Good Girl and Bad Boy (1)
Miranda Lotto hated being the new student.
She constantly moved from school to school, trying in vain to start on a clean slate, and trying to forget her many blunders and mistakes. In every school that had the misfortune of having her, Miranda was the laughing stock of her grade. Nothing in particular defined her, except for her perpetual clumsiness. She tried her hand at every club and hobby. She was either kicked out by other kids, or was just plain terrible at whatever she tried to pursue.
Her newest destination was D. Gray High School, a prestigious institution in Great Britain. How she had passed the entrance exam, she did not know. It was quite difficult to be granted admission. She took this as a miracle, a sign from God. It gave her hope. She could start her life anew and actually make friends. As quickly as this buoyed her spirits, she tried to suppress them. She didn't want to set herself up for disappointment.
Her first day was already a disaster. She forgot to properly set up her alarm clock, and she had slept in. Now she was wide awake, panicking and rushing to school. Miranda fell three times along the way, giving her scraps and bruises that hindered her even more. She practically limped to school, looking like a nervous wreck. She checked her watch and her heart skipped.
'I'm going to be late!'
Miranda dashed down the hallway. Thankfully no one was around to see her looking like a maniac. But that meant everyone was in class already. She looked frantically for the classroom she was supposed to have first period. She grabbed at her hair, trying to remember the room number. After dashing up a flight of stairs, Miranda opened a door further down on the right. The smell of paper and paint hit her nose.
The teacher was an old man with bushy gray hair and spectacles. Paintings and drawings hung from every wall. First period was...art class? She had no clue. She lost her schedule on her way here.
She struggled to catch her breath. "I-is this Room 203?"
The teacher nodded. "Yes, it is."
Miranda sighed in relief.
"What's your name?"
The teacher flipped through the papers attached to his clipboard. Then he frowned and looked up at her. "Are you a junior?"
Miranda blinked in confusion. "Y-yes, sir."
"You must be looking for Room 303, my dear. This is 203, my art class for sophomores."
Miranda flushed with embarrassment, feeling her ears burn and tears well in her eyes. "I-I-I'm so sorry, sir. I'm late and hopelessly lost. I have no idea where I'm supposed to be."
The old teacher gave her a kind smile. "It's all right, Miranda. No need to be upset. I will write an excuse slip for you. Allen, could you show her to Room 303?"
"Yes, Mr. Tiedoll."
Miranda looked to see who the teacher was referring to. Allen was a young man with white hair. He looked reluctant at first, then he sprang up, rushed to the door and held it open for Miranda. "Follow me, please."
She scuttled after him once she got the slip from Mr. Tiedoll. The boy walked with confidence down the halls, but kept his pace even so Miranda could keep up.
He turned to her with a wide smile. "Welcome to D. Gray High School. My name is Allen Walker. What's yours?"
For a moment she was taken aback. She wasn't used to politeness directed at her. "I-I'm Miranda Lotto."
"Nice to meet you, Miranda."
She noticed that he had a strange mark running down his left eye. He also had a heavily bandaged left arm, complete with a leather glove. Allen looked a little odd, but who was she to judge? Especially since he was so polite?
They rounded a corner and stopped at Room 303. Allen grinned sheepishly. "I apologize for my rudeness earlier. It's likely that your teacher is-" He opened the door and his face fell. "Mr. Cross Marian."
A tall, imposing red-haired man glared back. Students' eyes shot to the door, peering at Allen and Miranda curiously. A one-eyed orange-haired kid waved from the other side. Miranda wasn't sure whether it was for her or Allen.
Then Mr. Cross smirked. "Walker. What brings you here? Eager to join my class so soon?"
Allen quickly shook his head. "Not me, sir. I was guiding a new student here." He ushered Miranda forward, and she bowed low to the teacher.
"I'm so sorry, sir. I apologize for my tardiness-"
"New or not, I hate late students."
Miranda flinched and brought forth the slip with shaky hands. "B-but I...I have a waiver from Mr. Tiedoll..."
Mr. Cross snatched it from her and squinted at the signature. "Hmph. Very well. But don't be late again."
"I won't, sir. I promise!"
The teacher jerked his head to an empty seat. "Sit down, then. Walker, get out of here."
