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Chapter Four

After classes ended that day, Kate changed into her swimsuit and headed to the back of the building. The pool was deserted and so she dived into the water, swimming a few laps for fun, and then floating on her back, thinking.

Her first day, while being entirely uneventful, had been pretty exciting. After math, she had had physics and art, both of which had been fairly interesting. At lunch she had eaten with Claire, discussing lots of baby things as well as the classes they shared. After lunch she had gone to English and then had met up with Claire, and annoyingly enough, Sawyer, in a class called Organizational Leadership.

There had only been ten people present, and one who had yet to arrive. It seemed that all of the new students had been plunked in the class along with random students who either needed a bird course or wanted to meet new people. Kate and Claire, closely followed by Sawyer and Charlie, had taken seats in the back of the room.

The class had the potential to be something great, Kate thought, paddling herself around. It was all about setting goals and reaching them, and planning for your future. On the first day however, they had played trust games, directed by their teacher, Mr. Jarrah. Sayid, as they'd been instructed to call him, was foreign, and had apparently been in some sort of military, secret service type thing, so Kate had heard.

After taking attendance, he'd led the class into the gymnasium. A table had been placed in the middle of the room.

"We are going to start off the year with trust falls," he informed them. "Each student will climb onto the table and fall into their classmates arms. This will, I believe, be a good way to become united as a class."

Sayid had showed them where to cluster, and Kate had joined her fellow students at the foot of the table. A boy she didn't recognize volunteered to go first. He clambered up onto the table and faced away from them.

"Introduce yourself, young man," Sayid called.

"My name is Michael Dawson." With that, he fell backwards, confident that his new classmates would catch him. They did, and the class continued to climb and fall.

Everyone had done it, excluding Claire (Sayid had refused to allow her to even climb onto the table), Shannon, who had climbed onto the table and stood there for ten minutes before stepping down, and a boy that Kate didn't know, but Sun did. She gave him a dirty look when he shook his head and refused to move from his spot.

Kate flipped onto her back and lay spread-eagled in the water. When she had fallen from the table, eyes tightly shut, her stomach had flipped and she had been positive that no one was going to catch her.

But then she had stopped falling and warily opened her eyes to find Sawyer's annoyingly handsome face grinning down into hers.

"'Fraid we weren't gonna catch you?" he asked setting her on her feet.

She glared at him, annoyed at how well he could read her. "No."

He had given her a knowing glance and had been about to say something else, but Charlie had popped up behind him, pelting him with questions. The bell had rung and Kate had made her escape.

Now she let her feet touch the bottom and turned to swim to the ladder. She stopped in mid-stroke when she saw that someone else was in the room, dipping his feet into the warm water.

"Hi," she said, startled.

"Hey. How's the water?"

"Um, fine," she said, seeing as his feet were in the water too. "No offense, but who are you?"

He looked faintly embarrassed. "Sorry, I'm Jack Shepard. You must be new, right?" he asked, as though anyone who didn't know his name couldn't have gone to school there before. He pulled his feet out of the water and stood up on the edge of the pool.

Kate stared up at him, treading water. He was good looking with thick, dark brown hair, a muscular body, and tanned skin. "Yeah, I'm Kate."

"Did you just get here today? You found the pool pretty fast," he remarked, sliding his hands into his pockets.

"I got here last night."

Jack nodded and there was a moment of silence. Kate bit her lip, and stared at the water shimmering in the fading sunlight.

"So, you're in what? Eleven?"

"No, I'm in grade twelve. How about you?" At Jack's nod, she continued. "What are you taking?"

"Mostly sciences, and some math. I'm going to be a doctor," he informed her, a proud look crossing his face. "Oh, and English and a class called Origami Leading or something."

"Organizational Leadership?" she asked, a smile twitching around the corners of her mouth.

He grinned, and Kate smiled back. "Yeah, that's the one. Are you taking it too?"

She nodded. "Yeah, I didn't really choose my classes. I just got them. They seem okay though, so far at least."

"Have you met anyone yet?" Jack asked. Kate got the feeling that he was hinting at something, or rather someone, and wrapped her arms across her bare stomach in the water and shook her head.

