High School is as much like a movie about High School as it isn’t. The people who go to High School are typically a lot smaller, they have more acne than they have porcelain skin, they looked closer to twelve than they do to twenty, and for every student in the movies that was driving a car, there is a kid counting down the days until they are old enough to get their learner’s permit which only allows them to drive with someone else who has their license.
There are the little cliques. The girls who already have boobs and have less acne than every other teenage girl at school do tend to hang out together. And because they look more eighteen than fourteen, they are the ones the guys who have no backne or fat, and tend to be on all the sports teams typically go for.
Harrison and Sparrow didn’t go to public high school. They went to a private school. At private school, there was a lot less acne, a lot more confidence and arrogance, and there were a lot more teens looking like they were moving into their twenties because of all the Spa Days and minor plastic surgery their rich and obnoxious parents would allow.
One thing that seemed to be the same, on TV and off, was the parties. They were always at the kids house who’s parents seemed to be MIA. They had no substitute supervision, just the parents that were always out of town or on vacation. They magically had an abundance of alcohol, that no one questioned and it was just a bunch of teens who couldn’t handle their alcohol going on in. Asking out people they normally never would, going in for the kiss, dancing like no one was watching.
These parties were normally things both Harrison and Sparrow avoided like the plague. Sparrow hated to go because she hated the judging look all the girls gave her, and the idea that she was someone like her would be grateful to be with any of these trust-fund kids. Harrison also resented the shallow girls who thought they should be an obvious choice for him based on what their parents did or were worth.
Despite how much they hated the weekend parties, they had agreed one night on the couch while watching 10 Things I Hate About You they both agreed they would attend at least one party every month.
Sparrow always got ready slowly, hoping by some miracle that Harrison would take just as long and they would look at the clock and realize they had missed it all together. No matter how long she tried to take, it seemed they always had enough time to go.
Standing in front of the mirror, Sparrow sighed. She was wearing black jeans, red sneakers and a white tank top. Her hair was down, which was a rarity, and hung in crazy loose curls around her face and down her back. She wasn’t wearing any make-up, but she did put in some shinier studs which was also a rarity for her.
Most of the girls there tonight would be wearing mini skirts, eyeshadow, little heels. They were a mess of hormones without the knowledge of how to use them. Sparrow wasn’t trying to rid herself of any pent up energy. She just wanted to get in and get out.
They were both on the bus to the house in Rosedale.
The house was massive, and was surrounded by this thick stone wall that seemed to keep most of the noise in. Most people in a neighbourhood like this would be the kind that would complain about noise, but the party was being thrown by Bentley Wilson, and his parents were somebodies. Their neighbours knew better than to complain about some noise.
They stood at the end of the driveway, looking up. Sparrow’s stomach was in knots. She hated social gatherings, she always felt like she was under a microscope with all these curious eyes trying to figure out just what she was.
Harrison reached out and wrapped his hand around her own before letting out a long sigh. “Into the trenches?”
Sparrow tightened her grip around his hand, adjusting so her fingers weaved through his. “Into the trenches.”
Walking into the house was like walking through a wall of sticky heat. So many people jammed into the entryway, bodies molded together as hot breath was being whispered on the bare skin of someone’s neck. Everywhere you looked you could see someone’s skin. Glimmering thighs, bare arms, exposed cleavage, no matter how barely there is was.
They weaved their way inside, squeezing through groups of people to get to the back of the house. She was hoping to walk right through the back into the yard where she could finally breathe again.
Harrison held onto Sparrow, his hand wrapped around her wrist as she moved through the crowd. Cheryl hooked her finger through the loops of Harrison’s jeans, standing between him and Sparrow. “Harrison King. I didn’t think I would see you here tonight.” She smiled at him, her eyes hungry.
“Cheryl.” He nodded at her, trying to step around her. When she didn’t move, he cleared his throat before pulling Sparrow gently back towards him. “We were just making our way back into the yard.”
She glanced over her shoulder for a moment as Sparrow moved to stand beside him. She scowled for a moment before pasting on the kind of smile Meredith usually gave her. “Sparrow. I didn’t think you would be here.” She said through her teeth.
Wrapping his arm across Sparrow’s chest, he pulled her back against him and smiled at Cheryl. “I tend not to go to things like this without Sparrow. I would be bored out of my mind without her.”
Smiling at him, Cheryl got up on her toes, putting her over developed breasts on display for him. “Most people go to parties to meet new people, Harrison. Get to know someone else a little bit better.”
