Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.7
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.7

           Bailey Ardisone


  I fingered the tiny pocket watch I wore around my neck on a long chain that fell to the top of my ribs and tried to guess what time I thought it must be by now. More and more students started filing in so it must be…7:45. I opened the baby watch and read 7:50. Oh well, close enough.

  I began walking to my locker, head down, and stared at my feet. Always head down. No need freaking anybody out by looking at them.

  I made it to my locker unharmed and took off my fall jacket. It just started to turn cool outside, making everyone aware that autumn was just around the corner for us here in Kennebunkport, Maine. Despite it also being the time for school, fall really was my favorite season. No one could argue that the trees in all their glorious color weren’t breathtaking, with the crisp cool Atlantic Ocean crashing as the backdrop. It wasn't that I didn’t like it here. Actually, I loved it. It was beautiful and a great place to grow up.

  What I didn’t like though, and what convinced me that anywhere, and I mean anywhere, would be a better place to live, was the fact that I was stuck living with the most horrid person on the planet. Just the mere thought of him made me cringe and unconsciously sigh out loud.

  Just then, an arm around my shoulder made me almost jump out of my skin. I could smell it was Rydan as he kissed the top of my head. He always smelled the exact same; almost like smoky burnt leaves and trees, and it was a scent I was sure to have ingrained in my brain for the rest of my life. I loved it. It always calmed my nerves and made me feel safe.

  I didn’t turn around to look at him. I was too mad that we no longer went to the same school and was fully ready to pout about it for the rest of eternity. Okay, at least for the next year.

  He also didn’t say anything. He just stood there silent as could be as I finished hanging up my jacket and got everything situated. I finally gathered what I needed for my first class: Literature.

  Rydan was my best friend. He wasn’t my boyfriend or a love interest in any way. We’d always been only friends and nothing more, and that is exactly how I liked it. It was what I needed. I was so grateful for my one friend that I clung to him like a security blanket. And he let me.

  I huffed, making my bangs fly up in the air as I finally turned into Rydan’s muscular chest, realizing I needed his calming effect. He reciprocated by hugging me tighter with his one arm, shielding me from the outside world. I was safe here, just like this. I dreaded the next few minutes when he would have to leave me and I would have to walk into that classroom without him. It warmed my heart that he got up early and came all the way here just to see me off on my first day. I listened to his heartbeat and his calm, even breathing one more second before I started complaining.

  “I hate this. Your parents ruined my life. Do they realize they ruined my life?! What the heck!” I knew I whined like a child and so when Rydan patted me on the head like one, I felt strangely comforted.

  “You know that’s not true,” he half chuckled, clearly amused with me. I looked up at him then, feeling silly for obviously being the only one upset about this horrible predicament. Why wasn’t he as upset about this as I was?

  “Ry! You don’t understand…being without you for the rest of high school basically sealed my fate of eternal misery,” I continued complaining, crossing my arms as I again puffed out air, for dramatic effect of course.

  “Nariella…you’ll be fine. I promise,” he chided with the dip of his chin, which caused his black hair to fall over his eyebrow, again talking to me like I was a small child. When I gave him an evil stare, he retracted his statement.

  “Okay, I don’t promise, but come on. I know you are strong. You can do this. It won’t be that bad, and we’ll still hang out every day after school. Alright?” He looked at me sternly with his eyebrows raised, waiting for me to concede.

  He was being way too nonchalant about this and it irritated me. I recognized that I was being ridiculous and completely immature, but a little wallowing together like I expected wasn’t gonna hurt anybody!

  “Whatever,” I finally conceded. “Thank you for coming. It was a nice surprise.” I tried not to sound so glum because I truly was touched he came here for me, but I couldn’t get past the impending doom.

  “Yeah, you sound very convincing,” he mocked in good humor as I stood on my tippy toes to give him a hug and quick peck on the cheek before heading to first period.

  “Nari...” he called after me.

  I didn’t turn around, but I did turn my head to stick my tongue out at him. I heard him laugh at me as he said, “I’ll be waiting for you.”

  But I already knew that, and he already knew that I knew. I still smiled at the gesture of him saying it though, because it reminded me that I had something to look forward to. I just had to get through this lousy day first.

  I continued walking to my first class—Literature—zigzagging in and out of students now bustling the halls making their way to their own classes before the final bell rang. I walked into the room, not looking directly at anyone from out of habit and took an open seat in the back.

