The hallways were once again crowded, and I was forced to stand up from my comfortable spot on the linoleum floor with a burdened sigh. I hated passing periods, with all the chatter and people, pushing each other this way and that. Nobody ever paid attention to me, so I was squished right in the middle of it all, trying desperately to get to class. It usually didn't work, since I had some kind of bad luck curse, cast upon me at birth.

After a few minutes of serious struggle, the crowd suddenly thinned around me, and I turned to see why, surprised. They were all heading toward something to my left, and I craned my neck to see around all the students gathered. I almost fell over when I saw the cause of the commotion, the center of attention: that weird kid I had met earlier, Felice. He said something I was too far away to hear, and everyone started laughing, startling me. Something had shifted in their faces, in their eyes, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was, so I just shrugged and went on my way to second period. who cared, anyway?

I didn't think much of it again until I was walking to third period. Once again, the corridors were almost empty on one side, with everyone blindly following Felice's smiling face. What had he done to gain so much popularity, with that broad grin and annoyingly bright gray eyes- okay, wait, hold up. Gray? They were just blue! How did they…?

I gave up, wanting nothing to do with him anyway, and squeezed past the immobile crowd. they would be late if they didn't get moving soon, and I wasn't going to be caught up in the drama. Rubbing a hand across my temple, I sat at my assigned desk in the Geometry class I had, laying my head against the cool wooden top. I was the only one there so far, and it was the ideal moment to catch a bit of shut-eye.

But sucks to be me, the teacher wasn't having it. She shook my shoulder and glared at me, as if it were an insult to her that I didn't get enough sleep at night in my ramshackle little apartment that had no electricity and currently had three loose floorboards. Well, sorry, ma'am, but why didn't you use your energy from the small amount of youth you still had to round up the kids who were already a minute late instead of waking up the one responsible high schooler with nothing else to do because you hadn't assigned anything to do yet?

The period passed uneventfully after everyone else decided to finally come in, unless you count sine and cosine as events. Honestly, I could've done the problems in a deep, dreamless sleep, which I really wanted to be in right then. Fourth period came and went, and then fifth period finally rolled around after a rather disgusting lunch. At least it was edible, and that's all I cared about, after years of living alone and eating virtually nothing, I even went as far as looking forward to school lunches.

Anyway, I happened to have fifth period with the one and only, insta-popular, super-effective Felice, who bounded over the second he saw me and draped his arms across my desk, beaming as happily as it gets.

"Yes?" I asked, the annoyance obvious in both my face and my voice. "Do you need something?"

"Hi, Atalía! Haven't seen you all day!"

He said it like we were old friends or something, which we definitely were not. I could already hear the whispers, belonging to the populars, the preps, even the nerds.

Why is she talking to Felice?

Does Felice know who she is?

Ew, why would he talk to her?

The beginning of the year, I would have flushed dark red and hidden my face or something, but now I was beyond caring. They didn't even bother me anymore. All they were in my mind were little insects, narrowly avoiding being swat at. Apparently, Felice hadn't heard the whispering, because he kept on smiling, his green eyes sparkling. Oh, so now they were green again?

"Well, we don't have any other classes together." I replied stiffly after a while, wishing he would go away. Just another mosquito to be dealt with later. He didn't seem to get the message, though, and continued standing there, grinning in sweet ignorance.

"I think we have sixth period together, then! Hey, the people here are nice, aren't they?"

I grit my teeth. They were, were they? I fought the urge to crack my knuckles, a bad habit since the sixth grade. "I suppose so."

Wow, I just lied to a little kid. I was such a positive role model.

"Class, get to your seats!" the teacher called as he strolled in and started to take roll. Felice Raised his hand, having graduated from standing next to my desk, to sitting on it.

"Sir," he chirped, "I don't know where to sit!"

"Ah, you're the new boy… Felice Saryas, correct?"

"Yes, sir!"


"Wherever there's an empty seat."

Curse my social status. Since I was the biggest loser ever to step foot in this school, everyone refused to sit next to me, given the choice, so there was nobody in any of the chairs surrounding me. In other words, the first empty desk Felice laid eyes on was the one right next to me. I hated my life so much right then, it wasn't even funny. It never was funny anyway, but whatever. And to add salt to the deep, very bloody wound, this class was a double-period. Well, darn it all. Twice the time spent with the little flea known as Felice.

How did he become so liked by so many, so fast, with an attitude like his? I would've thought in this hell-hole called high school, he would be trampled like a bug. Guess not. I would never understand it, and I didn't want to.

"Felice, don't talk to her."

They knew I could hear them. They probably wanted me to. well, see if I gave a donkey's rear end.

"She's the daughter of a suicidal rape victim- you don't know what she could be thinking."

I walked to the door, delayed for a few minutes by the usual idiotic jerks stopping me to insult me about petty things like my appearance, my parents, etc.

"I'm serious- don't even look at her, she might curse you."

What, now I was a sorceress? News to me. I pushed open the door and escaped to the fresh air of the outdoors, ready to be free of my ridiculers, but not yet ready to go home, if you could even call it that. The apartment complex didn't exactly give off a welcoming air.

I made the split-second decision to head south, the opposite direction of my home-sweet-home, and resolved to get thoroughly lost before sunset. Of course, getting lost was the one thing I excelled at, and was probably my only hobby. I did it so often, I knew most, if not all, of the streets around this area and the general county. You'd be surprised how far you could go when you're trying to get lost in a hurry.

A few blocks down, I had the eerie feeling that I was being watched. Not the normal, slightly creepy stare either, but eyes made of fire, piercing the back of my neck like hateful spikes. Shrugging it off, the thought entered my mind that if I kept walking, the feeling would go away. Long story short, the opposite happened; with every step I took, it grew more intense. I became more and more paranoid the farther I got, and I caught myself walking backwards several times.

Before I had time to get lost at all, the sensation got so uncomfortable, I had to turn back. I had to go home, or something, just so the sense would stop! Weird loner girl or not, I was just as frightened as the next guy would be. Almost unconsciously, I broke into a run, steadily gaining speed until I saw someone in front of me, right in the middle of the street. I skidded to a stop, or at least tried to, and narrowly swerved around them. The face had barely registered, before they turned and tackle-hugged me in the middle of my deceleration.

What was Felice doing here? Why did he keep popping up everywhere?

"What are you doing here?" my voice sounded accusatory.

"Atalía, I can't believe we're seeing each other like this! What a surprise!" he smiled widely, his eyes still light green and stunning under his light brown fringe. Not that I was staring or anything, but as soon as I saw that smile, the watchful feeling disappeared, along with the stress it had brought. what was with this boy? I barely knew him, and yet I felt so safe around him, like nothing could ever hurt me again…

I shook off the thoughts. So many things, so many people, they had already hurt me enough, why would it stop? Why should it?