Life isn't about the big accomplishments, it's the baby steps you take to get there.
| Chapter Nine
The day Blake Pierce arrived at school, he was the only person anyone would talk about. Forget about Beth and her wild weekend. Everyone wanted to know about Blake Pierce and his black eye. Even when the black circle around his eye disappeared, they craved Blake, and they wanted to know everything about him.
People were obsessed with people, and I guess that could be considered weird if it wasn't for the fact of celebrities and the mass of people swarming to one individual. That is weird. But as I say, power is only given to things when you allow them to take it.
People loved to talk about mysteries, and I kind of understood why. They were interesting, thrilling, exciting and they allowed you to ass and swap details. Mysteries could be anything until the truth revealed itself. For Blake and Tori, they were the most talked about when she fell pregnant and even more when she suddenly stopped showing up at school.
But now people know the mystery, that news has been tucked away and they've swarmed to something new, and more exciting. Since Blake took my hand and laced his fingers through mine in an open, public space, people can't keep our names out of their mouths.
While it was slightly irritating to have people staring and whispering as we walked through the school halls, I won't deny that I enjoyed the attention. For once in my life, I didn't feel like I faded back into the background wall colour, or a ghost when people's eyes pass through me like nothing. I felt insecure from their gaze, yet powerful from their constant whispering - I felt alive in a world that made me feel so cold and gone for years.
Blake had opened so many opportunities for me - he's made me feel things I thought only existed in books written by silly, hopeful people. Blake was changing me and if it was for the best or worst, I didn't know.
A breeze blows across my face and lifts my brown hair out of my eyes. I blink and look away from the scenery of the boundary trees and bushes, to the familiar sight of Blake's green eyes.
I love how I can look directly into them and pick up specs of emotions swirling within the colour. They were the windows to his soul, funny enough , but I don't always believe that eyes will reveal everything on his mind.
we often forget to factor various details to discovering crucial factual information about people. You could find things through the way they appeared, behave and spoke, but excitingly you could tell through art.
Most people, in my opinion, appreciate the self-expression done through art or a wide range of media. However, I liked words. I loved the way someone could place power, memories, and feelings into words - pull you into a world and forget about reality, even if it was just for a moment. Words meant a lot to me.
Blake and I are surrounded by the fresh air outside. We've managed to sneak away from the busy lunch crowds and find a secluded place that took their peering eyes off us for just a moment. While it's nice to be adored, talked about and stared down with awe - the responsibility and weight that hangs on your shoulders can be tiresome after a while.
It'll sound horrible, pathetic and perhaps even rude - but I wouldn't use thee words to describe, but I bet someone else would. People didn't understand something until the minute they faced it. And then maybe, just maybe, they would understand the shoe people bare rather than the assumptions people make.
We're hiding at the back of the oval, behind the metal stands. I have no idea why our school even has this facility - I don't think our school is sporty, at least no really. There were a few kids here and there, but most spent their lives on Tumblr reblogging posts about cats and animated pizza. However, they made the perfect place to sit and relax. They probably knew that too, the graffiti on the pole was a large flashing sign that gave away all their secrets.
Blake had his back pressed against one of the metal poles that supports the main structure. I lay beside him with my head resting on his lap and a jumper tucked underneath. His fingers run through my hair, playing and swirling the long strands around his finger. As he slightly tugs on the strands, it sends tingles through my arms and legs.
"You're quiet today," Blake says. "What's wrong?"
"For starters." I eye off the pen marks scribbled above his head. "I feel weird being in a place you and Tori did who knows what." I try to laugh it off, but it comes out forced.
Blake adjusts his body so that he can look at the pole. His eyes catch the pen mark scribbled along the white painted pole.
"Are you annoyed our names are there?" he asks.
"Doesn't mean anything, I'm with you now."
"It shouldn't mean anything-"
"But?" he questions.
"It does," I reply. I carefully watch his face to see what he'll do. I know it sounds silly, but seeing Tori's name printed next to Blake's with a love heart reminds me that Tori can easily swoop back on the scene and steal Blake away, and that made me scared.
"If it's really bothering you, I'll fix it."
I sit up and shuffle across the grass to give him space. Blake reaches for his bag and unzips the bg pocket before reaching inside to retrieve something. He pulls out his pencil case and grabs a black sharpie. He then stands up and pulls the lid off.
With one hand holding onto the pole, he uses the other to scribble out his and Tori's name while looking down to smile at me.
"Better?" he asks.
"Much." I nod my head.
"I'll even do one better for you," he says.
At a lower height in a free spot, Blake writes my name in a cursive font and a smiley face. He caps the pen and places it in his pencil case.
Blake doesn't say anything and he doesn't make any signs of explanation, which makes me curious. I expected Blake to write our names inside a heart, just like he'd probably done with Tori and his by the matching penmanship.
"Are you going to explain?" I ask.
"I wanted something different." He looks down at the grass and starts running his fingers through it.
"Your name is Ava and you make me happy. Being happy is usually symbolized through a smiley face, so that's why I used that," he explains.
"You know what, I think that's even cuter than two names in a love heart. There's more meaning to it, thank, Blake."
"Thank you, Ava," he says back.
"For what?" I frown. "I was being silly about it."
He shrugs his shoulders, "Thank you for making me happy."
"Thank you for making me happy," I reply.
