Ambrosia Lillis is a sixteen year old girl with a huge, life-changing secret.
I don’t recognize anyone in the classroom, except for one person: Demetri. What’s he doing here? I hate to imagine him working with kids; they’d be permanently scarred for life.
Like before, Demetri sits at the end of the back row away from everyone. Although I don’t like him, I do like the back row.
I walk up each stair, passing their accompanying rows, and sit on the opposite end of the back row as Demetri stares at me curiously. As I don’t want to become upset again, I ignore him. There are twelve desks in between us; I’m going to make sure it’s more like twelve miles.
In boredom, I search around for the teacher. There isn’t anyone remotely out of high school here. Wait, who’s that? A guy with black hair, who looks around Callum’s age, sits in the front row. Aren’t there supposed to be only juniors in this class? Suddenly, he stands up.
“Hello class. I’m Mr. West. I’ll be your teacher.” But, he’s so young! How can this be? Is he a genius who graduated from college at thirteen?
Suddenly, the bell rings.
“Now, we may start. First off, I must go through attendance.” Mr. West begins reading off names.
I can’t believe he’s my teacher. He’s my age for crying out loud! This doesn’t make sense. Geez! There’s that awful smell again. Is it me? Why does it seem stronger than before?
Just then, I hear something, like someone’s calling my name.
Somebody is. Someone’s calling my name.
Confused, I glance at the teacher. It isn’t him; he’s still in the last names starting with “D”. Who’s calling me?
“Ambrosia,” Demetri whispers, seated next to me.
Why is he calling me? How did he move there without me seeing him?
“Ambrosia,” he whispers again, staring at me.
“What,” I answer, obviously annoyed.
“I wanted to know if I could sit here,” Demetri kindly asks.
“You’re already sitting there.”
“Is that a yes? I can move if you want me to.”
Should I let him sit there? He’s been a jerk all day, but I don’t want to be rude. Although, I don’t want to deal with him either. Then again, he asked so politely.
“Yeah, fine. You can stay,” I finally reply, settling my own argument.
“Thanks,” Demetri grins happily.
“Mhmm,” I mumble, turning around.
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Demetri still staring at me. Do I have something on my face? Is there something wrong? Suddenly, Mr. Smith calls my name.
I raise my hand, making sure to use the one away from Demetri. I don’t want Demetri to think I stink, in case I am making that awful smell.
“Yes, that’s me.”
He stares at me for an awkward moment, nods, and continues to read off the list of names. All the while, Demetri still looks at me.
“Nice name,” Demetri whispers.
“Th- thanks,” I reply hesitantly. He smiles cheerfully in response.
“Why are you being so nice to me? I don’t understand. You were being so rude all day; now, you’re being nice. Why?” I question.
“I’m sorry about that. I was in a bad mood,” Demetri states, scratching his neck. I stare at him in disbelief.
“Yeah, right,” I scoff.
“I’m telling the truth. I really am sorry,” he frowns. As if I’d believe him. “Why were you walking with my sister in the hall just now?”
“That’s your sister?! I should’ve guessed… She looks a lot like you.”
“Thanks,” Demetri beams.
“For what?” I ask confused. I wasn’t complimenting him on anything.
“Oh. Uh, never mind.”
There’s a brief silence.
“Can I ask you a question?” I suddenly ask.
“I hate hearing that. You never know what somebody will ask,” Demetri laughs.
His laugh is so cute. Knock it off, Ambrosia! He’s a jerk. You shouldn’t like him; you can’t.
“True, but it’s not bad.” Demetri nods reassured. “I think,” I add.
“Why are you here? In this class? I would never have guessed you like working with children.”
“Well, I don’t like children,” Demetri replies. Why is he here, then? “I love them. Under the impression I gave you, I wouldn’t expect you to think I do, but you haven’t met the real me; you’ve only seen the upset me. If you would meet the real me, then you would see that.”
“You must have been in a really bad mood,” I murmur.
“You still don’t believe me,” Demetri sighs. I shake my head. “Then, meet me on the bleachers after school. You’ll see the real me.”
“I don’t know-”
“Come on. You wanted to know why I’m here. Now, you don’t believe me? You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” Demetri half-smiles, interrupting me.
