Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 7
7

“Who is so important that you have to go all “over my dead body”?” I asked as James and I walked together to second period.

We stopped at the door of my class.

“Andrew,” he answered.

“Andrew? You mean the guy that wouldn’t let me go yesterday?” I raised an eyebrow.

“There were two of those yesterday.”

I rolled my eyes. “Anyway, I have some things to ask him too.”

“Go to class or I’ll be late,” James said. He leaned down and kissed my forehead. “I’ll see you in fourth period.” He walked away just as the bell rang.

My heart was racing and I stumbled inside. I went to get my painting and then sat down in front of an easel.

Mr. Styles didn’t like the planner reading so he had us skip right to the fun stuff. It was one of the reasons why he was one of my favorite teachers. He let us freestyle and rarely gave us a specific topic. He graded participation instead of test scores and projects. He was one of the most laid back teachers I had ever met. I had had him as my art teacher ever since elementary school, strangely. Whenever I moved up in schools, so did he. It would be freaking me out, though he had become like a dad to me.

“Paint and then show me,” Mr. Styles said. Then he walked around. He stopped next to me.

I was holding a paintbrush with brown umber on it. I brushed over the girl’s hair. I was painting an anime like usual.

“Lumex, you’ve been drawing these Japanese cartoons since the first time I met you. Why not stretch?” Mr. Styles asked, looking thoughtfully at my drawing.

I shrugged. “I’ve tried and they all end up…what's the word? Blah!” I smiled. I was recalling the one time I had tried to draw a bowl of fruit. It had turned out to be something that even Mr. Styles couldn’t figure out. Shapes where they shouldn’t be and shadows everywhere and then nowhere, it had been a mess.

“It was an incredible, modern drawing and you should be proud of it.”

“Well, I kind of like being incredible, modern and proud with these kinds of drawings,” I dipped my paintbrush in brown paint again.

Mr. Styles chuckled. “Stubborn child,” he said, patting my shoulder and moving on.

I smiled, shaking my head. Maybe he was right. Maybe I should try drawing something else. Something more realistic and less animated. I looked at my painting. A girl was watching her lover walk away from her. Her heart was broken and she was trying to be strong. What made it even sadder was the dramatic way the girl’s hair and skirt swirled in the summer wind. It was the wrong emotion right now. But I knew that it was better that I had finished the drawing and that all I had to do now was color it.

I kept painting until the bell rang. Then, I grabbed my painting and moved it next to the window. Mr. Styles normally didn’t allow his students to use his new canvases. But I’d been his student for so long, he trusted me with the expensive materials that the school provided for his art classes in particular. His other students would have to wait until at least the third quarter. I took one last look at my sad drawing. I only had to color the skirt’s shadow. Then, I could move on to my next project.

I walked out of art class, got my textbook from my locker, and headed to biology. Everyone stared at me again today. Though, I was sure that it was because some idiot who saw James and me yesterday presumed something and told a motormouth friend. Or if it was about my chosen “style” yesterday. The one good thing about rumors concerning me and a guy was that it infuriated Claire. She hated to be stomped over. She liked to be on top of things. She liked to be the one and only girl who got the cool guys.

I walked into third period and sat down next to Brooke.

“Hey, Brookie,” I said, putting my biology textbook on the desk.

“Lume, I just heard the rumors,” she said. She looked excited.

“What do the rumors say? I can’t wait to hear,” I said sarcastically.

“Okay, well, one says: Lumex Cockcrow and new hottie James Eventide are dating and cut class yesterday for a romantic dinner in Clearwater,” she said. I rolled my eyes. “Another says: Lumex Cockcrow, the unattainable, finally cuts slack and goes with whomever.”

I grimaced.

“And the last one says: Hottie Lumex running for Claire Jones’s money. Overtaking the popular crowd and turning Blake High School upside down,” Brooke continued.

“It’s like you’re reading it from a magazine,” I sighed.

“Well, it’s not a magazine exactly,” she said.

I looked at her. She was holding the school newspaper.

“It’s the second day of school. We can’t have a school newspaper already,” I said, taking the paper from her.

“Don’t underestimate the power of school gossip,” Brooke said, pointing at an article. “It’s amazing how popular you can be. You even made the school’s paper come in early this year.”

“I’d trade popularity any day.” I read over the article. It was about James carrying me out of school, the romantic dinner rumor. “Being popular is just having people you don’t really know follow you around all day and act like they’re your friends just so they’ll have a high status in school.”

