Ideas ricochet back and forth in my mind, the moment Mrs. Bowman explains the new drawing assignment to the class. We're told to create an abstract portrait. For those who don't know, this means we're supposed to make a picture of a person that lacks in logic or just doesn't make sense. My model was going to be my best friend, Lucy. We always work together when given the chance. ALWAYS
Although she doesn't see it, Lucy is extremley beautiful. Her hispanic background gifted her with long legs, curves in all the right places, and smooth tanned skin. She's also extremley talented when it comes to painting. I could draw a portrait and make it so that half her face is drawn, since that's what I'm best at. Then, to make the drawing abstract, I could paint the other half of her face.
Her Hispanic background also gave her wildly curly hair. She’s always complaining about how frizzy and messy it is. Every morning, except for the rare days were she’s either too lazy or wakes up late, she straightens it. So, to make the portrait a bit more crazy, the painted half of her face will have elegant yet crazy curls. The other half will have stick straight hair. I’m sure Lucy will love it, she always loves my drawings!
"Kora Lengle, you'll be with Drake Matthews. Lucinda Vasquez and Kelly Parker, you two will be partners."
Kelly Parker. Kelly Parker? Kelly Parker? What the Hell!?
My eyes go wide, my mouth agape. I look over my shoulder at Lucy, who sits a few seats away from me. Lucy offers a sweet smile and shrugs.
Lucy and I, despite our extreme clique differences, are best friends. I actually consider her more of ta sister, the one I never had. Our peers know that, teachers know that! And it's not like we don't do our school work when we're partnered together. Sure we talk, but we get our work done.
"Mason Miller and Jackson. Ashlynn, you'll work with Dean Kochel. Jessica Lakey..."
I had once considered Mrs. Bowman my favorite teacher. But now? All I wanted to do was crawl on all fours across the wooden drawing tables to Mrs. Bowman and pull as hard as I could on her weave.
I mean, seriously! What was she thinking? Is she crazy? Mentally unstable? Mrs. Bowman has never partnered me with anyone else but Lucy before! What was so different now?!
Out of all people?
Dean's lived in Redfield for a little longer then two months and already he's notorious for being a slacker. I've never actually talked to him before, but I've witnessed tons of innapropriate incidents. I've heard even more rumors. Just the other day, Dean told Principal Jones to fuck off. You want to know what Principal Jones said to deserve that? "Good morning, Mr. Kochel. How's you're day so far?"
If he’s my partner, I stand no chance of becoming a famous artist, let alone actually getting a passing grade.
“You okay! You look pissed!” Dean says as he grabs the back of the chair, only to turn it and then
sit down. I watched him with disbelieving eyes as he straddled over the seat and folded his arms over the back of the chair. He rested his unshaven chin on his folded arms.
I look at the mop atop of his head with narrowed eyes, unsure if he'd meant to make his hair look like that or if he litterally decided not to brush his hair this morning. Stubble covered his cheeks and neck. His hands looked rough, covered in dirt, caluses, and blisters. Grime was visibile under his fingerneails. He was wearing baggy jeans with chains that dangled from his belt loops. He was also wearing a baseball tee and hiking boots. He could easily pass for a hobo.
"You checkin me out, princess?" Dean says as he batts his eyes. I roll my eyes and show him my middle finger. Fake scorn crosses his face, “Ouch! Good girl gone bad, huh? Sorry you got stuck with me princess, but you can’t get everything you want no matter how much money your daddy’s got.”
I glare into his hazel eyes, making sure that my most intimidating glare was on my face. Had he just insulted me? Yes! He did! I’m not a princess! And I’m not spoiled! Everyone assumes things just because my parents are rich! Everyone always thinks that I’m self-centered! I’m not! I just want to make a good future for myself! Is that really so bad!
I glared into his pleased hazel eyes, which appeared to be outlined with..eyeliner? Did he actually wear guyliner? What kind of guy wears make up? I continue to glare, but apparently my intimidating glare isn’t that intimidating at all…
Dean's smirk grows. He winks at me. I roll my eyes and groan in anger as I write down in huge letters on the bottom of my agenda:
Get New Drawing Partner!!!!!!
