So...i'm writing this story, but i'm not really good at writing 'teen' stuff. it doesn't come to me very easily, cause i was never much of a teenager (still arn't, either). anyway...i was wondering if y'all had the time, if you could read what i've got so far, and tell me what you think. it doesn't have a title yet, cause it doesn't really have a plot...but that will come later. i'd love any feedback, good, bad or purple. :D
"Damn it," muttered the striking blonde at the bike racks. She looked up, flipping her hair back, and glared at the only other person in sight. The second girl was stocky and showed her muscular body off in a tight black shirt with the sleeves torn off, and baggy black shorts, held up by a studded belt. Twin steel chains hang from a clip on her right hip; one to the wallet in her back pocket, the other to her keys in her front pocket. Headphones hung around her neck, with the cord disappearing under her shirt. Her black hair was short and shaggy, and she sported no less than five silver studs in her left ear. Her right eyebrow had a spiked ring though it, and her dark eyes were fierce. She looked up at the cursing from the cheerleader.
"Problem?" she asked, and the blonde sneered. She was hot, despite her skimpy cheerleading outfit, and her long hair, which she had painstakenly curled that morning, was itchy on her neck. She didn't want to ask for help, especially not from this…punk. In truth, she was a bit afraid of Lex, with her silver rings and unshaven legs.
"It's nothing." Ashley grabbed her purse, only to curse again when she remembered her cell phone had been confiscated.
"You've got a flat, don't you?" Ashley's head whipped up, and she saw that Lex had swaggered over. "I've got a pump, and a kit, if you've got a hole. Want me to take a look?" Ashley swallowed and tried not to back up. Lex was barely an inch shorter than her, but she was intimidating somehow.
"Um, yeah, sure, that'd be great." The young cheerleader flipped her hair back nervously, trying to get some air on her sweating neck. "Thanks."
"No problem. Just let me get my bag." Ashley watched as Lex went back to her own bike and grabbed her black backpack. When she returned, Ashley stepped aside to let Lex work.
"Actually, it'd be easier if you unlocked it," Lex said, casually dropping her bag and kneeling to yank it open.
"Oh right, sure." Ashley fumbled with the lock, and nearly ran into Lex as she backed out. "Sorry." She flipped her hair again, wishing she had a band to pull it back with.
"Here, you look hot. Tie it up with this." Lex held one hand up as she examined the front tire on Ashley's kelly green cruiser. The cheerleader simply stared. After a moment, Lex looked up, and nearly gasped. The sun was behind Ashley's head, making her golden hair gleam. She was so beautiful. Angry with herself, Lex shoved her thoughts aside. "It's got to be at least ninety out here, and that mass looks like it's cooking your neck. So take the band, and let me get to work on your tire." Ashley, stunned, nodded and took the hair band.
"Thanks," she half whispered.
"Whatever." Lex hooked her small pump up to the tire, but it was soon clear that it wasn't going to hold air. Silently, she pulled her repair kit out, only to curse much more colorfully than Ashley had.
"What's wrong?" Ashley asked tentitively. She had pulled her hair back casually into a high pony tail, and Lex thought she looked even more beautiful, if possible.
"I forgot I used my last patch yesterday. Damn it!" The last was muttered as Lex half turned away and shoved a hand through her shaggy hair. "Look, I've got more at home. I'm just a few blocks away." Ashley wondered briefly why Lex would need to patch her tires, but pushed it aside and reached again for her absent cell phone.
"I've, uh, I've got to get home," she said. But she didn't want to walk the two miles, not in this heat.
"Look, why don't we walk to my place, and you can call for a ride while I patch you up, okay?" At Ashley's look of uncertainty, Lex sweetened the pot. "It'll be nice and airconditioned, and I can probably find you a cold Coke or something." Against her better judgement, Ashley smiled and nodded. She was rewarded with a brilliant grin from the punk girl, who began stuffing her things back into her pack. "Let me just grab my bike, and we can go." Ashley just nodded again.
A few minutes later, bikes in hand, the two girls left the school. Lex walked on the outside, with her bike in the street, and one headphone on her left ear. She was listening to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
They walked in awkward silence for a few minutes, until Lex broke the tension.
