Chapter 5: Worlds Worst Job

I’d had a lot of really shitty jobs in my life; but I had a strange, overwhelming feeling that this one was easily going to take the cake.

The library was fairly simply laid out. The head librarian had given me a detailed map of all three floors of the library. Today was my first job and all though it was mind numbingly easy; all it did was keep my hands busy and not my mind. I couldn’t help but be distracted. The overwhelming urge for even one tiny little drag of a cigarette just about knocked me on my ass.

Today, the library was packed full of students, but they were all so quiet, it was almost eerie. Some one could have dropped a pencil from their desk on the third floor and the librarian would have looked up from her desk in alarm to see what the noise was.

I was almost finished for the day; I had only an arm load of books to reshelf.

I took the elevator up to the third floor and weaved my way through the study carrels. I pretended to be studying the titles and names on the books in my hands to avoid the several students who stopped working to look up at me.

Two girls leaned across an aisle to whisper to each other while two guys several rows back snickered.

I was fresh meat. Great.

I slipped into the rows of bookshelves. I already had made myself acquainted with the shelves; therefore I made quick work of putting the books back. I was on my last two books when I turned a corner and saw her.

She was easily the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

Her long chocolate colored curls hung in perfect waves all the way down to her waist.

She was wearing the school uniform, but on her it looked a million times better on her than it did on anyone else. She could have been a model. She was almost like an angel, with a ray of light circling her perfect, slender body.

I swallowed dryly.

Her sweater clung neatly, but modestly to her tiny frame. Her skirt was mid-length, not nearly as short as some girls wore it, but shorter than some. Her blue knee high socks reached up her creamy thighs so delicately, I had to look away.

Her face was angled up at the shelves, even as she stood on her toes to strain upward.

Before I could help myself, the words were out of my mouth. “Hi, can I help you with anything?”

She turned to me and smiled a shy, sweet smile that made me gulp. Trouble screamed at me from behind those gorgeous green eyes. This girl had the potential to get me into more trouble than I was worth. More trouble than I could handle.

“Umm… I don’t know. I’ve got a paper coming up and I wanted to write it on a particular short story… but I can’t really remember what it’s called or who it’s by…”

I saw an opportunity to prove myself. “Alright, try me.”

She sighed. “Well, it’s going to sound silly… but its about these people in Paris… uhh… the mother and daughter are murdered. It’s morbid but the mother is almost decapitated and the daughter is stuffed in the chimney… the detective’s name is…” her pretty little lips turned into a frown.

“Dupin.” I finished.

Her chin jerked up lightly. “You knew it? From that tiny little description?”

“It’s one of my favorites.” I’d lucked out and she was impressed. “Over here.” I led her through the bookshelves until I found what I’d been looking for. I ran my fingers along a few of the books, and found what I needed.

I pulled the book out and held it out to her. “Murders in the Rue Morgue. By Edgar Allen-“

“Poe! Right!” She laughed softly. “I can’t believe I forgot that!”

I shrugged. “It happens.”

She tucked the book in her arms and smiled sweetly. “Thank you so much for your help…” she glanced at the stupid name tag I had to wear pinned to my sweater. “Isaac.”

She frowned. “Wait, you’re in my math class, right? I mean, I saw you defend Thomas Hardwicke after the football team got a hold of him.”

I shrugged. “He’s my roommate, actually. And an alright guy. What they did to him was completely undeserved. I hate people like that.”

She smiled sweetly. “Yeah, me too. It was a really great thing you did, actually. It’s about time someone stood up to those guys.” Her teeth tugged at the corner of her tiny plump lips.

“Right.” I shrugged.

“So, you’re new right? Are you from around here?” She asked.

Was she serious? Was she actually hitting on me?

“No, I’m from Oklahoma. My parents shipped me off here.” I answered. I hardly knew this girl, there was no need to tell her my entire life story.

“Oh. That’s funny, my dad actually lives there. Tulsa.”

“Weird. That’s actually where I’m from.” I shrugged.

“That is definitely weird.” She smiled. “Umm… actually, some friends of mine are having a small party in my dorm on Friday night… sort of a welcome back to PCA, you know? You should come.”

“Alright.” I agreed automatically. If it was anything like the parties I was used to, as long as I could get even a sip of beer I’d be happy. “Where?”

“Dormitory six; the third floor. Follow the people.”

“I may drop by.” I agreed. “I actually live in dorm six too.”

“Small world,” She laughed softly.

“Liv!” Someone yelled.

I glanced past her. Three girls in identical school uniforms stood waiting at the end of the aisle.

“We’re ready to go back to the dorms. Are you coming?” One of the girls asked, pushing her hips out impatiently.

“I’ll be right there.” The girl before me tossed over her shoulder neatly.

They made no move to give us any privacy, instead they waited.

