Nike's More Than A Shoe

Chapter2- It All Comes Down To The Umbrella

I turned my iPod on to one of my favorite Fall Out Boy songs- The Pros And Cons of Breathing. The cretin next to me held a flicker of surprise on his face. I suppressed a sneer. What did he take me for, a Britney Spears listener?

"Ahem" He cleared his throat to break the silence. "I live a block off Victoria Street. Mahogany Apartments. Number 654, I think."

"You think?", I asked him disbelievingly, my voice dripping with disdain.

"Hey. I moved here last week", he said defensively.

"A little late for school, you don't think?"

"Yeah, well, it's senior year. I got in some school anyway. Whatever." He said, rolling his eyes like those made-up cheerleaders. He probably moved in those circles.

"Where from?" I asked. I was genuinely curious.

"Seattle", he grunted.

"Wow. For the coffee capital of America, you sure aren't too awake. Maybe all that caffeine affected your head. Or, maybe you were just too stupid. I understand", I said in a reassuring voice, "Your mental retardation isn't bad at all. Some therapy sessions might work. I suggest Dr. Lane Montgomery, off your block. She's rather nice - she used to give me a balloon and a lollipop when I was younger. She might still extend the same courtesy. Of course, since you are pretty young, head wise…"

I trailed off, seeing the vindictively homicidal look on his face. I took the turn to drop him off and found the fog and mist so thick that I couldn't see the numbers on the apartment gates. "Well", I said lightly, "I can't see the number. You should probably get out here. I really can't see anything, and getting my car crashed isn't on my List Of Things To Do Before I Hit Twenty. Uh, so….yeah. Get Out."

He looked particularly scared. "But it's raining. What the hell!"

"That's what you get from females", I told him, a glint in my eye.

"Okay, woman, I realize you have issues, but humanity!"

"Okay", I reluctantly said. I opened the glove compartment and took out one of the two umbrellas. "I need this back though." I told him rather nastily.

"Uh, yeah, but I don't even know your name!"

I pictured the sneer on his face once he heard it. I pictured the disdain, the contempt, the absolute sneer, the total raucous laughter he would let out.

I pursed my lips. "Better you don't know."

The cretin raised his hands and waved them around. "But how do I return this then?"

"Your problem", I curtly answered.

"What?", he exploded. " I can't take this abuse! As if Sebastian doesn't give me enough…" He muttered.

I assumed Sebastian was his dog. He must be lonely, I figured, with only his crazy mind to keep him company. "Well, it's Nike. No", I more forcefully added, "I am MOST DEFINITELY NOT a shoe. If you get THAT clear, you get the umbrella. If you don't, its your loss."

The cretin looked like he was about to burst out in full laughter until he saw my face. "Okay", he said, nodding. "Which school do you go to?'

"Hillridge", I told him. "Maxwell", he said. "Actually", he continued, "My twin, Sebastian goes to Hillridge, since he applied earlier. I'll give it to him to return. He won't have trouble finding you, there aren't too many people with the name of a shoe" he smirked.

I officially lost it. "You're not getting brownie points here", I frostily informed him.

He looked unsettled and said, "Uh, anyway. Seb will get it for you. Sorry." He looked like he couldn't wait to leave and he opened the wait to be confronted with harsh rain. He winced as it hit him and he waved and I went on my way, my tires getting stuck in the slush.

After pulling into the driveway and letting two exhausted, and unusually quiet, kids out of the car, I locked the car and trudged in to the house. My mother wasn't yet back and it was beginning to get dark. I took the phone and dialed her number. "Hey Mom?"

"Hi, honey. How's it going? I hope you took Liss and Dave out today…anyway, sorry hon, but I've left some lasagna in the fridge. Heat it up for dinner okay? I'm so sorry I can't make it for dinner. The manager wants some more of the program written out and I'm almost done and if I delay till tomorrow I may actually forget the brilliant idea. So yeah. Okay? Save some for your father too, he'll be home."

"Okay, Mom." I couldn't help but feel a little upset. It was her birthday tomorrow, for Christ's sake and there she was, slaving over some program.

"Thanks honey. Bye", she said, and I could detect a note of weariness in her tone.

"Bye", I monotonously said and I heard the click of her putting the phone down but I still kept it pressed to my ear. I somehow felt abandoned, even though this happened almost thrice a week. If I ever got my hands of her beast of a boss…it wouldn't go over well for him, trust me.

