A/N: Sorry for not updating in so long guys, I've actually had this for a while now, but I was busy moving countries and new schools and blarghhsdgj. But here is the next chapter. I promise the next one won't take so long. And this chapter is set in seventh grade because it's easier to show their personalities. I will be updating soon. Thanks for reading!
"And therefore, toasters don't toast toast, toast toasts toast." Moose proudly concluded his presentation to the class. Only two people were clapping- his seventh grade teacher and trusty best friend, Camille. The rest of the class just stared at him blankly.
"What?" One student asked.
"I don't even know." Another finished for him
"That was the worst-" A boy started to say, but was cut off by the teacher.
"Remember what we said about put-downs, everyone, bullying is not tolerated in this class." he said sternly. "Now Polly, you next." A girl with blonde pigtails skipped to the front of the class while Moose headed back to his seat, his head hanging low.
"You're as stupid as your stupid haircut, curly freak." Jackson, the boy who sat next to him, whispered bluntly. Then Moose realized something. He looked around the whole class but there was no one like him- no one with curly hair. He suddenly felt self-conscious about his hair, which he'd never before payed a thought to.
"No it wasn't that bad!" Camille was trying to convince Moose that he didn't really humiliate himself. They were walking around the school grounds to kill the time left of lunch.
"Really? Because everyone else thought so." Moose's voice was monotonous; his face looked like someone had snatched his favourite teddy away from him.
"Hey, look everyone, it's that curly toaster kid!" their heads snapped in the direction of several other seventh graders shouting things at him.
"Only a mother could love hair like that!"
Moose's cheeks were red with embarrassment.
"Hey! You-" Camille tried to stand up for her best friend.
"No Camille don't! They'll only hate you too!" Camille was angry at them for obvious reasons, but she couldn't understand why Moose wouldn't let her give them a piece of her mind. She just scowled at him and continued.
Moose was frantically trying to stop Camille when suddenly he was pushed to the ground and there was a stabbing pain in his head where it hit the concrete.
"Hah! That ought to shake those curls off your head! Come on, Camille, you don't need to hang out with that loser anymore." the bully shouted over.
Moose could hear Camille's footsteps shuffle away from him, but he just couldn't bring himself to get up off the floor to stop her. He could hear her shouting abuse at them from where he was lying.
"You bitch!You think that's funny, Jackson?! Oh yeah, it's soo funny to get pushed onto the hard concrete! Something worse could've happened to him! You could've knocked him out! That's what you've stooped down to now? That's pathetic! Just go crying home to your mother! You're the most dumb, pathetic person I know!"
Jackson felt so much anger well up inside him; he had never been called a pathetic bitch by a girl before. He didn't even know of a guy who had been called a bitch before. His face flushed red with embarrassment and anger. He couldn't even stop himself. He only realized what he had done when his fist collided with her soft, delicate face and she fell to the ground. His friends were horrified.
"Dude! Jackson! You hit a girl!"
"Not cool man, not cool!"
"Who does that?"
"I didn't mean to! I-I'm sorry, Camille!" Jackson was freaking out.
Camille, lying dazed on the ground heard his footsteps rushing away behind his group. Her head throbbed painfully. Before she hit the ground, her head collided with the limestone bricking that lined the area where various plants grew.
"Camille? Camille!" She could hear Moose's worried screams before all sounds drowned out and it all went black.
There was a rubbery smell in the air.
All she could feel was the painful throbbing on the back of her head.
Then she remembered what had happened.
She winced at the memory.
"Cammie? You awake?" she could hear Moose's soft whispers.
Then she remembered what happened to him. Her eyes flew open.
"Moose! How are you? Are you ok?" she asked, regretting how fast she did it as the pain in her head increased.
"Woah, woah, take it easy, Camille. So you're the one that gets knocked out and you ask me how I'm feeling? Girl you have to get your priorities straight."
"I got knocked out?"
"Yeah! Oh, Cam, it was horrible to watch! He just punched you with no hesitation! Bit pathetic if you ask me, he just ran away. But how are you feeling?" Moose had a worried look on his face.
Camille groaned. "It hurts. Badly. What time is it? How were you allowed to stay here?"
Moose grinned deviously. "It's 1:54, I pretended to be asleep so I could stay here with you, they had to look me over for any injuries anyway. All I got was this bruise on my fore head and a graze on my knee." He proceeded to show her the dark coloured skin covering half his fore head and the bandage covering his knee. "But looks like you got it a lot worse, Chameleon." Moose grimaced as he handed her a pocket mirror. As soon as she saw it, she gasped. The skin surrounding her left eye and upper cheek was deep purple and she had a bandage around her head.