“I wasn’t. I was judging it on the fact that you’ve been giving me dirty looks all day long, not including what you said to that girl during lunch.”
“I said I was sorry!” Demetri exclaims, whispering. “Besides, she was a tramp.”
“That doesn’t give you any reason to act like that towards her! And so what if you said sorry?!” I scream in a hushed whisper.
“Sorry should count for something,” Demetri mumbles, briefly looking away. I glare at him, not budging.
“Okay, fine. I hear what you’re saying. I shouldn’t have acted like that,” Demetri groans.
“No, you shouldn’t have,” I state, crossing my arms.
“Does this mean I’ll see you, then?”
“My brother drives me home after school. I can’t make him wait,” I say as an excuse.
“I’ll drive you.”
“You have a car?!” I ask astonished.
“Yeah. Now, you can stay,” Demetri smirks.
Demetri looks so cute when he smirks. Snap out of it! He’s cruel, remember?
“Come on. Give me a chance,” Demetri pleads, giving me the puppy-dog look.
You know the one where your eyes get all big, and you look all sad? That one. I can’t say no; he looks too cute.
“Fine,” I groan. Demetri smiles in triumph.
During class, we learn about each other as always. Shockingly, Demetri participates this time. He doesn’t say much, but at least he’s talking. It’s actually kind of creepy. I feel like everywhere I go, he goes.
When that’s over, I learn more about Mr. West. He’s from Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois, and is Italian. Sadly, he never mentions his age.
After that, we fill out papers on things Mr. West should probably know, such as sitting away from someone you dislike or preferring to sit up front because of poor eyesight.
All of this takes up most of the class with five minutes leftover. Curious, I get up out of my seat, heading over to Mr. West. He is bent over searching through his briefcase. I clear my throat, making Mr. West nearly jump. He slowly faces me, trying to catch his breath.
“Ambrosia, I never heard you come up. Do you need something?”
“Well, I was just wondering how old you are. You look around my age, but I can’t bring myself to believe you are,” I blush.
“Um, you’re right. I’m not your age. I’m twenty one, but thank you for thinking I was.”
“Uh, you’re welcome.”
I walk back to my seat, glancing at the clock. Three minutes left.
So, I was right. Mr. West isn’t mine or Callum’s age; he’s twenty one, but I could’ve sworn he was around my age.
Two minutes left.
I need to remember to tell Callum I’m not going home; I don’t want him waiting for me.
I wonder what Demetri is really like. If he’s not mean and cruel, what is he?
“Have a good day, class,” Mr. West states as the school bell rings.
As I walk out the door, I search for Catalina, who I don’t see. Although, the bell just rung. She said her class was down that way; maybe she’s still in it.
While continuing my search with still no sight of her, I suddenly feel a tap on my shoulder.
“Catalina?” I ask, turning around.
“Oh, hi. Where’s your sister?”
“I was supposed to be meeting her after class. Do you know where she is?” I ask again.
“She texted me saying she can’t meet up with you. An emergency came up, forcing her to leave.”
“Oh, okay. Can you tell her I’ll see her tomorrow, then?”
“Sure. Now, we can hang out,” Demetri smiles.
“Not yet. I still have to tell my brother I won’t be going home with him. Besides, we still have to get on the bus.”
“I can wait,” he smirks.
Demetri and I walk to the bus in complete silence. Once we are on, he sits across from me, staring at me the entire ride there speechless.
As I finally get off feeling creeped out, I call Callum. No answer. I start walking towards the parking lot, quickly noticing Demetri following closely behind.
“Um, stay here. I don’t think my brother would want to know I’ll be staying here with you.”
Correction. I know Callum wouldn’t want to know. He wouldn’t allow it. Callum would get overprotective of me if he found out I was staying here with a boy.
“Why not? I don’t bite,” Demetri jokes.
“Well, you’re a guy. My brother doesn’t like me hanging out with guys. He gets very over-protective.”
“Okay. I’ll wait here,” Demetri nods.
“How about we meet each other at the bleachers?” I ask, thinking of how I don’t want Callum to see him.
