New York City, Queens Borrough
The red haze from the morning sun slowly rose past the many skyscrapers and buildings of the Big Apple as all the city began it's busy morning. Nothing was particularly unusual that day, all the typical downer news designed to be sensationalist as always, all the cars blared their horns at one another like it was going to matter. Nothing out of the ordinary, for now at least.
In Queens, a rather beat up looking 1994 Ford Taurus sat two people, on the road driving towards Forest Hills High School. The driver, the younger of the two, tapped his finger on the top of the steering wheel as he looked on. A bit of a smile on his face as he didn't seemed bothered by the silence. Just enjoying the music, leaning his non steering wheel gripped arm onto the car door with it's window down, and occasionally putting a little shove into the steering wheel and yelling ahead for the driver of the car in front of them to move ahead, usually throwing in vulgar language in the process. As this was going on his older brother in the passenger seat looked over, quietly wondering to himself just how his younger brother can be so... happy all the time, probably because he wasn't the social dunce between them. For Peter Richards, the comparisons between him and his younger brother Nathan are blatant. Nathan was a bit nerdy true, but he had a good kinship with a lot of people at school, was a regular with the school's theater and it's shows, and a member of the school's student activities committee.
Peter meanwhile was an intellectual genius. Already being noticed by science experts in plenty of different fields, as well as universities practically begging him to come to their school. However even as a straight A student, none of that could cheer him up lately. It was a clear as day fact that he could count all of his best friends on one hand, he usually spends more time in his 'workshop' (aka the family's tool shed in the back yard) than in actual sunlight. All in all, it was just becoming harder for him to meet new people and socialize. He just felt lost, like despite what people are saying that he isn't going the right way in life. He glanced down at himself; he just looked like he wasn't out to impress, short sloppy looking brown hair, a black hoodie, loose jeans, a baggy Tron t-shirt, and some sneakers that have clearly seen better days. Then he looked over at his brother. Styled looking short cut, a pair of prescription glasses (thank god he was lucky in that regard, Peter was already nerdy enough), some light blue and white plaid button up, nice clean jeans, and a much nicer looking pair of converse shoes. That was the sad part in his mind; he was getting shown up by his younger brother, what the hell happened?
Not too far away from where they were, a Mazda RX-8, dark blue, clean, and hardly looking a day off the showroom floor, was also on it's way to the high school. The two in the car, a boy at the steering wheel, sharp blond hair that was short and professionally groomed, with shades, a leather jacket, shirt, jeans, and new skate shoes, all of which clearly wasn't cheap. With his step sister in the passenger seat, someone typically known for being extremely cheery and almost ditzy, only now, struggling though some form of rebellion that is her new home and life. While she would normally have on bright colored shirts and long flowing skirts, now she had on a black mid riff t shirt, tight blue jeans with jewel stuttering on the front of the left pocket, and sandals. That plus the light blue backpack she couldn't bring herself to get rid of, and it's clear that she maybe isn't doing the whole 'emo' thing correctly. Still though she was mad, mad that she had to change her last name, that her mom married some rich business man, that when she tried to express her anger all it gave her was a lost of almost all of her friends and boyfriend.
Both were extremely quiet to one another. The radio wasn't on; past rides to school have shown they couldn't even agree with what station to listen too. Jason Storm gripped the steering wheel, giving a sigh that was a mixture of boredom, and annoyance over the fact that even if he tried to speak to her, he'll either get a grunt and be ignored, or worse a sudden argument on his hands. Meanwhile Alice Daniels Storm just had to look over at him, at what he was driving, what he was wearing, spoiled little brat, probably never worked a day in his life.
As both cars pulled up to the high school, parking right next to one another in a clear distinction between one another, Peter immediately got his backpack was out of the car before Nathan could even turn the car off. "See ya Nate..." Peter let meekly slip from his throat before heading in. Nathan just shook his head, same old same old right there, as he took his time to get his things and leave the car as he spotted Alice in the corner of his eye. He hasn't let Susan's recent mean streaks get to him like the others. He's a friend, through and through. Not to mention that with the fact that Mr. Storm has been incredibly friendly with him, and Jason likewise, that this was all just a phase and she'll get over it... hopefully.
