Chapter Two

It all started when I suddenly changed schools halfway through my grade eleven year in high school. Like I said before, I used to go to a private school. Then I switched to this hellhole. People say private schools are where all the judgemental conceited whores are. In all honestly, I don't think I'd ever felt so judged in my life until I set foot in this school. That is, unless you count the way my parents judge me.

Everywhere I went, I heard whispered stories about my personality. They were never flattering stories either. Even worse were the stories about why I suddenly came to public school. I heard one girl whispering about how I didn't like the uniform, and since I was so spoiled I threw a fit until my parents would let me change to this school. In my opinion, whoever throws a hissy fit about a stupid uniform needs a reality check so that they don't go through life believing the world revolves around them. Besides, were that the case, I would have gone to Riverside.

Today was my second week at this school, so by now so many stories had been thought up and had gone around the school that I was almost used to people stopping halfway through previous conversations as I walked by, just so they could talk about me.

The thing that took the most getting used to was the whole eating lunch alone thing. Not that I had many friends at private school either. They didn't like me much there either. But there I had Miranda. I'd sit and eat lunch with her and her friends. I was never close with her friends, but most of them were nice enough. It was nice to sit with real people anyway.

Since changing schools I've been finding myself attached to my sketchbook and mp3 player. At lunchtime I'd just draw and listen to music while I eat my lunch. It takes quite a bit of the loneliness out of things. Over the past two weeks I've become accustomed to being alone. People leave me alone, and I leave them alone.

That is, until that one stupid English class.

"Now that we've finished The Great Gatsby, it's about time we did a project on it," stated my English teacher, Ms. Edwards. "It will be done in pairs—" my teacher continued, half the class looking around to see who their partners would be "—and I shall choose the pairs," Ms. Edwards added, causing the whole class to groan in complaint.

I wasn't terribly happy either. I can't work in groups. It's just not something I'm good at. I always end up taking total control or not doing anything at all. It's usually the latter. Either way, it just never works out. I suppose it's better when we're assigned groups, because for once I'm in the same boat as everyone else. For once I won't be the only person who's upset about it. For once I'm not going to be the last person to find a partner, eventually being forced into somebody's group.

Today, for once, it was different. The teacher slowly went through the class, reading off her paper the different groups. I waited, my stomach slowly twisting itself into a knot as more and more names were read off, until finally—

"Madison and Libby," said Ms. Edwards, before moving on down the list.

Libby was a short redhead with a temper as fiery as her hair. I myself was never on the other end of an argument with Libby, but I'd seen somebody arguing with her once. It was pretty intense. They were both shouting at the top of their lungs. I doubt anybody could understand what they were screaming, I know I couldn't.

After knowing what I just told you, you can understand that I was a little apprehensive about working with Libby. I didn't know her, so I hoped her temper was only as bad as I'd heard if you pushed her too much, which I didn't intend on doing.

"Now that you all have your groups, I shall explain the assignment," continued Miss Edwards. "Once I'm done explaining, you'll get together in your groups and discuss how you are going to approach the project."

Miss Edwards was a great teacher. When she said that we're going to discuss how we interpret the project, that's what she meant. Her project outlines were never specific, like for this one. She said we had to come up with a way to show Homo Faber through the events that passed in The Great Gatsby. Homo Faber being Man The Creator. Once she finished explaining, I gathered up my things and went to sit with Libby.

"Hello," I said shyly.

"Hi," Libby replied tonelessly, still focused on the notes she was taking of the project outline.

"Do you have any ideas on what you want to do for the project?" I asked the redhead, while searching my brain for some idea that I could come up with myself.

"I have a few," the girl said in the same tone, still not looking at me.

"Care to share?" I asked her lightly.

"Just give me a second dammit!"

"Sorry," was my mumbled reply.

After a couple more minutes, Libby finally looked up at me. She then went into great detail about an idea she had of a sculpture that we could do of Gatsby. As she went on and on about it, I kept questioning how we were going to make a large bronze sculpture of a fictional character in less than a month. When I voiced this opinion, her answer was only, "Fine. You think of something then."

"What about… a storyboard?" I asked, my head suddenly lighting up with ideas.

"That could work… how would we do it?" she questioned hesitantly.

"Well… The way I have it in my mind it would take a lot of time. We'd need to work on it outside of school," I told Libby reluctantly. I didn't want any of my classmates coming to my house.

