The bell rang, a loud reverberating sound that bounced off the cold walls of the Doran Trisson Middle School. A million rampaging teens swarmed around me. I staggered to get close to my locker, and out of the way of the jabbing elbows, and backbreaking book bags that could paralyze a kid with one blow.
The once silent halls were filled with laughter and groans of the kids scrambling form their buses to the school's warm interior. Lockers banged all around me as I crouched down to get my stuff for my first class, which was choir.
Out of the blue, someone bumped into me and I went sprawling on my hands and knees. Picking myself up, and brushing my short red blonde hair from my eyes, I could see it was a creep who made a living out of bothering me. The dark haired dude was locking my lock and laughing.
"Ruben, you are such a creep!" I yelled, and pushed him away from my locker. He smirked and hurried to our homeroom. Fortunately I had all my stuff, so started to tail him.
But before I could get there, I heard a voice from down the hall,"Hey Hunter, wait for me!"
I looked behind me, towards the voice. My best friend, Savannah, was running towards me.
"I was chasing you clear back there in the hall," she explained breathlessly. "You were too caught up thinking of Ruben to notice me. "
"Oh come on. It ain't like that." Smiling, I tried to excuse myself.
She just grinned. Her blue eyes got bigger behind her owl like glasses. Savannah knew I was totally in love with him.
I blushed. "All right. Out. Get out. " I joked and pointed to her homeroom.
"I'm going. But before I do, you staying to decorate the gym for the dance tonight?"
I grimaced. The Valentine's Day Dance, and I had no one to go with. How had it slipped my mind?
"Yeah. Meet me in the gym after 9th period, okay?"
She nodded in agreement; her brown paige boy cut bobbing on her ears."By the way, Max asked me to go with him."
Okay, Max was an exboyfriend of mine that Savannah had had her eye on for awhile. There's this strange circle of infatuation going on here; I like Ruben, Ruben likes Deana. Deana can't stand Savannah, Savannah likes Max. Max can't stand me anymore, and then back to the beginning. It was really confusing.
Deana was on the chunky side, with braces and bleached blonde hair she always had up in weird styles. Savannah had brown hair, and braces that she took pride in. She was short, but taller than I was. Max is a brown blonde, and he has these really deep blue eyes you can get lost in...and wait! I love Ruben! He has dark hair and dark skin. His face is dotted with a few freckles, (mine outnumber his!) and he's got intense eyes that aren't brown, and not green.
I faked a smile. "That's great. Now leave."
She hurried to homeroom; I headed toward my room. Just I reached the doorway, that was when the bell rang.
I hurried to choir. Mr. George, our strange but cool teacher, was already warming up.
During class, we sang a really cool love song. This is pathetic, but I was thinking of Ruben the whole time; his dark brown eyes, the way he was always making jokes, how he laughed. How he liked Deana...that ruined my thoughts for that class period. It was kind of like thinking of fat guys in swimsuits at the sunny beach. After something like that, you just can't go back.
Deana across the room, was looking prim and proper in an ugly sweater. She was always wearing something that made her look older, like a drunkie college student. Today's item was red and looked like it hand knit with a needle the size of a salami. Maybe my mom would wear it. But not me.
Deana never sang; she just sat there the whole period. I swear that girl had everything. Great clothes, great smile, money, and the guy I liked. Everything.
Anyways, the day passed without event. I dreamed of Ruben in every class, as I had for the last 6 years. In reading, he was the hero in my book; in history he was the ruler of my heart; in science, I wished we had chemistry; in language, I was to busy working to think; and lunch I drooled over him; and math...well I fell asleep. But he was in my dreams. Sadly, he plummeted off a cliff.
During last period, when we had a class together, I stared at his head. Once he caught me looking at him. I turned around so fast I fell off my chair. Smooth.
When the last bell rang, I hurried into the hall, not wanting to be late to decorate. Student government kids get in dances free and work concessions. We also hold dances, and decorate, like we were now.
Ruben bumped into me without warning. "Hunter, was sup?" He smiled. (It was strange standing and talking in the middle of a moving mass of kids.
He's never chummy. "What do you want, Ruben?"
His smile faded. "I'm offended. What makes you think I want anything?" He looked like hurt puppy.
"Because I know you better than that."
Ruben smiled again, and sheepishly looked away." Yeah. I was wondering...about the dance..."
I started to get excited." Yeah...spit it out!"
"Will you...will you ask Deana to go with me? I mean I know it's short notice but her locker is just down there and she's still here and I was too scared-"
I cut him off in mid run-on. "No I will not. You ask her yourself!" I was so hurt. The guy I had loved for 6 years wanted a friend of mine that used to be so close to me. I stormed off, almost in tears, to the bathroom.
I clutched my books to my chest as I slammed through the door. I slunk to a stall and cried. In the stall, I hid; and cried for about five minutes. How could he not know? Everyone else did.
Wiping my eyes, I glanced at my watch.
I was almost late, so I hurried as fast as I could to the gym, where I thought again about Ruben on my way there.
This was the ultimate hurt! I was seeing red, and I wanted to get sick. He didn't have to rub it in that he liked her. My chest throbbed dully. How could he?
Savanah was waiting for me in the doorway of the gym. Seeing my red eyes, she asked, "What's wrong?" she asked immediatley.
I was in no mood to talk. "Nothing."
We walked into the gym, where every 8th grade student goverment member was hanging up decorations, or helping set up the bleachers.