“I can’t remember if I gave you my name or not. I’m Olivia. Olivia James.” She smiled sweetly.

I swallowed. “Nice to meet you.”

“You as well.” She smiled.

“Liv! We’re going to miss the movie night!” One of the girls called.

“You should go.” I suggested.

“Right… umm… I’ll see you around?” A soft pink seemed to color her cheeks. She was new at this. She tucked her curls behind her ear, bashfully.

“Sure. I’ll see you around.”

“Okay.” She gave me a tiny, playful wave before disappearing down the aisle to join her friends. She shyly glanced back at me.

I watched her go, continuing to put my books back.

“It’s about time, girl.” One of the other girls said to her.

“Yeah, we were starting to worry about you.” Another said.

Olivia laughed; a sweet, musical laugh. “Shut up!”

I sighed, and rolled my eyes. This girl was trouble. It practically rolled off her. All girls brought some kind of trouble with them, but there was just something about this girl.

I knew I had to keep my head down and finish this year without incident. Once this year was done, I would be out of high school and I could put this mess all behind me.

I put away the last few books I had left and went down to see if there was anything the librarian wanted me to do before I left.

She dismissed me a total of five minutes early, and I was happy to have an extra five minutes to myself.

I went straight back to the dorm, walking quickly through the crisp night air. I glanced up at the stars, which were just beginning to come out. In the city, you could never see them. It was almost peaceful to be walking alone at night.

I let myself into the dorm, surprisingly very early for the curfew.
I moved into my dorm, shutting the door behind me. The lights were on in our dorms and Thomas was sitting at the small table with a bunch of books in front of him. He looked up in alarm when I burst in the door, and shoved his glasses up his nose.

“Uh… I made coffee.” He offered.

“Actually, I think I need something stronger than that. A lot stronger.” I mused, dropping my messenger bag on the sofa.

“You mean like espresso?” Thomas asked, his face riddled with confusion.

“Uh…. No…” I said slowly. “Not espresso…. Never mind.” I shook my head.

I glanced in the direction of my room, half tempted to just go in there and go straight to bed, without even glancing at my unfinished homework.

I turned back to my roommate, narrowing my eyes at his huge stack of books.

I yanked a chair out from beneath the table, and turned it around. I straddled it backward.

“Thomas, you’ve been here for a while right? I mean, this isn’t your first year at Pine Crest… how well do you know everyone?”

Thomas frowned, his glasses slipping down on his nose. He shoved them back into place. “I… I don’t know. I guess I know a lot of people. I mean, I know of them…”

“Okay, that’ll help. I think.” I paused to choose my words carefully. “Do you know a girl named Olivia James?”

He laid his pencil between the pages of his notebook. “I know of her, but not much. I know her friends mostly.”

“What are they like?”

Thomas shrugged. “Her roommate Gabby’s boyfriend pushed me in the pool once.”

I tried not to laugh at the image of Thomas soaking wet. I was sure he looked like a half-drowned rat.

“I’ve had classes with a few of her friends. They’re all airheads, really. I’m actually pretty sure Gabby thinks that she can study shopping in university.”

I rolled my eyes. “So in other words stay the hell away from her?”

His frown deepened. “Stay away? What do you mean? Did you guys hook up or something?”

“What? No! Dude, I’ve been here like twenty four hours, and I just met the girl today.” I shook my head. “I was just wondering what she’s like. She invited me to a party on Friday night someplace on this floor.”

Thomas’ eyes widened. They appeared absolutely massive behind his thick rimmed glasses.

“I’m not going.” I said quickly.

“You have to go!” He said quickly. “These people are like the coolest people in the entire school. If you actually got invited, you actually have the chance to be in.” He added extra emphasis on the last word. “If you snubbed them, it might give them leverage…”

He didn’t finish the sentence, but I knew what he was about to say. He was going to say that if I didn’t go they were going to ostracize me, much like they did with him.

I couldn’t explain to him or anyone else that if this party was anything like the ones back home, than there was no way I could avoid the drinking and drugs that had gotten me into this mess in the first place. I was sure I couldn’t handle the temptation to drink or get high without succumbing to it.

I’d had one cigarette in just over twenty-four hours and the desperation and craving was just about killing me.

I sighed. “I really don’t think it’s a good idea. I mean, from what you’ve told me about this chick, she’s probably not worth my time.”

“You have to go!” He pressed. “It’s almost social suicide for you to not go.”

I tapped my fingers anxiously, trying to come to some sort of decision.

“Okay, I’ll go. But you’re going too.”

His eyes widened again. This time they looked like they were going to pop out of his skull. “No way! You saw what they did to me today…”

“I’ll be there, it won’t be so bad.” I assured. “You’d be like my wingman. Besides, if these people see how cool and normal you are, they might pick on you a little less.”

Thomas snorted. “Yeah, right.” He replied, shoving his glasses back up on his nose again.