The bell rang, signaling the end of the day. Amy got up and began packing up her schoolbag. Michael was running around campus asking questions for his psychology paper. John and James were walking behind her, still giggling like little Chinese girls over the morning incident. Needless to say, Amy had to smile about it as well.
What had happened was they had videotaped Mister Howard in the gym shower singing Mother Nature’s “It’s Raining Men” into a bar of soap. His expression was more than priceless when the class television blinked on and his bare ass was all over the campus television. He could not even teach after that. Of course, John and James were called to the office, even though it was pointless, there was nothing to tie them to the video.
Alexandria came up behind Amy and touched her shoulder – "Hey Angel, let’s bounce. I want to meet Priest before he leaves."
Amy nodded. She looked over at John who sat chatting with James chewing on a Fruit Roll-up while James explained the course of action for their next prank.
'So, when you planning on telling him?" – asked Amy raising an eyebrow.
"Telling him what?" – said Alexandria acting oblivious.
"Don’t act stupid, woman! When are you going to tell Drag that you like him?"
Alexandria blushed – "I don’t know. I’m just afraid he might not feel the same way about me."
"Well you’ll never know unless you go up and tell him how you feel. Personally, I think he likes you. You know, the way he looks at you and such..."
"Hmmm…well maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, I don’t want to end up having those awkward moments around him."
"Well you’re going home. Think it over and I want your answer tomorrow ‘cause if you don’t tell him, I will." – Alexandria nudged her friend playfully – "Hey, go find Priest and I’ll meet you at the Corner. I don’t want to end up running into Tyson."
Alexandria departed to go and look for Michael. At this time, there was probably a horde of girls crowding around him. Amy walked out of class and leaned against the wall. John walked out. She grabbed his coat.
"Hey Drag, got a sec?"
John motioned James to leave and he did just that.
"For you, my dear, I’d make the president himself wait. What can I do you for?"
'So when you planning on telling Sage that you’re into her?"
'Uh…" – John was somewhat dumbfounded by the question.
'C’mon, Drag. You like her, I know it. We’ve known each other since ninth. You nearly had a heart-attack the day she joined us."
'Well, yeah, I do like her, but…I ain’t sure she likes me. I’d rather be close to her without her losing her mind and kicking my ass."
"Newsflash!" – Amy knocked John’s head – "Sage is crazy about you, dumbass!"
"Yeah, but…wait…what? She likes me?"
"Oh god! You two are made for each other. You like her, but can’t say shit to her. She likes you, but she can’t say shit to you. God, it’s like I’ve walked into a really bad Hindi movie>" – she grabbed John’s cheeks – "You two need to get together!"
She let go of his cheeks and looked at her watch. – "I’m heading to the corner. You got ten minutes. If you haven’t told her by then, I will."
"Hey Angel-" – John called out to her as she walked off.
He stood there rubbing his cheeks.
Amy walked passed a vending machine and got herself a root beer before making her way to the corner where she found Michael, Alexandria and even James all waiting there.
She gave Michael another hug and gave the rest of the root beer to James who indulged every bit of it. Alexandria, sat watching the people filing out, no sign of John. Amy looked at her watch. Six minutes left.
"Amy!" – came a voice from behind.
Amy turned around to find Tyson standing just outside the corner. Amy turned away with a huff.
"Amy?" – he called again.
"Go away, Tyson!" – she said without even turning around to face him.
"Look, let me just explain-"
"There’s nothing to explain, Tyson. You made a bet and lost. Game over. Now fuck off!"
"C’mon, Amy, give me another chance..."
"Leave me alone, Tyson." – her voice was adamant.
"I said leave me alone, Tyson."
"LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!"
This made Tyson step back and wake up to the fact that he overdid it. As he turned around to leave, he ran into John.
"Hey, pretty boy," – John looked him up and down – "She said to leave her alone. If you were smart, you’d get a clue."
Now even though Tyson was a line-backer on the football team, John was a street boy. He knew nothing but street-fighting and it didn’t matter how big his opponent was, John would beat him someway. Tyson, to him, was no different than one of those other street punks he used to knuckle-up with.
"What? You expect me to listen to you?" – Tyson spit on John’s shoe.
"You heard him, Tyson." – Alexandria spoke up – "Get the stepping. She’s already got enough shit on her plate without you having to add on a second helping."
"I ain’t leaving until I’ve spoken to her. So you might as well mind your own business, you super-model reject!"
Just as he said that, John grabbed him by his shirt collar and slammed him chest-first into the wall. Tyson grunted in pain as John pressed his face against the wall.
"Drag!" – Amy cried.
"You come here and disrespect my friend. Bad idea. On top of that, you decide to disrespect another. Worse idea." – John punched Tyson in the kidney – "Last chance, asshole. I suggest you disappear, or I’m gonna give you a makeover."
