Chapter 1: Routine
Astrid hates Mondays. She's always hated Mondays. Especially Mondays after huge high school parties that Scott drags her off too. God she should not have let her boyfriend drag her off to the party. Not only does she have tests in Calculus and AP Physics, but she also has a softball game today.
She groans as she gets up, a killer headache forming as all the blood rushes to her face. She doubles over from the pain that today's hangover had brought her. She can feel the pulse in her temple beating in sync with her heart. She most definitely should not have gone to that party.
Stupid boyfriend. Stupid school. Stupid headache. Stupid everything.
She crosses the hallway to the bathroom, careful not to wake up her father. She does not want to deal with her father right now. Stupid parents. Or actually parent. Her coward of a mother had run away when she was five and she always despised her for that. Two more things to add to her list.
She hates the way that her father runs her into the ground when she gets anything but an A in her classes. Hates the way he points out all her flaws when she is up batting in softball. Hates the way he gets when he's drunk.
He gives her no praise for being the captain of the varsity softball team for two years, no praise for being at the top of her class. Well close enough to the top. She has never been able to pass this one guy who is in every single one of her classes. Except gym because he just had to take more AP classes than she did.
God that kid. She didn't even know his name. Well she knew what everyone called him. Hiccup. That's the name he was given almost six years ago. Six years ago during an assembly where he spoke in front of the entire class and he could not stop his hiccups.
Six years ago, Scott gave him that name. It stuck on him like a piece of gum in his messy, auburn hair. Why was she even thinking about his hair? She hated the fact that she remembered that day six years ago so clearly and so vividly.
That was the only day she had felt some form of sympathy for anyone.
She did not think that he deserved a name like that. He didn't deserve to be treated like that. To be called by a different name for six years. To only hear your real name when the teachers called for attendance in the beginning of the year only for Scott or Tuff to tell them that he goes by "Hiccup" followed by the entire class snickering to themselves.
Almost everyone, including the small amount of friends he had, in school would recognize him by that name if they even recognized him at all.
Almost everyone. She never called him that before. At least not to his face. That's probably because she hasn't really recognized him at all despite the fact that he sits next to her in almost every class because of how close their names are in the alphabet.
Stupid seating charts.
She didn't see any reason to be directly mean to him. Sure she was a bit rude sometimes, okay maybe a lot of times, but she was never straight up mean to him. She supposed that since he was always kind to her, that she should at least just leave out his nickname.
But she hated how he always topped her in every single subject. Whenever she got a 100% on a test, he would get a 103%, whenever she got an 8 on an AP essay, he would get a 9. Whenever her essay was recognized as the top essay in the class, his essay would be recognized as the top essay in all the classes.
And she hated that. She hated not being the best. Because she was the best at everything else.
When she finally finished putting on a little bit of makeup and throwing on some clothes that would be acceptable, she made her way out the door. Careful not to wake up her resting father.
She walked over to the red mustang that her three-year boyfriend had come in. Of course Scott just had to bring Tuff with him. She was even more disappointed when her best friend Ruff hadn't been brought along with them. Probably suffering from the same blazing headache that she has right now.
She always enjoyed Rachel's, or Ruff as she prefers it, company. She enjoyed having another girl in this school that was similar in ferocity to her.
But today, she just wanted quiet. Just wanted to let the Advil settle in and conquer her killer headache.
But of course, Scott and Tuff had other plans. She could already hear the blazing music the moment she stepped up to the car door and figured that they must be so used to binging beer at parties that it finally has no effect on them.
When she opened the door her headache just seemed to get infinitely stronger.
"Hey babe! Come on get in the car! We're gonna stop by a few more places to pick up some more dudes!"
God it was barely 7:15 and her temper was already reaching way past her comfort level.
"Fuck you Scott. Pick them up on your own."
"Come on babe, it'll be fun! Maybe we can toss some empty cans at Hiccup down the street."
Her anger just seemed to grow even more at the thought of that. She didn't like how her anger grew because of Hiccup.
"Just go pick up your fucking friends. Pick me up after school and make sure you don't bring your stupid friends either." She glared at Tuff and then Scott before storming off to the bus stop.
For any other normal couple, that would have been the aftermath of a huge fight or a breakup. But with her and Scott, that was just the way they carried through their conversations. Talking with him was more of an obligation than a choice.
All he ever talks about is football or a new position that he wants to try with her tonight. She hates talking to him or even being with him, but it just makes sense and she was going to leave it at that.
She was not sacrificing her status for some stupid boy.
As she walked over to the bus stop, she saw him. Dressed in a green sweater, jeans, and a pair of Adidas Neos; he would look like a complete idiot to anyone. But of course, he just had to be at the top of the class.
He was sitting on the bench in front of the bus stop alone. They were the only two people who used this bus stop and since she usually rode with Scott, he was always alone.
She thought he would acknowledge her presence just like every other guy in the school does with wandering eyes, but he didn't even turn at the sound of footsteps. She took a look at him and he was asleep. As usual.
He always slept in class. She wondered how he pulled of A's in all his classes by sleeping in all of them.
She kicked his foot and he jolted awake. He looked around and his eyes widened when he saw her standing in front of him. He held eye contact with her for a second before quickly looking down at the sidewalk in front of him.
His green eyes didn't even drift to any other part of her body. That was different.
"Scoot over." She instructed and he did so without looking at her. He was very different.