“Richard... Seventy-Seven. Better, but keep it up.” Ms. Suzette said, reading off our last math test grades by row. “Riley... Fifty-two... Which is good I guess... If you want to be here again next year.” I saw Riley's head slowly come to rest on her desk. The crushing weight of defeat was too much for her.
“Amanda... Eighty-four. Good. Not great, but good,” She continued. Amanda was the class “Miss popular” and didn't seem to like being called anything less than wonderful. Her bitterness was plain to see.
“Logan... Ninety-Three... As expected.”
“Good job. Isaac... One-Hundred. I was so surprised I had to double check. You pretend to be a slacker quite well,” Ms. Suzette said. I wasn't sure how to take such a sideways compliment.
“Tessa... Eighty-two... Good work but consider cheating off of Isaac's test next time around...”
My head was a bit warm as I felt the burning intensity of Tessa's glare searing the back of it. I turned around and gave her an exaggerated wink. She raised her fist and made a cranking gesture with the other as her middle finger slowly rose.
I just shrugged and turned around as Ms. Suzette told us to “study” while she went to make copies of today's work. I leaned back in my chair and relaxed. It felt good to be king. When I opened them again, Amanda was leaning promiscuously over my desk.
“Uh... Hi?” I said.
“Hey Isaac!” She said enthusiastically.
“Does bending over like that not hurt your back?” I asked.
“Not at all,” She said, wagging her hips slightly. “So I was thinking... Is there anything I could do for you to help me study for the next test?...”
“...Anything...?” I asked quietly.
“ANY-thing...” She replied in a teasing way.
“If I gave you my notes would you...” I gulped. “...Go away...?”
Her eyes went from flirty to icy in an instant. For a moment I feared I had gone too far with the wrong person, but she turned and quickly stormed off to her desk. I heard Quin burst out laughing as she sat on Riley's desk.
“HA! Oh my goodness...! HA! Did you see her FACE!?” Quin laughed hysterically. She wiped away a tear as she spoke. “Oh man, you should be a salesman, because she was buying every bit of it.”
I quickly made a squinty face at her to let her know I heard her. I and only I heard her, but I wanted her to know I was listening at least. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Tessa grinning too. I looked her way and raised an eyebrow.
She shrugged and said, “The blood-lust in Riley's eyes was the best part of all that.”
Riley's eye was twitching a little. Good to know she has some restraint. Poor Amanda, shut down by me and nearly killed by Riley.
Logan turned around in his seat and looked at me, clearly annoyed.
“...What?” I asked.
“Guys like me spend our entire young lives fantasizing about that exact moment, and you just tossed it away like week old trash,” He said in disbelief.
“Well first of all if someone is going to throw themselves at me for the sake of a good grade then they may as well be trash,” I said. “Secondly, you need to get some new fantasies.”
“Isaac knows all about fantasies,” Tessa said over my shoulder. “I hear he's into cat-girls.”
“~Nyan,” Said Riley and Quin in unison, cheery smiles on their faces.
“Ahem... I don't know them,” I said to Logan.
“They seem to know you pretty well,” He said. “Three cute girls throw themselves at you and you ignore them... Men everywhere are going to call you a heretic.”
“Excuse me, the only thing I ever threw at him was a book,” Tessa said haughtily.
“Was it your Math book by chance? Probably should have held onto that one. Then again I guess C+ suits a blonde pretty girl like you,” Logan said over his shoulder. I like this guy.
Tessa didn't say anything. She just stood up, took a few steps toward his desk, and leaned backwards as she sat on it. Her hair hung down in front of Logan's face as she gazed passionately at him. Her shirt was slightly unbuttoned, and her lips apart as she breathed softly. Her chest made prominent with each breath she took.
Logan was visibly sweating. I could almost hear his teeth chattering.
“Logan...” She whispered.
“...hm?...” Was all he could muster.
“Can I come over tonight, and let you teach me how to be a good schoolgirl?” She said softly into his ear.
“y-y-y-yes...” He squeaked.
She stood up and walked away.
“That's too bad,” She said as she sat down and buttoned her shirt. “I guess you'll just have to fantasize about that, too.”
“Clear the blast area everyone, Logan just got BLOWN AWAY!” Quin said in a fit of laughter.
It's hard to believe it's already the end of October. Tonight was Halloween, and the whole city was decorated for the occasion.
“Isaaaaccccc,” Quin called from her room.
“Isaaaaaaaccccccccccc,” She called again. Louder this time.
I heard little foot steps rapidly approach my door, and flinging it open, Quin peered inside at me as I did my best to ignore her. I knew where this was going.
“There's a Halloween party tonight at the lake... I wanna go...” She said.
“Alright, have a good time,” I said.
“What?” I asked.
“I don't have a car,” She said with her usual poker face.
“Neither do I,” I replied.
“So you're just going to let a little girl walk there all by herself!?” She said accusingly. “What if some creepy old guy tries to put the moves on me?!”
“Somehow I think you'll manage,” I said.
“If you don't go with me I'll jump out of that window and die!” She whined.
“Can you even die as a ghost?” I asked.
“There's only one way to find out!” She exclaimed as she opened the window and began clambering out.
“Ok Ok calm down... Jeez you're worse than the raccoon,” I said as I pulled her back in. “I don't have a costume, though.”
“That's ok, I got you one,” She said with a wink.
How does a ghost get anyone anything? Sure enough after running off to her room she returned with a pirate's hat, trench-coat, and a white sheet.
“.. But what's the sheet for?” I asked.
“Oh, no. That's mine. I'm dressing up as a ghost,” She explained simply.
After I had gotten dressed, I heard my mom answer the door.
