tagNon-EroticThe Long Road Back Ch. 05

The Long Road Back Ch. 05


Chapter 5

"I met Andrew that evening. He was a short, round man that carried himself well but had the same kind of smile and easy going manor that his wife had.

After dinner we sat around the living room playing cards and talking. Andrew told me that they rarely watched TV and had mainly gotten the cable for the foster kids. When I told him that I didn't watch much TV but liked to play cards, his whole face lit up.

The next day Nancy took me shopping. I had to admit she did have good taste in clothes. She did buy me a few dresses and skirts but primarily stuck to jeans. She bought me some sweaters, and a couple of polo shirts, plus a whole bunch of t-shirts. I got new shoes, new undergarments, and anything else she could think of that a teenage girl might need.

The next two weeks seemed to fly by. I didn't go out of the house much unless it was with Nancy or Andrew or both of them. I didn't know my way around very well and I didn't have any friends. They seemed to understand this and didn't push.

I did spend a lot of time in the pool and playing around on the computer in my room. Before I knew it, it was the first day of school. The alarm clock woke me up at six.

I quickly got up, showered, changed into a pair of blue jeans and a red and black t-shirt then made my way down to breakfast. Nancy was standing at the stove making pancakes and Andrew was sitting at the small table drinking coffee and reading the paper. When he noticed me he put the paper down.

"Looking forward to your first day?" He asked as I sat down and Nancy placed a plate with two pancakes and an egg in front of me along with a glass of orange juice.

"I guess." I said unenthusiastically. As I put butter and syrup on my pancakes and took a bite, I had to admit that Nancy was a very good cook.

I saw Nancy and Andrew share a knowing look but neither said anything so I just continued to eat my breakfast. After breakfast, I put my plate and glass in the dishwasher then ran upstairs for my backpack.

By the time I came back downstairs Nancy was standing by the door. She was going to take me to school for the first week so I could get used to my surroundings and know where I had to go and everything, then after that they had a 95 station wagon that they had bought strictly for foster kids who had a license to use to get back and forth. Nancy was an interior decorator but had taken the week off to help me get used to my new school.

As we drove down the street away from the home I had come to be used to in the past two weeks to an unknown. I thought I had never been more scared in my life.

We pulled up in front of the school and I slowly got out of the car. People stopped and stared at me, but I just ignored them instead staring at the building in front of me. It was a two story, red brick building and looked like it took up a full city block.

Silently I followed Nancy up the front steps, ignoring the stares and whispers that followed my progress.

"Who is she?" I heard a girl ask off to my right. I turned and looked at a petite brunette about 5' tall and eyeing me with curiosity. I guessed she was probably a freshman or a sophomore. I smiled at her and was surprised when she smiled back. I quickly turned away from her and followed Nancy up the stairs.

We stepped into a marble area, full of lockers, classrooms and students in every direction. There had to be at least 2 or 300 of them and they were all staring right at me. I tried to hide behind Nancy but she just lightly took my arm and pulled me in front of her.

"Don't show fear." She said leaning down and whispering in my ear. "They can smell it."

I looked at her and nodded, and then straightening up, I followed her down the hall towards the office. Unbeknownst by me, there was one set of eyes that followed my whole progress. Those eyes followed me all the way down the hall till I turned into the office then they distractedly turned away.

The office looked like any school office I had ever seen. There was a counter with people behind it, students walking in and out and a door off to the right that said principal.

Nancy and I walked up to the counter and a small lady looked up at us with a smile. "Can I help you?" She asked in a deep southern accent.

Nancy suddenly looked very professional. "We are here to see Mr. Taylor. I am Nancy Mason and this." She said indicating me with the sweep of her hand, "is Ms. Crystal Miller. She will be starting school today."

The lady behind the counter glanced at me then turned back to Nancy. "Of course Mrs. Mason, it will be just a minute." She picked up a phone in front of her, waited for a minute, spoke to someone on the other end, then hung up and looked at us again.

"If you will please follow me," She came from behind the desk and led us over to the door marked principal. I watched her knock gently on the door then open it when someone inside said come in. She moved back so Nancy and I could step into the room then closed the door behind us.

After the door was closed I turned back in front of me. There were two people already in the room. A man in about his mid 50's with graying hair and a smile and a girl that looked to possibly be a senior.

