Disclaimer: this story is a translation of Silencio's "Black Hollow: Przebudzenie", all rights belong to her. I'm posting it with her knowledge and consent.
I'm not a native English speaker and therefore not really qualified to be doing the translation, but I'm having fun with it. If you spot any errors / can point out bad habits that you think I could improve on, please post it in the comments. I appreciate the time it may take you to do so.
Also - yeah, this story contains quite a few YA tropes, but I like what it does with them. I'm actually not sure what genre I should have put it in (besides the supernatural), romance or YA. I read it for romance. But it isn't actually centered around it.
The Black Hollow high school functioned differently than most other institutions of this type in the country. Students attended from the age of sixteen, and the education took six years. After the first four they could choose the area they wanted to specialize in and devote their remaining time to studying it. As a result, they would finish school with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree diploma.
Will Morgan decided it would be a perfect place for him. In a typical teenage fashion he had no idea yet what to do with his life. He therefore reasoned that for now he would just go with the flow, and if after the four years he finds himself still unable to decide what he is actually good at, he will just pick something at the intersection of safe and easy and try to make do with it.
He hoped that coming back to the town he had spent his earliest childhood in would be a refreshing experience. That away from his grandparents' watchful eye, in a completely new setting he would be able to turn his life around (at least a little bit). Maybe meet someone? His grandparents were great, but they didn't fully accept the fact that he was gay and almost an adult. He had been excited for high school - it was meant to be a fresh start.
That was one year ago.
So sure, it was a fresh start, but all to quickly Will found himself falling into a depressingly familiar routine. Maybe it was something about his personality, but no matter how hard he tried, most people seemed sort of indifferent towards him. The year passed in a flash, bringing only uncertainty and disappointment. And basically no friends. Except Danny.
Oh god. Danny.
Will jumped up from the bed and ran to his housemate's room.
"Dan," he exhaled, barging in. "Danny!" he shouted, nearing the bed to shake the boy by his arm.
Danny cracked his eyelids.
"I didn't hear the alarm," he muttered, still mostly asleep.
"Strange, since I did hear your alarm," Will replied impatiently. "At least three times."
"Hrnn..." Dan uttered an unintelligible sound. "What's the time?"
"Half past seven."
That piece of information seemed to immediately awaken the boy.
"Fuck," he swore, untangling himself from the sheets.
Neither of them had the time to dress up properly. Will could have sworn that just yesterday he had prepared some clothes, but now he couldn't find them so he started going through his wardrobe in search of anything he looked remotely okay in. He did find some t-shirt, but when it came to trousers his closet seemed all but empty, so he was forced to pick a pair from the laundry basket. Danny has dived in it not long after, so he must have been facing a similar problem. Just moments before leaving, both of them ended up in the bathroom, by the sink, washing their teeth in a hurry.
Will glanced at his reflection. He didn't care much for what he saw, although he didn't look terrible. He was slim, about 5'7 tall, with blue eyes and thick hair. He hated his sickly pale skin, which had a tendency for spots. The last few days' lack of sleep took a toll on him, the bags under his eyes so prominent he looked as if somebody punched him. But what could he do - he just wanted to enjoy the summer while it lasted.
Danny looked completely different. He was about the same height, but his skin had a beautiful olive glow. He had brown eyes and matching hair that he hadn't gotten around to trimming for the last few months, so now it almost reached his shoulders. He bound it in a messy ponytail, which somehow matched perfectly with his light stubble. Danny has always been extremely handsome, although he didn't seem to care about his looks. There were times when Will was jealous of that.
Finally they managed to leave the house. They had about ten minutes' walk to get to school.
"So, where are we going?" asked Will.
"What do you mean?" Dan looked at him without comprehension.
"Oh, you know. I thought we could go somewhere after school. To celebrate the first day."
"You want to celebrate returning to that shithole?" Dan snorted, and Will chuckled a bit. "I think I'll pass. Besides, I can't. I have work after this."
"You got a job?" Will was surprised.
"Nothing has been confirmed yet, but if today goes well, I probably will."
"You didn't say anything."
"They just called me back last night."
"Did you manage to get something at that cafe or...?"