I went up to my room and lay stomach up, staring at the ceiling. I had taken my iPod from the car and I switched on my favorite playlist and I grabbed my Science books and started doing the homework. My mobile rang from some corner of the room and I eventually found it in the depths of my school bag.

"Hello?", I said.

"Oh My God! How could you not tell us? I just found out! How could you, Nee?"

Who could it be? Lia. Naturally. One of the most preppy people I know.

"What did I do, Lia?"

"You didn't tell us about Wil's birthday tomorrow."

Wilhelmina is my mother's name and she's forced my friends to call her Wil. Everyone is quite queasy about this except Lia, who cheerfully accepted this name. Typical.

"Er yeah. I don't feel like talking about it. She's tied up at work right now. So, uh, yeah. Anyway, what's so monstrous about that?"

Lex, who was also on conference call sighed. "Lia, try not to send everyone deaf, why don't you?"

Lia huffed and said, "Lex. As if you aren't upset either."

Lex said, "Yeah Lia, but I don't think you're covering your ears in pain now, right?"

Lia laughed. "Good point. So anyway, what did you get Nee?"

"Cookies" I grunted before returning to the calculation of the focal length in my physics textbook.

"Oh damn" Alanna swore. I hadn't even realized she was there till then.

"Al", I reprimanded. "Speak up once in a while, why don't you?"

"Look at the display on your phone, once in a while, why don't you?", she bit back.

I chuckled. "Anyway, Lex can handle the movies. Al, the flowers. You can handle white roses, right?"

"Sure. I'll just go pick them out of the garden". Alanna had this great garden with almost every species of flower. She blames her mother.

"What about me?", Lia whined.

"Uh, cake! Yeah, cake. She'll like that.", I said, wondering if she'd even be home to eat the freaking cake. I don't need my parents around like Liss and David do but I need support. I have college stuff I can't compromise on and it sucks that my own family doesn't have enough time for us. That's all…but I mean I am going to college soon, right, and I have got to pick up the slack. I cant live with my parents forever. I can't be dependent on them. This just could be a lesson in disguise but I'm not sure. This is how it must be, going to college and stuff and being independent. Sure, I can manage. But do I want to?

"-And we'll lay it down at the table for a surprise okay? And candles Just one, I know women don't like to be reminded of their age. Not that we aren't women either, just that we are teens so we're proud of maturing and growing up and stuff. So laying the table is fine right, Nee?"

"Mhm", I made a noncommittal sound.

"Hey", Lia softly said, "You okay?"

"Well, it's just that moms not even home. She's missing dinner and she's taking tomorrow off so she'll sleep in, I guess. I don't know if she'll be up in time for our surprise, she's so overworked nowadays. But we can leave it on the table, right guys?

Silence. "Right?" I desperately asked again. I was desperate and upset. Why didn't they answer? It wasn't bad or anything right? Unless they had something else planned which was sort of unfair on me. They should tell me right? Right?

"Well", Al finally said. "You should have told us. You kept quiet. Why Nee? I mean, we could've helped with the kids, the chores, the dinner, the laundry and stuff. And you say you trust us and you shouldn't do those stuff. We would've taken it up for you. I mean, I know what you'll say- You're going to college so it's a chance to be independent, but what the hell Nee! You should trust us more. We would've done it, honest."

Lex spoke up. "Yeah Nee. I mean, god. You've got to learn to be a little more open. I wouldn't mind drowning you in my dirty knickers that need to be laundered to uh, but, I don't wear knickers!" She hastily added after we snickered. "Honest", she continued.

"What do you wear then?" Lia suggestively asked.

"I wear knickers", Al proudly said. "With flower prints."

We chortled and then Lex said, "I don't wear knickers!"

"EW!" I said. "You go nude then? Didn't know you had it in for Britney Spears, but each to her own I suppose."

"NO!" Lex cried.

"So", Lia said, "Is it a thong?"

"Oh No!"

We all laughed and Al said, "Oh the shame, the shame…."

A faint voice from the other end screamed, "ALEXAA!"

Lex groaned and yelled back, "CAAMING!"

"Hey guys", she told us, "Gotta go. I'll be right back okay?"

"Sure" Lia said, while Al and I made incoherent sounds of assent.

