It wasn’t Joseph's fault, or at least that was what he believed. He didn’t try to knock over Rohan’s Gucci satchel and he certainly didn’t mean to break his phone. It just kinda happened while he was walking out of class and well, let’s just say that someone was not too happy that his new phone was broken.
“What the hell was that for?” the upperclassman hissed at Joseph who was trying to sneak out of the classroom without the other noticing. Of course, he’d been caught. Drats.
He shot Rohan’s leering face a smile trying to calm the elder down. Oh shit, that didn’t work either.
“Simple accident I swear,” he told with the other. “Don’t get too bent out of shape about it, you can just buy a new one. Besides, you’re rich as hell soooo.”
Rohan’s scowl deepened as he held up the broken phone as though it were a corpse.
“I’d rather you buy one,” he hissed as he leaned back against the desk his satchel had once sat upon. “It’d teach you a lesson that’s for damn sure- Just because you skipped a couple grades doesn’t mean you get to throw all of your manners and responsibilities out the window.”
Joseph scowled at that. He knew Rohan had a point, not in the fact that he lacked manners (he was fairly certain he had great manners… at times) but that he had skipped a few grades. It wasn’t really a secret to anyone, but it did piss some of his classmates off, especially Rohan. The upperclassman had believed he was the best at everything, however, upon Joseph’s arrival he had not been happy that his philosophy was proven wrong. And Joseph loved that he hated him. So maybe he had tipped his satchel over on purpose knowing it would crack his phone… but he didn’t need to know that just yet .
“Oh, I’m sorry that his greatness had his satchel lying on a part of the table that I inconveniently hit.” Joseph said dramatically. Rohan glared at him and rolled his eyes.
“I’m guessing you did purposely hit my bag.” the older male growled. Joseph cocked an eyebrow.
“If I did what would you do?”
“Beat your sorry looking ass, that’s what.” Rohan snapped back as grabbed his satchel and flung it over his shoulder. He was reaching down for his broken phone, but a certain someone stomped his foot on the already wrecked device.
A voice coughing broke the tension between the two instantly and the professor at the front of the room raised an eyebrow at them.
“I’m assuming you’re going to at least wait until you’re out of my classroom before you pound each other?” Professor Elizabeth’s voice cut through air causing the two boys to shiver.
“Am I correct?”
The boys both bobbed their heads immediately.
“Good I don’t need my classroom to become a fight club.” She sighed.
Rohan gave Joseph a glare as they exited the room. The younger male simply smiled at him which pissed off the older.
“I’m not done with you yet,” he hissed. “You’ll see just when you’re in your moment of glory, I’ll make everything come crashing down.”
Joseph rolled his eyes.
“Sure whatever you say tough guy.” he yawned which only infuriated Rohan further.
“You better watch out, pauper boy.” With that the male pulled out a long jacket from his Gucci satchel and flung it over his shoulders. He stalked off down the empty hallway with a vibe of anger radiating off of him.
Joseph loved every second of it. Pissing Rohan off was almost too easy and amused him to no end. He found the class boring so the highlight of his day was finding a way to piss his classmates off, and Rohan was his prime target.
If anyone needed to be taught a lesson it was that rich bastard.
“Joseph,” a voice hissed making his head whip around to see the long-black haired teacher. The frown she was giving him made him realize she was probably pissed at him. Honestly, he didn’t blame her.
“Yes Professor Elizabeth?” he turned to face her and gave his best smile. Her frown remained unwavering.
“Why must you insist on continually pissing off your upperclassmen?” she asked him. Joseph didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“‘Cause it’s fun.” he said simply causing her scowl to deepen.
“What’s so fun about it?” she pried further.
“Well they’re all spoiled, rich brats who think they’re better than everyone else and it’s fun to show them that there are people who are way more talented than they’ll ever be.” Joseph replied making Professor Elizabeth cock an eyebrow.
“So you believe the people you harass in class deserve their harassment for being brought up as rich and spoiled?”
“I believe they do because they have to realize the world doesn’t circle around them.” Joseph told her making her scowl soften. “Plus I get a kick out of watching them realize that God didn’t choose them to be the next messiah.”
Professor Elizabeth smiled at that.
“That’s an interesting philosophy. The world truly doesn’t revolve around one person does it? What would it be like if it did?”
The professor seemed to be lost in thought and Joseph took that chance to quickly leave and start his trek home. However, something about what she had said resonated with him.
What would the world be like if it revolved only around one person?
It was a strange idea that was for sure. Maybe he’d look into someday when he was really pushed to do it, but at that moment he only wanted to get home.
It was his grandmother Erina’s birthday and he was going to make sure it was special. He had been quite the troublemaker over the last couple of weeks so he knew she deserved some good news. The type of news that didn’t include him getting into less fights than he typically did.