"Yeah, turns out when your head smashed against the limestone there was lots of blood, apparently they can't get it off..."
Moose saw her horrified expression.
"But don't worry! The nurse said head wounds tend to look worse than they actually are so you'll be fine." he plastered a dopey smile on his face. "Oh by the way, your parents have to work late tonight and they can't get off to see you, so looks like you're spending time after school with your amazing best friend." Moose pointed to himself. "So it's pizza for dinner." Moose said as he returned to his bed across from her. "No point going back to class now." He smiled mischievously.
Camille lay her head down again. Truthfully, she was glad she was spending her time after school with Moose, she had this feeling that her foster parents didn't really like her that much and Mrs. Alexander was as close to a mother as she had. She wished that she could have the same bond as Moose had with his mother.
"Camille, wake up"
Moose's voice drifted her out of her dream world.
"Heads up, Mom's here." She lifted her body up slowly to see Moose sitting casually on the other bed, then Mrs. Alexander walked in. Her jaw dropped to the floor.
"My goodness! My baby!"
Camille thought she was heading for Moose but instead made a beeline for Camille.
Mrs. A grabbed her into a tight hug which made Camille's heart fill with warmth. She couldn't remember the last time someone had hugged her like this.
"Are you ok? Look at that bruise! And your bandage! I heard what happened. That boy should be expelled, but knowing those public school rules he'll likely only get a suspension." she had an angry scowl on her face.
"And Moosey!" she wailed and headed over to him to plant kisses all over his face.
"Ew! Stop! Mom! Mooooooom! Eghhhh" Moose was disgusted. Camille giggled.
"Look at the mess of you two." Mrs. A sighed "People are going to think I'm an abusive parent..." she trailed off.
Moose and Camille must have been one strange sight.
As they walked through the school they saw all kinds of people gaping and staring at them.
They walked past the incident sight, the limestone was stained deep red and there were people scrubbing at it frantically with disinfectants.
"Oh god..." Camille groaned when she saw it. She felt sorry to have to make people clean up that mess. Moose just chuckled.
"Good one, Camille." he said sarcastically with a grin. Camille just glared at him.
"You have ice-cream all over you."
Camille giggled as Moose gave himself a white moustache with the vanilla ice-cream they were eating. But her smile faltered quickly as she looked at the clock. It was 8:00PM.
All Camille wanted was to feel loved by her foster parents and get hugs and kisses from them like Moose got from his parents.
Moose noticed her sudden sadness, and squeezed her hand reassuringly. Their eyes met and Camille smiled, but it was a sad smile.
"No matter what happens, I'll always be there for you, Chameleon. Best friends till the end." Moose did the 'blow-it-up' handshake with her which made her feel a little better.
At least she had him to count on.
"Camille, honey, I think your parents are here!" Mrs. A's voice rang up from downstairs.
Camille suddenly felt hopeful- maybe they did care about her after all!
She rushed downstairs with Moose close by her side to only find disappointment.
"Ayyyyyyyo sister-from-another-mister! Let's go! We need to get back to yo crib fo some serious partaying!"
It was the voice of Skinny.
Which meant that it was her brother Tyler picking her up and not her foster parents.
"Skinny shut up! I'll be back in a min, guys. Gotta get little sis." Tyler was shouting back to his waiting friends.
Camille groaned as she looked at Moose. He had an apologetic look on his face- they rarely discussed it but he knew all about her pain with her foster parents.
"I just wish they would care." she whispered. He nodded in agreement.
"Holy sh-" Tyler corrected himself when he saw Mrs. Alexander's presence. "shittaki mushrooms, Camille! Damn whose ass am I kicking tonight?" Mrs. A gave a disapproving look but Camille loved her brother.
"Don't worry about it, Ty" she smiled. But it immediately vanished from her face. "Where are they?" Tyler felt sadness for his sister. By 'they' he knew she meant their foster parents. He had given up on them long ago but it would seem that she hadn't.
"Uh... You know, they had to do some... Stuff." he covered up lamely. He looked apologetic. Camille slowly nodded, but he could see the sadness in her eyes.
"I-I'm just going to get my bag from upstairs." she said, her voice cracking a little with tears.
"Ayyyyo hurry up!" Skinny whined.
"Skinny shut up!" Tyler screamed back in frustration.
Camille dashed upstairs to retrieve her orange backpack and was about to head back towards the door again when she was enveloped in a huge hug.
She didn't have to look up to know who it was; she could feel his curls slightly brushing against her forehead.
"It's ok, Camille, it's ok." Moose whispered into her ear. Camille wondered how he always knew when she was sad, he only hugged her when she was sad, and he probably gave the greatest hugs ever.
