Surviving High School: Chapter 2

Purple and white calla lilies which symbolize charm and innocence respectively.

Purple and white calla lilies which symbolize charm and innocence respectively.

“Ah, our newest student has finally graced us with her presence,” Mr. Tillridge, the biology teacher, sneered from the blackboard. She winced at his disapproving glare as she walked hurriedly to an empty desk by the window. “Now, as I was saying before being rudely interrupted by Miss Lycora…”

So shocked and dazed of what happened only several minutes ago, Rayne barely had the mind to pull out her notebook to copy Mr. Tillridge’s messy handwriting explaining the human cardiovascular system. She still couldn’t even fathom why Lucien Callan had bothered to help in the first place. He didn’t know her—not really. He’d read her personal school file and family history was not only freaky but downright stalker-ish. Just who did he think he was doing that? Headmaster son or not, it didn’t justify the invasion of her privacy.

Rayne chewed on her pen, her eyebrows forming mini canyons along her forehead as she absentmindedly took notes. She still couldn’t figure out his reasoning for helping her in the first place. No matter how many times she asked and accused, he danced around the subject with that same sly quirk of his mouth. How can anyone dodge so many questions within the five minutes it takes to get to the main office?

Meeting the rather nervous albeit perky new secretary was just as awkward as the first time and Ms. Hill was still wearing a bright blue dress with neon pink stilettos. Rayne had a crick in her neck for the second time this morning because Ms. Hill had stand up to fall all over Lucien’s boots with her groveling. Apparently, there was only so much daddy’s money could do for his little girl, if what Rayne’s heard from the seniors were true.

Lucien walked right around the almost kneeling secretary with a barely muttered, “Ms. Hill, you’re going to twist an ankle,” as a form of greeting. While Rayne was somewhat convinced Lucien wouldn’t like for Ms. Hill to accidently hurt herself trying to keep him pleased, she wouldn’t be shocked if he chuckled at the woman falling down.

Could she even make such a judgement in the first place? She’d never seen nor heard of Lucien Callan until today and he’s already the most confusing person she has ever met. He looks like one of those bad boys the new girl should never associate herself with. His skin is unnaturally pale along with his hair and eyes. Almost all the boys in his grade are practically afraid of him for some reason (though she figured it was his insistence of resembling an ice cube). He acts like a typical hoodlum but underneath he has a heart of gold like Dally from The Outsiders. Rayne shook her head. This was the real world not some fantasy dreamscape where all the books she’s read and the movies she’s watched come to life.

Lucien raised an eyebrow, having caught her scrutinizing him up and down. “Any particular reason why you’re scrunching your face like that?”

Immediately, her cheeks started to flush and her throat threatened to close. She swallowed a couple of times to dislodge the sudden thick ball in her throat before clearing her throat. “U-uh, my nose was itching.”

Nice one, Rae. She could have slapped herself for her brilliant lie as Lucien’s other brow rose to meet his first. “Your nose itches, huh? Want me to scratch it for you?”

Her eyes nearly bugged out from her head as she backpedaled from him in mild panic. His pale eyes were twinkling again as he took a teasing step in her direction. Ms. Hill, back behind her desk once again and tapping away on the computer, watched the two teenagers make their way back down the corridor to the front desk in mild amusement. If Rayne didn’t feel like such a bunny caught in the sight of a red fox, then she would have laughed. All because she kept staring at him and wondering why he bothered to help her—this is how she closes the day.

Wait, it was just third period still! She still had another four class periods before she could finally collapse in her bed. Oh Lord, give me strength.

She stumbled into the wall and squeezed her eyes shut as Lucien’s grinning face came closer. The world must be out to get her for wanting to skip a grade and forcing her Dad to let her take part in the school’s new honors program. She’d been willing to do anything to convince Dad into letting her do it—to let her prove to Mom that the two of them were fine without her. The universe had to be doing this now to keep Rayne honest.

Her breath shuddered as warm air parted her hair, the strange scent of pomegranate filling her nose, and she stiffened when a hand hovered over her face. She didn’t dare move or breathe or let loose a whimper as his hand remained a mere inch from touching her. Instead, much to her surprise and confusion, Lucien breathed a quiet laugh and backed away from her. When she opened her eyes to peer up at him, to see for herself why he backed down from his mischievous plans to toy with her for a little longer, he had grinned at her. Grinned like the Cheshire Cat who gladly played awful tricks on the Queen of Hearts for the sake of pure manic glee.

Even now, sitting in her desk and robotically making notes, she still couldn’t understand the boy that was Lucien Callan. She couldn’t even understand his father—the headmaster of their school who she and the rest of student body knew. It just wasn’t adding up. Everything that had happened to her today was only making her think she lost her marbles. Maybe this was just an elaborate dream her subconscious made up like Alice?

No, no. Headmaster Callan had been just as confusing as his son, but he seemed nice and kind. He even offered to let her go home the rest of the day to gather her wits properly and avoid any more backlash from anyone else who had the same views as those three jerks. Made it very clear to Rayne that he would find, punish, and make damn sure she would never be treated awfully again.

It wasn’t the fact that he’d believed her and promised to make those three boys regret their decision to crush her spirit that made her stay. It wasn’t that her father would freak out if he received a call from the office about what had happened. Nor was it the fact she would let those jerks win—knowing they had frightened her off. No, it was the amount of coldness in Headmaster Callan’s gray eyes and the cruel set to his jaw that made her fearful to leave school.

It was the type of icy cruelty you’d never expect to see in any kind soul such as Headmaster Callan. Whereas his son seemed to have been carved directly from the freezing icecaps, Headmaster Callan was formed from the fiery lava pits on a tropical volcanic island. His hair was a mix of reds and dark browns, his gray eyes set in a smooth tanned face the Ancient Greek gods themselves envied, and the lean muscles that lay just beneath the dark suit he wore. All of it. He was the complete opposite of his son and yet there were still parts of him within Lucien she had yet to see for herself.

Which led her to wonder why she thought she would stick to Lucien’s side long enough to see those other sides of him?

The headmaster’s words were still floating around in her head for her to figure out their hidden meaning. Lady Luck must really love you if she gifted my son to you. Take advantage of his interest while you can, Miss Lycora.

Why should she take advantage of anything? And how does her luck having play in what has happened to her the past few weeks?

She shook her head and tried to focus on Mr. Tillridge’s lecture, but just couldn’t stop her thoughts wandering in circles. Rayne glanced down at her notes and grimaced. Her normally neat and tangible handwriting had dissolved into chicken scratch. What in the world had she even written? Trying to find a single English word on her paper was like trying to find the Holy Grail. Rayne sighed, guess she’ll just have to read the chapter and take notes from that. Hopefully, Mr. Tillridge took his test questions from the textbook and his lecture notes, and maybe if Rayne read the chapter she’d be able to piece enough together to survive this first test.

The bell rang and this time, Rayne was one of the first students to leave the classroom. To hell if she was going to have a repeat of what happened in English.

Not to mention, Rayne noted wryly, she wouldn’t have an escort from Lucien Callan and a note from the Headmaster to stall the wrath of her mathematics teacher.