“You know a lot. Even though you reject every opportunity to be popular, you have a lot of knowledge in what happens there.”

“You just have to do two things: watch and listen.” I looked at another article. “By the way, I'm sitting with James at lunch. Are you okay with that or did you want to sit somewhere else?”

“No, I have other plans,” she said.

“A guy,” I guessed.

“No, I'm actually going to work on something.”

“What is it?”

“I'm going to get your name cleared. I'm going to help you so that you won’t have to hear this gossip. I'm going to use my gossip skills and tell people the truth.”

“You know,” I said. “This is why you’re the best friend in the world.”

“I know,” she smiled and flipped her big hair. “Oh, and look at this one,” Brooke said, flipping the newspaper over. “It’s something I think you’ll want framed. I know I do.”

Brooke was pointing at an article that said: “Jones falls and Cockcrow is victorious!

“Let’s see,” I looked at the article and began reading out loud. “Year after year the battle goes on between popular and unpopular. But Claire Jones makes a wrong turn when she decides to try and take down the dream date, Lumex Cockcrow. Attacking one of her own was the worst idea Jones has ever had. Smart and cunning Cockcrow surprises us all with her sneak attacks on the wary Claire. 2007, Cockcrow and Jones enter high school after unstoppable pranks in elementary and middle school. Jones ruins Cockcrow’s paintings hidden in art class by drawing mustaches on each. Though, clever Cockcrow paints over marker marks. Then, Cockcrow sets a prank which none of us expected. With a harmless boa and a good diversion, Cockcrow places the boa in Jones’s purse to be found later on in the day,” I read.

“That was a good year,” Brooke laughed.

I chuckled and continued reading. “2008, sophomore year Jones accuses Cockcrow of cheating on a test but is outsmarted when Cockcrow does better on the exam. Later in the year, Jones comes to school driving a brand new convertible. After a day of bragging, Jones goes to the parking lot to find that her car won’t run. When checking under the hood, Jones is astounded to see that the motor is missing,” I read. I stopped and said, “Way too easy.” I continued reading. “Then, the motor was found stuffed in Jones’s locker with all of her books on a tree. What will this fight bring to us this year? What good prank will Jones attempt and what better prank will Cockcrow pull off?” I finished and laughed. “I'm surprised that people remember this stuff.”

“You have the best pranks,” Brooke laughed. She took the newspaper. “Has she pulled anything off yet?” Brooke asked.

“Yeah and she entertained me for a while. But a better prank is on the way.” I smiled evilly.

“Is that so? What did she do?”

“Dead rat in my locker. No big thing,” I said. “I threw it at her. The idiot was watching from the corner.”

Brooke shivered. The bell rang and she said, “I don’t know how you touch those things. They’re disgusting.”

“It’s called an animal. They’re just little furry creatures. I'm not scared of them.”

Mrs. Day started calling attendance.

“You’re not scared of anything,” Brooke whispered to me.

I ignored her and zoned out everything for the rest of the class period. When the bell finally rang, I sprinted out of class. I have a class with James now. I want to see him already. When I neared Spanish class, I slowed my pace.

I walked in and looked around the classroom. I found a couple of girls surrounding a desk. I suppose that’s where James is. I walked towards the desk and looked through a space.

A head of golden hair swirled as James turned to look at me. James smiled at me and the girls surrounding him gave me daggers. I didn’t care. All I was thinking about was James and how to stop my racing heart. James made a motion with his hand for me to come over. A hole opened up in front of me as the girls stepped back to make space. I didn’t know if I was supposed to move out of the way or walk towards him. I stood there puzzled. James noticed my confusion and made a gesture with his hands for me to come and sit next to him.

I hesitated, but finally sat.

“James, why can she sit with you and not me?” one of the girls complained.

I looked up to see who was talking. Sitara Sriram, a pretty Hindu girl. She had long dark hair and eyes that were almost as dark. She had a heart-shaped face and big eyes. Her skin was dark and she was looking at me with hostility. She was a nice girl, so I didn’t understand why she looked like she was about to go to wood shop and bring a hammer with her to pound me with.

James looked at her. His eyes were different. He looked at me with sad eyes, but when he looked at someone else, his eyes were cold and dead. “Lumex is important to me,” he answered.

Instantly my face flushed.

“Aren’t we important to you?” Samantha Parker, the cheerleader, asked.

James hesitated with the right words for a moment. “You realize we’re simply acquaintances, don’t you?”