James cracked his knuckles, but John motioned for him to stay where he was.
"Drag, let him go," – Amy shouted – "You don’t need to get suspended for wasting your time."
John punched Tyson in the kidneys a few more times and let him go. He got up, glared at the outcasts as they stood in front of Amy as if some sort of human shield, and walked off holding his sides.
"Oh, don’t worry if you end up pissing blood." – yelled out John – "That’s what happens when you get hit in the kidneys, bitch!"
"Asshole." – muttered Michael as he removed Amy cigarettes from his pocket and handed them back to her.
"Thanks a lot, Drag." – said Amy turning to John.
"No worries. I’ve wanted to do that since..." – he paused to think – "Fuck, I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now."
Amy cleared her throat and tapped her watch. The courageous, unshakable John from before had been replaced by a nervous, meek version of his former self.
"Alex?" – John called to her.
Alexandria sat up. Why had John called her by her real name and not her nickname?
"Can I get a moment of your time?"
Alexandria got off the bench uneasily but nevertheless followed John away from their companions. She looked back at Amy, who looked away as if not noticing what was going on. As the two walked, Alexandria’s heart beat rapidly. She looked over at John who kept his vision straight forward.
"So what is it?" – she asked as they stopped. – "You called me by my real name. This must be serious."
"Well it is..." – said John looking at his feet – "I wanted to tell you something."
"Yeah..." – he reached out and held her hands – "There’s this girl and I like her. I think she might like me too."
Alexandria was crushed. She was sure that John was going to tell her that he liked her. She felt like crying, but she managed a laugh.
"So what do you want from me?" – Alexandria said nonchalantly. – ‘Take her on a date, get to know her, so on and so forth."
"It ain’t that easy." – John shook his head – "I’ve known this girl for a while. I want to ask her to be my girl, but I don’t want to fuck it up. So if, uh, you know, like, a guy was going to ask you the same thing…I mean, uh, how should I ask her?"
Alexandria raised an eyebrow – "Well, first of all, you gotta relax. You can’t be all tense and shit. Just be yourself, you know? I mean she’s going to be your girlfriend, for god’s sake, not your alter ego. Oh and look into her eyes when you talk to her. And most importantly, mean everything you say." – she took a deep breath – "Yeah, I think that’s about it."
"By the way," – Alexandria said inquisitively – "What’s the girl’s name?"
That devilish grin made its way onto John’s face again – "Alexandria a.k.a. Sage."
It was almost as if Alexandria stopped moving. This kind of worried John.
"Okay, I know it’s a bit of a shock..." – he spoke rather fast – "I liked you for like a really long time. It was around the same time when you joined us when I started to like you, but I didn’t know if you liked me the way I liked you. I still ain’t sure what you think of me but I just had to tell you otherwise I’d lose my mind, so it had to be today that I told you."
He looked into her eyes, he golden-brown dancing with her jade green. – "I know I’m probably doing this all wrong and you’re gonna laugh at me after this but…"
Before he could say another word, Alexandria jumped into his arms and kissed him on the lips.
"Took you long enough, you dumbass." – she said pulling away from him.
They embraced and kissed. Joy welling up in both their persons.
"So I take it that’s a yes?" – John asked breaking the kiss.
"Oh yes, yes, yes!" – Alexandria proceeded to lock lips with him again but she remembered that their friends were waiting for them to return.
"Don’t you two make such a cute couple." – said Amy walking up to Alexandria and embracing her.
"I was so freaking nervous! I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell him unless I was really certain he liked me, but it looks like he does like me."
"I guess I got myself a little angel watching me, huh?" – Alexandria said putting her arm around Amy’s neck.
The two laughed.
"Okay, people!" – John called to everyone – "Let’s go celebrate in light of this most awesome change in my life, on me!"
He looked over at Alexandria – "Got any suggestions, my love?"
She whispered into his ear – "Somewhere where these guys can go on and have a good time..." – she played with his goatee – "And where we can be alone."
Night fell on the abandoned city. Kade had been drumming away for the hell of it. His arms ached and he was drenched in sweat. Everyone had eaten and had gone up to bed. He had planned on going to bed too, but he wanted to try out a new beat that was stuck in his head. He leaned against the wall, his muscles throbbed and his breaths were heavy.
"You’re still awake, Kade?" – Spin said as she walked down the stairs – "Everyone else is asleep..."
He looked at her as she wore her long nightshirt – "Couldn’t sleep. Had this beat pounding in my head all night and I had to do something about it otherwise I’d go mad. But, as usual, I lost myself." – he smiled at her – "Didn’t wake you up, did I?"