* * *
"Ashlynn, I understand that this means a lot to you. I really do. But I highly doubt that one boy will completely jeopardize your future.”
I scoff sarcastically, so shocked that she was defending him! I mean, all the teachers hate Dean! Don’t they…?
He never does his school work! He’s always disrespectful and obnoxious during class! And around girls he turns into either a complete douche, or an immature pervert! I even saw him hitting on Mrs. Ashby, the school nurse once, for some IBProfun. Granted it didn't work. Mrs. Ashby had just smiled and said, "Ummm, no." But still! The nerve!
“Mrs. Bowman, please! Just let me work with Lucy! Or-actually, no! I don’t even have to work with Lucy! Pick anyone else! Anyone! Just not Dean! I need someone who takes art seriously!”
Mrs. Bowman stands up as she sighs. She leans on her desk and looks me straight in the eye, “Ashlynn…take a deep breath and calm down.” I listened to her soft voice and take in a deep breath. My rasping breaths and my heart slow back to their normal pace. “Now that you’ve calmed down…I’m not going to change your partner—“
“—But—“ I begin but Mrs. Bowman flicks her pointer finger at me, immediately silencing my plea.
“—like I was saying...I’m not going to change your partner. Yes, Dean doesn’t take school as seriously as he should, but he’s got a lot going on in his life. And school? To him, school isn’t a priority right now.”
“And so you partnered me with him, why?" I ask, my brows lifting in confusion and disbelief. "School is
a priority for me! It’s my top
“That’s exactly why I’ve partnered you with him, Ashlynn. He might slack off in school, but he really is a good kid. He’s smart, too. Just give him a chance. Be his beacon of light, for lack of a better phrase.”
“What?” I ask.
“Help him realize how important school is. Give him some hope for a better future.” Mrs. Bowman finally says with a soft and small smile. It's one of sympathy and sadness...it was a smile that made me wonder…
...why does Mrs. Bowman fell sorry for Dean? Why would anyone
feel sorry for such an irresponsible, reckless, ill-mannered…jerk, like Dean?
“Hey, partner! I wasn’t expecting you! You just can’t live without me, can you?” Dean says cockily as he runs his big hands through his messy brown hair. The same annoying smirk that made me want to slap him was still plastered to his face.
I drop my lunch tray, letting it slam onto the lunch table which was only occupying him. The poor guy, sits alone at lunch. He doesn’t have any
friends, literally. Even the nerds and dorks are smart enough to stay away.
“Yeah! I just can’t live without your good-looks and charm.”
Dean’s smile grows from ear to ear, “Oh really?”
I roll my eyes. “Haven’t you ever heard of sarcasm?” I ask feeling so abruptly angry that I can't breathe. My lungs feel like they're shriveling, my breaths escaping my lips in shaky quick pants. My skin is heating, and my temples are throbbing. I’ve never felt so frustrated and annoyed in my life. And this is only the second time I've ever talked to the guy!
“So what you want partner?” Dean asks, never faltering or losing the smirk.
“What do I want? Not you! If we’re going to be partners you’re going to change! No more slacking! No more partying or drinking or getting high or whatever it is you do to waist your weekends—“
Dean’s eyes go wide as he laughs, “—And what do you do on the weekends? Study? Community service? Oh I know! You tutor, don't you?”
I choose to ignore hsi comment and continue on with my little speech, “And no more disrespect! You don’t know me, so stop acting like you do! You have no right to say the things you do!”
Dean’s smirk disappears abruptly. He squints at me as if he can't believe what I just said.
“You’re right!" he says,"I don’t know you. But who the hell do you think you are to tell me how to act?” He spoke softly, yet there was an edge, a bit of anger, behind his words that made me shiver and second guess myself. I was wavering…I never
I stand motionless and silent for a moment, eyes big and fluttering, “Um…excuse me?”
