High school is tough, but not uninteresting. Being the daughter of a big celebrity and the Mayor, Leya is expected to be the perfect little girl. Unlike Isidore, she thrives on the expectations of those around her. While her brother spends study block doing who knows what with who knows who, Leya spends it in the library reading.
She doesn’t notice the male figure entering the room until he’s sitting next to her.
“Hey, you’re Isidore’s little sister, aren’t you?”
He’s got dark eyes and purplish hair. His facial hair and general attitude marks him as one of the older kids, maybe even a senior. The fact that he knows her brother’s name and is actually talking to her (She’s only in grade 9!) is what actually gets her attention.
“U-uh, yeah. I’m Leya. Leya Sari. Isi- I mean Isidore is my step-brother.”
He smiles at her, and she feels her face flush a deep red. Why is he paying attention to her?
“Hey that’s cool.” The older boy responds. “I’m your brother’s football mentor. I heard he had a cute sister but he kept getting defensive whenever I tried bringing you up. It’s nice to see you’re real though. Name’s Elrich, by the way.”
Before Leya can introduce herself properly in return, a skinny brunette comes running into the library. She’s obviously out of breath, her back pack no where to be seen, but she’s looking for someone.
Leya gets up before her friend spots her talking to a senior and freaks out. She always freaks out.
“Hey Wanda. What’s the disaster this time?”
Wanda either doesn’t catch Leya’s sarcastic tone, or doesn’t care. “Your brother did it again! Why does he keep doing it? He’s so stupid!”
Oh great. As if her brother wasn’t annoying enough at home… “What did he do this time?”
“I caught him flirting with Marla Goodwill! You know, that fairy chick from Math? She’s not even pretty!”
Marla is also Leya’s biological mom’s sister, but they’ve barely exchanged a dozen words with each other. “Okay so he was flirting with her. So what?”
“So Janell caught him flirting! THAT’S whats up!”
Leya makes a face. Janell dropped dibs on Isidore the moment they were all teens. “Oh yeah, that could be a problem.”
“So what happened next?”
“Well, Janell started calling Marla all sorts of rude names and the like.”
Wanda eyes Elrich suspiciously before leaning closer to her friend. The girls in school never hesitate to gossip about each other, but when boys are around decency rules must be followed. “Janell says that Deborah told her that her brother Carl caught Marla and your brother making out behind the library yesterday. What a slut!”
Leya knows her brother would never be caught dead anywhere near a library even if make outs were being offered, but she keeps silent. No point in ruining Wanda’s fun.
“So then what happened to Marla?”
“Janell slapped her.” Wanda laughs. “It was beautiful. Left a nice bright mark on her ugly face too. Janell’s so lucky the teachers don’t care about us fighting.”
When Leya and Wanda emerge from the library, Janell and Isidore are still locked in a furious lip lock. Despite Isidore claiming that serious relationships aren’t his thing and that he’ll never settle down, Janell’s laid dibs on him since they were both 13. It’s been two years since their first kiss and despite the occasional rumour they’ve been pretty faithful to each other that whole time.
Knowing Leya would probably want to talk to her brother, Wanda interrupts the couple and takes Janell by the hand. “Hey cousin. Mom wanted me to talk to you about her birthday party next week. You and uncle Alistair going to be there?”
“And his new girlfriend probably.” Janell laughs, waving a quick goodbye at Isidore as they leave.
Leya waits until the other girls are around the corner before turning her anger towards her brother. “Marla Goodwill? Really? She’s my AUNT.”
“I was just being friendly.” He whines. “Plus Janell is being so clingy. Why does it matter if I fool around with Marla anyway? It’s not like she even cares about fostering a relationship with you. Just me.”
Her face falls, and just like when they’re kids he realizes that he just said the worst possible thing.
“L-Leya? Hey uh, I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean that.”
“Listen, you’re an awesome girl and Marla is really missing out on getting to know you.”
“This isn’t about Marla!”
“It isn’t? Then what’s this about?”
“Its about you! It’s ALWAYS about you! Stop leading people on! Either commit to Janell or let her go! You don’t want to end up with a reputation! It’ll ruin your whole future!”
