The soft, golden sunlight peeks through my sheer curtains, awakening me from my beauty slumber. Just kidding. Who actually wakes up like that these days? I groan, slamming my fist against my beeping alarm clock. Looking at the time, my eyes widen when I realize I'm late. I jump out of bed and pull on a pair of jeans and a crumpled t-shirt from the bottom of my closet, then sliding a comb through my thick hair and tying it up in a ponytail. Grabbing my backpack and my beat-up tennis shoes, I rush downstairs. My parents have already left for work, and my little brother is sitting at the table with his backpack on.
“Kayleeeee I'm hungry!” He pouts.
“Hold on a second Adam,”I say.
I grab a large Ziploc bag and dump some of his chocolate cereal in it before pouring in milk. I shake up the bag and hand it to him.
“Now let's go.”
He looks at the bag then up at me.
“What is this?!”
“Food. Now let's go!” I take his hand and we leave the house, me running ahead while he wobbles behind with his bag of cereal shaking in his small hands.
“Adam I can't be late for school again! Elizabeth will kill me!”
All of a sudden, I hear a voice yell, “Watch out!” then I look behind me to see Adam on the floor clutching his head. I gasp and run back to him.
“What happened?” I ask frantically, dropping my backpack and prying his hands from his forehead to reveal a large gash.
“Boy...frisbee...head..ouch..” He mumbles. I look up to see a tall boy standing in front of him, wincing.
“That was my frisbee...sorry..”
I examine him, he looks kind of familiar.
“Just watch out next time, alright? And why are you throwing a frisbee at this time, don't you have school?”
“I got expelled from school. Kaylee Felkins? I was in your class, remember?”
I look up again and suddenly his deep blue eyes register in my head. Lucas Westfield.
“I um..we have to go.” I help my brother stand up then I clutch his hand before swinging my backpack over my shoulder.
“Let's go Adam.” I mutter under my breath and we run down the street towards our school.
“Nice seeing you too, Kaylee.” I hear Lucas sigh, then his sneakers against the pavement as he walks back into his house, slamming the door behind him.
Elizabeth is standing at my locker when we get inside.
“Why are you so late?” She snaps. “I told you to get here 15 minutes early. Do you want to be kicked out of the squad?”
“I'm sorry..my brother fell on the way here, and I saw Lucas and it was-”
“Lucas Westfield? The murderer?”
Everyone in the hallway goes silent. It was 2 years ago when Lucas was accused of murdering one of the teachers. I remember the police cars pulling up to the front of the school, and they came into class and carried him away in handcuffs. I remember the crimson red staining the hallway floors. Mrs. Thomford was the nicest teacher I'd ever met in my entire life. She battled an almost lifelong struggle with cancer, and soon defeated in a few years before the incident. But it wasn't chemo or cancerous cells that killed her, it was a bullet. Mrs Thomford always had a soothing voice and taught with such passion you could see the sparkle in her eyes for her love of education. Lucas still hadn't been put on trial because they didn't have enough evidence, but he was expelled from school and stayed home all day since then.
“Yeah..him.” I say, opening my locker and grabbing some of my textbooks.
Elizabeth wrinkled her nose in disgust.
“Did he like, pull out a knife and try to stab you?” She chuckles at her own comment.
I let out a forced laugh then shut my locker.
“No. But he's weird.”
“I know right. Now let's go, Beth and Jess are waiting for us.”
She loops her arm around mine and struts her way down the hall, the sound of her pink heels clacking against the tile floor.
The day is slow and boring, and I almost fall asleep in 3rd period. The dim gray lights badly illuminating the classrooms and the chipping cream paint makes school a drab place to be. Lunch finally comes and I make my way through the heavy crowd accumulating around the cafeteria entrance to our table in the back of the lunchroom. Beth and Jess are already sitting there, Beth poking at a kale salad while Jess smothers on pink lip gloss while looking at her reflection in her iPhone camera. I sit down and pull out a slightly bruised apple out of my crinkled paper lunch bag. Beth puts her fork down and raises an eyebrow at me.
“Didn't have time to pack lunch this morning,” I explain.
“Not your lunch, dork. I'm talking about your clothes. We all agreed to wear purple jeans today?”
She crosses her arms. I realize everyone else sitting at the table is wearing purple jeans. This is how it's always been. My ‘friends’ always did everything together, wore matching outfits and went on vacation together. And then there was me, the outcast. Never invited to their parties or added to their group chats, yet they considered me apart of them.
“Sorry,” I sigh and take a bite out of my apple.
Today wasn't going so well.
Walking home from school with Adam’s little fingers intertwined with mine, I try to make sure we don't run into Lucas today. That boy really scares me. His piercing blue eyes, broad shoulders, a cloud of mystery hung over him so large it was almost tangible. Adam rambles on about his day at school, and I respond occasionally with a few nods in between. When we get inside the house, I dump my backpack next to the door and empty my lunch bag into the trash. I had no appetite at all to finish the remainder of food that was still inside. Adam wobbles upstairs and I hear the soft click of his door behind him. I knew I still had so much to do, make dinner since our parents wouldn't be back until very late that night, finish my abundant amount of homework, help Adam with his schoolwork and then put him to bed. The stress was driving me insane. On top of that, I had no real friends. I needed fresh air. I walked outside and sat on the front porch. The puffy white clothes glided across the baby blue sky, the grass swaying slowly in the breeze. Then it started pouring. Not out of the clouds. I cried and cried until it felt like no tears could come out. That had been the first time I'd cried in ages. I'd been hiding my emotions and not letting anything come out when it should've a while ago. I heard someone's footsteps coming up the cracked pavement and I quickly pull my sleeve to my eyes.
“Kaylee.” The voice says quietly.
I lookup to see none other than the infamous Lucas standing in front of me.
One surprisingly long talk later, I feel so much better. And Lucas is still sitting next to me. I spilled my head and heart into words and poured them out to him. And he sat there, soaking everything in. I don't know why I didn't freak out, this guy was accused of murder, killing a teacher, and here we sat closer than before. After I had cried out every last tear and spoke until my throat was raw and dry, he opened his mouth and let out what he had to say. And after our little social session, I now know everything that really happened that day.
I march into school next day with a wide grin and an unusual amount of confidence. Elizabeth approaches me at my locker as usual, today modeling a flowy pink dress and strappy sandals with a glop of shimmery lipgloss and lavender eyeshadow. Not the best combination in my opinion.
“Save it Eliza. Don't wanna hear it today,” I smile and close my locker before walking away, leaving Elizabeth with a scowl spread across her face.
I find myself sitting in the principal’s office hours later. Not in trouble, but someone else is. In my hand, I hold an eyeshadow palette, a lavender eyeshadow palette, with dried smeared blood covering the front cover. I quietly slide the only piece of evidence Lucas and I could find across the table to Mr. Irwin, and his eyes widen when everything clicks into place.
“Hurry up Lucas!” I laugh and grab his hand. “We’re gonna be late for class!”
One year later and life was starting to get a whole lot better. Lucas was back in school, my parents started spending more time with my brother and I, and I finally left my ‘friends’ behind. Elizabeth had to leave the school after she was rightly accused of murdering the teacher. Who would've thought little miss perfect would've killed someone? But you know what they say. Looks can be deceiving.