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Hargrove

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First period. History with Mrs.Langham, or “Mrs Lang” on a good day when her husband isn’t spending so much time with his mother than with her. You sat poised in your assigned seat at the very front of the class, smack bang in the middle row. You watched with sophisticated intent as your teacher sprawled out details of the revolutionary war upon the dusted over black board. At this time of year when the seasons had settled and the spirit of halloween began to intensely consume everyone’s October lives, your school hours began to calm as teachers seemed more concerned about how they were going to manipulate the halloween season to get students to be more interactive in their classes.

With the dull and lifeless droning of Miss Langham’s voice, paired with the early hours of the school morning, you observed as your history class peers dozed off and entertained one another with Hawkins high’s latest tall-tales and teenage gossip rather than paying any notice to what was happening in today’s lesson, everyone except you. Instead you sat in your forward on position in your seat jotting down specific bullet points and information regarding who did what when and where what happened in regards to the war that won your country’s independence.

You sat silent. Everything around you was clouded by the intensity of your own concentration, a habit you’d developed from a childhood governed by the numerous expensive and strict tutors your parents had hired to get you a head start on your education. Since then, you’ve excelled in all of your classes throughout your schooling, earning the title of one of Hawkins’ most respected honour students, both socially and academically praised because of it, therefore lying the reason that you were the only one paying close attention to the lesson playing out in front of you, whilst your classmates swapped gossiping whispers behind you.

“Did you see the new guy this morning?” A feminine voiced chirped quietly.

“Oh my gosh, yes, and did you see his car?” Another sang cheekily.

As their whispers continued behind you, your focus fought with your curiosity as you desperately tried to block them out. To your own dismay, you are human, and a teenager at that, and from time to time you can’t help but indulge in the joys of being a teenager, if only for a moment. You watched Miss Langham closely as she continued to drone on about the war and wrote up crucial information as she spewed it. You watched and waited for an opening, for a moment in which you could engage with the girls behind you without getting singled out for not paying attention. Within seconds she picked up the old blue dusted history textbook from her desk to copy out information she hadn’t already memorized onto the blackboard, providing you with the perfect opportune moment to join in the conversation.

You swiveled your body around, immediately capturing the attention of the group, “I don’t mean to ease drop, but did you say something about a new guy?” You whispered coyly.

Carol shifted her eyes from left to right, examining her surroundings with such smugness. She looked looked as if she was about to reveal the information of a celebrity scandal she’d been forbidden to talk about, which only seemed to peak your interest.

“He just arrived this morning in a sexy blue Camaro.” She purred, “and apparently, he moved all the way from California to Hawkins. Isn’t that crazy?” Carol exclaimed in a whisper.

“It honestly just makes him hotter.” Tina added with a giggle, earning exaggerated gasps of surprise and a wave of mischievous giggles from the group.

You laughed along with them, despite having missed Tina’s comment, your mind adrift somewhere else. As the girls continued to exchange stories and information about Hawkins high’s hottest new gossip topic, your thoughts remained elsewhere as you pondered who exactly this new guy was and what in the world he was doing moving to Hawkins of all places. It baffled you to think that anyone from somewhere as lively and rambunctious as California would move to Hawkins. Yes, it was common for people from large cities to move and settle in small towns for new beginnings and fresh starts, yet such things never happened in Hawkins, nothing ever really happened in Hawkins. At least that’s what most thought anyway. Living in Hawkins for the most part of your life no one had ever been known to move from somewhere that big and that far just to settle down in your town. No one except for you.

Before you were able to piece your thoughts together, the flow of your concentration is interrupted by a familiar grating voice calling your name.

“Miss Y/L/N.” She repeated.

You leerily turned around to see Mrs.Langham standing in front of your desk, arms firmly planted upon her hips. She stared down at you disappointedly, her thick rimmed glasses sitting loosely on the bridge of her nose.

“I expect better from you, young lady,” She scolded, “but since you have so much to say, would you care to tell me who our first president, George Washington’s right hand man was during the war?” She had a smug expression slapped across her features, expressive and obvious through the way her lips tightened and her brows cocked.

The question was sudden, and you weren’t paying attention but you didn’t need to in order for you to answer, and although it may be rude you looked forward to putting her in her place.

“Uh, Alexander Hamilton, Ma’am. The main author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration and one out of the seven key founding fathers.” You finished with a sickly sweet smile.

“Well done, Miss Y/L/N, well done indeed, although I expect no less from you from now on.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Happily contempt with your impressive display of intellect she strode over to her desk proudly, internally praising herself for your own genius despite none of it being to her credit. A few minutes flew by before that same mundane ring of the bell echoed throughout the halls; at last, the end of first period. You hurriedly packed up yours things, wanting to get out as soon as possible you hadn’t been bothered to put away your textbooks. You had waited in anticipation for the remainder of your history lesson, prohibited from finding out anything else about this Californian new guy if you waited to stay on good terms with Mrs.Langham, and with class over you had a chance to group up with your friends to find out more, because if anyone knew about any new arrival it’d be Steve.

