Disclaimer: I don't own The Covenant.
A/N: This needed to be written after watching an episode of Freaks and Geeks. Character pic in the profile, as usual.
Beat Your Heart Out
"Really?" Her eyes rolled at the condescending voice behind her. "This is what you're doing on Halloween while we're all gonna party in Salem all night? You're studying?" Aaron Abbot took it upon himself to plop down in the seat across the table from Corrine Schaeffer, 'accidentally' knocking her book to the floor. How very characteristic of him, correct?
It wasn't at all what it looked like. To the naked eye, it would look as though the muscled jock was picking on the reserved looking girl. But Corrine was one of the very few people in this school that Aaron gave a shit about. "Yes Aaron, I'm studying. Halloween is for kids."
The curly haired brunette snorted, crossing his arms in front of him while he watched her lean down and recover her fallen Chemistry text. "When you said you had plans, I actually thought you were going on a date or something."
A light laugh escaped her slightly glossed lips. "Yeah, that's about as likely as me actually going out tonight. I know where this is going Aaron, so I suggest you save your breath and get on with your night because I have no, absolutely no intentions of coming out with you."
The arrogant teen just smirked and sat up in his chair. "And that's about as likely as me just walking away without pushing you, and pushing you, and pushing you until you finally cave in." The cheeky grin and assuring glint in his eye made Corrine groan out loud, predicting that she wouldn't win this battle, as was generally custom, no matter how confident she was in her rebuttal.
"Come on, I got a suite on reserve in town," he persuaded.
"Oh, because I really want to wait in the lobby while you and Kira have sex again," she retorted, reminded of St. Patrick's Day last year when they'd stayed overnight in Boston.
"Kira is not coming." Of course, she should have known. Aaron and Kira broke up and got back together on a near hourly basis. "Come on, we can get wasted and pass out watching zombie movies, I swear."
Corrine gave a slight smile, remembering times in the past where she and Aaron had done specifically that, having been pretty close since sixth grade when she was assigned as his English tutor. They had maintained an odd and unexpected friendship ever since.
Odd, simply because they had close to nothing in common apart from a love for classic horror, Xbox and Cool Ranch Doritos. Unlikely because, to be blunt, Aaron was popular and Corrine wasn't.
"I'm sure we'll have to make some kind of appearance outside the hotel though, huh? And I don't have a costume anyway." She knew she was fighting a losing battle, but she tried anyway. Corrine really had no interest in looking like a moron in a stupid costume, being suffocated by a mess of people and overly excited children, and of course with Aaron, inevitably running in to a bunch of Spenser kids that didn't like her.
"I'll go get you a costume. I won't even make you go with me." That was a disaster waiting to happen.
"Yeah, cause I trust you to pick out my clothes. I'd end up in underwear and bunny ears. No thanks." She only spoke the truth. Though there wasn't anything even slightly romantic between them, Aaron recognized that underneath all the tee shirts and jeans, there was a hot chick in his presence on a day to day basis.
Aaron grinned shamelessly, leaning back against the chair. "Well, I'm telling you, if you showed some skin you'd get a boyfriend and have a real excuse not to hang out with me."
Again, Corrine rolled her eyes at the sexually charged individual before her. It really seemed like she was the only person her age who didn't need sex to be happy. "You're a pig. And besides, what good would getting male attention be to me anyway? You'd just scare them off with all your macho bull."
"Stop whining and go get changed into real clothes. Then meet me in the caf. I wanna eat before we head out. We can go grab you a costume at the mall." He stood and ruffled the mess of blonde piled on top of her head before leaving the library, the one place he was positive he'd find her whenever she went MIA.
Sighing, Corrine decided she'd better just get it all over with and packed up her books before heading to the dorms. Her messenger bag slapped the back of her knees as she took long strides towards the boarding house, crisp autumn leaves crunching under her feet. And all too inconveniently, on her part at least, another pair of heavier footsteps kept pace with her stride.
"What's up loser?" Aaron Abbot could easily let these words slip past his lips and Corrine would be unaffected, she might even laugh. But this wasn't Aaron, oh no. This was Reid Garwin, the worst of the worst.
Corrine, as always, swallowed the lump in her throat and continued to walk straight ahead, trying her best to ignore the irritating blonde. Reid was an ever-present bully, the worst one Corrine had, though he definitely wasn't alone. Associating with Aaron couldn't save her reputation completely, and it seemed as though it only increased Reid's desire to pick on her, especially since it pissed Aaron off as much as it upset Corrine. It was like killing two birds with one stone, and Reid was always game for that.
A tug at her bag made it slide from her shoulder and out of her grasp, stopping her and forcing Corrine to turn around and face Reid. "Hey! I'm talking to you!"
His blue eyes danced in sick enjoyment as she lunged forward, trying hard to snatch the strap of her belonging, but coming up short as the blonde Son of Ipswich leapt a step backward, just out of her reach. "What do you want Reid?" Corrine sighed, giving in to his bullying as she always did when Aaron wasn't around to defend her.
