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Thea glanced at her reflection staring back at her in the slightly dirt smeared mirror. She tucked a strand of impossibly curly brown hair behind her ear and took a much needed deep breath. "You can do this." She tried to sound convincing but even she wasn't sure it had the desired effect. She glanced down at the small black watch sitting on her wrist. It read seven forty five. "Almost time." She mumbled and turned her attention to the mirror and was met with smooth caramel skin, almond shaped hazel eyes, a button nose, full pink lips, and an abundance of brown curls with slight gold tones slid down her shoulders.
A sudden banging noise altered Thea's attention and she glared at the closed bathroom door. "T! Mom isn't up yet and I have to get to school! Now! I can’t be late on my first day!"
Thea exhaled slowly and then opened the door. Staring up at her with worried eyes was her eight year old brother who happened to be the spitting image of their shared father - besides Sam being a few shades darker. Thea bent down to his height and fixed the collar of his striped t-shirt. "Don't worry Sam I'm going to walk you to the bus stop as soon as I finish up here." She shot her best smile. "Do you have everything you need? Pencils? Erasers? Backpack?"
Sam nodded eagerly. "Everything."
She ruffled the dark curly hair on top of his head. "Go wait for me in the kitchen I'm almost done." She shot him a reassuring wink.
He slowly shut the door and eyed her suspiciously as though he didn't believe her.
Thea laughed quietly to herself. Sam was not your average eight year old he was witty and way beyond his years. He was one of the main joys in her life and Thea had quickly found herself a parenting figure in his. It all started when their father walked out on them three years ago. Their mother Shaugna was left heart broken and she unfortunately turned to alcohol in hopes it would help solve her emotional dilemma. Shortly after their father left Shaugna was forced to work full time and she got a job at a nursing home on the graveyard shift. Whenever work did not call for her Shaugna had taken up the bottle any chance she could.
One last thing, she thought to herself. Thea pulled open the mirror and reached into the hidden medicine cabinet for her newest inhaler. She glanced down at the purple device and sighed. Asthma was the lone reason Thea could not join her best friend as one of Basfield High's cheerleaders. In fact with her condition Thea could not participate in any sporting activities. So she buried her nose in books and got her grades superb in all subjects. She planned on applying to universities and was quite confident that her grades would get her accepted without much difficulty.
"Thea!" Sam had clearly grown impatient.
Dropping the inhaler into her bag, Thea quickly shut the cabinet and opened the bathroom door. "Coming!" Before she walked off her eyes fell towards the end of the hallway - to her mother's bedroom door. It was shut and if Thea made an educated guess she’d say her mother was sleeping off another hangover. With a long sigh she shut the door behind her and headed into the kitchen where her brother waited.
The place they called home was a small three bedroom apartment equipped with a bathroom, a kitchen and a short living room. It was cramped but it was cozy. Thea wasn’t one to complain and instead counted her blessings. She knew things could have been much worse for them.
"'Bout time!" Sam rolled his eyes dramatically as he adjusted the backpack on his shoulder.
Thea smiled warmly and took his much smaller hand in hers. "Let's go Mister."
After Thea walked her brother to the bus stop a block away from their apartment complex, she found that her nervousness proceeded to take over when she walked towards Basfield High School. Thea had never considered herself a loser and she had never suffered from bullying - but if she was honest with herself she did not find it easy to make new friends. Call it her trust issues or simply shyness; she wasn't too sure which of those facts made it hard for her. But it was that. Hard for her.
As she made her way through the glass double doors and entered the halls she looked around at the fellow peers and not a single soul her eyes landed on could she call a friend. She knew most of their names and could even recall some gossip shared about them. But that was as far as their relationships went. It made Thea slightly disappointed that she hadn't put more effort into making friends with these people but between studying for the chance of an academic scholarship and taking care of her little brother she found she just didn't have the time. Or so she told herself.
Thea scanned the crowd for a particular face and after making awkward eye contact with a few people she gave up and walked to the first class of her senior year.
