World of Change- A Student Authored Story

Olivia Allen, Buena Student Submission

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Part I

It was two weeks before Christmas break. A mixture of freshmen through seniors clustered in different places around the bus stop, waiting for the sweet moment when they no longer have to endure the harsh cold. Only one person, however, didn’t seem to be bothered by the frigid temperatures.

“Oscar, dude! H-how are you not c-c-cold.” Faybien said through a shiver. Oscar, who was adorned with his usual thin hoodie and basketball shorts, just shrugged. Faybien pulled his hat further over his ears before shoving his hands back into his pockets. “W-wish I w-wasn’t c-cold. I’m m-m-m-iserable.” The boy next to him, Kyle, just rolled his eyes.

“Fay, it’s all in your head,” he said without looking up from his phone, which he was constantly on, “Look, Oscar’s not the only one who’s not cold.”

Faybien raised a questioning eyebrow and buried himself deeper into his jacket. “Is that why your teeth are clattering?” He said smugly. Kyle blushed and mumbled a gruff ‘shut up’ to his short companion. Oscar crossed his arms and impatiently tapped his foot to make the time pass faster. It of course did not. He didn’t have that kind of power. But sometimes, he often thought that having time bending powers would be more convenient than his ability to amalgamate himself with fire. But, at least he was never cold.

The sound of laughter caused him to turn his attention to across the street, where he saw his best friend Shaun with someone he had never seen before. A figure was trailing them, hands in his pockets and face showing usual blankness. Oscar immediately recognized it as Darren, their selectively social “group leader.” He tapped Faybien on the shoulder and pointed to the odd sight, then turned as well to Kyle. “Kyle, do you see this?” He turned to the significantly taller blonde. “Kyle?” Kyle didn’t respond, he was too far deep in the realms of Twitter now, no longer eavesdropping, and no longer with his ears on. “Kyle!” Oscar shouted through clenched teeth before whacking him upside the head. “Ow!” Kyle whined, both hurt and annoyed, and finally, with his attention away from his awareness prison. He rubbed his head with his half gloved hand and turned to retaliate until he saw the reason as to why his friend struck him. The sight before him caused curiosity to fill him, with jealousy bubbling at the surface. Oscar, Faybien, and Kyle’s friends Max and Ashtyn showed up, just as confused as the other three.

“You guys are seeing what I’m seeing right? I don’t need to get my glasses fixed?” Max said ambiguously. The others nodded slowly. None of them were able to comprehend what was going on. They knew Shaun and Darren on levels no one else did. It was not unusual for Shaun to make new friends; he was a very trusting person, and had a unique personality that caused most people to automatically be his friend. He had a hard time keeping said people though.  Darren on the other hand, was the opposite of Shaun. He trusted very few, and that number became finite after a certain mishap that took place last year.

Usually in the presence of a new person, and definitely when he was able to, Darren would silently slink off through the shadows to avoid any sort of confrontation. But what the group was seeing was something they never even considered happening before. They watched with open jaws and wide eyes as Darren said something to the girl that made her shake her head and say something back. Shaun was smiling like a giddy school girl.

As they crossed the street, the rest of the group snapped out of their stupors and pretended they weren’t staring. They tried to act normal–well, as normal as they could possibly muster. Shaun ran ahead of the other two and hugged Kyle, who pushed him away and mumbled something that sounded like “ew, cooties.” He then greeted the rest of them, bouncing on his toes the whole time.

Darren and the new girl reached them soon after, Darren’s face still blank, and the girl’s pink, with a nervous blush. Oscar was the first to ask the question everyone else was thinking. “Who the heck are you?” Oscar bit the inside of his cheek and scolded himself. ‘Okay, that was a little bit more forceful than I intended, but got the question across, I guess? ’ The girl stuttered over herself for a second, as if surprised someone had addressed her presence, and before she could find the courage to say her name, Shaun came to the rescue, as if the question was meant for him. “This is Jacelynn!” He exclaimed enthusiastically.“But most people just call me Jace…” Jace muttered quietly as she fiddled with the book in her hand, flipping through pages repeatedly, turning it over and over again in her hands. ‘Must be a nervous tick’ Oscar thought.

Max approached the girl and stuck out his hand. “I’m Maximus, informally known as Max.” He gestured behind him to a girl who held a guitar case in one hand and was waving with the other. “That’s my sister Ashtyn. We’re twins but,” he leaned in close and whispered,” between you and me, I’m the more attractive one.” And with that he backed up a few steps, winked and slung his arm over his sisters shoulder, who in turn pushed him away by his face.