Danny sighed. "That's the bad part. I'm gonna be stuck selling hot-dogs at Athena," he mumbled unenthusiastically. Athena was a shopping mall located about three bus stops from their house. "Today it's just a trial day, though. They say I have to prove myself."
"But you will get paid for that, right?" inquired Will, all too aware of how these situations often played out.
Danny shrugged. "Maybe I will."
"Dan. You should..."
"What?" Danny spat.
Will raised his hands defensively. "I just think you should stand up for yourself from time to time, you know?"
"And you should stop pretending to be such an expert on living my life. Our circumstances are different, okay? I don't really have a choice. After all, I have to pay rent with something."
Will grimaced, berating himself for not ever knowing how to handle this topic.
"You don't have to," he started gently. "The rent is not that high, we handle our own meals... we could probably manage without this money."
"Oh god, don't even start," chided him Danny. "Besides, even if I agreed with you, I still need cash. I have virtually nothing to wear. I only fit into two pairs of pants, and those about to tear at their seams."
"I could lend you some money."
Dan gave him a blank stare. "Really."
Will fell silent. These kinds of conversations often merged into a fight, so he preferred not to overdo it. It was really hard to find work in this town, especially part-time. There were just too many other students around.
"I really envy you, you know?" Dan added after a beat.
"What, the death of my parents?"
Danny sent him a startled look, but calmed down when he saw Will didn't seem angry at his comment.
"No, the fact that they left you a house and loads of money," he explained. "Mine didn't even want to give me any for the ticket."
Will smiled sympathetically. His parents died when he was four years old. This topic should probably be a sensitive point for him, but since he didn't remember them at all, he felt sort of detached from the whole story. In any case, after the accident he moved from Black Hollow to Greenhill. He has been raised by the grandparents on his mothers' side. They had a good relationship, but he felt they tried to control him too much, so when the opportunity came he returned to his family home. After all, it has been his property. Just as the money from the fund, which allowed him to study without worrying for the expenses.
At last they arrived at the school grounds.
"Remember to stay safe," they were welcomed by some activist, busy handing out condoms and informational leaflets. "This year started with no surprises. May it also end that way!"
Dan ostentatiously ignored her. Will cringed, but he couldn't bring himself to do the same, so he accepted the handout.
"And one for your boyfriend," the woman shoved at him another bag.
Will forced a smile and rejoined his peer.
Danny wasn't his boyfriend, although lots of people made them out to be a couple. Will guessed it was to be expected that two gay guys living under one roof invoked that sort of associations, although it never made sense to him. It was the same as if to assume that every heterosexual man and woman were into each other. He and Dan were good friends, but they didn't fit together in all other aspects. They both were looking for someone completely different.
"For you," Will passed Danny the condom.
"Jesus," Dan moaned. "It's embarrassing, really. Do they really think in this day and age there is anyone out there who doesn't know to use protection?"
"I think they might be afraid some people are unable to afford condoms."
Dan laughed. "Well, if that's the case they may have a point."
"I'm more surprised by the assumption that any of us will have a chance to use them," Will muttered a bit grimly.
"Well... one of us may do."
Will frowned, intending to ask what his friend meant, but then he noticed him.
Oscar Summers was one of the most handsome guys Will had seen in his life. Slim, about Will's height, with beautiful golden tan that invoked thoughts of some faraway, sunny beaches and light-brown, luscious hair that made one want to bury their hands in. Surprisingly, Will had already done that and more, since last year he had made out with Oscar not on one, but three different occasions. Getting hot and heavy once could have been written off as a fluke, but as it had happened again Will wanted to believe that Oscar was somehow interested in him.
The problem was, nothing serious ever came out of it. Oscar declared a few times that they should go somewhere together, but then failed to follow through. In the end Will tried to take the initiative, but then Oscar claimed to be busy. He said they would talk again later. And that was sometime around... March? So the promise had been made half a year ago already. And Will didn't want to seem desperate so he never spoke up about it again, and Oscar also never mentioned that subject, even though they had a few classes together and more than enough chances to talk.
"Hey," Oscar greeted him first, smiling warmly.