Allen nodded, looking more than happy to leave. Miranda wondered what those two had going on. She picked her way among the students, holding her arms close to her chest as they stared her down. The only seat available was the second one to the window. She meekly slid into it, fumbling in her backpack to get the right book out. Between her was the kid who had waved earlier, and another boy wearing a jester hat. Mr. Cross returned to his discussion on the board. As he did, the kid with the eye patch and green headband turned to Miranda with a cheeky smile.
"Hey, you're cute. Call me Lavi. You must be Miranda."
She looked flustered. "Er, yes. How did you know?"
The other boy leaned in from Miranda's left. "Cross called out your name for attendance, but you were absent. We won't forget your name in a hurry."
Miranda blushed, but the boy cracked a toothy grin. "Don't worry about it. I'm Daisya Barry, by the way."
The boys fell silent as Mr. Cross shot them a glare. They dipped their heads and quickly returned to writing notes. Miranda did her best to pay attention, but Mr. Cross was well into his lecture on the Crusades. She felt lost since she came late. With the exception of Mr. Cross, everyone seemed nice so far. One boy even called her cute.
'Letting my hair down was a good decision, after all,' she thought with content.
In middle school Miranda used to look much older than she really was. She wore her hair in a tight bun and dressed like a maid. Stress from school and bullying gave her no sleep, and shadows under her eyes. Other kids kept calling her an old lady. Miranda grew sick of the ridicule, and resolved to better herself starting with her appearance. She let her hair down and changed her wardrobe, so that she could look somewhat stylish while still being decent to satisfy her conservative parents.
When Mr. Cross's class was over, Miranda dashed to the office to grab a new schedule. Once she got it, Lavi and Daisya guided her to the right rooms for her next classes. She felt very grateful for their help.
When it was time for lunch, Miranda waited in line for food like everyone else. As she got her portion and neared the end of the line, she dreaded having to sit by herself. Then she spotted a shock of white hair among the seated students. Allen wasn't hard to spot at all. Miranda saw him with other kids his age and older. He caught her eye and waved. Encouraged by this, she took it as a gesture of welcome and came over. Lavi sat across from Allen. Daisya twirled a soccer ball on one finger as he ate his lunch. Besides the three boys, Miranda didn't recognize the others at the table.
Allen grinned. "Hi, Miranda. We were just talking about you."
She blinked. "You were...?"
"Yeah, about your cuteness," Lavi said with a playful smile.
The Chinese girl next to him rolled her eyes. "Lavi, you think every girl is cute." She quickly turned to Miranda and looked apologetic. "I didn't mean to say that you were not. Lavi just likes to hit on every girl he sees." She rose and greeted the new girl Chinese-style, palm against fist and bowing at the waist. "I'm Lenalee Lee, a sophomore. Pleasure to meet you!"
Expecting a hand shake, Miranda awkwardly withdrew her hand and nodded. "Hi, Lenalee. I'm glad to be here."
"I'll introduce everyone else at the table," Allen said. "In case you don't remember, I'm Allen. That's Lavi and Daisya. The big guy is Noise Marie, the one in pink is Jerry, and the soba-eating grouch is Yu Kanda."
Marie nodded his head at her direction and gave a friendly smile. He wore large headphones, with one out so he could engage in conversation. To her surprise, Miranda realized he was blind.
His voice was deep yet gentle. "I may not see, but I'm a musician and I love to play the harp. I want to study music in college."
She liked him immediately. "Good luck," Miranda replied with earnest. "I hope you'll achieve your goal."
Jerry made a girly wave. "Hiya, sweetheart. My ma is a cook here, and I can make some mean dishes myself. Welcome to DGHS!"
Even Miranda didn't need to be told that he was quite the flamboyant one. She didn't mind this at all, of course, especially since Jerry seemed very friendly. The one called Yu Kanda didn't make eye contact and kept on eating his noodles.
Lavi squinted his eye. "Yu, don't be rude. Say hi to the new girl!"
Miranda was surprised to hear such a deep voice. She actually thought Kanda was a girl. Lavi turned to Miranda and shrugged. "Sorry, he can be an anti-social jerk. In fact, he always is. Don't worry, he's not very smart."
"I heard that!" The long-haired boy snapped.
"I didn't intend to keep that a secret, Yu," Lavi retorted.
"Stop calling me by my first name. I hate it."