Pulling his jacket closer to his body, he tried conserving some body heat in the freezing chill of the wintery weather. His breath turned to steam in front of him and internally cursed himself for not bringing a heavier jacket.
The sky overhead was grey and there a promise of snow later in the evening. For some reason Joseph had never liked snow. Even though he appreciated it’s beauty, snow seemed to always give him a bitter feeling.
He hoped it wouldn’t snow because then he would be in a bad mood for Erina’s birthday. That would not have a good end result.
The sidewalk passed underneath him as he kept walking straight until he finally found the alleyway he was looking for. Silently stepping inside it, he made sure no one was following just in case someone tried to jump him.
See, Joseph's problem was that he pissed so many people off that he had a lot of people after his tail. He liked calling them his “Fanboys” (Erina said that name was stupid and he should stop pissing people off when he told her about it). So everyday he had to check there were no Fanboys following him.
Luckily, it seemed that there were no rabid fans that wanted to chase him today so he was easily able to walk through the alleyway which connected with the street the bakery was located.
In Joseph’s opinion navigating through city was easier when he used back alleys. Sure there was the occasional druggie or creeper, but one punch would typically scare them off. Plus Joseph knew he could handle anyone he met, whether it be in an alleyway or someone who was trying to jump him on a busy street.
He was nearly on the other side when someone jumped on his back causing him to give a loud scream. Whipping around, he managed to get his attacker off of him. A second later he was ready to pound whoever it was, but instead he was greeted with a familiar face.
“Smokey?” he exclaimed. The younger boy bobbed his head and laughed as Joseph started hollering about how he scared the shit out of him.
“Calm down, I simply was just coming with you to pick out a cake,” Smokey replied with a mouthful of giggles.
“You didn’t need to sneak up on me,” Joseph complained realizing he would have to step up his game if he wanted to keep any attackers away from him. If Smokey could catch him off guard, he was sure there were hundreds of others who could do the same.
“No but it was fun.”
The grin Smokey gave made happiness flood through Joseph.
Despite how much of an asshole he could be to other students, if he found ones that he liked and were kind he made loyal attachments with them. Sadly, his only example as of that moment was Smokey. He didn’t think his grandmother or Speedwagon counted.
Speedwagon was kind of like his uncle. He wasn’t related to his father in any way, but he took care of him and sometimes brought presents back from his trips. He was also the head on of the biggest technology companies called Speedwagon Tech (Joseph could see how much creativity the man had with that title alone). He also helped support Erina financially because she truly didn’t have a lot of money. Besides that, he was nice to be around and when Joseph was younger he would ask stories about his grandfather, Jonathan, who had sadly passed on when Joseph was born from a rare disease. His father knew Speedwagon from the military and had been friends with him for many many years. Sometimes Joseph would ask to hear stories about his heroic grandfather, but not as often as when he was younger. He had more important issues on his mind.
Smokey and Joseph turned the bend and entered the small bakery shop where a woman greeted them from over the counter. Joseph told her the order he’d put in earlier that day and she quickly got it out for him. He paid her and grabbed the cake, leaving with Smokey to go find their apartment.
As the walked home, they chatted happily about anything that crossed their minds. Basketball was a interest they both shared so they liked discussing it with one another.
Midway through their conversation Joseph was suddenly reminded of what Professor Elizabeth had said earlier that day.
“Hey Smokey,” he said, catching the other’s attention. “What do you think would happen if the world revolved around only one person?”
“Well,” the younger male started, “I think that whoever the person was would be pretty lucky. I mean they could change the whole world just for themselves. If they longed for something they could it with the snap of their fingers. They’d be able to change reality to keep themself happy.”
Joseph nodded. That definitely would be really cool. Being able to change the world to keep yourself happy. It was an enjoyable concept.
“However,” Smokey’s voice cut through the cold air. “There would also be some ways it could make the person’s life miserable. If the world revolved around them, but only in a certain way, then there could be problems. Like if someone had to be sad for the world to revolve around them, I think that would suck. Or maybe the person would get stressed on balancing everyone’s life in their hand. I don’t know but it’s a strange idea.”
Joseph nodded again and let Smokey’s words sink in.
He was thinking about them so deeply he barely heard the other wish him farewell. Joseph was able to wave absently, but that was about it.
Why his mind was so fascinated with this concept, he didn’t really know. Something about it called to him in it’s own special way. It was like how he hated snow. There was simply a feeling there that made him love some things, but loathe others.
He still had yet to understand it.
“Erina I’m home!” Joseph called into their apartment as he returned home from the bakery. His grandmother called back for him to meet her in the dining room and he couldn't help but smile. Of course his grandmother would not forget her own birthday.
He navigated his way through their small apartment, which was located on the sixth floor of an apartment complex. Upon walking in one was greeted to a living room. It contained a worn out brown couch and an old TV that had little antenna sticking out. On the left side of the living room was a restroom. On the right side a hallway led to the kitchen and dinning room, as well as two bedrooms, one for Joseph and one for Erina.
