Starting Over

by Tony A

Chapter 11

It was coming up to the week of the dance and I was panicking. I had tried talking to Ava to get out of it, but she was avoiding me like the plague. Every time I got near her she would basically run the opposite way. One day I managed to get her to stay for a second so that I could reason with her but then she ended up slapping me on the face. To say that we 'made a scene' would've been an understatement. So, I've given up on trying to talk to her and now I'm currently trying to think up a Plan B while I'm serving my last week of detention.

Maybe I could talk to Vincent again and try to convey to him that I really don't want to be expelled just for a dance. No... I can't say that to him, it'll sound to weak and whiny, he'll beat me up for sure. Or maybe I could --

I was jarred out of my thoughts by a hissing sound that was coming from the desk next to me. I was startled because I didn't even realize that anyone was sitting there. I turned my head to the right to look at the person next to me and he just stared back at me. I, obviously, didn't recognize him but maybe he knew me.

So I, reluctantly said, "Hi,"

Even after I said that he just stared at me, which I thought was very bizarre. While he was staring I surveyed him. The first thing I noticed was that he had these piercing green eyes that seemed to burn a hole through me. He wore this leather jacket that he looked like he'd worn it out a lot. I guess he had a nice enough face but there was something about him that unsettled me.

I cleared my throat to indicate that he should say something. It seemed to knock him out of his trance, "Oh sorry, people say that I stare a lot. It kinda creeps them out."

Yeah, no kidding.

"Oh, I'm Nathan." He said frankly as he put out his hand for me to shake. Again, another thing that was weird. Who shakes hands anymore?

Either way I quickly shook his hand and said, "Okay, hi," then I turned away from him because it was getting awkward.

"Hey, aren't you going to introduce yourself, that's usually how this goes." I looked over at him and he seemed offended.

"Oh, I just thought you already knew who I was."

He looked confused, "What are you a celebrity or something? How am I supposed to know who you are?" He said in a sharp tone.

I was starting to get irritated by his sudden attitude change. "No, it's just that everyone at school seems to know who I am and I don't remember anyone so I just assumed that you knew me and I didn't remember." I said in a huff.

"What do you have amnesia or something?" He sounded like he was joking but I wasn't laughing.

"Yes, I do have amnesia." I said sternly. He just looked stunned, like he couldn't believe it and he looked like he wanted to say more, but before he could, I got up and moved to another desk away from him.

The detention monitor looked up from the magazine. "There's no talking in detention." He said quickly and then looked back down at his magazine. What a joke, this guy doesn't want to be here anymore than we do.

The rest of detention was very tense for me. I could feel that Nathan guy staring at me for the entire hour. Usually I use this quiet time to think about all my problems and possibly figure out how to fix them, but today all I could think about was how rude and annoying and... weird that kid was.

As soon as detention was done I quickly bolted out of my seat and headed for the door. I didn't want to feel the uncomfortable stare of that guy anymore. I was walking down the hall when I heard feet quickly approaching and someone shouting, "Hey wait up!"

I looked back and, sure enough, Nathan was running down the hall toward me. I wanted to run away but I thought that would be too childish so I turned toward him and crossed my arms.

"What do you want?" I said gruffly.

He looked guilty, "I'm really sorry. I-- I honestly didn't know. Let me explain. I'm new here. I just transferred to this school a week ago."

"And you already have detention?" I asked quickly without thinking. He looked insulted and I instantly regretted it.

"Yeah, I have some personal issues as well." He said defensively.

"Look man, I didn't mean it like that. I guess I was being too sensitive earlier. It's just, my amnesia is a sore subject for me." He still looked a bit miffed so I started walking away, but to my surprise he followed my lead and walked beside me.

"Well, as I was saying. I'm new here and I don't know anyone and I'm kind of lonely. Then I went to detention and saw you in there looking lonely as well, so I thought maybe I could introduce myself and we could be friends. I mean we have the detention thing in common... and the loneliness."

"I wasn't lonely. I was just sitting in there, silently, because in detention that's all you're allowed to do." I corrected.

He brushed off my comment like I didn't even say anything, "Hey, I never caught your name."

