“I want in,” Samantha demanded as she stormed into the art room like a whirlwind the next afternoon.
I had woken up the following morning only a little worse for wear and then came to school as usual. Samantha grilled me on the actions of the previous night after she lost consciousness. She had actually come into school and, more surprising, she had no trace of the marker on her body. I really wanted to learn her secret. Her hair and makeup were as impeccable as always. I made up some excuse about how we had sent her to the infirmary, and then later found some boys drawing on her and chased them away. It was the best I could come up with, but she bought the story.
In fact, how she got markered up wasn’t even what she wanted to know. She took that in stride. What she wanted to know was whether I had done anything with Victor. I remembered the hug the previous night but thankfully managed to keep myself from giving away any blushes for Samantha’s enjoyment. I told her, flatly, that Demetrius used to live in Fairmont and so he was moving back in, and he just wanted to talk about the best places in Fairmont now. She was disappointed but seemed to buy it. Of course, that lead to this.
“You want in what?” I asked, suddenly coughing and rubbing my throat.
“You okay, Jane?” Stephan gave me a rich smile.
“Ah, just a sore throat I think.” I returned the smile. “All that screaming at the concert must have hurt my trachea.”
Samantha looked at our polite exchange with a sour look. “You’re the only one at that concert who wasn’t screaming. Never mind that right now, I want in on the Helping Club.”
“The … Helping Club?” I asked in confusion.
Mr. Xavier coughed. “I thought it was a more appropriate name for the H club than the one you had previously chosen.”
Most of the other boys looked confused, but Rune snickered to himself.
“Either way,” the teacher continued, “the H club is at full capacity. I’ll tell you what I told another boy, Allan, this morning … you cannot join this club right now. Maybe next year.”
“A-allan?” I let the word slip as I remembered the previous night, but fortunately, no one noticed the brief moment of distress on my face.
“But you let Demetrius join!” Samantha pouted.
“Demetrius,” Mr. Xavier grimaced, “was an extenuating circumstance. But given all his other pop star duties, he doesn’t even have time to come to any meetings. So, it is like he isn’t even in the club to begin with.”
Samantha turned to me, offering puppy-dog eyes that rivaled Daniels. “Jane, talk some sense into them. You owe me after you ran off with Demetrius and let those random strangers write all over me with a Sharpie.”
I nodded with a straight face. “Yup, I did that. I apologize for letting those random strangers mark you up. I came back in time and was able to chase them away and protect my friend.”
“You did, and that’s why you’re such a great friend, but come on. Throw me a bone here. I mean, what does this club even do? Have you even helped anyone yet? I swear all you do is wander off into the forest at night and … and …” Samantha’s eyes lit up. “Are you guys some crazy sex cult? Do you guys have sex orgies in the woods?”
“No!” Andrew shouted at the same time Alex said, “If only.”
“Although,” Samantha seemed to speak aloud to herself, “that does give me an idea.”
Samantha rapidly typed something into her phone before turning back to us. My phone buzzed, and I pulled it out. There was a new tweet. ‘New fanfic will be released tonight. Stay tuned. It’s a hot one!’ I rolled my eyes, putting the phone away and becoming a little more wary of the eager look in Samantha’s eyes.
“I’m sorry, Samantha,” I spoke up before anyone else thought to. “I’d help you if I could, it’s just the rules are the rules.”
Samantha sighed, turning her head down in a look of defeat. “It’s a shame, too. Your group has such a massive guy to girl ratio. I figured this would help even things out.”
“Wait.” Mr. Xavier stopped her as she moved out the door. “What was that?”
A little smirk appeared at the corner of Samantha’s mouth. “Oh, it’s just that, right now, you have what, eight guys and one girl? I assume Daltom’s in the club even though he’s too shy to show up at a group meeting. Ah, Daltom, every girl wants to crack you out of your shell…”
“Focus, girl.” Mr. Xavier snapped his fingers, bringing Samantha out of her dreamy fantasy.
“Ah, that is to say, with another girl here, all the boys’ attention might not be so focused on one girl. Do the math.”
That little snake! I fought the urge to growl at her. So, this was how she was going to play the game? Well, Mr. Xavier wouldn’t fall for such a silly little trick!
