"Lingering, bottled-up anger never reveals the 'true colors' of an individual. It, on the contrary, becomes all mixed up, rotten, confused, forms a highly combustible, chemical compound then explodes as something foreign, something very different than one's natural self." - Criss Jami

Just because it's what's done doesn't mean it's what should be done. | Cinderella


Chapter One


I think it's probably best to inform you now that I hate my life. Rather than you discovering how much of a self-obsessed idiot I am at a later stage. You can stop reading now.

Today, I finished reading a book on depression called, 'Teen Angst: The Inner Battle.' The main objective, from the blurb, was to help people like me, except it only succeeded in patronising me. My estranged father sent it for my fifteenth birthday to help me cope with my mother's many relationships. That's what he says. According to him, I'm messed up because my mother is promiscuous. It has absolutely nothing to do with him cheating on her with his co-worker and leaving us in the lurch.

The real reason I'm screwed up is because I have 50% of his DNA. My dad's ... The swamp dwelling beast. I think he throws sly digs at my mother purely to make himself feel better about walking out. Like he had seen the future and decided he was too good for the woman my mother would become.

"Not you again."

That perpetually petulant tone of voice interrupts my internal dialogue of whether the chicken or the egg came first. I look up to see the familiar scowling face of a boy in my class approaching me in the school yard. I am not scared of him. I'm not. But when I see those familiar blue eyes the fight or flight response kicks in.

"What is it about my bench that fascinates you?" The boy breaks me out of my reverie with his impatient line of questioning. "Wait. Don't tell me. You were looking for me?"

I lift my eyes tracking the purple lines on his arms, but make sure to avoid looking at his face. His veins look like engorged worms and are probably the reason for his powerful punches. He was clenching and unclenching his hand like he had just had his daily fight — knowing him, this was the case.

This particular boy is hard to describe. The closest explanation would be Satan trapped in the body of a model. He's also the type to tutor you in any subject and get you an easy A*. Probably because he could snap at you to 'get a move on, you lazy sack of shit' and you'd study harder to just get him off your case. Yeah, it wasn't a nice experience.

He sighs. "What do you want?"

"Nothing."

"Are you here to ask for a favour?"

I shake my head.

He looks sceptical. "Then ... you want my company?"

"Um. No."

"A date?"

"No. No. No, no —"

"What do you want then?"

"I'm sitting. It's what people do when they're tired and in need of a break," I whisper.

"What?" He says this as if I responded in Klingon.

Thus, I clear my throat. "Sitting," I say a fraction louder.

He stares at me for so long I begin to squirm. "Do I need a hearing aid just to communicate with you?"

"Sitting!" I practically yell, then quickly regret my actions.

He releases a derisive snort. "I do have eyes, I can see you're sitting."

"Then ... why ask?" I mumble.

Orion rolls his eyes. "This is my bench, everyone knows that. I know you don't know much on account of your non-existent brainpower but Jesus Christ ..."

That's his name. Orion. Strange, isn't it? Almost as weird as he is, with his unearthly pale skin. Vampire, you ask? No, he's just unsociable, unfriendly and prefers spending hours in libraries to normal pastimes, like sunbathing (if he can find enough sunlight anywhere in the UK) or parties. Not that saying I'm particularly interested in parties either. Probably just as socially inept as he is ... Where was I even going with this?

Oh yeah. His hotness level. He's attractive enough to get away with murder, so although he generally hates humanity, humanity can't help trying to impress him.

After a while of me saying nothing, Orion grunts, "C'mon. I reserved this spot. I paid for it with two packets of cigarettes."

"Who did you pay?"

"Your mum."

"Ha. Very mature."

Sighing, I slowly stand up, my legs quivering, allowing myself to be herded away. I'm too tired and so incredibly low in spirit that I can't even be bothered to argue about this with him. Not that he'd let me get a word in edgeways – his vocabulary far exceeds mine. He'd chew me up and spit me out in near perfect English. I wish I had the excuse that I was bilingual; sadly, I only know one language and suck at it. Oh the woes of a fool.

"Wait, Lizzy."

I stop dead at the sound of his tone. He sounds almost ... hesitant. Could it be the one moment he regrets his treatment of me? I can feel that my eyes are wide as I turn back to face him. He's running a hand through his blond hair and shuffling his feet. I've never seen him look so human before. Weird. Surely he's not going to apologise.

"Look ..." Orion glances at the ground, seemingly struggling to get his words out. "I don't quite know how to say this."