Physics. Thea found herself more appreciative of literature and art studies but she supposed she didn't hate physics. However she wasn't the biggest physics fan so was pleased she had eight hours of sleep the previous night before. She chose a desk closer to the center of the classroom and immediately got out appropriate supplies. She laid the supplies on top of the desk and tucked a curly hair behind her ear as she waited for everyone to fill out the room.
Not even moments later - the room filled with thickening silence and everyone's heads snapped toward the door simultaneously. Walking in, carrying nothing short of confidence and sex appeal was one of the Factious Five. Factious meaning powerful. They were five senior males who held the most power in the entire school and some would even go as far as in the town. Five guys who happened to be exceptionally good looking with their model-like features and statue-like bodies, rich from most of their inherited wealth, and un-challenged as they proceeded to get anything they wanted at the drop of a hat. At less than that really. Every guy in school wanted to be them and every girl wanted to be under them. The kings of Basfield High.
The one who graced Thea’s physics class with his presence happened to be Zander Lanson.
Zander stood at a total of six feet and three inches and had the body of a swimmer, thin yet still toned and slightly top heavy. He had no interest in sports however he was by far the brains behind the Factious Five. Everyone talked of him already having offers of academic scholarships from the likes of Stanford and even Harvard. Zander simply was a modern day genius. His record was squeaky clean, not even so much as a traffic ticket - yet he still attended parties with the Five almost every weekend. The kings of school had to party like kings, after all.
Thea had never spoken to Zander before (or any of the Factious Five) but she did find him handsome along with every other girl in school. He had a very angular model-like face with narrow brown brooding eyes and messy disheveled brown hair. He had a certain boy-ish charm going for him.
"Can you believe he's in our class?" Thea overheard the excited squeals of two girls sitting behind her.
"Physics just got a lot more interesting."
"It would be even more interesting if Everett walked in instead."
"Umm hello have you seen him? I mean shit, he is easily a total Sex God. Even out of the Five."
"True. I still can’t believe Holland screwed it up with him."
“Seriously what a slut. She will never get a chance like that again.”
“Let me get a chance with him... The things I’d do to that boy can’t be legal.”
“The things I’d let him do to me.”
They swooned dramatically in unison.
Thea could practically feel the girls drooling over him as if he were a piece of meat to be ogled over. In fact most of the girls at Basfield treated the Five as if they were sexual objects and not human beings with actual thoughts. She would have felt bad for them had they not been teenage boys with their own sexual desires to gratify. She was sure at least some of them took advantage of the overly female attention. Thea glanced over at Zander who had chosen to sit closer to the front of the classroom. He was a brainiac after all. He seemed completely unaware of his affect on the people around him and instead his eyes were glued to the overly priced newest iPhone in his hand. Thea noticed the teacher Mrs. Fredericks never got onto him once, not even when class started and she began her class introduction.
"Oh my gawd T!" A very high pitched voice sounded in the cafeteria during lunch break. Thea quickly turned around in time to face the tall and curvy body of the brunette she had called her best friend since preschool.
Thea refrained from the urge to squeal and instead hugged her best friend as she jumped in her arms. "Bizzy you look absolutely gorgeous as usual."
No one could wipe the large smiles off of the girls' face amidst their recent reunion. "Well thanks hun. You know you look fucking beautiful as always." Bizzy squeezed her friend before she finally released her from the embrace. "How was your summer?" Her pretty light-to-no-makeup face beamed in excitement.
"Forget my boring summer reading fiction novels and textbooks. I wanna know all about Greece." While Thea was at home all summer taking care of her brother and reading her best friend Bizzy was vacationing with her parents and little sister, visiting their family in Greece.
Bizzy slipped her arm underneath Thea's as they began to walk towards their usual table. "It was alright with the never ending ocean, oily tanned men, to die for food and all that. But I missed you the whole time! I really wish you would've reconsidered joining us. I know it was last minute but the trip would've been much better if you were there. Even my parents agreed and my snot-y nosed little sister."
