Where the hell was Carmichael?

He hadn't seen her since the night before when he tried that fucking awful PCP she had made him eat. How she could love eating something like that was just another thing he'd never understand about her.

Shaking his head, Orion continued down the near-desolate hallway, scanning for the classroom he thought she'd be in.

Which was it?



He should've listened more when she had rambled off her schedule.

Fuck it. Geometry it was. If not, he'd just check her other classes.

Orion couldn't wait to see her expression when he barged into her class. Hell, he couldn't wait to see that fucking teacher shit himself. Mr. C was one of the few people who were against the new plan the principal had put in place for him. That fucking asshole was always trying to give him a hard time about it, always trying to fail him even though he had done the work right, all because he didn't go to class.


"Hey McHenry," a voice sneered from behind him.

Orion slowly turned around. "Thompson," he growled. Images of his arms wrapped around the scrawny, pimple-faced boy in front of him, swirled in his mind and Orion felt his fists clenched.

"Out in the school hallway without a pass I presume?" he grinned. "You know I'm going to have to report that," he said as a smirk curved there way across his lips.

Orion closed his eyes as he took in a deep breath. He slowly reopened them to see a victorious glee in Thompson's eyes. He would soon fix that. "Or how about I just the beat the shit out of you instead, Thompson."

Thompson chuckled, shaking his head. "After that hug you gave me on Saturday? I doubt you could," he taunted, another hollow chuckle escaping his lips as his blue eyes continued gleaming maliciously.

Growling, Orion stalked towards him. The smug look on Thompson's face slowly faded as he saw the menacing glint in Orion's eyes. He began backing away. However, Orion's hand quickly struck out, grabbing him by his hall monitor's vest as he slammed him into the lockers.

"What the fuck did you just say," Orion snarled as his grip on the vest tightened. Fear took ahold of Thompson's blue eyes as they began to glisten.

"N-n-nothing, I just-"

Orion, however, loosened his hold as he heard a loud scream and then voices. They all sounded vaguely familiar, but one stood out among the rest.



"Yes?" Bianca said coldly. "Yes," she repeated more harshly.

Melody gulped. "No?" she whispered as she began playing with the frayed ends of her sweater.

"No?" Bianca shrieked, her gray eyes narrowing at her.

"Well I feel like you don't really like yes, so you know-"

"Know that my friend saw you guys together in the parking lot at school on Saturday? Yes, I do know actually," Bianca hissed as her eyes seemingly narrowed into slits.

"So, if you know, then why have you been asking?" Melody said, bemused.

Bianca took a step closer. "Because I wanted you to admit it."

"Oh, well in that case you should know," Melody paused, swallowing harder, "that I didn't start it. I mean he kissed me."

Bianca scoffed. "Oh please don't give me that bullshit answer, Melanie."

"But it's the truth," Melody cried. "I mean, why would I even kiss your boyfriend?" she said. Then a thought hit her and she began tapping her chin. "Although, if he is actually your boyfriend, then why did he even kiss me?"

Bianca blinked as her friends gasped in unison. "Because," she started slowly, "you forced yourself on him you little bit-"

Melody held up a hand and Bianca paused, shocked by the gesture. Tugging on the straps of her backpack, she stared deeply into Bianca's chilling eyes, all thoughts of PCP popsicles now dashed. "I did not force myself on him Bianca. And, you know, that's really not a nice word to use. I mean you can make your point without saying that word all the time. I mean you've already given me an okay nickname, which you seem pretty attached to and that's fine. But you know, the world already kinda sucks without us being mean to each other. I mean wouldn't it be better if we actually tried to stick together and all that great stuff, instead of, you know-"

"Oh shut-up Melanie and spare me the after-school bullshit special," Bianca scoffed, rolling her eyes.

"But I mean, how would you like it if I called you a b-b-"

Bianca's eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare," she said harshly.

"A bitch," Melody said simply.

All melody heard was Bianca's piercing shriek before she felt a sharp stinging sensation across her face. Melody blinked in shock as she cupped her throbbing cheek with her hand. She couldn't recall the last time she had been hit by someone. Maybe when she was little and had broken the rules? But she couldn't even remember the details of that. Feeling her cheek pulsate against the palm of her hand, tears welled in her eyes.

