Torched Truth: Chapter 2

I wake to the sound of the Jeep shutting off.

Jeez, why do I always fall asleep in vehicles?

After I crawl through the space made by the folded up passenger seat, I step out onto the asphalt covered parking lot to stretch my arms over my head and let out a huge yawn.

“Wow, it must be a really boring birthday for you to have started yawning so soon.”

I let out a strangled laugh and turn to see Dawn walking over to me from her black Dodge Charger. Dawn could have easily been a model if she had any interest in that lifestyle, but thankfully for me she’s not a snob like all the model wannabes in our school. I don’t know why she decided to come sit by Josh and I that day at lunch three years ago, maybe it was because her and I both have odd names or maybe it was due to her having nowhere else to sit. But whatever the reason, she picked us, so we’ve all been best friends ever since.

As she comes closer I notice that she is hiding something in her purse, or, her purse has been a naughty little thing and got pregnant. I’m going to go with the more realistic possibility.

“Well it just got exciting if that’s what I think it is.” I respond, pointing to her purse.

“What this little thing?” Dawn pulls out a messily wrapped shoebox, based on the size,and flips her long pin-straight blonde hair over her shoulder. “How on earth would this make your day exciting?”She asks with distaste.

I give Dawn my best disgusted look and we both burst out laughing.

“Here Happy Birthday.” Dawn relents with a disappointed sigh.

I take the box as we start walking to the school, Jordan and Josh nowhere in sight. I hold the box up to my ear and begin to shake it.

“NO!” Dawn yells and tries to take my present away. But I’m too quick for her as I duck out of her reach, sprint to and through the front doors, and slam right into what feels like a brick wall.

My gift falls to the ground and I’m sure I’ll follow it when the brick wall suddenly grows a pair of arms and clutches my wrist, which inadvertently, swings me right back into the brick wall with a huge electric shock.

When I look up I’m shocked to see golden eyes staring down upon me. It feels like I’m staring into those eyes for an eternity, but in reality it’s only a few seconds. As soon as I blink those eyes are a more normal light brown but still too amazing to even remotely be classified as ‘normal’. With Brickwall’s eyes ‘normal’, now I can focus on his other features; pitch black hair that is sheer perfection, nicely sculpted cheekbones, chiseled jaw line, but not in an over exaggerated way , and his lips… Oh man his lips. I could just stare at those two pieces of flesh and never grow hungry.

What the hell ? Snap out of this ! You do not drool over guys ! Thank God some part of me is thinking rationally.

“Ummm… Could you let go?” I try to sound as rude and snobby as possible. It works because Brickwall lets me go quickly as if just realizing what he was holding me.

“ Oh! Uhh, yea... Sorry about that... I wasn’t watching to see if anyone was coming. I’m sorry.”

Huh. I guess now that he’s not staring into my soul he’s kinda cute...

Brickwall sees my present and picks it up. He acts like he’s dusting it off before handing it to me. “I know we just met and I don’t know your name at all, but, I beg you to accept this gift as an apology for running into you.” He gives me a crooked smile that shows off a dimple in his right cheek.

Damn could this guy get any more perfect?

I brush it off with what I hope looks like ease. “Thanks Brickwall, but, you're going to have to do a lot better than giving me a gift that’s already mine.”

He gives me a sly smile, “Oh, don’t you worry about that, Emerald.”

I had been in the middle of turning away, but now I stop to look back at him, “What did you just call me?”

Brickwall looks pleased with himself as he says, “Well you automatically gave me a nickname based on first impressions, plus seeing as you were clearly not in the mood to be handing out your name willingly, I therefore, saw no reason as to why I could not retaliate with one of my own.”

I’m saddened and impressed that he can read me so easily, not that I’ll be telling him that. Most people call me confusing and difficult to understand. I liked that, but now I guess I’m going to have to work harder with this one.

“Riv!”

I turn to see Dawn speed walking in her 4-inch heeled boots toward us. I also notice that we have made it over halfway down the hall.

“Well then, I guess that answers my question as to why you left me in the parking lot ALL ALONE!” I open my mouth to explain, but, I am cut off by Dawn’s rant. “You just couldn’t wait to see what your new boyfriend got you for your birthday. And I really must say Riv, I’ve never known you to have a boyfriend, but holy smokes do you know how to pick’em. Do you have a brother?” that question was directed to Brickwall. “How could you have kept this from me?” Dawn demands from me, and without waiting for an answer turns back to Brickwall, “What did you get her for her birthday? And what did you say your name was again?”

Damn Dawn could you shut your trap for two nanoseconds so I can explain?

“Dawn, meet Brickwall. Brickwall, meet Dawn. He and I are NOT dating! I would never keep something like this from you. And we are already late for class so come on.”

I grab Dawn’s arm and began dragging her to English. The whole way there, Dawn refuses to relent on badgering me with questions; “Why do you call him Brickwall?”, “Do you even know his name?”, “When did you meet him?”, “Do you like him?”