My mouth dries up. I'm practically gawking at him. This is a case of swift alien abduction. "What?"

"I think you sat on some bird poo," he says.

Feeling the mortification rising, I look to the bench and notice that there is smudged white substance that does indeed look like bird poo. Or yoghurt. Either way, it certainly made a mess.

"Oh god, no," I mumble, staring at the back of my skirt where the bird poo had been smeared.

"Don't worry about it," Orion is saying somewhere in the background, "it could be worse."

I look at him, my eyes burning. "How could it possibly be worse than this?"

"Could be jizz instead of bird poo. I say you lucked out 'cause it's not." He pauses and stares at my bum area. "Hang on. I'm not so sure now."

Oh god.

"Alright, let's call it quits. I pity you. Borrow my hoodie, wrap it around your skirt."

And have his fangirls on my case?

"No, thanks." I start inspecting the bird poo/yoghurt/jizz, vomit threatening to spurt out of my mouth. "I'm sure you're saying that out of the kindness of your heart. Your sheer desire to be a good citizen of the world. Or maybe so your fangirls attack me."

"Fuck off," he says. There's a brief pause. Almost casually, he adds, "You know, I don't actually have a heart. Probably why I behave like a massive dick 100% of the time."

He looks like he's about to add something else. Something serious. I blunder right through it, pretending not to notice.

"Oh, I know that already," I tell him. "Not that I'm implying you're heartless. Well, I suppose I am, but only because I'm agreeing with you. Anyways, I have to go."

"Where?"

"Away, I guess."

Orion watches me for a tick. He doesn't speak. I can see him playing with the strings of his ear buds, all to avoid my eyes.

Clearing my throat sheepishly, I stare up at the eternally bleak grey sky and silently pray to a god I don't believe in. He doesn't reply. Not God, Orion. Not that I expected God to reply.

Looking away from the wreckage of person I am, Orion pockets his phone and places a lit-up cigarette between his lips. Gathering his belongings, he rises off the bench with indescribable elegance, and pushes an ear bud into his left ear, not long before electronic music blasts out.

"Fine," he finally says, blowing disgusting smoke in my face.

My heart is literally about to leap out of my ribcage. "What?"

"Enjoy the jizz jokes," he responds, throwing a tattered backpack over his shoulder.


Why is it hot in September? The UK's flip-floppity weather continues to baffle me. You begin the morning wearing a coat, a scarf and gloves, and by lunchtime, you need to sit directly in front of a fan in just your vest and pants. My spare black leggings from my PE kit has proved useful in the last two lessons.

I sit in my usual seat at the back corner, barely making a sound, hoping the teacher doesn't notice I'm not wearing half of my uniform. There was no point in me fretting; nobody notices I exist anyway.

If I disappeared, not a single person would bat an eye. Invisibility can be advantageous for days like today, other days ... I just want to be remembered for something admirable.

As if he can hear my thoughts, Orion turns his head in my direction, his eyes blank and face cold. Standard. He is sitting a few rows in front, so when he cranes his head it has to be a little physically awkward for him. He still manages to do this once or twice every History lesson. It irritates me because I'd like to concentrate on Winston Churchill's influence on British politics for once. Orion smirks at me, looks down at my knees. Presumably at my leggings. He grins wider and then turns around to his friend, Joseph, and the two share a hearty chuckle at my expense.

I drop my gaze. Between him and my friend, Carla, I can never feel overlooked. Not that their attention is beneficial for me; Carla hangs out with me for the hell of it. For the sake of old times. It's why I spend a lot of my lunches wandering around. And Orion ...

Since the delicate age of five, Orion always knew how to target me psychologically, gradually breaking me down. I am no longer the chubby kid in the corner, no longer so focused on binge-eating and frantically sticking fingers down my throat afterwards to eliminate all the carbs. I might not care about calories or scales anymore, but I never forget that word.

Fat.

My life is almost exactly the same as last year, except of course, Orion Walker and his friends haven't pulled any brutal pranks thus far. This first week back at school has been so odd.

Turns out being skinnier does offer some privileges.

The bell rings before I get too wrapped in the misery of that particular memory. Gathering my items together, I scurry across the emptying classroom and burst out of door to meet my only friend after her final period; hopefully her mother can drive me home today. A familiar chuckle sounds from somewhere behind me and I feel myself jump out of my skin.

A little down the hallway, I notice Orion walking out of the classroom with Joseph, grinning ear to ear. I can't imagine what they're talking about, but I certainly don't want to stick around to find out. There's a slight smirk on his face that worries me.

