nothing but trouble
it all started when...
It all started on a Friday afternoon.
Fourth period, Chemistry class. Mr. Rogers's class.
I felt a paper airplane crease into my long, wild hair, but it never fell. Annoyingly high pitched giggles erupted from behind me. With all my vehemence, I turned around to give them a livid stare, but as I did, the paper airplane somehow escaped my tangled locks.
I was face to face with Stacy Reeves, the most popular girl at our school. There must have been some weird sort of shift in the universe, because she was smiling. At me. Of course she'd been one of the sources of laughter, but it wasn't a mocking, rude sort of laugh. It was teasing, in a friendly way though, and she had an amused expression – even a bit apologetic. But why was she looking at me? There was nothing special about me, I wasn't pretty, cool, or popular. However I must have been something to have captured her attention. Rather than giving her a death glare, I had a confused expression instead. She said nothing, simply pointing at the note that had fallen out of my tangled hair.
I frowned, realizing that it was one of either two things 1) a note for me – probably from Norman who had a weird infatuation with me or 2) a note that she wanted me to pass to someone else – and I was totally against passing notes. Sighing, I shook my head.
Her mouth fell open in an 'O' shape, and she opened her notebook, scrawling something on it frantically and holding it up for me to see.
It's for you, knucklehead! ! ! The note read. She put large gaps between the exclamation points. I sighed and reluctantly picked it up. As I bent down however, I saw a pair of abnormally large feet, clad in beige loafers. I gulped. It was Mr. Rogers. Feeling a sudden surge of anger I turned around to look at Stacey, my face had betrayal written all over it. The strange thing was she looked guilty too.
"Passing notes are we, Miss Bagnasco?"
"I-I…!" I stuttered. I was never good in these situations.
"Save your words for the entire classroom," he said, handing me the note, which he took the liberty of unfolding. "Please, read it to us. Since it's so much more fascinating and important than my lecture on chemical compounds."
Wow. I just wanted to slap this guy in the face – hard.
I felt my eyes stinging, but I refused to let the tears fall. Nodding obediently, I grabbed the note and slowly stood up, ready to do the walk of shame to the front of the classroom and embarrass myself with who-knows-what was written on the piece of paper. At the moment, I had a strong hatred for Stacy Reeves and her stupid friends. I had a feeling they were behind this ridiculous charade. What was written on the paper, though? Was it humiliating? Was it a love letter? Was Norman once again professing his unrequited love for me?
Before I could make it to the front of the class however – the note was whisked away from my hands. I turned around just in time to see Stacy rip it to shreds.
Mr. Rogers stared at her with a wide eyed expression.
She shrugged, a grin on her face despite the trouble she had just gotten herself into.
"It wasn't that important!" She laughed nervously, and suddenly my hatred for her turned into an intense love and I wanted to hug her right then and there.
"Miss Reeves… What are you doing!?"
She let out a huge sigh.
"I was the one who threw the note at Isabel. She didn't want to pick it up, because it isn't worth getting in trouble for you know? I pressured her into it. It's my fault. I'm sorry Mr. Rogers." She then turned to me, her beautiful green eyes sparkling. "Same to you, Is."
I smiled at her, my stomach twisted into one thousand knots.
Mr. Rogers remained silent for a moment, his brow furrowed.
"I guess I'll let this slide… just this one time." He even flashed a smile at Stacy, and nodded gruffly at me. I took that as my cue to go back to my seat.
Hey, popularity has its upsides.
Five minutes after the period ended I had been putting books away in my locker when the oh-so lovely Stacy decided to make a reappearance. Sighing inwardly and looking towards the heavens, I smiled back at her, although my patience was wearing thin. Seriously. What did this girl want with me?
"Hi Isabel," she said casually, as if the incident in fourth period never happened.
"Um, hi Stacey. Can I help you with something?"
Stacey was a nice girl, don't get me wrong, just not the type of person I typically hung out with. Her beautiful green eyes and perfect blonde hair screamed all sorts of beautiful to other people, who usually clung to her – like glue. She wasn't a genius, but she wasn't completely stupid either. We were on a first name basis with each other, and aside from the occasional smile or wave, to her I was nothing but an A on a class project.