Dean rolls his eyes in anger and stands up, slamming his palms onto the lunch table. He leans forward, across the lunch table to glare down at me, making a shiver go up my spine. I find my self quiaking with fear.
“You have no right to talk to me like I’m some peasant. Like I'm some poor bad-mannered kid that you’re higher then, cause you’re not! You’re no better than me!”
My heart leaps into my throat making me stutter, “Well-I…I n-never said that.”
“You didn’t have to. It’s quite clear that you think you’re better than me, just by the way you think you can order me around! You think I don’t see the stares I get from the football team? Your boyfriend more specifically?”
“You think I don’t know what you’re friends say about me? What you think about me?”
“I know way too much, Ashlynn Sinclair! And you know what, I don’t care. You can think what you want, say what you want. Because another thing you’re right about is you don’t know me! I
know me! So the one and only thing you may not do, is boss me around like your own personal slave! Got it?!”
I looked into Dean's hazel eyes, and for a moment I felt like crying. He was clearly angry, but behind his anger I could also see how much he hurt, and how weak he felt. I felt bad-horrible even! Had I done that to him? Had I made him feel that way and not even realized it?
Shocked by his outburst and by my concerned feelings, I nod unsure if I’d be able to speak without squeaking.
Dean’s hard and angry eyes immediately went soft and for a moment it was like staring into a different person, a different soul. He didn't let me slide that easily, though. "You sure, because I'm not as dumb as I may seem. I don't by your Queen Bee shit, not for a second."
Did I really act like that? Like I was better then everyone? Did I look down to people and judge people? Had I done what I just tried to do to Dean on other's before, unknowingly? My cheeks flushed and grew hot. I felt tears sting my eyes and blur my vision. I was a horrible person. I had become the very person I didn't want to be. I'd become the person that people assumd me to be. My eyes flutter, wet lashes dampening my hot cheeks. I force myself to keep the tears at bay as I nod hurriedly. I couldn't speak. My throat was tightening and beginning to taste sour.
"Okay..." Dean looks over my face, now looking panicky. He licks his lips, unsure of what to do. "Well...I-uh..." He didn't bother to calm me down, or even say bye. He just picks up his tray and clears before storming out of the cafeteria.
I do my best to ignore the curious stares from all my peers around the lunch room and stare aimlessly at my food until the bell rings.
"What's a'matter?" Josh asks knocking me out of a trance I hadn't even realized I was in. "What? Oh, um...nothing. Just thinking." I mumble as I throw my remaing few book into my locker and slam it shut.
Josh puts his arms around me, pulling me toward him. He sighs and says, "Are you sure? I heard the freak made you cry."
I pull away from Josh and cross my arms defensively, "I wasn't crying."
Josh sighs, "It doesn't matter. The ass-hole scared you. If you want me and Nathan and the boys can take care of him." A mischevious smirk just touches his lips.
I roll my eyes with disappointment, "No, Josh, I don't want you and the football team to 'take care of him'. I was in the wrong, I shouldn't have said the things I said."
"Why not?" Josh asked, "The fucker deserves it."
"Josh, please, just drop it okay. And stop calling him names. He's not a freak or an....ass-hole, or fucker." I'll admit, I winced when I repeated Josh's foul language. "He's just...troubled, I guess." I say as I suddenly remember the hurt look in Dean's eyes.
“Whatever you say, princess.” Josh mocks, bowing in my presence obnoxiously. I slap him on the shoulder. "Don't call me that!"
"Call you what? Princess?"
Josh just sighs, and places his hand on the small of my back. We walk out of the school, in silence, till we come to his father's sports car. Lucy and Nathan had beat us there. And to my surprise, they were talking.
Nathan and I have been neighbors/friends our whole lives. Lucy and I only became really close friends a little before my fourteenth birthday, which is surprising because she knows me better then Nathan or my own family. And I know alot more about Lucy then I do Nathan. I know that she lives in a trailer park, with a mom who's barely ever home, and is forced to be the mother figure for her four siblings. Her and her mom make just enough money to get by, and I admire her for her strength, for I--I'll be honest--have never worked a day in my life. Neither has Nathan, which is why I think they don't get along very well. They don't understand eachother.
