Timeless (Chapter 1)
By Pamela, age 26, South Africa
Chapter 2 will appear in next month's issue. The complete novel may be purchased at Pamela's website: pameladianeking.com.
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Premise: Timeless is a young adult romance novel. Seventeen year old California cheerleader Jessica is beautiful, wealthy, and popular. She has everything she could ever want, except happiness. But her world changes forever when Tommy, a dark, sexy, mysterious stranger, arrives at school on a motorcycle the first day of senior year. Sweeping her off her feet, she loses her heart to him. But will time tear them apart forever?
Time froze as the stranger approached. His motorcycle roared like an angry beast. Curiosity exploded, but his strong build and dangerous attitude were a shield that no-one dared penetrate. A thrill took over me as I admired the way the white shirt clung to his sculptured body. Confidently he got off his bike and strode into the building. The black leather jacket, jeans and boots he wore revealed a rebellious streak. He exuded mystery, like someone who hid a dark secret. I knew that I should have walked away while I still had the chance, but it was already too late. Every part of me wanted him.
"Jessica, come on, we're going to be late for English, and you know what Mrs. Young's like," Kelly said ominously, snapping me out of my daze. She ran her fingers through her midnight bob.
"Yeah, don't remind me," I said distractedly.
Natalie looked around and then whispered, "Don't you find it ironic that her last name is Young when she's, like, past retirement age?"
Kelly burst out laughing, "Yeah, I wish she would retire, she's older than my grandma."
I followed them passively to the first class of the first day of the last year of high school. We made our way through the crowd outside of school into the equally crowded hallway.
"Who was that new guy?" Natalie asked covertly.
My eyes darted around the faces looking for him. Talking about him sent shivers up my spine. "I don't know, I guess he was transferred here," I said trying to sound casual.
"I heard that he was in juvenile detention," Kelly whispered.
Natalie gasped. "He did look like a bad boy."
I rolled my eyes. "How could you have heard that already? He only arrived at school five minutes ago."
"But everyone's already talking about it," Kelly said.
"Well, don't believe everything you hear." Rumors were spreading like wildfire, and I didn't like it.
"Hey babe," Brad said, kissing me on the cheek and draping his muscular arm around my shoulder. "We need to talk about what we're going to do for our three year anniversary in two weeks."
"That's so sweet," Natalie gushed, and followed Kelly into the classroom.
"Let's see closer to the time, right now I'm late," I said trying to sound cheerful. I gave him a peck on the cheek and rushed into class.
Excitement surged through me as the unfamiliar yet exquisite blue eyes grabbed mine. I blushed, feeling like I had forgotten to put on clothes or something. The new guy was sitting at a desk in the back corner of the classroom. Nervously I took a seat at the back, two seats from his to the right. I was just in time as Mrs. Young came into the classroom behind me. She introduced herself even though we had all suffered through many of her classes over the years. I guess it was for the new student's sake.
Exhilaration gripped hold of me as I snuck a glance at him. Deep in thought he focused intently on the lesson. I knew that I should have been doing the same. Feeling me staring at him, he looked at me. His intense gaze made my heart beat so loudly I was sure he could hear it. I blushed and looked away quickly. He kept his eyes on me for a few seconds and then looked away. I noticed that he had a small cut above his eye and a bruise on his cheek. I wondered if he had been in a fight.
Diligently I kept my eyes focused on Mrs. Young. But I couldn't control my mind from focusing on him. His irresistibly handsome face clouded all my thoughts. But what really struck me was that he seemed to be in the wrong era. It was like we were in a movie and he had stepped onto the wrong set. Dark and brooding, he was breathtaking. I had to avert my gaze from his icy blue eyes because every time they found mine, I felt like they pierced right into my soul. It was like he knew exactly what I was thinking. His thick, wavy black hair was slicked back. He had taken off his black leather jacket and draped it over the back of his chair. He reminded me of Danny Zuko from the movie Grease with his Fifties style. I could see him being the leader of the rebellious gang from Grease called The T-Birds. But instead of his old-school look making him seem weird, he looked like he was too cool for school, literally. It was as though he was meant for more than the ordinariness of being cooped up in a classroom all day, like he was only pretending to be a high school student, but really he was an undercover agent. Despite his Danny Zuko appearance, he struck me as an outsider. His reserved and quiet demeanor made him even more interesting. I was dying to know what his story was. I'd always secretly been attracted to quiet outsiders in movies. But I never dared tell my friends because everyone expected me to be with a popular jock, like Brad.
Opposites attract, they say. I ran my fingers through my long blonde hair. I was a typical California girl, with blonde hair, a golden tan, and blue eyes. I looked down at my preppy, conservative white blouse and knee-length floral skirt. I was a cheerleader and had always been part of the in-crowd, but sometimes I felt so alone. I always had to be what everyone thought I was, and it was exhausting. Sometimes I just really wanted to be me. Only, I wasn't sure who I was. I was seventeen now and I knew it was time to find out.
Shrilly the bell rang after Mrs. Young made a couple of students read the poems that we would be studying that semester. The next few classes passed in a blur. The only class that he and I had together was English, which was good and bad. Good because it was the only class I didn't have with Brad. I wouldn't have wanted Brad to catch me staring at him. But it was bad because I wanted to be near him. Just being in the same room as him gave me butterflies. I was dying to know his name.
Noise filled the cafeteria. Kelly and Natalie were sitting with Kevin and Adam at our usual table in the centre of the cafeteria. Kelly and Kevin were fraternal twins who were both blessed with good genes but looked very different. Kelly was raven-haired while Kevin was fair-haired. Natalie and Kevin were the resident lovebirds of the group. Always making out in public and groping each other. They did look good together. I always thought that Kelly and Adam would get together but she didn't think he was sophisticated enough for her as he had a penchant for burping.
