It was a cold day. The summer season was over and school had started back up.
Tyler lay in his bed, feeling the warmth of his blanket soak into his body. He didn't want to get up, but his mother called for him loudly.
"Tyler, sweetie!" She said, opening his room's door and letting in a little bit of light. He turned over on his other side trying to keep cosy, but his mother just pulled the yellow curtains open, and the blasting light of the morning sun hit him hard.
"Ah, mum!" He groaned and put a pillow over his head.
"Up, up!" She said to him, shaking her son insistently, "Time for school."
Tyler opened his eyes at that mention.
Oh no... school.
He hated high school, and would much prefer to stay home. There was only one person that made it worth going too, and that person barely even knew he existed.
"Up, Tyler!" His mother continued to command, and Tyler sighed. He sat up, the pillow dropping to his lap, and saw his mother had already laid out his school uniform on a stool in his small room.
"Okay, okay..." he grumbled. A new year at school... a time where he could turn around his bad luck and start again.
He got changed in a few minutes, before skipping down the hallway, sliding down the stairs rail and landing on the house's bottom floor.
He saw his sister eating cheerios and Tyler licked his lips, going to the cupboard and getting out a box of coco pops.
He poured it into his bowl, pouring the milk in second, and moments later the milk turned brown as it soaked into the chocolate coating of the cereal.
It wasn't soon later that he and his sister Jenna, started their trip to the school, that was a twenty-five minute walk away.
Tyler felt his heart speed up at the fear of going back to that educational prison. Where instead of being with friends, he was picked on and played tricks on.
In other words, he hated high school.
But there was one person that made it bearable.
He was going into Junior Cert year and knew that a lot of study lay before him. But he had chosen in second year that he would do mostly pass subjects. The only subjects he was doing higher levels was in home economics and art.
When he saw the school in the distance, Tyler couldn't help but feel his heart speed up in frantic fear.
He took a few deep breaths in and out and grabbed hold of Jenna's arm to steady him.
"Are you okay, Tyler?" she asked him, mighty confused but also worried.
"Just having a mini panic attack..." Tyler said in a squeaky voice, "That's all..."
"Tyler..." Jenna said, and removed her arm, helping her younger brother to stand tall, "You know what to do if they come at you."
"To scream for help."
"Right." Jenna said, happy her brother was taking her advice, "Do those things, and they'll have no choice but to leave you alone."
Tyler looked slowly into his sister's eyes, and Jenna only paused when she saw the tears around his own eyes.
Before she could say anything else, the bell began to ring and she jumped alert, running to her first class.
Tyler sighed heavily and wiped his eyes with his sleeve. He could hear mean chuckling in the distance, but ignored it and entered into his first class of the day. Art.
He was semi-good at drawing but wasn't amazing. No, even he knew that this subject wasn't his best.
It was an hour and twenty-minute class today, and the teacher said with enthusiasm.
"Class, today we will be drawing a portrait of one of your schoolmates."
Tyler tensed a little when Jessica came in and sat down in the centre of the room. The drawing stations surrounded her, and Tyler gulped.
There she was... so beautiful. He quickly got out his pencils and began to sketch. It was hard though, as he couldn't capture her beauty on the white sheet of paper. But he tried, he tried.
Sometimes he found himself just staring at her... as she fixed herself up from sitting so still, and he blushed, looking away.
When the teacher said, "Okay, class. Times up, let's put away your work" Tyler suddenly bounced back to reality, as he saw his picture still needed much more shading than what he had done.
He would've smacked his head against the wooden board but felt someone was behind him, and he twisted his head a little up, to see it was Jessica herself.
Oh, please like it, he thought in desperation, and Jessica smiled softly, a glitter in her eyes.
"That... is me?"
"Y-yeah..." Tyler responded weakly.
"Tyler, it's so beautiful!" She exclaimed, and Tyler blushed even darker. The other kids were packing up their stuff getting ready to leave. All except Tyler and Jessica.
"I don't think I did you justice... to be honest..." Tyler spoke back humbled.
"I think... it's perfect." Jessica said, smiling sweetly down at him and pat him on the shoulder gently.
She began to leave, and that's when Tyler blinked and came back to reality.
He hurriedly put away his things and grabbed his bag, zipping it up eagerly and ran to Jessica's side.
"What class do you have now?"
"Maths..." Jessica said with a sad heavy sigh, "I'm not very good at it, though..."
"I'm sure you're better than me."
"No, you're much smarter than me."
"Don't be bashful," Tyler said, smiling at her warmly, his eyes fixated on hers, "I suck at basically everything."
"I'll see you in class?" Jessica asked, almost hoping beyond all hope.
"Definitely..." Tyler responded and she smiled warmly.
The two arrived at their next class within a few minutes and chose one of the two-seater desks near the front.
Tyler sat there nervously, as the eyes of bullies were on him, and he gulped, getting afraid.
But when Jessica sat next to him, his fears and worries vanished from existence.
As he listened to the lesson, not understanding half of it, he felt Jessica's foot nudge his a little, and he blinked... surprised, to say the least.
He looked into her large blue eyes and saw her smiling shyly at him. He smiled in return. He nudged his own foot against hers and she giggled a little.
The two froze when the math teacher spotted them and she demanded, "No messing about. Back to the lesson."
Tyler and Jessica gave one last look at each other, before sighing and getting back to the sums.
When the class had finished, Jessica waved goodbye and headed for her English class.
Tyler watched her go, getting nervous that his next class was geography... something he sucked at, no matter how much he tried.
And as the first period came to a close, the young teenager found that at lunchtime... he was all alone.
At least that's how it felt.
He went to the back of the school and ate his sandwich quietly... the feeling of loneliness coming to him hard.
But he would've preferred that than to the thing that was going to happen to him next.
He stiffened and looked up, seeing a curly haired bulky teenager glare at him, with a few other punk teenage boys with him.
Run, was all that ran through Tyler's head.
And he did exactly that.
Until he saw the bullies sprinting and going around him, making a circle with him in the centre.