“Deal!” Mr. Xavier nodded. “You’re in!”
“What?” I spoke up at the same time as five other voices.
“I am the club advisor; I make the decisions, and I say she’s in!”
“That’s… that’s…” Rune tried to speak up, but couldn’t find the words.
“I don’t think it’s really a big deal if another girl joins,” Daniel interjected.
“Yeah, I bet it’ll be fun to have another girl here,” Alex winked at Samantha.
Samantha brightened up. “Yeah, I’d love to go shopping with someone gay! I’ve never had a homosexual friend before.”
“I … what?” Alex’s eyes widened, a confused expression on his face.
Rune ended up spitting out his drink, laughing.
Samantha put on a worried look. “Oh, you’re not gay?”
Alex pouted. “I’m bisexual.”
Samantha froze as she muttered something under her breath that I could barely make out. “God, that is so hot.”
“Samantha, you’re drooling,” I told her.
“Huh? What? Yeah …” Samantha wiped her mouth.
“Okay!” Mr. Xavier intervened, “I believe this has been a productive meeting. Let’s adjourn for the day. I’m chocked full of so many papers to correct. Who knew being a teacher involved this much work?”
The meeting broke and everyone began to stand up and gather their things. I had left my backpack in my locker, so the only thing on me at the moment was a cute fur purse my father had bought me for my last birthday. Swinging it over my shoulder, I let out a small sigh.
“Wait. Aren’t we going to actually set up to do some helping?” Samantha demanded, staring around confused as the boys started filing out.
“Well, if it’s any consolation; I’m going to go help the Science club carry some supplies,” Andrew said, politely.
“Oh, crap! I forgot about the Science club meeting! Uh, got to go!” Samantha dashed out the door in a whirlwind much like the one she came in.
“You heading home?” Alex asked me as I reach the doorway.
“No, I think I’m going to stay here a bit. Mom’s going to take Samantha and me to the mall once she lets out of ballet practice.”
“I thought she said she’s going to Science club right now…” Alex put on a confused look.
“She is…” I gave a sigh. “It’s going to be awhile.”
“Yeah, I have to stay later too. Andrew asked me for some help moving stuff too. I guess the Science club is switching rooms or something. Usually, they ask Ryan to do these kinds of things. I guess he was busy, so they suckered Andrew into volunteering to help.”
I looked back at Andrew, who seemed to be chatting with Stephan and Rune. Stephan seemed normal enough; anyone would get along with him. However, Rune sticking around to chat, even if he looked angry about it, was surprising to me. Maybe the two didn’t hate each other as much as they pretended to.
“Andrew asked a demon for help?”
Alex gave his typical throaty laugh. “He said he trusted me, after everything we’ve been through. I can’t let him down now, can I?”
“No, definitely not.” I smiled back, giving Alex a tight hug before we parted.
I was already at the door before I realized he was in the boy form and hugging a boy might be seen as a little inappropriate. As to how he was able to stay in his boy form, Alex merely stated that he had been practicing ever since the night he had to impersonate me so that he could maintain his form. It wasn’t completely outside his control, but before he started hanging out with us, he had never bothered to maintain his appearance. He said it was easiest to appear either as the girl or boy Alex I knew as long as the person he liked the most remained conflicted. I didn’t know what that meant. Did Rune seriously want a male Alex?
I shook the thoughts away and headed out into the hall. Of course, I wasn’t planning on just wandering around the school until Samantha was finished. I was there on a mission. In the past, I would head down to the park in order to find some space and seclusion. However, that hadn’t been working for me lately. It seemed like every time I went outside, I ended up with another boy in my life. If I could find a safe, secluded space in school, on the other hand, I wouldn’t have to suffer any other strange encounters.
I was halfway down the hall when a pair of hands reached out and grabbed me, yanking me into a nearby classroom. The door shut behind me and I turned to find myself facing the boy called Allan. In the fluorescent school lighting, it was much easier to see him now. He was a very tall boy, but not lanky. He looked much more refined at the moment. He had very pale brown hair, a set of glasses over a petite nose and big doe eyes. The girls always talked about him as an intellectual. Unlike Andrew though, few worked up the nerve to talk to him. He was considered unapproachable. He always could be found reading in the school library. He had tried to ask me out once, then there was last night, and now I knew he had asked to join the H club, too, this morning. I started to grow worried just looking at him.