"So Al", I said. "Question 34b right, in Trig. ,how exactly do you get the answer? I mean, I got it, but the whole thing is freaky. The method, I mean. The identity. Duh."

"Well" Alanna pondered. "I think you subtract the….."

After approximately ten minutes of mindless Trignometry banter and Lia beating her head against the wall in absolutely boredom (or the fact that she couldn't comprehend anything, but tell her I thought that and you'll regret you were born).

"Hey, I'm back!" Lex said, panting, cutting straight through my very enjoyable discussion with Al about our eighth grade math syllabus and whether we could accurately remember Hero's Formula( the square root of semiperimeter multiplied with semiperimeter minus a semiperimeter minus b and semiperimeter minus c, a b and c being the three sides of a scalene triangle).

"And", Lex said in this very hyper and Lia-like voice, "I have got the best news ever!"

"What?" Lia excitedly asked. We all knew this had to be pretty great news for Lex to be almost giggly. Hell, she was giggly.

I could just imagine Al flipping back her beautiful long straight strawberry blonde hair, moistening her cherry lips and saying….

"Just spit it out, Lex." Aha! See how well I know them all?

"Well…you know that place we've been raving about forever? You know, Voyagers on a Spin?"

"Lex", I deadpanned, "I haven't raved about it, have I?"

But Lex apparently didn't hear me. She wasn't ignoring me, I was sure of that because Lex didn't back down from any potential argument and she hurtled right towards her "big news". Voyagers on a Spin is this really exclusive club. This dance club and you have to be either in the rich and elite sector or have to pay approximately four obese men's weight in gold to get in. I am well-off and I could have gotten in but my parents? Strict, let me tell you. Took me around four months to beg for a Jaguar and I still sometimes have to pay for servicing. Besides, I'm hardly into the clubbing scene anyway.

"Well", Lex giddily said, "I've got eight tickets!"

Al and Lex audibly gasped; and Lex excitedly continued, "I know! Unbelievable, isn't it? Well, one for all of us and a companion. Isn't that just stupendous?"

I didn't really know how to word my way out of this one. I'm a generally very polite person, careful with my words. I carefully planned what I had to say before breaking the silence.

"Lex", I cautiously said. "I don't think I'm coming."

"Oh brilliant!", Lex groaned. "You know what, Nee? Sometimes you're just unbearable. You have no social life whatsoever, you've hardly ever date. Here I am, handing you this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on a gilded platter and you just, typically, go refuse it. I mean, god, Nee. What does it take?"

The words stung, but I brushed them off. I had to be calm because I knew I couldn't handle a blow-up.

"Touché", I wryly said. "But I think you'd be better off giving the tickets away."

"And why", Lex snappily retorted, "Would that be so?"

"Because, like you said, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don't have a hope in hell of getting a date and you know it. Come on, you practically just said it."

"Nee", Lex softly said. "I didn't mean you were ugly or anything. I just mean that you were too shy to get out of your comfort zone."

"Sure you meant that", I sarcastically said. "No, I'm not holding it against you, I know I'm unattractive, I accepted that a long time ago. So, yeah."

I wasn't even being modest, or hoping for one of them to reassure me that I was pretty. Like I said, I'd accepted it ages ago.

"Nee", Lia said quietly. "You don't realize it, but you are very pretty. Lex didn't mean it that way. She said so, she just meant that you were sometimes too shy and reserved to get a date, to do stuff you've never done before."

"Yeah!" Lex yelled out in frustration. She was obviously incensed. "I mean, god, Nee. Just pick some guy. Isn't there that one, whom you flirt with everyday at that café, Derek, is it?"

"Devon", Al pointed out and said "Nee, look. You want to come, I know you do. Plus we'll be raving about it for weeks. I know you won't be able to stand that. We can go on Halloween, which is just five days form now. So pick a date, all right? Get someone and dump him when we get there, I don't know."

"But", I mildly said, "Who can I go with? I mean, you've got Tom and Lia's got Damon and Lex? Who is it now?"

"Stephan", she said and added, "So what? You don't have to be boyfriend girlfriend. Like geez…"

"Fine", I said and sighed. "I'll try, but no guarantees."

"Gotcha", Lex said and we rambled on into another tangent. And with this new problem weighing over my shoulders, I completely forgot to do my Science work.