"Not really..." – she sat next to Kade – "I was thinking actually. Do you think we can live here for a long time? I mean we’ll have to move out, you know? Out of this house and out of this city..."
"Yeah I know, Spin. I think everyone knows. Rage is edgy and even Kanny, lazy fuckhead he may be, seems to a bit unsettled." – he turned to Spin – "Hey, don’t you worry none. I’ll bring it up next time we’re all together. If no one’s wants to move, then we’ll go, just you and me."
"You sure?" - she asked as Kade stroked her hair.
"Teach me to drum." – said Spin standing up.
"You heard me, I want to learn how to drum. Teach me. I want to know how it feels."
"You know the only reason I feel alive is because I put all my emotions into my drumming. It ain’t all that easy..."
"Well I didn’t want it to be easy. Please, teach me." – Spin pleaded.
After a pause, Kade gave in. Spin sat down and put her foot on the pedal as Kade held her hands and taught her basic beats. There was many a time when he wanted to tell Spin how he felt about her, but he could never bring himself to doing it. Plus on the physical aspect, he figured that there was no chance in hell that a girl like her would ever be interested in him.
Oddly enough, Spin admired Kade. In her mind, a person did not have to look like a supermodel for her to be attracted to him. She just loved Kade for he was. Even if he did wear a tough-guy exterior, he was actually very soft and sensitive and, unlike the others, she could see all that.
As the beats got harder, Kade enjoyed being this close to Spin. Of course, he did not rush into it. He noticed how silky smooth her skin was, even to the point of wondering why her clothes had not slipped off yet. He gave himself a mental kick in the head mainly because he was not even sure if she even liked him and here he was having naughty thoughts. Not that he would mind having a glimpse, but that was to be something that came much, much later.
At about two in the morning, the lesson stopped. She leaned back against Kade.
"Now I see..." – said Spin in between breaths – "When I was playing, I started remembering my mother and then suddenly, I was angry and…I don’t know…but…"
"You felt alive, yes?" – Kade completed her thought. – "Like you just wanted to keep playing?"
"Yeah, something like that."
"Welcome to my world, babe. That was just a toe in a raging river. Doesn't happen to everyone, but it does to me..."
"My arms hurt." – she rubbed her biceps – "How do you do this everyday?"
"The more I play, the more anger I lose. The angrier I am, the harder I play."
'I gave up on him a long time ago..."
"But how can you bottle up so much anger inside you?"
"I don’t know..." – Kade shrugged his shoulders – 'It just got built up, you know? I had to deal with my step-mom, my step-brother and my dad. It just accumulated over time..."
"I’m amazed there are other things aside anger in you."
"There are other things."
"A speck, perhaps, of happiness. Plenty of sadness, apathy, and then some confusion, and..." – Kade cut off.
"And what?" – Spin asked anxiously.
He put his lips to her ears. – "Love,"
He kissed her cheek. Spin gasped in shock and turned around to face Kade.
"Shit, Spin-" – Kade apologized, realizing his error – "I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. I…"
"You shouldn’t have done that..." – said Spin interrupting him – "You should’ve done this."
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his lips. They kissed for five minutes, but between them, five minutes could only be compared to eternity.
"Whoa." – said Kade as he looked into her eyes.
"Yeah." – Spin yawned – "All that drumming made me tired. I think we better head to bed."
"Yeah, you’re right..."
"Want me to leave my door open?"
"Nah, it’s okay." – Kade smiled – "You need your sleep. Besides, if I show up, you won’t get any."
Spin laughed. – "Okay, goodnight."
She headed to her room. Kade stood there and watched her climb the stairs. He followed after her and watched her walk to her bedroom. A smile came across his face. For now all he needed was a shower and some sleep. Kannabis’s snoring could be heard down the hall and Rage’s room was always deathly silent.
As he walked by Spin’s room, he checked the door; it was unlocked. No hanky-panky tonight was something he decided. As he walked by Noire’s room, he heard her crying. He knocked on her door. She answered with swollen eyes and a runny nose.
"Noire? You okay?"
"It’s nothing, nothing, Kade." – she said trying to evidently put on a brave face but it was not working. – "You better get some sleep. It’s late."
"Look, if there’s anything I can help with, or if you need to talk to someone-"
"Don’t worry about it, Kade. It’s my problem. Now go to bed. If Spin sees us like this, she’ll shred us both."
Kade grinned – "Yeah, well it’s official between us now."
"Yeah," – Kade turned to head to his room, but turned back to Noire – "You sure you’re okay?"
"I’ll be fine. Now go to sleep."
"Okay..." – Kade left uneasily.
Today had been one hell of an interesting day. He was tired, but very happy. As he fell asleep, one thought lingered in his mind, what was it that made Noire cry?