"It couldn't have been her" Castel had been trying to convince himself even when he knew within himself that she was responsible. He tossed and turned in his bed, unable to sleep. Yesterday had been a disaster. He had lost his phone and a family heirloom. He had arrived late to the rehearsal dinner of his brother’s wedding and everyone was pissed at him. He was so used to being a disappointment to his family that their being mad at him was the least of his worries.
The main reason he couldn't sleep was the very certain notion that was gnawing at his mind that the beauty had stolen from him. Anytime he closed his eyes he saw her smiling, smiling so beautifully at him while taking everything he had, it was so hard to believe that she had stolen from him.
"Accept the fact that she did" Leo had told him “I don’t know why you would expect much from a ghetto girl” Leo’s words kept echoing in his head. Was that all she was? “A ghetto girl”?
As much as he didn’t want to believe it, the answer was too obvious for him to overlook. She was indeed a thug.
"Oh bloody hell!" He muttered and got out of his bed. He walked to his closet where he stashed his liquor and poured himself a cup. He took a large gulp of his drink and winced as the hot liquid burnt down his throat.
He closed his eyes and a vivid image of her green orbs appeared behind his eyelids.
"Rise and shine bebita!" Rico said opening the curtains in Emerald’s tiny room. "First day of school"
"Papi close the curtains it’s too early to get up" Emerald mumbled in her sleep and snuggled closer to her blanket. "Plus, it’s Monday, I don’t have classes with Maria"
Monday! She woke up with a start. "It's Monday!" she repeated and the feeling of horror hit her straight in the gut.
"Si princessa. You start school today" Rico said excitedly.
"I don't want to go to school papi" she said rubbing her eyes sleepily.
“Come on Emie, I made egg salad with sausages just for you. I’ll add tortillas if you wake up right now" Mario called from the kitchen.
"Un momento, por favor? One more minute of sleep" she wrapped her arms around herself.
"Come on now princessa, You can’t be late on your first day" Rico said with a sheepish grin.
"Fine" she blew her hair out of her face. "I'll go to school, but only because of the tortillas"
Emerald got off the bus and stared at the large building in front of her. So this is where I’ll be going for the next five years. Not so bad.
She made her way into the hallway, not as crowded as she had expected or maybe she was really early.
She tried to pretend like she wasn’t bothered by the stares she was getting as she walked slowly down the hallway but she was very uncomfortable. Somebody gave a low whistle from behind her. She didn't bother to look at who it was. So privileged kids act like this too uh?
She had worn her favorite jeans and one of the new crocheted crop tops that abuela had made for her, it wasn’t what all the girls wore now but she could make anything look good. She had packed her hair in a ponytail. Or at least she tried to. Her hair could never stay in a band and tendrils were already coming loose and framing her face.
"Hey mama, are looking for me?" A boy's voice asked.
"Are you lost?" A male voice asked in front of her.
"Can you move?" She asked without looking at him.
She mentally cursed herself when he walked away and she noticed she had no idea where she was going. She could've been nicer to him she thought. She frowned when she heard another whistle.
Really? Was school always like this? She stopped when she realized she had gotten to the end of the hallway.
"Hi" a voice said -a girl's voice this time. She spun around to see a very pretty girl with dark hair in front of her. She was quite short though.
"Buenos dias" she replied out of habit.
"You don’t speak English?" The girl asked.
"Uh… I do" Emerald replied “I’m just used to replying in espanol”
"Oh okay, your accent is so pronounced. Love it" She trailed off. “You must be new here”
"Yeah, I am… looking for the principal's office." Emerald was glad the girl had come to her rescue, "Know where i can find it?"
The girl laughed and for a second she thought she had pronounced it wrongly. Or was it her accent?
"It's right in front of you" the girl said bringing her out of her thoughts.
"Uh?" Emerald asked feeling a bit puzzled.
"The principal's office, it’s right in front of you" The girl said pointing to the sign on the door.
"Oh...silly me" Emerald laughed awkwardly, she had been so busy in her thoughts she hadn’t seen the door right in front of her. "I didn't see it" She laughed.
"I'm Danielle, by the way, Danielle Peters and you?" She asked smiling
"Emerald Delgado" Emerald returned her smile. She was glad that she had met someone this nice in just a few minutes of being here.
"kay ... good luck then. I have a class in five minutes, I'll see you around. Maybe I’ll look for you at lunchtime?" Danielle asked
“Sure, thanks for helping me.” Emerald answered, suddenly feeling good about the whole school thing.
“You’re very much welcome.” Danielle said with a smile and walked in the opposite direction.
Emerald entered the principal's office feeling less anxious.
Castel was struggling to keep his eyes open in history class. He had barely slept last night. The green eyes had haunted him all night. His eyes were stinging from his lack of sleep.
Mrs. Crawford’s classes were never boring but he couldn’t help it, his body and mind needed sleep. He forced his eyes open and tried to listen to the lesson. His eyes were drooping close again before he knew it. He decided to give in and he let himself sleep.
"Mister Mourinho!" the sharp sound of Mrs. Crawford’s voice woke him up. "Answer the question"
“Uh, Adolf Hitler?” the whole class laughed.
“Very funny Castel, maybe you’ll tell more of your jokes in detention.”
F*ck... He cursed mentally.
He stood up sluggishly and stared at the board as she walked towards him.
"Didn't get enough sleep last night, did you?" She asked giving him a knowing look
"I'm really Sorry Mrs. Crawford something kept me up all night" don't you mean someone? A voice in his head mocked him. He gave her a charming smile hoping she would let the whole thing go.
"Very well, I’ll let you off with a warning." She walked back to the front of the class.
"Dude" Leo called from behind him and he turned. "You should really..."
Leo trailed off "No way!"
"What?" Castel followed his friend’s gaze to the front of the class. And there she was, the very person that had been in his thoughts all night.
He rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't hallucinating. He opened his eyes and she was still there, looking as gorgeous as ever. Her long hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail. She was definitely prettier with her hair up showing the graceful curve of her neck. She was wearing a wool crop top that showed a little skin around her tiny waist area, her Jeans hugged her curves and he wondered why she had hips that wide at her age. She didn’t look a day past sixteen.
"I'm Mrs. Crawford, I'm the history teacher. You are?" Mrs. Crawford said with a smile.
"I'm Emerald Delgado" Luciana said. He knew her name wasn't Luciana anyway.
“That’s a beautiful name.” Mrs. Crawford replied.
“Thank you” she answered flashing a smile to the class and his heart did a funny dance. He didn't understand how she did it but she took his breath away.
"Are you a transfer student?” Mrs. Crawford asked
Emerald stared blankly at Mrs. Crawford looking a little embarrassed and he wondered if she was being shy or she didn’t understand what the teacher had asked.
“What school did you transfer from?” Mrs. Crawford rephrased the question as she held up Emerald’s schedule and looked through it.
She was about replying when her eyes met his, he watched the smile she was wearing fade into shock. Checkmate! He thought almost laughing out loud.
“Emerald?” Mrs. Crawford called out as she looked up from the sheet of paper she was holding.
“Yes?” She answered tearing her eyes from his.
“You’re in the wrong class, this is tenth grade history. Your schedule says ninth grade history.” Mrs. Crawford announced.
“I must have mixed it up, forgive me.” She apologized, her accent was so alluring he wouldn’t mind listening to her talk all day.
“That’s fine.” Mrs. Crawford said. “Can someone show Miss Delgado to Miss Britney’s class?”
“I’ll do it.” he answered before he even formed the thought. She looked a bit horrified as she met his eyes and he smiled at her, knowing exactly why she had that look.