"Okay… could we go to your house, though? I don't know we'd be able to use mine," was her reply, a little too quickly. My heart sank. How could I tell her I didn't want anyone over at my house either?

"I don't know… my parents are pretty strict about that kind of stuff," I said, saying the first excuse that came to my mind. Thankfully, she didn't pursue coming over.

"Okay then, my house it is…" She didn't seem terribly pleased though. "You can come over on Saturday afternoon."

"Okay. Sounds good," I told her, smiling and trying to sound light and cheery.

The bell rang seconds later, causing both Libby and I to gather our things and leave the class going in opposite directions to our lockers.

I silently gathered my things from my locker, thankful that it was the end of the day. I played over the last class in my head, internally cursing my teacher for making us work in pairs. I worked so much better on my own.

I slowly set off down the road, making my way down to Riverside. They finished school and hour later that I did, but I really felt like being in the comfort of my friends at the moment. By the time I would get there, school would be almost over anyway. So I walked over to the picnic table where I would always wait for Adam and Jenny after school. I put my bag on top and tried to climb up myself, when to my dismay, I fell. How completely graceful of me to do so. I heard laughter not far away and looked over to find a bunch of guys, probably around my age, probably skipping class, laughing at me. I even recognized a few from my school. Great.

Just as I was about to get up, I felt somebody pull on my arm and help me to my feet. As I stood up I looked in to the face (or rather the neck) of a tall guy, most likely around my age. He had dark brown hair that went to just below his chin. I also noticed he had deep green eyes. They were like a murky swamp after a spring rain.

"Are you okay?" asked the stranger, his voice concerned.

"Yeah…I'm fine," I replied. "Thanks."

"No problem," he said, flashing brilliantly white teeth.

"Hey, Ian, stop flirting and get over here man!" I heard one of the guys who laughed at me call; clearly they knew this green-eyed giant. I couldn't help but blush when he called 'flirting'. I knew that's not what he was doing; I'm just like that. I blush at everything. And I would be a fool to say that this 'Ian' wasn't handsome. He was tall and toned, and man, those eyes. I swear, if a fortuneteller had those eyes you'd never doubt for a moment that they were telling the truth. He had this perfectly smooth chiselled face accented by his dark hair. Not to mention he had this mysterious, closed look about him. It somehow reminded me of a teddy bear, though the two honestly looked nothing alike.

"Nice shirt," he told me, interrupting my thoughts.

It took me a few seconds to realize what that totally random comment was about. We were both wear the exact same Dropkick Murphys t-shirt.

"Thanks," I said, actually managing a smile. "I like yours too."

He flashed his brilliantly white teeth at me once more. Just when it got to the point where I though I really might just melt right there, I heard Adam calling me.

"Maddy! Maddy!" I hear his voice ring across the yard, and turn to see him sprinting in my direction. "I didn't know you were coming today!" he cried between gasping breaths. He then threw his arms around me and wrapped me in a big hug, like only Adam can do. I suddenly forgot all my troubles about last period English class; I think Adam had that effect on people. He'd be great with Miranda, though he refuses to admit it.

"Hey Adam," I heard Ian say, greeting my friend.

"Ian! Hey! How are you man?" He said, giving Ian one of those 'guy hugs' as I call them. You know the kind, where they sort of grab each other's knuckles and pat each other on the back sideways? Well they did that. I always roll my eyes when guys to that. It's just such an odd way of greeting each other.

"Ian, this is Maddy, one of my best friends," Adam said cautiously, glancing between the two of us; it took me a second to realize they had their attention on me again.

"Yeah, I've just been talking to her," Ian replied, flashing yet another brilliant smile. I really could melt you know. I smiled inwardly at the thought. Even at my inward musings, I could hardly dismiss the glance Adam threw me.

"Yeah… hey Adam, where's Jenny?" I asked, noticing for the first time that my other best friend was nowhere to be seen.

"Jenny?" asked Ian. "She's you're sister, isn't she, Adam?"

"Yeah, she's my little buttercup," he replied, rolling his eyes. "She stayed home today, had a headache or something."

"Oh gee, Adam, you sound so concerned," I said sarcastically. I always teased him about his sister. It was just fun.

"Well, I have to go, my friends are calling me," Ian told us, motioning to the group of guys who were laughing at me before. "Bye, it was nice to meet you. Maddy." And he walked off.