“Oh, Riley, Tessa, aren't you two... uh... cute...” I heard her say. Which can only mean they're dressed as something weird. I rounded the corner to the stairs and headed down.
Sure enough, they were indeed weird, but I was not in any way surprised. Riley was wearing a lacey black and white top and tight black leggings. She had a black tail and kitty cat ears, as well as whiskers drawn on her face.
“~nyan,” She said, pawing in my direction. I squinted at her.
Tessa on the other hand... She was wearing an orange reflective vest and carrying a small stop sign with a little handle on it. There was also a whistle around her neck.
“And what the heck are you?” I asked.
“... I'm a crossing guard...” She said. “I figured it would be obvious.”
“But... WHY?” I asked.
A car sped by as I said this. She looked over her shoulder, then back at me with a blank expression.
“That's why,” She said. “Someone has to keep you two alive tonight.”
A little white sheet with feet sticking out of the bottom appeared next to me.
“I am ready, mortals,” came Quin's muffled voice from beneath the sheet.
I couldn't help but admire the gentle beauty of the city as we walked it's streets. Everywhere there were purple, orange, and black lights marking the holiday. Pumpkins and ghosts were all around, and with all the usual lights of the city thrown in, everything faded into a cozy glow of festiveness.
To my right I saw Riley staring up at an electronic billboard advertising “Monster Slayer 5,” a game I very much wanted, and currently still play it's predecessor.
“You play Monster Slayer?” I asked her.
“I'm ranked in North America and Europe,” She said without looking away. “So yea I like it.”
“Only North America and Europe? No luck in Asia?” I asked.
“Asians are telepathic and impossible to defeat,” She said with a nod.
“You know you're ACTUALLY telepathic, right?” I said.
“Their power knows no bounds...” She said somberly.
A mother and child passed us on the street and the child looked right at Quin.
“Look mommy, a ghost,” he said, pointing at her.
The mom just smiled awkwardly and pulled him along.
“Fear me, tiny human,” Quin called out to him from beneath the sheet.
“Awh, look at his little Monster Slayer costume,” Riley said. “I just wanna go push him down and take his loot.” I couldn't help but laugh. Whether I want to or not, I'm enjoying myself.
We stood at a crosswalk for quite some time waiting for the light to change. It was the last street before the trail that would lead us to the lake. Tessa was clearly getting impatient. After a few minutes of tapping her foot, she held up her stop sign and walked out into the street.
I just stood there in shock as she blew her whistle and waved her sign at any car brave enough to try to go around her. One car revved it's engine, and she promptly put her foot on the bumper and blew her whistle at the poor man. She waved for us to cross, and after quickly complying, she strutted the rest of the way across to us.
The trail to the lake had been lit with candles, which I'm pretty sure is a fire hazard, but it was pretty to look at as we quietly walked together. I felt Riley's hand brush against mine as she drew closer in the dim light. I do everything I can to stop her advances, but I could never stop the feeling in my chest whenever we touch.
I could smell her again, too. She smelled more like autumn comfort than the forest around us. Her presence was like the candles surrounding us. She was a warm sense of ease on a dark night, but I know what will happen if I get too close to a candle, and it's no different with her, either. I'll only be burned.
I felt her pinky finger take hold of my pocket as we walked. Her silent compromise was both touching and painful to think of. It would be too easy to give in and give her what she wants. It's all the more difficult knowing the only thing I'm keeping from her... All she want's from me... Is the happiness that comes with walking hand in hand down a trail of kindred spirits.
When we arrived at the lake there were around a dozen or so kids from our school. Logan was here, surprisingly. I figured he was the shut in type, but then again maybe he's just desperate.
Everyone had gathered around a bonfire by the lakeside, and appeared to be making smores. We strolled over to them, and they were happy to have us join. Riley and I sat on a log together as Tessa took over the Smore production process with systematic execution. Quin... Well she just wandered around softly saying “ooOOooo...” In peoples ears. She got really excited when one person actually got the chills, though I imagine they were just cold.
A Smore finally made it's way to us, and Riley looked up at me with hopeful eyes.
“Do you like Smore's?” She asked.
“... Actually I... I love them,” I said.
“If I... If I share my Smore with you... Will you share your coat with me?” She asked pitifully. I only just now noticed she was shaking. I guess leggings are good for making your butt look good, but maybe not keeping it warm.
I started to take my coat off for her, but she shook her head. I knew her game, and maybe for one night... Just one night I guess I can play. I opened it up to her, and she snuggled right in with me. Her body against mine reminded me of the first night she snuck into my room.
Together we shared a Smore, one bite at a time. I with an arm around her, and her snuggled up to me, feeding me as we sat by the fire. First I took Quin in, and now I'm letting myself enjoy Riley's company. The next thing you know I'll actually be friends with Tessa.
I sat there with Riley, thinking if that's really such a bad thing as Tessa told us all a ghost story.
“...and then, from behind me... I heard a hoarse whisper...” Tessa said creepily.
“neigh....” Whispered Quin as she trotted around the fire like a horse.
Hoarse Whisper... Quin.... not horse... you're so... stupid.
If you liked it, leave a comment at the bottom, please. I have no way of knowing if people are reading and enjoying any of this otherwise!
Isaac was born to be the main character, and
he knows it. Though, were it up to him, that would
not be the case.
He wants a quiet life. A normal life. For seventeen
years Isaac has done everything he can to avoid
the lead role.
Supporting characters practically throw themselves
head on into Isaac's path as he desperately tries to
derail whatever Pilot Episode, Prologue, or Opening
their "Chance Meeting" might result in.
Isaac Gray might not be a bad guy,
but he is certainly
No One's Hero.