Chapter 4

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Riley

I wasn't happy to be back in the halls of Oceana high school, but I was glad to be away from my apartment. My Foster Dad, Hank, had just got back home a few days ago. He wasn't making life easy on any of us, especially not me. His anger was red hot. He spent the last months in jail and that was all because of me. He was going to make me pay. I was avoiding him like the plague. Thankfully, he got his job back. He worked at the dump. They didn't care if he had been in jail. My summer working had covered what he wasn't making. But Gwen was still mad.

I didn't have any new clothes for this year. Usually I saved up for a couple of pairs of jeans and a few new hoodies. But since my whole check went to Gwen, I had nothing. My old clothes would have to do. But I had gotten a little taller over the summer. That sucked. I hated standing out. At 5 foot 11, I always stood out. I always walked with my head down. My hair covering most of my face. I started that after the accident. I had a pretty bad scar on my face. But it has actually slowly going away. But I still cover my face. I don't want to be seen. My jeans are too tight. But the hoodie was too big in the first place. It will do for another year I hope.

People fill the halls. Most of them have excited colors swirling around. I can tell who the Freshmen are, because most of them have a bit of insecurity and anxiety. I don't blame them. High school is tough. Even in this small school. A guy I remember from last year is leering at me with a look I don't like at all. His color has just a tinge of lust. Creep. He brushes past me and "accidently" grabs my butt. I just keep walking. Don't let him bother you, I tell myself. He didn't have any evil intentions. That's the good thing about seeing people's emotions. I can tell if they intend to hurt me. Most people don't. The guys are usually nicer than the girls though. The girls have a mixture of green envy and disgust for me. They hate me because I'm poor and they hate me because they think I'm prettier than them. I don't know how they can hate me for both. Can't they see that since I'm so poor, it doesn't matter if I'm pretty? But jealousy isn't always reasonable. I don't know why they feel like that anyway. I'm way too tall. My curves that decided to show themselves last year are nothing but a nuisance. They can have my curves if they want them. It just makes my Foster Dad look at me like a piece of meat. I can't even feel comfortable in my own home.

The girl who has the locker next to mine is spewing orange emotions right now. Puppy love, or a crush, is what I have come to recognize that color as. Not lust like most guys have. Orange is more innocent. I don't mind that color. Its happy and hopeful. I wonder who she has her eyes on. She's talking to her little group of cheerleader friends. "Did you see the new guy? Oh my God! His eyes are mesmerizing. And his lashes are longer than mine! It looks like he's wearing makeup. What do you think?" The other girls nod their agreement. I'm not even going to bother looking. What's the point? I'm sure once he finds out I'm a foster kid, he wouldn't want to talk to me anyway. And I have honestly never felt anything for any of these guys.

She keeps talking. I take my time at my locker to listen. Its nice to hear regular teenage conversation for a change. "And he has these bulging muscles." The other girls giggle at that. "Does he surf?" one of them asks. "He totally had a surfboard on his Jeep!" Oh, my goodness, they are so shallow. Is that all that matters? A hot guy who surfs? How about being kind? Is he smart? Do any of these girls have standards?

"There he is!" One girl squeals. He's coming this way. I feel a rush of energy run through me. Like tingles up and down my spine.  That's so weird. I don't care about this guy they are drooling over. Why am I getting all flustered?  I decide to turn the other way and head to class without checking him out. I don't need to see what he looks like, right? Just another lame guy like every other one I have ever met. But I admit to myself that I am intrigued. I shake my head as I dismiss that ridiculous thought. I won't be distracted by a handsome guy. These girls are pathetic.

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