babbled. Her pouting was actually very endearing to Skip.
"I'm sorry, honey. That really sucks." Skip really felt bad, but he felt worse that the information he just got from Rita would probably around the school by tomorrow. People love to gossip about a sob story and he couldn't turn them down. It was his job – more or less.
"Doesn't it?" she squealed. "I really hate it, but whatever. I'll live. Oh!" Rita squeaked. "You wanted to talk to Arietta. I'll go get her." Skip jumped when Rita screamed out to Arietta, not taking the receiver from her face.
"Ari, a potential boyfriend is on the line! Pick up or I'll hit you 'cause he sounds really cute and sweet and if you don't want him I call dibs! I hope you heard that Quinn! Dibs if Ari doesn't want him!" she yelled even louder. Skip felt himself blush from the attention of the ten-year old.
Just then a second line answered the phone.
"Who the hell is this?" the voice spit at Skip. "I was going to sleep, so you better have a damn good reason for disrupting that."
"Uh, hi, I'm Skip Hood. I'm in your advanced English class. "I was, kinda, uh, wondering if you'd like to go out sometime. I mean, you don't seem to have many people to hang out with, so I was wondering if you wanted to – I don't know, I'm babbling. So, you wanna go out with me?"
There was a long pause like the one Rita had made moments before. Just like her little sister before her, Arietta burst out into laughter.
"Uh sorry, honey. I have no idea who you are." She sounded somewhat remorseful, but not all that much.
"Oh, well, I'll be at school tomorrow, so I'm sure you'll see me then," Skip said, refusing to give up that easily.
"Okay then, babe. See you then." The phone went dead. Skip felt relatively good. He wasn't jumping off the walls, but he wasn't crushed, hiding in a corner.
Skip waited anxiously for the next day. His first three periods seemed like life had ceased and he was stuck in some time paradox where nothing ever happened. When English finally rolled around, Skip couldn't hold in his excitement.
"You seem awful – bubbly," one of Skip's friends informed him.
"Yeah, maybe a little."
Skip walked into his class later than his usual. Class started and Skip ran in – yes, he ran. He was in an extra rebellious mood – completely out of breath, but still technically on time. As soon as he entered the room, a girl sitting next to Arietta shouted, "That's him! That's Skip Hood! You see that one that just came in? That's Skip!"
"Why, what do we have here, Skip? Looks like a few young ladies are interested in you," the teacher laughed. Arietta blushed a crimson red at the comment, or really, the situation in general. Skip didn't know but Arietta had not at all planned for it to go like that.
She got to class early and asked the girl next to her to nudge her when Skip Hood came into the room. If she had talked to Skip, she could've learned that asking Brady Kent would be a horrid idea. The girl couldn't do anything nonchalantly.
Before Arietta knew it, the situation was far out of hand. The girl had screamed when Skip walked in, and now everyone was staring at her. She felt her face go entirely red.
Skip also blushed. He looked up at Arietta. He nodded as discreetly as he could, but nothing passed the eyes of Mr. Rosen. Mr. "Stupid" Rosen, Skip thought with venom.
"Ah, it seems Skip has his eyes on only one of the girls." The whole class laughed and Arietta looked like she was going to pass out.
When the class calmed themselves, Mr. Rosen started the lesson. Arietta took the time to assess the boy they called Skip. He looked out the large wall of windows, not paying the slightest bit of attention to the lesson. She wondered if he was a chronic bad-boy, or if he did this because he was some kind of genius.
Skip looked tall, he was a dirty blonde, dark blue eyes. All around, Arietta was glad it was this boy who had taken an interest in her and not the one sitting two seats away from him. That boy needed some serious skin treatment.
Skip felt Arietta's eyes on him the entire period, but he didn't want to make a scene. After the period, which decided to become part of his paradox, he plucked up the courage to talk to Arietta.
"Hi," he trailed off.
Arietta looked up in surprise to see Skip at her desk. She felt her cheeks begin to burn again.
"Uh, hi, Skip," she choked.
"Well, you never actually answered me. Do you still not want to go out with me?" he laughed in an unusual burst of confidence.
"No!" she blurted. "I mean, uh, sure. Why not?" Her cheeks were still the same color as the strips in her hair.