"You kissed my boyfriend and now you're calling me a bitch?" Bianca shrieked.

Dropping her hand as she blinked away the tears, Melody stared defiantly into Bianca's icy, gray eyes. "You know Bianca, I think there's something really wrong with you. I mean you can't handle being called a bitch when that's what you like to call others. And you clearly enjoy being a bully. I mean you even seem to like that your own friends are afraid of you. You're not a good person Bianca," Melody said and Bianca's eyes widened. "You know, maybe the reason why your 'boyfriend' kissed me is because he's actually trying to get away from you-"

Bianca screamed as Melody prepared herself for another blow, squeezing her eyes shut as her hands flung up to cover her face.

"What the fuck Bianca? Leave her alone!" Orion snarled, pulling Bianca away from her.

Bianca shrugged him off and shrieked, "She fucking started it."

Orion crossed his arms as he narrowed his eyes. "I don't give a shit who started what. Just leave her the fuck alone."

"When the hell did you become her bodyguard Orion?" she snapped as she tossed her platinum-blonde hair over her shoulder.

"When you decided to start fucking with her," he responded coldly.

"Whatever," she scoffed. Turning to Melody, she narrowed her eyes. "This isn't over Melanie," she hissed before snapping her fingers.

Melody let out a breath she had been holding. Relief coursed through her as she watched Bianca and her friends stroll out of the hallway. She'd make sure she to avoid them from now on. Round two was not on high on her bucket list, but she supposed neither was getting slapped.

"Thanks Henry," she whispered as her eyes met his. They seemed grayer today, definitely darker than usual as he scanned her face.

He shook his head, moving closer until he stood right in front of her. Slipping a finger under her chin, he turned her bruised cheek to him. His jaw seemed to clench as he stared at her face. "You really need to start standing up for yourself better Carmichael."

Melody pulled away from his hold. "I'm working on it. The hook's just a bit rusty at the moment, you know?" she laughed softly, then grimaced. She touched her face slowly, sighing.

Orion cursed under his breath. "We need to take care of that," he said. "C'mon lets get you to the nurse."

Her eyes widened instantly. "No!" she cried. "The nurse can't find out I got into a fight. I mean, won't they tell my parents? And I'm already in enough trouble as it is Henry." She was already close to getting suspended. She was sure the deal with the principal would be off the table if he knew she had gotten in a fight. It would definitely cement her title of being the new, female McHenry, at least in his mind.

Just great.

Crossing his arms, Orion said, "I'm sure it's not that serious Carmichael."

Melody fervently shook her head. "I don't wanna risk it Henry. Besides I'll be okay. It's just a small scratch, right? And plus, I have to get to class." Although, the class was probably almost over by now. But still, a tardy was better than being marked absent.

Orion didn't say anything as he stared intensely at her. She could almost feel his eyes trace the outline of her cheek. Melody began to shift uncomfortably. Did it really look that bad?

He shook his head. "You're not going to class like that Carmichael," he started, "What about this? I'll go to the nurse alone and you just meet me on the bleachers in ten minutes."

"But won't the nurse want to see the bruise? I mean she's not just gonna randomly hand out bandages, is she?" Melody asked incredulously.

"Don't worry about it Carmichael."


"Trust me," he said simply.

Melody bit her lip, before sighing. "Okay, fine Henry. But when you come back empty-handed, it's going to take everything in me not to say I told you so."

Orion smiled, shaking his head. "Don't worry, you're not going to. Just meet me in ten minutes," he said. "Oh and try to avoid Bianca," he added.

"Will do Henry," she grinned. Tapping her chin, she cocked her head to the side. "Although, you know, I can't help it if she can't stay away from me. I mean I'm clearly a babe magnet here."

Orion blinked. "And you've clearly been around fucking Tyler too long."

She shrugged. "Or maybe, maybe I'm just a babe magnet who's in shock, you know, so I'm just gonna go sit down now."

Orion chuckled. "Good idea. Just try and make it to the bleachers first."