Nathan doesn't know Lucy's home situation, and therefore doesn't understand why she's worried all the time. And Lucy, she doesn't understand Nathan's home situation like I do. She doesn't understand why he's always talking negatively about his parent's, for in her eyes he has everything.
That's why I was surprised to see them being just a little more then civil with eachother. Nathan was beaming at Lucy, grinning from ear to ear. Lucy, she was actually laughing, it wasn't at all forced. She was looking up at Nate from under her lashes, and offering shy smiles. She was, unbeknownst to herself, flirting. Nathan, I could tell, wasn't exactly flirting. But he was
teasing her, enjoying her company. It was strange, but nice to see.
And then my jack-ass of a boyfriend had to ruin it. "Get your filthy trailer trash ass off my car." Josh spoke calmly and casually, as if he had commented on the weather. He didn't look guilty at all, simply looked like he was stating a fact. I'm so shocked, I just stand still with my mouth open.
Lucy's smile fades, but only the slightest bit. She awkwardly looks at Nathan. Nathan shoves his hands in his jean pockets and looks away, making sure to avoid both Lucy's and Josh's eyes. After a short moment that seemed to drag on forever, Lucy stood up straight so her butt was no longer against Josh's "precious" car. "Nice to see you too, Josh."
"Don't talk to me." Josh says with a breath, rolling his shoulders and walking to the driver's seat.
Lucy laughs to herself as she licks her bottom lip. "Okay," she mumbles. "Ashlynn, I'm going to go."
"What? Why? I thought you said you needed a ride?"
"I'd rather walk then disturb your highness with my presence." Lucy says as she slides her hands into her baggy jeans and gestures with a little jerk of the neck to Josh.
I sigh, "Lucy, I'm really sorry."
She shrugs, "Relax, it's no big deal. I shouldn't try to push my way through where I don't belong." I couldn't help but notice Lucy's eyes quickly flicker toward Nathan, who was still avoiding all possible eye contact with everyone.
I gave her a hug, told her I loved her, and then watched her walk away till she was out of hearing distance. When she finally was, I slapped Nathan onthe arm with my purse. Nathan jerked back, "Ouch! What the hell!"
"You're such an ass-hole!"
"I'm an ass-hole?"
"How am I the ass-hole? Josh is your
boyfriend, and she's your
"Yes, but she wanted you to stick up for her."
"What?" Nathan narrows his eyes and shrugs, "Why? How would you know that?"
"God, you're such an idiot!" I said with a groan, stomping my way over to the driver seat where Josh was checking out his reflection in the rear view.
"You, get out!"
"What?" Josh asks with the 'What did you say to me?' look on his face.
I point to him, "You." I point to his car, and then open the door, "Get out. NOW! We need to talk."
Josh gives me a disbelieving glance, sighs, and climbs out of the car. I grab him by his elbow, and drag him a few feet away from the car.
"What?" Josh asks, completley clueless.
"Don't say what like that, you know what."
"Look, I don't like the girl."
"Okay, fine, you don't have to like her. But that doesn't mean you get to talk to her like she's scum. She's a person. A person who has probably gone through more today then you ever will your whole entire life. She deserves respect. And you know what? You don't even get to say you don't like her because...YOU DON'T KNOW HER! You've never hung out with her outside of school! You've never heard any of her jokes, or anything! No, you just automatically assume, Oh, she can't afford uggs. She doesn't like to wear dresses. She gets all her stuff at Goodwill. She must be a waste of perfectly good space. Well you know what?! You're a--"
A door slams shut, stopping me from screaming a whole line of cuss words at Josh. Josh and I turn toward the noise. Dean is carrying a card board box on his shoulder, overflowing with art supplies, and is following close behind Mrs. Bowman. I repress the erg to smile. I knew there was something off when it came to Dean and Mrs. Bowman. He's helping her carry stuff to her convertible. Mrs. Bowman earlier today seemed to know alot about Dean's personal life. Maybe...