She wrinkled her nose cutely, bouncing on the balls of her feet in a peculiar rhythm.
"Do you know Eric Saventston?"
My heart nearly stopped.
That's why she wanted to talk to me?
Eric Saventston, the definition of perfection. With his sun kissed skin and bright smile, he had plenty of girls lining up just to get to talk to him. Needless to say, I'm one of those girls. He's just so charismatic, so sweet. I'm convinced that I am completely in love with him, except I don't know what love is.
We had five out of seven classes together in freshman year, and three out of seven last year. I was always interested in him, but now, was he interested in me? My heart soared at the thought.
"…Yeah. I know him." I had to keep it together though.
"Cool, because he wanted to see you. He has second lunch, like you do." She leaned forward suddenly, eyes gleaming. "I think he wants to ask you out!"
I was just about ready to jump for joy. There was still one thing I needed to know though… Eric was pretty popular with the ladies, but if I were getting touchy with all the little details of the social hierarchy – was he really popular enough to associate with Stacy?
As if reading my mind, she answered my question quickly.
"Brock, my boyfriend, is his best friend. I'm also good friends with his brother," at that mention I noticed a tinge of pink spread across her cheeks, but never questioned it.
"…He has a brother? Since when?"
She laughed that familiar high pitched laugh.
"Since forever, silly! You've never met him because he's a sophomore. Anyways, if you don't know already Eric sits at the corner with all the populars. I happen to sit at that table too!"
I bit my tongue, holding back a 'no really?,' since there was no reason for me to be hostile.
She led me through the cafeteria and to a table with jocks, cheerleaders, him, and overall just good looking people with plenty of admirers. I couldn't help the stares I received from others who were divided into different social cliques. Amongst them I saw my own group of friends, whose faces had mixtures of excitement and confusion. I said nothing, but received a grin and thumbs up from Ricky. I laughed.
"And that's how I sprained my ankle in seventh grade. Hey babe," Brock concluded dramatically, looking up instantly and giving his girlfriend a lingering kiss on the lips. I felt a pang of jealousy and longing, my gaze shifting to Eric, who was smiling at me.
He stood up and strode over to me, allowing me to inhale his enticing, sweet scent. It was true. He liked me back. I had no idea why, or how I had 'charmed' him, but I did.
"Can we go talk?" He asked.
"Sure," I nodded – probably a bit too vigorously.
He just laughed and took my hand, guiding me towards the lunch line.
"Do you want anything to eat? My mom puts way too much money into my lunch account, I wouldn't mind spending some of it on you." His face was gentle, as was his voice. Oh lord I'm melting.
"That's very sweet but you don't need to." I said in a shaky voice, "Really." I added when he arched an eyebrow.
"It's no problem."
"I brought my own lunch! It's not much… but it's enough to keep me energized for the day." I smiled at him, trying to look cute when I realized that I was empty-handed.
You forgot your lunch in your locker, bonehead. A voice inside of me echoed.
I blame Stacey and her perkiness/popularity. I replied to myself.
"I… left in my locker." I said lamely.
"Would you like to walk over and go get it?"
"S-Sure," I said, in a daze.
We walked to my locker, making decent conversation along the way. I noticed how his grip on my hand only tightened. I didn't mind it though.
"…I know this seems rushed an all, but I just need to know." I looked up at him, his brown orbs staring at me intensely.
"Would you like to go out tonight? To a restaurant just down the street. Rita's, it's a great one, one of my favorites. I've been meaning to ask you for a while."
He looked nervous, but I had no idea why. If anything, I should be the nervous one here.
"Isabel?" he asked softly when I didn't reply for a couple of seconds.
I said nothing, letting go of his hand and throwing my arms around him with such a great force, I ended up knocking him over.
I blushed furiously, realizing I was on top of him in an intimate and suggestive manner. Looking down at him, I saw his grin.
"Straightforward. I like that." He said huskily. I blushed. We were merely inches apart. I got up though.
