Defining Love: A Profound Tender, Passionate Affection for another Person

Naomi stared at the school in dismay while her cousin Molly continued past her. Molly turned when she realized that Naomi was no longer at her side; rolling her eyes, she grabbed her hand and pulled her along.

"Come on, Naomi, we're going to be late for first hour."

First hour, right, thought Naomi as they continued on inside large, towering gates that lead up to the largest school Naomi had ever seen. Above the entrance door was a clock tower that was permanently stuck at 8:03. Molly had said that the clock had died years before she'd come to this school, but no one had the heart to take it down. It had character, they said, but to Naomi it was just a useless clock that was only good for one minute of the day. That's how it is in West Brook, though, things are held dear here.

Naomi had just recently moved her with her mother into her cousin's house after hearing that Naomi's uncle, her mother's brother, had passed away. Not Molly's father, but an uncle that she'd never met. Molly's mother, Aunt Susan, had welcomed Naomi and her mother Monica with open arms when she heard that they planned to move to West Brook. Susan had insisted that they stay with her and "not waste precious dollars on some useless house", but rather live with the family. Honestly, Naomi thought that Susan had just wanted to have more people in the house, and since neither of the sisters had husbands, it had seemed like a good idea. Monica had seemed rather hesitant, but after a few hours on the phone and a couple of Susan's persuasive speeches, she'd finally caved in. The next week, they'd already packed up their things from their two room apartment and were on the move to the land of the rich and the famous. Everything in West Brook was completely different from everywhere else: there was only one high school and students were required to stay in the dorms Monday night through Thursday with permission to return home after Friday classes for the weekend. School started on Tuesdays with a specific academic class taking up two hours every morning, for example, Tuesday was Language first hour and it would last for two hours while Wednesday was Mathematics. To Naomi, it was rather complicated, but Molly promised her that she'd get used to it.

Uniforms were enforced at West Brook High School, but they weren't too hideous. Girls had to wear blue-plaid skirts consisting of light blue, white, and dark blue, with knee high socks, black shoes, and a school blouse. Boys wore a white or blue undershirt with the school blazer and tie, with their choice of pants. It was odd that they could choose their pants, but Naomi ignored it; it wasn't really important. Other than that, the only other odd thing was that students were only allowed to leave campus on school nights from six to eight and all were checked for alcohol or drug use.

"Naomi, stop gawking! We're seriously going to be late!" Molly cried impatiently, her chopped red hair flashing in a sudden second of sunlight from the cloudy sky. Naomi sighed and ran after her cousin, wishing that she had Molly's hair instead of her dark brown.

"Molly Anderson, you're late," greeted them as they walked into the Language Arts room.

Room 4513, Naomi made a mental note before returning her attention to the teacher. Surprisingly, he was young and good-looking, for a man in his early thirties at least.

"Sorry Mr. Erikson," Molly apologized dramatically. "There was this poor kitten stuck in the-"

"Save your excuses for a teacher who cares," He told her, using his leg to swing himself slowly in his chair. "Just take your seat and I'll introduce the new girl"

"I always knew you were an intelligent one, professor," Molly joked with a wink before going to her seat.

"Professor?" He asked her and she merely shrugged causing him to roll his eyes at her. Looking over at Naomi he stood up and grabbed a piece of paper on his desk. "Class, let's welcome Naomi Cantabile to West Brook."

There were some unenthused "hey"s resonating from the back of the room, but otherwise everyone was silent. Naomi stood their uncomfortably until Mr. Erikson turned to face the class and stared at her with confusion. "You haven't taken your seat yet"

"Oh," Naomi said startled and quickly walked to one of two open seats, picking the one nearest to the window. People stared at her as she sat down with shocked faces but she ignored them, even with the strange prickling sensation in her stomach. She disliked people staring at her, she'd always had, and she hated being in the spotlight. To calm herself she turned her attention to the courtyard just outside the classroom. It was actually really pretty; Naomi would have to ask Molly to bring her down there during their lunch for a walk around. She was staring at a statue in the middle of the courtyard; a man and woman were intertwined in a way that neither of the bodies could be told apart from the other, when a sudden movement caught her eye. Curious, Naomi looked over to the brick wall near the statue and, after a closer inspection, saw a boy laying on the very top apparently sleeping. His hand had fallen from its place on his stomach and was dangling limply in the air, the movement that had caught her eye.