“Okay, I’ll see you there,” Demetri smiles, walking off.
I walk over to Callum’s car, only to find him not there. Glancing around, he’s nowhere in sight.
That’s when I hear him shouting. Worried, I quickly run over, surrounded by a growing crowd, slowly making my way to the front.
There, I see Callum and Carson, the school hottie, standing inches apart, glaring at one another. Everyone fervently chants, “Fight!” around me. Seeing this, my chest begins to tighten. Callum, you better not injure yourself.
Without hesitation, Callum lays eyes on me as if already knowing where I stand.
“Ambrosia, go wait by the car. You won’t want to see this,” he orders.
“No, Ambrosia. Stay,” Carson smirks.
“Shut up!” Callum snaps. “Ambrosia, I mean it. Go wait by the car. Please, I don’t want you to see this,” Callum pleads, the coldness in his eyes melting some. Understandingly, I nod.
I wait by his car, still being able to hear bits and pieces of what’s going on. I should’ve known they’d be arguing over a girl. From what I can gather, Callum doesn’t want Carson to ask her out, who desperately wants to.
“I can do whatever I want. You’re not the boss of me,” Carson states. Bad move. Very bad move! You should never undermine Callum’s motives!
Callum may seem like he’s controlling at times, but he’s just doing what he thinks is best. I have to believe Callum is doing what is best for this girl.
“You can’t keep protecting her. She needs to experience the world, good or bad,” Carson states in a condescending manner. Knowing Carson, he’s probably insinuating something sexual.
“You!” Callum snarls, sounding like he can’t take anymore.
Suddenly, cheers and sounds of fighting fill the air. Before I know it, I’m running. I’m running with all my might.
As I reach them, Carson is pinned to the ground with Callum menacingly atop him.
“Don’t you ever talk about her like that again!” Callum warns.
“Callum! What happened?! Are you hurt?! Please, stop! I think he’s learned his lesson!” I burst out in terror. Surprised, Callum glances up at me and stands up unwillingly.
“If I ever catch you talking about her like that again, I’ll come for you!” Callum advises, looking over his shoulder. “Let’s go, Ambrosia,” Callum demands, walking towards his car.
Sympathetically, I glance at a fearful, cowering Carson. I would be too; Callum’s pretty strong.
“Actually, I wanted to know if I could stay. I made a new friend, and she asked to hang out at the park. Can I? Please?”
“What friend? Is she giving you a ride home?” Callum questions, glaring at me full of anger.
“Catalina. She said she’d give me a ride. I promise to be home no later than- seven?”
“Okay. You can stay, but be careful; I don’t want you getting hurt,” Callum mutters, softening. He quickly hugs me tightly.
“Thank you!” I exclaim, kissing him on the cheek. “And we’ll talk about what just happened later,” I state as I run off, leaving a worried Callum behind.
He’s definitely not looking forward to our talk. I can tell just by looking at his dumbfounded expression.
I run to the bleachers and look for Demetri, who’s not here. I search the top of the bleachers, but he’s nowhere in sight. I search both sides, but still can’t find him. I walk around the back, but he’s not there either. Where could he be? We agreed to meet each other at the bleachers. Well, I’m here. Where is he?
I walk to the top of the bleachers and wait. For fifteen minutes, I sit there. I’m about to leave when I finally spot him sitting in the opening of a nearby forest.
Why would he go in there? It’s a sunny day out. There aren’t any clouds to ruin it. As I walk over, Demetri notices.
“What are you doing over here? I thought we agreed to meet at the bleachers. I could’ve sworn this isn’t the bleachers,” I question irritated.
“I’m sorry. I thought this would be more comfortable. The bleachers are all hard and make you stiff,” Demetri justifies. “I’m sorry.”
“You said that already.”
“Right, but I truly am sorry.”
“I’d much rather prefer the bleachers than the dirt.”
Demetri takes off his jacket and places it on the ground.
“Is that better?”
“That’s not what I meant, but thank you. Dirt doesn’t bother me like most girls, so you didn’t have to do that. I would’ve sat on the ground,” I say, sitting down. Demetri nods, smiling.