"So, why were you at the school so late?" she asked, trying to sound casual. Of course, she knew that Ashley had been at cheerleading practice all afternoon, but she didn't want the other girl to know that she knew so much.
"Practice," Ashley said, and, because she thought it would be polite, and Lex was being rather nice to her, asked, "What about you?"
"Detention," Lex said in disgust. Ashley gulped. Her friends often whispered warnings about Lex, about how she talked back to her teachers, and how she picked fights with the boys.
"What for?" Ashley, too, was trying for nonchallance, though her reasons were not anywhere close to Lex's. Surprised, the punk glanced at Ashley.
"I was late to homeroom," she said.
"Ah." The conversation died as Ashley imagined Lex smoking behind the gym, or something worse. She thought that must be the reason for Lex's tardiness. After all, everyone said that the punk girl did drugs.
They walked on in silence for another ten minutes, before Lex pointed to a run down, ramshackle house.
"This is it." Ashley turned just in time to see Lex's face darken, and her eyes flash. "Damn it," Lex whispered. Her father's car was in the driveway, parked crookedly as usual. She clenched her jaw, knowing just what she would find when she went inside.
"Look, uh, why don’t you wait out here, and I'll get you that Coke while I open up the garage, okay?" Ashley frowned, nervous.
"I, uh, I can just walk home, that's fine," she said, not liking the look on the other girl's face at all.
"No!" Lex dropped her bike and walked to Ashley. "Really, it's fine. I want to help." She wanted a lot more than to help, but she couldn't offer that. "Let me just get the Coke, and I'll have that tired patched up in no time. Really, it's no trouble." Ashley really didn't want to walk all the way home, and knew that her mother would throw a fit if she had to come pick her daughter up.
"I guess a cold Coke would be nice," she said tentitively. Lex's smile was tense as she grabbed her bag and hopped over her bike and headed for the front door.
"Be right out."
While Ashley waited nervously in the heat, Lex pushed into the small house. As she had suspected, her father was passed out in the easy chair, a bottle of booze nestled between his legs. His chin was unshaven, and she winced at the smell as she tiptoed passed him. The television was on, showing some football game. Though she worried about the electricity bill, she dared not turn it off, not if it would wake the man snoring in front of it.
In the dirty kitchen, she grabbed a can of Coke for the cheerleader, and one of water for herself. She shut the fridge silently, then went out to the garage.
It was sweltering in the dim, cluttered garage, and Lex broke out into a sweat as she carefully crossed the messy floor. With a heave, she shoved up on the heavy door, letting in the relatively cool air.
"Bring it on up here," she said, beckoning to Ashley, who complied by pushing the bike up the steep driveway.
"You really don't need to do this," she began as Lex rumaged around in a rusty tool box. "I'm sure you have to go to dinner or something." The punk teenager let out a sharp laugh as she came up with a handful of tools and a plastic package.
"Dinner isn't exactly a family event around here," she said, half in jest, half bitterly as she knelt down by the bike and began prying the tire off. Ashley watched, fascinated, as sharply defined muscles bulged. Lex's hands were sure and steady on the bike, but Ashley was curious about what the other girl had said.
"What do you mean?" she asked, cracking open the Coke Lex had handed her. Lex never looked up from her work.
"What, you don't know already?" she asked. "I thought the entire school did by now." Ashley shook her head, confused.
"No, I don't know what you're talking about." Lex looked up fiercely into Ashley's eyes, but saw nothing but kindness and curiosity.
"My mother left when I was seven," the punk said flatly. "And my father doesn't believe that cooking without a microwave is possible." Her throat closed on the rest, about how they sometimes didn't have enough money for food, or about how her father would spend what little they did have on booze. "So no, I don't have anything else to be doing right now." She bent over the bike to hide the cursed tears in her eyes.
Ashley drank her Coke silently, stunned. She hadn't known about Lex's mother, or anything about her, really.
"I'm sorry," she finally said, and was hurt when Lex only snorted.
"Yeah, you and everyone else. Just sorry enough to say it, but not quite enough to hide the disgust in your eyes." She shoved the tube back into place, and followed it with the tire. "Your bike's done. I'd get that tube changed soon, if I were you."
"Look, just go back to your pretty life, and forget about me, okay?" Lex ripped the cap off her bottle of water and took a long swig.