I stomped away into a corner, grabbing some smiling cupids from the decorations table. I also grabbed some tape and followed after me.
I slapped some tape on the back of a smiling pink cupid, and slammed it as hard as I could on the wall. The next cupid wasn't so lucky. It's cheap cutout smiling face seemed to tease me. I chopped it off at the neck.
The lifeless pink head fluttered to the floor softly. Savannah looked at the decapitated little man, then at me. "I'll be decorating over in that corner." She scuttled away to go paste up hearts.
"Good." I muttered. I continued to tape up the freakish beings. With in ten minutes I was done. I had successfully plastered ugly little cherubs all over my school auditorium.
Now all I had to do was wait until 6:30 for the kids to get here. Looking across the gym, I could see Savannah was still busy hanging hearts. The DJ was just coming in the doors, carrying an armload of super size CD carrying cases. Many other kids were decorating and setting up the refreshment tables. Being jobless, I shuffled to the bathroom and freshened up. I pulled my hair up, and changed into khakis and a really cool blue shirt with white stripes down the side.
The time until 6 passed really fast. I was busy talking to everyone and decorating. Ruben was constantly in my thoughts though. I got more upset each time I thought about him, and Deana too.
At precisely 6:30, kids were crowded around the doors. They were huddled together in the chilly air, as we opened the doors they brought an icy blast of ice with them. About 50 kids all rushed in at once, and threw their tickets to the kids taking their entrance fees. The gym was soon packed, and the DJ was blaring out the latest songs. Kids were everywhere; most were dancing in the middle of he floor, but others were sitting on the bleachers.
I stood in the door, peering into the dark gym. The bass to the music pounded against the walls, and colored lights illuminated the gym for brief intervals. The flashing lights made it hard for me to make out the people I knew. Some kids I knew ere there. There was Holly, from science, and Joe from math. Others I knew were Anna, Lila, Matt, Kyle, Sara, Nina, and a ton of others from every class. But then I saw him, Ruben of course. He was dancing on the floor, surrounded by his friends. He looked great.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, I had this urge to tell him how I felt. To just make everything right. Maybe he would feel the same for me. And what did I have to lose? Just my pride.
I smoothed down my hair, and made sure there was nothing on my clothes. How would it look if I had a huge ketchup stain on my pants? I took a deep breath, and marched toward him. I was only a few feet away when he looked at me. Right at me, and smiled...no. Not me. Deana was right behind me. As I looked at her, she smiled at me, and then waved to Ruben.
She passed me and said," Hey, Hunter! Cute outfit! I love it!" Then, with a wave, she strutted to Ruben and wordlessly began dancing with him.
It was disgusting. She was swinging her hips and acting all cool. My stomach lurched, and there was this weird twisty feeling in my chest.
The music slowed down suddenly, as if on some invisible cue. Couples magically appeared and carefully drifted to the floor like a silent fog. Ruben grabbed Deana's hand, and led her to the middle of the pairs. There, they danced slowly, aware only of themselves. Without warning, Ruben leaned toward Deana, and kissed her. In the dark, no chaperone would see them.
Slowly, I became aware of the music. "Until the end of time. You're all I need; my love, my valentine."
My thoughts were spinning. I felt sad, and depressed. 6 years wasted, and down the drain. Ruben would never love me. He would never laugh with me, hold me close, or kiss me. What was wrong with me?
And suddenly, I was so angry. I was furious, and tired of playing second fiddle to a fat tramp. I wouldn't take this anymore.
My breath came in ragged gasps, and my lungs felt like they were on fire. I ran as fast as I could to the teacher's lounge. There was back door that led to the dumpsters, which were only a few yards away. Quickly, I opened a drawer, where I knew rested an object that would be quite...handy in the next few minutes. Hurriedly, I switched on the radio and cranked up the volume. The lounge was secluded, in another hall from the gym; no one would hear the music, and no one had any reason to come down here this late.
I flew back to the gym, slowing down when I could hear laughter and happy voices. I slunk into the dark.
Spotting the happy couple, I called out to Ruben, "Ruben! Hey Ruben! Comere!" My voice carried over the music.
He shrugged and Deana dropped her hands to her sides. Ruben loped over to me. His hair hung in his face, and his eyes sparkled. He was smiling, and there was a red tint to his cheeks. Ruben looked gorgeous. I hated myself then, but I knew what I had to do.
"I need some help in the teacher's lounge. The popcorn needs to be brought up here. There's a free pop in it for you." I smiled, trying not to reveal my intentions.
He shrugged. "Sure. Anything for a free pop."
We started for the lounge. "You look nice." Ruben said suddenly. I paused and stopped walking for a moment. I almost turned back to tell him to stop me.
My loads had been very heavy, and it was hard work lugging it just a few yards.
I felt a little guilty, but not enough to do something dumb, like squeal. Deana wouldn't bother me again, ever. And Ruben wouldn't be around to torment me inside.
I couldn't help but feel a wave of satisfaction wash over me, as I did something better than Deana. I had something she didn't. I'd call it a... Killer Instinct.
No one had heard anything, and both Ruben and Deana had taken my bait.
There was no evidence left. The knife was spotless and back in it's drawer; and there was nothing on the floor; I had cleaned that up with a towel now buried deep in the dumpster. Along with a certain someone. Two some ones. I couldn't help but giggle.
As I started to turn off the radio, my ears tuned into a song I would remember forever.
"You would still have my heart until the end of time You're all I need, my love, my Valentine.