Pursing his lips in thought for a moment, Harrison shook his head. “I already know everyone who matters.” This was a jab at Cheryl who often flirted with Harrison at these parties but at school made it her mission to make Sparrow’s life difficult.
Cheryl was beautiful, but she was the type of person who was mean for no reason other than she could be. Seeing someone like Sparrow walk the halls of her prestigious private school caused her blood to boil. It watered down the fine blood that went there.
Harrison saw the way she behaved and only stood back because Sparrow told him to, otherwise he would have made an example of her at school long ago. His fear was that one of these days Cheryl was going to get to Sparrow, and she would beg Vincent to send her to a public school. Which he would. He was unable to say no to her when she asked for something, because she very rarely did.
They were Sophomores now. Sparrow could easily be a Junior if she applied herself. It seemed like she did well enough to get straight As but not exceptional enough to be pushed forward a year. If she wanted to, Harrison would kick his ass into gear to keep up with her. She had skipped a grade to be in the same classes with him.
Cheryl flashed them her pearly whites. “You know Sparrow, I heard Stanley Wright say he was looking for you.” She lifted her eyebrows suggestively.
Sparrow wasn’t interested in someone like Stanley Wright. She wasn’t interested at anyone at this party. He was just as conceded as the rest of them, only he was simple and dull. He used his charisma to get what he wanted, never really needing much else.
She doubted he was interested in her at all, but knew if she did go up and chat with him, he would engage her. Keep her busy while Cheryl worked at getting her hooks into Harrison King.
Letting out a low sigh, Sparrow ducked under Harrison’s arm. She looped her fingers through his as she continued to make her way towards the kitchen. If she was going to be helping Harrison bat Cheryl away all night, she was going to need something to drink. Normally she wasn’t a drinker, being underage and always wanting to feel like she had a firm grasp on her mind were the main reasons, although thanks to her parents, there were others.
Harrison followed close behind her, while Cheryl followed close behind him.
There were a few kegs on the floor of the large kitchen, three punch bowls on the counter with pinkish-red unidentified liquid in them, and an assortment of beer and coolers in buckets of ice.
Sparrow didn’t like the idea of having a drink from the open bowls of punch and she wasn’t a huge fan of beer. She would have a cooler, and nurse it until they could go home.
Cheryl came around the massive kitchen island. Grabbing the cooler before Sparrow could, she held it below the counter and hit the lid off the edge. “Allow me.” She smiled. Cheryl held onto the cooler for a moment, leaning over the counter to look more closely at Harrison. “And for you?”
A mix of annoyance and impatience surged through Sparrow. She looked behind Cheryl at the large double glass sliding doors that lead into the massive yard. She just wanted her drink. She wanted to go outside where the air wasn’t so heavy. She wanted to be done with Cheryl and everyone else at this party.
“Stan!” Cheryl waved him over.
Tall, blonde and inching towards behind handsome once puberty was done with him, Stan came up beside Sparrow and Harrison. “Hey guys, are you having a good time?”
Beaming, Cheryl grinned. “I was just telling Sparrow here about how you were looking for her earlier.”
Confusion flickered across his face for a moment before he turned and looked at Sparrow. His eyes roamed over her as though she were something on a menu he was trying to decide on. Finally, he smiled, nodding. “Yes. I have been looking for you Sparrow. Where have you been hiding?”
Taking in a deep breath, she tilted her head back for a moment before looking at Stanley. “Right in plain sight, Stan. Are you sure you’ve been looking for me?”
“Well, I found you now.” He ignored Harrison’s looming presence. Harrison was taller than most of the guys in their grade, larger due to all the martial arts classes he took on the weekends. “Come, talk to me for a bit. It looks like these two want to be left alone.”
In all the years they had spent together, the two of them had learned to speak to one another without words. Reaching behind her, she gently squeezed Harrison’s hand. It would be easier for them to get rid of Cheryl and Stan individually. Sighing, she accepted the cooler Cheryl had been hiding from her before walking out the back door.
As soon as the door closed behind her, Sparrow worked to rid herself of Stan. He was handsy, he was full of himself and he had a hard time realizing there was someone who couldn’t be interested in him.
Sparrow had to practically chug the cooler to keep herself from punching him in his throat.
Tossing the cooler aside, she went to take a step towards him and felt the world tilt. Her stomach lurched as her vision blurred. Stan’s hands moved around her hips to steady her. Sparrow’s hand went up to her head, she clasped her forehead, trying to steady her mind as everything seemed to whirl around inside her skull. “Harry,” Her voice sounded far away, even to her own ears.
Before she could say anything else, her knees buckled under her and she felt herself falling.