"Thank you for my bike." Ashley was hurt and confused, and didn't know what to say, or do. But something in her hurt for the girl across from her. "I'm not disgusted by you," she said finally, putting her purse back into her front basket.
"Whatever." After a long look, Ashley rode off toward home.
Lex sighed, and wished she had handled that better. She sank down to the oily floor, leaning against a large tool chest. Her mood perked up a bit when a small head butted against her knee.
"Hey Boomer," she said as her cat jumped onto her lap, purring. He was a lanky tom with a torn ear and a crooked tail. He was all black, but for a small white patch covering his right eye, and four white paws. She'd found him two years ago, when he was a kitten, and to date, he was the longest friend she'd ever had.
"Life sucks today, pretty boy," she told him, scratching him above his eyes. He purred like a small engine. "But then, when doesn't it?" She sat there, stroking him, until the sun went down, then with a long sigh, went inside to brave dinner.
After dinner, Ashley went upstairs to start on her homework. Her mother had been annoyed that she was late, and had ordered no TV. Ashley, who was already deprived of her cell phone, was sulking.
Once she was done with her math and history assignments, she booted up her laptop, wanting to see if there was anyone online who she could chat with. She was in luck. Her best friend, Lindsy, was on, and was willing to lend a sympathetic ear to Ashley's woes. Soon, she all but forgot about the strange encounter with Lex that afternoon.
Lex, on the other hand, had no one but Boomer to confess her thoughts to, and he was no where to be found. After she'd eaten a measly frozen dinner, she locked herself in her room with her books and her music. Two years ago, out of the blue, her mother had sent her a brand new iPod, and although the present confused her, it was Lex's salvation. Music was her sanctuary, where she didn't have to worry about paying the bills, or her homework, or how she was going to get past her dad the next morning without getting cuffed.
Books used to work, when she was little, but they'd lost some of their magic as she'd grown up. She knew now that there would be no knight or king or unicorn to save her, nor was she suddenly going to develop some special ability that would take her away from this hell hole.
With a sigh, Lex dropped onto her bed, put her headphones on and picked up a sketch pad. She'd been forced to take an art class this year, to fill in her schedule, and surprisingly, she was enjoying it. It helped, too, that Ashley was in the class. Not that the cheerleader had paid any attention to Lex, but that was okay. Lex understood. She was invisible, and she preferred it that way. As long as no one noticed her, no one would tease her, or bully her, or beat her up. Invisibility is what she did best.
Ashley dragged herself out of bed the next morning at 4:30, long before the sun came up. Despite the cool air, she pulled on shorts and a tank top, and carried her running shoes downstairs. She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, and quietly left the house. She had resolved to start running more this year, to help her keep in shape for cheerleading, but so far, it had been harder than she'd thought.
She grabbed her bike, which her mother would take in to get repaired later that day, and rode to the school.
To her surprise, there was already someone jogging on the track when she got there. The air was chilly, and a damp mist hung around the ground, swirling around Ashley's feet as she stretched out. The other person was on the other side of the track from her as she started out.
Lex, too, had gotten up before the sun, but she was used to it. Her father had banged his way around the house at 4, getting ready to go out on the water. Lex had lain in bed, silent, until he'd left. When she was sure she'd heard the engine start on his car, she threw off her blankets and yanked on some clothes. She'd slept well, and wanted to go running before school. She liked running. It was a release for her, a time when nothing else mattered.
She'd dressed in baggy gym shorts and a tight tanktop, and, after eating an apple, had biked over to the school. She left her bike by the track, and stretched out.
Lex was halfway through her second lap when Ashley arrived. She stumbled when she caught sight of the other girl, and almost fell.
Ashley, absorbed in her stretching, didn't notice.
Lex slowed so that she could stare as Ashley put earbuds on, and began jogging. Her stomach jerked when the blonde girl looked up, and despite the dark and the distance, she thought their eyes had met. Inexplicably, she blushed, and, embarrassed, returned her focus to running. Her long legs stretched out, her breathing evened, and she once again lost herself to the movement and her music.
The two girls circled the track six times at nearly the same pace, neither gaining on the other. Lex's legs were burning when she finally stopped by her bike for water. She shivered in the predawn chill. Her face dripped with sweat, and she was panting slightly. Resolutely, she did not turn to watch Ashley jog past. She was still embarrassed about the events of the day before.