"Hi," replied Will.
And that was that. Each of them went their separate ways. Will sighed under his breath, watching after the boy, then looked back at Danny who was grinning.
"What?" he grumbled.
"Nothing. You both act like preschoolers, I swear."
Will rolled his eyes. He didn't think he was responsible for this state of affairs.
They entered the building, and moments later they were in the classroom.
"He touched me as he was passing by!" some girl was excitedly whispering to her friends. "He really touched me!"
Everybody knew who she was talking about. There was only one person at the school who invoked such emotions.
Blake Alden, who has just vigorously walked into the classroom, has been the wet dream of most girls at their school. And it was hard to blame them for it. Tall and slim, with dark, penetrating eyes and perfectly arranged, raven hair, he was bound to arouse interest. And if you added to it his unique style, his extremely expensive clothes and gadgets, his dispassionate nonchalance and the aura of high society, the surprise became even lesser.
Yes, there was this small, insignificant detail in the form of his truly nasty personality... nobody cared about details though.
"I still don't know what he's doing at this school," Dan mused, considering Blake. "He should be aiming at some university or something."
"Maybe he plans to finish his education here after three or four years and go on to the regular uni," Will noted.
"But even then, why this school?"
"He probably lives close by."
"So what? Taking into account the amount of money his parents have, he probably should be in some private institution for rich snobs."
"They may be less rich than we imagine," Will suggested.
Danny looked at him in bewilderment and snorted quietly.
"Really? Did you see his backpack? It's Greta Hamlin. Limited edition. It's worth more than all of our clothes bound together. More than all of our possessions in general", he added after a moment.
"You're exaggerating," muttered Will skeptically.
Danny took out his cell phone and looked up Blake's backpack. When Will saw the price, his eyes grew large.
He felt a bit light-headed.
"Yeah. They are that rich," Danny stated firmly.
"I would be afraid to step out of the house," Will said, shifting his eyes to look at Blake.
The girls sitting behind him were whispering something among themselves, staring at his back. Sandra Stevens entered the class. She smiled broadly and confidently walked over to Blake, to take a seat beside him.
... just to leave it in a hurry not half a minute later, unable to bear the weight of Alden's disapproval.
"He's an asshole," Will decided.
"Well, yeah," Dan agreed. "But a handsome asshole."
For a moment both of them were watching Blake's back with their mouths slightly open.
"That's weird," Danny said suddenly, frowning. "Usually I don't go for effeminate men."
"What are you talking about?" Will snorted. "He's not effeminate."
"He totally is."
Blake glanced over his shoulder, glaring ominously at them.
"Quiet," Will hissed. "I think he heard us."
"Are you kidding me? I'm speaking so quietly I can barely hear myself."
They survived two hours of English. They had their next class separately, but decided to step outside together to get some fresh air. They walked along the schoolyard.
"...is terrible. Homework during the first week of school should be forbidden," lamented Danny. "I swear, they're just giving it to spite us..."
Suddenly Will felt a blow to his back, which made him nearly loose his balance. He turned and saw a basketball, rolling off after the close encounter with his spine. The group of players in close distance croaked unpleasantly, exchanging comments. One of the players, who was most likely the culprit of this childish joke ran up to them and smiled casually.
Liam Warren. Captain of the basketball team, well over 6'2'' tall. Dark-skinned, muscular, in fact quite handsome, with dreadlocks reaching his shoulders. And, as far as Will was concerned, with just as unbearable personality as Blake's.
"Sorry," he said. "Can I have my ball?"
Will clenched his lips, feeling his blood boil. He imagined himself throwing the ball straight at Warren's face, although he knew he wouldn't be brave enough to implement this vision. Besides, Danny already picked up the ball and threw it to Liam.
"Thanks," said Liam. "See ya."
And then he was gone.
Will and Dan resumed walking, still hearing the laughter behind them.
"What a dick," hissed Will.
"What? Come on, it was an accident."
"An accident? Really?! Do you realize how many times he hit us with that stupid ball last year? I don't even want to count. And do you know why he just keeps doing that?" Dan didn't seem too keen to reply, so Will continued. "Cause he thinks can. He thinks that nobody is gonna stand up to him. I bet if someone finally did, he would run off with his tail between his legs."