"So… I'll take that awkward yet adorable tackle as a yes?"
The rest of the day practically whizzed by because I was too focused on my date with Eric.
"Spill ALL the juicy details! Where are you two going? What will you wear? Can Ricky and I come spy on you two?" Tara demanded.
I had been having a three way phone call with my two best friends while my younger sister painted my toe nails.
"Rita's, a dress most likely, and NO!" I laughed goodheartedly.
"I still can't believe it. Our little mushroom is going on a date. And not just with any guy, freaking Eric SAVENTSTON!" Tara gushed dreamily. "Oh Is, I envy you."
When I was seven years old, I went through a phase in which I was obsessed with mushrooms. I had been playing an old Super Mario game and the mushrooms were an exciting concept to me. I truly believed they could give me super powers, so I constantly begged my mom to buy as much as possible, and whenever we ate out I would order something would mushrooms on it. Eventually I found mushrooms sprouting on our front lawn and I, being the naiveté I was, ate them without hesitation. Of course my mom flipped out and took me to the doctor to make sure I was okay, which I was. But the nick name 'little mushroom' stuck with me and I still get teased about it today.
A masculine voice cut in.
"Hold the phone, no pun intended, but did you say Stacy Reeves came to talk to you about it?!" he asked disbelievingly.
I rolled my eyes.
"Yes, Ricky. You saw us walking together, I know you did. Why?"
"She's dummy fine, that's why! She was wearing that cheerleader outfit too… Damn. She can get it anytime she likes!"
Tara and I ended up snorting in laughter.
"You're such a dork." Tara said, "She'd never date you. She has a boyfriend."
"Hey, a guy can dream right?"
I smiled lightly at my sister when she finished doing my toes.
"Thanks Mer," I murmured, and she smiled back, giving me a kiss on the cheek and silently wishing me luck on my date.
Half an hour later my phone call with my dorky friends ended because they showed up at my house.
"Don't get me wrong, I love you both very much, but what on earth are you doing here? I have a date in less than two hours and I'm freaking out, I don't know what to wear…"
"That's why we're here! We want to help you." Tara said.
I looked at Ricky pointedly.
"Nah, I'm here for the food." He said, heading straight for the kitchen.
I shrugged and Tara pulled me to my bedroom.
If I had to choose one amazing thing about Tara amongst all her good qualities and talents, it was her fashion sense. I put my complete trust in her to arrange a fabulous outfit out of my shabby clothes. She always dressed beautifully and I was more than grateful that she was here to save me in my time of need.
She went through my closet, throwing my clothes out and piling them on my bed left and right.
"Nope, no, no, no, oh hell no, gross, ew, why do you even own this?" The negative words went on.
By the time she was done being critical about my wardrobe, all of my clothes were scattered everywhere. Ricky burst in with a bowl of leftover spaghetti, his mouth hanging open and letting the pasta slip between his lips as he stared at the mess Tara had made.
"You're cleaning that up." I said icily. Then I pointed at all the clothes while looking at Tara accusingly. "And you're cleaning this up.
She shrugged indifferently.
"What we need to clean up first is your style, girly. Oh, and your hair." She yanked on my locks painfully.
The next hour was the longest one of my life. I had to bite my lip to keep back the tears, and my hands from clawing Tara's eyes out. I had long, dark brown hair. Many people told me it was beautiful and shiny, but at the same time, it was too tangled. I don't even understand why. It was a bit wavy, but not quite to the point where my curls would intertwine with each other to form nearly impenetrable barriers from combs and brushes. So why, why, why does Tara keep losing the comb in my hair?
The beauty session went on for what seemed like forever, I would say ow and she'd mumble a silent apology. When we finally got my hair under control, we went back to looking for a decent outfit. We ended up raiding my mom's closet – which was a big mistake because I got in a crap load of trouble for it even though it was Ricky's idea. Speaking of Ricky, he did nothing besides provide 'moral support,' empty out our fridge, and continue to gush on and on about how hot Stacy Reeves was – which seemed to vex Tara… a lot.
