It was an accident. This was never supposed to happen.
Maggie is 12 when she hears her mother tell her that her impulsiveness will be the death of her. It wasn’t the first time she’d instinctively jumped without preparing for the fall, but what she’s looking at right now might just take the cake as far as her lack of foresight goes.
The angry red backlighting of the alarm clock on the nightstand next to the unmade bed tells her it’s 3:43 a.m., and that she should be asleep. Only problem is, it’s not her alarm clock, and the edge of the bed she’s perched on, fully clothed, is not her own. And the chin-length reddish brown hair splayed across a pillow on the other side of the bed belongs to one Alexandra Danvers. Alex. Easily the smartest girl in their class, a good girl. Studies hard. Follows rules. Fucks like a goddess.
The last part was a shock to Maggie. She never expected to get this deep, to have no idea how to get herself out, and to not want to. She shouldn’t be hesitant to leave this girl in the middle of the night, to sneak out of the bedroom window in the suburbs back into the tiny studio apartment she keeps in the “ghetto” until she finishes high school and can get the fuck out of here. But it’s who she is, and it’s what this is, and she has an image to uphold. Without a backwards glance, Maggie resolutely climbs out Alex’s window, resisting the urge to kiss her one last time, if only to cement the unreality of the moment.
Maggie is what most adults would call a ‘problem child.’ After being put into the system four years ago when her mother suddenly passed, she bounced around foster homes until she turned 18 and could legally be on her own. With a rap sheet filled with unorthodox petty crimes, skinny jeans with more holes than material, and a beat-up motorcycle jacket, she fulfills every stereotype of a bad girl (the tattoos peeking out of the collars and sleeves of her shirts don’t seem to hurt her image either).
Alex had always been the golden child. Shortly after her 14th birthday, however, the Danvers family took in a foster child, and suddenly Alex was entirely responsible for an 11-year-old she barely knew. Alex threw herself into her studies, never stopping for anyone or anything, on the fast track to being the school’s first female valedictorian in the last 10 years. She knew of Maggie, everyone did, but she never got any closer than that. After all, everyone said that Maggie was trouble, and she had an 11-year-old to watch out for. Plus, she wasn’t gay.
Somehow, they made it to senior year without ever having to interact. Alex took all AP classes, and Maggie barely showed up to school enough to pass the state’s basic educational requirements. But physical education, unfortunately for Maggie, is a necessary course for graduation, and she promised her mother that she would at least get a high school degree, so she usually shows up for it.
The first day of gym class senior year is when she first really notices Alex.
To be fair, she’s never not noticed Alex before, but Alex is usually surrounded by a group of equally ambitious, academically-oriented people while Maggie tends to fly solo. Something about being Latina and gay with a juvie record a mile long is enough to send people running in the opposite direction. Shocking, she knows, in a town like this. So really, it’s the first time she notices Alex like that. Her little self-righteous rant to her friends while heading back into the locker room about Maggie chain-smoking on the bleachers instead of running the mile with the rest of the class is pretty fucking adorable actually, and the dangerous smirk it elicits is clearly not the message Alex intended for her to receive. Still, it sticks, as does the blush that rises to Alex’s cheeks when she realizes that Maggie overheard the whole thing, hastily excusing herself to her next class. It’s enough to make Maggie start to wonder.
Next class, Maggie starts off by hooking her aviators on the dip of her white V-neck, further exposing the black script scrawled along the line of her collarbone. She leans against the fence, ditching the cigarettes for the chance to observe. It doesn’t take long for Alex to approach her.
“Can you stop? All my friends are harassing me about you staring,” Alex says in a huff.
Surprisingly, Maggie finds herself backing down to the wonder that is Alex Danvers.
“So I like looking at pretty things. Sue me,” she quips, enjoying the dull flush Alex tries so so hard to will away. But she stops, and Alex goes back to her life, steadily ignoring one Margarita Sawyer. Maggie almost regrets it.
Maggie keeps barely scraping by and Alex is the wonder girl and they have nothing in common. At least, that what they both think when they’re finally forced to interact on a regular basis as assigned workout partners in gym. It’s the brainchild of some clueless idiot who clearly doesn’t understand that Maggie does not exercise voluntarily- that is, when she’s not in immediate danger of being arrested for something or other- or that even that sort of strenuous activity is only reserved for emergencies. For example, last Wednesday she nearly got caught in the act by some overzealous rookie cop after spray-painting a landscape on the back of an abandoned building. She was forced to make a break for it, ditching the cop by gracefully scaling a fire escape in a nearby alley and covering three-quarters of a mile on rooftops before descending back to street level. Affectionate vandalism is what she calls it. Destruction of private property is what the cop calls it. She vastly prefers her definition.
Alex Danvers is clearly not aware of this crucial fact, or chooses to blatantly ignore it. Maggie isn’t sure which is worse, mostly because Danvers insists on doing everything at maximum effort. It’s so beyond unnecessary that Maggie takes to purposely doing everything she can to slow the overachiever down (It’s not cute when she gets all frustrated and pouty. Not at all. At least, that’s what she tells herself). And if it takes blatant flirting and innuendo to distract Alex from her task, well, a girl’s gotta do something to amuse herself.
Normally, Maggie would be fine with pretending to be completely winded after running a single lap around the school track, feigning an asthma attack to get out of whatever running remained. But she’s a senior now, and a fairly confident one at that. Plus, the years of protecting herself against the world have left her body and mind hardened to whatever abuse a high school gym class could send her way. So as Danvers confidently races around the track, Maggie decides to up her game a little from her usual bullshit. Suddenly, she’s only 25 meters behind the other girl, fully enjoying the view.
Danvers catches her staring as she rounds the curve, and falters just slightly, but enough for Maggie to know that her plan had its intended effect. Still, she easily catches up to the other girl, noticing how they’re pretty evenly matched in their pace, despite Maggie’s obvious height disadvantage. She gets an eye roll and a dramatic huff out of Danvers when she stretches out for the win in the final 50 meters, not breathing nearly as hard as she should be from nearly sprinting a full mile. The gym teacher is flabbergasted, to say the least; he had no idea that Maggie could even exercise in the first place, much less keep pace with and outkick a star athlete like Alex Danvers.
There’s almost a mutual respect now. As Columbus Day weekend approaches, Danvers has slightly loosened up her drill sergeant approach, at least in regards to gym class. Everything is still a competition with the two of them, but now there’s a little trash talk mixed in. And if Maggie takes every opportunity to flirt with and fluster Danvers, well, that would just be a happy accident.