Crash Landing on 12th Street
Disclaimer: I don't own any brands/ names/ celebrities/ etc. that mentioned in this story that actually exist in reality. But everything else is copyrighted. Meaning everything else belongs to me, therefore no stealing is permitted. Please do not store or print without permission.
The can felt heavy and cold beneath my fingers; it felt almost foreign to the touch. But then again, of course it'd be like that. This was the first time I've ever owned pepper spray.
"Bring this, just in case you run into any trouble there," Dad had said, winking at me to lighten the effect of the words. I had stared at him quizzically.
"Dad. We're not going anywhere that dangerous. It's just 12th Street, you know?"
I continued jogging, feeling the cold air caress my skin as I panted. I'd been running for a while and I didn't even feel tired. Okay, maybe that's not true. I only felt slightly tired. Really. Other than the heavy weight in my chest and the pain in my stomach…
Yeah. Maybe it was time for a short break.
A soft ringing came from the direction of my jacket pocket. I blinked, drawing out the slim cell Mom made me carry everywhere and I held it up to my ear. "Yeah Mom?"
"Kayla?" Mom's voice sounded weary; tired. "You're out right now, right? I know you're busy and all, but could you pick up some food for us on your way home?"
"I'm not busy," I answered steadily. "Really, Mom. It's no trouble." There was a pause. "You just came home, right? Mom, you're not tiring yourself out, are you?"
"What? No." I could imagine her waving me off. "Do I sound tired? Well. That might be because I have work to do."
I bit my lip. "Okay then. Bye." The phone clicked, and I knew that she had hung up.
Mom had come out here to study to get a degree in art, and I had followed her here to keep her company. I don't understand why, but she insists on paying half of the rent of the apartment, even though I knew Dad could easily pay for the entire thing. Every weekend we'd come home and the entire family would be reunited; Gia, Teddy (who'd come home from college for the weekend), Mom, Dad, and me. But on other days, it was just Mom and me.
Sometimes I think she overworks herself and makes a big deal out of everything. I don't know why; but she does.
I continued jogging; pretty soon, I was in front of the diner where I normally worked part-time. Today, however, I was off my shift. The bell atop the threshold tinkled as I opened the door, and my two best friends Lori and Roland (although he preferred to be called by his nickname, Rolo) looked up.
"Hey Kay," Rolo greeted me amiably. "The usual then?"
I nodded. "Yeah." I handed him a twenty. "Keep the change. I'm sort of in a hurry, so don't bother counting out everything."
Lori rolled her eyes. "Well, someone's being bossy today. The customers are just getting more and more pushy these days, aren't they?"
I grinned. "Hello to you too, Lori."
She was staring at my hand. "Whoa. Paranoid, much? Kay, why are you walking around with that?"
"What? Oh, this." I held up the pepper spray. "My dad gave this to me just before Mom and I came back. He said it was 'just in case'. Whatever that means. I really didn't think this neighborhood was dangerous…"
"It's not." She replied matter-of-factly. "South High's the dangerous place. But we don't go to South High, do we? No. We go to North High, Kay. It's not dangerous there."
"Maybe he got the two mixed up." Rolo offered.
I shrugged. "Maybe."
I watched the two of them while they worked. Lori's long, pin-straight brown hair fell over her shoulder while she worked at the counter. Her forest green eyes were unfocused as she chatted easily with the other customers, although her petite, short self had to look up every time. Rolo worked as a waiter, although he had to brush his black hair out of emerald green eyes every few seconds.
Every so often they'd snap at each other for something or other, but a few seconds later they'd be laughing. They were part of my small little world, I mused, standing off to the side as I watched the scene. They created the amiable atmosphere in the diner, and maybe that was why so many people came to eat there.
Rolo handed me a box of spaghetti. The strong smell wafted through the bag, and suddenly I felt hungry. "Yeah. You can just imagine how many customers the demon attracts," he said, smiling lazily at me.
She smacked his arm. "Hey, it just so happens that since the day I started working here, the diner's been busier than ever," she said matter-of-factly.
"We all started working on the same day; so who says it you?"
I smiled, amused with the banter. "See you guys later."
"Bye Kayla!" They both chorused at the same time; but when I turned my back, they started chatting again.
The sky outside was unusually cloudy, I noted absentmindedly as I jogged steadily. Normally the sky would be a perfect blue, but today, gray storm clouds had shielded the sun from view. I skidded to a halt, just before a fence surrounding the neighborhood, which should have been unlocked today. Just my luck.
Shit, shit, shit.
Groaning, I climbed to the top of the fence, looking once over the other side before jumping.
I hissed. Something was off. For one thing, I don't remember the ground being able to move, but maybe it could be the disoriented sensation I felt upon landing. But then again, for a cold day like this, how could the ground be so…warm?