Why's he down there? Naomi asked herself, feeling herself lean forwards as to get a better view of the sleeping body.

"Naomi, what are you doing?" a voice suddenly asked her and Naomi turned to see Molly staring at her.

"Nothing," Naomi told her quietly, eyeing the teacher in the front of the room.

"Nothing?" her cousin asked her and Naomi nodded in reply. "Then what are you staring at so intently? If Mr. Erikson sees you he's going to get irritated; you'd better pay attention 'cause I won't lend you my notes later"

"Okay, okay," Naomi said softly, not really paying attention. Looking over at the clock hanging above the door she saw that she still had over an hour-and-a-half left of the class. Sighing, she turned her head back towards the window looking for the boy on the wall only to see that he was gone.

-sL-

"I really just don't enjoy Language," Molly stated as they left the classroom, stretching her arms behind her head. "It's just that I know how to write a good paragraph, I wouldn't be in an advance class if I didn't, so why should I need to learn any more than that"

"Molly, a general understanding of concepts is an important quality to have when you go to college," A voice called from behind the two girls. Turning they saw that Mr. Erikson had followed them out.

"Mr. Erikson where do you think you're going?" Molly asked in a mocking tone. "I believe you have another class starting in seven minutes"

"Get to class Molly, I'm tempted to give you a week's worth of detention for your smartass comments. Anyways, I'm actually here to talk to Naomi." He said turning towards her with a charming smile on her face. Molly stared at the two of them curiously with an odd look on her face, but as soon as it was there it was gone and she was back to her usual self.

"Alright, then," She said with a smile. "I'll leave my cousin in your capable hands, professor, but don't have her too late to class; it's her first day after all." With that, she turned away and began to walk out the doors, heading towards the drama building across the courtyard.

Naomi watched her grow with a sinking feeling; she'd have no idea where to go after Mr. Erikson was done talking to her. She sighed inside before turning back to her teacher. "What do you want"

She hadn't intended for it to come out sounding so rude, but apparently it had come out that way from the way his eyebrows shot up quickly in shock. He gave an awkward cough before opening his mouth.

"Sorry to keep you from your next class, I know that the first day must be a pain, but I need you to complete the reading project that was handed out to all the other students earlier this semester." He told her apologetically. "I know you've just transferred here, but this is a huge percentage of everyone's grade and we simply can't overlook your transferring here as an excuse for not doing the project"

"Okay, I guess I can do it then, what am I supposed to do for the project?" Naomi asked him.

"It's really quite simple, if you come back into the room for a few minutes I can give you all the paperwork and the reading list where you can choose a book to read. The papers that I'm giving you are self-explanatory about the project, but if you have any questions feel free to ask me." He told her while already heading back into the room; Naomi assumed she was supposed to follow and stood awkwardly at the front of an ever filling class waiting for him to give her the papers. "Hold on, Naomi, I seemed to have placed them in the storage room, if you could hold on for another minute," He told her as he hurriedly through the door in the back of the room. She was tempted to follow him but she wasn't sure if she was supposed to so she merely moved back towards the door to the classroom, moving aside when other students tried to get in. The kids already in the classroom stared at her as the final bell rang and she felt a slight prick of panic at the thought of being late to her next class.

