Author: TheDevotchka PM
AU fiction. Tate hates high school. He hates his girlfriend, fake friends and his 'promising track career'. It's not what he wants. He wants her... the pretty, peculiar new girl. Only problem is? She can't stand him and he can't seem to change her mind.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Tate L. & Violet H. - Chapters: 17 - Words: 43,791 - Reviews: 134 - Favs: 59 - Follows: 48 - Updated: 05-29-12 - Published: 02-13-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7832350
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I raked my fingers back through my hair, letting it slide back into place around my face before sighing a breath through my lips and shaking my shoulders.
"You can do this," I whispered to myself, rolling my eyes before grabbing my bag and slinging it over my shoulder.
"Violet? Aren't you going to eat something, honey?" My mom called from the kitchen, and I muttered a curse word under my breath before plastering a fake, bright smile onto my lips and stepping round to face her inspection.
"No, thanks, mom, I'll get something on the way," I tried, edging towards the door. She turned around and looked me over, sighing.
"Violet, honey, do you have to wear that? It won't help you make friends," she shook her head in disapproval.
The words were out before I could sensor them, "I don't want friends." She stared at me stonily for a long moment before shaking her head and turning back to her own breakfast, because she was eating for two now after all. "Sorry," I added as an afterthought before dashing for the door.
The walk to school was uneventful, but the Californian sun stuck foreign and unwanted to my skin and set my hair on fire. There was nothing worse than the first day at a new school, and tomorrow would be easier. I stopped just before crossing into the parking lot, looking wistfully back at the lush green grass at the park to the side, and wrinkling my nose and squinting against the sun reflecting off the cement and brick of the school building. I rolled my eyes against the pep talk my brain wanted to give me and strode purposefully towards the school. I didn't ask for help, just followed a variety of badly planned signs on my way to the reception area, where a bored looking secretary handed me a schedule and shooed me back in the direction I'd come. I clenched my fists, bunching the paper up against my palms as I scanned the map quickly before shoving it in my bag. I had enough trouble fitting in already without wandering with my nose in a map.
"Woah," I collided with a hard body, a guy at least a head taller than me. He smiled down at me, steadying me with a hand on my lower back. I tugged out of his grasp and slid past him, but he fell into step with me. I repressed a groan, because this guy wasn't nasty, but he was an unwanted presence when I just wanted to get through today.
"Hi, are you new?" He asked, trying to catch my eye as I continued to walk briskly, eyes ahead.
"Yeah, just moved here."
"Cool, where from?"
"East Coast." Why couldn't this guy take a fucking hint?
"What's your name?" It would be rude not to answer, and though I didn't want to make friends, I didn't really want to make unnecessary enemies either.
"Violet." I turned to look at him for the first time, because I'd stopped outside my classroom and I wanted to cut this short with a smile and then go back to ignoring everyone.
"Well Violet," he leaned in closer, a grin plastered across his face. "Next time you shove me in the hallway, I'll knock your fucking teeth out." He pushed off from the wall, giving me a courteous little wave with his finger-tips before sloping off down the corridor, and I noticed now how people moved out of his way, whether consciously or not. I shook my head, clearing the bad vibes before opening the door to my first class, English Literature.
"Ah, you must be our new student. Miss…?" The teacher trailed off, smiling politely and looking expectant. I stepped forward.
"Harmon." He repeated, nodding as if saving my name to his memory… as if he gave a damn. "Take a seat at the back, next to Mr Langdon," he scanned the room.
"Urm… I don't know who-"
"Oh, so sorry. Tate, raise your hand please. Tate?" My teacher got up, and as he passed I heard him mutter something about this being the third time this week. I followed him down the aisle past the rows of curious faces, trying not to make eye contact with any of them, especially after the douchebag from earlier. The teacher stopped in front of a double desk, motioning for me to take the spare seat, next to the boy who was clearly sleeping, his face covered by his arm. His hair was a mess of blonde locks with dark roots, and I wondered if he dyed it. He wasn't wearing what the other boys wore, either. He was wearing a striped green and black jumper and baggy, dark wash jeans. He looked out of place, but that was okay because it meant he might not want to punch me in the face so much as the others did.
