Chapter Two: Breaking Down

One would think that a school's newspaper would be funded by the school, but since our school was so stingy, the paper was actually funded by the parents. It was up to the students to put in the articles and layout the paper, but it was the school that distributed issues to the fellow students. Each copy cost a quarter, but it still remained popular. The fact that we did not have school limitations gave all of the writers a sense of freedom; perhaps, the students felt too much freedom.

The editor of the paper, Lucy Cornwall, was a complete psycho, but I adored her. Her fair skin complimented these ice blue eyes that had tints of grey. Her fair skin was the complete opposite of her curly black hair that went down to her shoulders. She had tight and thin red lips that stood out because her skin was such a cream color. Her nose was a bit disproportionate to her face, as it was a big too big and went out a bit too far.

The meeting started with Lucy saying, "Sales are going down. Parents are threatening to pull the paper if we do not do something quick. I do not know about you, but this was my way of getting into college so this behavior will not be tolerated," her voice was loud and distinct.

"If people do not read it, then people do not read it," a girl announced. She was hesitant, "there is nothing we can do to make people read it."

"Yes we can." Lucy said immediately.

Even though I enjoyed writing, I never paid attention during the meetings. Lucy would always freak out and there would be some drama, so I zoned out. How did I do this? I brought gossip magazines with me. I opened my backpack to take out a issue of People magazine, but Lucy stopped me.

"What are you doing?" She yelled. Her eyes were wide open and her fingers were twitching.

"Just chilling," I said in a nonchalant manner. Lucy and I got along, to an extent.

I opened the magazine and started to flip through the pages. I wondered what kind of dress I should wear to prom.

"Pay attention!"

"Why? What do you really want me to do?"

"You gave me an excellent idea," she walked over to me and swiped the magazine from my hand. Thank god the magazine had glossy pages or else I would have had hands sliced by paper, "we should revamp the paper."

"How do you revamp a newspaper? The design and format of a newspaper is very simple; it gives away the news in politics, sports, etc…" I began to rant.

"But what makes this magazine sell? What makes tabloids sell? Gossip makes these pieces of junk cash!" She threw the magazine on the wooden table and slammed her fist into it, which made a few people jump up from their seats.

"But they're magazines, not newspapers," I added.

"Your negativity is really beginning to piss me off. We just need to add in a gossip section. Hello, we're in high school. The gossip here flows more freely through the air than, let us see, air itself. If we talk about what happens around here, I am sure people will want to read about that." There was determination in her eyes, and I was pretty sure she was going crazy. She put her hand to her nose, and her nostrils were beginning to flare. She was slightly shaking.

"People hear gossip from the halls though. We all know of the gossip clique, like how Sarah is friends with that chick, Casey," some girl commented. I gave her a death glare. Casey and I were not friends; we were acquaintances.

"Sure. Whatever," Lucy raised her hand and waved it in a way as if she was throwing away a piece of trash. That comment was disregarded.

"I don't think that would be the best idea, Lucy," I made sure to put in my two cents.

She paced back and forth. She eventually picked up the issue of People and browsed through the pages. Her pupils dilated when she saw some of the articles and pictures, but suddenly she threw it on the floor. "It'll be a triple threat," she continued to pace, "we'll have great news, great gossip, and great advice to our fellow students. If the newspaper was interactive, per se, by students sending in letters about their problems, anonymously, of course, and we answer them, then they'll want to buy the issue just to see what we have to say about it!"

"Can't we just add in a crossword?"

"Sarah, seriously, shut up. I've decided. You should be in charge of the advice column because you just seem to feel so inclined to put in your two cents."

What!? No way! I was not that kind of girl that was even sympathetic. There was no way I could good advice to other people. There was no way I wanted to be demoted to that girl that wrote the advice column because she could not write actual news. My nostrils flared.

"And if I don't?"

"Then say peace out."

I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms. After giving it some thought, I decided it couldn't be so bad. Who will actually become dependant on an advice columnist? Plus, it would give me more pages, and therefore, more popularity.

"Fine. I'll do it."

"Okay. We need to put up flyers around the school advertising the advice column, and we're going to need someone to start writing about the most important gossip in school."

It seemed as if the meeting went on for hours on end. During the meeting, seeing as I could no longer read my People, I took out a notepad and began to doodle. I drew the face of a woman I perceived to be a crack whore. I began to think about the types of problems people would send me and how I would respond to them. Perhaps I will become school-wide recognized for being so insightful and smart. Perhaps I will be considered popular and sought after because people will see not to overlook me as a person anymore.

"Dismissed!" I heard Lucy suddenly yell. I threw my stuff into my bag and walked out towards the parking lot.

