A/N: Okay, so I guess I have a problem, that being that I only want to write "Final Destination" fics; those are the ones I've been getting the most reviews for, so why look the gift horse in the mouth right? Well, since I've been writing mainly about Kimberly, I figured I'd write a story with Clear and the other 180 survivors; everyone now thinks that I like Kimberly better then Clear which is not true (though I do like A.J. Cook better then Ali Larter, sorry everyone) So, on with this fic, please review and enjoy.
The title comes from the Liz Phair song "Why Can't I" and you'll get the title if you know the song...if not, sorry (but you should, it's a great song.) The chorus goes with Clear's feelings in this story.
Another Note: It takes place three years before the actual movie; I know Clear says that in four years of high school she and Alex never said "one word to each other" but let's hope she was exaggerating slightly.
"Why Can't I?"
Clear Rivers shifted slightly in the hard plastic seat she was sitting in, keeping her eyes on the wispy, fifty something woman that flittered around in front of her, obviously on her own agenda. The secretary of Abraham High School appeared not to notice her sitting there, even though she had the brunette's class schedule in her wrinkly hands, tossed together with a few other papers.
It was the first day of high school and already Clear was having a horrible day, though it wasn't truly a day yet, only a morning. First period was happening out the walls of the small secretary office and she was sure that no one noticed that she wasn't a part of the high school life yet, not that she minded. She was used to never getting noticed and ever the optimist, Clear had already prepared herself to go through all four years at Mt. Abraham with the fewest glances possible from her peers. And so far, that expectation had proved to be true, since the secretary wasn't even bothering with her at the moment.
Clear knew she should make allowances for the woman's scatter-brain attitude, since she surely had to deal with more then her messed up schedule but that didn't mean she had to appreciate it. Teachers and those that worked along side them were paid to noticed students and she had gotten used to them being the people that actually did notice her.
As though reading her private thoughts, the woman (Mrs. Collins, her nameplate read) turned to face the brunette, who instantly sat up straighter, trying to ask as though she wasn't impatient, knowing that authority hated it when teenagers acted impatient.
"Now, Miss Rivers, what exactly is the problem?" Mrs. Collins already sounded exasperated and that was the first thing she had said to Clear aside from "just one minute," before directing her to the seat she was now sitting in. She shuffled through the papers in her hand until she pulled out Clear's now rumbled schedule, looking it over. "It looks fine to me."
Clear nodded slowly, though she wasn't agreeing with the woman; she wanted to choose her words slowly, since she was at a new school and all. No need to get on the secretary's bad side the first day. "Well, it is except for one thing: I'm signed up for French...I don't speak French..." She trailed off, hoping Mrs. Collins would understand the problem.
She, however, had no such luck.
Mrs. Collins pursed her lips, glaring at the brunette over her large glasses before glancing down at the paper once again. "What's wrong with French? Look...I have a lot to do today but maybe if you come back next week we can see about this French thing." Her words weren't a request, they were a command. The woman handed Clear back her schedule, the signal that the discussion was closed.
Clear, however, wasn't happy with the way the conversation had gone and she was going to let Mrs. Collins know it. "Next week?" She repeated, letting her impatience show finally. She had been sitting in the office for half an hour, watching the woman go about her secretarial duties and send the trouble-making students ahead into the principal's office, only to be told that she would have to wait until next week. "But I don't want to sit in French for a whole week; look, I signed up for Spanish and I'm not in Spanish and it's your job to make sure that I am." She finished her sentence by handing the paper back to the woman, who looked slightly surprised.
Truthfully, Clear hadn't know where the outburst had come from, perhaps it was the stress of the first day of high school, on top of finally being officially handed over to her grandparents and shipped out to New York. Her mother had been trying to pass custody to someone else for five years and her grandparents had finally agreed to take her in; Clear had known the day was long time coming, the order of her step-father but she hadn't been happy about the move. Now she was in an unfamiliar school, surrounded by unfamiliar people with a messed up schedule; she figured there was only so much a person could take.
"Well, I'll do what I can, but you're going to have to wait a while longer." Mrs. Collins said finally, lips pressed into a skinny line as she glared at the brunette. Without another word, she took the schedule and disappeared into another room, shutting the door behind her.
With a sigh, Clear leaned against the wall behind her, crossing her arms across her stomach and staring skyward. Within five minutes, the door opened again and the secretary reappeared, about to say something else when the main door opened and a man who appeared to be Clear's age strolled in, a smirk on his face and who Clear assumed to be the principal following after him.
The principal muttered something to Mrs. Collins before shoving the man ahead of him, mumbling, "Well, Mr. Horton, it's not a shock to see you in here, already." The last word he put extra emphasis on, causing Clear to get the impression that "Mr. Horton" was the typical trouble-making teen in a lettermen jacket. She had seen them at her old school and had been the object of many of their torments, and so she mentally reminded herself to stay away from those in Mt. Abraham.