"I know. I just really miss them sometimes." Camille breathed. They rarely touched the topic of Camille's real parents because it made her so sad. They were killed in a car accident when she was only six, even though it was years ago she still had vivid memories of them. Moose thought it to be best if he didn't say anything, just hugged her as tight as he could.
"Damn, Camille, that got a hell of a lot worse!"
Camille knew Moose's words were true. She had looked in the mirror this morning and her eye had nearly swollen shut.
"Not too bad yourself, Moosey boy." The bruise on his forehead had gone from a deep violet to a full on black.
"His fist is hard."
Moose agreed. "And the concrete." he touched his bruise gingerly. "Looks like they can't get that stain out, good job on making your mark on the school." Moose winked at her. Camille blushed, looked over to the limestone and sure enough, there was a pink stain. At least it wasn't red anymore.
"Let's just get to class."
As they strolled into class, there was a collective gasp.
Camille couldn't imagine what they must have looked like.
Jackson looked at his hands in horror.
"I-I-I'm so sorry. I-I-I'm going to the principal's office, just in case you were wondering." Jackson couldn't stop stuttering and trembling. Eventually he finally shuffled out the classroom. They turned around to find the whole class gaping at them.
"What? You guys never fought a lion before?" Moose joked.
He couldn't believe that it was still going on after what had happened.
People were still teasing him about his curly hair. He had gotten used to most taunts, but it only really affected him one day while not paying attention in English class.
"You know," Moose looked over to see who was whispering to him, it was that blonde pigtails girl Polly. "She wouldn't be like that if it wasn't for your stupid hair. She defended you, if you never had those stupid curls then none of this would have happened."
Moose felt his heart ache. He couldn't help but think she was right. He looked over to Camille who was now cradling her face in her hand, obviously not paying attention either. Thankfully the bell rang for lunch, because Moose felt his eyes stinging.
How could he do this to his best friend?
He ran out of class despite Camille calling after him.
She found him sitting next to the stained wall.
Moose had his legs close to his chest and his hands were covering his face.
"Moose?" Camille sat close next to him. "Moose, look at me."
Moose removed his hands from his face. His eyes were teary.
"It's my fault, Cam!" he wailed.
"What's your fault?" Camille was puzzled.
"You! That never would have happened to you if it wasn't for me!" he kept wailing.
"Oh, Moose!" she was shocked. "It's not your fault! Don't let them get to you!"
"It's hard. I can deal with the hair taunts, but when I think that my hair was the cause of what happened to you makes me feel like cutting it all off." he returned his hands to his face.
"Robert Alexander the third." Camille said sternly. "None of this is your fault. You have curls that models would wish for, never cut them off just to satisfy those stupid bullies!"
Moose looked up at this. His gaze reached hers and he brushed his finger against her head.
"You think I could be a model?" he grinned. Camille rolled her eyes.
"Totally." She knew he was ok now; it was a rare sight to see Moose cry and she never wanted to see it again.
"Hey, hey, Cam!" Moose shouted over to his best friend.
They were at the Baltimore Mall. Each had been advised not to attend their dance classes until their injuries got better, and they were lost without it. There were too many empty afternoons for their liking. That's why they were spending time at the mall.
"Yeah?" Camille rushed over to Moose who was pointing at a clothing store which had a vast selection of hats in the window.
"Ah Moose you're not still being bullied are you? Why didn't you tell me? I told you to not let it get to you."
His gaze dropped to the floor.
"I tried, Cam. I just can't do it." He felt embarrassed about his confession.
"It's ok Moose, just tell me if they ever do it again and I'll be there to whoop their ass." Moose laughed but Camille knew he would never, ever let her do that.
"No!" Camille was giggling at Moose's hat choices. Right now he was sporting a pink leather fedora.
"Well I don't know! Why don't you pick one?" Moose wasn't amused by her giggling fit.
"Fine! I have more fashion sense than you, anyway." she was still giggling.
"Hey, you're talking to future model, here." He smirked back. She just shook her head.
"This one's nice." Moose was wearing a dark grey woollen beanie that covered most of his hair. Only a few stray curls poked out from underneath.
"Yeah, you're right; you're the one with the fashion sense, Cammie. Alright let's go pay!"
Moose headed towards the counter but not before he stopped by a pair of light blue capris pants.
"Ugh, no, Moose, they wouldn't suit your body shape." Camille stated.
"You been checking out my body shape, Cam?" he said with a sly smile. Camille blushed deeply.
"Just go buy your stupid hat, Robert."
Just so you know, I'm planning to get into the more romance side of things in the next few chapters. Please review! :)