I felt dizzy from the sensory overload so I quickly joined them at the table.
"Hey Jess," Adam yelled above the din. "How was your first day back?"
"Ok I guess," I said preoccupied.
"So, what do you know about Hunter High's newest bad boy?" Natalie asked Kevin excitedly. She loved gossip. I hated it. It always made me feel uncomfortable.
Kevin leaned in closer. "Well, his name's Tommy Preston. I heard that he's from New York and that he got into trouble at his old school and was sent to juvey."
"And they let him in here?" Kelly asked appalled.
"But what if he's dangerous?" Natalie asked dramatically.
"Don't worry, I'll protect you babe," Kevin said grinning, and tucking into his hamburger.
Anger rose up in me. How could they be so judgmental about someone they didn't even know? They were just rumors that probably weren't even true. It wasn't fair.
Tommy. I finally knew his name. I searched the cafeteria for him but he wasn't there. After eating a bit of my chicken and mayo toasted sandwich, I looked up and saw him walking in. He went to sit by himself at an empty table in the corner. I suddenly longed to take my tray and join him. He looked so lonely. Sadness washed over me.
"Brad, dude, over here," Adam called.
"Hey guys, sorry I'm late, got held up talking to Coach Peters in gym class."
He sat in the seat to my left and leaned in for a kiss. I gave him a quick peck on the lips.
"Is that all I get?" he joked.
"No-one likes a public display of affection," I lied. I just didn't feel like being close to him.
"That's cool," he said opening his can of Coke and gulping it down.
Tanned and toned, with sandy brown hair, Brad was the captain of the football team and the most popular guy in school. Everyone loved him, including my parents. We had been friends since kindergarten because our parents were friends. His parents and mine went to the same country club. My parents adored Brad. He was the son they had never had. But he was also like the brother I had never had.
Secretly watching Tommy as he ate his lunch, I wondered if the rumors were true. I didn't believe that he was bad. Intrigued by his absorption in a book, I was desperate to know what he was reading. I adored reading classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, and Tess. I also loved writing. Poetry was the way I expressed myself. It was my release. There was something so honest about pouring my hopes and dreams onto a piece of paper.
"I got to get some things from my locker before my next class. See you two at cheerleading practice," Kelly said, getting up from the table.
"Yeah sure, see you then," I said, trying to muster some enthusiasm.
I looked at Tommy again. I wondered if we would we ever meet, or if I would have to be content with watching him from a distance.
Crisp green grass was all around me as I landed with a thud. I hadn't hurt myself but I had taken a few cheerleaders down with me.
"I'm sorry, Candice," I said, helping her up. "I don't know where my mind is today." But I did know. I had just made the whole pyramid collapse because I wasn't focused during cheerleading practice.
"It's ok," she said, dusting the grass off her red uniform.
Exhausted both mentally and physically, the day had seemed never-ending and I was relieved that it was almost over. I tried to bring myself back to reality but I was detached and distanced from everything going on around me. I had been living in my head all day, and it was starting to get noticed.
"What's wrong with you?" Kelly asked quietly taking me aside. "You've been acting weird all day."
I smiled at her. "Nothing really, I'm fine, but thanks for asking."
"Is everything ok with Brad?"
"Yes, of course, you know Brad and I have never even had a fight."
"Yeah, you guys have the perfect relationship. You're so lucky to be dating the captain of the football team," Natalie said dreamily joining us. We all looked at the football players practicing on the field in front of where we were. Brad was gorgeous in an all-American way.
Smiling deceptively, I knew that in all ways I was living a lie. It wasn't fair to me or to Brad. We both deserved to be with people we couldn't live without. Even in other areas of my life, I knew that I wasn't being authentic. I had never even wanted to be a cheerleader but I tried out because of my parents. They expected me to be one because my mom had been one.
"What is he doing here?" Kelly asked distastefully, nodding in the direction of the stands.
I sucked in my breath with anticipation. It was Tommy. He was leaning against the stands across the field looking right at me. "I don't know," I said not taking my eyes off him.
"He's staring, that's so rude." She folded her arms across her chest and walked back to the girls who were getting ready to try the pyramid again.
A powerful force drew me to him, and I didn't know if I was strong enough to resist. There was a familiarity about him, like somehow we knew each other. Maybe we had known each other in a past life. There was an unspoken connection between us, and I knew that he felt it too because he was blatantly watching me. Impulsively, I wanted to run across the field and introduce myself. But I didn't move.
Tearing myself away, I quickly went back to practice when Brad noticed the look that Tommy and I had exchanged. Anger flashed across Brad's usually calm face. Aggressively he stared Tommy down for a few seconds before walking away back to practice. Distantly I heard the roar of a powerful motorcycle and I knew that Tommy was gone.
In my heart I was sure that Tommy had felt it too. Maybe he knew that I was the only one who could understand him. We were both outsiders. On the surface I seemed very much like an insider, but I didn't feel like one. I was always surrounded by people, yet I often felt so alone. I could relate to Tommy. The unexplained pull that we had towards each other was strong. Feelings that I had pushed down for so many years were bubbling up to the surface. It was only a matter of time before they exploded.
Dark storm clouds gathered in the sky. Practice was called off early. Uneasiness seized me as I remembered the look Brad had given Tommy. It was a side to Brad that I had never seen before, and it scared me. I didn't know how it would end, but I knew that something big was going to happen.
The story continues in the next issue.