  “Nari, over here!” a familiar Australian accent came from the corner of the room, and I happily looked up to greet Zaylie back.

  Apparently, this was a strange phenomenon that never occurs, because all the students turned their heads in my direction, not even trying to hide their shock over someone talking to me. My heart sunk, but I refused to let it show, so I only made myself grin wider at her and gave a small wave. I could not be happier that she was in my class.

  She decided to switch desks, so I watched as she gathered her things and came over to claim a seat near me, making it my turn to be shocked.

  “Hi,” I greeted excitedly who I hoped was becoming my new friend. “I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are in this class!” My smile must have been from ear to ear.

  “I know! It’s very nice recognizing at least one person’s face. My brother has a different class this hour so I was a little bummed I had to be by myself. But now that you’re here, good riddance Desmond!” She laughed, making me laugh too, just as our teacher Mr. James walked in and the final bell sounded.

  After Algebra II and P.E. came and went uneventful, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief as I sat down at an empty table for lunch. My day was halfway over, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. I craned my neck, looking around the cafeteria for Zaylie and Desmond before I even realized I was doing it. I chastised myself for letting my hopes get so high. I had to remember that it was very possible they’d made other friends this morning and shouldn’t expect them to choose me to sit with. There were plenty of popular kids to eat with. I wouldn't hold it against them either. I completely understood why—

  “G’day, mate,” Desmond cut my train of thought off, and I looked up to his smiling face as he sat down across from me. Zaylie then sat down next to me on my left, also smiling.

  “Hey guys, how has your first day been so far?” I pretended that it was no big deal that they decided to sit with me, even though I swore I was about to combust any moment from happiness.

  “Good,” they both said in unison. “Pinch poke you owe me a coke,” Zaylie said quickly as she reached over the table and physically pinched and poked her brother. We both laughed at her silliness.

  “Good grief, Zales, could you maybe grow up?” Desmond grunted as he rolled his eyes. “Please excuse my sister, for she knows no boundaries.” Though he sounded serious, I could see the amusement in his eyes and a slight smirk pulling at his lips.

  “So do you think we have any afternoon classes together? I have Chemistry next, then a free period, and then my final class is Art. Are either of you in any of those?” I said with obvious hope tinting my tone.

  “I have Chemistry! I’m so glad we’ll be together for that one,” Zaylie exclaimed as she took a swig from her water bottle. Her curls bounced up and down, making me smile.

  “Really? I mean, I’m so glad too.” I beamed back at her. This year wasn't actually goin
g to be so bad after all.

  “I have that Art class,” Desmond added. He reached over and stole a chip off Zaylie’s plate, then tipped his head back and tossed it in his mouth. He crunched on it while flashing a wide grin and lifting his eyebrows for one quick second.

  “Great!” I replied, completely elated. “Um, so, how come you are both seniors? Who’s older?” I asked, feeling very brave for doing so. I wasn't known for being a great conversationalist.

  “I’m older!” Desmond yelled. “So she has to follow my orders,” he said with a smirk and wiggling his eyebrows up and down.

  “Please! By only four measly minutes,” Zaylie countered, rolling her eyes. “…And 56 seconds. We’re twins,” she stated dryly as she turned to me.

  “Twins?! That is so cool! I don’t have any siblings. But I have always thought being a twin would be awesome.” I imagined all the fun things we could do together, the closeness we would share, always being there for each other and protecting one another. It sounded great to me. Zaylie didn’t seem too thrilled however.

  “Mmmhmm…sure, it may seem cool to you on the outside but you don’t have to put up with him!” She pointed a finger at Desmond across the table, fully extending her arm dramatically. Desmond only smirked and waggled his eyebrows some more.

  “Oh,” was all I could say. She was right; I guess I really didn’t know what it would be like.

  “I’m just messin'. I love the poor bloke,” she admitted softly. It made me happy, but I also envied their relationship at the same time. I thought of Rydan and imagined he would be the closest thing I would ever get to a brother. And that was good enough for me.

  “I seriously hope I get a good partner in Chemistry,” I decided to change the subject. “Last year, one of the senior students had caught his partner on fire,” I finished dramatically, opening my eyes wide.

  “Ha! What a dag!” Zaylie chimed.

  “Ace!” Desmond exclaimed at the same time, rather excitedly…I have to wonder about him.