“Why would I care about my reputation?” His expression is completely deadpan, and when she doesn’t have an answer, he continues. “You do know our mom was cheating on dad while we were kids, right? For years, I’m guessing. People had to have seen her, but no one bat an eyelid or told dad. Why would I care what people think about me? Their opinions don’t mean shit to me.”
Reputation may mean nothing to him, but his sister is a girl, and a year younger than him. It’s everything to her. “Is my reputation around school really bothering you that much?”
“Isi, I just want you to be happy.” She’s a politician’s daughter through and through. “If Janell makes you happy, then at least give your relationship with her a shot. Otherwise, consider if maybe actually being unattached and playing the market is a better option. Burning bridges so early in life can’t be good. Promise me you’ll at least think about what I’m saying?”
He promises. If it’ll make his sister happy, he’ll think about making his relationship with Janell mean something.
Janell came back into the hall to grab a textbook from her locker. She doesn’t like what she sees. Everyone knows Leya and Isidore are only step-siblings. She could totally be trying to steal Janell’s boy!
In an effort to make his relationship with Janell official, Isidore invites her out to the summer festival with him. They quickly forget about the games and just make out in front of the pie eating stand.
Isidore interrupts momentarily when his phone buzzes, and he reads the text message with a smile on his face. Instantly, Janell’s jealousy levels go off the scale. “Seriously, Isi? We’re on a date! Can’t you get your girls on the side to shush until after we’re done?”
He gives her an exasperated look. “Really Jan? Its my sister texting me. Apparently Mira’s first word was fuck. It’s funny!”
“You care more about your sister than you do me! Why don’t you just date her instead?”
Leya did say that he could always play the market as a single guy if things with Janell didn’t work out. That option is looking pretty good right about now.
“I don’t need to date her to be happy. I just need to not date you. Sorry, but this isn’t working for me anymore.”
“So Janell says I’m not allowed to hang out with you anymore cause your brother broke her heart.”
Faintly, Leya wonders if Wanda only joined study club in order to gossip. “Janell’s already dating someone new so my brother couldn’t have broken her heart that badly. Plus I thought you made your own decisions. She’s your cousin, not your mom.”
“And thats exactly what my mom said when I told her!” Wanda answers as Leya gets up from her seat to put a book back on the shelf. As soon as she turns back around, Wanda grabs her hands. Her mother had also told her to do something else, but she wasn’t sure how to go about it. “S-so um. The dance is next week, right? Janell took me shopping for it already so I don’t have to worry about figuring out what to wear.”
“Oh yeah! The dance!” Leya had completely forgotten about it. Too busy with actual school work. “You going with anyone?”
Wanda knows better than to read too much into Leya’s words. The girl is as straight as they come, which makes the question Wanda wants to ask her all the harder to ask. “Well I was kinda hoping to ask if you wanted to go together?”
“Like as friends?”
Wanda’s hands are getting sweaty. “Well…”
“As awesome as that would be, you know Janell would only see it as an opportunity to make both our lives miserable and start spreading rumours about us being lesbians. You don’t want that, right?”
“Besides,” Leya continues. “I kinda wanted to ask Elrich if he’d take me.”
Wanda forces herself to smile for her friend. “The football captain? Wow. Isn’t he older than us?”
“By three years only! That’ll mean nothing after high school!”
Study club ends at the same time as football practice, so Leya knows exactly where and when to find Elrich at the end of the day. She wastes no time on pleasantries.
“Will you go to the dance with me? As a date?”
Elrich hesitates for a moment, studying the girl in front of him up and down. Sure, she’s definitely just a girl, but she has promise. She could be a lovely woman one day. And if he knows anything about women, its that he needs to date them when they’re still young in order to keep them. He wasn’t about to end up alone and unloved like his mother.
“I’d love to, Beautiful.”
I quite literally can’t say anything without spoiling stuff at this point.
Chapter title is If I had you by Adam Lambert. I typically hate love songs, but this one is decent. I like the beat, yo.
Okay, one comment. If you don’t recognize who Elrich is I will be sad. His relation to other characters probably won’t come up. This generation.