This story isn’t exactly a romance, though there is a relationship between the two main characters. I would call this story a New Adult book, though it is also a fantasy set in modern times. Brian Casey has been having a rough few months. Strange things started happening around his 15th birthday in May, and keep getting worse. Now, it’s November, and the strange things get even more strange.
To make life a little more interesting, he meets someone at his bus stop. However, he isn’t quite sure who the person is.
A baggy, navy blue, hoodie concealed a short, slight frame. Straight, brown hair stuck out from under a multicolored beanie, concealing most of the face. Jeans and boots completed the anonymous outfit.
“Trouble?” Brian asked quietly.
The person gasped, looking up at him. “I think I managed to delete all my music,” the gruff voice complained. “Either that, or something else is wrong with the damn thing. It won’t work.”
“Man, that sucks. Mind if I sit?”
“Help yourself. Not my bench.”
“I’m Brian Casey.”
“Jordan Barrett.” The name and voice did nothing to clarify the gender issue.
“You must be new around here. I’ve never seen you before.”
“My folks wanted a quieter, simpler life. So, instead of living in the suburbs, they picked his tiny town in BFE. I can’t even get cell service unless I’m standing in the center of town. So much for keeping up with my friends back home.”
“Guess you’ll have to make some new ones,” Brian said quietly. He wasn’t sure what to think of the mouthy, disgruntled teen. He dearly wished that either the name or the clothing was different so he’d have a clue if he was speaking to a boy or girl. He still couldn’t tell, and he didn’t think it was polite to ask.
“Yeah. Not like I had so many, ya know? Not one to be popular.”
“Me either. Gotta work too hard to be popular. Besides, I prefer being anonymous.”
“Whatever works, right? Of course, my parents are upset that I’m a social pariah. They were head cheerleader and captain of the football team. They went Greek in college and belong to the alumni association of their high school and college. Mom was also Miss Teen Spirit when she was in high school. I told her I wasn’t interested in being named after a deodorant—or a song. She so didn’t get it.”
Brian chuckled, nodding. “I’m lucky. My mom couldn’t care less if I’m popular. She wants good grades. Can do that standing on my head.”
“You any good at math?”
“Yeah, pretty good. Why?”
“Because I suck ten kinds of suckage at math. I need someone to help me. Dad said he would, but he’s about as patient as a wet cat. Mom’s blonde.” Jordan said that as if it meant something special.
Brian, who was also blond, looked confused.
“Dumb blonde?” Jordan snickered. “I guess it’s contagious.”
“I may be blond, but at least I’m good at math.” He tried not to sound offended, but didn’t conceal it well.
“Oh, touchy! If you can help my math grade, I forgive you for being blond and promote you to honorary brunette.”
Brian chuckled. “Mighty kind of you.”
The bus arrived a few minutes later. Brian let Jordan walk on ahead of him. He moved down the aisle and took his usual seat. Since no one else sat with him, Jordan joined him. They talked a little bit on the way to school, but the engine noise made conversation difficult, especially once the bus filled up.
“What’s your first class?” Brian asked Jordan as they got off the bus.
“The same. Mr. Sullivan?”
“Yeah. I didn’t see you yesterday.”
“I was sick. Want to walk together? We social pariahs should always travel in pairs.”
Jordan laughed. “Yeah. Thank you. Hey, can you open these lockers? I couldn’t get mine and had to carry all my books home. My shoulders are killing me.”
“Sure. There’s a trick to it. I’ll show you.”
He walked with Jordan to a nearby locker. Brian opened it with ease.
“How did you do that? I tried forever!”
“Gotta spin it twice all the way around to the right before doing the numbers. Also, you have to do the locker dance.”
“Locker dance?” A raised eyebrow showed Jordan’s skepticism.
“Yeah. You don’t know the locker dance?” Brian winked and gave a little shake of his hips as he shuffled in a circle. He even gave it the Saturday Night Fever point.
Jordan laughed loudly, head tossed back. “Oh, that’s a good one. I have to remember that. Help me with these books, would you? I hurt my wrist. Had a fall. It’s all bruised up.”
“No problem.” He took the books and laid them neatly in the locker.
“I hate to ask, but I need help with my jacket too.”
He held the end of one sleeve, pulling it over a wrist brace. He stood close to Jordan, helping to detach the Velcro straps that kept catching on the jacket sleeve. With a mighty tug, he lost his balance, toppling over and knocking Jordan back a step. It was then, face to face and mere inches separating them, that he realized Jordan was a girl.
© 2020 Dellani Oakes