“Hello, Jane. I am sorry to pull you in here so rudely. I’m also sorry about the previous night. I had just found out and was distressed. However, I decided it was still pertinent that I spoke to you immediately.”
“Um … hello, Allan, I’m kind of busy right now.”
“I suppose there is no use continuing to try to sugar coat this. I have a secret of which I must inform you.”
“You see, I do not come from this world.”
“Lalalalala, I can’t hear you.” I stuck my fingers in my ears for good measure. “Share your secrets with some other girl.”
“I assure you, I have analyzed every being within this school and I am 99.72% sure that you are the appropriate person to hear-“
“That you’re gay? That’s fine! Samantha’s always wanted a gay friend.”
“I assure you, I am not of a homosexual persuasion. As a matter of fact, people from my planet reproduce-“
Did he say people from his planet? No! Don’t listen. It’s a trap, Admiral Ackbar! Don’t do it! Run, Jane! Run before it’s too late.
“You see? I am what you would call an alien.”
I backed away, opening the door behind me. “An illegal immigrant? Well, I’m okay with the Mexicans. Got to go, bye!”
Allan pushed back his glasses on his nose. “Absolutely ridiculous.”
I turned and ran. No, no more guys. No more secrets. I’m not going to let this happen. Not now, not again, not ever.
“Jane, stop!” The voice came from behind me.
“No, stop sharing your secrets with me!” I snapped and ran.
Who the hell did they think I was? Supernatural Oprah? Stop confessing to me! I glanced back to see if he was chasing me. As I turned back, I rammed full force into someone and found myself rolling down a stairway. Bodies and limbs wrapped around me as the pair of us rolled down a flight of stairs.
“Jane, are you okay?” Stephan spoke from under me.
“Yeah, I’m actually fine; not a bruise on me. Sorry, can’t talk, I’m in a hurry.” I responded in a huff.
I reached down, feeling for my purse. My fingers wrapped around the furry strap. I grabbed it and yanked. It got caught under Stephan, so with my eyes focused on the hallway ahead, I gave it an extra yank to free it from under him.
“Sorry!” I shouted back as I ran. “I’m in a hurry to get somewhere.”
I turned a corner and continued running. I planned to be hiding in a locked room and out of Allan’s sight for the rest of the day. If I avoided him until mom came, maybe there was some kind of cooling off period and he’d decide not to tell me anything.
“Jane, you seem distressed.” Stephan’s voice came from beside me.
“I’m fine, Stephan, stop following me.” I turned to my side and realized he wasn’t there.
Checking my other side, I still didn’t see him. Stephan had been right next to me, hadn’t he?
“Well, you see, I don’t really have a choice in the matter.” He explained, sounding a little shaken.
The voice was coming lower and to my side. I looked down to see my hand gripping a large chunk of hair. At the base was Stephan’s severed head, bouncing back and forth with each step.
“Oh, my God!” I shouted, bringing his head up into both of my hands. “Why do I have your head?”
“It would appear,” Stephan suggested, “that the fall loosened my head up a bit, and you yanked it off thinking you had your purse. If you would be so kind, would you return my head to my body?”
I considered heading back to the bottom of the stairs, but that was too close to where Allan was. If I headed back, he might be there. I would end up finding out his secret. I couldn’t let that happen to me. A plan worked itself out in front of me as I turned another corner. A glimpse out a nearby window revealed Andrew, Rune, and Alex all walking through the courtyard. Rune appeared to be the only one not carrying a box.
I ran up to an open window. “Hey, Rune, think fast!”
I chucked Stephan’s head down from the window. Rune did not think as fast as I had hoped. For a supernatural demon, he did not have good reflexes. He lifted his arms a second too late, and Stephan’s severed head ended up smashing head first into Rune’s. Both boys collapsed to the ground.
“You guys got this!” I shouted to Andrew and Alex, who had dumbfounded looks on their faces.