"I'm Matt."

"Well, hi Matt." He said in a way too cheery voice for it to be sincere. "But let's get back to the amnesia thing. That's so fascinating, how did it happen?"

Is he for real? I stopped walking and looked at him, "That's a bit of a personal question, don't you think."

He looked confused like he didn't understand, "I don't think it's personal. If I had amnesia and you wanted to know how I got it, I'd tell you."

"Well, once you get amnesia we'll talk, but until then I think I'm just gonna go home."

I turned from him and started walking to the parking lot but I could tell he was still following me. Then he hustled up to me and kept walking in step with me.

"I'm sorry, again, Matt. I guess I'm not good with personal boundaries." He said sheepishly.

"It seems like you have no boundaries." I remarked sharply as I walked a bit faster.

"Well either way, we got off to a rocky start but I'm able to move past it if you are." He said enthusiastically.

I was so confused. What did he want? I turned and looked at him intently, "Look, Nathan. I really don't mean to be rude but I've got a lot on my mind right now and I'd rather just be alone." I said exasperatedly.

I thought he would finally take the hint, but he didn't even budge an inch, he just stared at me, again.Then he finally said, "Well I think that you can solve any problem if you just talk it out."

He couldn't be serious," I really don't know you, so I wouldn't be comfortable doing that. I really gotta--"

He cut me off, "No I insist just unload. I'm a very good listener."

"You're obviously not." I snapped.

He looked offended and his demeanor changed again, "Hey, what the fuck's that supposed to mean?" It was weird how quickly his moods seemed to change.

"I already have enough problems as it is. I don't need some weird, new kid coming into my life and making it even more complicated."

"Oh, I'm the weird one? You're the one with the memory loss, you probably don't know what day it is. Whatever man, I was just trying to help."

I was stunned, why was he getting so worked up? "Fine! You wanna know so badly, okay. My problem right now is that I had this girlfriend. She was my girlfriend before my accident that caused the amnesia. Well, apparently I was supposed to go to some dumbass dance with her. I, obviously, didn't remember that and also the worse part is I just broke up with her a couple days ago. She tried to act like I betrayed her, whatever. Then the next day she gets her goon of a brother to come and threaten me in order to take her to the dance. But here's the best part. I can't even go to that goddamn dance, even if I wanted to because I'm literally forbidden from going to any school events. I might be expelled if I go to that dance, but I'll probably have to go otherwise I'll get beaten up by her brother and his friends." I think I might be having a mental break.

"So, are you happy?! You got me to unload all my shit unto you. Has the problem been solved yet?!" I yelled sarcastically, with my hands raised in frustrated.

He just looked at me with one eyebrow raised and his arms crossed, "You're very interesting," Then he walked away.

I was so baffled by that experience and also mortified that I told him all my problems. I don't even know him. What the fuck was I thinking?

I was so caught up in my interaction with Nathan that I wasn't thinking straight. So, I totally forgot that Kevin said he wanted to meet up with me at my house after school. It's all part of our 'trying to become friends again' thing. I'm still not sure about Kevin, I can't tell if he's going to be good for me or not.

Either way, like I said, I didn't expect him so when I got to my room I almost had a heart attack when I saw him sitting on my bed.

I stepped backwards a bit in shock, then recovered quickly to glare at the smirk that was forming on his face.

"What the hell dude?!" I yelled at him as I threw my backpack at his smug face.

He easily dodged it and laughed, "You should've seen your face, you were like," he imitated my face in an over-exaggerated way, with his hand clutching his chest and a wide eyed expression on his face.

"Calm down? How am I supposed to act when I find someone lurking in my room. I totally forgot you were coming over." Then I looked him over, he looked like he'd been lounging in my room for awhile. "How long have you been here?"

He looked at his wrist which had no watch on it. "Oh, for like... an hour or so." He replied with a shrug.

I was a little taken back that he'd been in my room, by himself, for so long. It felt like an invasion of privacy. "I have so many questions about that, but let me just ask, How did you get in here?"

