• 2 •
– Anna’s POV –
Let’s be real here: If life doesn’t hand you sugar and water along with those lemons, your lemonade is going to suck.
For one, it won’t even fill the pitcher one fourth of the way full unless you’ve got, like, thirty lemons. Two, it’ll just be sour and full of pulp, which is nasty in my opinion. And three, real lemons are gross. You need some of that Country Lemonade Mix stuff or whatever it is. That’s the good cr*p.
Sadly, I’m never handed lemons, lemonade, or anything along the lines of a delicious drink from life. My silver platter is shattered into a billion pieces, and has unfortunately rusted. Therefore, I don’t get a good life handed on a silver platter.
My phone sits horizontally to me on the wooden desk, ear buds plugged into the side and also into my ears. My hood covers my head as a substitute appliance for shade, and my head rests on my arms, which are folded on the desk as my eyes take in the wonderful world of YouTube.
“-leads us to our next equation that proves that one plus one equals three. You see, we have two ones. Spelled out twice, because we have two ones, there are six letters: O-N-E plus O-N-E. Six letters. You with me? Good. Now, since we have two numbers: 1 and 1, we have to divide the six letters by the two actual numbers, which equals three. One plus one equals three. Now onto how four plus four equals nine. We take-“
Suddenly a knocking sound is heard, and I look up, bored with whoever disturbed my very important math lesson. I take out my right ear bud and pause the video, looking up at a teacher-looking person expectantly.
“Ms. Cardale, correct?” The teacher asks. At least I hope he’s a teacher, because if he’s not, his style needs help. And that’s coming from someone who knows nothing about fashion whatsoever.
“I don’t know how things worked for you in other schools or at home, but I do not tolerate phones in class. I’ll give you a warning since you’re new, but any other time I see the device out, I will have to confiscate it,” he explains.
I roll my eyes but do what I’m told nonetheless, unplugging the ear buds and stuffing the phone into my hood’s pockets. A few people to my right snicker as the teacher gives me a tight smile and goes back up to the board that has a bunch of chemical compounds on it.
They’re insanely easy to understand. But so is everything else here. Or in any school for that matter. For some reason, everything comes so easily to me. Learning. But I’m not even learning, really. I could just look and absorb information. It’s…too easy sometimes. But I never speak up, so no one knows how I comprehend information so simply. I don’t need them to know.
I look over at the people who’d quietly chuckled and send them a hard glare. The guys just let out some amused sounds, and the girls just snort and roll their eyes.
If you think I’m such an unreliable threat then why don’t you come over here and allow me to demonstrate?
I’d say it out loud, but it’s my first day back, and I don’t need anymore attention drawn to me than there already is going to be. Hopefully everyone soon realizes that I’m a stuck-up girl with no interest in any other person on the planet.
I just let out a breath and keep my emotions pent-up before turning back to the board. My eyes scan over a random question, and I almost have to scoff at the simplicity of it.
The compound with the molecular formula, Nitrogen • Ozone, would be called:
It’s not that hard of a question, really. They try to throw you off by using the small numbers and single letters and such, but it’s not that difficult to read. The answer is dinitrogen trioxide.
Eventually I give up on reading and answering the simple questions he’s writing down for the class to write on paper and hand in. It was too boring, and I already knew I’d get a hundred on it once I got it back. I could just verbalize all the answers and get the same grade.
I don’t do the work and I don’t hand in any paper at the end of the hour. In my defense, I answered them all in my head.
As the bell rings, Mr. Moore, who’s name I figured out a bit ago, asks me to trail behind. I groan internally, but obey and walk over to his desk. His glasses perch at the end of his nose as he gazes at me with that teacher look. The annoying one…I suppose they’re all annoying though.
“Ms. Cardale. Do you have the questions for me?” He asks, raising a brow.
I shrug. “No.”
He sighs. “Why didn’t you do it? I can’t have problems with you, right? You seem like a good student considering your previous grades I looked at from your last school.”
I shrug again. “Just because I got good grades doesn’t mean I was an overachiever. It’s just easy, Mr. Moore.”
“What’s easy about it?”
