Tessa had chosen the school due to its proximity to her house, for no other reason. It was her first day, her beating loud, masking the music trying to play in her ears. Eyeliner and lip-gloss were heavily applied, trusty notebook in her bag, its presence had been checked three times before leaving the house. With heavy feet, Tessa walked to the school gate. A breath deeper than her lungs knew they could fathom and in Tessa went. Though beyond nervous, it would be okay; she would meet Caleb today. 

Shuffled into a hall half used for sports, half by drama students, she would learn, Tessa and her form were piled together on cheap, plastic chairs. There was an empty seat, an aisle seat, next to her.

"I'm Lucy!", a beautiful brunette, olive skinned girl span around and sang to her happily. 

A quick spin around to check it was her being spoken to. 

"Tessa," she tried to smile, pulling her long sleeves even further down. 

A short, light haired teacher stood on the stage and welcomed the crowd of teenagers to, "The next exciting stage of your life!" He was sporting a black tracksuit with white stripes down either side, ready for PE with a dreading class. Mr. Pierce, a name he introduced fat too late in the speech, seemed a wonderful man - Tessa thought it a shame he'd dislike her when she began skipping his classes. 

The hall door slammed shut but Tessa was too shy to turn around and see who was walking in. But he wasn't walking- he was strutting. 

"Thank you for joining us, Caleb!" announced Mr. Pierce to the teens, and teachers lined up against the sides of the hall tutting and shaking their heads, one trying to conceal their inappropriate laughter. 

"Alright?" replied apparently-Caleb in a loud voice as he swung in to the seat next to Tessa and repeated the sentiment to her with a wink. 

But she wasn't. Her mind went wild trying to think of an appropriate response or if a response was appropriate. She stared off past Mr. Pierce and both hoped Caleb would and wouldn't talk to her again. He was a cheeky, cocky boy, it was obvious from the go. She liked his over-confidence, maybe because she had so little, she liked his strong aura, and, though she had only heard him say the same word twice, she liked how he spoke. He spoke without any care for what might be said back, like he ruled the kingdom. 

The sixth form common room was heaving. Tessa struggled through a few steps into the office to meet with Mr Pierce. Caleb was there. Lounging in a semi-comfortable looking chair with his feet up and hands behind his head, this wasn't Caleb's first time in the office. Lost for words, Mr Pierce spoke for her.  

"First day and you're here to tell me you can't do P.E.? Am I right?"

"Did you get my email?" she whispered shyly.

Tessa tugged on her sleeves, looking as if she may breakdown at any moment. 

"I've got you sussed, girly."

"Caleb, you were late, are hardly in uniform and have already been sent out of a class. I don't want to hear another word out of you," Mr Pierce sighed. 

"Oh, but I do. Give it a week and she'll be mine," Caleb winked. 

And he was right. 

Stomach fluttering nervously, Tessa blushed brightly before excusing herself and leaving the dingy room. Once outside she spotted Lucy, and had her name screeched that same moment. 

"TESS!" Lucy called (apparently, they were on a nickname basis already.) 

It turned out they had a class together so had been sat with one another for the most part of the morning. Double English with a "fun" quiz to text their starting knowledge had been a great introduction to sixth form. Lucy getting full marks and Tessa scraping three, after being too scared to answer most of the questions, was a great introduction to each other. Tessa, or Tess even, didn't have a working knowledge of the classics neither was she any good at exams even if they did have "fun" in the title, but she had a knack for writing. 

After five minutes of Lucy talking about how incredible she had found the school to be, Tessa spotted someone. He'd changed substantially but was still recognisable. The bells chimed, the crowd loudened and moved, he was lost from sight. Tessa squeezed to her next lesson, all the while looking out for him - Ronan. 


Published by Phoebe Paperchains