"So why don't you do it?" asked Dan almost with a challenge.
Will let out a careful breath, considering it. "I would," he finally replied. "I mean, if you backed me."
Danny grimaced. "I don't think it's fair to expect bravery from others, but not from oneself," he teased. "Besides, it's a terrible idea. I much prefer a few bruises here and there than getting in the way of Liam and his colleagues, and potentially becoming the target of actual bullying. You should give up on it, too."
For the time being, Will gave up on reminding his friend that he was usually the main victim of these attacks. Sure, they were pretty mild and childish, but they unnerved him. He had no idea why Liam had it out for him.
Will spent the rest of his school day in relative peace. After finishing the last lesson, he met up with Dan at the lockers. Suddenly, the thickening crowd of students heading towards the door has parted. That was also part of the routine. Seeing Liam and Blake parade the halls together made people feel like they were watching someone famous, so nobody wanted to get in the way.
"I bet they're together," Danny speculated in a hushed tone.
"No they're not," Will replied with complete certainty. "Someone once asked Liam about that, remember? He said they weren't dating."
"Oh sure, because the captain of the basketball team would ever openly admit if he preferred men," Dan scoffed. "Although really, you can see it with your own eyes."
"But Liam has a girlfriend. Or at least he had. Many."
"Officially. Besides, he may swing both ways."
"No," Will insisted. "I'm not picking up on any chemistry between them."
"Okay, so maybe you don't. But I stand by what I said, because as far as I'm concerned, you could only explain their so-called friendship with lust. They're polar opposites, what could they possibly do together? That is, besides having sex," he added resolutely, turning back to sort through his books.
Will had to admit that Danny had a point - one could watch them all day, and not find a single similarity between Blake and Liam. Blake was the embodiment of elegance. He wore nice shirts and suit pants, shiny shoes, all tied together with some jewelry. Next to him, Liam looked like a picture of sloppiness - attractive sloppiness, but still. Always wearing a pair of baggy jeans or sweats, often pretty disheveled after training, he didn't seem to care what impression he made.
"You're gay, so you see gay people everywhere," Will said after Blake and Liam were out of sight.
"And you supposedly don't?" Danny mocked. "You're the one who insisted that Jackson and Wills will end up together, even though it was obvious from the start Jackson had a thing for Mary-Ann."
Will almost choked in the face of such blasphemy.
"That is not correct! The intimacy between Jackson and Wills is something extraordinary. It was true love. From the very beginning, the authors of the show insinuated that Mary-Ann is a metaphor for cover-ups, pretending, dissatisfaction with oneself and so on... It's just that screenwriters chilled because they were afraid of criticism and they scrapped it."
"Bullshit. It was just standard queerbait."
"No," Will said confidently. "Not Jackson and Wills. They were meant to be, their fates written in the stars. Well, maybe not in the stars, but, like, literally written. How else would you explain the fact that in any fanfiction I read, they're always the best pairing?"
Danny threw up his hands, dismissing him. "You know, I don't really care enough. Let's just get out of here. They told me to be there at four."
"You mean at work?" Will asked as they were walking out of the building. "Isn't there still a bit of time, then?"
"Yeah, but I would prefer to be there earlier. Avoid any unpleasant surprises. See you later, Will."
Danny ran across the street, waving him goodbye. Will just stood there, bummed out, and waved him back unenthusiastically. He was in for a lonely evening at home. But first he had to get back, apparently also alone. He briefly considered getting a job himself, but that would have been too much effort - to get and to keep.
He was about halfway home when something glistening in the sky caught his attention. He looked up and narrowed his eyes at the object, but the sun was still high up, obscuring his vision. Anyway, it seemed to be getting closer. It was falling very slowly, like piece of plastic bag, which it obviously wasn't. At first Will thought it might be a slightly crumpled up piece of aluminium foil, but the longer he looked at it, the more details he saw. This thing seemed to have a decorative structure. It was relatively thin, but not as thin as foil. It probably was heavier, so how the hell was it moving so slowly?