“It’s the second day of school! How could you two be such good friends when you’ve only known each other for two short days?” Danyel Godwin asked.

“She’s important to me. No more,” James answered.

God, I hope that shuts them up. I haven't even gotten to talk to James.

“Yeah, just like all the other guys in the school. She has them all under a spell,” Samantha mumbled.

I looked at the seven girls around us. They really believed that. I frowned. They know that’s not true.

“Sam, I’ve know you since sixth grade! You know just as well as anyone that I don’t do anything on purpose!” I exclaimed. “I mean, I already have Claire on my tail! I don’t need any of you!

Samantha looked surprised. She knew it was true. She’d seen me dump a couple of guys. And she’d seen me dump them hard. She was also aware that I didn’t scream at anyone, unless people angered me enough that I was on the verge of exploding.

The bell rang and the seven girls went to take a seat.

I sighed and looked at Mrs. Rios. She was sitting at her desk.

James grabbed my hand. I looked at him startled. Though, I didn’t pull away. It felt…right. As if it was supposed to be that way. I looked down at my hand when James placed something there. He pulled his hand away.

“Look at it,” he ordered.

I stared at him shocked. I followed his order. I opened my hand. It revealed a locket. I examined it. It was pure gold, for sure. The locket was simple, yet elegant. And there was an inscription: Melody. I opened it.

A picture of a girl was in there. It was a black and white portrait. But the girl was beautiful. Long blond hair, I could tell, dark eyes—brown—a thin body, and a round face. She was no older than I was. The girl was wearing a simple dress and a tiara, most likely dressed for a party.

A picture flashed in front of my eyes. There was a dance with men in tuxedos and ladies in gowns. And the girl was the center of attention. The blond girl was descending a staircase happily. At the bottom of the staircase was the most handsome creature she’d ever laid her eyes on. But before she could get downstairs, someone avalanched her from behind and in a second she was rolling down the staircase dead.

“Does it remind you of something?” James asked.

I blinked. “No,” I answered. “What is this?”

James looked sadly at the locket. “The only thing I have to remember that girl at that time.”

“Who is she?” I asked. I was still taken aback because of the image. Everything had looked so vivid. As if I was there. As if I was the girl.

James smiled sadly. “I'm positive you know her,” he said as Mrs. Rios began calling attendance.

I looked down at the locket one last time and then handed it back to James. He took it and placed it in the front pocket of his jeans.

The class period went smoothly and when the bell finally rang, James grabbed my textbook and helped me up. I grinned and took his hand.

“Why is Andrew so important that I have to meet him?” I asked as we walked out of class.

“Because he’s one of the people that will help you when you need it,” James said. “Also, I think it’ll make my explanation easier. Besides, you’ve always liked to fight. It makes you feel in control, if I'm not mistaken.”

“Surprisingly, you’re right.”

We walked into the cafeteria to get our lunches. I grabbed a chef’s salad and a bottle of water. James grabbed a Sloppy Joe. We waited for the line to move.

“You’re okay with sitting outside, right?” James asked as he waited for me to pay.

“Yeah,” I said, paying the lunch lady.

We walked out of the cafeteria and I followed James to a full table. James sat down and I hesitated. The people at the table watched me, stunned.

“Lumex the unattainable sitting with us?” one of them asked. It was a guy with short red hair. His eyes were green and interested. He was thin and had square glasses. “It’s an honor,” he said, offering me his hand. “I'm Brandon Serrata.”

I shook his hand.

Another guy stood up and took my hand. The guy had sandy hair and blue eyes. “Lumex the unattainable, I'm Zackary Walker the datable.” Zackary kissed my hand and let it go.

I frowned. I took my hand back and rubbed the top of my hand on my shorts, trying to clean it.

“So you guys know Lumex, then,” James said. “Lumex, you know Zack, Brandon, and…where’s Andrew?”

 “He went to get a snack,” Zack said.

“Anyway, this is Chase Randolph and Erica Small,” James continued.

Chase Randolph had curly dirty blond hair and a big smile. His dark almond eyes were sparkling as he stared at me.

Erica Small had dark skin and black braided hair. She was looking jealously at me. I ignored her before her glare could get me pissed off.

“James, we have to give you some credit,” Brandon said, taking a bite of his Sloppy Joe. He talked with his mouth full and I tried to keep my face steady. “You’ve only been here for two days and you’ve gotten the most wanted girl in the state of Florida to talk to you. You’ve got to help us.”

