Here is this week's free read! you can read the original prompt and the other responses here.
New Year, New Possibilities
Lucas walked down the hallway, trying to avoid the people around him. He was looking for his locker, but it was hard to do among the all of the teenagers. He guessed this was something similar to herding cattle. But cattle didn’t need to try and find their locker in a brand-new school.
He was about halfway now the hallway when he was shoved into the long row of metal lockers. Lucas couldn’t help but groan as a sharp pain shot up his shoulder where it connected with the unforgiving metal.
“Watch where you’re going, freshman!”
Lucas looked up to see a senior smirking down at him. Judging by the letterman jacket, the guy was probably a star on the football team. Not that Lucas would know that. He never followed sports of any kind.
For a second, Lucas was afraid the football player was going to try something, but he just walked away, laughing with his friends. It was almost as if Lucas was not worth more than a passing hit. He should’ve been offended by that, but he was small and slight for his age the last thing he wanted to do is pick a fight with a football player.
Trying to shrug it off, Lucas resumed his walk down the hall, hoping this wasn’t a sign of things to come.
It was. Getting pushed into the locker was just the start.
By the time Lucas found his locker, put his stuff away and found his first classroom, he was five minutes late for the start of class. His teacher was a very unforgiving man who called him a troublemaker in front of the entire class. Lucas was anything but a troublemaker, he was just a quiet kid with no friends to help him. But it didn’t matter. The taunts and the sneers started soon after that.
As Lucas sat in class, he felt the high hopes he had for the start of the school year diminish. He wanted to make some friends. Sure, he was not going to be the most popular kid in school. But all he wanted was one person that he could talk to and rely on.
By the time lunch rolled around, Lucas had given up all hope that he would ever find a companion. When he tried to find a table, backpacks materialized on ever empty chair he walked by. With so many kids in the cafeteria, Lucas ended up in the very back of the room near where all of the garbage cans were lined up. The smell was awful, but it was better than having to deal with the other kids.
Now the school was over, Lucas could at least escape the torment of this hell. He gathered up his books and walked as quickly as possible to his locker. The faster he got his books, the faster he could leave.
He had been to his locker and was about halfway out of the building when he slammed into someone, the books and folders that he had been carrying spilling out onto the floor. Lucas heard a few people snickering and his face heat up as a result. Damn, could this day get any worse?
“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
Lucas nodded, but refused to look up. He knew he was blushing and the last thing that he needed. Someone else laughing at him.
Lucas held his breath as saw bright green converse sneakers enter his view. Damn, they were going to pick on him anyway.
“Hey, are you sure you are okay?”
The voice sounded gentle and concerned. It could’ve been a trap, but the kindness intrigued Lucas. Cautiously, he lifted his eyes to meet the cutest boy Lucas had ever seen. He was skinny, like Lucas, but the differences ended there. Where Lucas had short blonde hair, this boy had long, floppy brown hair. His eyes were brown, where Lucas’s were blue. Even their clothes were different. The mystery boy wore black skinny jeans and a blue argyle sweater, completely opposite Lucas’s loose jeans and clean T-shirt.
But the thing that really made Lucas’s heart skip a beat was the genuine look of concern in his eyes. This boy really cared about his well-being for whatever reason. It shouldn’t have, but it made a few tears come to his eyes. He tried to duck his head, to hide them, but it was no use.
“Oh. You’re not okay? Can you get up?”
“Okay. Come on. Let’s get you up.”
The other boy stood up and offered his hand to Lucas, who took it with little hesitation. Once he was up, the other boy bent down and picked up all of Lucas’s books and papers off the floor. Lucas thought about helping, but he was so shocked someone would help him, he found himself unable to move.
“Here you go,” the boy said, handing everything he had picked up to Lucas.
“Uh…thanks,” Lucas stammered out.
“So what’s wrong?”
“Nothing, I guess. Just a bad day.”
“Yeah, high school will do that to you. You’re a freshman, right?”
“No. I’ve never been very well-liked.”
“I don’t see why. You seem nice to me.”
“You’ve only known me for two minutes.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t go running from the school’s resident gay kid. That says something.”
Lucas was shocked. “You’re gay?!”
“Wow. You really are new here. Yes, I’m gay. Does that bother you?”
“No, of course not. In fact, I…”
Lucas tapered off, unable to continue. He had just met this boy. No matter how nice he seemed, admitting that he had been thinking about his sexual orientation lately would not be smart.
But the boy seemed to know anyway. “It’s okay. I get it. Listen, a bunch of us are going to grab some pizza. You can come if you want.”
“Oh. I couldn’t intrude like that.”
“It’s not intruding if I invite you. Besides, I think you’ll like them. We’re all kind of unpopular and have had a lot of days like the one I’m sure you just had. You’ll fit right in.”
“Thank you.” Lucas felt his face heat up again, even as he said it. That just sounded so pathetic.
“No problem. My name is Jimmy, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you.”
The two teens shook hands, although, it was short-lived as Jimmy flung an arm around Lucas’s shoulders and started to lead him towards the exit.
Lucas felt a smile appear on his face for the first time that day. Maybe this high school thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.