Authors: John Blenkush
Tags: #romance, #paranormal, #teen romance, #teen love, #mythical, #vampirism, #mount shasta, #law of one
I rushed into Biology class just as
the bell ring. I heard Jason utter something about the buzz beans
he had given us and “How were they?” At the sound of the bell he
dashed off without waiting for an answer. The expression, saved by
the bell, came to mind.
The lab for Biology had
been renovated over the past summer. Everything smelled new and
appeared as bright and shiny as a new penny.
Everything, except me.
My behind felt wet, my hair mussed, my
cheeks flushed from exertion, and my smile had turned upside down.
I wouldn’t get to spend my class time studying the one science
project that had consumed most of my week-end: Aaron Delmon. Mr.
Omes, our biology teacher, took note of my condition.
“Miss Grant,” he said, “are you not
feeling well today?”
I’m a smart girl, but on a Monday
morning, absent a caffeine fix, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. It
took a second or two for me to register the opportunity Mr. Omes’
question presented. My hesitation, thankfully, only added fuel to
Mr. Omes’ assumption.
I wiped the bangs off my forehead and
sniffled for effect. “Not really.”
“Perhaps you should see the
I nodded my head.
Perhaps I should.
Mr. Omes approached, but kept his
distance. He was a slight man, thin and sickly looking most of the
time, so I imagined he had issues with those who became, in his
mind, infected walking Petri dishes. He wrote out a note and handed
it off to Robert Alomar, the boy who sat in the station in front of
Robert didn’t seem to mind at all
getting up close and personal with me. In fact he stood,
approached, and squeezed the note into my hand when he could have
easily leaned back on his stool and handed it to me. He said all
but two words to me the first week of school, so I pegged him as
being shy. Maybe I was wrong.
I wrapped up the note, grabbed my
backpack, added a cough to my sniffling, and left.
It’s always eerie walking through the
halls of school when they’re empty. It’s such a contrast from bells
ringing and four-hundred plus students scrambling to meet class
schedules. I heard Bernard and his musical keys before I saw him
turn the corner. He pushed a custodial cart in my direction.
Brooms, mops, and other assorted cleaning fluids and rags blocked
me from seeing his face.
And walking with him?
Aaron Delmon, the blonde
It’s what I had been hoping for; to
get closer to Aaron, to meet him face to face. But not now! Not
when I looked like I had just crawled out of bed. The girl’s
restroom sat within striking distance, but I had to walk toward the
Delmons to reach it. I hurried, head down, my feet sliding across
the floor as though I had an urgent need—which I did! (To escape up
close scrutiny by the god-like man!)
I darted into the bathroom
and held the door open for the seconds it took Bernard and Aaron to
walked by. I watched them while hiding behind the door. Aaron, as
usual, wore above average attire, this time dressed in a blue shirt
and tan cargo pants. He wore dress shoes. I wondered how he managed
to cross the hoar frost without getting his behind all wet. And
what a behind! It looked muscular, well proportioned, something—and
let me be honest here—you would see on men (and women) who are
noted for sprinting the 200m. Round and hardened, not the
flat-frog-looking-behind so common on teen age boys who have yet to
reach full physical maturity.
As they passed by me, I saw Aaron
turn. For a fraction of a second our gaze met. I saw his face light
up. A smile showed. Then I saw Bernard place his hand on Aaron’s
arm. The smile vanished and Aaron looked forward.
With a little bit of makeup from my
handbag and a quick sprinkle of water on my hair, I deemed myself
presentable to the world. It was a short skip and jump to the
nurse’s office, but that wasn’t my destination. I passed it and
went on in to the main office.
“Is Mr. Whittinghill in?” I asked the
“He is. Do you have an
“A slip from your teacher?”
I handed her the slip.
to see the nurse
“Yes,” I said, “but I really need to
see Mr. Whittinghill. I’m more stressed than sick.”
She looked at me with crossed eyes
before saying “Take a seat.”
I didn’t have long to sit before Mr.
Whittinghill ushered me into his office.
“Hi Julissa. Have a seat. What can I
do for you?” He opened up the folder on his desk.
I saw my name on the tab.
“I would like to switch my first and
last period classes.”
Mr. Whittinghill peered over his
glasses. “This have anything to do with you skipping out last
I nodded. “I need more stimuli in the
afternoon. I think it would help me if I was in a more challenging
class the last period.”
“You don’t think History is
“Not the same way Biology
I wanted to tell him there was a
specimen I was acutely interested in dissecting, but I didn’t want
to open another round of questions.
“It’s just that I’m more productive
when it comes to hands on stuff in the afternoon.”
Mr. Whittinghill leaned forward. “I
know what you have been through, Julissa, the loss of your father
and all. I know the transition to a new school is tough. We have
counselors you can talk to if you need to.”
“No. I’m fine. Thanks for the offer,
but my mom is a psychotherapist. We’ve talked.”
“Yes, I understand. Just so you know
though, we have a peer counseling group that meets to discuss
problems you might be having, in school and out.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Now let me see,” he said turning to
his computer, “let’s check the schedule to see if there is a slot
for you. You’re in luck. There’s one more opening for seventh
period Biology, and I see plenty of slots for the History class in
the morning. Shouldn’t be a problem.”
“When can I make the
“Not today. We’ll have it penciled-in
tomorrow. Come by the office first thing in the morning. The
secretary will give you a revised schedule.”
