Now, I desperately need reviews on this one, cause it's gonna be a novel-length 'THING': Totally
Hopeless and In Need of Guts. Meaning I need reviews. Guts is my word for reviews. Actually, I just
needed something that started with 'g'. If anybody has any other suggestions, they can include them
in their REVIEW. Hint, hint.
Smoochies to Julie for Rosemary. ;)

xXxXxXxXx

It was incredibly hot in the classroom, and Marigold had removed her hooded sweatshirt and partially
unbuttoned her blouse. It didn't have any effect on the general 35 degree feeling that was making
her sleepy. She made herself sit up straight and take notes to avoid dozing off.
Mr. Brown's method of teaching was not helping her drowsiness. The teacher's voice droned on and on,
not once changing, the same tone and inflections that she had encountered upon entering the high
school. Eight months later, Marigold still entered the classroom to see him sitting at his desk,
arranging his notes or grading students' papers. He would get up and proceed to the front blackboard
once the entire class was seated, and start reciting off his notes. It was left up to the students
to take down what they believed would be relevant or helpful for the class. Marigold had heard from
former students that his teaching style had not varied in the 26 years he had been teaching.
"Miss Brooks." His voice had taken on a previously unheard edge, and Marigold sat up immediately.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a blond head turn and look at her. Marigold glanced at the
pretty face watching her, and raised an eyebrow. The blond Rochelle shrugged slightly and Marigold
turned her attention back to the teacher, who was standing with hands on hips at the front of the
room.
"Now that I have your attention, Miss Brooks, I don't suppose you could tell me what we were
discussing?" he asked dryly.
Marigold realized with a start that the entire class was watching her. She blushed and looked down
at her notes, brushing a lock of dark hair out of her eyes. "Louisbourg Fortress," she said
tentatively. The last notes she had taken were "founded in 1714", but she wasn't sure if the topic
had shifted since then.
"Yes, and would you happen to know who built this grand fortress?"
Marigold wondered when Social Studies had become Interrogation Studies. "The French colonists," she
said, a little louder.
Mr. Brown's expression did not change. "That's right. Now, Louisbourg housed about 1500 to 3000
people. These people varied in social class, income and background..."
Marigold sank back into a half-asleep state as the teacher's voice began its litany once more. She
glanced at the clock and was dismayed to find half an hour still left in the class. "Come ON," she
thought tiredly. Social Studies was her last class before lunch, and her stomach was starting to
growl in protest. She decided to try and alleviate her boredom with some conversation.
Marigold shuffled her papers around, discreetly ripping off the corner of a blank page as she did
so. She scrawled a lazy "I'm bored" with her pencil and folded the fragment in half.
"Rochelle," she whispered, just loud enough so Mr. Brown could hear what she was saying. "Can I
borrow your pencil sharpener?"
Her friend, sitting directly to the left of her, frowned, but raised her eyebrows and reached for
her supply bag when Marigold held up the note. She tossed it to Marigold, earning a stern look from
the teacher. "Miss Minjonet, if you wish to dispense supplies, please do not throw them," he
reprimanded, then went right back to his teaching. Rochelle muttered something under her breath and
waited for Marigold to finish sharpening her pencil. Marigold did so with exaggerated movements,
then took the lid off and slipped the note inside. She slid it back along the floor to Rochelle, who
picked it up and took out the note. Her eyes flicked back to Marigold and she shrugged. "Me too,"
she mouthed, and they both looked up at the clock. 27 minutes left. "DAMN it, I'm hungry," Marigold
thought, as Rochelle scribbled a reply on the small piece of paper.
By the time there were five minutes left in the class, their conversation had taken up 4 scraps of
paper. It went like this:
I'm bored.
Me too.
And hungry.
Me too.
And tired.
Me too.
Did I mention I'm bored?
Yes.
And hot.
I'm way hotter than you are.
No you're not.
Am so.
Are not.
Am so.
Are not.
Am so.
Are not.
Am so.
Are not.
Am so.
Fine.
Ha!
Shut up.
Make me.
As Mari picked up her pencil to give Rochelle another piece of her mind, the classroom door swung
open. She looked up from the paper and automatically slipped it under her notes as someone entered.
A boy who looked to be about her age peered around the door. A toss of light brown curls shaded
a pair of eyes that swiftly surveyed the room before resting on Mr. Brown, looking irritated that
his stream of facts had been interrupted. "This Grade 10 Social?" he asked with a slight accent that
Mari couldn't immediately identify.
"Yes," said Mr. Brown, scrutinising the boy.
"Marigold Brooks here?" he asked.
Marigold started. "Yeah," she said. The boy looked around and spotted her. She frowned as he
hesitated. What did he want?
"You're s'posed to come to the office," he said finally.
Marigold exchanged blank looks with Rochelle. Her friend raised her hands in a don't-look-at-me
gesture. Marigold turned back to the boy, who was shifting from foot to foot as though impatient.
"Do I have to bring my stuff?" she asked stubbornly, wanting an explanation.
"Yeah," the boy said. Marigold shrugged. "Okay," she told him. "I'll just be a minute." The other
students looked on with mild interest as she shuffled papers into a relatively neat pile and stuffed
them in her binder. Rochelle punched her lightly on the arm as she got up to leave, and Marigold
grinned down at her. "See ya," she muttered.
Various choruses of "Bye, Mari," rippled through the room. "See you, Marigold!" Ernest, a skinny boy
with untidy hair and an uneven-toothed smile, piped up after her. Marigold inwardly sighed. Ernest