Will waited for the object to reach earth and then sought it out on a nearby lawn. He frowned, staring at it. It seemed to be some sort of electronic device. It had an almost triangular shape, with rounded corners. It was white and had a metallic shine, and a green light flickering in the middle.
Will leaned over and grabbed the find.
A violent shiver went through his body.
Will stirred when he heard the alarm ringing. He semi-consciously slid to the edge of the bed and reached to the bedside table, trying to feel for his phone. When he finally succeeded turning it off, he yawned widely and...
He felt growing confusion overwhelming him. He slowly rose to his seat, thinking about yesterday. He remembered school. And remembered coming back from it, but nothing else. For a moment he was ready to think that he had one of those disturbingly real dreams and all of that never actually happened, but the display of his phone informed him that today indeed was the second of September. So he must have attended school yesterday.
He got up and peered into Danny's bedroom, but his flatmate wasn't there. So he headed down to the kitchen, where he found Danny singing cheerfully and out of tune to himself, busy making scrambled eggs.
"And I will never forget you... In my, in my dream... Together for eternity, something... whatever... only us, only us..."
The song was called 'Nocturn' and it was probably the best piece Will had ever heard in his life, but Danny's voice didn't really give it justice.
"Danny," Will said uncertainly, sitting down at the table.
"Hey. Today I wanted to wake up first," Danny smiled at him, turning off the stove. "Do you want some?"
Moments later, Dan set down two plates of warm scrambled eggs on the table. He sat down opposite to Will and immediately began inhaling his portion. Will was getting ready to ask but hesitated. He was still trying to remember what had happened.
He had never experienced anything like it before. When he tried to recall anything pertaining yesterday afternoon, his mind felt completely empty.
"What's with your face?" Dan was quick to notice something wasn't right.
"And why are you so cheerful?" Will decided to change the subject temporarily. Dan singing while preparing breakfast was not a common sight.
"I got a job," Danny grinned happily. "Permanently, I think. I mean, at least for a few months."
For a moment there was silence. Will bit his lower lip nervously, then finally mustered the courage to ask:
"And when did you come back home?"
"Huh? Sometime past eight p.m."
"Was I here?"
Dan sent him a surprised look. "Meaning?"
"Did we do anything together?" Will clarified.
"No. You were sleeping."
Will swallowed nervously, feeling his anxiety grow.
"What's the matter?" Dan asked, alarmed.
"Well... actually, I don't know. I don't remember" the boy admitted in a quiet tone.
"What do you 'not remember'?"
"A whole huge chunk of yesterday afternoon. I mean, I recall school, then walking back from school... and then the morning alarm."
"You mean, you were so tired yesterday that you came back and laid down right away." Danny tried to explain the situation in familiar terms.
"No. I mean yes. I think so. Obviously, I must have. But I don't know. I really don't remember."
"Are you serious," Danny stared at him wide-eyed. He seemed concerned.
"Completely," Will assured him. Never before had anything similar ever happened to him. "My head feels just... empty, as if I had lost consciousness."
"Well," Danny was considering it for a long while. "I don't know what happened before that, but when I came back from work, you were already in bed."
"Did I say anything?"
"Yeah. I mean, kind of. I stepped into your room soon after I came back, cause I thought we could watch a movie or something. You didn't respond when I asked you about it, though, and I thought you were on your headphones, but it turned out you were laying in bed. I thought my blabbering must have already woken you up so I asked if you wanted some supper. But you just mumbled something I didn't understand, and I asked if you were alright. You said you had a headache and so I left you alone."
"That my head hurts?" Will asked uncertainly.
He didn't remember that, either.
"I don't understand any of it," he whispered, confused.
"Maybe you had some awful migraine?" Danny suggested.
"And as a result, I lost my memory?"
"How should I know? I'm not the expert."
At that point Danny received some notification on his phone. He checked it out and exclaimed:
"Hey, dude! Look, they finally uploaded the full interview with Venom!"
