The sound of stomping footsteps making their way up the stairs to my room made a slight smirk adorn my face. I could practically see the smoke coming out of my mother's ears and nose before she even pushed my door open. I just fiddled with a loose strand of my hair while my head hung upside down by the edge of the bed. My mother's small frame loomed over the door frame, her arms crossed as her work shoes tapped rhythmically against the floor.
"Amelia Elizabeth Clark," she began in a low, dangerous tone. "Care to explain why Mr. Morris called to inform me of your suspension?"
"There's not really much to say," I said nonchalantly. "Principal dearest was supposed to give you the details, anyways."
"Don't test my patience, Amelia," she warned, her brown eyes shooting daggers at me.
"Relax, mother." I rolled my eyes and sat up once I felt the blood pressure rush to my head. "Apart from pulling a prank on a teacher, I—"
"I helped a boy that was being bullied." I shot her an annoyed look for interrupting me. Her brows knitted together in confusion as she opened her mouth, but no words came out. I only scoffed at her reaction, letting out a small chuckle. "There was a boy that was being tormented by Gregory. Since he wouldn't leave him alone, I stepped in and beat the crap out of him."
She eyed me warily after I finished explaining. Her arms slowly went back down to her side as she straightened her pencil skirt and ran a hand over her dirty blonde hair. After a few seconds, she heaved a sigh and shook her head. "If that is the case then I guess I won't punish you. Now, if I find out that you're lying—"
"I promise that I'm not," I said while throwing my arms up in mock surrender. She just glared at me one last time before walking away. I did a small victory dance inside my head and smiled in disbelief. If I knew that I wouldn't be punished for kicking some butt, I would've done it a long time ago.
I fetched my phone from my bed and texted my two best friends, glancing at the time. Noticing that I still had plenty of it, I grabbed my keys and jogged down the stairs, passing my stepfather on the way. He raised an arm to try and stop me, but I easily dodged it and kept making my way to the garage. I ignored his failing attempts to get me to tell him where I was heading out and got on my ride. Apparently, men never got any hints thrown their way.
The chilly evening air blew against me as I drove my way to a familiar spot. As I neared it, I could see Danielle's car already parked at the curb. The couple was leaning against the car when they spotted me, waving me over with a plastic bag in Kenneth's hand. I killed the engine once I parked my motorcycle behind the car and took my helmet off, smiling at them.
"Well look who's here," Danielle smirked. "The infamous prankster who got away with egging a teacher and beating her ex-boyfriend."
"It is a wonder how your mother let you get away with this. I thought you would've been locked up inside your own bedroom by now." Kenneth chuckled.
"Beating the crap out of someone for a good reason really has its perks." I winked at them and grabbed the bag from Kenneth's grip. They followed me as I went through the hole on the fence and into the abandoned park, the place I came to when I felt like celebrating something. The grass was overgrown and there was a rusty slide next to a set of old swings. We walked along the flattened-out path we've made over the grass that led to a small hill. Our feet carried us to the top, where we sat down and looked around.
I remembered the moment we found this place. It was Danielle's fourteenth birthday, and we were riding our bicycles around her neighborhood until we decided to go off track. I was the first one to spot the secluded place, and I—being my curious self—decided to explore it. This meant that we had to climb over the fence to get inside, which ended with Danielle falling face-first to the floor and going to the emergency room to get some stitches. She still had the scar on her forehead to remind her of that day for the rest of her life.
Snapping out of my memories, I reached inside the bag and took out a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Kenneth shook his head at me and handed me a lighter, which I grabbed gingerly while popping one of the cigarettes into my mouth. I lit up the cigarette and inhaled before puffing out a small cloud of smoke and opened the whiskey bottle.
"I will always believe that your mix of cigarettes and whiskey is deadly and extremely weird," Danielle commented and I only chuckled.
"It is my way of celebrating, after all," was all I said as I took a small swig of the liquor, letting it burn down my throat. Silence fell upon us--a comfortable one at least. This was what we mostly did. Just sitting together in silence while enjoying each other's company. It probably wasn't considered as much, but it was still quite nice.
My mind wandered back to a certain brown-eyed nerd. His helplessness as Gregory cornered him earlier today and the way those eyes widened in shock when I stepped in. They held vulnerability, something that I couldn't quite ignore. I thought back to the gym and Wesley, and an idea formed in my head the more I thought about it.
