Chapter 1: Runied cookies
There was nothing I loved more than chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, the centers were soft and the chocolate was still gooey. And that’s exactly what I’d be enjoying right about now if Sam hadn’t stepped into the kitchen.
“I can’t believe you ruined my cookies,” I freaked out on my brother, holding a spatula out in his direction in what was supposed to be a threatening manner.
“They’re not ruined,” he tried to justify yet only succeeding in annoying me further.
“Samuel they are burnt!” I growled out between gritted teeth as I stared at him with the darkest glare I could manage.
“Don’t use my full name,” he complained like a child while I was still mourning my once perfectly good cookies that had gone to waste all become of Sam. Annoyed that he seemed unbothered by the state of my cookies I grabbed one off the cooled sheet and threw it right at his head. “Hey!”
“It’s called karma, bitch,” I snicker while he only gasps dramatically,
“No Catalina, you are too pure and innocent to be swearing.” He reached forward as if to cradle my face in his hands solely for the dramatics of it but the kitchen island thankfully stood in his way.
“Sam, I am eighteen in a month, just like you.” He seemed completely unfazed by my reminder, still pretending to cry over me swearing. Although I did rarely sweat, usually using censored versions that made me sound like a five year old; it didn’t mean that I couldn’t when I wanted to. I wasn’t a child even if he thought otherwise. Just because he was born fifteen minutes before me doesn’t mean he can baby me.
“Irrelevant,” he shrugged before suddenly getting excited as he seemed to remember why he was in the kitchen in the first place. “Did you hear about the transfer student coming in tomorrow?”
“Transfer student?” I echo in confusion. I wasn’t the most social person yes, but gossip spread like wild fire in our school so I was surprised I hadn’t overheard mention of it in the hallways on Friday.
“Yup, all I know is that his name is Alexander Knight and that his family is supposed to be huge and hella rich.”
“Rich kids usually go to private schools, why Southsoul?” I ask, as I chuck my cookies in the bin with a frown. So much work and potential deliciousness down the drain. For such a smart boy you’d think my brother would learn to leave the oven alone when I was using it.
“Probably because we have the best sports teams in the like the country,” Sam boosted while I could only laugh whole heartedly at his proud expression.
“Like you’d know you little nerd,” I tease jokingly.
“Hey! I’m in gym class unlike you lazy ass,” he retorted sticking his tongue out in my direction maturely in the process.
“Um why do you get to swear and I don’t?”
“Because like I said you are too pure for it,” he insisted which caused me to roll my eyes at him.
“I’m not that pure,” I mutter in annoyance before heading out of the kitchen. Soon the both of us were pushing and shoving to get up the stairs because Sam and I might have a good relationship but we were still brother and sister and siblings bantered like there was no tomorrow. Sam was the only person I dared to not be polite towards. Dad always told us how childish we were for still fighting like this when we were nearly young adults but I don’t think it would ever change even when we have kids of our own.
Suddenly I let out a yelp as my foot slips from the edge of the step; this wouldn’t be the first time I fell down the stairs with my clumsy track record. Thankfully Sam wasn’t mean enough to let me fall from nearly the top of the staircase so he quickly grabbed my arm and steadied me. We might push and shove but we meant no real bad intent.
“Nice reflexes,” I compliment while he looks as me with a scolding expression. It wasn’t as if I could control my clumsiness; trust me I would if I could.
As soon as we got to our rooms (which were right across the hall from one another) we parted ways, him going to do God knows what and me heading off to finish my homework. It didn’t take me all that long either since I had finished the majority earlier in the weekend. However, one shower later I was braiding my hair back from my face and crawling into bed at a decent time, hoping that waking up early tomorrow morning wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t go to bed at midnight. Eventually sleep overcame me and in the blink of an eye my alarm was going off right next to my head.
With an irritated groan I turned the loud ringing off and rolled over onto my back, my room fairly well lit by the naturally lightly that seeped into my room through white curtains that hung over my windows. For a few moments I simply stared up at the ceiling, contemplating whether school was worth leaving the comfort and warmth of my bed. Even though I knew the answer was that school wasn’t worth it I still forced myself to get up and pulled a hoody on, tucking all my long, dark hair under the hood as I headed downstairs in search of food.
“Morning sweetheart,” dad greeted from where he stood leaning against the kitchen counter sipping at his coffee. He graciously handed me a mug of coffee that was just like his except for the large amount of sugar and cream that was in mine and I eagerly drank from it, thankful for the little bit of awareness and energy it would give me.
“Hi,” I mumble tiredly, the caffeine not fully kicked in just yet. With an endearing grin he pushed the cereal box in my direction. Soon a bowl with cereal and milk was ready for me to devour, which was exactly what I did before preparing myself a lunch; the cafeteria at school really wasn’t up to par to any standard, God forbid I had to buy anything more than a bottle of water from there.
By the time I was in the kitchen I knew Sam would be done in the bathroom I headed back up to get ready for the day. Once I was dressed in a jeans skirt, short sleeve white blouse (that I tucked into my skirt) and a black cardigan I ran a comb through my mid back length hair and fell around my face in slight waves due to the braids I had slept in. Sliding on my half frame retro glasses (which weren’t really a necessity considering my prescription was so low it didn’t make much of a difference either way) I was finally ready to head out for school.
Sam caught a ride with his friends as he did every day but as much as I loved my artistic, annoying nerdy brother, his jock friends were another story. I didn’t hate them… I just didn’t like them all that much. So while he left in a boy filled car I slid into my old car that was in a desperate need of a fresh paint job. In all reality it would probably break down on me any day now but I couldn’t give it up, it was my first car and it did the job of bringing me to and from school just well enough.
