Ch. 1:: Introductions
There are two more weeks left of my sophomore year. Because of this, I had no reason to go to school. I went anyway. My friends, ironically, were smarter than me. Sora and Riku were out hanging as they suggested. They were always horrible liars, but Im really not one to talk.
Roxas! Where are you going? Namine shouted through the throng of teenagers. It only took her a few seconds to make her way over to me.
Lunch room; wanna come? I smiled at her, even though I wanted to frown. I already knew she wouldnt come, but being the masochist that I am, I asked.
Sorry, Im meeting up with Kairi. Everyone I knew seemed to have paired up with someone. I wasnt jealous. Im the odd one out, so this whole coupling act really didnt help my self loathing problem.
Ill catch up with you later, then. We waved our goodbyes and left each other. She went one way and I went another. That pattern seemed to be a ruling factor in my life.
Alone, I made my way to the lunch room. I reached the doorway with little trouble, but I couldnt walk in. The massive room boasted its size as the echoes of the endless celebration within reached past the thick doors. There are only two weeks of school left. The rule of thumb is to torture the teachers until the very last minute. The reverse is also true. But thats not the reason I didnt walk in. There actually was no reason. I just didnt want to walk in there anymore.
I calmed myself down, breathing in and out. I wasnt about to march into the warzone in all actuality. I was about to leave. Thats right; ditch. Something I had never done before. Its not that big of a deal considering the chaotic approach of summer, but a lot of things can happen when youre bored.
Its bigger then being just bored. I was compelled to just walk out; to leave this dreadful place forever. When you step back and look at things from a low place, a lot of things start to seem possible that were once considered outrageous. So thats what I did. I dropped my bag full of the necessities for school and I walked out. The campus was pretty small; I made good time leaving it.
After sometime of walking, I found myself walking into a convenience store. I was practically a regular there. There wasnt much else for me to do while I was waiting for my friends to finish in a sense. I walked up and down every single isle. It was tradition. I stopped before a stand of cigarette packs. That was another tradition. I would make myself stand in front of the cigarette packs until a clerk would stare me down. Imagine my feminine face trying to pass off for an eighteen year old. Small things like that, no matter where you are, are always impossible. Everything is kinda funny that way.
In reality: Ive always wanted to pick up smocking. I wouldnt smoke to look cool or to ruin my lungs. I would smoke just for the smoke. I love watching that grey mist fade as it rises into the air. The thick smell that accompanies the smoke is also pretty cool. Its the symbolism behind it all that appeals to me.
Unknowingly, I let out a pleased sigh. My imagination wasnt so overworked that I could taste the cigarette in my mouth, but I could smell that wonderful aroma about me. A few seconds later I could see it too.
I spun about as soon as I heard the almost-muffled laugh. Tall, intimidating, and alluring in every sense of the wordthat is the perfect way to describe this red-haired stranger. He stood only three or so feet away from me and kept a hand over his mouth as he studied me; cigarette waiting in the other hand. The tattoos under his eyes only made his dark emerald eyes seem that much more intense. His whole posture was lax, in control so-to-speak. He seemed extremely pleased as he stared at me and it wasnt until some time passed that I realized that I too was staring. Perhaps gawking would be a better verb.
Um, sorry. I really didnt know what else to say. I turned and made way to leave that isle, to get out of this awkward situation. I always ran from things like that, but I never found anything wrong with that.
What are you apologizing for? My head swung around on impulse to face him. He was even closer to me now and he had even chosen to bend down to meet my flustered gaze. Of course, he only made me more uncomfortable.
Um, was I in your way? I looked back to the cigarette stand not too far and kept my eyes trained on that. I wasnt an idiotI knew full well that if I looked into his handsome face I would make an utter fool of myself.
Not at all. If you werent cute I would mind though. I could see him smile coyly out of the corner of my eye, I could feel the temperature rise in my cheeks, and I could definitely hear his laughter following my flustered expression.
Cute? I slowly worked up the courage to look at him squarely.
Yes. Its a perfect adjective for you. He edged his way even closer to me. How am I supposed to react to that? Unlike Namine I dont engross myself in shojou manga and romance novels.
Although he was handsome, clearly, and also hitting on me, I couldnt help but question why I was reacting in such a weak manner. I never considered myself to be such a naive person. Of course, I was clearly a virgin in all aspects of love, but I had seen my friends act lovey-dovey enough that I thought Id be able to act more cool-like in this kind of situation. Although, I also never considered myself to be gayI wasnt very surprised considering I was one of the freaks of Haylore High. Im a bit apathetic to those sorts of things.
Having trouble responding? He brought the cigarette to his lips; I took a mental picture of it.
You are a stranger to me. I really didnt like saying those words, but my cruel impulses got the better of me.
Hah! I am, arent I? He abruptly draped his free arm around my shoulders and pulled me to him. I believe I shrieked. I was extremely surprised at his flamboyant manner. Blood red hair, face tattoos, and practically embracing a random and clearly younger manthis guy had me stupefied and I didnt even know his name. Well, not yet, anyway.
Wh-whatre you doing? Flustered still, I jerked my head up to him and froze. I would never push him away. I really should have, seeing as I didnt know this man, but I never really noticed how cold I was until that moment.
Nothingyet. He made yet another cocky smile.
Well dont do anything! Was I making sense? I felt horrible for implying such a fallacy, but it was all impulse again. My impulses are my only defenseI suppose. I really hated feeling so weak and beneath him.
Now, if you didnt want that then youd be trying to push me away.
Trying? I raised an eyebrow, questioningly. I knew full well I was averting the more obvious responses that I could have made. I could have shouted or gotten extremely angry at him for such an conceited comment, but I found myself seeking more of his deep, gentle voice. It really kept me on edge, like hard rock musicthat rush of adrenaline.
Yes, you would try but fail. He smiled, not arrogantly as usual, but genuinely. But I guess that wouldnt happen since you seem to be enjoying my company.
And what makes you say that? What a stupid question I had asked.
Youve been blushing instead of slapping me? He mused and looked off to the side, as if to continue his thoughts. He looked back to me with a sly grin once he had finished with his thoughts. Would you like to get lunch, right now?
Millions of questions went streaming across my mind, all laced with nervous worries. There was no way Id decline. Not when I knew I liked this man, but I really didnt want to be so easily won and subdued. It just wasnt my personality. So, instead of answering, I froze. I stared up at him, my mouth gaping and my cheeks only a few hues short of his hair, for what must have been ten minutes.
Continue to take your time, Im in no hurry. It was his turn to be nervous now. He held a defeated, hurt smile that quickly began to crush my heart. It was ten times worse then Soras ultimate puppy-dog face.
W-well, if youre paying. I responded almost immediately and followed up my comment by looking away, bashfully as anyone would expect. I hated acting in such an unoriginal manner, but I couldnt think of anything else and I really wanted to have lunch with him.
Great! His shout caught the attention of the store clerk, but he quickly led me out before we could be confronted. Oh, Im Axel. Got it memorized?
That made me smileI honestly dont know why, but that line just made me happy. Im Roxas.
Roxy, huh? Cute name for a cute blonde. His sing-song voice was just begging to get me to raise my voice.
Youre doing that on purpose, arent you? I glared at him, playfully.
I have no clue what youre talking about. His grin widened, as did mine.