As Jason got himself out of the quiet hellhole of the car as quickly as possible, Nathan made his way over, giving Jason a small nod to greet him before approaching Alice as she got her backpack out of the back. "Alice what's up girl?" Nathan asked the friendliness of his voice and style in full effect. "Still 'fighting the power' like always?" He asked, putting up quotation fingers as they both looked over at Jason trying to catch up with Peter, but neither particularly caring at that moment. "I'm not fighting the power." She corrected, a brief moment wondering how someone like Jason could be friends with a quiet nerd like Peter. Than again she didn't really know him, despite him being friends with his younger brother, just never really got around to it. The both of them began their way to the school as Nathan was splitting his time between Susan and all the various students waving or saying hi to him. "Well I guess that answers the question for the day about how your feeling. So let's skip to my personal favorite, 'what on earth is bugging Susan today?' Did her mother buy her a new shirt without getting permission first? Did Jason ask a favor of her? DID FATHER DARE LOOK AT HER?" Nathan joked, holding the back of his hand up to his forehead. It was probably the acting classes and aspirations that caused him to be like this sometimes. Susan just rolled her eyes and shook her head at what was at best stupidly silly behavior from her friend. "But seriously, I know I've asked this like a billion times now, but God aren't you just getting bored with being angry like this Sue?" Nathan asked, trying to make it clear he was done with the jokes for the time being. There was an awkward silence between the two as Susan just shrugged at Nathan, unable to really say anything. Was she getting bored? She didn't know. She still felt mad, so she assumed that was a no. Was she happy with how she acted? Obviously not.
Karen Walters didn't drive to school today, walking instead considering that she didn't live too far from school, and her rehabilitation consultant told her getting the leg moving would help. She peeled the wrap around headphones off of her ears as she stretched her arms and legs a little. Her dark brown hair in a braid coming down to the midway point of her back, she had an athletic shirt the high school gave her on, as well as khakis and some running shoes. Their was a slight but noticeable limp in her right leg as she approached school, all ready a bit of sweat on her she wiped off her forehead with forearm. As she got to the door she saw two people in particular making their way in. Peter and Jason, both good friends of her. Jason due to a family connection, Peter because when they were younger she saved him from a bully beat down, and now he's stuck with her. She was able to get in front of Peter.
"Hey Peter! God I'm so glad to see you right now!" She told him, a nice smile making it clear she meant it. "Did you do your science homework?" "Yeah... like always." Peter stated, not in a condescending, or pompous way, it sounded more like frustration and regret, somehow. To him it was just a continuation of monotony, "You?" He asked to Karen. "God I was trying too but I'm totally stuck on this one part." Karen swung around her backpack, yanking out a stapled grouping of three pages. "This one is really confusing, so, like, what am I even doing with this problem?" Peter looked over what she had written for her homework, and it didn't take long for him to pull out a pencil from his own backpack and get to work writing something on the top of the page. "Well, you're on the right track, but when it comes to solving these kind of situations I prefer using this equation instead of what they teach in the text. It's a lot simpler, and narrows the margin of error. Now you can just plug in the numbers and go." Karen looked at the paper for a brief moment, clearly having the math go on in her head, but finally she grinned. "Dude! That does make more sense. Thanks professor Richards!" She said to Peter, using her little nick name for him.
Karen arm swung around Peter's neck in what was suppose to be the start of a hug but came more across like the start of a noogie. "So how's life anyways?" "Uh... fine..." Peter replied, clearly uncomfortable and using the least believable tone ever. Slipping out of her grasp he started away but turned back to Karen. "Uh, I promised someone I would go over some things with them before they take a test later. But I'll talk to you later, alright? Bye." Peter then jogged off, hating he just lied to his friend, but that conversation just wasn't going to end well for him if he stuck around.
As Karen watched Peter leave, slightly confused. Jason came up behind her with a bottle of soda in hand. "You think he left just to get rid of us?" He asked casually to her as she turned her head to him, a slight smirk on her lips. "Hey either way, the guy's a god send when it comes to homework." She reminded Jason, eying his drink as she could feel her own thirst coming on.
Class wasn't that hard for Alice, not really because she was super smart or something like that. It was more because there was nothing to be mad about. With Jason and her having completely different schedules, and running in different groups, she could just keep her nose on the grind stone and focus on something. She could talk to Nathan from time to time, but was, over all, careful to keep away from those horrible topics of her feelings. But she also liked how the halls would be empty during her off period and the classes were full. It gave her space to just let herself walk, try to think her way to an answer, some version of it at least.
She didn't know how long she was walking when suddenly she saw him. Flash Thompson, the hottest guy in the whole school, and her boyfriend... well was her boyfriend, until she kept refusing to use her new family and its money and status for him. She frowned as he rounded the corner, fearing confrontation if she didn't act quickly. Flash was a bully on his best days, and on his worst? Downright cruel. Without too much thought she ducked into a nearby empty classroom where she ducked down under the window, hearing his footsteps as he went past her. She sighed frustrated to herself, swearing that she wasn't such a coward. However once the situation calmed she heard a feverish scribbling on the chalkboard ahead of her. Looking up she saw Peter Richards, scribbling away on the chalkboard a cathedral of math and science equations.