Venom was the artistic nickname of Jared Mason, who was quite possibly the most amazing guy on the whole planet. He started his career as a showbiz socialite. He appeared at various events, and everywhere he went he attracted loads of attention. No wonder, since he was extremely charming and very eye-catching - he tended to change hairstyles and hair color a few times every month, and his clothes were always form-fitting and as vivid as his personality. Usually such people garnered both love and contempt, but Will wouldn't be able to name a single person who didn't like Venom. So it was only natural that he already appeared in one movie, and now he was preparing for the official premiere of his first music album. He was extremely talented.
Both Will and Danny were low key obsessed with him.
Danny played the video.
"Today our guest is Venom," said Steve Lucas, the host of the program 'New Generation'. "Welcome."
Venom smiled charmingly. Today he was wearing violet mid calf boots with quite a bit of a heel, skinny leopard print pants and bright pink t-shirt with the print of his own nickname. His hair was bright yellow, with a few red strands. He tied them into a high ponytail. He looked awesome, although Will would have never dared to wear anything half as bold.
"We'll start with the question that fans ask most often... when can we expect your first album?"
"Oh, it should be available by the end of this year," Venom stated. "Be sure to buy it, my dearests," he added, winking at the camera.
Will felt a sudden pain. He hissed loudly, clutching his head.
"What is it?" Danny asked, briefly distracted.
"Nothing," Will mumbled, since fortunately it already passed. That was strange, though. As if he experienced an electric shock, but... in his brain.
"I knew it was a migraine," Dan declared. "You know, it's probably still there."
Will blinked and tried to focus on the interview.
"In just two years you have achieved the status of one of the most recognizable people in the country. How did you do it?"
"Just three things: talent, hard work and lots and lots of luck. People who find themselves in my position try to be modest and say they owe their achievements to others, usually their family and mentors... but I couldn't find such a person if I tried to. I've created my own image and became famous thanks to only myself. So I'm afraid, I take all the credit."
"By all means! I like your confidence."
"You can count on it, Steve."
Venom laughed loudly, and Danny immediately accompanied him. Will looked at him with surprise. "Was that funny?" he asked, unable to find anything in Venom's words that would justify that reaction.
"Sure. You don't think it was?"
"No. Somehow, he's hard to listen to," Will confessed. "He's kind of... I don't know. Loud? Ostentatious?"
Danny gave him a pitying look.
"I think you're looking for the word charismatic," he supplied mockingly.
Will somehow didn't think so. He used to hang onto Venom's every word, but this interview didn't seem that good. He forced himself to keep watching. It only got worse, so after a while he got up.
"Where are you going?" Dan was surprised.
"I'm going to dress."
"You really don't want to watch an interview with Venom?"
"Yeah," Will mumbled. "Somehow it doesn't speak to me. And his laugh is annoying."
"What? His laugh is the best in the world!" Danny snorted in disbelief. "It's so contagious. Everybody loves it!"
Usually Will loved it too, but... today something just didn't seem right. It probably wasn't Venom's fault. Maybe he just had a bad mood. He promised himself to re-watch the video later, when he's not so concerned about his health, and went off to get ready.
Twenty minutes later they were walking together to school.
"Will," Dan said all of sudden.
"It scares me how you're so silent."
"Well, I'm kind of scared too," Will confessed, biting his lip.
"Are you serious? Wouldn't you be afraid, if half of the day literally evaporated from your mind?"
"You had a headache," Danny stated with full conviction. "You probably went home, laid to bed and that was that. Nothing to remember."
"I cannot recall the moment when I laid down. I don't even remember when I entered the house. Do you think that's normal?"
"No pal, that's not normal. But it only happened once, okay? There's no reason to panic yet."
"I'm afraid there might be," Will insisted, swallowing loudly. "What happened to me, it might be some... dissociative fugue or something and if that's the case, then it will probably happen again."
"Fu... what?" Danny repeated without understanding.
"It's like ... memory impairment. When you're under stress or something. I don't know," Will moaned. "I looked it up in the morning, it was the first thing that matched my symptoms."
"I am under the impression that your most serious symptom may be your lack of appreciation for Venom. Seriously, it's totally out of your character!"
"Danny," Will grumbled.
"Okay," Dan said defensively. "You can add the lack of humor to the list of 'things that are wrong with you today'".