“Does that mean you’re a tomboy?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I like to play sports, but I only enjoy watching a game off-screen. While I don’t mind getting dirty and playing rough, I like make-up, manicures, and having my hair done as well. I hate having messy hair. I like dressing up, but I prefer comfort. I’d choose sweatpants over jeans any day. Sneakers are my life. Sometimes, I like to go shopping, but usually I hate it,” I clarify, babbling.
“So, you’re part tomboy, part girly girl?” Demetri questions with perplexed facial expressions.
“Exactly,” I answer, glad someone understands. “What about you? What are you?”
“I guess I’m in between everything, like you. I’m many things, not just one,” Demetri shrugs, smiling.
“I don’t know about you, but I just call myself weird. It used to be a nickname, and I sort of embraced it. In a way, calling myself weird helped me not care what anyone said about me.”
“Nobody?” Demetri asks, baffled.
“Well, if my mom or brother were to say something, I’d be pretty upset. Even with my friend Josephine, I’d be hurt. They’re the people closest to me. They know everything about me. I wouldn’t expect them to say something bad about me,” I admit, my self-sufficiency faltering. Ashamed, I look down.
I can’t imagine someone close to me doing something like that again. That’s why I’ve built myself to be so self-reliant. Needing others will only bring my own demise.
Unexpectedly, Demetri gently lifts my chin with a finger, forcing me to look at him.
“I would never say anything bad about you, I promise. You can trust me,” Demetri reassures, his caramel eyes gleaming. I smile faintly, which Demetri returns.
I’ve had a great time talking to Demetri. I found out his jerk act is really just a cover for his kind side. He’s really not a bad guy. I hate to leave him, but I know Callum will be waiting for me.
Demetri drives me home in his nice, bright orange sports car; I think he told me it was an Eclipse by Mitsubishi. I’ll admit I fell in love with his car at first glance, but it could never replace my love for Mustangs. Since I was around thirteen, I’ve been trying to save up for one. I almost have the entire amount needed to purchase one. When I save up enough, I want a purple one.
As I step through the door, I hear someone screaming. I hear Callum.
“Where have you been?! I’ve been worried sick about you! I thought I would have to call 911 and report a missing girl!” I look at my watch. 7:01.
“Chill! It’s only a minute after seven! I’m only a minute late! Calm down before you have a heart attack!” I yell.
I knew Callum would get upset. I’m just glad he doesn’t know I was with Demetri. He would have a heart attack for sure then.
“Are you okay, now?” I ask, rubbing his shoulder as he appears to be starting to calm down. He nods. “You need to learn to give me a couple minutes before you start to freak out, at least fifteen. If I’m not home by then, I give you permission to flip out. Deal?”
“Good. Now, what happened at school?”
“It was nothing. We just got into a foolish argument,” Callum shrugs.
“Yeah, right!” I state hysterical. “I heard some parts of your guys’ argument. Something about a girl, and how you don’t want Carson dating her?”
“It’s nothing, really,” Callum quickly replies, beginning to walk away.
“Hold it, mister! We’re not finished!” I scream furious.
I hate when people walk away while I’m talking to them; it’s extremely rude.
“Now, I need to know! I didn’t really care before, but now I do! Who is this girl? Why can’t he date her? Why are you protecting her, and what from?” I question.
After hearing how much I know, Callum immediately looks ashamed.
“I’m sorry, Ambrosia. I can’t believe you had to hear me fight. I’m truly sorry. I should’ve kept my cool. I should’ve shut my locker and walked away. I’m really sorry,” he apologizes, shaking his head in denial.
“Answer the questions,” I snarl.
“We were talking about you.” Stunned, I shut my mouth.
About me? Why would they be talking about me?!
As if to clarify himself, Callum continues.
“I was at my locker when Carson walked up to me, asking if he could ask you out. I told him no and tried to walk away, but he followed me. We started arguing, and that’s when you appeared. Once you left, I told him he’s never to date you, or even talk to you again. He started saying I wasn’t the boss of him, and he can do whatever he wants.”
I watch as Callum clenches his fists tightly.
“I started to get angry, but I tried not to hit him. I really did. Then, he told me I can’t keep protecting you. I have to let you experience the world, the good and bad. I almost threw a punch then, but I kept my cool.”