Blake sits down and rests his back against the pole. He points to his lap and I immediately shift back into the position I was previously in. His fingers find my hair and he begins to play with it.
"You make me so happy," he whispers.
The words swirl inside me, filling me with all kinds of emotions. But best of all, it begins to take away the doubt. Tori could want and nag to have Blake back, but she made her decision and he's made his. I won't go down without a fight.
After lunch, Blake and I head to drama. I expect drama class to run the usual course, to sit through an hour of watching Megan swirling around the stage while attempting to take notes on her performance. Blake always seemed too awkward on the stage which it comes to Megan, however, showed improvement when it comes to interacting and sharing a stage with the other cast members.
Perhaps the success of Blake's performance came down to his co-star, Megan. She was either going to fix the awkward chemistry or create a comedy show. I want him to be successful in his endeavors, I also wish they didn't involve Megan. There was something about her I just couldn't put my finger on. But I would crack the case at one point. Time is always the element we need the most along with some hard thoughts and imagination.
Today was going to be different, an unexpected different too. It's a feeling I have in my gut and one I hope that comes true.
"Ava, I want you front and center," the teacher calls out.
I look at Blake and he just smiles back - which doesn't help the nerves bubbling inside my stomach.
While it would be nice to be in the spotlight, theatrically it sounded amazing, experiencing it, not so much. Being a noticeable figure thriving in the spotlight was something for certain people only - and I'm positive I don't fit into that category.
"Come, my princess, let's start our rehearsal." He bends at the knees, lowers his head and raises his hand in an offer to take mine.
"Why thank you, my prince." I curtsy and take his hand in mine. He pulls me close to his body and then pushes me out so that I do a spin. The random gesture makes me giggle and slightly loosen up. Blake Pierce has a soothing effect on my erratically beating heart.
We walk to the marked out carpet which is supposed to resemble our future stage. When it gets closer to the performance, we're going to practice on the stage with props the construction class is currently building.
"Megan, you'll be filling in for Ava because Sarah is off sick," she says.
Her faces drops into a sour look of displeasure but recovers into an overly bright smile.
"Good luck," says Megan. The look on her face adds to the nerves inside my stomach, and not in a good settling way either.
She walks to the side of the stage and begins to prepare herself for the role of the maid. Megan faces away from the class and starts doing her vocal exercises before slipping into a physical movement to loosen her muscles up. From the number of times I've seen her do this, I've got her schedule down to the dot. I'm unsure if that's sad or not.
"I'm feeling really nervous about this." I turn to Blake and frown.
"Just like we've been practicing before, you can do it!" he encourages me.
"I feel like I'm going to throw up." I start fanning my face dramatically.
"You'll be fine. Besides, we already have chemistry." Blake squeezes my hand in reassurance. The look of happiness and excitement fills my body with delight to some degree.
Not only would I get the chance to play and practice my role as the princess, but I would also be able to spend time with Blake during class and hopefully not stuff it up. We had undeniable chemistry between us, and I'm somewhat nervous to have someone critique it. What if she told me we weren't a good fit?
"Megan that bad?" I laugh.
"Not always bad, but weird," he says. "Tori and Megan used to be friends before they fell out."
Since Tori is so popular, I feel like I should have already known about the connection between the two girls. But the relationship between the girls and then in relation to Blake didn't bother to cross my mind in the slightest of ways.
"Why did they fall out?" I quietly ask.
"I was worth more than their friendship." He frowns sadly.
"Why?" I ask.
"Megan had feelings for me." He shrugs his shoulders.
His words catch me off guard. I didn't know what to think of this.
"Still does?" The question slips out.
The thought crosses my mind, I wonder if Megan requested that Blake be the prince in the performance? She's one of the best actresses here, I bet her words have some influence over the teacher.
I believe in Blake, he's an amazing bloke, but since taking London into full-time care, it's taken a huge downturn to his grades. Everyone is wondering how he could possibly get the grades for the prince when he wasn't a consistent class member for some weeks.
But he was popular, swoon-worthy and his friends would turn up to show in support of his endeavors. Perhaps Blake's mother would even bring London and he would but the center of attention in more than one way.
"Maybe she'll recast you if you beg?" I offer.
"I need the grade, so I'm just going to have to pick up and do the corrections she gives me. Maybe she'll recast you after today's performance?" Blake offers.
"Let's hope for a tree." I giggle.
"Hopefully the princess," he corrects me.
"Let's start," the teacher calls out.
I walk over to my starting position on the stage and take a deep calming breath to try and soothe the over the bubble of nerves happening. I want to impress the teacher and show her that Blake and I can make an incredible co-star team. If I let the nerves win one over me, I don't think I'll get another opportunity to show her what we can do.
While Tori is the direct opposite opponent on the chessboard, you always know she's there and waiting. Megan is like the dark knight waiting on the outskirts to take out the smaller pieces. I felt like the small piece.
If Megan still had feelings for Blake, perhaps I have more than just Tori to worry about. I could go against Tori, Blake and I were beginning to form our own history - but I didn't know a great deal about Megan. What were her feelings for Blake, if there are any plans forming inside her head?
At least Tori was easy, her motivation will always be clear - protect and save what's rightfully hers. But Megan?
The teacher takes the middle seat in the front row and gets out her notebook to start writing down corrections for everyone. It makes me nervous that she'll be watching my performance, but at the same time, hopefully, she'll see my potential.