The first time I met Nathaniel Blake, well, let's just say things didn't go too well. It wasn't until years later that I realized my first impression was wrong.
Ten years ago
"Okay class! Today we'll be working with partners!"
The class excitedly looked around the room for their best friend. My sea green eyes met with a pair of dark brown eyes. Claire Bennett, the daughter of my mother's best friend, the girl I've known since I were born, and the girl I spent my early childhood with. In the course of seven years, we already considered each other our best friends, just like our moms.
"I'm going to be assigning your partners."
The looks on the students' faces fell.
A boy who I didn't know very well raised his hand. "Yes Nathan?"
"What does "a-sign-ing" mean?" the boy pronounced each syllable carefully.
The whole class laughed at the poor kid, he just shrugged it off, not at all embarrassed by his question.
"I'm going to be choosing your partner." the teacher answered with patience.
"Zachary Wilson and Tyler Davis" the two boys looked at each other and fist-pumped, obviously happy with the partnership.
"Claire Bennett and Conner Matthews" I smile, Claire had a crush on Conner since the first day of second grade (which was only two months ago-but hey, that's a long time for a kid!)
"Nathaniel Blake and Alexis Anthony" I looked up to see Nathaniel-or Nathan- come up to me. He had brown hair and blue eyes, and was a couple of inches taller than me; but we were still young, I had time to grow. Hopefully.
Remembering that mommy said that I should make a lot of friends I held out my hand. "Alexis Anthony."
He stared at my hand in disgust. "Whatever."
My eyebrows scrunched in confusion. Why was he being mean to me? I haven't done anything to him! Then I was angry. "Hasn't your mom taught you any manners? When someone holds out their hand, you shake it." I resisted adding a "Duh." to the end of it, but there was this one annoying girl, Jessica, that always did that, I didn't want to turn into something like her.
"My mom? Are you serious? I. Don't. Have. A. Mom. Guess what sweetheart? She walked out on me and my dad after I was born." I instantly regretted what I said, but that didn't stop Nathan from continuing "y'know why I didn't shake your hand? I didn't want to touch you, who knows where you've been. Y'know what else? My dad says girls are only useful for two things: making sandwiches and breeding." the girls gasped "You did not just say that."
"Get over it sweetheart."
I wanted to throw my pencil at him, I was about to too, but the teacher came over and put Natan into time-out (what do you expect? The teacher was a girl, she had to stand up for her own gender somehow!) but I could tell he didn't regret one thing that he said.
The smug look on Nathan's face and the glares he gave me during time-out continued over the years, well, continued until our senior year.
Four years ago
Alexis Anthony was crying. In front of me. Well actually, I didn't think she knew I was there, but she was still crying! I've known her for about six years and I admit, I've done some terrible things to her, but she never cried before! Lex and crying did not go together. It was strange, it was weird, it was wrong. Lex should not be crying. The words fell out of my mouth before I knew it "are you okay?"
She jumped a little and looked up, her eyes were red and tears stained her face. She realized who she was talking to and she gave me a glare. Better mad than sad. "Why do you care?"
To be honest, I wasn't sure. Why should I care? I never cared before. Well, Lex has never cried before either, even when I pushed her down the monkey bars in 3rd grade or destroyed her science fair project in 5th, or even when I made fun of her in front of her crush (Andy Cox) last year. She has never, ever cried. Guess there's a first time for everything.
"Look, you're obviously sad about something, either you can tell me about it, which I heard makes you feel a lot better; or I can leave and you'll still be crying. Choose one."
"You might want to sit down for this." she suggests.
I smirk. No girl has ever, in any way, refused me before. "Don't get all cocky now. Just cause I'm willingly talking to you, doesn't mean I'm secretly in love with you or anything."
"Thank goodness for that."
She kicked me. Hard.
"You deserved it." her eyebrows scrunched up (she does that every time she's confused) "why are you here?"
I look around the room. A huge wooden desk where the secretary sits (she wasn't here at the moment though, pretty pointless if she wasn't there, isn't that her whole job?) a couple of chairs and a door leading to the principal's office.
"Oh, some 6th grader said I dented their locker or something."
I shrug "probably. Wait, why are you here?" As far as I know, Lex wasn't the type to be sent to the principal office. She wasn't a goody two-shoes or anything like that, but teachers loved her. Teachers loved it when she "expressed her opinions about the subject" isn't calling something stupid expressing opinions too? But occasionally she would sleep in class or forget her homework or even call other students a few choice words (the horror!) but teacher excused it as her having a bad day. I don't know whether to be jealous of her or hate her. I mean hate her even more.
"Transferring schools." she says casually like everyone already knew the answer. Well, everyone could've known, I really don't pay attention to rumors, but I'm pretty sure I would know if my mortal enemy was transferring schools.
"Uh...how come...but..." I was for a loss of words.
"How come you didn't know?"
"Cause no one at this school knows. Well, except for maybe Collin and Claire." Collin was Lex's little brother and two years younger than us. Claire, well she was Alexis' best friend.
"Claire's mom must be pretty sad that you guys are moving." Everyone in town knew that the two moms were close, just like their daughters.
"My mom's not moving."
"Oh." *insert awkward moment of silence here* "Where are you transferring to then?"
Her eyebrows scrunched up again "Not really sure."
She sighed "My parents are divorcing. Collin is staying with mom, and I'm moving with my dad who's moving to, well, I don't really know where."
Why couldn't she say that earlier? Wait. Her parents are divorcing? Is the world ending? No one could've saw that coming. Frank and Melanie Anthony are divorcing. Whoa.
"I know, I was shocked when I heard it myself, I thought they loved each other." her eyes turned watery.
"Why couldn't you just stay with your mom?" hoping another question would distract her from crying.
"My dad wanted custody of one of us, you could tell Collin didn't want to go, so I volunteered instead."
"So you're just...leaving?" I was shock when I heard my voice crack.
"Alexis." her father called "it's time."
"I guess so."
She kissed my cheek and strangely, I felt butterflies in my stomach. "Bye Chubby." wincing at the nickname she gave me in 3rd grade. She nicknamed me after her dog, Chubby, cause he was a cocker spaniel (spANIEL, NathANIEL, get it?)
She gives me one small smile before she walks off with her dad "Bye Sweetheart."