Suddenly, Callum stops talking. His knuckles turn a nerve-racking white.
“It’s okay. He’s gone now,” I say comfortingly, rubbing his hands gently.
“That bastard started talking about how he would take you out for dinner, and after, to his place. He continued to talk about all the things he would do to you there. I couldn’t take it anymore. I started punching him and couldn’t stop. I threw him on the ground, and then you told me to stop.”
I’m still in shock they were talking about me. I can’t wrap my head around it.
“I’m sorry, Ambrosia. I couldn’t see my little sister dating someone like him. I didn’t want you to get hurt. I couldn’t let that happen. All those guys weren’t worthy of someone like you. They didn’t deserve you,” Callum murmurs, holding back tears by this point.
Wait, did he just say “all those guys”?!
“What do you mean all those guys? There were more besides Carson?” I exclaim. Hesitantly, Callum nods.
“Yes, there were more, all wanting to ask you out, but I told them no. I made sure they wouldn’t. They were all afraid of me, so they wouldn’t dare ask you out since they knew I would hurt them.”
“You mean to tell me I’ve been feeling sorry for myself all because you didn’t want me to date? I’ve been thinking poorly of myself, thinking I was ugly and fat for nothing? I can’t believe you did this to me! I’ve never had a boyfriend, even been on a date, because of you!” I start bawling.
Callum was the one person I could trust with everything, and now that’s gone.
“I’m so sorry, Ambrosia! I really mean it! You’re not ugly or fat! You’re beautiful! I’m sorry!” Callum cries, not being able to hold back any longer.
“This morning, were all those boys looking at me? Is that why you were glaring at them?” Callum nods, still sobbing. I try to calm down.
I can’t believe Callum did this, but I’m also glad he loves me this much.
“I admire that you wanted to protect me, but I want to have boyfriends. I don’t want to be the only single person at a party. I want to have someone to call mine who’ll hug and care about me, kiss and protect me, respect me. One who won’t look at other girls the same way he looks at me- with love in his eyes. One who knows he could never let me go, or he’d be a wreck without me.”
Callum opens his mouth to speak, but I continue, paying him no mind.
“He’ll never let me go,” I whisper, slowly wishing it was true, but knowing I’ll never meet a guy like this; they’re too good to be true.
I look at Callum, who isn’t crying anymore; in fact, he’s starting to get his breathing under control. Thinking about my perfect guy, I glance at the floor when Callum begins rubbing my back.
“I’m sorry, Ambrosia. I should’ve let you date. Maybe you would’ve gotten to experience some of those things. I really am sorry.”
“It’s okay, Callum. I forgive you.” He nods, looking relieved and extremely happy. I fake a smile, which he returns. “I’m going to bed now.”
I start walking to my room, seeing Callum nod out of the corner of my eye. I’m not tired; I just don’t want to be in the same room as him at the moment.
In my room, I find nothing to do. Since it was the first day, I don’t have any homework. I can always read a book; I haven’t read in a while.
I walk over to my bookcase and pick out a favorite of mine, “Romeo and Juliet”. Sure, it’s a little hard to understand, but I like the challenge.
Around ten, I stop reading, feeling bored. To pass the time, I try falling asleep. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be that easy. My mind is racing with everything from today: the fight, Callum’s confession, and most of all, Demetri.
Although, I don’t want to think about him, I can’t stop; he popped in my head and refuses to leave. I think about Demetri’s personality changes, how he’s actually nice and sweet. I think about how Callum is the reason I’m single and have never had a boyfriend.
I know Callum cares about me, but that’s no reason for him to act like that. Callum could’ve just fought the guys who broke my heart, not make sure I never got to experience it being broken in the first place. I know break-ups will be hard, but I’m a tough girl; I can get through them.
Finally, around midnight, I drift off to sleep. Through a wonderful yet odd dream, I make small changes to the day. Demetri walks into class acting nice, I decline Carson when he asks me out, and at the end of the day, I still hang out with Demetri. Afterward, Demetri drives me home, walks me to my door, and asks me out. Just as I’m about to answer, I wake up only to be greeted to reality.