Whoever decided that school should start at the ungodly hour (okay fine, minute) of 8.37AM was an idiot. And whoever decided that the only route of public transport from my humble eastern suburban home to the more prestigious, even more eastern suburb of Wattlebay was a bus that only came around every half hour was a bigger idiot. And whoever decided that today, the first day of the beginning of my last high school year, was the day of the month that the monthly bane of my existence should decide to grace me with its presence? Well, they were the biggest idiot.
It would be safe to say that when I finally arrived at the front office to get a late note at 8.40AM a few days later, after sleeping in and having to run to the bus stop after dealing with my female cycle, I was not your average cheerful year 12 student ready to brave the last three terms of her high school career.
Quickly, I filled in the late note slip before handing it to the office lady. She frowned at me, saying "You're not off to a very good start to the year, are you…" pausing to peer through her glasses at my scratchy handwriting before continuing, "Trisna".
"Trisha," I offered helpfully, suppressing my urge to glare at she who couldn't even read the simplest of names. Because hey, I knew her name (Mrs. Anderson) and it was only the second time I'd ever tried to talk to her. The only other time I'd been late was back in year 9 and I'd only arrived back in the city that morning, after a two week snorkelling adventure in Cairns. I'm sure that was just the PMS talking though. I was usually a much more agreeable person. Although maybe not so much in the early hours of the morning.
I power walked to the quad reserved exclusively for students in my grade, grasping tightly on to the four math textbooks I knew I would need (hey, I had twelve periods of maths a week. So sue me) and inconspicuously threaded my way through the crowd and into my roll class. It was the annual year meeting held at the beginning of term, and the year adviser was informing us about the arduous journey we were about to embark on and how she was immensely proud of all our achievements thus far, and how she hoped we would continue to work hard and become "independently minded young ladies" and blah blah blah. At this point, I felt someone nudge me none-too gently in the ribs, and I had to perform some pretty artistic manoeuvres (if I do say so myself) to keep from dropping all my textbooks.
"Hey," the perpetrator whispered at me in hushed tones. "You're late! I thought you weren't coming."
She was probably the only one who'd noticed my absence.
"Hey Tia. Nah sorry, but you wouldn't believe what happened to me this morning!" Thinking about it made me want to groan, but I couldn't help the slight upward crook of my mouth at the sight of my best friend.
"What? Did you meet some cute guy at the station who knocked your socks off?"
I rolled my eyes. She always automatically related exciting news to a guy. And yes, it was true that I harboured a secret desire that the event she had just described would happen to me. My mind strayed to my encounter the other day. To him. Brad. I hadn't told Tia, of course. She would've gone crazy with that titillating piece of information. But I hadn't been able to get him out of my mind for five days. Not that I would ever admit that to anyone.
"No, but I did sleep in and then found out I got my period and then had to rush to get ready and almost missed my bus and then Mrs. Anderson was giving me attitude and she couldn't even pronounce my name right and–"
"Girls! I would appreciate some respect when I'm addressing you." I could feel the year adviser's glare on me.
Oops. This year was not getting off to a good start.
Just as I was making my way down the hallway (painted in a disgustingly dull pastel green, if you must know), the bell rang, signalling that it was time for first period. Oh, the joys of complex numbers and graphing and vectors. And you know what? I was only being half sarcastic.
I was the first to get to the classroom. I usually was. I scanned the room before deciding to sit towards the back, and sat on the edge of the row. Noise began to echo through the hallway as everyone made their way to class, and I quickly opened one of my textbooks to a random page, studiously avoiding the eyes of people entering the classroom. It was always awkward to try and avoid the awkwardness of not knowing what to say before pretending to look away. So I just didn't.
It was safe to say I was pretty surprised then, when I heard something being plonked onto the desk next to mine. I peeked over and saw that it was Iona Chase who'd decided to sit there. Panicking, I diverted my gaze, pretending that I hadn't seen or heard her.
You're probably wondering to yourself, who was this Iona Chase? Was she the typical blonde, pretty bitch with the perfect petite build and huge boobs who chased after any guy with a pulse (well fine, the hot guys) and treated other girls like crap? Judging from my reaction, you probably thought that was a yes. But to be honest, I didn't really know the girl at all. I mean yeah, she was pretty and petite, but to set the record straight, she was a brunette, not a blonde.
I somehow forced myself to gather up a little bit of courage. After all, it would be completely rude of me, not to mention obvious, if I just intentionally ignored her for the rest of the period. So I turned my head, and twisted my expression into something I hoped resembled nonchalant, as though I had just realised she was there.
I gave her a hesitant smile, and said "Hey, I'm Trish". She must've found it pretty strange because I managed to catch the weird, if not confused, expression on her face before I turned back to my textbook. Had she found it strange that I'd introduced myself, or something? I suppose it would've been more normal to just pretend I wasn't there, after all.
She surprised me even more when she actually responded. "Yeah, I know. We've been in the same grade for like five years."
"Uh…oh..." I stuttered. "Sorry. Just thought you didn't know." We hadn't ever really spoken, after all. Well, except that time in year eight when I accidentally bumped into her in the hallway when I was running to English five minutes early, and mumbled "sorry". But that didn't count.
"Okaayy. Well I'm Iona."
"Yeah, I know."