"Hey." Ashley, heart thumping, slowed as she reached Lex, and came to a stop behind the dark haired girl. Lex jumped and turned.
"Hey," she said, her face a mask that Ashley could not decipher.
"How're you?" she asked dumbly. Late the night before, when she was trying to go to sleep, the punk girl had strayed into her thoughts. Lex's story about her mother was heartbreaking, and Ashley had decided to try and be nice to her.
Lex stared blankly for a long moment, not sure how to answer. "Fine," she said finally. She wasn't used to people, especially popular people, talking to her. And especially not Ashley. She couldn’t help but stare at the other girl, who's long blonde hair was in a halo around her head. Her face was shiny with sweat, and her jogging shorts revealed well-toned legs.
"I'm trying to start jogging every day, to keep in shape for cheerleading," Ashley said when Lex remained silent.
"Oh." Lex was desperate to start running again. Her body craved it, but at the same time, she couldn't leave Ashley.
"Maybe we could, um, run together, somedays. I mean, if you want to. They just, like, say that it's sometimes better if you run with a partner. It like, helps you pace yourself. And I was noticing that we, like, run at almost the same pace, and so we would be good together, you know, if you wanted to." Ashley bit the inside of her cheek and blushed at her rambling. To the surprise of both girls, Lex grinned.
"Is that so?" she asked, folding her arms over her chest.
"I think I read it in a magazine somewhere," Ashley said lamely. "Never mind, it's a stupid idea." Berating herself for her own stupidity, she turned to go. Lex's hand snapped out and caught her arm. Surprised, Ashley stopped and half turned to look at her.
"I'd…I'd like to run with you, if you want," Lex said. Her heart tripped at the thought of spending time with the other girl. "It might be kinda nice, ya know?" They stared at eachother for a long, pregnant moment, each surprised by the other, and each uncertain of what they were doing.
"Yeah, I'd kinda like to," Ashley finally said. "Maybe we can meet a few days a week, like at 4:45."
"I usually get here at 4:30 every day," Lex replied. "But it's fine if you don't want to go that much." She shoved a hand through her hair, embarrassed.
"Wow, um, yeah, I guess I could come every day," Ashley said, thinking that she'd be in better shape in no time."
"Well, um, I usually do another mile, so, want to, um, go now?" Lex was horribly embarrassed but didn't know why.
"Seriously?" Ashley asked. "I'm not sure I can make it another four laps."
"Want to try?" Lex suggested. She was excited about being with the cheerleader, and was disappointed at the thought that it wouldn't happen today.
"I guess, yeah, sure," Ashley said. "Let's go." She gave Lex a bright smile, and they set off.
Without heels, Ashley was the same height as Lex, and their legs were evenly matched. Lex slowed ever so slightly from her normal pace, thinking that Ashley would want to go slower.
They ran in silence, their harsh breathing the only sound in the still morning.
The easter sky was tinged with light when they finished their last lap, panting.
Ashley collapsed on the ground when they reached their bikes, gasping for air. Lex was winded, but loved the feel of her sore muscles, loved the ache in her chest as she sucked in the cold air.
"You're a slavedriver," Ashley finally got out. "I think I might pass out!" Lex laughed and began stretching.
"You'd better stretch out before you cramp," she told the other girl. Ashley moaned and pushed herself upright.
"I know, I know," she muttered as she did as Lex suggested.
"I, um, I guess I'll see you tomorrow morning, then," Lex said a minute later, watching Ashley stretch out her glutes. The cheerleader was on her back, holding one knee to her chest while extending her foot straight up. Her long legs were well muscled and well tanned, and Lex couldn't tear her eyes away from them. She'd already gathered her few things, and was standing with her bike.
"Yeah!" Ashley said, twisting so that she could smile at the punk girl. "I'll try to be here, bright and early."
Lex, disappointed that their time together was ending, stood for an awkward moment, then began pushing her bike across the grass. She wanted to take a shower, and wanted something more to eat. If she hurried, she might make it in time to get breakfast in the cafeteria. With that thought in mind, she jumped on her bike, and began pedaling for home.