You know when people say that the worst day of their life started
off just like any other day? They’re lying. There are always signs.
Staying after school that day was a mistake. Big mistake. Sure, I knew that. But it was a mistake I
couldn’t resist. I popped a handful of Skittles into my mouth, careful to avoid mussing my cherry lip-gloss, and looked
up at the articles board to see what kind of photos and art were still needed. For a high school newsroom, this new blue
and white suite was much nicer than working out of the math lab like we had to do last semester. I could smell Danté
before he even entered the room. Maybe because of how precise my sense of smell had become in the past couple of weeks.
Then again it could’ve been that intoxicating musky cologne that he always wore. Danté transferring in was
the best thing that ever happened to our school. Every girl was sweating him and every guy wanted to be down with him. Even
the emos liked him and they don’t like anybody. Whatevs. ‘Cause even with all that attention, he’s feeling
“Rory-licious,” he said, walking
into the lab. “How’s it hanging?”
decided to play it cool. “Whassup, Danté,” I said, hoping he couldn’t hear how heavy I was breathing.
I didn’t turn around even for a glance because if I looked into his chocolate drop eyes I would melt. For real.
Business, I told myself. “Well, I already finished this week’s layout. Just gonna add my comic strip and
the Journal is ready to go.” Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that my red tank top matched his shirt.
“That’ll work.” He leaned in over my shoulder
to survey the computer screen filled with the crazy drawings that became my weekly column. “Is this what you’re
working on?” He put his hand was on my shoulder. Immediately I hated the way I drew myself, girl reporter, skinny,
curly hair, tremendous backside.
it’s not really finished finished,” I said, glancing up. Again, big mistake. Yup. He was still gorgeous
and I couldn’t help smiling whenever I looked at him. Caramel cocoa with short, cropped curls. Endless eyes. And his
lips? Perfectly carved. Yummy. Neither one of us had mentioned The Big Hug since it happed. Our big hug. Our first hug.
Ok, let’s face it, my first and only hug from a male person who was not my dad, cousin or uncle. Hopefully I could
improve that record tonight. And why not? Besides us the only people left in the building were janitors.
“How do you find this stuff in your head, Rory?”
he asked, scrolling down through my colorful doodles and quips.
I shrugged because I didn’t know what to say. Danté’s energy was that powerful. It hovered over
me like a separate entity.
“I just make
it up,” I managed to blurt out. I liked having him that close but it was overwhelming. Claustrophobic even. I popped
up from the desk to get some space. Mistake number three. Our bodies were now touching. We were exactly the same height.
An electric bolt shoot through me.
whoa, whoa!” Danté laughed softly, revealing his even white teeth. His eyelashes fluttered like butterfly
wings. “Relax,” he said.
moved in closer, as if that were possible. Then it happened quickly. His lips touched mine. First base! I was not
as nervous as I thought I would be. I tried to kiss him back but his lips were cold. Ew. Up close Danté started smelling
like my neighbor’s unwashed dogs. More beast than human. Something was wrong. This was more than sucking face. My
whole face hurt and my head felt light.
he mumbled again, grabbing me aggressively this time, and biting my lip.
“Ow! Let go,” I tried to say, but no words would come because I was gasping for air. I
wrestled my body in a Tae Kwon Do move but Danté’s hands dug into my back like claws. His brown eyes faded
until I couldn’t tell the pupils from the whites of his eyes. Something violent poured from his skin straight through
mine. It hurt like pure energy with hooks. I tried to breathe, feel his energy, feel Danté, as his lips suctioned
mine but there was nothing there. He was empty. Bleak. Chilling. He pinned me to the wall, and then….