It’s chilly out.
There’ll be a frost tonight.
I hunch up against the brisk wind and readjust my hat, delving my naked hands deep into my pockets.
It’s already getting dark early; I’m always surprised how quickly the nights draw in.
As I leave the school grounds I decide I might take a walk via the woods… Dad won’t notice I’m gone and I’ve been stuck inside all day.
I’m waiting at the side of the road as a car passes when I’m tugged backwards forcefully and I trip, landing with a thump on the pavement.
“What up, goth?” It’s Fintan; I roll my eyes and pull myself up to standing, only to be shoved roughly to the floor again.
“I didn’t say you could get up,” Fintan laughs, and his cronies join in. “So you got paired with Maya for the assignment? I bet you’re pretty happy about that…”
I attempt to get up again, but he shoves me to the floor and I fall backwards onto my back.
“Well, are you?” he says, he places his white shoe on my chest, holding me in place.
“Not really…” I manage.
“Why not?” the beefy football player puts more pressure on my chest, “I thought you’d be happy… surely this is the closest you’ve ever got to a girl?” he laughs and his friends laugh with him.
“No, this is the closest I’ve ever got to a girl…” I retort; it hurts to breathe.
“What did you say?”
I can’t see his face but I know I’ve hacked him off as his foot leaves my chest and kicks me repeatedly in the side. With each blow every sound which omits my lips is involuntary. I grunt and groan, sobbing into the pavement as my sides ache and my stomach threatens to relieve its contents.
“Fin, what are you…? Fin! STOP IT!”
I hear a voice but I’ve squashed myself up into such a small space that I can’t see who it belongs to.
The kicking stops.
I open my eyes to see Fintan wiping his mouth on his sleeve, Maya is stood next to him and her two friends stood behind them, starring at me.
“Just having a little chat with the goth boy about your assignment…” Fin chuckles, “He can’t wait to get down to it…” the way he eyes Maya is not dissimilar to that of a hungry dog eying up a bone.
Maya narrows her eyes at him and then approaches me, she grabs my arm and attempts to help me to my feet but struggles.
“That’s right, keep bending over,” Fin bends down, trying to get a view up Maya’s pink pleated skirt.
“Ugh!” Maya turns to him and shoves him in the chest, anger clear on her face, “You’re such a pig sometimes!”
Fin, who doesn’t budge despite her attempts to send him sprawling, grabs her arms and kisses her forcefully on the lips, I manage to get up without anyone stopping me and begin walking away.
“Yves!” I hear Maya call from behind me, but I ignore her. My ribs hurt.
I hear her footsteps behind me, slapping the pavement as she runs to catch me.
“Maya! Where are you going?” Fin is calling, but she ignores him, “he’s a frickking weirdo! It’s contagious!”
Maya still ignores him and appears by my side, out of breath. “Wait,” she whispers.
“Maya!” Fin’s shouts are getting more desperate, and in a last ditch attempt to get her back he yells, “Don’t think I’m driving you home!”
“Your gonna miss your lift,” I say to her, scuffing the pavement with my tatty shoes.
“Slow down,” Maya says, her heels clipperty clopping with every hurried step.
A red car speeds past us beeping its horn, I know without looking that it’s Fin.
“Are you OK?” Maya grabs my arm and I stop walking; quickly pulling away from her, the pain searing up to my shoulder from her touch.
“You’re hurt,” she says.
“No shit,” I say sarcastically.
“Come to my house…”
I frown at her, “Erm, no?”
Starring at me, I take in her appearance. The moon casts silvery light over us; the streets are silent barring an owl hooting in the woods across the road. I suppose Maya is quite pretty… her heart shaped face is tanned from a summer vacation I could only dream of, and a scattering of freckles adorn her petite features. The thing which stands out to me above all else though is her eyes. They’re almost orange, bright and vibrant and at this time fully of worry… for me?
“Please… I feel responsible for…” she’s not sure how to put it.
“For what, me being beaten up by your loser of a boyfriend?” I say for her.
“He’s not my boyfriend…”
“Really? Well, coulda fooled me…”
I start walking again, even faster this time so I know she won’t catch me, still, she tries anyway.
“My dad’s a doctor…” Maya runs next to me, “He can have a look at your arm, your ribs…”
“What is it about today, why do people keep trying to help me? Just leave me alone!” I stop walking and shout in her face. I regret it as soon as I’ve done it, the shocked expression is enough to melt my heart.
“Fine,” she says seriously.
“Maya, you alright?” from out of nowhere Fin appears and places his arm protectively around the pretty brunette’s shoulders.
I hadn’t realised how far we’d walked, we’re outside my house.
Maya shrugs him off and I feel a quiet satisfaction as she approaches me, “I want to help you,” she whispers at me, her breath is hot on my face and I can smell her sweet aroma.
“Maya, come on, let’s go!” Fin says impatiently.
I look back at her, staring into the pools of her orange eyes, bright as fire and as vibrant as the sun, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Yves…” she says and she leaves me standing there feeling like I’ve just been hit by a truck… and it has nothing to do with the beating I’ve just taken.
***Next update Sunday, 9th June***