Peter had finished his class early and needed something to sink his teeth into to get rid of his own tormenting thoughts. No better way than to just put himself though an assault to his scientifical skills really in his mind. Finally a stall in his work caused him to realize that there was in fact someone else in the classroom now. He glanced over and realized it was Alice. He didn't know her very well, but being friends with her step brother had noticed her often. There's been plenty of stories on both sides about her, but then again the school rumor system was usually full of it.
"Ducking Flash?" Peter asked, giving her a small smile. "I won't tell him where you are if you don't tell him where I am." He joked, the smile slowly fading as he shuffled his feet nervously and went right back to his work. "I wouldn't worry about that, doing it would involve going back out there." She told him, standing slowly and glancing out the window. She didn't see him but assumed the coast wasn't clear yet, the one time she had to show off to him, what he had missed out on, and she had lost her bravery. She slipped down the blinds and closed the door behind herself as she decided to focus on something else, and since the only thing right now available is a giant wall of math and the shy geek she hasn't spoken too much, she'll just go ahead and roll with it. "So, uh," She got closer to the board, trying to understand the math, and to an extent seeing stuff she was familiar with. She was okay with math, much better with biology and such; it interested her more, since she wanted to become a surgeon some day. "What are you up too?"
"...well...I'm trying to figure out how to make a chemical compound I've been working on to actually work without giving off crazy side effects. I've tried it three times now and every time I end up either throwing up or passing out for exactly five straight hours. I almost didn't know what day it was when I woke up this morning." Peter joked... sort of. His nervousness with being around people wasn't making this easy for him, especially considering the woman in front of him, who was needless to say, incredibly pretty in his eyes, especially with the tight clothes she was wearing... he kept his face towards the board to hide the slowly glowing light shade of red on his face. "So... uh... how are you?" He asked, hoping he didn't already scare her off with his nerdiness.
The question went ignored by Alice, who was examining the board carefully, she had looked into drug chemicals and all that, it was fascinating to her, the concept of being able to invent something to help. "Well, if you're passing out..." She absently paused her words until finally she pointed something out on the chalkboard. "Here's the problem, I see this combo a lot in sleeping pills. Mind you, not that amount." She turned to look at him, "I wouldn't suggest taking it again unless you lower that. You could overdose, you know assuming you stay awake long enough." Finally she realized what he had asked, she shrugged, reaching for a backpack on her to fiddle with, only she didn't have it. "You...know... and stuff." She answered, good generic answer to go with. Peter glanced at her, then back up onto the board, silent, and shocked. How did he not notice that before? Granted medical science wasn't his strong suit. But Alice noticed it immediately, which told him it defiantly wasn't her weakest suit. "...You're right. Thank you, it's been driving me crazy for weeks. You've got a good eye for medical stuff." Peter complimented as he reached over and wiped away the horrible mistake.
"It's uh, well it's my dream." She told him with another, more progressively awkward shrug. "To be a surgeon or a doctor or something like that. I like to know the chemical stuff to medicine, figured it help." She responded. Peter turned away from the board finally to look at her, and it was clear something was bothering her. "Actually I don't think... well I mean I've never really talked to you face to face before. It's always thought Jason or my brother." Peter put down the piece of chalk, as his lacking social skills did pick up on something. "Is something bothering you? If you don't want to talk I'm completely cool with it... believe me. But if you do, you can tell me. I know I'm not really one of your friends but..." He trailed off a bit, this wasn't any of his business, and he shouldn't be prying into her life. He just couldn't help himself though, if someone needed help, he always had to try, even if the subject was out of his comfort zone.
She glanced at him again, a little surprised he put down the chalk, most people, including Peter's younger brother Nathan who she adored, accepted all the outs she gave them.
Then again Peter hasn't heard the tirade yet.
She looked down to the ground. "Just, kind of stupid I guess. Everyone thinks so. My mom just remarried, to Jason's dad and they're technically okay." She gave them a very grudging pass, "Jason is annoying and I still think he's fake and Mr. Storm is..." She trailed off, just wrinkling her nose. "I don't even know what he is. It just bugs me, the changes and all that and as soon as it happens, all of a sudden it's not...enough that I'm me. No, now we all have to go to 'my' place, which I hate, it's huge and cold and has strangers everywhere. Who wants to LIVE with servants anyway?" she asked, really getting steamed now. The shyness melted away to the anger that was boiling inside.