After seeing nurse Andrews, Orion headed to the field. He wasn't sure what it said about his life that he didn't even have to say anything for her to just hand him what he needed. But he was glad that he no longer had to explain himself to her. A mutual understanding had developed between them and it had made his life easier.

As he pushed a door open and stepped out into the back of the school, Orion quickly scanned the empty football field, before his gaze shifted to the bleachers. He blinked as he saw Carmichael sitting there, deep in thought as she poured over a notebook. He instantly noticed how the sun seemed to shimmer around her bun almost creating a halo, which might have been fitting, if it wasn't such a corny thought. However, with her hair pulled back, he could more easily see every inch of her face; see that small splatter of freckles across her nose, those hazel eyes which always gleamed, that seductive beauty mark above those full lips. He realized he liked her hair that way. He liked being able to truly see her.

Suddenly, as if feeling his gaze, she looked up. Realizing it was him, a smile instantly appeared and she waved. Orion shook his head as he quickly cleared his throat. Walking to where she sat, he tried hard not to think about the fact that he had just stood there staring at her.

"Hey Henry," she greeted as he approached her. She lifted an eyebrow as she stared at his empty hands. "Is it time for me to say I told you so?" she teased.

"Wait for it." Orion chuckled as he put down his bag and pulled out various items.

"The nurse just gave you all that stuff?" she asked incredulously as she took in the small bottle, tube, gauze, and bandages in his hand.

"Let's just say it's not the first time I've gone to her for something like this," he said, placing the items beside her. "I guess it's my turn to say I told you-"

"You can't say those words Henry," she said, shaking her head.

Orion crossed his arms. "And why not?" he asked, amused.

"Because only pirates can say I told you so. And since you don't really wanna be a pirate, it's you know, off-limits for you. I mean I'm sorry Henry, but it's in the rulebook so my hands are tied."


Orion raised an eyebrow. "The rulebook?"

She nodded. "Yeah, we get together and update it every five years at our pirate convention. You should come to the next one, Henry."

Was she being serious? "Really? A convention, where you update a rulebook, together? Aren't pirates supposed to be notorious rule breakers?"

"I mean, sure we have our moments, but the pirate code in the rulebook is very important."

He rubbed his chin as he pretended to contemplate her words. "So what you're saying is the rulebook actually only applies to pirates, which I'm not, so nothing is actually off limits to me?"

"Well, that would be true, you know, if the rulebook didn't actually govern the universe," she grinned; her hazel eyes sparkled mischievously at him.

How convenient. "Oh does it now?"

"Yeah, it's in the rulebook, Henry. I don't just make this stuff up, you know," she grinned.

"Well maybe I'll go to the next convention so I can have a word with the rest of your pirate buddies about this rulebook of yours. Where is it gonna be?"

He watched as she tensed. "Um, it's gonna be in the…. North Pole."

Orion bit down on his lip to stop himself from laughing. He would keep a straight face. "The North Pole? Does it happen to be held at Santa's house too?" he asked, making sure to keep his tone even.

"Well, you know, he sometimes allows us to use his lovely home in exchange for certain kinds of rare gifts. I mean, his elves just aren't working out the way they used to, so he comes to us for help."

"You're saying that Santa Claus is in an alliance with pirates to help him get Christmas presents," Orion said dryly.

She held up a finger to her lips as she shushed him. "It's a hush-hush deal right now Henry. I mean, yes, but the world just isn't ready for that kinda knowledge, you know? I mean, what would people think? It would ruin Christmas," she said gravely as she stared out into the open field.

Orion could stop himself as he began laughing. This is what he got for humoring her: pirate conventions and Santa conspiracy theories. Sometimes talking to her made him feel as if he was falling down a rabbit hole straight to wonderland.

"Well I'll be there," he smirked.

"Really?" she asked.

"I mean there's no way I could miss seeing Santa Claus and pirates all in one place, now could I?" he chuckled.

Melody gasped. "You're gonna have so much fun Henry! I can't wait."

"Oh, me either Carmichael," he laughed.

Shaking his head, he realized one of them had to stay in reality. As he scanned her face once more, he asked, "What were you even doing in a fight with Bianca?"

She sighed. "Well, actually because of you and your butthead ways, of course."

"My butthead ways?" Orion chuckled. What had he done now?