"Mr Langdon, again?" He jerked a little at the sound of his name, but didn't lift his head off the desk, just mumbled something into his sleeve. I bit my lip to stop from smiling, because the kid had guts and no matter how much I liked the teacher already, I liked back chat more, no matter who it was coming from. "I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that," the teacher growled through impatient teeth and his head finally rose, dragging as though it was harder for him than anyone else, as he flashed the teacher an angelic smile, all teeth.
"Sorry, sir, it won't happen again." He stared the teacher down, until he sighed and began moving back to the front of the class with a "See that it doesn't, Tate."
'Tate' turned a little in his seat and jumped when he noticed me.
"Why are you sitting at my desk?" He demanded, not angry, but just confused, as though he couldn't fathom a situation that would place him sharing a two person desk with anyone. I wondered if he had any friends either.
"You make it sound like I just sat in your lap or something, jeez," I retorted and he smirked.
"Well, I wouldn't mind." I rolled my eyes, because of course he just had to be like the rest of them. He rolled his eyes, too.
"Of course not. Thankfully, I would. I'm new, is there a protocol I'm breaching by sitting with you?" I knew I was being a little harsh for someone I just met, but it felt natural and I've always been one for saying exactly what I think, so it was a no-brainer. I wasn't going to censor myself for him or anyone.
"Well, sort of. My girlfriend wouldn't like it, for starts. And no offence, but you're kind of weird looking." He was straight faced and I walked to balk at how wrong my perception of him had been. He was a jerk. We didn't really talk for the rest of the lesson, and that was okay, because I liked English Lit and by the looks of Tate's notebook, so did he. I thought that would be the end of our conversation, but just as I was about to turn out of the classroom, almost last to leave, I felt someone grab my arm and was turned around to face Tate. I looked pointedly at his hand and he dropped my arm.
"Sorry. What's your next class?" I took note of the way he hunched a little, and scuffed his foot against the ground like he was shy. He didn't seem all that shy before.
"Study hall. Why?" He glanced up at me.
"Ditto. Want to go to the library? I can show you where it is, or, I don't know." He trailed, flicking his hair out of his eyes rapidly like he was nervous I'd shoot him down.
"Sure… I mean sounds good. Can I smoke in there?"
"There's a big sign that says 'no smoking' so naturally, yes, you can," he beamed and I laughed a little. We were walking across the courtyard, when I sparked up and took a long, grateful drag.
"Uh oh," Tate trailed in my ear before dropping out of step behind me. I turned to look for him and was met with a wall of people, as a girl stepped out from amongst them.
"What do you think you're doing? You can't smoke here." The girl got right up in my face, and I resisted the urge to slap her. Had Tate planned this? He must have known that I'd get in trouble for smoking here, if it was a rule or something.
"I'm sorry, I'm new, I didn't know." I kept my voice level and kept the rage inside. Dropping my cigarette and stomping it out under my foot, I tried not to lament the two pulls I'd gotten off it before wasting the rest.
"What are you doing? People sit here, you freak," she bent down and picked up the still-smoking butt.
"Okay, god, can you just leave me alone?" I took a step back but she grabbed my arm, wrenching me closer to her.
"No, I want you to eat it." She pushed the cigarette towards my mouth, and I snapped. Looking for my opening to strike, I barely noticed Tate come into my line of vision.
"Come on Leah, that's enough, okay? She's new, like she said." He put his hands on her waist and tried to tug her back, and I tried to hide the sting of betrayal I felt. I remembered him mentioning his girlfriend, but I couldn't believe it was this bitch. He'd seemed okay… but I guess that was just an act.
"Seriously, Tate? Wow," I made sure my tone was all biting and loathing, before spitting square in 'Leah's' face and pulling out of her grasp, running away as I heard her screams behind me.
I found the library perfectly fine on my own, and checked in before heading to a corner to pick a book and escape this shitty school with its shitty people for an hour.
"What you did back there was badass." Exactly the voice I didn't want to hear right now.
"Shouldn't you be comforting your girlfriend?" I asked and I heard him sigh. I didn't look up, didn't trust my face not to show the betrayal I was feeling.