I turned and ran. They’d be fine. Now it was just a matter of locking myself in a room and hiding until mom came to pick me up. Good plan, Jane, good plan. I ran up to the janitor’s closet and swung open the door, shutting it closed behind me. I leaned back on it, closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. It was over. I was safe. No attractive supernatural boys in-
I opened up my eyes. A boy was sitting in the middle of the janitor’s closet, staring at me. His shirt was pulled up to his neck and he had a series of cables and cords running out of his chest. Circuits flashed and blinked across the board that comprised his chest. He was a very attractive boy. I recognized him; he was the freshman named Ryan, one of Samantha’s hawtness. It looked like I’d found out why he wasn’t helping the Science club at that moment.
Ryan had brown hair that he always wore over his eyes. He wore sweatshirts and always had an mp3 player plugged in his ears when a teacher wasn’t yelling at him to take it out. He was a much smaller boy and didn’t really have any muscles. However, his small features and nearly flawless skin made most of the girl’s hearts flutter. He was considered the cutest boy in school. Even if he wasn’t beefy like Daniel, he had the kind of appeal that made a girl just want to snuggle with him next to a fire.
The boy was supposed to be smart, though not as much of a bookworm as Allan. He also was cold as ice, turning down every girl who tried to ask him out. They said he never got scared or angry either. I was now suspecting I knew why.
My hopes, my dreams, and my life came crashing down around me. I slumped down to my knees. I tried … I tried so hard.
Ryan spoke up. “I suppose it would be appropriate if I gave you an explanation.”
“You really don’t have to.”
“You see, I am a ro-“
“Um … roleplaying. Your roleplaying and this is all some top-notch costume design.”
“I apologize; is this an attempt at what you human’s call humor?”
“No, not really. Just the dying hope of a girl who gave it her all.”
“You are Jane Averygail, are you not?”
“Yeah,” I whimpered, “I’m Jane ‘freaking luck sucks’ Averygail.”
“May I shorten Jane ‘freaking luck sucks’ Averygail to Jane?”
“Be my freaking guest.”
“It appears you caught me performing my routine repairs. I had picked this spot because I had assumed it would be secluded and that no one would find me.”
“That’s why I picked this spot too.”
“So, I am hearing that you want anonymity, is this correct?”
“You could say that.”
“Very well, I recommend that we part ways and feign that our meeting proved innocuous.”
“Let’s pretend this never happened.”
“Really?” I began to perk up.
“I think it wise if we do not speak to each other anymore, either. If we can part ways now, it will make the situation preferable.”
“Yeah, that sounds great.”
“Then, it is agreed,” Ryan nodded. “You may leave when you are comfortable.”
I nodded with a dumbfounded expression on my face, leaving the room as soon as I recovered and turning down the hall. I was halfway back to the art room before I remembered why I had run away in the first place. Rune and Andrew were walking towards me with concerned looks on their faces.
“What is going on?” Rune asked, rubbing a bruise that was forming on his forehead.
“Alex is reattaching Stephan’s head right now, but what the heck is going on with you? Stephan said you were panicked?” Andrew added.
“It’s just … Allan, last night, and then …”
Both faces went dark at the same time. “What did this Allan person try to do?”
“I tried to show her something,” an arrogant voice came from around the corner.
Allan took a step out of the classroom and all of my hopes went with him. Andrew and Rune took a look at each other, then, as a single unit, advanced on Allan. I ran forward, trying to block them from attacking him. Allan didn’t do anything wrong. Why did these guys have to take it the wrong way?
Rune reached over and grabbed Allan’s shirt, but I wouldn’t let him get any closer. With some difficulty, I managed to keep Andrew at bay as well.
“What did you try to show her; your penis?” Rune demanded.
Allan scuffed, pushing his glasses back into place. “Ridiculous. I don’t have time for this. It’s better if I just showed all of you.”
Allan pulled out a small device, tapping a few keys. I turned my head. No, this wasn’t happening. Today I was just going to go home and hang out with Samantha a bit; no adventures of any kind. A white light appeared in a circle at our feet. The hallway around the four of us darkened to an impenetrable black.
“What in the world?” Andrew asked.
Andrew’s features started stretching up towards the sky. Rune’s did the same. Then my body started to stretch as I let out a scream. Oh great, here we go again. God damn it.