His brows rose in slight marvel at how simple that was before he dropped her bag on the ground between them. "Nothing. Just wanted to see how you're handling your boyfriend's disappearance. Haven't heard from him, have you?" The malice behind Reid's icy eyes shocked Corrine beyond belief. "You know he was trying to fuck Kate, right?"
And before she knew it, before she could even control it, a loud smack registered throughout the courtyard, a decent amount of straggling students 'ooh'-ing at the scene that had just played out. Corrine's palm stung and Reid had a red mark burning his cheek and possibly the most surprised expression she'd ever seen across his features. And before he could even retaliate, Corrine scooped her bag from the ground and ran off, tears stinging her eyes.
Reid always pushed her buttons, every opportunity he got. And he'd done some horribly mean things in the past. But he'd never sunk so low. Chase Collins had been the new transfer student from Hastings at the beginning of the term, and he had been charming, athletic, witty, and intelligent. And most importantly, he had been interested in Corrine, at least it had seemed.
Aaron hadn't liked the guy, and he'd made it a point to threaten him when he picked up on the extra attention he was giving Corrine, but even that hadn't detoured him. It hadn't been much, a few casual dates and one modest, but to Corrine, mind-blowing kiss. And then just like that, he was gone. There was a fire at Putnam barn, and apparently he had been there. No body was found, but it was fairly clear to Corrine and everyone else that he'd probably been an unfortunate casualty.
The fact that Reid would throw something like that in her face was horrible, especially since it had just been over a month since it happened. Though Chase hadn't been around long, Corrine felt a real connection, maybe the first romantic one of her life, and it was taken from her before she even got a valid chance to experience it.
Unlocking her door and slamming it shut angrily behind her, Corrine dumped her things on the floor, throwing herself onto her bed and sobbing into her pillow.
It took her a few minutes to compose herself. She didn't know why it affected her so much; sure she liked Chase, but she honestly hadn't known him that well. He'd only been around for less than a month. But Reid was just a rotten prick for being so heartless, and upon that decision, she went into the bathroom to wash her face quickly and then dressed herself in a pair of ripped jeans and a fitted band tee.
Upon entering the cafeteria, she found it to be pretty empty, easily spotting Reid giving her a foreboding, dirty look from the designated table only he and Pogue Parry were seated at for the moment.
Aaron was nowhere to be seen, so after getting some lunch from the line, Corrine sat down at an empty table and began texting him to find out where he had disappeared to.
At the same moment, Reid sat with his friend, unable to stop glaring in Corrine's direction, far too focused on what had happened earlier, how she'd got the better of him in front of all those people. It spread like wildfire, and the slightly present red glow on his right cheek didn't really help the matter either. Everyone was whispering about it.
"I can't believe she slapped you," Pogue chuckled, finding the whole situation pretty amusing. He wasn't one for gossip, and he didn't really know or care what had provoked her, but he was pretty sure whatever it was had been deserved. Reid was relentless sometimes, and Corrine was unfortunately a frequent unlucky victim. He felt bad for her; Reid would probably leave her alone if she wasn't friends with Aaron. It was the only real reason he could see for Reid's motivation. Corrine was pretty, maybe not traditionally, but she was in good shape and had nice eyes. She wasn't the snotty rich girl type; more the nerdy recluse who played Left 4 Dead at night instead of going to Nicky's and maybe a little bit of a tree hugger. Pogue didn't really understand Reid's vendetta against her, but at the same time he wasn't going to go out of his way to fight it.
"Fuck you," Reid grumbled, the gears turning in his mind. He had to get back at her for that. Did she suddenly grow balls or something? There was no way she was going to get away with slapping him in front of a bunch of people scot-free. It's not as if the slap hurt that badly, but it was a huge bruise to his ego, and in order to inflate it, she would have to suffer.
It was then when he caught sight of the bag of peanuts on his lunch tray. And he remembered something. "Go over there and talk to her; distract her."
Pogue looked up from his food, confusion written across his face. "What?"
Reid grabbed the bag of peanuts, ripped it open and dumped a few in his hand. "Go distract her. I'm going to put peanuts in her food. She's allergic. It'll be hilarious. She'll get all puffy and blotchy."
Pogue raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "Is it that big of a deal Reid? Besides, that's kind of fucked up."
"Whose friend are you? Mine or Aaron's?" Pogue sighed and shrugged his shoulders.
"Yours obviously." He ran a hand through his hair. "I just don't see what this is going to accomplish."
Reid huffed, rolling his eyes and leaning toward his friend. "Just do it, would you? It'll be a fun little Halloween prank. I can't let them have one up on me dude."
Pogue caved, not really knowing why he was going along with this, but for the sake of avoiding an argument, he grabbed his text off the table and stood up. "Are you sure this is safe Reid?" Pogue had seen My Girl, by force of course, and he just hoped nothing Thomas J-like was going to happen here.