"Good. I'll pick you up at eight." Skip walked off with that feeling like the demigod – granted, it wasn't good enough to be a flat-out god – of amazingness.
When eight rolled around he found himself at the Sumpter house. He knocked on the door to have a little girl open the door. She barely came to Skip's waist. She light brown hair that was close to blonde, but still brown, cut in the same fashion of Arietta.
"Ha!" she exclaimed. "I knew you were going to be super cute! Hey Ari! Better get down here before Quinn!" the girl laughed.
"You must be Rita," Skip realized, laughing himself.
"You got that right babe. Now remember, if Ari treats you wrong, I'll always be here for you," Rita winked.
Skip was now laughing at full force. Hell, if the girl was eight years older, he might have a thing for her. She was so abrupt and out there. He kind of wanted to hug her.
A tall, lean girl with honey blonde hair down to her hourglass hips twisted down the stairs in a light yellow sundress. Skip assumed this was Quinn.
"Well now, how did Arietta get a nice piece of man like this?" she asked, running a French tipped nail down Skip's arm. Skip shuddered, backing away from the abrasive fifteen year old. "I'm Quinn," she informed.
"Quinn! Back off!" Rita yelled, a little too loudly. "I told you! As much as I hate to say this again, Ari gets first dibs, then I'm next in line!"
"Oh please. I nice guy like this wouldn't want a snotty squirt like you," Quinn spat.
"Hey! Skip doesn't think I'm a snotty squirt, do you Skip? You don't think I'm a snotty squirt, do you?"
"No, not at all," Skip stammered.
"What's causing all this racket?" a new voice asked. Down floated a new girl that had to be Arietta's last sister, Jacquelyn. The girl looked dazed but still in control. She had light brown hair as well. Her outfit was more suited to the freezing temperature in the house with a heavy parka and skinny jeans.
"Ooh, you guys weren't exaggerating. He really is cute," she spoke lithely, the words flowing from her mouth like a lullaby. She opened her dark brown eyes a little wider.
"Not you too!" wailed Rita. "What do you people not understand about the dib system?"
"Could you guys even attempt to keep it down?" spit a sharp voice that Skip soon recognized.
"Arietta," he breathed in relief. She wore a red dress and black flats. She had her short hair curled.
"Hey Skip," she smiled. "Damn Quinn! Could you make it even a little colder?" Arietta asked, shaking.
"Yeah, I was kinda wondering why it was so cold in here," asked Skip.
"It's because Quinn is crazy," Arietta said.
"Yeah!" Rita hollered. "She's crazy! You definitely shouldn't fall for her. Especially when I'm right here!"
"Well, I don't agree with that last part Rita, but I will say Quinn is crazy," hummed Jacquelyn. "She has this half-baked theory that the colder it is, the nicer you skin will be. I have no clue where she got it."
"I got it from that one genius magazine," Quinn scoffed at her more down to Earth sister.
"Well, wherever you got it, it's stupid. Turn up the frickin' heat! Please, I'm dying over here," sneered Arietta, sounding like Rita.
"You jerk!" Quinn started, but was cut off by Arietta dragging Skip out the door.
"Sorry about that," Arietta murmured sheepishly.
"It's okay. You know, it's kinda funny. You guys are like all polar opposites of one another," Skip chuckled.
"That's funny 'cause my daddy used to tell us we were each different colors of the rainbow. I was red; his daughter of fiery passion," she laughed in a way that barely held back tears. "Quinn was his yellow, vain and light. Jacquelyn was his little indigo, a rare color for her jewel-like sensibility. Rita was green, spontaneous and all over the place."
Her shoulders began to shake and Skip grabbed her.
"It's okay. Please don't cry," he pled. Skip couldn't watch a girl cry, especially one that he liked as much as Arietta. Chivalry was far from dead in his eyes, but just was the way of Skip Hood.
A/N: There you have it. Another chapter. I really find myself only making author's notes now out of habit because I really have nothing to say. Oh well. I guess I'll just use bribes. Virtually cookies (Emily, forgive me, I've now given you your fair share of cookies) for reviews and you'll be my hero forever if you favorite. Ya know, I want to thank anonymous-wind0 for my one and only fav. It really means so much to me. Thank-you!