He looked at me like I was crazy, "Christine let me in, of course. It's not like I broke in or something, so you can stop looking at me like that."

I reluctantly sat down next to him on the bed, "Did you used to do this a lot, you know like -- before?"

He looked down in thought, "Yeah, I guess so. I never really thought about it much. It was just second nature for one of us to be at the other's house. We used to hang out all the time." Then he got this far off look in his eyes. That seemed to be a common look with people around me when they told me something from my past.

I wanted to change the subject because that look was making me uncomfortable. "Hey, do you know someone named Nathan?"

He looked confused at my random question, "Nathan who?"

I sighed, "I don't know, that's why I'm asking you."

"Well can you tell me what he looks like?"

"I don't know, he's got kinda darkish hair, average build, and these piercing green eyes that stare way too much."

He squinted his eyes in thought, then he looked like he remembered something, "Oh, are you talking about that new kid? I think I've seen him around. He wears a leather jacket all the time, right? Yeah, some people who've talked to him say he's...intense. I just think he's weird."

"For once, I can agree. He's really weird."

He looked at me suspiciously, "Why are you asking about him?"

"Because he approached me in detention. He was kinda rude and then he later tried to apologize, but then his mood kept changing quickly, it was weird. Then I kind of yelled at him about my problems and he just walked away. It was bizarre."

He was silent for a moment and then he looked at me with a worried look, "You really have some anger issues now, don't you." He said it more as a statement, not like a question.

"I guess I'm kind of quick to lose my temper but it's nothing that unusual, I don't think."

"Nah man, you're more than that. I mean you first beat Sam to a bloody pulp and then you punched me. You might not remember but we never fought like that before."

I was getting a little annoyed when he brought up our fight, again. "You know that I was provoked both times," I said sternly.

He looked on edge, "Hey man, I'm not trying to start another fight, I was just stating an observation I had."

I couldn't keep snapping at Kevin about our fight, but he has to know why I'm so upset about our fight. I sighed and looked at him hesitantly, "Kev, I have something that I should tell you before we try to become friends again."

He looked hurt by my comment, but I wasn't sure why. "Dude, we never stopped being friends."

I gave a nervous laugh, "Oh yeah, sorry," I didn't think I would be so bothered about what Kevin thought of me. But I knew what I was about to confess was going to be big.

"Why do you seem so nervous?"

I should remember that if things don't go well it's not like I really remember him being my friend anyway, so I wouldn't really be losing much. I looked away from him so that I could go through with it.

"I think you need to know why I fought with you."

He waved his hand, "Dude, it's okay, we don't need to keep bringing it up. I'm over it."

"Well I'm not and you need to know why."

"Okay, go ahead,"

"See, there's someone who's really important to me. Someone who I really happen to like a lot. And that day that we got into a fight. It was because of my memory of that person and how you insulted-- that person." I said this all while looking down at my hands.

Kevin face was contorted in confusion, "But your memory was about that Cole kid."

He wasn't quite getting it, "Yeah, that's right."

I waited and let him put two and two together. When he did he looked at me with a dumbstruck look. "Matt, what are you telling me?"

I knew that he understood, but I could tell he needed to hear it from me. I just didn't know how to say it. "Cole and I are together."

Kevin stood up off the bed and turned to face me with a frown. "What do you mean together? Like in the church choir? What the fuck is 'together' supposed to mean?"

I stood up and matched his stance. He wasn't going to intimidate me in my own room. "Don't act dumb, you know exactly what I mean."

"No, I don't know. Because what you 'mean' doesn't make sense to me. Just a couple weeks ago you had a girlfriend and now your saying your with Cole fucking Blume. Are you outta your goddamn mind?! No, I'll answer that for you. Of course you are. You don't just go from straight to gay with one head injury."

I wasn't sure why he was so mad, but two can play at this game. "Stop trying to act like you know everything about me. Maybe, I had secrets that I never told you before the accident and now they're just manifesting themselves."

"So what are you trying to say, you were fucking Cole even before the accident? That's nice what a class act you are!" He looked at me with a scowl.

"Fuck you, I don't have to justify anything to you. You said you were fine with me hanging out with Cole a couple days ago."