Thea frowned as the girls sat down at their regular table. "I know how much you wanted me there Bizzy. I'm sorry. Trust me - I wanted nothing more than to go to Greece with you but I couldn't leave Sam by himself."
"By himself?" Bizzy's perfectly sculpted brows furrowed in confusion. "Your mother was home this summer she surely would have kept an eye on Sammy the smarty-pants-y."
Thea avoided eye contact - she almost forgot she had yet to tell her best friend the reality of the situation she had been dealing with for the past few years. She wanted to tell her best friend but she did not want Bizzy to feel sorry for her or look at her mother differently. Thea had taken this burden alone for years and she preferred it that way. She cursed her pride but at times it was all she had.
"She works mostly nights and right now with the bills and stuff she can't afford a babysitter."
Bizzy's face softened instantly. "You're right. I'm sorry if I made you feel bad I just missed you terribly." She suddenly flashed her best smile.
"I missed you too B." Thea returned the smile. "I was scared you decided to stay back in Greece when I couldn't find you this morning."
"Oh no." Bizzy flashed her perfectly manicured nails in the air. "I could never leave Basfield. Wouldn't want to miss the chance sighting of the Factious Five in their natural habitat."
"Speaking of..." Thea trailed off as the entire cafeteria locked eyes with the Five as they sauntered into the room as if they owned the place. Which they kind of did.
"Do they seriously have to look like a Calvin Klein ad come to life?" Bizzy exclaimed as her own eyes landed on the scene in front of them. “It’s just not fair.”
In the flesh were the Factious Five. They walked into the overly crowded room as if everyone outside of their circle ceased to exist as they laughed and joked amongst themselves. Not a single person in the cafeteria could remove their eyes from the group. They were captivating and demanded attention upon arrival. The first one Thea spotted was Zander who still had his eyes glued to his phone.
Next to him was Maximus Finley who stood at a whopping six feet six inches. He was by far the tallest and most bulky of the group in size. It was no surprise he was captain of the football team and the star quarterback. He looked like the picture of the perfect quarterback with his tall frame, goldish brown hair, and oceanic blue eyes.
In the middle was the shortest, all six feet one of Killian Daniels. He was so animated with his tattoos, frosty long blonde hair slicked back, and crystal blue eyes it took considerable effort to look away from they were shockingly mesmerizing. Killian was so handsome he could have easily been considered pretty. He was defined as the 'bad boy' of the Five. He was less into school politics or grades and more into partying and recreational drugs. He did not concern himself much with the future and spent most of his focus on the present.
Next to him was Remington "Remy" Jones. Remy was the second tallest at six feet four inches. He was a looker with his traditional brown locks, hazel eyes, and no one could forget his iconic hoop earring. He was deviled as the "playboy" of the group who was not afraid to get his hands dirty as he had his share of fights throughout his high school reputation. If Remy thought someone had looked at him wrong they would instantly pay.
Lastly and deemed the most popular guy in the entire school that title belonged to no one other than the Everett Tolin. He was six feet two inches with a drool worthy body. He was muscular but not overly muscular; his body had a certain lithe tone to it. The man practically looked like a walking version of a Greek God statue. He had semi-long dark hair that curled at the ends. His eyes were a piercing forest green. His lips were perky and pink and they begged to be touched. His jaw line was so angular it could slice paper. There laid a small dimple in the center of his masculine chin. He held a certain charm about him that not many other humans could possess. He was always seen smiling. Always cracking jokes or giving compliments.
Everett was a different breed. He wasn't the typical popular hot rich guy people assumed. He was actually rather nice, down to Earth, and genuinely cared about the people he surrounded himself with instead of the normal overly self absorbed popular jerk. If someone approached him whether it was an obsessive teenage girl or a shy nerdy guy he greeted them all the same - with a heartwarming smile. His smile was large, dimpled and toothy. Truly a sight to behold. It captured hearts and minds alike. Everyone loved him; he was so charismatic that he stole the heart of every person he encountered. He was just an all around good guy who reeked of a certain confidence unmatched by no other.