  “I have no idea what you guys are saying,” I laughed, but still very much confused. What’d she say? What a…huh?

  They both laughed, clearly amused with my blatant American ignorance to Aussie terms.

  “I’ll explain on our way to Chemistry. Come on, let’s go.” Zaylie was still laughing, and the upbeat personalities they both seemed to have were catching. I found myself completely over my doom and gloom attitude and looked forward to the rest of my day.

  When we got to class, I was surprised to find out we could choose our own partners. Just as I turned her way to ask if she wanted to be partners, she was turning toward me also. She looked at me and laughed as she realized we both had started to do the same thing.

  “Are you going to pinch and poke me now til I buy you a coke?” I joked with unreserved friendly affection. I swore with each passing second I spent with her I grew to like her more and more. She smiled, brightening her soft brown eyes.

  “That would have been a good idea! But we didn’t actually say anything at the same time so I’m going to let you off the hook just this once. I won’t go easy on you next time though.” She winked at me.

  “I’m looking forward to it,” I replied sarcastically with a smile and wink of my own. I genuinely did look forward to spending more time with her in the future, even if that meant having to be pinched and poked.

  Our teacher Mr. Allen closed the door then and asked us to pull out our textbooks, turn to chapter one and then he was going to inform us of the different experiments we would be conducting this year.

  “As long as no one sets anyone on fire, we should be good,” said Mr. Allen as the whole class started to laugh. See? That story was still going around.

  Zaylie leaned in closer to me and said, “I heard about that bloke. I promise not to set you on fire.” We both laughed as we turned to chapter one.

  I headed to my sixth period class feeling excited. Art was my one elective this semester and my favorite subject. I loved to draw, paint, sculpt, anything where I could immerse myself. I couldn’t wait to see what projects we would be working on this year.

  Last year my painting on mythical creatures won first place in an art contest at the Portland Art Festival. I had painted a black dragon that I had once seen in a dream when I was little. I had never been able to get it out of my head since, so when the Mythical Creatures project came up, I thought it would be a great idea to paint the dragon that I had known for so long.

  Mr. Isaacson was our teacher, and he was a genius when it came to sculpting. He had won first place in that category at the Portland Art Festival, and his prize work was actually in a glass cabinet at the back of the classroom.

  I turned my head around to look and noticed a familiar painting hanging on the wall just above his prized sculpture. I couldn’t believe he had my painting. Where did he get that?

  “Nari Woodlinn,” I heard as the teacher’s voice drowned out my thoughts.

  “I’m here,” I said sheepishly.

  All the students started to laugh, and I realized I had no idea why he said my name and why I stupidly said I was here.

  “Yes, I can see that you are here. I was telling the class that all the art pieces along the back wall are from past Art Festival winners. Since I am on the school board, I selected a few of them to buy and display them in my class this year. Your painting is among them.”

  I lowered my head to let my hair cover the blush on my cheeks. Mr. Isaacson continued to name one other student in this particular class that had a piece displayed as well. I imagined everyone turning to look at it, but I was still embarrassed so I kept my head down and vowed to never speak again.

  The teacher started explaining all the different molds that we would be dealing with in regards to sculpting, which was to be our first project. He suddenly stopped and pointed to the back of the room. We all turned to look.

  “You there,” he said as he pointed to a student. “Please refrain from distracting the other students and pay attention. What is your name, son?”

  “Aye, mate,” said the Australian accent I had already come to recognize from the back. I turned around, trying my darndest to hold back a laugh.

  “Name’s Desmond,” he said as he winked to the girl beside him. She turned back toward the front with a huge smile on her face.

  “Yes well, Desmond, as well as everyone else, please make a note of all the items you will need for your first project,” he said as he started to write a list down on the chalkboard.

  “This needs to be special. I want to see what you all can come up with over the next few weeks. You are to sculpt using the supplies provided, and the object must stem from nature. I have all the items you will need on the table by the window.”

  An amazing idea formed in my head.

  “Put your creative thinking caps on. I want to see great work here,” Mr. Isaacson stressed. “This is an elective class, and I know you all are here because you want to be here, so no slacking. This will account for 40% of your grade this first quarter, so make it count.”

  I was already excited because I knew exactly what I was going to sculpt. In fact, I had been waiting to creatively display my favorite object, and now I finally would get to showcase it. It would be perfect.

  Chapter Four

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