Fletcher's dark blonde hair moved every time he talked, Olive noticed. The blond was sitting on the couch in the ANT Farm, seemingly staring off into space but actually taking almost creepily detailed notes on Fletcher. Everything from his scowl to his smile was recorded, and she continued happily smiling, caught up in her own little world of photographic notes. The weirdest part though, was that she wasn't doing it. It was like some section of her brain had been captured by the artist, along with her annoyingly prone to blushing cheeks and cackling laugh, which turned into an eerily feminine giggle whenever he was around. No part of her was overlooked, she was completely and utterly captive.
"Olive!" She was jerked out of her trance. "Yeah?" "You've been staring into space for like five minutes...are you okay?" Five minutes, thirty six seconds, her brain corrected, while her cheeks did nothing but flush like a schoolgirl's. "Uh, yeah. The um...ceiling was acting weird!" Okay, now she was officially insane. And ow! Why was she twisting her curls around her finger like a maniac?
Olive stood up quickly, waving a preoccupied goodbye to a confused Fletcher. She was headed straight for her most secret spot in the entire school.
The second she got to the second floor janitors closet, she immediately wanted to puke. She always did, coming down here. The overwhelming bleach fumes made her eyes water, but it was private. It always was.
Using the remaining bristles of the sadly mangled broom in the corner, she attempted to clear the layers of grime from the previously white floor. Although she only managed to clear about a few chunks of dirt, she plopped herself down in her small spot in the right corner and gathered her knees up to her chest. Her eyes fixated on a shadowed spot between the wall and the door and she stared without really seeing, waiting for her waterworks to start.
But they didn't. Olive blinked rapidly, trying to work up enough moisture for a good, long cry. God knows her emotions needed it. But instead, Olive felt her clouded mind begin to clear, her thoughts sharper and not muddled like before. Her thoughts still couldn't detangle about Fletcher, but still she felt as though she had a better perspective about her life in general, wiping the tears from her eyes and straightening up.
Suddenly, a sliver of light sliced the shadowy dwellings of her sanctuary. She thought she saw a clump of blondish-brownish hair. Olive cursed.
"Hun, you really shouldn't use language like that!" Morgan half-scolded as she opened the door fully, revealing her mustard yellow janitors uniform and mop bucket. She gestured to the stringy, dirty white mop behind Olive. "Get that for me, Livvy?"
Olive smiled as she complied. Morgan was the only one who was allowed to call her that, and the only one who knew about her, ahem, home issues. Morgan had found her sobbing in her dubbed "private place" before school, her bruises exposed and fresh. Even in her tears, she had rushed for a mangy blanket to cover herself, and found Morgan above her, sympathy raw in her chocolate eyes, holding out a bandage.
They had talked then, Olive explaining (lying at first, underestimating Morgan's uncanny ability to pick out even the smallest of fibs, but eventually telling the truth, her entire past sucked into Morgan's empathetic amber orbs) and Morgan just listening, nursing her wounds with gentle but nimble fingers. It was one of her Dads most vicious beatings, and Morgan had always told her she was lucky, not dying because of her help.
Morgan was one of her best friends, a pure golden soul packed into the face of an angel, motherly instincts at the ready. She was only 22, but worked as a janitor after her parents kicked her out for accepting the proposal of a disproved of boy. They were rich, but when they perished in a plane crash in the West Indies, she got none of her expected inheritance. Noah, a leather jacket wearing, sarcastic tongued, not well brought up boy with a heart as kind as Morgan's, held her as she cried for their death. "I always regretted not telling them sorry," she told Olive, her golden eyes fixed on something unseen, "Even if it wasn't my fault, we could've made it better. Together. They were my parents-we grew up, matured, and learned together. We could have at least faked a bond." She always grew angry at this point, Olive steadying her hands and comforting her until she calmed down.
"Thanks, Olive." Two clusters of freckles moved on her cheeks as she smiled. Noticing Olive's daydreaming, her eyes narrowed in concern. "Are you okay?" Olive snapped to attention. "I'm fine." She mustered up a ghost of a smile, and Morgan raised an eyebrow. "He better not have done anything else to you. After what we had to clean up last time, that-" Morgan inserted some words into the sentence in place of her father that she would prefer not to repeat-"had better not lay a finger on you." Morgan opened her slender arms, curling Olive into her warm embrace, careful not to hold her too tightly in case of hurting her bruises. Even with her caution, Olive couldn't suppress a wince. Morgan sighed into her blonde curls. "I'll get the bandages."
"You know, Olive," Morgan began thoughtfully, pasting a crystal blue bandage over a particularly gruesome injury, "We never do talk about boys. How's your love life?" Olive stiffened. Morgan pretended not to notice. "Fine." Her voice hardly shook, and she grit her teeth as Morgan rubbed some sticky cream onto an almost healed cut on her leg that still sent painful shivers up her spine whenever anyone brushed by it.
Morgan grinned. "C'mon, I know you're hiding something. If only I could remember his name-Freddie, Fabian..."
"Fletcher!" Olives girly giggle abruptly cut off with Morgan pressing the anesthetic cream onto her back. Morgan's laughing eyes quickly sobered at the look in Olive. "What happened?"
Somehow, Morgan sucked the whole story out of her, tears and all, while treating her wounds with a practiced hand. Grabbing the candy bar out of her lunch pack, Morgan split it in half and they ate, talking for almost the whole period. Suddenly, Olive remembered something. "Didn't you come in here for the mop?"
Morgan's eyes grew wide. "Crap." Olive barely had time for her to sign a pass to class before Morgan skidded out of there, forgetting the mop bucket in her haste. Olive tapped her foot while she waited. When Morgan came back, she handed it to her with a purposeful eyeroll. Morgan stuck out her tongue at her, grabbing it and leaving once again.
"Hey, where were you last period?" Olive avoided Fletcher's probing eyes as she responded carefully, "Clinic." It sounded perfectly believable in her eyes, but Fletcher's narrowed with something very close to suspicion. Luckily though, he let the subject drop as their science teacher took the floor to say something about density.