Status: updates when inspiration and free time collide.

Sotto Voce


I gave up on trying to dress cutely. I wasn’t cute. I didn’t own cute clothes. Why bother? I ended up in one of my plain white t-shirts, skinny jeans, Keds, and a slightly frumpy but extremely comfortable sweater I found in my closet. A little eye makeup, some lip balm, and a hastily done braid later, I was driving myself to my first day of public high school.

Being the only new senior in the class at Towson High was going to be such a drag. I could feel it.

Finding parking took ten precious minutes from me, but I still had to report to the office for my schedule and what not. “Are you the home schooled kid?” the elderly woman at the front desk asked, looking up at me over her computer screen.

“My name is Brett,” I informed her with a nod.

“Here’s your schedule, Brad,” she said as she handed me a sheet of paper from the printer.

I sighed and gave up, heading to my first class – English. It was every bit as awful as I had imagined – the teacher introducing me to the class, the class staring at me like I was some circus freak… I wish I wasn’t here.

I was only so unusual because I was the only new senior. I was only a new senior because I had been home schooled since ninth grade. Dad was a pilot and mom taught me since she didn’t work and I was an only child. But in recent years since the economy has been so fucking terrible, mom had to start working, too. She worked as a flight attendant with dad. I more or less lived with my aunt now and she sent me to public school. I rarely saw my parents these days. They weren’t even home for the holidays this year.

Aunt Emma’s nice, but she and Uncle Todd are no substitutes for my parents. The only upside was that they didn’t have any kids of their own – just a St. Bernard named James that we all loved to death. He even slept in my bed with me; that’s how much I loved that giant behemoth of a dog.

I tried to pay attention in class, but the kids were just so distracting. “Hey. Hey, Brett. That’s your name, isn’t it? Hey, Brett.” And then that prick had the nerve to give my braid a yank to get my attention.

I lurched forward, protectively covering the back of my head. “Can I help you?” I asked through gritted teeth, stuffing my braid down my sweater.

“I’m Jude,” the boy introduced himself with a cheeky grin. The name suited the rude boy perfectly.

“Hello,” I muttered before turning back around to take notes, even though I’d already read this play.

Slight interruption because a student came to class late, but that wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t come and sat down in front of me. “You’re in my seat.”

“I’m sorry, I’m new, I didn’t know,” I found myself apologizing, hurriedly getting up, but he just laughed and pushed me back down.

“Chill. I was kidding. It’s fine.”

I could already hear the gossiping and snickering about the room. I was too much of a pushover for my own good, and I really didn’t want to piss anyone off or start any drama since it was my first, last, and only year at Towson, after all.

“Your eyes are red, Zack,” Jude snickered.

“Yeah. Late night pool party. I’m pretty tired.”

“Pool party, right,” Jude said, rolling his eyes, but Zack silenced him with one look. Come to think of it, no one really approached Zack. No one really talked to him. Everyone had their desks farther away from him than normal, but not me. I didn’t mind, though, because Zack was quiet – much better than that Jude boy.

Zack didn’t even pay attention in class. The teacher put on a movie adaptation of the play we were reading, so Zack pulled his hood up over his head, propped his square jaw up on one of his fists to keep his head up, and fell asleep. I was kind of jealous of Zack. No one bothered him.

Jude bothered everyone, but me most of all because I was new, I guess. He took it upon himself to educate me about everyone in the senior class with stories seemingly straight from the rumor mill. I didn’t believe a word he said. I sat at lunch with him anyways, though, because he really gave me no choice. But I managed to sneak away to “Use the bathroom.”

I actually just sat in the hallway near my locker and drank my lemonade. I was starting my government homework when Zack strolled by. “Oh, hi new girl,” he mumbled, sitting down beside me. “You want?” he asked through a mouthful of his burger, holding out his fries to me.

“Thanks,” I mumbled back, nibbling on a fry. Seeing Zack’s sandwich close up kind of made me lose my appetite, though. “What is that?”

“A McGangBang,” Zack answered after drinking some Sprite.

“What’s your name?” I asked timidly.

“Hasn’t Jude already told you all about me?”

“Whatever he’s told me has gone in one ear and right out the other…”

“…What’s your name, new girl?”

“Brett Hadley. It’s ok if you don’t remember. People have called me Brad. I’ll most likely still respond.”

Zack laughed, holding out an apple pie to me. “Don’t worry about them, Brett. And, hey, if anyone bothers you, I’ll…” Zack trailed off, but I could see the muscles in his arms rippling beneath his shirt as he flexed. “Actually, you really don’t want to get involved with me.”

“Why not?” I asked sadly. “You’re by far the nicest person I’ve met at Towson.”

I heard Zack laugh and I froze when he pulled my braid out of my sweater, deftly undoing it and shaking my wavy hair out. “And you’re by far the most naïve senior at Towson,” he playfully countered just as the bell rang. “Please, Brett, don’t get yourself involved with me. You’ll see. Jude will change your mind about me.”

“Wyh would I listen to what Jude says instead of getting to know you myself?” Zack stared at me and was about to say something, but he left before we could be seen together.

I wonder what he could’ve done to be so hated?
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thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it!
finally! i've been meaning to update this for the longest time xD
i guess it's a little OOC for zack to be eating mcdonald's. but...meh.
anyways, feedback would be lovely and greatly appreciated!