She was about my height, with curly brown hair and brown eyes. When she saw me looking at her she smiled shyly.

"Mrs. Mason. How nice it is to see you again. It has been a while but you are still as beautiful as ever." Mr. Taylor stood up and took Nancy's hand in his.

I was surprised to see a blush come over Nancy's cheek. I looked at the other girl in the room and she just rolled her eyes and smiled. I couldn't help it, I smiled back.

"Mr. Taylor, you always were a flatterer." Nancy replied taking one of the remaining seats that Mr. Taylor offered to us. I quickly sat down beside Nancy holding my backpack lightly in my hand.

"Okay." Mr. Taylor said opening up a folder he held on his desk. He looked at the papers in the folder for a minute then finally rested his eyes on me. "You must be Crystal Miller?"

I nodded. "Yes sir."

He nodded politely then looked back at the papers before him. "Let's see. An 'A' student, never got into trouble, head of the cheerleading team...Seems like you were the epitome of a good student." Mr. Taylor said looking at me again. His eyes were kind but shrewd.

I wasn't sure what to say so I just nodded again. Mr. Taylor picked up a piece of paper out of the file and handed it to me. "This is your schedule."

I looked down at the schedule in my hand.

"1st period: English

2nd period: Gym

3rd period: Math

4th period: Lunch

5th period: History

6th period: Art

I looked up at Nancy. "Art? How did you know?"

Nancy just smiled. "Well for one thing I saw the way you were looking at the easel the day you arrived. True you haven't touched it since you arrived but I have seen the longing glances you have made when you thought no one was looking." I actually blushed. "Also," She continued in her soft voice. "Mrs. Jenkins told me."

I looked back down at the schedule in my hand.

7th period: Government.

8th period: Science

It was your normal senior's schedule. I don't know what I was looking for. I held the schedule lightly in my hand as I turned back to Mr. Taylor.

He smiled at me then acknowledged the other girl in the room. "This is Amy Morgan. She is also a senior and will share all of your classes." I nodded over at Amy and she just nodded back. "Amy will be your guide your first days while you are here. Show you around and stuff like that." I nodded again.

That seemed to be Amy's cue, because she suddenly stood up and looked at Mr. Taylor. "If that is all Mr. Taylor, Crystal and I should get going. We are due in English in 15 minutes and I still have to show her to her locker and get her books from the library."

At Mr. Taylor's nod, I stood up to. Nancy stood up and embraced me. "I will be here at 3:15 to pick you up okay?" I nodded. "Have a good day." I smiled at her then followed Amy out of the office.

The morning flew by in a haze. I realized I wasn't actually as far behind the other students as I thought I would be. Amy stayed by my side pretty much the whole time and once the shock of a new student flew through the school and was over, everyone pretty much ignored me. Everyone except a pair of pale blue eyes that followed me everywhere I went.

I first realized I was being watched during 3rd period. I had just sat down in class and was pulling out my Math book when I felt his eyes on me.

Turning to look behind me, I saw a boy about 18, with sandy brown hair and pale blue eyes staring right at me. When he saw me watching him he grinned at me with a wolfish grin but didn't look away. Feeling unnerved I turned back towards the front of the class.

Amy noticed where I was staring and leaned over so she was close to me. "That is Daniel Anderson. He's 18, captain of the debate team and one of the most popular guys in school."

I turned back to look at Daniel then turned back quickly when I saw he was still staring at me.

"Why does he keep staring at me like that?" I asked in a whisper.

Amy just shrugged. "Who knows, with him it is really hard to figure out what he is thinking."

Just then the teacher came into the room and all talking stopped. I tried to concentrate on what the teacher was saying but couldn't forget the feeling of Daniel's eyes boring into my back.

At lunch, Amy introduced me to some of her friends. They were all friendly and within minutes I felt completely at ease with them.

I had just taken a bite of my corndog when I felt eyes on me again. Looking up I looked into the eyes of Daniel Anderson once again staring at me. I caught his eye for a minute then quickly looked away. I suddenly decided that I was going to stay as far away from this guy as I possibly could.

Unfortunately that prophecy turned out to be easier said then done. Daniel and Amy and I all shared the next three classes.