"Yeah, because you kissed me and apparently you're her boyfriend, which you know, you failed to mention before you planted your lips on mine, and then she got all mad and she kept calling me a mean word and then I may have not said the nicest things either and then you know- "

Orion sighed. "Carmichael she's not my girlfriend, never really was-"

"Well tell that to her because she certainly doesn't know."

"That's because Bianca is…difficult."

She raised an eyebrow. "Well that's one way to put it Henry."

Orion sighed as he gently held up her face and examined the bruise. "I'm sorry you got into a fight because of me. That's pretty fucked up." And he couldn't even do anything about it more than tell Bianca to back off. He'd have to keep a closer eye on her from now on. He rummaged through his bag until he found the package he'd been looking for. Ripping it open, a small cloth spilled out.

Melody sighed. "It's fine Henry. I mean, I couldn't last this long as a pirate without a few tussles with the enemy, you know."

Orion narrowed his eyes. "Oh really, and what other fights have you got into?"

Melody gulped as a sheepish grin appeared. "Well, there was this time I was helping my mom in the garden and those pesky weeds, they just put up a really good fight, you know. I mean I had to really put my back into it, so you know, that really toughened me up as a pirate," she said, grinning proudly.

Orion laughed. "Oh I'm sure those 'pesky weeds' would have put a grown man in the hospital Carmichael."

"Exactly," she grinned. "You see Henry. So glad we're on the same page again."

"We're not even reading the same book Carmichael."

"Oh," she said, pausing, "Well I'm probably reading Moby Dick. What are you reading?"

"Carmichael," he groaned. "Just sit still so I can patch you up." Moistening the cloth with liquid from the brown bottle, he gingerly dabbed her cheek. He watched as she closed her eyes and scrunched up her nose. Orion almost wanted to laugh if she hadn't looked so adorable. He blinked. Now he was calling her adorable?

Although she had stop scrunching her nose, her eyebrows were still furrowed as she said, "I think she scratched my cornea."

"Your cornea is fine Carmichael," he said as he scanned her face once more.

Pulling on her bottom eyelid she asked, "What about my retina? Is it still there?"


"It's there," he said dryly.

"You didn't even look," she pouted.

Orion held up his hand. "How many fingers am I holding up?" he asked as he arranged his fingers.


"Your retina is fine. Happy now?"

She bit her lip. "But what about-"

Orion chuckled. "Carmichael, your eye is fine. Only your cheek is a bit messed up," he said, gently wiping the bruise again before he put down the cloth. Uncapping a small tube, he slowly applied the ointment to the scratches on her cheeks. Bianca's fucking nails must've gotten her. Orion sighed as he took out a bandage.

"Wait Henry, I don't want you to bandage it."

He paused. "Why not?"

"I just don't want to walk around with it on my face. I mean, I don't need to announce to the world that I got into fight you know," she explained.

The scratches were pretty shallow, and the ointment would take care of everything so she probably didn't need the bandages anyway. "Alright. No bandage," he said, placing it back into his bag.

"So I'm all done?" she asked.

Orion nodded.

"Thanks Henry," she said as she got up and wrapped her arms around him, resting her good cheek on his chest. Orion stiffened, surprised by her action. Sighing, he returned the hug, holding her close to him. He tried to ignore the way her body molded against his, tried to forget how soft and warm her skin was, how-

Melody groaned as she pulled away and Orion took a quick step back, clearing his throat. She shook her head. "How am I gonna explain this to my parents?" she asked, pointing to her bruise.

Orion shrugged. "You walked into a tree?"

Her eyes widened. "What? They'll never believe that. What kind of crazy excuse is that Henry?"

Chuckling, he said, "Really?" then paused, "You really don't think they'll believe that you walked into a tree?"

Orion laughed harder as she glowered at him. Shaking her head, she said, "I'm gonna be in so much trouble when I get home."

"Maybe I need to teach you how to fight so this won't happen again." It actually wasn't a bad idea. It's not like he could protect her 24/7.

"What? I know how to fight," she said as she began jabbing the air playfully. "Just give her the good ol one, two. Just sting her like a butterfly, right?"