"Well he seems nice," I said to Adam after Ian had left.

"Mmhmm," was Adam's only reply, but a grimace graced his lips. "Come on, let's go then shall we?" he added, ignoring my questioning glance.

We got into his car and started driving towards the house he shared with his mother and sister. I'd completely forgotten why I had gone to meet him until he asked, "So, to what do I owe the honour of your surprise visit?"


"Well, you usually tell Jenny or I when you're coming after school. You didn't this time, you just showed up." He looked at me expectantly. "Which usually means something is wrong," he added, as a hint for me to spill.

"Oh, right," was my intelligent reply. I know, I'm crazy. "Just a stupid group project for English… my teacher partnered me with this girl named Libby and she doesn't seem very friendly or willing to work with me. It just irritated me." I finished lamely. I didn't think Adam believed me to be really upset, yet when I looked back at him he had a strange look on his face.

"Not… not Libby MacPherson?" he asked.

"Yeah… why? Do you know her?" I questioned, watching his mouth form in to a thin line. Once my reply was complete, he smiled somewhat mirthlessly.

"Yeah I know her," he replied. "She's Ian's sister."

"Ah," I stated tonelessly. I was pretty confused by now. Adam looked so… different than usual. Not him really, just his expressions. It was starting to irk me.

"Ian adores her," Adam told me.

"Okay?" I didn't get why this was such a big deal, but I could tell something about it was bothering him just by looking at his face.

"You two seemed pretty friendly," he added.

"I fell and he helped me up. I guess there wasn't much animosity. What's with you, Adam? Did Jenny pass you her bug or something?" I asked, genuinely concerned.

"Let's just change the subject, okay?"


We drove along for several more minutes in silence. Probably not what was in mind by changing the subject. Not for me at least. I don't like silence. Silence leaves too much room to think. I always think about everything. I know that sounds weird, but it's just the way I am. I run over things in my mind, stupid things I've done, things I want to do, things I think will happen, things I feel… it just gets complicated fast. I think that this is why I'm so slow. Because I always try to avoid thinking. Oh well.

We then reached their house. Adam opened the door, and Jenny came flying out to give me a huge hug. I asked her how she was feeling, but she brushed it off as nothing. Man, by the way she acted you'd think we hadn't seen each other in years. It'd been three days. Does she really think me that insecure, that I'd have a breakdown in the three days we haven't see each other? Wait—don't answer that. Of course she would. Of course I would… Geez life is complicated.

Another thing you should know about me if you're going to read any further is that I randomly have complete and utter mental breakdowns. One moment I'll be smiling and the next I'll be wailing like a banshee, or trying to kill and innocent bystander. This is mostly due what happened at Rosemarie Academy not too long ago (that was my old school, the private all girls school). I don't feel like writing or talking about it though, so don't ask me to. I'm just not ready. I've only talked about it with Jenny and Adam. I didn't want to tell my parents. I didn't think they'd care. They'd just make a big deal about it, wondering who'd have the nerve to do something like that. Though I suppose once the school called them a Maddy-Parentals confrontation was sure to happen. Hence why they knew about what happened. How unfortunate for me.

Anyway, even if three days is a long time to Jenny, it seemed like nothing once we started talking. We talk about the most random things. Quite literally. Jenny once made up a story for me when I was depressed about a girl who would say nothing but 'yellow' when somebody asked her a question, though she could hold up a normal conversation perfectly. She always cheers me up. I think you're beginning to see how much Jenny and Adam really mean to me. They're like my comical relief after living in a drama.

So Jenny and I started talking. Adam left, because he knew what was coming. This time the conversation Jenny and I had was about Cheerios and Fruit Loops. Apparently, the world is full of Cheerios; therefore we should all aim to be Fruit Loops. That's another random thing we do together, take random things people do, like strive to be different and unique, and turn it in to an amusing catch phrase. For example "In a world full of Cheerios, strive to be a Fruit Loop."

Adam walked in just as we made the amazing discovery of that nifty catch phrase. He smiled at us, just shaking his head in disbelief. He always claims we're the most easily amused people he knows. It wouldn't surprise me if this were true. Turns out Adam came in to say that it was late and that I should really be getting home. He gave me a lift back up to my mausoleum, leaving me thinking that for once, my life really did feel superb.