had followed her around since she'd come to high school, asking her to dances and school functions.
He had insisted on calling her Marigold, instead of Mari as most people did. Well, actually, as
everybody else did. Marigold had found it intensely annoying at first, but had learned to tune it
out much the same way she tuned out Mr. Brown.
She reflected on that first day she'd entered the high school. She had always known that she was
pretty, but it made her uncomfortable to have the male students drop everything and watch her as
she walked down the hall. Several of the most popular boys had tried to ask her on dates, but she
had declined them all, puzzling them as much as the popular girls. The girls would probably have
died to be in Marigold's place, but once the boys realized Marigold was not going to tolerate their
company, they turned their attentions elsewhere. So much the better for them and their little
girlfriends, Marigold had thought at the time.
"Got your stuff?"
Marigold came out of her memories with a jolt. "Uh... yeah," she muttered to the boy, who seemed
singularly disinterested in her reminiscence. In fact, he seemed disinterested, period. He didn't
blush or stammer when he talked to her, and he looked her straight in the eye. His sentences were
short and clipped. As if I'm wasting his time, she thought irritably. The boy annoyed her in a
manner she couldn't seem to articulate. She dismissed the thought and hoisted her bag onto her
shoulder, starting for the school office. Her odd companion fell into step beside her.
"Been here long?" he asked her as they walked. Like it's any of your business, Marigold growled
inwardly, but held her temper and replied as coolly as she could. "Just the one year."
"Not me," he said quietly. Marigold glanced sharply over at him. He looked up at her, then back at
his shoes. "Got transferred here in April."
Scottish, Marigold thought suddenly. His accent is Scottish. "From where?" she asked. "Scotland?"
He laughed under his breath. "I haven't lived in Scotland for twelve years."
Marigold felt herself blushing. So go ahead, make a fool of me, she thought savagely. I don't need
your smirking little face here, I know my own way to the office.
"Did they say what they wanted me for?" she asked, trying not to show her annoyance. He looked up
at her again. "Actually, they did," he told her.
"And?"
"Well, here we are - I guess you'll find out now, won't you," he said, indicating a door to their
left.
Marigold shrugged and reached for the doorknob.
"Thanks," she said shortly.
"I've got a name, you know," he said absently, a slight smile quirking his mouth.
"Which is?"
"Stanley," he told her. She glanced up at him. Green eyes laughed silently beneath the brown curls,
crinkling the corners of his eyes. "Stanley Keagan."
"Well, if I ever get lost on the way to the office, Stanley Keagan, I'll know who to call," she
said. She had meant for it to be a little more scathing than it actually sounded, and Stanley raised
an eyebrow.
"Just call me Stan," he told her. Marigold felt as though he was making fun of her, but his grin
was less than sarcastic, and she gave a small smile.
"Okay," she said, turning back to the door. "Thanks. Oh-" she turned back as a thought occurred to
her. "You can call me Mari."
"Sure. Later," he said, watching as she entered the office.
He stayed as the door clicked shut. A few seconds passed. Stan listened as he heard a female voice
speaking quickly, and then heard Marigold's voice yell something. He frowned and pressed his ear to
the door.
"New Zealand?!" Marigold - Mari - was yelling. "Are you iserious/i?!"
The female voice, a little deeper than Marigold's alto, laughed. "Yeah, but calm down before you
have a seizure, okay? Otherwise you won't GET your vacation."
"Sure thing! Hang on, I have to get my bag and stuff!" Marigold said excitedly. She opened the door
and ran straight into Stan.
"Hey!" Stan yelped, stumbling backwards. Marigold caught his wrist and yanked him back to his feet.
"Sorry," she said breathlessly. "I gotta go!"
Stan followed her to her locker, watching as she stuffed papers and binders into her backpack. "What
the hell happened in there?"
Marigold glanced up at him, still packing. Her deep brown eyes glowed. "I'm off on vacation!
My sister Rosemary-" she indicated the tall, smiling girl, older than Marigold, with long, straight
dark hair, that had followed the two - "and I are going on our own! To New Zealand!"
Stan grinned. "You a Lord of the Rings fan, by any chance?"
Marigold stood up, slinging her bag over her shoulder. "Yeah!"
"Me too," he told her. Marigold practially shook with energy, loose, dark curls falling over her
eyes. She brushed them away impatiently.
"Be gone long?" Stan ventured.
"Two months," Marigold answered happily.
"Cool," Stan answered. "Well... send me a postcard or something, okay?" Marigold looked surprised,
but fished around in her locker for writing materials. "Sure thing," she told him, giving him a
scrap of paper and a purple pen. Stan took them and scribbled an address and e-mail, folded it in
half and gave it back to Marigold. She grinned and stuffed it in her pocket. "Later!" she called
over her shoulder as she jogged back to her sister.
Stan leaned against the lockers and watched Marigold leave, talking animatedly with her sister. He
wondered idly how old Rosemary was. Marigold was obviously his age, as demonstrated by her rather
tight shirt and stretch jeans. Stan watched them turn the corner and then started back towards his
own classroom. Whew, he thought. Interesting.

A pair of blue-grey eyes watched him from the shadows, following his trail. They blinked once and
then disappeared.

xXxXxXxXx

Mwahaha, the insanity begins! Evil evil I am, ending a prologue like that. Well, you'll just have
to wait... and I promise it's LotR, it just doesn't really seem like it, yet. I'll write more, as
long as I have your promises to not sneak into my bedroom and kill me in my sleep for introducing
a character like that. Promise? Okay, goody.