"Time to go home and do endless amounts of homework," I whispered to myself. During the car ride, I would just stare out at the road and get lost in my thoughts. Driving was my way of feeling free because I could go wherever I wanted and no one could stop me. Well, I took that last comment back as my car suddenly started to make some noise and smoke started to come out from the hood. There was not even enough time for me to pull to the side of the road. It just stopped. Like that.

When I got out of the car, I walked over to the hood of the car, which seemed to have more smoke coming out of it than before. I wanted to open it, but I knew it was hot. I was not really in the mood to get a third degree burn. I dipped my hand into my pocket to get out my cell phone, but of course it was dead. Not like I ever got service anyway. I went to the trunk of the car and sat on it, staring as the sun began to set. Not much I could really do.

A scenario went through my head of how I was going to be one of those girls, lost, and stranded, and eventually raped by some guy willing to give me a lift. I could imagine myself running down the road to escape, only to get caught. I imagined myself struggling in some random guy's car for him not to touch me, but I did not win. I shook my head and tried to throw my paranoia out into the wind.

The road was abandoned and remained that way for awhile. The sun had completely set and there I was, alone, at night.

A whizzing sound made me jump up from my seat. I looked down the road to see something red twinkling from a distance. The car became noticeable after a few seconds. The car stopped when it was just about to pass me and my broken down car.

It was a convertible. The door clicked open and I saw Chad Gousman was the driver. I sighed. He walked over to me, which was when I realized he was extremely tall. He towered over me. I backed a few inches away.

"So," I began, looking from side to side. There were no other cars coming by, were there?

"You have car trouble?" He pointed at the car, which made me turn back to look at it. I forced a smile and nodded. "It's kind of chilly out," he added. His eyes drifted from my face down lower, which made me cross my arms over my chest. I suddenly realized how cold it was.

"It just broke down. I don't know anything about cars, so I did not want to try and fix anything." I put weight from one foot to the other, "is there any way you could see what's wrong with it?" He was a guy. Weren't guys into cars?

He crossed his arms and continued to stare at me, "No clue what would be wrong with it. I drive them, not make them."

"Oh."

There was some silence. This was the first time he had ever spoken to me and vice versa.

"I could give you a ride home, though." He suggested.

"Shouldn't I call triple A or something and get them to pick it up?"

"I guess. You can use my cell," he took out his cell phone and held it out to me. I took it, opened my wallet, and called the number. I walked away from the scene as I told the man over the phone what happened with my car.

He told me it would take thirty minutes for them to come, which I told Chad Gousman. I thanked him for using the cell phone. I thought he was going to get into his nice working car, but he stood there. He opened the passenger door and prompted for me to get inside.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'll wait with you," he told me, "and it's freezing outside. We might as well go inside where there's heating." He walked over to the driver's side and got inside the car. I stepped inside. He turned a knob to turn the heating on.

"Why were you coming back from school so late?"

"Basketball game. How about you?" I completely forgot that the basketball season was in full swing, and that he was the captain of the team. I wanted to hit myself in the head for saying something so obviously stupid, but I just laughed.

"The newspaper."

"Oh you write?"

"Yeah."

"I never paid the quarter for it."

"Oh," I added. I wondered how many girls sat in the same seat as mine. I wondered how many girls he had driven over to his place, or to hers, so they could make out, etc... The thought was slightly disturbing, which made me want to jump up from the passenger seat, but I really did enjoy the heating.

"Where do you live that you were driving up here?"

"Up in the hills. How about you?"

"Same." I told him my address and he told me he only lived five minutes from me. Who knew that I lived so close to the most popular guy at school? He was not so close that he was the guy next door, but he was the guy down the street.

"How much longer?"

He looked at his cell phone, "it's only been thirteen minutes." Seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours. We both sat in our respective sides and stared out of the window until we saw a bright set of lights drive up the road. The triple A tow truck parked in front of my car. Chad and I got out of the car and started as the guy hooked my car to the tow truck. I thought it was something that could be easily fixed, but apparently it will have to go into the repair shop. He asked if Chad was bringing me home, which I found incredibly awkward. He shrugged and agreed to drive me home because I weirdly enough lived close to him.

"You're a real space cadet," he said, indicating that I was home. I did not even notice that we were driving until he said that.

"Thanks a lot for the ride," I responded as I got out of the car.

"How are you going to get to school tomorrow?"

I shrugged. "I don't know."

"I can drive you." A grin appeared on his face. He had such nice teeth. He had such a nice face.

There seemed to be no other options. None of my friends lived relatively near me and my parents went to work much later than when I went to school.

"That'd be nice."

"But you have to do me a favor," he suddenly threw in.

I was hesitant, but as I said before, I did not have many options. "Like what?"

"I'll tell you tomorrow," and with that ending note, he drove away. This was not my day. It was not another day after all.