As you walked through the halls of Hawkins high, you notice yourself closely scanning those who pass you by, watching to see if you could find any unrecognizable faces in the sea of familiarity. It was cliché, but oddly you felt a weird connection with whoever this guy was. Much like him, you weren’t from Hawkins, you were from Washington, and you knew the heartbreak and detachment that came from abruptly leaving behind the only place you’ve ever called home, only to be suddenly being somewhere completely foreign to what you’ve known.

Despite moving to somewhere quite the opposite to Washington, you knew Hawkins fairly well. Every summer break your parents would send you and your older brother to Hawkins to stay with your grandmother. When she fell severely ill, unable to care for herself, your parents decided to buy a house in Hawkins so they could move and take care of her since she sternly refused to be admitted to a retirement home. Looking back now, you’re certain she just wanted her family back with her one last time. When she finally passed, you never moved back to Washington. Your parents liked the quiet, they liked the atmosphere, and it was easier for them to work in a secluded area rather than a loud and hectic city, and it wasn’t like they’d have any trouble traveling elsewhere for work, if need be. Since then, you’ve lived in Hawkins, but you never stopped missing the life you left behind in Washington.

You proceeded to scan the faces of the students who passed you by, with none seeming to stick out. Your eyes continued to browse when your gaze landed on three familiar faces, faces in which you were rather over joyed to see. You began to speed up your step to catch up with the group when of course, Steve and Nancy shamelessly display their affection to everyone passing, by making out in the hallway. You can clearly see the discomfort in Jonathan’s face as he slips away from the two and you can’t help but giggle at the motion; these were you’re closest friends, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Not wanting to third wheel the couple, you decided to pass them by and catch up with Jonathan instead as you had the same class.

“Hey, Nance!” You called out as you ran past the pair, “Hey, Steve!” You greeted.

When you finally caught up to Jonathan’s side, from the momentum you’d built up trying to catch up to him, you lightly placed your hands on his shoulders and used them to assist lifting you off the ground for the jumping greeting you decided give Jonathan. “Hey there, shutterbug!” You announced giddily upon landing on the smooth hallway floor.

“Hey, jumpy” He replies timidly, yet still mockingly so. “How’s it going?” He says, looking down at you curiously.

“Pretty good, found out I aced my history test.” You answer with a gushing smile.

“As usual.” Jonathan comments with a half smirk.

“Shut up,” You nudge him playfully, “How about you?”

“Same old, same old. Had English first period, so y’know.” He shrugs. You know.

A lot of your casual conversations were simple and plain, but you enjoyed them thoroughly. So much so, you found yourself often looking forward to them during the day. It’s always been like this between you and Jonathan. One minute you could be talking about the dullness of your school days and the next you two could fall down a hole of what the true function of the male nipple is, no matter what, it was always refreshing with him and it’d been like this since the beginning. Your grandmother used to babysit Jonathan in the summers you would visit so naturally you spent a lot of time together, and just as naturally a friendship blossomed between the two of you, and your move to Hawkins only strengthened your bond. The two of you grew closer with age and even though you had managed to branch out and make more friends over the course of your school years, whereas Jonathan seemed to become more recluse and isolated himself off from others, you always had him within arms reach. He was more than a friend after all, arguably more than family.

The two of you continued to walk and talk about the most odd topics you could conjure up to discuss, when out of the corner of your eye a glint of vibrant blonde hair flashed in your passing sight. From what you could see, it had been styled in a way you had only ever seen on rock stars on TV. Accompanying such a hairstyle, you saw that their body had been fully covered in light denim which seemed to cling to them in all the right areas. It was natural for the school halls to be crowded, but it seemed that whoever this rockstar-esque person was, had a small group of people trailing after them.

Initially you were intrigued, but for the most part it just seemed odd. Who could possibly be so important (at Hawkins no less) that they could cause a band of people to follow after them so desperately? Despite thinking it silly, due to your curious nature, you still wanted to know who it was, and judging by the attention, all signs pointed to it being the new guy. You stopped mid conversation to turn around and get a better look, Jonathan walking a few steps ahead of you before stopping to see you weren’t by his side. Your eyes darted over the waves of students, your head tilting and feet tip toeing to get a better view, focussed on finding that same cluster of unruly blonde hair and denim, but just as quickly as it’d appeared, it seemed to melt away into the ocean of Hawkins teenagers.

“Hey, are you okay?” You heard a small voice peep in front of you.

It was calm and quiet but it’s familiarity dragged you out of your own mind and landed you back into reality. Looking in front of you, you see Nancy now standing before you with an expression of concern and confusion painted across her features, mellowed out by her trademark Nancy Wheeler smile.

“Oh, hey! No, yeah, I’m fine.” You said giggling at the realisation of your own distraction.

“Okay, good.” She sighed, linking her arm with yours, “You scarred me for a second there.” She continued, pulling you along to meet up at Jonathan’s side.

“Sorry about that, I just thought I saw the new guy everyone’s been talking about.” You laughed.