"That's before I knew he was sucking your dick."

God, he's such an asshole. I got right in his face, "You know what I don't even know why I bother with you. You say that you want to have a friendship with me and then you act like this. Get the fuck outta my house." I shoved him towards the door.

He looked shaken out of his disposition, "I don't know what to say." He said quietly.

"You've said more than enough."

"No, no, I did say that I wanted to fix our friendship so we definitely need to talk about this, not yell. We can't keep yelling at each other." He remarked sadly.

He sat back down on the bed in submission and looked up at me. I was still a bit heated though, so I stayed standing and looked down at him.

"What's there to talk about. I told you what I needed to tell you and you responded badly. Conversation over."

He looked defeated, "No. Conversation not over. Matt please sit down and talk with me. I'm willing to listen." I looked at him skeptically. "And I'll try not to be an asshole about it." He sighed.

I reluctantly sat down next to him and waited for him to start.

"So... you're fucking Cole?" He said with a smirk.

I immediately snapped my head towards him and looked furious. Before I could say anything, he put his hands up defensively, "Hey, man it was a joke. It was a joke. Just to lighten the mood. You're so uptight anymore." He laughed, "But seriously, what the fuck's going on?"

I shrugged, "I don't know man. I'm not really sure how I felt before but now I definitely know that I like Cole. I think I might have felt this way before but I just couldn't admit it to myself or anyone else. I mean it's not a big deal... is it?" I asked, suddenly feeling unsure of myself.

He looked me in the eye and said sincerely, "Yes, it is a big deal. This changes everything."

"Why does it have to change anything? No, I'm serious. I don't get why the person who I choose to be with affects you at all. The only people my relationship should concern are me and Cole."

"Yeah, well tell that to the kids at school." Kevin huffed.

"I will. Honestly, I don't give a fuck what they think."

He looked at me seriously, "What's so special about him?"

"I don't know... but I'm planning to find out."

I was feeling pretty good about talking things over with Kevin. Even though he still seemed a bit reluctant to accept my relationship with Cole, but he was willing to try. I would've been fine even if he hadn't been willing to accept it, but I'm secretly glad that he was. I know how important Kevin was to the 'old' me and I still feel a connection towards him.

When I got to school the next day I felt good about my small success with Kevin that I forgot about my actual problems. That is, until my problems walked right up to me. And by that I mean: Ava was standing right in front of me.

The weirdest thing was that she stood in front of me looking very nervous and unsure of herself, which is very out of character for her. She usually walks around like she owns the world and everyone in it. But today she looks like someone just punched her in the stomach.

I was kind of concerned, "Hey Ava, are you okay?" I put my hands on her shoulders to steady her but she shrugged me off quickly.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just came over here to tell you something." she looked away nervously as she spoke.

"Go ahead," I murmured suspiciously.

"Um..." she twirled her hair in her finger and again, looked off into the distance before turning her attention back to me. "You know how I wanted you to go with me to the Winter Formal."

Ugh, this dumb dance again! I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, what about it?"

"Well, I thought about it and decided that.... you really don't need to go with me. I mean we are bro--broken up after all," She was stumbling over her words and looking hesitant. This was really not like her.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah, yes, of course I'm okay. But don't worry, I understand. You're totally off the hook. You don't need to go with me."

"Okay, okay I get it. You're saying the same thing in a hundred different ways." I said with a smirk, but she was doing anything but laughing, she looked perturbed. "Are you sure you're okay? You"

She shook her head vigorously, "Yep, I'm good." Then she looked at me for a second like she was trying to memorize my face, then she said, "Bye Matt," and basically ran away.

That was probably the weirdest thing that's happened to me... and I have amnesia. I brushed off that weird interaction and walked down the hall. I was turning the corner when I saw a person leaning against the wall, looking very casual. Almost too casual since they appeared to be waiting for someone. Whoever it was, was giving off a very ominous demeanor.

I tried to avoid them as I walked down the hall. Then the person started walking towards me and I immediately realized who it was. I tried to back track my steps and discreetly walk the other way but the person noticed and sped up towards me.