"I've seen that bitch eat peanut butter before. She's full of it. Besides, even if she is allergic, what's the worst that could happen? She'll get a few hives." Pogue assumed that was true. It wasn't bee stings like in that movie. It wasn't the same. Despite himself, he casually made his way over to the table she was sitting at alone, texting away on her phone.
"Hey Schaeffer, I need a quick favor." Normally, Corrine wouldn't hear a word from the longhaired Pogue Parry, but for some reason he had pulled up a seat beside her and wanted some of her time. Corrine's eyebrows knit together until he presented his Calculus book to her, opening to a page and pointing to a problem. "How the hell do I figure this out?" he questioned, looking genuinely confused over a complex problem. Corrine scratched her head before turning to the side slightly and leaning over to point out different steps to the not so studious biker. It was much easier to just go with it and help him out than to argue and possibly attract unwanted attention from Reid.
She didn't even notice the blonde slip a handful of crushed peanuts into her forgotten sandwich. "…And that's it. It's pretty easy, just follow the guide right here," Corrine finalized, hoping she'd gotten through to him. Pogue sat for an extra minute after closing his book, leaning back and looking Corrine in the eye, then looking past her before he sighed, shook his head and stood. It almost looked like he wanted to say something to her, but then thought better of it.
"Thanks. I gotta go," were his rushed words before he ran off to join Reid back at their table. They were the only two available Sons of Ipswich, Caleb Danvers already seriously in deep with Sarah Wenham, the new girl, and Tyler Simms having recently shacked up with the captain of the girl's swim team, Veronica Callaghan.
Reid was always single, going from girl to girl as he tended too. But Corrine almost felt bad for Pogue. He'd never really personally targeted her, though he could be as big of a bully to other kids as Reid was to her. And now he just looked a little sad and hollow, since Kate left anyway.
No one really knew the details, not that Corrine was very attentive to gossip, but it was hard to not know things about the four most popular guys in school. They were constantly the topic of conversation. And apparently, sometime between Kate getting hospitalized for spider bites, Pogue getting into a motorcycle accident, and each of them recovering and being released from the hospital, Kate had transferred to a school out in New York, leaving her life in Ipswich behind, including her boyfriend. It had been years since the hazel-eyed son had been single, and there were certainly girls ranting and raving about the recent occurrence, therefore Corrine wasn't able to ignore it.
And of course there were those rumors that she had cheated on him with Chase. Corrine wouldn't believe those rumors though. She couldn't bring herself to do it. Why would she want to believe that the one guy who'd ever shown real interest in her was trying to get with a girl with a boyfriend? It made Corrine feel like maybe she was just a second choice when Chase realized Kate was taken; something to do while he waited to see if he could get in with her.
Angrily brushing those thoughts out of her mind, Corrine sighed in relief when she saw Aaron coming towards her alone, thankfully not flanked by Bordy Becklin and Ryan Bael. Being Aaron's friends, it's not as if they were mean to her, but their lack of intelligence just got on her nerves, and she could only take so much.
She offered Aaron a smile as he settled himself across from her, cracked open a Coke can and dug into a plate of French fries and chicken tenders. Don't let his physique fool you; Aaron was just one of those people who could eat whatever and never look out of shape. Of course, the gym helped define him, but even if he didn't work out, he'd never be overweight.
"You slapped Garwin in the face?" Aaron was almost giddy as the words escaped his full mouth.
"Word travels fast." Corrine really didn't want this to turn into some big thing.
"The hell did he do to make you do that? I mean, I'm sure he had it coming, he's had it coming for a while." Aaron took this moment to glance over his shoulder where half of the little Ipswich clique was sitting. "But I've seen you take a lot of crap from that guy and do absolutely nothing. What changed?"
Corrine never finished their conversation. She had taken a bite of her egg salad sandwich, and the unmistakable taste of peanuts made her chewing cease, and her eyes widen in surprise. "Aaron…" She took a deep breath and put the sandwich down. "Did you put something in my food?"
Aaron looked utterly confused, brow furrowing as he looked on, uncertain of what was happening. "No, why would I—" Aaron put the food in his hand down and stood up, noticing the blotching red skin on Corrine's face and the panicked look in her eyes. "Are you okay?"
Corrine shook her head, the feeling of her throat swelling starting to make her freak out. "Some one put peanuts in my food."
Aaron's face fell and his heart sank. A lump formed in his throat and he could hear the echo of his pulse thundering in his ears. His mouth went dry and, though he couldn't see it, his face turned a shade paler. Corrine was allergic to peanuts, severely allergic. And most people were aware of this too since one time back in seventh grade, a student had brought in peanut brittle and been too close to Corrine, resulting in a mild breakout of hives. And those peanuts hadn't even touched her.
"I'm calling 911."