“Well, you might want to start with not talking with your mouth full in front of girls,” James said, throwing his plastic silverware at him.

I smiled.

Brandon blushed and looked down at his plastic tray.

I felt someone behind me. I elbowed the person behind me. Then, I turned around as the person started coughing.

I laughed. “That’s for picking me up yesterday,” I said. “You should keep in mind that rule one is, you shouldn’t sneak up on me.”

“Damn it, you have a strong arm,” Andrew said, clutching his stomach.

I flipped my hair. “I know.”

“Big Andrew just got hurt by a girl,” Zack said.

I looked at him with my eyebrow arched. “Do you really want to know how it feels to be hurt by me?” I threatened.

He shook his head and took a bite of his sandwich.

“All these years and you still haven't learned your lesson, have you, Andrew?” James said, smiling proudly at me.

Andrew narrowed his eyes and sat down next to me.

“You’re going to pay for that one,” Andrew said to me.

“Put one finger on her and you’ll be in needing of a wooden cist,” James warned. He was looking at Andrew with dangerous eyes.

“Hey Lumex what’s pale, ugly and red?” Andrew said, ignoring James.

“You,” I answered, grabbing a piece of lettuce and biting it.

Andrew frowned. “I thought you said she didn’t remember yet,” he said to James.

James sighed and shut his eyes. “She doesn’t. I'm telling her on Friday when everyone arrives,” he said through his teeth.

“Care to fill us in?” Erica asked. Her tone was insolent. I had half a mind to throw some Italian dressing at her face.

“Lumex is coming to dinner at my house on Friday and my sisters have something to tell her,” James said.

I frowned pensively.

“Don’t strain yourself.” Andrew patted my back. “We don’t want you to hurt your brain.”

I narrowed my eyes and looked at him. “Do you know what happened to the last person that got on my nerves?” I said coldly.

Andrew laughed. “Is that a challenge?” he asked.

I grinned evilly. “Definitely,” I said, eating my salad.

“It’s like you’ve never left,” he snickered.

I ignored him and looked at James. “I think I would have been better off without knowing him. It’s better for both of us,” I said, eyeing Andrew. He was talking to Zack and Erica.

“Trust me, you wouldn’t have,” James said.

I drank some water and looked around. I almost choked when I saw Brooke talking to Chlander Cox, the head of the newspaper. I stood up and got out of the chair.

“I’ll be right back,” I said, heading for Brooke.

Brooke’s eyes widened as she saw me coming. She took two steps back before I reached her. Chlander looked over at me and grinned.

I stopped in front of Brooke with my arms crossed over my chest. “Brooke, can I talk to you, over there?” I pointed at the trashcans where the tables were empty.

“I'm good,” she said.

“Brooke,” I said, trying to keep my voice under control. “Trash cans, now.”

“No, really, I like it here. The air is so much fresher.”

“Are you wearing earrings?” I asked. I decided that if she wasn’t going to cooperate, I would go medieval on her.

Her eyes widened. “Yes.”

“You can see what I'm getting to,” I smiled and started walking towards the trashcans. “Let’s go.”

“As long as you stay away from my ears,” Brooke sighed, following me.

I stopped and turned to look at her with my hands on my hips. She stopped with her head hanging low. Her big hair was the only thing visible.

“What happened to ‘I'm going to clear your name’?” I said angrily. “What happened to ‘I'm going to use my gossip skills to tell people the truth’?”

“Well, I was,” she said, looking up at me. “I was working on getting the truth on the newspaper.”

“Then why were you scared when I walked towards you?”

“Well, uh…” she tried to think of something. “Well you looked mad! You know how you can be when you’re mad.”

I threw my hands up in the air and rolled my eyes. “You’re not a good liar. But you know what? I'm in a good mood today and I'm not going to let you ruin it! I mean, even Demetrius got off the hook.”

“You know I'm really starting to like James,” Brooke said.

“I can still throw a mean punch when I'm happy,” I warned. “Remember Joshua Trepanier’s tenth birthday?”

“Yeah, you got all the candy and beat up Joshua,” she snorted.

“Yeah,” I snickered. “Good times.”

“Well, I better get back to Chlander or he’ll twist my words around before I can confuse him,” Brooke said, turning around and walking towards Chlander. I was proud. She’s learned so much. But even so, it’s really public.

I sighed and walked back to James’s table. They hadn't been watching me luckily. James was talking to Erica and everyone was listening to James talk attentively. I sat down between James and Andrew.

“Are you okay?” James asked when I sat down.