"Hey Matt!"

I reluctantly turned around and I was facing Nathan with his leather jacket still on, "Hi, Nathan, I was just heading to class." I said while pointing in a general direction.

"Oh, yeah? Well, I can walk with you." He said with a smile. When he smiles he looks more handsome and less creepy.

I tried not to roll my eyes, "Okay," I started walking and he followed suit.

We were walking next to each other for awhile before he said anything, "Whoa, do you hear that?"

I looked at him like he was crazy (which he very well might be),"Hear what?"

"The whispers. Everyone in this hallway seems to be looking in your direction and whispering about something."

I looked around as we kept walking and I did notice a couple people looking at me, but I didn't think much of it.

"I think you're just imagining things. Some people just happen to be looking in my direction and talking, it's just a coincidence," I shrugged.

He turned his head to me and looked at me like I was an idiot, "No man. You're like a celebrity here. Everyone seems to be talking about you or wants to know more about you. I don't blame them," He said the last part under his breath but I still heard it."

I was about to refute when a familiar face came into view and I instantly blocked everything else out. As Cole walked towards me, everyone else seemed to fade away. Just seeing him brightens my day. Then I noticed that Nathan was staring at me because I had stopped in the middle of the hallway while we were walking. I instantly had a sinking in my stomach as I thought about Cole meeting Nathan. I suddenly felt very protective of Cole. For some reason I didn't want Cole to have to experience the weirdness that is Nathan.

Cole stood right in front of us looking like he didn't have a care in the world, while I was mentally trying to run away.

"Hey Matt and..." He looked over in Nathan's direction as if he wanted me to introduce them.

Before I could say anything Nathan jumped slightly in front of me and put out his hand, "Hello, I'm Nathan." as he shook Cole's hand. He looked confused so Nathan elaborated,"Mat and I, met in detention and I'm new here so he was just showing me around." He replied with a big smile as he patted me on the shoulder.

Cole just smiled and looked between the two of us, "Oh, I'm Cole Blume, by the way."

"Nice to meet you. Did anyone ever tell you that you have a very interesting last name." Nathan was acting so different towards Cole versus the way he acts towards me. He seemed almost charming.

Cole laughed, "Oh please, everyone usually kids me about my last name. They usually make some joke about it being like a flower, you know because of the 'bloom' thing."

"Huh, well they're actually right. The word for flower in German is blume." Nathan remarked, now completely ignoring my presence. I was a bit annoyed.

"Oh, now you know German." I said sarcastically.

They both ignored me though and Cole went on, "Well I guess you learn something new everyday. You know I think my father's side of the family comes from Germany."

"They do?" I said inquisitively. But I must have been like the wind to them because neither of them looked my way.

"Oh, I've gotta get to class but we should catch up again sometime." Cole said towards Nathan then he looked towards me and smiled, "See you later Matt."

All I could muster out was a breathy ,"Bye," before he was gone and I was completely baffled.

Then Nathan looked at me and smiled, "He's kinda cute."

I was dumbfounded. Did he really just say that about my -- Cole? "What?" I managed to squeak out.

He casually waved his hand, "Hey, no harm in looking. But anyways there is something I wanted to tell you."

I officially did not want to talk to him anymore so I just started walking away to go to my next class. But he shouted after me, "Hey, if you don't want to know what I did for you, then fine."

I looked back at him with confusion and he walked up to me with an amused look, "I knew you'd be curious."

" What did you do for me?" I asked under my breath.

"Oh, nothing. I just got you out of going to the dance with Ava. She did tell you right?" He said calmly as he looked down at his hand.

I got a cold feeling from his calmness, "What do you mean? Ava came up to me today but what did that have to do with you?"

He raised an eyebrow at me then shrugged, "Well, let's just say I convinced her that there is no way that you would be able to go to that dance with her."

"What?!" I stumbled over my words and my feet, "How did-- why did you? What?"

He just shrugged again with a satisfied smirk on his face. I was about to ask again, what he did, then the bell rang signaling that class was starting. He casually walked away. I watched, in shock as he walked down the hall.

Who is this guy?

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