All throughout the morning the halls were buzzing with news and gossip about the mysterious new kid who I had yet to see. I was positive that I would know it was him when I saw him because I had a weird knack for remembering every face that I’ve ever seen, even if it only ever was in passing; I’d know it was him because he’s be the only before I didn’t recognize. While walking from one class to another I’d overhear some rumors about Alexander Knight, some people said that he got expelled from his old school and has been in a detention center while others say he spent the last year in a mental institute. Even though Sam found gossip to be amusing (the more bizarre the funnier it was) I always thought it was useless, simply people desperate for some form of entertainment. The wrong type of rumor could easily ruin someone’s life.
The spring weather was my favorite, not hot but warm with a slight breeze, everything in midst of blooming and becoming green (not to mention the cozy rainy days). That’s exactly why I went to spend my lunch up on the roof – that and I knew that no one else would be there. It wasn’t even a bad place to have lunch, there were two benches and a few picnic tables, plus the great view and abundance of flowers that were part of the schools garden that no one seemed to know existed. I didn’t mind that of course, it meant I got it all to myself. Instead of occupying one of the picnic tables (which I often did) I went and sat on the ground, leaning back against the ledge. The wall that went around the went around the entire edge probably came up to just below my chest when I was standing and so when I sat down leaning back comfortingly it offered me some shade and kept the sun from hitting my eyes too harshly.
I didn’t eagerly go for the lunch I’d packed into my backpack, instead just taking a moment to breath in the fresh air; the school was crowded and the air was quick to become stiff, stale and filled with stress. It was nice out here.
Before I could do so much as take a couple deep breaths the door leading up onto the roof suddenly opened and revealed the unfamiliar face I had been expecting to see at some point today. I don’t think he realized I was here but that made sense considering that there was a picnic table that most likely blocked me from his current point of view. Truthfully I felt a little awkward knowing that he was here but him not knowing that I was. Speaking up would have been even more awkward though so I simply tore my attention away from him and went back to my own thing, thinking that he would never even notice me and that I would spend my lunch just as I normally did. Except… I couldn’t ignore the sound of his footsteps as I searched for my lunch, it was so quiet up here, even the voices bellows were too faded to be noticeable, his steps sounded loud because of that.
Suddenly I froze, not only had his steps because louder but I could feel his presence. Looking up I smiled sheepishly at the stranger that had found me.
Alexander Knight was tall and not just because I was sitting on the ground, be must be six feet tall, but he was also slim and toned with defined muscles – at least I assumed that they were defined because of how the fabric of his black jeans and dark grey crew-neck hugged his covered muscles. It wasn’t just his clothes that were dark, his hair was a really dark brown (although not as dark as mine which was easily mistaken for black) and it was cut shorter on the sides and back, the longer pieces at the top swooping perfectly to the side, revealing his mismatched eyes, one brown and the other a blue and hazel color. I could see why everyone had given him such a bad boy rep already, it seemed too cliché at first but he really did fit the role. From his appearance to the energy I felt coming off of him.
“Um, hello,” I greeted trying to keep the awkwardness from my voice and failing horribly. This is why I kept away from people. He arched a dark eyebrow, a hint of amusement infiltrating his otherwise blank expression.
“I didn’t think anyone would be up here,” he comments instead of returning my greeting.
“Neither did I.” I expected Alexander to leave after that but surprisingly he sat down right next to me, catching me off guard in the process. He didn’t say anything or even look at; he just sat back and leaned his head against the wall. “Um, I’m Catalina O’Neil by the way.” Just like how I felt weird when I knew he was here and he didn’t know I was, I felt weird knowing his name and him not knowing mine.
“Alexander Knight. People call me Alec though,” he explained and I was genuinely shocked that he had responded. I nodded my head to show that I had heard him before I went back to getting my lunch. I felt a little awkward at first but after a quick glance over in his direction I realized that he had closed his eyes… was he trying to sleep? I wouldn’t blame him; I was exhausted from start to finish when it came to school. Keeping my focus all day was much harder than it sounded.
Realizing that he wouldn’t be watching me as I ate I allowed myself to eat as I contently as I did any other day when I was on my own, oddly finding comfort in the presence of someone. I was always alone – Sam was my only friend really. Even though Alexander was a stranger he was still someone and that was strangely nice, I had forgotten what it was like to not be alone all the time.
The bell rang all too soon but as I packed my thing back up nonetheless and stood I realized that Alexander really had fallen sleep.
“Alexander? The bell rang,” I said quietly while shaking his shoulder slightly. He didn’t look as tense when he was asleep and when I tried to wake him up he shifted and even scrunched his noise up. It was adorable and I wasn’t afraid to admit that just because he was a stranger. I see cats on the streets all the time without them and still think that they’re adorable; how different was it really? “Alexander,” I tried again, a little louder this time.
All of a sudden his eyes flash open and he has a tight grip on my wrist, instantly removing my hand from his shoulder. He seemed to be in attack mode before noticing my wide surprised – and slightly scared – eyes and instantly letting me go.
“Sorry, Kit,” he muttered as he stood up and brushed his clothes off, quickly hurried back into the school before I could even say anything. It wasn’t a big deal, I mean Sam had thrown multiple pillows at me when I try to wake him up; so why did he look so guilty for that single moment I saw him before he disappeared.
“Alrighty then,” I say to myself before hurrying off to my class, not wanting to be late.