"Did you hear me?" Bizzy flashed her manicured hand in front of Thea's face across from the table. "Hello? Earth to T?"
Thea drug her eyes away from the Five and blinked back to reality. "Sorry what'd you say?"
"I said - who do you think's the hottest? Y'know outta the Five?"
If she had to pick she knew what her answer would be without thinking twice. "That’s a toughy I'm not sure. They're all very handsome. Maybe even equally so."
Bizzy shot her friend a look as if she had just grown another head out of her neck. "You are joking right?! It's Everett hands down. Everyone and their mama knows it.” She said it as if it were the most obvious answer. “Not only is he drop dead gorgeous he's the nicest and most down to Earth guy in school. I can't believe he's only had one girlfriend and doesn't get around as much as the others he could definitely have more than his pick of the bunch. Who knows when the last time he’s been laid." She shook her head slowly. "Such a shame to let a body like that go to waste."
"I think it's pretty honorable of him not to sleep around with a bunch of girls. It shows he's not like the rest. He has character and integrity." He wasn’t a man whore she added mentally.
"True." Bizzy nodded and considered this. "Hell Remy sleeps with enough girls for the five of them." She mumbled under her breath.
"Didn't you sleep with Remy?" Thea eyed her curiously.
Bizzy sighed dreamily and grinned from ear to ear. "Guilty. The best three hours ever spent at one of Jordan's stupid parties." Jordan had graduated three years prior and still hung out with the same High School crowd and threw a party every chance his parents were out of town.
"Three hours?" Thea's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets. She knew little to nothing about the prospect of sex but she had never heard of anything to the likes of this. "Are you saying you two went at it for a full time span of three hours?"
Without blinking Bizzy answered easily. "Yeah. You've never - wait I forgot you haven't delved down that path quite yet."
"For my sanity I don't plan on it."
"And good for you T." Bizzy smiled reassuringly. "While it was the best sex of my young teenaged life, he didn't even remember my name afterwards. Geese I could’ve skipped all of sophomore year."
Thea frowned apologetically. "I'm sorry B. He's a jerk and you’re better off without him."
"Who's a jerk?" A male voice suddenly asked. Thea looked up just in time to see Seth sit at the table beside Bizzy, his eyes never leaving hers.
Seth was a good guy, he seemed responsible enough when he wasn’t out partying with friends and Thea liked him for the simple fact he worshiped the ground Bizzy walked on. He followed her around like a lost puppy.
"Oh hey babe." Bizzy kissed him quickly on the lips to recover. "We were just talking about...my new math teacher."
"Really?" His dark brows furrowed in confusion. "We have math together babe. It's a woman did you forget?"
"Did I say math?" She gasped dramatically and attempted to cover her tracks. "I meant my biology teacher, yeah... Mr. Riggs is his name. God he’s such a bore." Thea was pretty sure the teacher named ‘Riggs’ did not exist. At least not at Basfield.
"Whatever." Seth simply shrugged it off. It was safe to say he was not the brightest tool in the shed. "I just heard through the grapevine we have some after dark activities taking place. You two are going to Piper’s back to school party tonight?" He clutched the strap of his backpack.
"Of course we are! Right T?" Bizzy looked up at her with her famous puppy dog eyes.
"I don't know I have t-"
"Oh come on! It's our senior year. If we don't live it up now our entire High School experience will be just a detached memory. You have to go. I can't go without you!" She put on her best pout and batted her long eyelashes.
Thea took out her inhaler and used it before she gave an answer. "Fine. I'll go. For you." Parties were not exactly Thea's favorite. In fact she could count on one hand how many times she had ever been to one. She did not care for drinking or drugs or having sex with strangers so every time she went to one she simply felt out of place. Like she did not belong. However it was her senior year and if she did not try to put herself out there a little more she knew she would regret it for the rest of her life. Thea knew she needed to open up more. It was time to put her thoughts into action.