I noticed during 7th period that he quickly sat in the seat next to mine and I did my best to ignore him. The last thing I needed in my life right now was another guy.

Class was about half over and I was trying to concentrate on what Mr. Janders was saying about the American Government when I felt a warm breath against my ear and a deep voice whisper. "Hey, you're cute. What's your name?"

I turned to see Daniel Anderson's face inches from mine. If he had moved just a bit closer he could have kissed me with no problem. Suddenly unnerved I jerked away and turned my attention to the front of the class again. I heard Daniel chuckle and move back over to his seat but I didn't look at him again.

He tried to talk to me again during 8th period. We had broken up into pairs to work on a lab assignment and somehow he had intercepted Amy and spoke to her for a minute. When I looked up I watched Amy move over to another table and Daniel sit down on the stool next to me.

"Nicely done," I said not sure if that was a compliment or an insult.

Daniel didn't look even a bit abashed. "Well it seemed like the only way I could get you to talk to me." He put some liquid in a vial then looked at me again. "I'm Daniel Anderson."

"I know. Amy told me." I put some other liquid in the vial he had put the first liquid in and watched a light smoke appear.

"So do I get to know your name?" He asked leaning close to me again.

Suddenly I could smell him. It wasn't a bad smell. It was just him. He smelled of Sandalwood and musk. I wondered if he used aftershave. I turned to look at him and saw his face inches from mine again. "I really wish you wouldn't do that." I said turning back to our experiment.

"Do what?" He asked all innocent.

I turned back to him. "Get so close like that. It unnerves me."

I heard a deep chuckle against my ear. "Maybe I like the idea of you unnerved."

I turned to look at him again. "Hm...and how many girls have you used that line on?"

Daniel burst out laughing which got the attention of the teacher. Mrs. Davis moved over to our table. "Is there a problem Mr. Anderson?" She asked.

Daniel was holding his side and trying to stop laughing. "No Mrs. Davis. Nothing at all." She looked from me to him and hmphed then turned away.

Once he got himself under control again Daniel looked at me. We continued working in silence for a minute or two when he moved close to me again. "Would you believe I have never used that line on another girl before?"

I looked over at him in shock. "No."

He just chuckled. "Hey can't kill a guy for trying." I turned back to the experiment and proceeded to ignore him for the rest of class.

When the bell rang I quickly gathered up my books and ran over to Amy who was waiting by the door for me. "Boy am I glad that's over." I said breathlessly.

"Sorry to abandon you like that but that guy really unnerves me." Amy said as we walked towards our locker.

"It's okay. I understand." I opened my locker and put my books inside picking up my backpack and putting my homework in it. "Hey would you like to come over for a while. Maybe study or something." I don't know why I asked I just kind of liked the idea of having a friend in this strange place.

Amy looked very sorry all of a sudden. "Oh Crystal, I would love to but I have to go to work."

I smiled at her. Work?"

"Yea I work down at the children's center Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I'm trying to save up some money for college. Cause unfortunately my grades aren't good enough for a scholarship."

I thought about all the money that my parents had and how when I was growing up I had never wanted for anything. I had always known they would pay for me to go to college. Now I wasn't so sure. I promised myself I would ask Nancy about it. If I was going to need to get a scholarship I would have to look into pretty soon. I had decided a long time ago that even though I was good at art and liked it, unfortunately there wasn't much money in it. So I had decided I was gonna study Psychology in college.

Amy and I walked towards the doors leading outside. "That's cool. Maybe another time."

Before she could respond I heard a voice behind me. "Hey new girl, Wait up." I looked behind me and saw Daniel Anderson break away from his friends and run towards me.

Amy mumbled something about being late for her bus and quickly walked away. I looked after her for a minute while Daniel caught up. "You never told me your name." He said matter of factly.

I scrutinized him for a minute then turned and started walking towards the door again. Daniel quickly moved in step with me. "My name is Crystal." I said suddenly sure I wasn't going to get rid of him until I told him my name.

"Crystal, that's a pretty name." I moved out into the early fall sunshine and looked around for Nancy. It didn't seem she was there yet so I put my backpack on my shoulder and crossed my arms.

"Are you always this uptight?" I heard Daniel ask against my ear.