Kyle was next up. “Hullo. Names Kyle.” He held out his hand, which Jace timidly accepted. Instead of shaking it, he squeezed. Jace’s eyes widened slightly, not expecting him to crush her hand but instead of showing pain, she squeezed back. It was Kyle’s turn to be surprised. ‘Ow?’ He thought to himself. He was definitely not expecting that someone of her small stature would be able to exert that much strength. He smirked at her and let go. ‘Don’t judge a mage by it’s robes I guess.’ Jace smiled shyly and looked at her feet.

“I’m Faybien,” The boy with the 12 layers of clothes on muttered, his anxiety as bad as Jace’s. “I like your shirt. I’m wearing one like that… I would show you, but that would require me to unzip my jackets and I finally have some warmth back in my body, so I can show you later.” He smiled apprehensively, and Jace found it to be cute, and nodded slightly. She was wearing one of the many Dragonball shirts she owned.

Oscar crossed his arms and looked over Jace for a moment. “You a freshman?” He questioned. Jace shook her head. “No, I’m a junior this year.” Oscar nodded in acknowledgement, surprised. “Cool. Oscar’s the name, I too am a junior. Same with Max and Ash. Fay is a sophomore, Darren and Kyle are seniors.”

“What about me?” Shaun asked, confused as to why he wasn’t included. Oscar flicked him on the nose. “You’re special.” Shaun smiled, taking it as a compliment. It wasn’t until Kyle looked at him with a ‘really?’ expression before he understood what his best friend meant. “HEY!” He exclaimed. Everyone laughed, excluding Darren, who just rolled his eyes so far back into his head he saw stars. “Nimrod.” He whispered. The familiar sound of the bus filled their ears. Jace’s heart dropped and her anxiety took the wheel. Faybien grabbed his backpack and what Jace had to assume was a tuba case before quickly ascending the bus stairs.

The rest of the group got on the bus one by one. Shaun stayed at the back with Jace to keep her company, using his oddity to comfort her. She immediately felt her nerves become washed away with his presence. ‘Ruhe.’ Jace thought to herself as she got on the bus. ‘The german word for peace.’

Part II

‘Imní,’ Jace thought to herself,’ A word deriving from Ireland meaning anxious. Graviter solliciti sitis. Latin for SEVERELY anxious… I’m feeling that one.’ She was pacing her room, sifting through clothes, throwing them haphazardly over her shoulder as she went. She was already dressed, as confident as she could be with what she chose, but she was still searching just to be sure. Jace looked at her clock on the other side of the room, which had been half covered by a pair of shorts, and saw that she didn’t have time for uncertainty.  She gathered her strone clothes and shoved them in the closet, which was what she considered cleaning. Grabbing her backpack and her shoes, she begrudgingly rushed down the stairs while slipping on her Gryffindor jacket, nearly bumping into her corporeal shadow.

“Oh. Sorry, Markus.” She said halfheartedly. In his anthropoid form, he was quite handsome, with jet black hair, and bright blue eyes that stood out greatly against his tan skin. Markus had always had a way of getting under Jace’s skin just by looking at her with his big, abnormally blue eyes. She couldn’t stand to look into them when they were arguing, but when she was upset, they calmed her. He understood what she was feeling the moment their eyes locked and he extended his hand out to her. She gratefully took it. Markus led her down the rest of the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Listen, J,” He started, “It’s gunna be ok, I promise.” Jace made a face that could only be interpreted as a pout. “I don’t want to go.” She whined. Markus gave her a sympathetic smile. “I know, but don’t worry. I will be with you throughout the day. I kind of have to be, ya know.” Jace rolled her eyes.

“You have a choice and you know it. I don’t need you to follow me around all the time.” Markus chuckled. “That’s kind of my whole existence, sweetheart. Jace looked at him with a ‘you use that excuse all the time’ kind of look.

“You know good and darn well that when you aren’t with me, everyone still sees me cast a shadow, except for me.” Feigning ignorance, he responded dramatically with, “GASP? You fer real?” Jace hit his arm. He laughed and ruffled her hair. “I know that is the general gist of what happens, but I am still going to be with you today. Alright?” She sighed and pushed his hand away.

“I appreciate that, but don’t you have other things to do?” Markus just shook his head with a smile. “Nope. Specifically requested the day off.” Jace looked at him suspiciously, causing his smile to waver slightly.

“Okay fine. I didn’t ‘specifically request’ anything. I’m just not going to show up to the board meeting.”

“Markus!” Jace scolded.