"Shut up Ricky, we don't care anymore!" She said angrily, practically smearing the lip gloss all over my lips.
I sighed inwardly.
"Do you think she's a virgin?" He asked, unfazed and currently working on his third plate of macaroni and cheese.
"Who cares? If she is Brock will take care of that quickly."
"I've never liked Brock," he said, before getting up and running to the kitchen. He came back two minutes later with shrimp alfredo. "You know, you guys cook a lot of pasta."
"Blame my dad. He's a crazy Italian." I said, closing my eyes while Tara applied a little eye shadow.
"Hey, did you guys know that Eric has a brother?"
"He does?" Tara asked curiously.
"That's what Stacy said."
"Since when do you and Stacy talk?" She sounded upset.
"She's the one who told me Eric wanted to go on a date with me. We were walking together and it just… came up."
"Does it seem suspicious to you that she knows he has a brother? I mean, you've been head over heels for the guy for like three years now, how could you not know?"
"I don't know. I guess it's not that big of a deal, I'll just ask Stacy about it on Monday."
She finally finished my makeup, looking at me with a mixture of admiration and concern.
"You look beautiful. But about Stacy, I don't think –"
She never got to finish her sentence though. Someone rang the doorbell.
"I'LL GET IT!" Meranda said, sprinting to the door.
"Oh my glob, what if it's Eric!?" I panicked, running and shoving Meranda out of the way. She pouted and stood right behind me as I opened the door.
There he stood, in all his glory.
I smiled dreamily as his eyes ran up and down my figure, a tiny tint of red on his cheeks. It wasn't a demeaning look, he was surprised.
"You look amazing." He said with a grin.
"So do you." I smiled.
"Wow, you're hot!" My sister said in the background, I nudged her with my elbow.
In the window's reflection I could see Ricky and Tara trying (and failing) to hide behind our withering ficus tree.
"I see you have some friends over." He stifled a laugh as Ricky attempted to pounce straight for the couch, but ended up knocking the ficus over – right on top of Tara.
"Y-Yeah… They kind of wanted to help me get ready to… y'know…" I grabbed my arm and looked down. Get it together, Isabel. You're about to go on a date with one of the hottest guys at school!
But Eric didn't make fun of me, he simply ushered me out and we headed straight for Rita's.
Sometimes I feel like I overthink and generalize the typical high school scene. Eric and I are from two different social classes, yet on our date, all the stupid stereotypes and beliefs just seemed to diminish.
"When I was four, I had a stuffed frog and I pretended my room was a lake filled with lily pads and I would reenact how I 'found' the frog." He said as we shared a yogurt together.
"In sixth grade I tried flirting with a cute boy in my class, I wore my favorite dress for him but he accidentally spilt chocolate milk all over it."
"I ruined my mom's second wedding cake by smashing my cousin's face into it."
The night went on just like that, we talked and talked and laughed. Nothing held us back from each other, it was amazing. By the time we finished all of our tasty snacks we were both laughing deliriously, high off of sugar. We walked back to his car hand in hand.
"Um, Eric?" I looked at him slowly.
"Yeah, Is?" I felt myself warm up at his usage of my nickname. The way it rolled off his tongue was perfect.
"I told my parents I'd be back at nine…"
"It's seven fifty."
"I know, we're not going to your house. We're going to mine."
My breath nearly hitched in my throat. We just had our first date, at a simple café known for sweets and sandwiches. Now I'm going to meet his family? This is all happening too quickly. I wasn't even aware the guy liked me until after fourth period.
"Unless of course, you just want to go home." He said, cutting into my thoughts.
"N-No!" I sputtered lamely. "I mean, I-I'd love to go to your house."
He smiled, grabbing my hand again and giving it a squeeze and we continued to talk about embarrassing childhood memories all the way there.
It was at least a ten minute drive, not too bad since my company was absolutely gorgeous. His house was a two-story, and simple yet beautiful. There was a motorcycle parked out front, which I eyed curiously for a couple of seconds.
"It's my brother's. My parents always tell him to put it in the garage, but he never listens."