“Yeah,” I smiled. “I just had to get rid of a pest.” I looked down. My salad was gone and the only thing left was a granola bar. I looked at Andrew. Is everyone an amateur these days? “You go ahead and keep the salad. You need it,” I said to him. “And one way or another I'm not a big clean up person. Why do you think I have a maid?”

Andrew opened his mouth as if to say something, but was cut off. “Andrew, dude, if there's one thing everyone in this school knows, it’s that Lumex is the best prankster and the only one who doesn’t let anyone she doesn’t like go without a good beating,” Chase said.

“Yeah,” Zack backed him up. “That’s why nobody messes with her. I mean, she could set the teacher’s lounge on fire and still get away with it.”

“You should know that I can deal with her, no problems, by now,” Andrew said, defensively.

I laughed and stood up. I got out of my seat and patted Andrew’s shoulder as a challenge. “Yeah, tell me how that goes when one day you’re framed for ten murders.” I opened my granola bar and took a bite. I swallowed and said, “Anyway, I have to do something. I’ll see you later, James,” I said. “It was nice meeting you all.” I turned around and left.

I walked inside the building and headed for room 200. I poked my head in the classroom and took in the scent of drying paint. I scanned the place. The supply closet door was open and the light was on. I walked in and headed for the door. When I looked in, I found Mr. Styles holding a canvas.

“Lumex?” he asked, looking at me, surprised. “What are you doing here? It’s lunch break for all you kids and, frankly, for me too.” He walked out of the supply closet with a bottle of paint in one hand and the canvas in the other. “Close the door.”

I shut the door and followed him to his easel. Mr. Styles set his canvas on the easel and put down the bottle of yellow paint.

“So, what do you need?” he asked.

“Uh, well, remember the chat we had during class?” I asked. He stared at the canvas. “Well, I've been thinking about it and maybe it would be good if I just stretched a bit. If I changed styles,” I said.

Mr. Styles looked at me. “So you want to draw different things and you want me to teach you how to draw them,” he guessed. “Just tell me if I missed anything.”

“Nope, that’s pretty much it,” I shrugged. “So can you help me?”

“Well.” He clapped his hands together. “Usually I encourage my students to learn from their mistakes and to work hard and to pay attention to details and—well you know where I'm going with it. Though, I think I might just make an exception for my favorite pupil.” He grinned, spinning around and grabbing a pencil. He started drawing lightly on the canvas.

“You see, that’s why you’re my favorite teacher,” I said. “You’re helpful, you’re cool, you’re understanding, you’re—”

“You want to draw a person.”

“Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a person,” I started. I was trying to twist words around enough that it confused him, but he knew how to get around it. He’d known me for too long.

Mr. Styles hates drawing people. He finds that there’s too much of the human world and not enough of our worlds in them. He believes that the human features aren’t very creative. He believes that when cameras were invented, drawings of people just lost the right to be called art. That’s why he doesn’t like to teach about it. That’s why he grimaces every time one of his students draws them.

He raised an eyebrow at me, suspiciously.

“But yeah, it’s a person,” I admitted.

The one bad thing about Mr. Styles was that he could stare you down until you were forced to tell the truth. That was what I hated about him.

“I’ll help you,” he said.

“Thanks!” I exclaimed, happily. “Wait a minute,” I looked at him warily. “What’s the catch?”

He chuckled. “You know me too well, Lumex.” He looked at me. “I’ll teach you how to draw if you teach Claire Jones how to draw one of your anime faces. Just one.” He held up one finger.

“Claire Jones?” I exclaimed. He looked at me with dead serious eyes. “You can’t do that to me. You just can’t. That’s pure evil we’re talking about right there!”

“Is that so?” Mr. Styles said, standing up and grabbing a newspaper.

I'm busted, I thought, shutting my eyes.

“Because it seems as if you’re the evil one in this article,” he said, pointing at the article that told what I’d done to her the past two years.

I grinded my teeth and said, “Fine, I’ll teach the little brat how to draw a face. But I have to say that you’re becoming an evil, evil person.” I sighed sharply. “I've rubbed off on you.”

“Good for you, now get out of here or you’ll have to run to get to your next class.”

I looked behind me. The classroom was beginning to fill itself with freshmen.

“Just in case,” I said. “If at the end of my first lesson I'm covered in paint, head-to-toe, you can forget about my lessons, I’ll find another teacher.”

He rolled his eyes and turned me around. “Get to class now.”


 

 

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