"Look, you knew I had a girlfriend…" he trailed and I finally looked up at him, my gaze level and empty.
"Sure you did, but I didn't think you'd be blind enough to date such a shithead." He visibly flinched, and I smiled triumphantly on the inside as I forced my eyes away from his and back to my book.
"I don't love her." He volunteered, dropping cross legged in front of me.
"How tragic. I'm sure she's devastated." I didn't try to reign in my sarcasm at all, because he no longer deserved it.
"Look, you don't understa-"
"Did you set me up back there?" I interrupted him, and by the way he cast his eyes to the ground and bit his lip, I had my answer. "Unbelievable." I shut my book and went to stand. "No, actually Tate, it's completely believable. High school shit heads do shitty things, and they usually work in packs. What's unbelievable is that I fell for it. Fuck you, Langdon." As I went to step away he gripped my ankle, pulling roughly. I slammed to the floor face first, and lay there a minute dazed and confused. He rolled me onto my front and pressed his body against mine, breathing deeply.
"Don't call me that." I couldn't see his face because it was turned against my neck, and I couldn't help the way my body tingled at his breath on my skin, harsh and damp.
"Why? You don't deserve a first name basis with me, and why would you even want it. I'm a freak, and you have the perfect life, right?" I knew it wasn't wise to make him angry given our current position, but I couldn't help it. He'd riled me up more than anything else had today, because I couldn't stand people who lived in so much bullshit that they couldn't tell the difference between that and reality anymore.
"I hate them all." He gritted out, his hands moving to my face. He cupped my jaw with one and circled his strong fingers round my neck with the other.
"Then why do you bother?" I asked, though I already knew. His words painted the cliché picture I knew he was about to reveal.
"Because I'm a track star." That's not exactly the 'misunderstood, alone in a crowd' bullshit I'd expected.
"I'm sorry, I really don't follow."
"I run track. I'm pretty good, too. It just sort of escalated from there, I guess. I like running, and suddenly the jocks like me, and Leah is my girlfriend though I never even asked her, and I'm bleaching my hair a little lighter so I can be who they want me to be and every night I go home and dream about cutting them all to pieces and I wake up thinking about girls like you." He sounded so sincere that I didn't know how to remind him he was a shithead and nothing he could say would change my mind.
"Oh, a jock with a fetish for freaks, how original," I scoffed and I expected him to get mad, but he laughed, sitting up beside me. I realised with a start that he was crying, bitter, anguished tears.
"See. Violet…" he trailed, and his eyes were somewhere else now, not looking at me but through me.
"If you want to kill them so badly, why don't you just do it?" I challenged, and he looked at me then, really looked at me.
"You think it would be that easy?" The wonder in his voice made me nervous, and I wondered what my dad would make of him, what his professional diagnosis would be on a boy like Tate Langdon.
"No. It wouldn't be easy at all. Why don't you just break up with the super-bitch? One less problem." I suggested half hopefully but not letting anything more than causal disinterest show. He smiled, reaching a hand out to push the hair away from my face.
"She needs to suffer. You're not the first person she's terrorized, and you won't be the last. And I'm just a pawn in her game. I know that much. She doesn't even like me. I'm a virgin." His eyes were far away again and I wondered if he knew his hand was gliding up my thigh under my dress but over my tights, and I wondered why I was letting him. "Are you a virgin, Violet?" He whispered my name, turning to look at me properly. He obviously knew where his hand was after all, as it came to a stop on the crotch of my tights and I could feel the pulse in his fingers through the thin layers of material.
"None of your business. And I still maintain that you're a shithead… Tate." He beamed, remembering the way I'd called him Langdon and knowing this meant he'd earned first name basis.
"I wish you were my girlfriend," he mumbled and I snorted, albeit unattractively, but it was just such a ridiculous thing to say.
"Yeah, well, I'm not going to be anyone's second best." I left it open ended though, because if he really did redeem himself, end it with Leah and stop being such a shithead, there's no reason why I wouldn't be with him… the side I'd seen during English Lit, and in the doorway to the classroom, and right here. I didn't think it was all bullshit, unless he was really that good an actor. And if it turned out he was, there would be hell to pay.