"What's on your mind?" Kenneth asked me with an arm wrapped securely around Danielle's shoulders, and I turned to look at him. I took another swig of the cigarette, throwing my head back as I blew the smoke up to the sky.
"I think I'm going to teach some self-defense," I said after a moment. Both of them turned to look at me with curious gazes, making me chuckle a bit. "If you're wondering to whom, it's Chase."
"That's the boy you helped today, right?" Danielle asked, tilting her head to the side slightly.
I gave a short nod, answering her question before downing a shot of whiskey. The couple shared a glance, but I ignored it as I smoked the rest of the cigarette. I felt a soft pat on my shoulder, and I looked into Danielle's eyes as she smiled.
"Well, if you're sure that's what you want to do, then go ahead!" she said, and I raised a mocking eyebrow at her.
"And why wouldn't I be sure of that?" I asked as I closed the bottle of Jack Daniels. I had to stay sober if I wanted to make it back to the house alive.
"Just saying." She raised her hands in mock surrender and I shoved her playfully. After a few minutes, we stood up and went our separate ways.
My stomach grumbled as it protested in hunger, and I decided to stop somewhere to eat. I parked in front of a local fast-food place and walked inside, looking around the place mindlessly as I made my way to the cashier. I stood in line for a minute or so until I stepped forward to place my order.
After I paid, I stood off to the side to wait for my food and allow the person standing behind me to place an order. I buried my hands deep inside my pocket, the fingers of my right hand caressing the edges of my phone. My head snapped up when my name was called, and I walked forward to grab my tray of food and made my way to an empty table. I picked a fry and popped it into my mouth, humming in satisfaction as it had the perfect amount of salt.
A head of brown caught my attention, momentarily making me shift my gaze to the side.
"Well look who the wind brought." I smirked, leaning back in my seat. "It is the first time I've bumped into a stranger three times in one day. Consider yourself lucky, nerd."
Chase stood beside my table, holding his own tray of food. He blushed slightly and I motioned for him to take the empty seat in front of me. He reluctantly accepted and sat down, looking at everything except me. I observed him for a bit, watching as he fiddled around in his seat and scratched the back of his neck. I couldn't help but smile slightly, finding his nervous behavior quite adorable. Did I really make him that nervous?
"Are you going to eat your food or what?" I asked teasingly, taking a bite out of my own burger. He instantly moved his hands to his food, grabbing an onion ring and eating it. He was clearly tense; his entire body language gave him away way too easily. I chewed on my food thoughtfully, grabbing the burger wrapper and crunching it to make a ball. He was pretty oblivious to my intentions, his focus trained mainly on his food.
I took this opportunity to do a small test. Making sure the wrapper was formed into a perfect ball—perfectionist much—, I threw it his way. As if sensing the movement, his gaze lifted up and he jumped back slightly. His hand went in front of his face before the ball could hit his cheek, hitting his open palm instead. At this, I smiled in triumph. It seemed like my test came out positive.
"What was that for?" he asked in astonishment as he bent down to pick up the wrapper from the floor.
"You have some nice reflexes," I commented, ignoring his question.
"Thanks?" he said, his head tilting to the side in the slightest.
"It's decided. I will be teaching you self-defense," I announced bluntly. I enjoyed the way his eyes widened, and his mouth hung open. He opened and closed his mouth repeatedly, struggling to find words to build up a coherent sentence. I ate calmly, probably enjoying this a little bit too much.
"Why?" was all he could ask.
"Do you like being bullied without being able to defend yourself?" I asked after swallowing and taking a sip out of my soda. He kept quiet and slowly shook his head. "Then think of it as a favor."
"Yes," I said, staring at him straight in the eye. "This time you were lucky that I happened to be passing by. Who knows what would've happened if that wasn't the case."
I finished eating my food, drinking the rest of my soda while Chase was lost in thought. He fiddled with the sleeve of his jacket as I stood up and threw the trash away. I was about to head out when a hand grabbed my elbow. I turned my body sideways to stare up at Chase, who had a small smile.
"Thanks, Amelia," he said, honesty lacing his voice while his brown eyes shone in appreciation.
It took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting any sort of gratitude, to be honest. I was pretty much expecting a tantrum or instant opposition to the idea. "Anytime, Chase," I smiled.
He let go of me and gave me a curt nod before walking back to the table to finish his food.
I stared at the back of his head for a moment, before shaking my head in the slightest and heading out.
This boy sure came with surprises under his sleeves.