Her questions finally stop when we walk into Mrs. Blackwell’s classroom.

Sometimes it really pays off being the teacher’s pet, like right now when Dawn and I are six minutes late without any pass. All Mrs. Blackwell tells us is that this had better not happen again.

“Yes, Ma’am.” Dawn and I answer simultaneously.

We both move to our empty seats next to each other on the second to last row and begin working on stupid vocabulary.

I’m on number twenty-seven when Dawn stabs me in the side with her nails. I look over at her with a look of sheer annoyance.

It doesn’t phase her one bit as she leans over to me and whispers in my ear, “Did you see the way Mr. Brickwall looked at you?” I start to pull away but she quickly whispers, “Because it was the same look he’s giving you right now.”

I sit up straight and look over to Mrs. Blackwell’s desk. Sure enough Mr. Brickwall is standing there staring at me as if I’m the last piece of bacon on Earth. Yes, if you have yet to notice I love bacon. But seriously he is staring me down to the ground, completely unashamed.

Mrs. Blackwell finally looks up from reading what I assume is his note from the office. “Attention, this is Mr. Glass and he will be joining us this year. Now, I would like for everyone to welcome him to our class.”

I swear, nearly everyone said hello in some shape or form, well everyone save for me. Since we have technically already been introduced what would have been the point?

“Alrighty then Mr. Glass, you can go sit behind Miss Burns.”

Ohhhh crap…

“She will be able to fill you in on what we are working on and help you catch up on what we have done so far.”

No,no,no,no,no,no,no…

“River, would you please raise your hand?”

“Oh, no need Mrs. Blackwell, I’ve already had the great privilege to meet River.” He says with a smile looking at me.

“I see. Well go on and sit.”

I could feel every single one of the eleven furious glares I was receiving from all the girls, save Dawn, thanks to that idiots comment.

I look away from him and right into Josh’s curious gaze.

Ughhh! Why, oh why, does there happen to be an empty seat behind me? WHY!!!!!

I internally scream.

Brickwall is almost to my desk before I realize two things. One, that this dude is taller than Jordan, and Jordan is a solid 6’4, and second, what Mr. Brick Wall is wearing. Faded out blue-jeans that are all frayed at the ends, a dark green t-shirt that has what looks like a ketchup stain on the chest and very worn out hiking boots. Yet even with his bad apparel, Brickwall is striking.

Mr. Brickwall passes by me and sits in his seat. I attempt to ignore him and continue working.

Alright, number twenty-eight, cacophony.

I feel a light tapping on my shoulder just as I put my pen to the paper, frustrated, I throw my hand up in a silent signal to wait a minute.

Whenever I finish the definition I turn to Brickwall only to be hit by the scent of pine, homemade buttercream soap and french vanilla coffee.

Wow… I never knew someone could smell as good as they look.

“What do you want Brickwall?”

He smirks at his nickname but is otherwise undeterred by the malice in my voice.

“You do know I have a name, don't you River?”

“Oh yes, Mr. Glass, I’m sure you do. But you see I don’t really care what your actual name is, soooo to me you are still Brickwall.”

He cackles at me. I mean cackles? Who cackles? I’m sorry but I wouldn't call it a giggle ,that seems too feminine. Anyway, I give him a measuring look.

“You sure are something else, you know that Em?”

Alright I give in, I kinda like it when he calls me that. No! Stop this madness you do not.

“Really? And what else might I be?”

Did I just attempt to flirt with this guy whom’s name I don’t even know? Well, I wonder what insane act of idiocy I’m going to commit next.

He looks surprised and uncomfortable for a moment like as if by asking that question I’ve crossed some invisible line.

“I don’t know. It’s just that you’re so much different than what I’m used to.”

“In a good or bad way?” I ask.

“In a refreshing way.”

Oooooooohhhhhh Kkkkaaaaayyyyy….

“ So what did you want again?” I question him.

“Oh yea... well, I figured since there is only ten minutes of class left... You aren’t going to be able to catch me up on everything that I need to know. So in order for you to do that... It seems like we are going to have to... ummm, well... Ugh! Can I have your number so we can meet up later or what?”

Wow, that must have been real difficult to ask.

“Sure.”

The look of surprise and wholehearted joy that overtakes his face takes me aback. This guy is really asking me for my number.

He only wants it so you can catch him up on his classwork.

He hands me his phone so I can put my number in. It’s an ordinary phone, nothing special about it except for the dragon on its case, which looks wicked.

“Nice.” I comment before giving it back to him. Our fingers brush against one another and there is that electric shock again, although it's not nearly as powerful as before. I pull my hand back quickly and wait patiently while Brickwall sends a text so I have his number.

When my phone buzzes, I look down at the incoming message and my heart stops.

Hey, by the way, my name is actually Abban.

I know this name. I’ve heard it in my dreams before.

This is not happening. This is wayyyy too weird. He cannot know about my dreams, this is just a coincidence. Nothing to be worrying about.

I nod hastily, then turn away to finish my vocabulary.

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