X

I looked at the gunk in the serving tray and picked up some nice Tetra-Pak-ed juice, one that even the cooks couldn't mess up. I got some chocolate chip cookies, some granola bars , paid the vending machine and left with my red tray that was chipped around the edges. Lunch time. The time of the day I survived wholly on the vending machines, I didn't trust those cooks one bit. They could be in a conspiracy and hate students and put stuff in the burger. I don't eat meat, I'm vegetarian, so my options are limited anyway and those nefarious cooks could slip something into my food anyway. Sandwiches are very suspicious food items.

I plonked down into the seat and watched Lia and Lex argue about the iPod nano and video. Lex maintained that Nano had this cool never-goes-out-of-style look and Lia maintained that iPod video was the way to go. I supported Lex wholly on account of my blue iPod nano, which was currently in my locker. Lex had a silver nano, which was 4GB as well. We were both self confessed Apple freaks with iMacs at home. Sadly, neither of us had laptops, while Al had this really cool Sony laptop in Glacier Blue. Lucky brat. My parents think my grades will drop if they get me a laptop.

I mindlessly chewed at my straw when a tall boy cast his shadow over us. Probably Lex's new interest. I had no reason to look back, but this long shadow he cast over the table made me wonder if he was 6 feet tall. Lex and Lia immediately stopped their yapping and focused eyes on him, while Al looked at him curiously. "Is there a girl called Nike sitting here?"

"Nee", Lex said grinning ear to ear. "Behind you."

I turned around and saw a guy with very messed up black hair, beautiful emerald eyes and a pair of thin glasses perched over his nose.

"Yeah? Call me my name and you'll die though." I warned him. And I wasn't flirtatious in the least.

"Uh, okay, Shoe Girl? My brother, James? He wanted to return this. I'm Sebastian, by the way."

My jaw slacked and my eyes bulged. James was way shorter than this god, and he has brown eyes.

"You", I spluttered, "are the cretin's dog?"

Oh, Nike. For the heaven's sake, why did you have to come up with the most inappropriate thing to say?

"Um." He looked puzzled. "What?"

Okay. Not a good start. Why don't we start over? Where's the time machine when you need it?

"Never mind" I brusquely said. "You are his brother?"

"Yeah. But how do you know that?"

"You just said it."

"Oh". Sebastian looked uncomfortable. "So how did you guys meet?"

"Oh, long story…but don't worry. Give me that." I said breezily, and pointed to the umbrella.

He smiled at me, revealing the most gorgeous pair of dimples I have been blessed to see. Seriously. Not that I thought he was cute or anything. Honest. I just thought the dimples were cute.

"I've got time. I'm new here, you see. Hung out in the library all the time."

"Oh. Take a seat then", Lex eagerly offered, knowing Al and Lia wouldn't mind. It was eye candy. For them at least. For me? Never. All I wanted him to do was give me the umbrella and get the hell out of there.

"Thanks", Sebastian said and lowered himself into the bright orange plastic chair. "So?" He prompted, looking at me. "What made me a dog?"

"Nothing. Just give me the umbrella." I snappily said and returned to noisily chomping my cookie.

"Aw, come on" Sebastian wheedled. "I'll leave you alone after this, honest. I'll even give you the umbrella back."

"Aha!" I crowed, pointing a finger into his face. "So you weren't going to give it back anyway. I knew it!"

Lia started humming that Umbrella song that flew so high on the radio, the Rihanna song. That terribly irritating one. Come on, you know you know it.

Lex groaned. "Come on Nee", she said, biting into her apple.

"Yeah. I'm very curious. I never thought I had canine characteristics, but, hey, what do you know?"

I glared at him and silently mocked his lame joke. I finally decided to launch into the rather embarrassing description in the desperate hope that he'd be satisfied and leave. Hopefully, Lex would just bag him and then leave him and that would be the end of that.

"Well, I sorta nicknamed your brother, without telling him our anything…this sorta reference thing in my head as Cretin. And then he mentioned something about abuse and Sebastian giving him enough already and well, he seemed a bit retarded you know. I thought Sebastian was his dog. To you know, keep him company. And when he mentioned you were his twin, I figured he was just spazzing out and he stole my umbrella. So, you are the cretin's dog. I guess."

I finished that, and I challengingly glared at him, daring him to laugh. I knew I was retarded and stuff, talking to my head but yeah. I enjoy my own company. Instead, he threw his head back and laughed loudly. "Well", he said, finally recovering after his spasm of infectious laughter, "Wow. First time James repulsed a woman. He's generally very popular with them."