"Excuse me." A rough, deep voice came from under me. "I don't know who you are, but could you please…I don't know…get off of me?!"
I slowly lifted myself on my arms and sat back. My shoulder-length black hair tickled my arms, and my bewildered, lost amber eyes lifted to meet irritated-looking crystal blue eyes. My breath caught in my throat, because right now, we were inches apart. I inched back quickly and bit my lip. Well. This is awkward.
Apparently, another person (a boy) was jogging up the sidewalk, and I had landed on him…somehow. Huh. Whoever said that 12th Street was safe from crashes was way off.
Was that me speaking? It couldn't be. I would never say something so stupid at such a wrong time like this.
He was staring at me with his eyebrow quirked. O-kay. Maybe it was me. "Hi." He replied, his tone slightly mocking. My bag from the diner was right beside me, safe and sound. I guess that makes one of us. His eyes moved to my hand. "Whoa. Easy, there. I wasn't going to attack you or anything."
"Huh? Oh." I followed the direction of his gaze, and I realized that my hand was positioned to spray pepper spray at him. I hurriedly placed the can down. It's a wonder I didn't spray him when we "crashed." "Reflex, I guess. Sorry."
He nodded quizzically. "Uh huh."
I was blushing a fiery red. What was I supposed to say, though? Hi-I'm-sorry-for jumping-over-a-fence-and-landing-on-top-of-you? Yeah; I don't think that's going to work out.
"I am so sorry. I didn't mean to…you know, land on you and all, it's just that the fence was locked and I had to get home and I didn't really want to walk all the way around the neighborhood since that'd take a long time and my mom's sort of waiting for me with dinner so I couldn't just keep her waiting and I thought that no one was on the other side because I looked before I jumped – because, you know, I might land on someone, but apparently I ended up doing so anyway and oh my gosh I'm babbling aren't I?!" I panted, cutting myself off, my face the color of roses.
He was staring at me, incredulous. Eyebrows were quirked above crystal blue eyes. After a few moments, he ran a hand through messily sun-kissed sandy brown locks, and sighed. "I get it."
"No. But it was an accident, I guess. I mean, you haven't jumped on top of any other people, have you?" He eyed me for a moment, and I shook my head wildly.
"No! Of course not. Do I look like that kind of person? Don't answer that." I laughed nervously, but inside, I felt immensely relieved.
He grinned this time, and I blinked, startled. Wow. I didn't think anyone would look that great smiling, I thought idly. He must be a real charmer, back wherever he came from. He stood up, pulling me along with him. "Well. As interesting as this little episode was today, I think I'll be going now. You know. Duty calls."
I was staring up. He was tall, lanky, even though his was wearing a T-shirt that could have fit someone twice his size. I smiled easily. "Okay. Bye then." And then, waving, we turned our backs on each other and went separate ways.
It wasn't until later that I realized I'd forgotten to ask for his name.
North High was noisy, like any other day. I looked around, trying to find a way to get through without pushing anyone over, so I hesitated. Lori stood tapping her foot, and she sighed, grabbing my wrist and dragging my through. "Let's go, Kay! You'll never get anywhere if you just stand there."
We reached our adjacent lockers and Kay immediately let go of my wrist, reaching out to twist her combination number and drew her books out in one, swift gesture. A soft smile curved my mouth. "Thanks, Lori."
She shot me a short glance before she threw a wad of paper at my head. "Fix your hair. It looks like a bird nested in it and then left."
I rolled my eyes good-naturedly, but I did as I was told. "Gee, thanks." I replied sarcastically.
Rolo appeared by my side, and, having caught the last part of our conversation, he in turn, rolled his green eyes. "She's in an even worse mood than usual because she's socially deprived," he informed me.
Lori threw another wad of paper at him. "Who's socially what again?" She hissed.
"OW! Okay, uncle, uncle!"
"Now throw those away! ROLO!"
I sighed. "When are you two going to get together again?"
Both of them whirled around to face me. "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!"
"That's what everyone's been saying…"
I smiled slightly, amused. It was true, though. People speculated that it was only a matter of time before Rolo got together with either me or Lori, but personally, I think Lori's the more likely choice.
The bell rang, and everyone rushed to get to their class on time. Rolo grabbed my wrist and Lori pushed me from behind toward our homeroom class. We reached our seats on time, just as the final bell rang.
We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after fifteen minutes, I sighed and asked out loud, "She's late again, isn't she?"
"No, Kay," Rolo answered sarcastically. "She died and is busting a move as a ghost."
Someone in the front turned around and answered, "Just wait. She's always late, but at least she comes."
Another person, a blond girl who looked irritated, said, "Shouldn't we tell the Principal that our teacher's always late?"
"Why should we?" She answered. "At least, this way, we can just chill while we wait."