I nodded silently, smiling as I entered the house. The first thing I noticed was the delicious scent of cinnamon and the energetic poodle that pounced, aiming straight for my face. I let out a startled cry, which soon turned into a laugh as I pet the cutie patootie.
"That's Marshmallow," Eric said, ruffling the dog's hair. "He likes to jump on people. Sorry if he scared you."
"It's okay." I said quickly, cradling the dog in my arms. "He's so cute."
I put the dog down and watched it run off excitedly, then I turned to look at the walls, which were adorned with paintings and family pictures. In one of them I could see two young boys, one had a white T-shirt and a pair of basketball shorts on, while the other wore jeans and a black shirt. They were identical twins.
"Brock, my boyfriend, is his best friend. I'm also good friends with his brother.
"…He has a brother? Since when?"
"Since forever, silly! You've never met him because he's a sophomore. Anyways, if you don't know already Eric sits at the corner with all the populars. I happen to sit at that table too!"
One of the boys, most likely the one in the white T-shirt, was definitely Eric. But who was the other one? And if they were twins, why was Eric one grade higher?
I turned around, only to see that Eric was gone and instead an older woman with dark hair was smiling at me.
"You must be that pretty girl Eric was talking about." She grabbed my hand, which made me flinch, and kissed it. Hmm. Odd.
"I'm Eric's mother and I've been dying to meet you. I know this is your first date out with him, but trust me he's a great guy and I already think you two will be amazing together. You dress much classier than the girls Terrance brings around." Her face contorted at the thought of it. "You do know Terrance right?"
I shook my head.
"Oh, I'll have to introduce you! Not tonight though… He's 'busy.'" Again with the disgusted expression.
She led me to the living room and soon I realized that she was the source of the cinnamon smell. How sweet. Pun intended. We sat down on the couch and I decided to make conversation.
"I know this might seem like a weird question, but… how many people live here?"
"That's not weird at all, dearie! Well besides myself, Eric, and Terrance… our little Marshmallow, and Senia. She's our youngest munchkin, only five years old. She's asleep right now. Oh, and my husband." Another disgusted expression, but this one had a little pain.
"Where is dad right now anyways?" Eric popped up with an apple in hand.
"Running errands." She said simply.
"He ran errands yesterday."
"Well, he didn't get enough groceries so he's getting more tonight." She snapped.
I bit my lip, looking at Eric who looked expressionless. I needed to get out of here.
"Where's the bathroom?" I asked sweetly.
"Upstairs, end of the hall." Eric said, glaring at his mother.
"Thanks," I said, planting a chaste kiss on his cheek, which seemed to make both of them smile. My heart soared as I went upstairs.
I wished Eric would have been more specific on the location of the bathroom, since there were three doors at the end of the hall. However, I definitely wouldn't be going back downstairs to ask him, considering he might be having a stare down with his mom.
Instead, I chose one door at random, hoping it would be the right one. As soon as my hand touched the knob however, I heard a loud bump, and a squeal. My natural instinct was to go see what it was, and despite the fact that it was a very bad idea, I did it anyways. Slowly opening the door, I peeked inside. I could see two figures, entangled within each other, kissing each other fervently. The one on top was shirtless, with a long tattoo covering nearly his entire back. He was ripped. Muscles contracted as he slowly shifted position. Aside from the fact that he was shirtless, no other clothing articles were off either of their bodies.
I could only stare wide eyed and open mouthed, until he realized someone else was in the room. His head flipped and the girl beneath him sat up shakily, her neck covered with purple bruises. The resemblance was striking. I mean, of course it was. The guy I had been staring at was Terrance Savenston, Eric's twin brother. They had their differences though. Terrance had tattoos nearly everywhere, his back, his arms, and his chest. He also had a lip piercing, and to be honest it looked good on him. Terrance and Eric, Eric and Terrance. They looked the same, but they were different.
I felt a terrible knot in my stomach when his expression turned from genuine surprise to pure hatred and anger. Averting my gaze, I tried to find another topic of interest, and was successful. The girl he had been making out with.
It was Stacy Reeves.