I walked into the school I had become familiar with over the past two years. The walls were painted a dull gray, almost as if to express the students dreary moods. Though this morning is different. Everyone is talking at rapid speeds in the hallways. Even the loners who ditch classes for the sole purpous of avoiding conversation.
I make my way to my best friend, Vee, in quick strides, casting curious glances at the students I've practically known since birth. "Hey, do you know what's going on?" I ask and tug on her sleeve, pulling her out of the dream-like state she's in. She shakes her head and sighs softly.
"There's a new kid coming in today," she whipers as she looks down into eyes. I raise my eyebrows expectantly waiting for more. I know Colwater is a small town, but there's always the occasional new kids at school. "From what I heard, he was kicked out of his last school for murdering someone, Nora." She says, her voice still quiet as her eyes dart around the room, as if he might be looming around listening to her gossip.
"If he killed someone, wouldn't he be in jail?" I ask and run a hand through my hair as I look up her. Her mouth suddenly snaps closed as she stares back at the end of the hall. The crowd was parting for the new guy almost like he had the plague. As he continued decreasing the distace between them, I was shocked to find I didn't feel nervous in the slightest.
Like I'd said to Vee only minutes, if this guy had hurt someone, why was he now attending school in Coldwater instead of being with a cellmate behind bars? The question lingers in my head, making me wonder why someone accused of him of such a crime. In my periphery, I see Vee step, and that's when my nerves kicked in.
If Vee was afraid, surely I should be. She's always been the reckless one, and I've been her side - kick.I can feel everyone watching us, and I feel more terrified of my fellow classmates than of him. I almost laugh at the irony. I'm in a hallway with a guy everyone believes to be a killer, but my fear of of others watching is what truly scare me.
I look up, and realize immediately that it's a mistake. My gray eyes meet his own swirlng sea of black. However, if it weren't for our close proximity, I wouldn't have seen them at all due to a baseball cap shielding the better half of the top of his head. My eyes scan over his features out of habit, and I feel blood rush to my cheeks as the side of his mouth tips up.
"What's your name?" He asks after a moment, seemingly more interested in me than finding his locker before first period. I glance around the hall like Vee had previously, seeing nearly everyone in school is trying to get close enough to hear him. This is so odd, I think to myself as I look back up at the new guy. They don't know anything about this guy, except for a rumor that someone started.
"I'm Nora," I say and give him the biggest smile I can manage at the moment, hating that people are watching this like a movie in the theatre or play in the park. It makes my insides churn, and I hope against hope that they'll go away.
His charcoal eyes travel the length of my body, appraising me. I feel my cheeks, ears, and chest flush when he gives me a lopsided smirk. I get queezy for an entirely new reason as he takes a step closer to me. "I'm Patch. I hope I'll be seeing you around, Nora," he says before stalking off down the hall, and I look down, my heart beating faster.
Soon, I say to myself, I'll know his story. Not the made up truth Coldwater has given him.