The door opened. Finally, fifteen minutes after the final bell had rung, the disgruntled teacher had entered. "Alright class," she began. "Today we're going to discuss – "
The door opened again, and a familiar sandy-brown haired boy entered. I blinked; startled, because that was the boy from the fence.
"Mr. Daleford, you're fifteen minutes late. Detention. Saturday. Now take a seat before I give you another one."
I found myself rolling my eyes. As if she wasn't late herself. He half-smiled coolly. "Pleasant as always, Miss M." But he moved to a desk at the back of the room.
I scribbled the words "Info. Now." On a piece of paper, and casually (discreetly) leaned back to hand it to Lori. Despite what Rolo might've said, Lori knew everyone in the school; she was never found anywhere alone. Ever.
The paper was tossed back to me, and I opened it up.
In most of your classes.
Likes to keep to himself, but people like to hang around him, so that can't happen. Relationship status unknown.
P.S. That's about all I know. If you wanted more, TOO BAD!
P.S.S. Why, you interested?
I rose an eyebrow at the last line.
Please. You know I like Max! It's just that…you know what, I'll tell you later.
I tossed it behind me. The bell rang and everyone piled out onto the hallway. Lori followed for a distance, until she stopped and whirled me around. Rolo stood next to her. "Alright. Spill."
"Umm. Okay." I was walking backwards, occasionally shooting a glance over my shoulder to make sure no one was bumping into me. "Where do I star – I am so sorry!" I had bumped into another person, and he had caught me by the shoulders, preventing me from falling. I raised my eyes cautiously.
Max looked down at me anxiously. "Are you alright, Kayla?"
My face flamed. "Y – yeah," I replied, looking down at the floor. "Sorry for bumping into you there," I said quietly.
I heard him chuckle. "S'alright. As long as you didn't hurt yourself."
"No," I answered quickly. "I'm not hurt at all."
There was an awkward pause, and my stomach was fluttering. Max cleared his throat. "You know, this isn't probably the best time to ask something like this, but – "
Anticipation built up in my chest. Could it be – Was he asking - ?
" – do you know where Rolo is?"
I deflated. Of course he wasn't going to ask something like that; I mean, why would he? Stupid, stupid, stupid! "Actually, he was just – " I paused.
"Kayla? Is something wrong?"
I looked around wildly, but Lori and Rolo had disappeared. Where did those two traitors that call themselves my best friends go?! "They were right behind me a second ago…"
He chuckled again. "That's alright. It's not really important anyway. I actually had something else to ask you…"
I perked up again. "Y – yeah? What was it?"
I held onto his every word, feeling suspense build up inside me. He paused, and then he went on.
"…know what we had for math again?"
I felt like banging my head against the lockers. "Page 362, #2-24; all." I rattled off monotonously, feeling myself deflate again.
"So," he began again.
"So," I echoed, not feeling any excitement this time.
"You doing anything Friday?"
"Not really." I sighed. "Why?"
"I was thinking we could watch a movie or something."
"Well, I guess, I mean, I'd have to check my planner and – uhh…" I felt incredulity bloom inside of me mid-way through my rant, and I paused. "Wait, what?"
Max scratched his head, sheepish. "I mean, if you're busy then that's fine and all," he started rambling.
"Max – "
"The movie might not be that great anyway, and if – "
"Yeah?" He paused.
"I want to," I laughed. "But there might be a problem.
His face fell. "Oh."
"My dad, you see, will only let me go out with guys he approves of," I explained. "And he's very picky. I mean, he only likes guys who're taking, like five AP courses."
He nodded. "Oh." Max grinned. "What if I told you I know a way we can get around that?"
"I'd give you a big ol' hug." I beamed. "What's your idea?"
"I know a guy who can pretend to be your date. He can meet your father, chat for a bit, and afterwards he'll drive you to the movies, and I'll meet you there."
I looked quizzical. "Who?"
Max shrugged off-handedly. "You'll see." His eyes slid past me. "Hey Rolo, Lori."
"Hey," the two of them chimed, glaring at each other when they said it simultaneously.
The bell rang. Max looked between the three of us. "So I'll meet you later outside, Kayla?"
I nodded. "I guess so."
"Okay then. See you later, Lori, Rolo, Kayla." His voice softened at my name, but then he turned around and disappeared around the corner. I turned to Rolo and Lori and squealed.
"Guys," I began. "You'll never guess what happened."
Rolo turned me around and began leading me toward the second class we shared. "Walk. Talk."
Lori smiled slightly. "Max asked you out, right?"
My smile grew. "How'd you know?"
"It's written all over your face." She grabbed my wrist and led the way. "Now, start talking about this, and that incident with a certain Trenton Daleford you've been hiding from us for a few hours now…"
I shivered, feeling the cold air outside, and I pulled the coat tightly around my body. Whose bright idea was it to have an outdoor cafeteria, anyway?
