Taking a long drag from her cigarette, her eyes trailed lazily from student to student. She attracted a lot of attention, not only from the fact that she was smoking right in front of the public school, but also because she dressed in a rather flashy manner. Her impossibly tight jeans were white with a black zebra pattern, complimented by her long, loose dress-like shirt that went to her upper thigh, baring a teal colour. Her shoes were bulky Mary-Janes, almost doll-like. Exhaling in a bored sigh, she brushed a bit of fire-truck red hair from her eyes, the smoke wafting before her.
She craned her neck in irritation to look at the tall, lanky woman she knew as her home-room teacher. Lyla had made a sort of game in class of counting the many wrinkles and folds on the woman’s neck. She was at 72, so far. It would be much easier if Mrs.McGann didn’t flail around dramatically during her lectures.
“Miss Young! This is a –school-! On top of that, you are –far- to young to smoke in the first place! Think of your health! And..”
By that point, Lyla had already completely toned the woman out, rolling her eyes and letting the drag drop to the ground, stepping on it to put it out. “Sorry, Ma’am.”
Although she was thought little of the consequences and really didn’t care much for this, she had been raised properly and would never sass back to an adult. It took several minutes for the elder female to finally wrap up her little rant, ending it with something similar to “next time, young lady, I will alert your parents and you might be suspended! Since it’s your first week, I’ll look the other way.”
Not that Lyla really cared.
“Thank you, Ma’am. It won’t happen again.” A lie. It would happen every day until they gave up or she was suspended. And even then, she’d continue. She was highly intelligent, creative too. It wouldn’t be hard for her to get into a different, perhaps even better school.
After being dismissed by the teacher, Lyla turned on one heel and began to walk down the sidewalk. She wasn’t about to go back to class; not right now. She needed a walk to clear her head and thus, began to walk away from the dreaded building. ‘******** this.’
Discoloured, dead leaves crunched beneath the soles of her heavy black shoes as she drew yet another cigarette from her handbag, lighting it and inhaling its sweet, sweet smoke. As if some middle-aged woman with no future or social life was going to influence her health. Ha!
She closed her eyes as she walked, occasionally taking a drag as she let her mind wander about.
Why was she even here? Her mother had found work in some stupid little town and she was stuck here. There was nothing. No ocean, like back home. No endless fields of waving grain or harbour whose sounds kept her up at night. It was just a giant pile of nothingness. She stopped; her eyes still shut, and placed a hand on her chest. It ached, for some reason. Not the kind of ache, that one would describe as ‘a warning sign of a heart attack’. No… It was different. So much different.
A rather groggy voice caught her attention, as the girl’s eyes fluttered open. A girl stood before her, about a head taller than herself. She was highly attractive in Lyla’s eyes, with her short chocolate brown hair, thick-rimmed glasses and lip ring. She wore casual clothing, jeans and a T-shirt. Wasn’t she supposed to be in school? Lyla shook these thoughts side, parting her lips to speak.
“Uh… Yeah?” It wasn’t the most graceful or elegant way for a young lady to respond… but Lyla was in a crappy mood and didn’t feel like putting on her usual ‘Polite Little Girl’-mask.
“You got a cig for me?”
The question was short, sweet and to the point. And little did Lyla know, complying to this would change her life forever. Dipping a slender hand into her handbag, she pulled out yet another cancerstick, offering it to the stranger.
“Thanks.” The older girl replied, taking it and promptly lighting the sucker. She inhaled, seeming to savour every second. “You new here?” She then enquired, peering at Lyla with interest. “Never seen you around.”
“Yeah.” The girl replied, shrugging a bit and tucking her lighter back into her pocket. “Just moved here. Name’s Lyla. And you are…?”
“Laura.” A smile spread across her pierced lips; a warm, genuine smile that made Lyla’s heart skip a beat, for some reason. “Nice to meet you. It’s unusual.” She then added, thoughtfully.
“For a girl your age to smoke. Most start at like… 18 or so, you know?”
“Oh…right. Well… In Germany, where I come from, you can get cigarettes at age 16. But I think they changed that law now. Whatever. Who gives a ********, you know?” She finished with a laugh and a half-shouldered shrug.
The older female seemed a bit impressed by Lyla’s attitude and exhaled the smoke lowly, peering at the girl for a moment from behind her thickly rimmed glasses. “Cool. So… Why aren’t you in school?” She asked, her lips curving in an interested smirk. “How old are you, anyway?”
Lyla smiled a bit, leaning in towards Laura and offering her a rather smug expression. “Old enough.” She then withdrew her head and let out a gentle, melodious laugh. “Just kidding. I’m seventeen. And before you say anything; I know. I’m relatively small for my age.”
The older girl quirked a brow. “Small? You’re….funsized. And I think it’s cute.” She added, her left eye closing briefly in a cheeky wink. This very action made Lyla’s heart flutter for a moment, as a slightly queasy feeling surged through her stomach. She didn’t know what the cause might’ve been. Perhaps the lack of breakfast or maybe she was getting sick? It was late autumn, after all. The sky was heavily clouded and the dead leaves around them seem to fit perfectly to the dreary, depressing weather.
“Thanks for the cig.” Laura finally stated, lifting her hand up and showing her the drag as an emphasis. “I’ve got to be heading back to my place. The others are waiting on me, ya’ know? I’ll be seein’ you around.” She added, turning on one heel. Before Lyla could even answer, she had disappeared around the corner. She stood there for a moment, dumbfounded. Laura had gone just as fast as she had come. Odd.
Without lingering on the thought much, she glanced at the bus stop plan, checking her cellphone. She still had about five minutes to think through everything.