Will didn't respond. He knew his friend wanted to lift his spirits, but he was a bit annoyed that Dan didn't take it seriously. After all, something like that truly was not normal.
They arrived at the school grounds. Walking along the schoolyard, they decided to step into the cafeteria to buy something to drink. The basketball team was training already.
Suddenly Will felt a sharp shiver, as if an electric shock passed through his spine. His body flexed reflexively... avoiding crashing with the ball that flashed by right next to him.
Liam ran up to them.
"Nice dodge," he said appreciatively.
"Or rather, a pathetic throw," Will replied, narrowing his eyes. "And not the first one either. Aren't you supposed to aim at the basket, not at the passer-bys?"
Danny's eyes widened, but Liam just smiled lightly.
"Sorry," he said calmly. "Can I have my ball back?"
"If you go get it," Will replied coldly, moving on.
Dan caught up with him.
"Are suicidal tendencies also symptoms of this whole... fugue?" He hissed, glancing nervously at Liam.
Will rolled his eyes. He had no patience for such things today.
Finally they reached their lockers. They were pulling out their books when Dan suddenly elbowed him and nodded to the girl lurking by the entrance.
"You wanna bet she's waiting for Blake?" he asked in a hushed voice.
Will grimaced. "Why bet on the obvious?" he mocked, but stopped what he was doing to observe the impending disaster.
Blake entered the building. The girl moved forward, bumping into him as if by accident.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she started with poorly contained excitement.
"Get out of my way, you moron," Blake hissed in reply and if she hadn't jumped away, it looked like she might have gotten trampled.
Will glared at him in stunned silence. "What an asshole," he said indignantly, shaking his head.
"Well, he's always like that," Dan remarked.
That didn't seem true. Blake has always been a jerk, but not to that degree, Will thought. He was an acceptable jerk. A very handsome jerk. The kind of jerk whose awfulness somehow went ignored since he was intelligent, charismatic and attractive, and his unpleasant behavior could be put down as eccentricity. Never before though had he acted in such a terrible way.
Although... now that he was considering it, Will realized he could recall a few similar situations. Maybe even worse than this one.
"He is the way he is," Dan shrugged.
"And he is an arrogant swine."
Dan actually laughed. "Wow, you're in the mood today. Let's go, before you get around to criticizing me as well."
His first class was today Chemistry. Dan didn't take this one with him, so Will decided to sit by the wall in the middle row, trying to attract as little attention as possible. There was still a moment till the bell, so he pulled out his phone and started going for some information that would help him pin down what had happened to him yesterday.
Suddenly he felt a movement. He turned his head and almost got a heart attack when he came face to face with Blake, who stood so close it couldn't be considered normal. Blake leaned towards him over the table, studying him. His nostrils moved a bit.
Was he... smelling him?
"What is wrong with you?" he bit out abruptly.
Before Will had a chance to respond to this offensive question, the bell rang and the teacher entered the class. Blake took his favorite spot in the front row, but throughout the class he would glance at Will from time to time, making the latter squirm in discomfort.
After the third lesson Will managed to find Danny.
"Hey Dan," he greeted, stopping him in the hall.
"Do I smell?"
"What?" Danny repeated, starting to laugh.
"I'm serious though."
Danny sniffed him, then shook his head. "Nope. But you've used my perfume again!" he added with reproach.
Will decided to ignore this controversial matter for his own safety and went to his locker to swap books.
As he was closing the metal door, he saw Liam standing next to him. Will had no idea when he approached.
"Hey," Liam smiled at him.
"Hi," said Will cautiously, having no idea what was going on.
Liam leaned over him... and he just sniffed him, as if that was the most normal thing to do! Then he smiled again and left, leaving Will in the state of shock.
Will followed him with his eyes, outraged. Liam walked over to Blake, who was standing a couple feet away. He said something. Blake looked annoyed. He gestured vigorously. Liam just shrugged. And then they both went away.
The memory of that incident bothered Will for the rest of the day.
"They're making fun of me," he complained to Danny as they were returning home.
"Liam and Blake."
"And didn't I tell you not to piss Liam off?"
Will sighed heavily under his breath. He might have brought this on himself.