Guardian Angel

November 23, 2009
By , Livingston, NJ
“Hazel Nott?”
“Jasper Riptide?” Jasper jerked awake, having fallen into a boredom-induced stupor, at the sound of his name. He looked up in time to see Mr. Theodore, the principal, stride into the room, shadowed by an unfamiliar girl.

The principal spoke. “Class 8-A, this new student will be joining your homeroom. I expect that you will all make her feel welcome.” He cleared his throat and swept out of the room. Everyone turned to the new girl.

She was short and slender, with a few freckles dotting her ivory cheeks. Auburn hair streaked with gold tumbled around her shoulders. She wore a powder pink sweater and jeans. The popular girl’s snickered-pastel colors were so out.

The new girl flashed a confident smile. “My name is Isolde Gabriella Caraway. I was home schooled. This is my first year in public school.” Titters erupted in the back of the room.

Ms. Springer ignored them and smiled warmly. “Welcome to our homeroom, Isolde. Why don’t you sit over there, next to Jasper?”

Jasper looked at his hands as Isolde Gabriella Caraway walked over and sat down gracefully.

“Jasper Riptide,” he muttered, holding out a hand.

Isolde Gabriella Caraway stared at it, her wide eyes perplexed. Her irises were cobalt jewels, pinpoints of light sparkling in them like diamonds on blue satin.

“You’re supposed to shake it,” Jasper mumbled. Somehow, the fact that she didn’t recognize a handshake made him feel less awkward than the fact that she was sitting there, right next to him.

She took his hand, shaking it a bit more forcefully than he’d anticipated.

“You can call me Brielle,” she said. “Do you believe in guardian angels?”

In the next few days, it became apparent that Isolde Gabriella Caraway was the main curiosity of not only 8-A, but the whole of Heritage Junior High.

She scorned the cafeteria selections of fries and spaghetti, choosing to bring her own organic lunches from home. She didn’t know football from foot exfoliates. Taunts slid off her like rainwater on roofs.

Girls gossiped. Boys laughed. And when she said she didn’t have a TV at home, everyone laughed, except Jasper.

“You like her,” Dusk, his best friend, said one day, an owlish smile on his face. His mother was a psychologist, and his father an English professor. Frequently he used vocabulary no one else knew, so this simplistic statement was atypical. But also true.

That day, they were working on dichotomous keys. Jasper carefully kept his head down as Brielle asked for the bathroom pass and the door opened, then closed.
A sudden smashing sound came from the adjoining seventh-grade lab.

Instantly, a foul smell pervaded the room. “Everyone, stay calm and follow me!” Ms. Springer called over panicked shrieks.

The class pushed and scrabbled their way into the hallway as fire alarms started ringing. In the adjacent classroom, flames were visible, smoke starting to seep out from under the door.

As they neared the exit, a feeling of discomfort, the urge to rescue, crept up on him . . . “Brielle!”

“Where are you going? Are you insane?” Dusk shouted as Jasper pushed his way back through the sluggish crowd to the girl’s restroom. Without thinking, he barged in.

Brielle was curled up in the corner, gazing at the fire alarm. “Why is it beeping?” she asked, sounding bemused and irritated.

“For God’s sake, Brielle, it’s a fire!” Jasper shouted, pulling her up. He pushed the heavy door open, choking on the black smoke that now obscured the hallway.

He heard Brielle gasping for air behind him and, thinking of nothing but getting her out of here, felt his way along the stone wall.

After an eternity, his fingers met the cool plastic the door frame and a dazzling light met his eyes. Only now, as the two of them stumbled outside and were immediately surrounded by teachers and classmates, did he register her hand still in his.

Brielle pulled him around. Her eyes locked onto his. “Why?”

What a stupid question. He couldn’t have just left her in the bathroom, could he?

Yet, no one else had gone after her. If it hadn’t been for him . . .
He shrugged. “I don’t know.”

She leaned forward and, to his shock, brushed her lips over his. “My guardian angel,” she whispered teasingly.

Ignoring the gasps of several astonished girls, Jasper twisted his fingers around hers.
Then they both turned to face the crowd, not able to suppress their smiles.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now! said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm
oh my word that was amazing
Melinda L. said...
Jan. 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm
OMG Amazing Amazing. This was SO.....WOW. wow. keep writing, you have an amazing gift!
lexi<3 said...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 9:29 pm
this is wayyyyyy way too awesome!!!!i absolutely LOVE it!!! i like how its just one random little look into the life of these people. like, it doesn't have to explain anything because there's no NEED for a background. its so CUTE!!!!! i love love love it! two thumbs up!i peace.
bubblee96 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm
So freakin' cute! I love the whole idea of her never being in a public school. It was funny when she didn't even know the fire was going on!
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