"Hey, Pearce!"

Shit. That tone in his voice, totally calculated and mischievous makes my stomach flip. He's going to end me. Armed with that knowledge, I keep my head down and keep scampering. If this is what rats feel like just before they get caught in a trap, I now have empathy for them.

"Lizzy!"

Low and behold, Orion does block me from escaping. Drat!

"Why are you running?" he asks me, a little breathless from practically jogging after me.

"I'm in a rush," I lie.

"A rush to get where?" He raises his eyebrow. "It's not like you have a life outside of school. Matter of fact, you don't have a life in school."

A gaggle of girls walking by burst into infectious giggles at his words, staring at me like the circus freak I've grown up to be. Well, that's just perfect. More societal-level mocking.

"Move along," Orion barks at them. "Nothing to see here."

And they do. Because he's Orion Walker.

Just a bit ironic that the source of all the Lizzy hate wants to put up this façade of shading me from the jeers of our fellow classmates. I want to go home and mix together a revenge potion from the safety of my bedroom. A plot to run a knife right through his heart. A nice clean hole. Then I would cackle like a witch and do a voodoo dance over his body.

Ooh, dark.

"I have to go," I tell Orion, turning and preparing to bolt.

"Where?" Orion asks conversationally, walking alongside me.

Ah. There is nothing left but for me to dodge this guy like he's a contagious bug.

"I'm meeting a friend," I say, starting to sprint, "Bye!"

I bolt for it. Keep running until I can no longer see him behind me. Up to the second floor, third floor, up and down the corridors. Once I've spent enough time skulking the area, I double back and return to the same hallway on the first floor.

Having reached my destination, just outside Carla's final lesson, I perch on the floor and hide my face behind a copy of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'. I have roughly five minutes until her teacher dismisses the class.

When Carla exits her class, she immediately notices my shifty behaviour. Carla is a long-term friend, one I hang out with out of habit, not real desire. She's beautiful, funny, if not a little peculiar. Everyone likes her. Even I like her, and I don't like most people.

"What happened to you?" Carla asks me. "You look ... all red and weird."

"Just a disagreement with Walker."

My friend rolls her eyes hard. "Again? Tell me you didn't sit on his bench."

"I might have."

She groans. "You know he's a territorial freak over that bench. Seriously Lizzy? Are you trying to get yourself killed?"

"He took it quite well actually," I lie, pretending to read.

"Did he?" Carla sounds sceptical and I'm offended.

"Yeah," I mumble, hiding behind the book as weave another lie. "I think he's actually starting to tolerate my general existence now."

"He despises you."

"No, he did despise me. Now he tolerates me."

"Lizzy, I can't see your face, but I know you're lying." Carla is a great deal more popular than me. I can never understand why she had such loyalty to me when most of her other friends can't stand me. Not to sound ungrateful (I do appreciate her) I just have a habit of questioning people's intentions.

I throw the book down on the table with a bang and jump to my feet, grinning from cheek to cheek. My friend is already examining me.

"How are you, friend?" I beam, ushering all my skeletons back into their closet of doom.

She plays with her platinum-dyed hair. Carla is a natural blonde. She just has a habit of dying her hair different shades of blonde, the furthest from strawberry-blonde, which was her natural hair colour. "I'm ... ok. Why?"

"No reason, I just ..." I glance over my shoulder, wildly. "I want to know more about you! I feel as if we're strangers."

"We're best friends." Her light eyes narrow. "You know everything there is to know about me. Why are you acting so odd?"

"I'm not acting odd. I just want to appreciate the people in my life. Is that so terrible?"

"Jesus, alright," she mumbles, holding her hands up in a surrender pose. "I was thinking about what we should do after school. Shall I talk about that?"

"Go ahead." I check my surroundings again as we set off outside.

"Jackson wants to go skateboarding again and I know your balance is off and you suck, and you can barely walk on flat ground, but I would really love it if you made an effort —"

Bad friend that I am, I tune her out. What was Orion doing? Why was he being borderline friendly? What was he up to? Does sitting on his bench mean warfare in Orion Walker's Book of 'Irrational Reasons to Torture Innocent Girls?'

Either way, I'm screwed.


a/n: Yes, it is back again. It's Hit list but with some changes. To my old readers (if you're still around), I'm so glad to be back; I missed this platform like hell. To my new readers, if you like reading stories about agonizing crushes and dorky, crazy, yet relatable characters, then this is the story for you. You may want to stick around if you enjoy witnessing the humiliation of other people.

Toodles!