"I didn't want to go. I didn't want to accept the money and the gifts and the stuff. My mom and I survived fine for years. I don't NEED all that stuff. I don't NEED a car or jewels, or any of that shit! I can get anything I need." She pouted on the last line turning away. "So Flash, everyone really, dumped me. I wasn't fucking good enough anymore." Her voice nearly broke and she grasped at the anger, tucking away the depression. It was all now anger she could handle, anger she could express. "And I just... just... FUCK!" She turned and in a mighty swing kicked a trash can that slammed violently against the wall. "All because she had to marry him, everything had to change. Everything."
Sue swung back to Peter. "And it's MY fault that I can't adapt. You know? I didn't ask for this. I didn't do anything for this. But it's still my fault. Well fuck it." She threw her hands in the air, then folded them against her chest. "I'll show them whose fault it is." she muttered with a huff.
It took a minute, for the rant to settle and the embarrassment to rise as she finally, slowly, came back to the real world. "Uh." Her cheeks darkened. "Sorry. You probably didn't need to know all that. Nathan is great though." She added. "He doesn't give two damns about who my mom married." Even if he did tend to be little Sue's feelings.
After the tirade, Alice noticed that Peter wasn't shocked or irritated like other people have been. A little bit into it he sat down onto a chair and just listened, getting startled a bit when she kicked the garbage can, but more because it was loud. He simply nodded his head, watching intently, silently, taking in her words. This was completely different then the rumors made it out to be. "I can understand why you're upset. I mean...I've never been in that situation, but I can imagine the kind of frustration that would cause. Everything is going fine, nothing wrong just living your life, then suddenly you're told that everything is changing and before you know it you're living a strange house and people see you differently because of it. You aren't given any time to adjust before accusations of 'not giving a chance' come in, and most of your friends expect you to give them something in return for 'being your friends', when that's exactly what makes them not your friends." Peter said, shaking his head. "God you've been holding all that in? Wow... you're a lot tougher than I am. I would've gone insane by now if I had gone though all that." He told her, being completely honest. "Uh... sorry about that, didn't mean to jump in there. You can continue if you want."
Sue stared at him. No one, NO ONE, had ever told her she had a right to her feelings since they came to fruition. Even her mother who was normally on her side had nearly begged her to take it easy. She shifted a little, thinking about how difficult she was making things. Finally pushing the guilt aside to focus on the boy in front of her. "No, I'm done." She hesitated but sat down next to him, giving him one shy smile. "Um... thanks for listening. Most people aren't that interested anymore. It has been going on for a while. Yeah it's just... embarrassing to realize that all those people you spent time with and cared about didn't really care about you." She thought of Flash, he was the real sore spot. Not because he broke her heart, but because he got to do the dumping when he was the creep. Didn't seem fair at all.
"You shouldn't be embarrassed; people can be very cunning in the way they hide their true nature. You could think you know someone better than you know yourself, and then they turn around and do something bad... or good... something you just didn't expect." Peter mentioned. At first he was a little nervous when she sat down next to him, but he pushed the feeling deep down, realizing the last thing she needed now was someone running from her. Even if, in his case, it was for a completely different reason than anyone else. "I'm... I really am not the best talker, unless you want to talk about some no doubt nerdy subject I know something about. So usually I just listen, I'd like to think I'm very good at that. Everybody assumes they know how they would react in your shoes, when no one really knows for sure." Peter told her, giving him a small smile. "You seem like a tough person, and a good one. You shouldn't let... assholes like Flash turn you into something else. He never deserved something nice like you, it's his loss as far as I'm concerned."
Peter immediately realized how incredibly corny he must've sounded. Suddenly a tad bit on the embarrassed side, and deep down thanking the Heavens above Nathan wasn't there to make fun of him for the lame speech. He slowly stood up and grabbed his backpack, trying, and failing miserably, to hide his face turning red again. "Well... uh... it's almost time for my next class." There's that meek, repressed side of him again, slipping right back out on schedule. "If you ever want to talk again or anything... just stop by, I'm usually here or at the house..." He pulled up his backpack over his shoulder, quickly heading for the door. His eyes staring at his own feet as he moved. However if he had looked up, he would've seen Susan's face turn just as red as his. So red that she couldn't get the ability to speak up until he was gone. "Thanks," She whispered to herself and looked down at her own hands. Peter Richards, that name meant something completely different to her now. She knew him, didn't dislike him of course, but just didn't know much about him. He was quiet and before all this, she was loud, popular, and fun loving.
God, no wonder Nathan was probably getting sick of her mood.
Still, she glanced out the door and tucked some hair behind her ear as she stood. Peter had listened, had cared. She shifted a little, her cheeks growing darker as she left, knowing she also had class in a little bit.
He said... he'd like to see her again...