He chuckled. "I- I don't think that's the line Carmichael."

She cocked her head to the side. "I'm pretty sure that's the line Henry."

"It really isn't."

"Trust me Henry."

"Oh like how I trusted you when you told me you knew what you were doing when you bandaged my hand?" he mocked.

"But I did," she cried.

Orion crossed his arms. "Animals don't count Carmichael."

"Of course they do. They have feelings too, you know," she muttered before suddenly gasping. "Speaking of animals, wanna volunteer with me at the animal shelter every week?" she grinned.

Orion blinked. "You're kidding right?"

"What if I'm not?"

"Then you already know the answer," he said dryly.

Tapping her chin, she asked, "And if I am kidding?"

"Then sure, why the hell not?" he said dryly.

Melody gasped as her hands clapped together. "Thanks Henry, you're the best."

"For what Carmichael?"

"For agreeing to volunteer at the animal shelter with me. You know I thought I'd really have to wear you down for a second there, but now-"

Orion ran a hand down his face. "Carmichael, I didn't agree to any such thing and you fucking know it."

"But you just said, 'sure, why the hell not,'" she said, trying her best to imitate his voice.

"Carmichael," Orion groaned.

"Alright fine," Melody sighed. "But it was a worth shot, right?" she grinned.

Orion chuckled. What was he going to do with her?

Her shoulders slumped as she let out another small sigh. "But you have to volunteer with me Henry."

"There's no fucking way that's gonna happen so you might as well save your energy for something else Carmichael."

There was silence for a moment as she stared out into the field, before her eyes returned to him. Swallowing hard, she said, "What if it's how I want you to make it up to me?"

Orion blinked. He stared into her hazel eyes and saw no hint of amusement. She was serious. "This is what you want? For me to go with you to a stupid animal shelter? That's really how you want me to make it up to you?"

She nodded. "Every week."

Every week? Every single week she wanted him to be in a place with fucking smelly, annoying ass creatures? He couldn't stand being around one of them for a few minutes. How was he going to be around them every week? And when would it even end? "For how long?" he gritted out.

She paused. "I'm not sure yet."

So he could possibly be doing this until the semester ended? "Why this Carmichael?" She could've asked for anything. And yet, this was her request? He couldn't see what was so important about him being at the fucking animal shelter that she had used her blank check to get him there.

"Because I-I," she paused before biting her lip softly and Orion as usual, couldn't stop his eyes from tracing them. This was getting ridiculous. Clearing his throat, he shifted his gaze to the metal bleachers behind her.

"Because," she started, "because, I think you actually secretly love animals Henry," she smiled cheekily at him. "And this pirate's gonna bring it right out of you. I mean, you're even gonna thank me when it's all over."

Orion picked up the brown bottle and held it to his nose, taking a quick whiff before pulling away. "Is this already getting to your head Carmichael?" he said, shaking the bottle at her. "I mean, it's not even that strong."

Melody crossed arms with a huff. "You are just so funny Henry."

Shaking his head, Orion laughed. Putting down the bottle, he ran a hand through his hair. "So that's what you really want, huh?" She simply nodded. "When?"

"How about after school tomorrow?"

Orion sighed. "Alright, fuck it. But we're more than even after this. Right, Carmichael?"

She nodded. "It will be as if your slate was wiped clean," Melody grinned before laughing, seemingly at her own joke. Orion wasn't sure he wanted to know what that was about.

He did promise to do anything. He supposed this is what he got for giving her that blank check.

Why did he ever think that she'd actually ask for something normal?



I can't believe I haven't posted in almost three months. Honestly, school and life got in the way and I've just been dealing with a lot lately. However, I needed the distraction that comes in the form of Orion and Melody. This chapter was pretty long so I hope it somewhat made up for my absence.

Also, thank you, thank you for all the wonderful reviews while I was MIA. You have no idea how happy I am that somehow you're all enjoying my little story. It actually makes me kind of wish I had written this with the intention of making it into a cute masterpiece instead of just the distraction it is for me. However, I hope it is and continues to be, at the very least, a nice distraction for you all as well. (Also if this chapter really sucked, I'm sorry. I'm feeling a bit rusty.)

Anyway, thanks for reading!