As I left Mr. Whittinghill’s office,
he told me he had known Mickey Grant and that all of the town folk
of Shasta City had mourned his loss. This was something I hadn’t
heard before. It left me choked up. It seemed to be a major
difference between a small town and a metropolis like Minneapolis;
good or bad, people got to know each other. My father was missed by
a select few from the suburb we lived in, but the whole town?
I wasn’t sure I would want to share my
troubles with peers in a group. I was sure anything I did would
become news in a town this size fairly fast. An example presented
itself as I made my way to my next class.
Charleen Girtz, Sandra Wier, and
Brittany Page approached me from behind.
Cherrie had little patience for the
‘drama queens’, as she put it. They were too sickie-sweet for her
Charleen spoke first. “Hi
“Hi girls.” I kept straight on,
heading for my class. They followed as a group around
“Don’t think we’ve met. I’m Charleen.
That’s Sandy and Brittany.”
“I’m Julissa,” I said, which they
already demonstrated they knew. (Oh well, dumber things have been
It was Sandy’s turn to talk. “We heard
you served detention.”
Yeah. So? Just thinking this is what I
wanted to say, but didn’t.
Charleen pushed Sandy aside. “We just
wanted to say welcome and we’re wondering if you wanted to join
drama club. Weren’t we girls?”
Charleen didn’t exactly get a
resounding cheer from Sandy and Brittany on her motion. I took that
as a warning sign.
I stopped mid track and faced the
drama queens. “Sorry. But I don’t think I have time for it right
now. My schedule is pretty full.”
“Well,” Charleen said, “we’re doing
Romeo and Juliet this year so if you change your mind we’ll see you
there.” She extended a hand.
I shook it.
Lunch hour couldn’t have come fast
enough. In the first week of school I frequented the cafeteria, but
I quickly tired of the small cliques that formed. Jocks formed
their own circle, cowboys grouped in another, country boys and
girls gathered together, and city boys and girls mingled. Then
there were the nerds, those of Hispanic descent, cheer leaders, the
drama queens, and so on and so on.
The Delmons were nowhere to be
Cherrie offered to meet me for lunch
outside—at least when fair weather broke, which, as I found out, is
most of the time in California.
Sure enough, when I walked outside I
found Cherrie sitting on a concrete wall in the quad. To my
surprise, quite a few other students had escaped the confines of
the cafeteria and were basking in an intense fall sun. To my even
bigger surprise, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Aaron and
the twins, occupying a table off in the far corner.
As I walked to where Cherrie sat, I
felt as though eyes were upon me. I could only hope they were
“Is he looking?” I asked
“Girl, you’ve got to get a
“IS HE LOOKING?”
“Yeah, he’s looking...”
I tried to remain calm.
“...but not at you.”
I punched Cherrie on the
“Well, what do you expect?”
Cherrie was right. Four hundred and
twenty-nine students attended Shasta High. I didn’t know the actual
split, girls versus boys, but it seemed girls out-numbered boys.
Which gave Aaron, on the conservative side, two-hundred girls to
ogle. Why would he pick me?
I sat down on the concrete wall beside
Cherrie. I pulled a P&J from my backpack and offered Cherrie
half of the squashed peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“How can you eat that stuff?” she
“It’s a Minnesota
Cherrie snorted. “All right. Give me a
We were forced to become speechless as
we sat there chewing on the P&J. I reached in my bag, withdrew
my sunglasses, and put them on. Now I could discreetly study Aaron
without him knowing he was under surveillance. As I tilted my head
away from him and my eyes toward him, I commended myself for my
The three of them, all smartly—and
overly—dressed, sat in a semi-circle, which faced us. For the first
time I could observe my prey in his natural habitat.
Beaumont and Belmont—I still couldn’t
tell them apart—wore striped dress shirts, more white than any
other color, and cargo pants similar to the pair Aaron had on.
Aaron stood apart with his blue shirt. All three wore their hair
long, shoulder length. I tried to decipher whether their necks were
long and slender by comparing them to the other boys milling about.
I decided their necks were longer, but so were their torsos, legs,
and arms due to their height. I squinted hard to make out whether
they had a lump on their forehead, but due to the bangs of hair, I
gave up trying. Besides, it gave me a headache and, besides, this
is when I first noticed I wasn’t the only one doing the
I saw Aaron staring back at
I felt secure hiding behind the dark
sunglasses, until it dawned on me; if Aaron was some kind of super
being, he might have the power to look right through the lens. That
and the fact the sunlight added transparency to the glass. I looked
away and at Cherrie.
“How’re your classes
Cherrie choked down her mouthful of
P&J. “You really want to talk about school?”
“Okay, maybe not. You’ll be thrilled
to know I was invited to join drama club by the queens.”
Cherrie poked a finger half way down
“They’re not all that bad,” I said in
their defense, making light conversation while I attempted to
return to ogling Aaron.
Aaron hadn’t taken his eyes off of me.
The twins kept busy with conversation and seemed unaware of Aaron’s
distraction. I didn’t know what to make of it so I stared back.
That lasted all of thirty seconds before I pulled the sunglasses
off my face and made it a point of making sure Aaron knew I knew he
was looking at me.
He didn’t budge.
I’ve been around long enough to know
the rules for accepting and fending off the advances of boys. I
could play shy, play innocent, play hard to get, be arrogant or
just plain loathsome. With Aaron, I didn’t think there would be
games to play. He seemed far too intelligent. I expected he would
see through any smoke screen I could invent, the same way he
seemingly could see through my dark glasses.