Markus raised his hands in mock surrender. “What? You are way more important than some stupid meeting. The council can survive one day without me.” Jace tapped her foot and raised an eyebrow. “Okay fine, I will go. But you have to do me a favor.” She waited for what he was to say. “You have to eat more than, THAT.” He gestured to the bag of goldfish and m&m’s.

“What’s wrong with my lunch?” Jace asked, a little offended that he would reprimand her for her eating habits. It was Markus’s turn to raise a questioning eyebrow.

“You serious?” Jace nodded timidly. Markus shook his head and tsked. “My dear, you need sustenance. I knew you were going to do something like this however, which is why I was prepared.” He opened the drawer next to him and pulled out a paper bag. “This,” he began, “Is a REAL lunch. It has two french bread rolls that can picked apart easily, a container of cut strawberries with sugar, and a handful of hershey kisses. Oh, and I also threw in some veggie straws. I know how much you like those. And I made extra sure that everything in here was something you can eat without getting it stuck in your braces.”

Jace smiled at him, touched that he went through the trouble to do that for her. Markus held the lunch sack to her, and she took it, putting her goldfish and m&ms inside as well. She grabbed her thermos out of the fridge and went to go put her stuff in her backpack. Markus followed her out of the kitchen and began to pester her like a concerned mother would.

“Your shirt is a bit short, don’t you think? Just because you have high waisted jeans does not mean you go looking like a tramp.”

Jace rolled her eyes, knowing her shirt was fine. It covered everything it needed to, and then some. She grabbed her shoes from where she set them down on their way to the kitchen and slipped them on.“Jee, thanks for the confidence boost.” She said sarcastically. I’ll keep that in mind.” He pretended she didn’t say anything and continued his silly antics.

“Where are your glasses young lady?” He said with his hands on his hips. Jace seized them off of their place on the coffee table and dangled them in Markus’ face. “Are you really going to wear that jacket today?” She zipped up her bag with a roll of her eyes and slung it over her shoulder. “Do you have your schedule? Please for the love of the gods tell me you put deodorant on missy.”

She snorted. “Okay, MOM,” She said mockingly, “I get it. Yes I have my schedule,” she patted her back pocket,”and yes, I put deodorant on.”

Markus got closer and practically shoved his face in her armpit. He then pulled away with a face of disgust. “I cain’t tell!” Jace pushed him away with a smirk. “Like you know the premise of deodorant. You never use it.” Markus stuck his tongue out at her, and she returned the gesture.

“All joking aside, J. Are you sure you have everything you need?”

Jace sat for a moment in silence, going through her mental checklist. She suddenly dropped her bag and gasped. “MY BOOK!” She screamed before dashing up the stairs two at a time. She stood in front of her bookshelves, panting, and scanned for the book she was going to read for the day. After a quick once over of all the books she had, Jace reached for one at random, and groaned when the title was revealed. ‘Looks like out of order Harry Potter again. Why’d it gotta be the fifth one?’ She rushed back down the stairs, almost losing her footing in the process.

Markus laughed as she came back down. “Oof, the fifth one again. Try not to cry. You ready now?” Jace nodded, but then quickly shook her head. Markus sighed and grabbed her hand again. He lead her to the door, and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. Jace gave a shaky breath and reached for the door handle. “It’s going to be okay, Jacelynn. I promise.” Jace nodded slightly, and pushed the door open the rest of the way.

“I hope so…” she whispered. Markus pulled her in for a hug, and kissed her gently on her forehead.

He held her out in front of him, causing her to look in his eyes. She definitely wasn’t complaining. “I will see you when you get home. Make today count. Love ya.” And with that, he winked and went back inside. Jace turned, and hesitantly made her way to the bus stop she and Markus mapped out the route for.

She shuffled along the sidewalk, thinking extremely pessimistic about the day before her. She was so engrossed in her thoughts that she didn’t realize anybody was in front of her, until she ran right into them.

Part III

Jace’s heart stopped, realizing what had just happened. She tried to say she was sorry, but her words weren’t working. The person she ran into turned around, his expression blank. He stared at her with an intensity that Jace had never felt before. She felt tears well up in her eyes and her anxiety escalate. He emitted a dangerous energy that made her shiver. She was so focused on the guy in front of her, she didn’t perceive that there was someone else with him. That is, not until he poked his head from behind him, his face showing nothing but cheeriness.