She raised her eyebrow then, and I'm pretty sure she tried to stifle a giggle. I wouldn't know though, by then I had turned back to my textbook, attempting to hide the redness in my cheeks. I had never imagined that someone like her would know who I was. But I guess I underestimated the popular and the pretty.
And thus began…well, what I thought at the time was going to be a very awkward and strange acquaintance. After all, twelve periods a week was a lot of time.
"So, tell me all about him! What was he like? What does he look like? God, I can't believe you kept this from me from five whole days!"
I admit it. I finally broke. I couldn't withhold it from Tia any longer. I had to tell her about him. And from what you've seen it might've seemed as though Tia was your typical blonde bimbo interested in only one thing (boys), but trust me, she wasn't. She was a very smart, intelligent, beautiful, independently minded young –
"How HOT was he?"
Okay, I take that all back.
"Tia, I don't know! I saw him for like five seconds. I know exactly one thing about him. I'll probably never see him again. Ever."
Sadly, considering my luck, that certainly was the truth. Exciting things didn't happen to me all that often, and when they did, they were fulfilling the quota of the decade, or at least the quota of the year.
"It's pretty amazing though. I mean, this Brad guy saved your life. I would kill to have something like that happen to me." She sighed dreamily.
I couldn't help the blush or the blood that I could feel running into my face. "Well, he was pretty cute," I admitted.
"Aha! I knew it! Ladies and gentlemen, the ice queen has caved!" She announced it dramatically to the world. I, meanwhile, bristled at being called an 'ice queen'. Sure, I didn't exactly come off as the friendliest person in the world, but it didn't mean I appreciated being called that. Even by my best friend, who I knew was only joking.
"Don't get too excited. Like I said, I'll probably never see him again."
Tia sighed, probably disappointed at my unromantic, pessimistic views. She probably hoped that I would daydream about him for days, and that he would show up like a knight in shining armour or something and save me from my boring, dreary, invisible existence. I would never admit it to her of course, but part of me was hoping for that too. I just knew it never would, that was all. And besides, I didn't know a thing about the boy. What if he was like, a serial killer or psycho maniac or something?
She gave up, I think, of trying to convince me otherwise, and instead we moved on to a very exciting discussion of the definition of a journey and Shakespeare's The Tempest. (Oh dear god, I hope you sensed my sarcasm just then.)
And so when that afternoon drew to an end, so did my first day of my last year of high school. It had passed by rather eventfully, by my standards anyway. I had survived eight periods of almost absolute boredom and mindlessness. And the invisible girl had managed to have something that resembled a conversation with Iona Chase, after all.
I certainly didn't expect the next thing in my life to happen. I bet you're all dying to know what could've made such an exciting day even more interesting.
Well, it all started on my journey home. I really had to stop using that word, "journey". But a part of me felt a guilty pleasure in exploiting my English Area of Study and reducing it to shreds through my meaningless application of the word into every day life. Sorry, sorry. It was a habit of mine to side track.
I had caught the train to the city and waved a goodbye to Tia, who lived in a northern suburb of Sydney, as opposed to the east where I lived, and was waiting at the bus stop. That was when I saw him again.
It was surprising, to say in the least. I was, after all, sure that I had never seen the boy before the day he'd saved my life. Certainly not at my bus stop, where I had been waiting at the same place and the same time for the same bus for the past five years. I know almost everyone at least by face, I certainly would've recognised his.
He was wearing a uniform, I realised, and it was a uniform I recognised. The navy blazer and trousers, adorned with a golden crest, belonged to none other than St. Judes for Boys, Wattlebay Girls' counterpart, situated a block away from the girls school. We were separated by a shared sports field.
I kept inconspicuously (or so I hoped) sneaking glances at him, wondering if he remembered me. My brain waged an internal war with itself: to speak, or not to speak? I was positive he would've forgotten by now. And anyway, he was in high school. Chances were, considering that I was in year twelve, that he was younger than me. The probability that he was in year 12 was only one sixth. And that was after making the assumption that probabilities were equal for all grades…and gosh, I was beginning to sound like a freak. I guess I got that way when I was nervous.
He didn't look younger though. He looked pretty old, actually. Okay not OLD, per se, but certainly mature. As mature as a teenage guy could look. And my continued inconspicuous spying revealed that he had a stubble on his chin. And hello, that meant he shaved. He had to be in the twelfth grade, right?
As I continued to ponder to myself, I realised it was too late to strike up a conversation. My bus had finally arrived. I sighed, and I don't know if it was with relief or regret, but I knew it was over. I managed to get onto the bus, an achievement considering the number of people who tried and were knocked back by the driver, and found myself standing in the crowded aisle grasping for one of handlebars.
It all happened so quickly. The bus jerked from the sidewalk as it pulled itself into the traffic, and for the second time that day I lost my balance, forcing me to lose my hold on to my four textbooks.
I crashed into an old woman sitting behind me. I tried to plea a silent apology to her with my eyes in the split second that I had before I fell forwards, but she gave me a dirty. That was before I found myself slap bang, torso to torso with a tall, uniformed high school boy. And let me tell you, I wasn't going to complain, although my chest did kind of hurt from the force of it all.
That wasn't the strange thing though. The strangest thing was that my lips were slap bang on his.
Hey guys, thanks for the encouraging reviews! I was just really excited and couldn't help but write another chapter. I'm not that happy with the writing here, and the tone is completely different to how I wanted it to be. Might edit when I have time. Let me know what you think!