"Yeah well", I admitted, "I think I went off him because he was a bit sexist."

I immediately regretted that statement. It sounded like I was warming up to him, like I was actually becoming comfortable. Which, let me assure you, I most certainly was not.

"Ahh…" Sebastian nodded, knowingly. "He's known to be a bit degrading to females, in general. I mean he wouldn't dare be like that to my mom, but he basically walks all over all other females. And since I am", Sebastian at this point cringed and actually blushed, "in his opinion only though a gentleman, he says chivalry's dead. But..uh…"

He looked at us and Lia, Al and Lex were a gaggle of giggling girls. Honest.

I leaned over and patted his head. "Oh Sebby Webby", I mockingly cooed, "Who said its dead? It works for them you know?" I said, an evil smile on my face. Although I wanted Lex to bag him and get off with it, I had no intention of making it easy. Sebastian looked very shy and all my friends looked vaguely homicidal. Fine, very homicidal towards me.

The bell rang, signaling us to go to our various classes. Sebastian, still blushing with a very endearing dimpled smile said, "Well, nice to meet you all. One lunch saved from the library. I mean, I like the library and all, its just boring after a while."

Lex said, "Hey, you can sit with us if you want to…I guess?" she said looking at all of and Al and Lia nodded in assent, while I viciously shook my head. Naturally, I was ignored. I really was beginning to hate Lex.

"Oh thanks! Honestly…though can I bring a friend along? He should be coming out of the cafeteria right now. His name's Grant…"

He grabbed a random passer-by by the elbow, which turned out to be not-so-random and said, "This is Grant."

"Uh…"Grant said looking bewildered. "Howdy, y'all?"

Grant was a stunner, even by my standards. I definitely wouldn't date him, which doesn't go by much since I've never dated and I'm very careful around men, I've heard tales of the evils they can do. Blond hair, blue eyes…the surfer look. Lia was already drooling. I stomped on her foot and she let out a yelp and then looked properly embarrassed. Sebastian was telling him about the new place where he could sit and stuff and then the second bell, the warning bell sounded. 'Oh hell' and 'Oh Shit' 's could be heard from all of us as we dashed off to our lockers. I grabbed my Creative Writing notebook and writing material and dashed down to the Arts Classroom when I met a panting Lex. We slunk in and occupied the last two seats. "Pretty hot guys, huh?" Lex whispered to me after about five minutes into my essay.

"Mphm", I said, vaguely.

"Oh come on. You did us all a favor last night by agreeing to give Sebastian's brother a lift. I'm serious. Nice eye candy at lunch. Anyway what did Sebastian come for again? To return your umbrella?"

I said, "Yeah" and then remembered. I still hadn't gotten my umbrella.

(A/N: I'm not happy with this either, but it was just a filler chapter. To establish the characters and stuff. I'd like to clarify some stuff about Nike's cynicism. You see, I realized there are flaws in the way I presented the first chapter. I can hear a collective 'No kidding' around here. Oh well. You see, Nike had nothing to be cynical about with her friends in Chapter One. Here, hopefully, you can recognize the tension in Nike's dating crisis. She hasn't had a dating disaster before, she's just scared of getting her heart ripped into pieces, like her friends have over and over. And I hope those who had the issue with the lift scene cut too short, have been satistfied, it's been continued. As for the request I split the first chapter, I'm sorry but I'll have to decline. My chapters are an even ten pages. I'm sorry if you can't get through them or anything, but I'm too deep in the story to split them now. Sorry y'all. As usual, review!

CarlyJo- Thanks. I hope it turns out better than just 'decent' but we'll see. I hope you'll keep reading, my cherished first reviewer!

McQuinn- I replied to you, right? I know, I know, it's rife with flaws. I do hope you continue reading and reviewing. It means a lot to me. I've taken extra care while editing this chapter, with a tattered Wren and Martin in front of me and if its still not up to mark….sigh. Just tell me and I'll continue on my road to a perfect (let's hope) chapter. Sorry for the extended delay. Computer was at repair and gazillion tests. Bleh.

Cheerios!)

Word Count: 4, 236 words.

Soundtrack: Do you Know(The Ping-Pong Song) by Enrique Iglesias and Smile by Lily Allen. Also, Pros And Cons of Breathing by Fall Out Boy.