The walls were grey with white and blue stripes reflecting the gloomy atmosphere the apartment always gave. Well at least to everyone else, for Joseph the apartment had a very comfy feel. Maybe that was because he lived there all of his life.
When he pushed open the door to the kitchen he heard a bit of chatter inside. He assumed it was the radio that Erina often listened to. His theory was proven right when he heard noise coming from the small black electronic. Something about a murder.
He would’ve listened further, but it was shut off by Erina.
“Happy Birthday Grandma!” Joseph happily told his grandmother. She looked at him with dead eyes though.
“You’re late.” She stated flatly. The male frowned in response.
“Sorry Grandma traffic was really bad today and it took me awhile to get home,” Joseph told her, though not all of his answer was a lie. He had been late because of his little quarrel with Rohan, but there also had been some traffic so that had to count. He chose to tell her the latter as an excuse because she would be furious with him if he knew what happened with his upperclassman.
“Is that so?” Erina asked as she leaned her old body back in her chair. “Are you sure it wasn’t because you were getting into another fight?”
Joseph laughed, though it was very forced.
“Oh course not Grandma, not on your birthday.” he smiled at her.
A small silence fell over the two as Erina stared at her grandson with knowing eyes. Joseph didn’t want to go against what his grandmother had told him on her birthday and technically it wasn’t his fault that the satchel had been in a very inconvenient spot. However, he had gotten into a small dispute with Rohan, again. Because of his want to piss the other off, again.
The sound of a knocking at the door made Joseph jump and he immediately excused himself to answer it. As he pulled the handle back he was greeted with a familiar face.
“How are you doing Joseph?” Speedwagon asked as he stepped through the door, a large bag of food in his hand. He proceeded to tip his hat at the younger and Joseph nodded back respectfully. “I heard it was your grandmother’s birthday and came running. It would truly be a shame to miss her 70th birthday.”
Joseph nodded again and led the other through their small apartment to the dining room. As Speedwagon greeted Erina, the dark haired male set up the table and grabbed the bag from the older male. He set the food out and made to take sure a taste of the apple cobbler the older man had made.
It took only a few minutes for Erina and Speedwagon to sit down at the table and everyone began eating.
As the three ate they talked about the latest and greatest in everyone’s lives. Speedwagon had apparently found out how to create a variety of new applications inside everyone’s new phones. He called them apps. Joseph found the concept interesting, the idea of playing a game on your phone seemed huge.
Speedwagon also asked Joseph about school to which Erina glared at Joseph when he said that it was going fine and dandy.
“Is that so?” Speedwagon laughed as he saw Erina’s harsh gaze on him.
“Well I did get into one or two fights,” Joseph said confidently. Speedwagon proceeded to give him a questioning look. “They all deserved it. Everyone at my school thinks they’re better than the whole world because they have all this money.”
Speedwagon chuckled a bit at his response, but stopped when he saw Erina’s glare. He cleared his throat and was going to start scolding him when Joseph gave a look that said don’t even try it. The younger knew that the older male had gotten into a lot of fights when he was younger and had even been in a gang. He made Joseph’s work seem like child’s play.
“Well I do think that some people do change because of the money in their pockets,” he told Joseph in a knowing fashion. “But you’re going to have to learn how to deal with them without resorting to violence, especially since there’s going to be an addition to the school.”
Joseph felt dread build up in him. Another one?! How many hellish, stuck up brats did he have to go through until he was finally free of their ignorance. Not even a good beating could make them somewhat tolerable.
“Are you kidding?” Joseph roared as he leaned back in his chair. Frustration ran through him causing there to be a hard edge to his next words. “Can’t those hellish brats just go to someplace they can all feed off each other’s vanity?”
Speedwagon simply shook his head while Erina scowled at Joseph and his words. Joseph, on other hand, was feeling irked as all hell.
“Which family is it, because some of them or at least somewhat tolerable.” Joseph asked Speedwagon who smiled at him.
“The Zeppeli family.”
Joseph banged his head against the table repeatedly at the name of the family. He despised the group of Italians with every ounce of his being. They were the snottiest, most ill-mannered, and rudest people he’d ever met. If most of his classmates had a stick up their ass, then the Zeppeli children had a 30 foot iron rod shoved up there.
“No fucking way,” Joseph groaned slamming his head down again. “Please tell me you’re joking?”
“They’re not that bad Joseph,” Speedwagon said and pointed at the miserable male with his fork, “William Zeppeli, the grandfather of their children, used to fight with your grandfather.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that they’re all asshats.” Joseph pointed out which caused the older male to shake his head.
“And that doesn’t change the fact you’re going to have to deal with whoever their son is,” Speedwagon replied caused Joseph to growl under his breath. “Hey who knows you might become friends with him.”
“I’d rather lose my hand than become friends with a Zeppeli.”