"Kayla. Hey." Max moved to stand in front of me, his cheerful smile coming easily to his face.
I looked up at him and beamed. "Hi Max! So what'd you want to talk about again?"
He was looking around us, as if he was searching for someone. "Actually, I wanted you to meet a certain someone, but it looks as if he's not – oh, there he is."
I followed his gaze behind me, and I turned around. And then I froze, my breath catching in my throat at the person before us.
Trenton – at least, that's what Lori told me his name was – stood tall and aloof, his hands in his pockets. His blue eyes widened slightly upon resting on me, but then a few minutes later, they blank and bored. "What'd you call me here for, Max?" He asked, irritated.
Max moved to stand between the two of us. "Kayla, I'd like you to meet Trenton, my cousin. Trenton, meet Kayla – the amazing girl I've been telling you about."
He regarded me for a few moments. "We've met," he said coolly.
I looked confused. "Cousins?" I asked
Max merely looked surprised. "You've met? And y – yeah," he replied. "Can you spot the resemblance?"
After studying the two for a while, I suppose there was a resemblance. They both had the same sandy-brown hair, the same crystal blue eyes, the same high cheekbones, and the same tan complexion. But Trenton was taller and more slender, while Max had more of an athletic build. Also, the aura surrounding the two were completely different. Max effortlessly carried the friendly, come-talk-to-me smile while Trenton seemed…more quiet, and, in a way, tragic.
"I guess," I said after a pause.
Trenton ran a hand through his hair. "You know, Max, after practically dragging me here, I think I deserve some sort of explanation."
"Oh!" Max answered quickly. "Right." He moved to stand beside me. "I need you to…sort of date Kayla."
There was another short, awkward pause. I shifted uncomfortably. Trenton blinked, and the look on his face was a mixture of slight incredulity and disbelief. "Excuse me?" He asked. "Dude, I thought you liked her."
At his words, I flushed.
"I do," Max said off-handedly, but still made my stomach flutter. "But her father's really tough, so I need you to meet him, impress him, and later, you can drive her to me."
"And what's in it for me?"
"The pleasure of helping out a dear cousin?" Max offered. At the look on Trenton's face, however, he sighed. "You owe me."
I broke in. "You know, Max, this is not really necessary – "
Trenton cut me off. "Since when?"
"Since that time when you showed up at my doorstep with that stick you call a –"
"Okay, okay!" Trenton interrupted, his eyes flickering to me quickly. "I'll do it."
Max grinned. "Awesome! Thanks, man. I just figured, you know, since you just broke up with your girlfriend, you really needed a distraction, and – "
"I said I'd do it!" Trenton winced. "You don't need to say anything else."
"Great! So this Friday you can show up at her door, meet her father, the basic stuff. You know where Kayla lives, don't you?" Max looked at me expectantly.
Trenton shrugged. "She can show me later."
I bit my lip. "So you want me to lie to my father?" I asked uncertainly.
Trenton quirked an eyebrow. "I thought you said she was okay with this, Max," he said.
"Stop talking about me as if I'm not here!" I snapped. Max placed an arm around my shoulder reassuringly and to calm me down.
"You can tell him half-way through, when he's gotten used to the idea," he said soothingly. "It's not really lying, Kayla, it's more like…postponing telling him until the day, you know?"
Sighing, I nodded. "Yeah. I guess so."
Max beamed. "Awesome." He looked past us. "Listen. I'm just going to leave the two of you alone. Give you some time to get to know each other, since you're going to be half-dating anyway. Bye Kayla, Trenton." He left then.
Once Max was out of sight, Trenton sighed, shielding his eyes with one hand. "Honestly," he said. "Sometimes I don't know what goes on in my cousin's head."
"I don't either," I agreed, smiling slightly. "But I'm sure it's something nice. He's always kind and caring towards others."
He shrugged, glancing at me before looking away. "If you say so."
The bell rang, signifying the end of lunch. Trenton glanced once at me before backing up. "You can show me your place after school," he said. "But I think I've seen it, on that one day you crash landed on top of me along 12th Street. Am I right?"
At the memory, I flushed. "Yeah," I agreed quietly. "You passed it on that day."
He nodded. "You're Kayla Wilson, right? The one from homeroom?"
I watched everyone else get up and start towards the school building. "Yeah…"
"Okay." A wide smile blossomed on his face, and I blinked, as if a light had been shined in my eyes. "I'll remember that. Later, Kayla." Then he turned his back to me, leaving me standing in the idle of the courtyard, dumbfounded.
Blushing, I covered my face with a hand. "Yep. He's definitely a charmer."
A/N: Hmm. I didn't plan on making the ending sound that way, but it's different in a good way, I guess.
So any errors? Any comments? All would be acceptable. :)