"Not really. Just some people in my classes and stuff."

"Now, now, Freckles, I'm just some person in your class?" Sawyer stepped out of the shadows and Kate had to wonder just how long he'd been standing there. "I really thought we had something going. You know, a connection."

While she couldn't really tell if he was being sarcastic or telling the truth, she could read the loathing all over Sawyer's face. It was clear that he didn't like Jack.

Jack stared at Sawyer, a look of confusion and concentration on his face. Sawyer stared back at him, contempt clear in his expression. Kate bit her lip, watching the two. She felt strangely out of the scene, as though she was just a spectator, floating in the water. After staring at each other for longer than Kate felt necessary, Sawyer stuck out his hand, and gave Jack a grin that wasn't exactly friendly.



They shook hands, a little too hard, and Kate took that moment to pull herself out of the pool and wrap herself in her towel.

"So, Kate, could I walk you to your room?" Jack asked, turning to smile at her.

She bit her lip. She didn't really want to lead him on. It was clear that his head barely fit onto his shoulders, but on the other hand, it was an escape from Sawyer and his arrogant, male attitude. "Sure, just let me get my stuff."

To get her bag she had to walk right past the two boys. It seemed like they both watched her the entire way, and as she squeezed past the miniscule amount of space Sawyer left between him and the wall, she could have sworn she heard him whisper, "freckles everywhere."

The next morning, Jack caught up with Kate in the dining hall, this time followed by what looked like a band of followers. She watched him walk, though it was more like strutting, into the dining hall, pose in the doorway while his groupies caught up, and then head for her.

"Morning, Kate," he greeted, completely ignoring Claire, who was sitting with her. "How'd you sleep?"

"Oh, fine," she replied, smothering giggles, and avoiding Claire's eyes. She knew that if they locked glances she would never stop laughing. "How about you?"

"Great, great." His voice trailed off, and he glared at one of the guys standing behind him. The guy immediately scurried off and returned in what seemed like seconds, carrying a plate of whole-wheat toast. Jack sat down beside Kate, almost a little too close for comfort. "What class do you have now?"

Staring determinedly at the table, she pulled her schedule from her bag and studied it critically. "I've got Sociology first, and then double English."

Jack nodded seriously. He ignored the group of people clustered behind them and said, "Those sound very interesting. Of course, I have advanced Calculus and Biology this morning, so there was no hope of us having a class together, but maybe another day."

Kate wasn't sure whether to be insulted or relieved. She settled for relieved and said, "Well, we'd better get going. Class starts in ten minutes."

Jack looked around the table, confused, and finally noticed Claire. He stared at her and Claire stared back, until one of Jack's groupies sniggered, and Kate stood up angrily.

"See you later, Jack. Come on, Claire, let's go." She grabbed her bag and stalked away, fuming.

What a jerk, she thought. He figured he was so great, just because he was going to be a doctor. And he thinks he's so smart, just because he takes advanced calculus. Idiot!

"And the way he looked at you!"

Claire looked up, startled. "What?" she asked through a mouthful of toast.

"Did I say that out loud? Oops, I was just thinking." Kate looked sheepish as they rounded the corner. "So where's Charlie this morning?"

Claire shrugged. "I don't know. Why?"

"No reason." Kate didn't bring up the name of a certain British boy's roommate. "Oh, hey, Sun," she said as her own roommate rushed up to the two girls.

"Kate. I need your help." Sun's face was a mask of worry and pain. "I don't know what to do. Please."

Kate stared at her, unsure. "What's wrong? What happened?"

Sun glanced around the crowded hallway, obviously uneasy. "I cannot explain here. Please, come with me."

Kate looked at Claire. "You go to class. I'll be there soon."

Sun smiled gratefully at her, though it looked more like a grimace to Kate, and nearly ran down the hallway. She jogged to keep up with the quick Korean girl.

At the end of the corridor, Sawyer watched as Kate was approached by the foreign chick, who looked scared out of her wits. They took off, leaving Blondie to go to class.

Shrugging, he followed them down the hallway. This had to be more interesting then Calculus.