Dean drops the box in the back seat of Mrs. Bowman's pink convertible. Dean and Mrs. Bowman exchange a few words. Mrs. Bowman laughs, Dean smiles, and then Mrs. Bowman leans forward giving Dean a quick kiss on the cheek. My eyes grow wide.
Mrs. Bowman isn't old, she's actual twenty-eight. And she's not ugly at all. She actually used to be a model in New York. So I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I mean, if Mrs. Bowman could have an affair with a student, Dean would be the one to stoope that low.
"You know what?" Josh suggests, "If you're so pissed at me why don't you ask the freak to give you a ride home? That way I don't have to listen to you nag and pretend I care, and you can get to eye him up a little bit more."
I roll my eyes, and before I can give myself a chance to change my mind, I begin to run across the parking lot toward Dean and Mrs. Bowman.
"Dean? Dean!" Dean looks over his shoulder at me and sees me running. He turns back to Mrs. Bowman says something else, and by the time I get within hearing distance they're saying their goodbyes.
"So I'll see you tomorrow, then?" Mrs. Bowman says with a smile.
Dean nods, "Yeah, see ya."
"Stay out of trouble." Mrs. Bowman adds, and gives Dean's cheek a gentle pat before climbing into her convertible.
"Love you, too." And she drives off.
Dean turns around, shoves his hands in his pockets, and shrugs. "So, what's up?"
I stand still and quite, my eyes wide, glancing from Dean to the place where Mrs. Bowman's car was just seconds ago.
Dean narrows his eyes in confusion, "What? Have something in my teeth?" Dean runs the tip of his pointer over his lips.
"What? No." I say with an amused breath.
"Well you're looking at me like I have a penis attached to my forehead."
I open my mouth to speak, than shut it. Who even thinks of that specific image, let alone says it aloud, I think. But I don't voice my thoughts. I shake my head to rid of the awkward mental image, "No, um, it's just...You told...you love Mrs. Bowman?"
"You mean Rachel? Yeah!" he says like I'm dumbest person in the world. Does he not get what I'm getting at. I widen my eyes, and then so do his. "Ohhhhhhh! Oh! Oh! Oh! You thought...No, um...Rachel. Mrs. Bowman is my aunt."
I mouth 'O' as I let out a breath of relief.....why am I relieved? I have no idea. "Okay, I was about to say..."
"So...did you need something." Dean finally says after an awkward moment.
"Oh, yeah, um." I look over my shoulder, Josh's car is no where to be found. Neither's Nathan. "I just wanted to say--" I clear my throat "--that I'm sorry. For what I said earlier, I mean."
Dean nods, a faint smile brushing his lips. "Okay...what do you want?"
"What do you mean?" I ask completley dumbfounded.
Dean shifted his weight onto his other foot, a single strand of brown hair falling into the way of his greyish hazel eyes. "You said you're sorry, I accept. Now what do you need?"
"Nothing." I say way to quickly to sound convinsing. Dean stares at me knowingly for a moment, till I break. "Okay, fine, um...I know this might be wierd, since I barely know you and all."
"But...I need a ride."
Dean rubs at the scruff on his chin as he smils. His eyes glance over my body, from head to toe. A shiver travels up my spine, when his eyes linger on my bare legs. I had decided to where the tight black skirt, which just
meets school requirements, that Josh bought me for his
"You sure?" Dean asks with an amused smirk plastered to his face. It made him look dangerous and mischevious, and a little crazy, but I'll admit my heart fluttered.
"Well, there's no one else here for me to ask." I say looking over my shoulder at the vacant parking lot.
Dean shrugs and sighs, "Alright. Follow me."
* So what do you guys think so far? Is it good or do you prefer the original? And please be honest, for you won't be dissing Chloe. She's helping me do this rewrite.
Thnx, kitty.kat.vasquez !
Images: Monica Adrian
Editing/Proofreading: Chloe Knox
Publication Date: 10-30-2012
All Rights Reserved