I turned to look at him. "No. Just when the most popular guy hits on me and I know that the only reason he is doing it is to put another notch on his belt." I said venom in my voice. Daniel moved back as if I had slapped him. "I'm...I'm sorry." I said my cheeks suddenly feeling very warm.

"Look, I'll leave you alone if you want me to." Daniel reached out as if to touch me then thought better of it and dropped his hand to his side.

I suddenly felt very much ashamed. It was my first day at a new school and here was this guy just being nice and I had made a complete ass of myself. "No...it's alright. It's just." I looked up at the building then out to the parking lot. Anywhere but at him. I could feel his eyes on me but he didn't say anything. "It's just. My life if so screwed up right now and I guess I was taking it out on you. I'm sorry."

I chanced a look at him and saw softness in his eyes and a slight smile on his lips. "Hey it's okay. I understand."

We were quiet for a minute while I looked over at the parking lot watching for Nancy's car." So which is it? Drugs or alcohol?"

I tore my eyes away from the parking lot and looked at him again. "Excuse me?"

He didn't look abashed. He looked actually curious. "I've seen you at the meetings the last couple of weeks. I was just wondering which one was your drug of choice."

"Um..." I felt suddenly disconcerted. "Both. Pot mainly and JD."

He shook his head. "Ooooh...Not a good combination."

I ran my fingers through my hair. "Tell me about it." Just then I heard a car honk and turned to see Nancy pull up in front of me. "I've um...I gotta go. It was nice meeting you Daniel." I started towards the car, then stopped when I felt his hand take mine. I turned back to look at him.

"Call me Danny. Everybody does. And believe me the pleasure was all mine." He smiled crookedly then released my hand and disappeared into the crowd.

I watched him until he was out of sight, then walked over and got into the car. Nancy smiled at me as I put my seatbelt on. "How was your first day?" She asked slowly making her way out of the parking lot.

"It was fine." I replied not really sure what to say.

"I'm sorry I'm late." Nancy said pulling into traffic. "I had to stop off at the dry cleaners."

"It's okay." I said suddenly realizing that it was and as we made our way home I wondered what my next encounter with Danny Anderson would be like.


The next few months went by in a haze. Amy and I became really close and it was a wonder which one of us stayed at the others house more often. I couldn't stay over at Amy's house over night but that didn't stop her from spending her weekends over at my place.

Amy started going out with a guy named Jericho Monroe a few weeks into the school year. He was also a senior and had just transferred from a school in Arizona. Amy and Jericho hit it off from first meeting and I was sure she wasn't going to want to spend as much time with me. I soon learned that my fears were unjustified.

Yes there were times when Amy and Jericho wanted to be alone and I respected that the best I could. But they never turned me away when I would come upon them sitting beneath a tree during lunch.

The three of us pretty much became inseparable. We would go to the movies, hang out at the mall or just hang out at my place or Amy's. It embarrassed me at first when we would be talking about something or studying and suddenly they would look into each others eyes and start kissing. After a while though I just got to the point where I ignored them until they were done then we would continue on as if nothing had happened.

After the first week I drove myself to school and after a while started picking up Amy and finally Jericho on my way so they didn't have to catch the bus.

After our first meeting I figured Danny would stay away from me. Instead he seemed to pursue me more relentlessly. Everywhere I turned he was there; whether it was in class and him watching me instead of the teacher, or walking past each other in the halls or just walking down the street and him on one side with me on the other.

He always made it a point to talk to me and whenever he was around Amy and Jericho conveniently made themselves scarce. We would laugh about it later but it always bothered me the way they left me to face him on my own.

Finally the day before Christmas break I was on my way over to drop Amy off. We had just dropped Jericho off at his place with a plan to meet for the movies later that night. When I turned on her. "Why do you do that?"

She looked up from her Science book at me in surprise. "Why do I do what?"

I turned my attention back to the road for a minute then turned back to her. "Why do you and Jericho suddenly disappear whenever Danny shows up?"

Amy actually blushed and closed her book. She was silent for a minute then sighed. "Well, it's kind of obvious that he likes you. We just...um...well to be honest he intimidates the hell out of me. I feel really uncomfortable around him and whenever he shows up he gives me this look like don't you have somewhere else to be?" She pushed her book into her book bag. "So I disappear."

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