Hell, I don't even know what my next class is, She thought worriedly. Irritated she thought of just leaving and getting the papers tomorrow, but as she turned she crashed into a form coming through the doorway. "Hey!" Cried out a male voice as he was knocked back a few steps; Naomi quickly stepped back and stared at the floor. "Watch where you're going, you're going to hurt someone doing that"

"Sorry," She said embarrassed, feeling her face turn red at the snickers from the students in the room.

"It's okay, senior, but watch where you're going next time," He told her smugly as he brushed past her.

Senior? Naomi silently wondered. Is that some sort of slang or something?

Taking a better look at the boy she could see that he was fairly good looking, but not in a way that you'd remember twenty years down the road. His hair was a caramel-red color that curled around the ends giving him a slightly angelic look while brown eyes were boldly placed on his face. He gave her a smile and she looked away quickly, staring at the door praying for the teacher to come back any second.

"Sorry, Naomi," Mr. Erikson called out of the back room, she could hear him shuffling through papers, "I'll just be another second I swear"

"So your name's Naomi?" the boy said with a smile on his face. "That's a pretty name, Senior Naomi"

That's kind-of creepy how he keeps calling me Senior, Naomi thought to herself while giving him a small smile.

"Leave her alone, Michael," a voice said from behind Naomi, smooth and strong, causing her to jump slightly. "You're making her uncomfortable"

Before Naomi even turned around she could tell that this person must have been an important member of the class by the changes on everyone's faces. Some of the girls faces lit up while others showed disgust; some of the guys looked behind her coldly while Michael grew a smirk on his face.

"Long time no see, Jesse, what causes you to grace us with your presence today?" Came Michaels reply.

"I missed first hour, need to get notes from Erikson." Came Jesse's nonchalant reply, Naomi could practically image a shrug going along with the words.

"Why am I not surprised that you skipped first hour? I'm surprised you even came to class at all." Michael said cockily back.

"I'm not in class, Mike," Came the reply, "I'm merely getting the notes from the class I missed."

"Is that your only reply? That's not very clever"

"I don't waste precious energy on thinking up clever retorts for people like you; I'd rather save such comebacks for people that are actually worth my time." Naomi was shocked at the coldness of the reply and obviously Michael was as well. Turning herself around to see who was saying such things, she was surprised to see the boy from the wall leaning against the door frame. His hair was messy and long, parts covering his eyes on one side, blonde with black streaks randomly placed in it. His eyes were green that were so pure that it almost hurt to stare at them directly, but she wasn't staring at them directly because they were focused on the boy behind her. He was tall, taller than she'd thought when she'd seen him at first, but it made sense on how he got onto the wall so easily. He was around six feet, plus a few inches, with a lean body that was neither muscular nor gangly, it was perfectly in-between.

Now that's what I call a good looking guy, Naomi thought to herself feeling herself slipping off into a daydream. Wait, stop, stop, can't think like that. Without thinking, Naomi slapped her face lightly causing Jesse to turn his attention on her, his green eyes boring into her brown ones with an intensity that intimidated her.

Naomi didn't know what to say so she remained silent as they just continued to stare at each other.

"What are you looking at?" He asked her coldly, staring at her with irritation. She quickly mumbled that she was staring at nothing and he simply looked away without a care. Naomi felt slightly insulted at the fact his obvious rudeness towards her and Michael, but she was too shy to say anything about it. She decided that she'd have to ask Molly about him later.

"Ah, Jesse, so glad that you could join us for class this morning," Mr. Erikson's voice sarcastic voice cut out through the awkward silence. "Naomi," He said as he walked up to her, "Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long, here're the papers I was telling you about. You should head off to your next class quickly, and I'll send them an email explaining why you were so late"

"Thanks," Naomi told him quickly, grabbing the papers hurriedly, anxious to get out of the room and away from both of the boys, especially the one closest to her. She stepped around Jesse, whose head turned to see her walk off with a look of indifference on it, and walked quickly down the hallway before realizing that she'd went the wrong way and had to walk in embarrassment passed the same open door twice before heading in the right direction.