“Everything. It’s never challenging enough. I don’t see the point in trying to earn a grade on something I know I can do. A grade is just supposed to be some sort of marker for students, to see how they can improve. I don’t need to improve in anything.” I cross my arms defiantly. I don’t like explaining myself. I don’t like feeling like I have to give people a reason for my actions. I keep that to myself. I have my reasons, world, so back off.
Mr. Moore seems like he’s thinking, eyes studying my own intently. His forehead is creased as he scrutinizes my face. I look away from him and jab my tongue on the inside of my cheek.
“So can I go now? I’m going to be late,” I say snappily.
He sighs and then rubs his head, glasses bobbing and shifting a bit when he does so. Then he nods. I spin around and head out the door as he calls out, “See you in class tomorrow, Anna!”
At least he pronounced my name right.
At lunchtime, Hayley finds her way over to me and decides that we’re best friends, despite my (purposefully) rude behavior back at the house. She’s cheery and warm- like a door didn’t just smack her in the nose.
…Okay, maybe it didn’t hit her nose. But I imagined it did. That counts for something, right?
I don’t have any food in front of me, as it’s not my particular favorite thing in the world. In fact, I hate it. I hate the idea of it going into my body. I know it’s supposed to be good for you and nutrionalize yourself, but it’s just gross. I’ve never really liked it.
“You good?” Hayley asks, interrupting herself mid-sentence to concern me.
She gasps, eyes lighting up at something behind me. Any worry for me completely vanishes, thank God, and she is now obsessed over some other thing that must be close to rainbows and sunshine. I roll my eyes and rest my chin on my folded arms on the table, briefly glancing at whatever Hayley was focused on.
“That’s Aiden Foster,” she whispers, eyes shining in excitement. She quickly glances at me before staring back onto his face. Everyone else seemed to be doing it too: looking at him. Except he didn’t look like he was enjoying it. He looked p*ssed, if anything.
I shrug. “Who’s that?”
Hayley spins back around, back facing Aiden as she finally returns her focus to me. “Only the sexiest brooding boy on the planet. People here would polish the bathroom floors with their tongues for him, if he asked.”
I gag, my insides repulsed at that hyperbole. “Why? What’s so special about him?” My tone is not nice. It’s annoyed. I loathe people who get everything handed to them without working for anything.
Hayley scoffs. “He’s hot and rich. Plus, he’s dangerous and threatening. One wrong look from him could send you six feet under.”
I roll my eyes. “I’d knock him in there before his eyes could. Stupid pretty boys,” I mutter.
A glimmer shines in my foster sister’s eyes. Her teeth catch her bottom lip in between them, and she gently gnaws on it before giggling. I raise one eyebrow in question. What suddenly just *** mischief on her?
“Have you ever had a boyfriend?” Hayley ponders aloud, happiness and curiosity radiating from her.
My eyes flit down onto the table again. I feel my jaw tense and my eyes harden. “No.”
“No way! But you’re hot! You’ve at least kissed someone, right? Or even held hands? A date maybe? Or, are you like, batting the other way? Or both? I don’t care about your sexuality, I just can’t believe you’ve never da-“
“Jesus, shut up,” I spit harshly, snapping my attention back to her face and parting from the white polished wooden tabletop. I sigh when her cheeks flush red and her own eyes leave my face. The cafeteria looks at us suspiciously and curiously, either recognizing my new appearance for the first time or wondering why I’m here, and have already seen me.
“Sorry,” she says softly. “I’m just intrigued by you, ya know?” Her eyes fill with disappointment. From what, I’m unsure. Maybe because I’m not who she wanted me to be. She wanted a friend. A sister who likes the mall and hanging out. But I’m messed up. I’m screwed up in the head and in the body. I am not friend material.
“It’s fine,” I mumble, sending glares at everyone who was trying to get a good look at what I looked like underneath my hood.
Hayley slowly recovers, diving into yet another rant and blabber about some random topic. Like what she likes to do during her free time or something like that. I think she was talking about photography and drawing clothes, but I wasn’t for sure. Because my eyes had glued onto a pair of deep green irises that were swirling with an acid ocean of negative emotions.