The door was about to close once more but another teenage boy stepped in before it could shut, looking much more soft-spoken then the one before him. Clear gazed at him and instantly, she knew she was in love, her breath catching in her throat and her heart pounding in her chest. He looked unlike any boy that she had ever encountered at her first school, with sparkling blue eyes, sandy brown hair and slight dimples.
He didn't even glance at her as he walked up to Mrs. Collins' desk, holding his schedule before him, an explanation on his lips. The woman held up a hand, silencing him before he could begin. "Have a seat, I'll be with you in a second." And with those words she disappeared once more, leaving the two teenagers alone.
Clear exhaled and hoped that she would appear like an idiot and the mystery boy's eyes but he still hadn't even glanced her way. He tossed his backpack to the floor and sat down in the chair beside her, finally looking over at her. He looked her over once with his blue eyes and she could tell that he was trying to place her and (disappointingly) not checking her out. Finally he said, "I haven't seen you before, are you new?"
She managed to nod, figuring that in a small town like Mt. Abraham, the only thing different about changing grades was the school name, and that everyone had surely known each other since kindergarten. "Yes, I just moved here." That much was obvious and as soon as she spoke, Clear felt like an idiot.
"Cool." He muttered, though the look on his face didn't convey that he really cared too much. "I'm Alex." He held his hand on to her and she quickly took his, praying that the heat she felt in her cheeks didn't show on the surface.
Before she could introduce herself, Mrs. Collins appeared, holding out Clear's rumbled schedule. "Okay Miss Rivers, you can have Spanish second period, if that's quiet all right with you." Her words carried a sarcastic tone and Clear knew that she had already started off on the wrong foot with the faculty.
She mumbled a thank as she took the schedule, unwilling to leave Alex behind just yet. Mrs. Collins then went to address him and he quickly explained to her that he had a problem opposite to Clear's: he had Spanish instead of French.
Headed toward the door, Clear paused, turning around, wondering if she could possibly used the situation to her advantage. "Well, Mr. Browning, I can put you in French during fourth, there are a few openings." Mrs. Collins was saying and instantly, Clear glanced down at her old schedule, seeing that she had had French fourth.
"Um, Mrs. Collins, I changed my mind." She practically shouted as Alex said his thank-yous. "I think I'll take French after all." As soon as she spoke, she felt embarrassed, the color in her cheeks defiantly showing this time. Both Alex and the secretary glanced over at her, a frown on the old woman's face, a look of confusion on his.
Mrs. Collins sighed, deciding it would better simply to surrender then the put up a fight; she was, after all, already signed up for the class. "Miss Rivers...that's fine...I'm through with you, get out of here." The words weren't meant to be completely cruel but that was how the brunette took them, frowning and slinking out the room, head bowed.
She was headed down the empty hallway, intent on finding her first period, when she felt someone tap on her shoulder. Clear turned, surprised to see Alex standing beside her, a half smile on his delicate features. "Don't let Mrs. Collins get to you, she's just under a lot of stress right now, this being the first day." He told her before she could say anything to him, causing the color to return in her cheeks for the second time in as many minutes.
"R-right, right." She could think of nothing else to say other then that simple word and wished that more would come out. As soon as she looked at Alex's radiant smile, every thought disappeared from her skull.
Alex didn't seem to notice and started walking, taking the pace Clear had walked at seconds earlier, a silent command for her to follow him down the hallway. "So, where did you move from?" He asked as she stepped beside him, glaring down at her schedule in hopes of keeping herself from saying or doing anything else stupid.
"Connecticut." Clear managed to tell him, staring so hard that the words had begun to blur. She switched to the floor, watching her feet and his move together. "I live with my grandparents now." She hadn't meant to say so much but the words simply tumbled out.
Alex just nodded, deciding it was wise not to say anything more; they walked in silence for a few more seconds, Clear letting him lead her far from her destination and not really caring. Finally, Alex stopped and stood before a classroom door, causing the brunette to look up at his face. "Well, this is my class, I guess I'll see you in French class uh..." He trailed off, waiting for her to supply a name.
"Clear...Rivers." She almost didn't add her last name, knowing that every time she did a teasing, no matter how innocent, would soon follow. But when she told Alex, she felt as though there was something different about him, something perfect, that would make him overlook her parent's cruelty and just bid her goodbye. He was, after all, perfect in every way so far.
A smile spread across his face and he said, "Your name is Clear Rivers? Your parents actually named you Clear Rivers?" His words were proceeded with slight laughter as he rose his hand in a silent goodbye, slipping into the classroom.
Clear frowned, staring at the brown door in front of her, a frown on her face. Well...maybe not perfect.
So, I can't figure out if I want to continue or just leave it like this. And, I know Clear doesn't exactly act like this in the movie but in this story, she's fourteen and I know how fourteen year old girls act when they see a cute boy. A lot could have happened in those three years too...so...don't tell me that it's not like her. Thanks for reading it, please review! (Tell me if I should continue)