Allen joined in with a snicker. "He's only here because he's on a kendo scholarship."
Kanda growled and clutched his sheathed blade. "One more word and I'll shave all your white hair off, Moyashi!"
"Moyashi?" Miranda asked.
"Japanese for bean sprout," Lavi replied. "He thinks we're too dumb to know what that means."
"I don't think you're a bean sprout, Allen," Miranda quickly reassured him. "I think you're very nice."
Allen threw up his hands. "I've known Kanda since freshman year. Miranda's only been here for four hours and I like her way more than him!"
Everyone at the table laughed. Except for Kanda, who scowled and marched off as soon as he finished the last noodles.
Miranda frowned. "Aren't you guys being a little mean to him?" Then she bit her lip nervously. She didn't mean to antagonize her new friends already.
Lenalee smiled. "Don't worry. Kanda's got thick skin. He can take a lot more than a couple of jokes."
Allen looked to her with admiration. "You've got a heart of gold, Miranda. To be concerned over someone like Kanda...even after he had been so rude to you...that's inspiring!"
Miranda shook her head modestly. "It's nothing, really. I just don't get anything out of being mean."
"Aw, you really are a sweetheart," Jerry crooned.
Lavi tapped on her shoulder. "Hey, you're free to join us after school. We always meet at Komui and Lenalee's house."
"My older brother," Lenalee replied. "He works here as part of the office faculty. He can be a little crazy, but he's very nice. I think you'll like him."
"We'll wait for you after school so we can take you to their house, if you want," Allen said.
Miranda nearly cried tears of joy. "Sure! I would love that." This can't be real. People she had just met and befriended suddenly invite her over and make her feel like a part of them. For a moment she thought she could die of happiness.
After lunch, Miranda shared another class with Lavi and Daisya. They were put into summer reading discussion groups. Being the new student, Miranda had no idea what was going on. Daisya didn't read his book, so he didn't participate either.
"Why are you being so nice?" she asked Lavi. "I...I really appreciate it, but I'm just confused. People at other schools never wanted to be around me."
"Why would they do that? You're nice and sweet."
"You've come to the right place," Daisya replied. "Finally feels like you're home, huh?"
Hearing that made Miranda feel good. She leaned back in her seat and smiled with content. "Home..."
A few classes later, the school bell rang for dismissal. Miranda waited until most of the students in her last class filtered out. Experience taught her that being caught in the traffic wasn't wise. Especially with her clumsiness involved. But when she entered the hallway, she couldn't see her new friends. Panic took over and she tried to find the entrance.
Something came at her so fast that the force of it against her head threw her off balance. She fell with a startled cry. A pair of teenagers dressed in punk rock attire giggled loudly. Weird, black cross-like markings lined their foreheads. Next to her on the floor was a large spitball. The teens held their toy guns aloft, still wracked with childish hysterics.
"Debit, Jasdero, that's enough."
Miranda looked up to see whose smooth, pleasantly deep voice that was. Then she laid her eyes on the most handsome young man she ever met. He knelt down, giving her a better look of his dark, tousled hair, tanned skin and bright, almond-shaped eyes. He had the marks across his forehead like the other two. She blushed and quickly averted her gaze. She thought she heard a hint of an accent, either European Spanish or Portuguese. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him extend a hand.
"May I help you up, Miss?"
Miranda hesitantly reached out her hand to hold his. He pulled her up despite her shaky knees. She dusted herself and muttered a quick "thank you."
"Miranda, let's go!"
Her head jerked up to see Allen and the others at the end of the hallway. They looked very concerned. Allen urgently beckoned her to follow. Miranda dashed towards them without a second glance back.
Lenalee put a hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay? You're not hurt?"
"I'm fine, I think," Miranda replied breathlessly. She peeked over her shoulder. But the trio of boys were gone. "Who was that? The one who helped me?"
Allen had an unusually dark look. "Him? Only the baddest, most dangerous guy in D. Gray High School. His name is Tyki Mikk. Stay away from him."
'How could he be bad? He helped me.'
Perhaps they knew better. They've been in D. Gray High School longer. Miranda shouldn't trust her instinct, or lack of it. Her gullible and naive nature had always gotten her into trouble at previous schools.
She was told to stay away from Tyki. Somehow, deep down, she didn't know if she could. Even if she tried her hardest, trouble always came back for her.