It’s the Aiden guy. He stares at me blandly, as if I’m nothing but the air. His expression gives away nothing except for bored emotion. But his eyes hold unknown jumbles of negativity inside. I’m good at reading people, I’ve found, but this particular male seems confusing to uncover. It must be because of his tangled feelings. I can’t recognize which is which due to the way he can conceal everything.
Obviously he’s a person who contains an unhealthy amount of rage, and anyone can see that. But there’s something that has caused that rage. I’m not interested in finding out either.
I disconnect eye contact with him and look down again, Hayley’s mouth continuing on and on and on. It’s annoying, but I have a feeling I’m going to get used to it. It’s like background noise. Some people prefer music or a TV when they’re thinking or doing work, but it looks like this girl is going to be mine. She’s travel size too, since she practically follows me around on my hip. How convenient.
I stand up when my foster sister is blabbering about the different cameras there are for different brands and how precise they are. They’re based off of the human eye and bla bla bla. I thought that she’d maybe get the hint when I began walking away, and she’d leave me alone. But she just followed right after me, without a single breath spared in her deep desired speech about taking pictures.
I guess that’s why I stopped walking when she stopped talking: Because it was weird. I’ve known Hayley for one day, eighteen hours, and forty-two minutes, but I know for a fact that she’d never stop talking, given the opportunity. And since I don’t speak much (and when I do, only in short phrases, unless in a rarity situation), she’s given a lot of opportunity.
I turn around and face her. “What?”
Hayley’s jaw is opened up slightly, the blackness of her mouth visible. She chokes on her words as she struggles to form an intelligent reply, pretty eyes wide and skin tone transferred from tan to a sickly pale.
I turn around again to see what she’s staring at, and almost release a groan. The Aiden guy is standing in front of us, head tilted to the side with his arms crossed. Slightly behind him – but more so next to him – is a boy with slight scruff and a tan beanie. He’s eyeing Hayley in gratitude for her presence. But Aiden is just observing me from head to toe, not saying a word.
“Hello, lovelies,” the unknown boy says. “Who might this be, Hayley?” He gestures to me.
So this boy knows both Aiden and Hayley. Somehow, Hayley must know Aiden through this boy, even if she doesn’t have a great connection with him.
“Um…this is the new foster sister I was telling you about, Nico,” she says. My eyes shift between who I now know is Nico and Hayley. They’re together maybe?
Nico nods, studying me. But he doesn’t remark about me at all, as if it isn’t his place. And it isn’t, but that’s not what bothered me. It’s the fact that he acted like it wasn’t his place, but someone else’s. His eyes moving up to Aiden tells me he wanted input from him. As if I were an object. What the hell?
Aiden nods too. “What’s your name?”
I cross my arms. “Why?”
Hayley gives me a look with wide eyes from my peripheral vision, and I ignore it completely.
“I asked,” Aiden says tightly, pressing. A tiny spark ignites in his green orbs. “So you tell me.”
I scoff. “Who do you think you-“
Hayley steps in front of me with a nervous smile. “Her name is Anna Cardale, Aiden.”
Nico’s lips twitch at the sides in amusement as he looks at me, standing at a short height behind Hayley. I roll my eyes at him before refining my line of sight onto the jerk in front of us.
Aiden moves Hayley out of the way, and Nico’s amused expression falters for a moment before he regains composure. He doesn’t like Aiden touching her.
The tall macho stares down at me for a moment, eyes burning with a fury-filled flame. I feel only slightly intimidated, men not exactly having a special place in my heart. But the other half is just stubborn and p*ssed. He shouldn’t and wouldn’t scare me.
Eventually he backs off, eyes still burning and connecting with my own. His hand pats his friend’s arm lightly. “Let’s go.” It’s not friendly or a form of a goodbye. It comes out bitterly, like he had to bite it out with a strain.
They leave, and Hayley turns to me immediately. Her beautiful circular orbs are enlarged, hands pressed to the sides of her head.
Then she whisper-shouts five words that people have been telling me my entire life, and that have turned out to be nearly true in my past:
“You have a death wish!”
I don’t like the way I ended this. You?