“Hey, Nixie!” A voice calls after me as I slam my locker shut and start off towards the quad for lunch.
I turn around to see Atlas Rivero jogging to catch up to me. Atlas is the hottest and most popular boy at Astroria high. People literally worship the ground he walks on. I don’t know why, but they do. Personally, he annoys the **** out of me. But I’m a biased source. I know too much for Atlas’ own good.
He approaches me cautiously, like I’m a feral animal that might attack him any minute. And maybe I will if he’s not careful. No, what am I thinking? I can’t do that at school, as much as I would like to. No, I’ll save whooping his butt* for the city streets when we are both behind masks.
I can tell from his all too telling ****** expressions that he is trying to read me. Good luck!
He stands there for a couple seconds. I think he is catching his breath, I am not really sure. I just settle on staring him down, hands on my hips, until he decides he wants to open his mouth and actually say something.
“Um, I um…I noticed that you’re limping and um I just wanted to ask if you were ok or like, if you need anything.”
“So he speaks!” I challenged.
He turns bright red and rubs his neck as I give him my best “really?”look. Atlas may be the most popular guy in school, but he doesn’t intimidate me.
“I’m fine,” I say, trying to keep my voice light and even, “Just an accident this morning. Don’t concern yourself with me.”
“Oh…well…ok I um guess I’ll see you around then.”
“Yea I guess you will,” I say as I start to limp away to the picnic table where Selene sits, her mouth wide open, gaping at me and Atlas. I can still feel Atlas’ eyes following me.
“Oh and Nixie?”
What does he want now? Thoroughly annoyed, I turn around and stare him down.
“I, I was wondering if…never mind.”
And then he just turned around and walked away, rubbing his neck again.
What does everyone see in that dude? I mean he is hot and all, but he is kind of awkward. And talk about annoying! Though then again, I know the real him. Wait, no, the students of Astroria high would probably love him even more if they knew what he does after school. But they don’t know, I am the only one that does. He isn’t as good at hiding his secret identity as I am. I know that he is the nephew and sidekick of Captain Colossal, Astroria’s favorite hero. Except he doesn’t know that I know, and I intend to keep it that way.
Whatever. I continue over to Selene and my’s table and sit down across from her. She doesn’t even blink. I take one of her French fries from her tray and wave it in front of her face, trying to get her out of her trance she appears to be in. I give her a soft slap and that seems to wake her up.
“Oh. My. God! Why were you just talking to Atlas Rivero? Did he mention me? His hair is so sexy. You have to tell me everything!” Selene bursts out, talking so fast I can hardly comprehend what she is saying.
“Ok, take some deep breaths and calm down because nothing happened. He just asked about my ankle.”
I then go on to recite back our conversation to her. Selene leans forward, her wavy, copper hair falling into the basket of fries, hazel eyes wide open, drinking up every word I say. She has such a huge crush on Atlas, but so does the rest of the school. She would absolutely freak if I told her what I have on him.
“You know, that sounds an awful lot like a guy talking to a girl that he likes…” Selene suggests, leaning back as a coy smirk appears on her face.
“Oh my god! Shut up. No. Way.”
“Fine! But I’m telling you, I was watching that whole thing go down and I am telling you, that boy is head over heels for you Nix.”
I not-so-gently chuck a French fry at her.
“Owwwwww!” She whines, rubbing her forehead where the French fly had hit her.
“Oh don’t be a baby! Atlas doesn’t like me.”
Selene blows me a kiss in reply.
“Oh my God Lean, what if he does? That would be absolutely horrible!” I groan, putting my head in my hands.
“Oh boo-hoo! A really hot guy likes you! It’s so horrible! You life is over! Now who’s being a baby? If I was you I’d be skipping and throwing confetti all over this school,” Selene teases.
I lift my head and throw another French fry at her. This time she anticipates it and swats it away. It hits Axel Johnson-Astroria’s star point guard-over at the basketball jock table next to us.
Selene and I duck our heads and try to conceal our laughter and Axel exclaims, “what the ******* and scans the courtyard for the culprits.
When the danger of being beaten up by a jock has passed, I lean in to Selene and say “Now, do you want me to tell you what I was doing this morning or what?”
That gets her attention. So, I tell her every detail of what went down in the dark alley, and Selene doesn’t say a word, just listens. Even when I tell her about how I killed someone, sugarcoating over the details as much as I could, she doesn’t comment. She doesn’t need to though, her ****** expressions do the talking. Selene knows that I am the Shade Assassin and though she doesn’t approve of it, she accepts it. She understands where I am coming from and what my motives are. That’s another reason why she would flip if she knew Atlas’ other identity. I am literally plotting to assassinate her crushes’ uncle, Captain Colossal. That would be taking it a step too far and too personal for her.
We share the rest of her fries in an awkward silence. Should I say something? Or should I just let her process whatever she is thinking about on her own? I decided just to wait in silence. When the bell rings signaling the end of the lunch period, I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful to hear that annoying ring in my entire lifetime.
Watching her long ponytail swish as she walks-well, limps- away from me knocks the wind out of me. The way she moves, lethal and strong, but nimble and graceful at the same time. She’s a mystery. A girl shrouded in clouds and darkness.
God, I’m an idiot. She was right in front of me. She even had her ********************* on, which is hella intimidating, but somehow dangerously enchanting, and I just stood there like an idiot. Hell, I even started stuttering! I never get this way. Since when did I become scared of girls?
I lean against the lockers, ignoring all my friends who are currently shouting my name and waving me over to their table.
Who am I kidding? It’s not all girls I’m scared of, it’s just Nixie. I’ve been watching her from a far for so long, everyday telling myself everyday that today I’m going to approach her and ask her out, but it never happens. I don’t know why. If it was any other girl, I would have absolutely no problem. Most girls just fawn over me anyways, but Nixie is different. She doesn’t worship me like those basic girls do, which is probably why I like her so much. Or why I am so terrified of her. Either one works.
I give the wall a good, frustrated kick when nobody’s watching, well when no one is obviously watching. The whole school is constantly watching me, despite my desperate attempts to renounce my popularity. The whole “King of Astroria High” is really not sitting well with me. The more people that are watching me, the easier it is for me to get careless and reveal something that I don’t want people to find out.
Satisfied with the small dent left in the locker and the slight throbbing in my foot, I head over to my table. I bro-hug the guys and ignore the usual cheerleaders giggling and giving me side eyed looks. I never bother to remember their names. I’m not really there anyways. I’m watching Nixie talking and throwing fries at her friend, Selene-I think.
Brady, my best friend since third grade, notices this and leans over across the table, saying softly, “You really like her, Atlas, don’t you?”
I tear my eyes away from Nixie. Mirroring Brady’s position, I clasp my hands and put my elbows on the table, leaning in.
“Yea. I really do.”
And I don’t know her, but I sure as hell would like to.