Name: Michael Di Gesu
Genre: Y/A Edgy Contemporary
Title: The Blinded Gardener
One moment I’m Dad’s personal punching bag, and the next, well, I’m a pawn in his maniacal master plan. That was, until Danny entered the picture and discovered my secret ...
Once again, I found myself at a new school, the third in two years. It sucked having to live by Dad’s starched and mind-numbing military code 24/7. How much more could I take? No honorable discharge was in my future. Not until I turn eighteen. That is if I live that long.
As the son of a Marine Corp Captain, I had little choice in the decision making of my life. Dad used his usual tactics to persuade me to leave my mom and San Diego to move across the country with him. Needless to say, life in Beaufort, North Carolina wasn’t anything like I had expected.
The warning bell rang for first period. The halls cleared with the slamming of doors. As I wandered about searching for my classroom, I heard someone approach me from behind. Long bangs fell over his eyes as he loped past me with a kind of natural ease.
Didn’t he see me standing here, screwing around with this frickin’ map?
“Hey, dude. Could you tell me how to get to room 305?”
A slight curl formed on his lips as he faced me. He tossed his head. Platinum fringe shifted to the side and revealed freakish blue eyes that glanced toward me, unfocused.
Holy shit! Is he blind? Or is he stoned?
“I’m heading that way.” His deep voice held a trace of a southern accent.
I envied his height: well over six feet and me just an average dude.
“You better move. Connors has little patience when you’re late.”
I rushed to catch up to him. His hand overshot the dented metal banister. On the second swipe, he made contact and climbed the stairs.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
He never looked back, not even when he spoke.
His shoulder bumped the wall turning the corner. “Damn!” Rubbing it, he coasted down the hall and stopped midway. “Here you are.” A glint of blue shot at me from under his bangs. “By the way, I’m Danny,” he said, low. He did an about face and was gone.
I shook my head and wondered, what’s his deal?
As I entered the classroom, Mr. Connors paused in mid sentence. “You’re late, Mr—?.
Was he serious? No one calls me mister. “Eh, Forester.”
“Well, Mr. Forester, welcome. Now if you would please take your seat.” In the next breath he continued with the lesson.
Eyes darted from all directions as I made my way toward the back of the classroom. I dropped into the only vacant seat and fumbled through my backpack, searching for my social studies book.
The girl next to me checked out my every move.
Not bad. Redheads really know how to getta dude off.
She caught my eye. After flexing, my pecs and abs strained under the muscle tee that clung to me.
Thick black lashes fluttered as her hazel eyes widened, and the blush in her cheeks matched the freckles on her nose.
Mr. Connors cleared his throat, bore his eagle eyes right into me, and droned on about the domestic issues and conflicts of the Federalist period. I picked up my notebook and tried to comprehend his jabber. If I failed another class, I’d end up in the hospital again. All those prying questions; I couldn’t cover for Dad much longer. Not if he kept drinking. After a few unsuccessful attempts to follow I spaced. My eyes wandered, sizing up the kids in class.
I didn’t need to search long to see the usual cliques. Two jocks, clueless in the first row, looked more confused and bored than me. Next to them, a couple of cheerleaders licked their bubblegum pink lip gloss, trying to capture Team Beaufort’s attention.
Glancing to my left, a pig-tailed chick in specs scribbled non-stop, keeping up with the three nerds in crisp, white button down shirts surrounding her. Behind them a group of tough, tattooed, and pierced guys, wearing leather vests and torn jeans shifted in desks far to small for their bulk.
About half the students were black or hispanic. A lot more than in my last school. Not one Asian kid. That surprised me.
Connors’ jagged pacing captured my attention. I listened to a few words before peering out the window. The bright blue sky reminded me of Danny’s unfocused eyes.
After another half-an-hour of mindless drivel, the bell rang. The smoldering redhead asked about my next class. I shuffled through my notebook and found the schedule.
“English with Hartnett in room 223.” I snapped the notebook shut, and stuffed it into my backpack.
“Oh, I’m in that class, too.” She stood and ran her hand through her hair, pushing it behind her ear.
She stepped toward the door and locked her eyes on mine. “Well, are you coming?”
Not yet. You love bad boys, don’t you Red? I’ll give you what you want. You’re not the first.
“Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Later then.”
Before she turned away, I flexed the guns, picked up my backpack, and adjusted my crotch. catching her off guard. Ha, it works every time.
Under furrowed brows, she remained motionless. I took my sweet time before drifting over to her.
“What’s your name, tough guy?”
Now it was my turn to be taken down. I had to laugh at the attitude. It suited her. “Aidan.”
As we made our way down the hall, I caught a glimpse of Danny and jerked my chin toward him.
“Do you know that dude?”
“What’s his story, anyway?”
Tanya paled and her eyes dulled. As she spoke, her voice quivered. “I really can’t talk about it. Let’s say he had it all and now —”
“Let’s go. We’ll be late.” She proceeded toward the staircase like a mouse trapped in a maze.
What the hell’s up with the people at this school?
At the sound of the bell, I peeled in the same direction as Tanya. She almost disappeared in the crush of bodies with only her fiery mane visible.
Shoving my way through the mass, snide remarks and “What the fuck” expressions shot back at me. I ignored them and focused only on Tanya’s hair. A few minutes later, I found room 223 and burst through the door with a loud bang. Necks snapped in my direction. Mr. Hartnett dropped the book from his hands and it crashed to the floor.
Spotting Tanya, I worked my way toward the back and sat in the seat she had saved for me.
“Sorry about before,” she whispered.
I rolled my eyes and glanced at the black and white cover of a book propped on top of the desk.
Flipping through it, I scoffed.
Hmmm. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. What a joke. Like I’m gonna read this shit.
I slammed the book shut. Four or five people around me flinched.
“Is there some sort of problem?” Mr. Harnett asked with a shaky voice.
Man this guy is ancient. He’s way past retirement.
“Then please open your book and read the first chapter like your classmates.” He shuffled some papers on his desk and picked up what looked like a roster. “What’s your name young man?”
At first I ignored him. School was such a waste of time. I’m no scholar, films are all I care about. Not this crap.
Someone nudged me. I shifted toward Tanya. She grimaced. “Aren’t you going to answer him?”
“Fine,” I muttered and faced Harnett. “Aidan Forester,” I called out.
Tanya stroked my arm and I got an instant rise.
Fire and ice ... I like this chick. I can’t wait to hook up with her.