“Hiya!” The boy said– well, more like shouted. “You don’t look familiar. Are you new?” Jace’s voice might have stopped working, but she was grateful that her body was still functioning as she nodded. He smiled even bigger if that was even possible. His presence diminished the dark aura of the other

“Wowie! It’s been a while since we have gotten a new kid! I’m Shaun!” he said, and when the other, moderately taller boy didn’t make any notion that he was going to introduce himself, Shaun followed up his own introduction with the others. “This is Darren. He doesn’t take to kindly to new people.” Darren turned and with his gaze shot daggers at Shaun, who just grinned widely and turned back to Jace. He then stuck out his hand with great enthusiasm. “It’s nice to meet you.” He paused to allow her to fill in the gap.

“Jacelyn.” She said, finally gaining her voice back, as she shook his hand gingerly. “But people usually just call me Jace.”

Shaun grinned again. “Well then Jace, Let us escort you to your doom, shall we?” Jace allowed herself to giggle quietly and he sent her a small wink. “Our school isn’t that bad. I am sure you’ll like it.” He went back to following the sidewalk, Jace right behind him, somewhat struggling to keep up with his long strides, and Darren trailing slightly behind her, scowling.

As they walked, Shaun filled Jace in about what happened on a day to day basis. Things from how the bus stop worked, which bus to get on in the afternoon, to how messed up the bell schedule was. He continued talking, telling her how much he loved most of his classes, and which teachers he hoped she never had a chance of getting.

“You a freshman?” A deep voice said brusquely, interrupting Shaun, who was trying to explain the pep rally that was going on that Friday, and failing miserably: he was now staring at Darren with disbelief.

Jace paused for a moment, the voice was so sudden she had to take a second to figure out who said it. Then, remembering Darren, she answered shyly, “N-no…I’m a junior this year.” Darren grunted in acknowledgment. “Pep rally is separated into classes. Each class sits in a certain section of the bleachers. I’ll explain more later.” Jace smiled and said a small “Ok.”

Shaun just smiled brightly, failing miserably to hide his excitement at the fact that Darren SPOKE to a NEW PERSON. A girl, nonetheless. ‘NEVER DID I THINK I WOULD SEE THE DAY! AHH! THIS IS AMAZING!’ he screamed in his head. He felt extremely giddy as he rushed across the street to greet the rest of his friends when they finally reached the bus stop.

Darren kept staring at the back of Jace’s head, just as shocked at Shaun was that he actually talked to the girl.

Part IV

The bus was quiet. The entire front section was full, barely anybody talking, and the back was empty except for Shaun’s group. They seemed to have assigned seats to themselves, which Jace found practical. Jace was the last one on the bus, and she was okay with that. It meant she could choose one of the middle seats and not worry about somebody confronting her about ‘taking their seat’.

She chose an empty seat on the left side, happy that she got to sit next to a window. She got comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can on a bus) and leaned her head on the window. Suddenly, just as the bus was pulling away, Shaun plopped down next to her.

“Hello!” he said cheerfully. Jace was a bit startled, but she mumbled a small ‘hi’ back. They sat in silence for a moment. Jace broke it with a question.

“Why aren’t you sitting with your friends?” It was Shaun’s turn to be startled. His brain went into overdrive, wondering if he did something wrong. It was times like these he wished his oddity work on himself.

Jace felt the atmosphere around Shaun change. She could feel his anxiety spike and hear his heart race. He was looking at his hands, which were shaking slightly.

With his gaze still on his hands, Shaun quietly said, “I didn’t want you to sit alone.” He had to use all of his strength not to let his voice quiver. He hated that about himself. The moment someone questioned him or tried to push him away, he would have a breakdown. Some people could claim that what they were saying was a joke, but the icing on Shaun’s cake is that he knew when someone was lying. He felt it, literally. When someone told the truth around him, he would get a sharp pain in his left ear. When someone lied, however, he would sneeze twice. (Because of the latter, he hated watching political debates.)

Jace didn’t know what to say. She had never met somebody so sweet, nor did she expect to. Her face turned beet red, which happened a lot, and she gently laid her hand on Shaun’s shoulder. He looked up with his big silver eyes, his brows furrowed. Jace, face still pink, smiled a small smile. Looking into her eyes, Shaun thought he might melt. ‘Her eyes are green…’ he thought to himself. Green was his favorite color, had been ever since he could remember, and seeing her eyes calmed his anxiety almost immediately.

Jace felt his nerves dissipate, causing Shaun’s original aura to return. Jace removed her hand off of his shoulder and brush some of her hair that fell out of her face. “Thank you…” She said quietly. Shaun didn’t need to ask what she was thankful for. He gave her a lopsided grin and a happy “anytime”.

They spent the rest of the bus ride talking about miscellaneous things.

To be continued…