“New guy?” Jonathan asked, looking cluelessly between the two of you.

You simply shrugged in reply, being just as clueless as him on the matter.

“Wait- I think I saw him this morning?” Nancy chirped, drawing both yours and Jonathan’s attention, “Yeah, I was helping Steve with college applications when some guy shows up in the parking lot in a blue Camaro.”

“Seriously? A Camaro?” Jonathan asked with furrowed eyebrows, jaw practically dropped.

“A blue one too.” You added cheekily, hiding your mischievous smile. Your comment earning a playful bump from Jonathan.

“Yes, a blue Camaro.” Nancy giggled, “I think he has a sister in Mike and Will’s grade too?”

“So, what grade’s the brother in?”

“Ours? Maybe Steve’s?”

With no other curiosities, you nodded with content as the three of you continued to walk to your classes. You felt comforted by the fact that Jonathan was just as oblivious to the situation as you were, at least you weren’t the only one out of the loop.

“On another note,” Nancy began, “Unlike Jonathan, I expect to be seeing you at Tina’s Halloween party?” She continued, practically bouncing with anticipation.

Your lips tightened and your eyes narrowed as you scrunched your face in response, humming in a higher tone than your usual. Parties were never really your thing, yet you weren’t opposed to the idea, but you had other commitments you tended to prioritise over parties. You had your job, school work and grades, not to mention all of the clubs you were involved in that added to your busy schedule. So, just like all the others, you weren’t planning on going, even if Nancy begged you to change your mind.

“Come on, y/n! Don’t be a party pooper like Jonathan-“ She whined.

“Hey-” Jonathan interjected, half offended.

“Oh, hush, you know you are.”

Jonathan scoffed.

“I dunno, Nance? I’m just so busy with work and school, a-and I’ve got cheer practice as well-”

“Please, y/n? It’s just one night.” Nancy pleaded with clasped hands. You laughed at her seeming desperation, but with how anxious she was to have you there it was almost impossible to say no to her.

“Maybe, okay? I’ll think about it.” You sighed, flashing her a reluctant smile.

Nancy clapped her hands together happily and quickly wrapped you in a hug of excitement.

“I’ll take that as a yes” She exclaimed, flashing you a triumphant smile, “and I will see you two after bio”

With that Nancy skipped off down the hall towards the science labs, leaving you and Jonathan at the entry of your shared calculus class. As students began to flood into the room past you, you noticed Jonathan looking straight ahead smugly, avoiding eye contact with you. His arms were tightly tucked into his pockets by his sides as he tried to hide the mischief that was so clearly written across his face.

You looked up at him with narrowed eyes and pursed lips before speaking, “What?” You stated bluntly, piercing him with narrowed eyes.

Finally looking down at you, you can see just how pleased Jonathan looks. You stare at him expectantly, which only seems to amuse Jonathan’s more.

“You’re so easy.” He says chuckling and shaking his head at how easily Nancy had coerced you into (basically) saying you’d go to the Halloween party. He’s now leaning against the door frame of the classroom, still laughing at your own dismay.

“I am not!” You protest.

“You so are.” He detests, “I just said no.”

“Wait- You’re seriously not going?”

“Nope, I’m taking Will trick or treating. Plus, me and parties don’t really mix.”

“Ugh, really? Can’t I just, I don’t know, come with you? I’ll help look out for Will and I haven’t seen the kids in ages and I just-“ As much as you wanted to plead your way out of it, by the way Jonathan stood there with crossed arms and content facials, you could tell that there was no way out of it. Yet, it wasn’t his expression that gave it away, it was the familiar look in his eyes you’ve seen too many times before. He was studying you; listening without taking it in since you both knew there’s no turning back.

You slump your head and shoulders, sighing heavily, “I’m going to that party aren’t I?”

Jonathan pushes himself off the door frame and places a hand on your shoulder, squeezing it lightly.

“Hey,” He speaks with a soften tone. You look up at him with an exaggerated bummed out expression, “You’ll have fun, I know you will. Besides you definitely fit in with that crowd a lot better than I do and you’ll have Nancy and Steve with you too”

You reply with a groan, but you can’t help but smile when Jonathan laughs at your extravagant reactions.

“It’ll be fine,” He drags the ‘i’, “Plus, you might get to hang out with that new guy you’ve been looking for so much.”

“I don’t-“ Is all you can manage before your words are caught in your throat, and before you can recollect yourself, Jonathan’s already walking into the class and finding his assigned seat near the back of the room. You follow his lead and sit down in your seat beside him. “Shut up.” Is the best comeback you could think of.

Jonathan simply chuckles and ready’s his books for class.

You had to admit to yourself that Jonathan wasn’t one hundred percent off the mark with his last remark. Your curiosity had been peaked and in a town where seemingly nothing happens you couldn’t help but find yourself interested in the new and exciting strangers from California.

From then on your classes went by like a breeze as the majority of your teachers were focussed on incorporating the topic of halloween into their lessons rather than the actual subject lesson. It was corny but nonetheless entertaining. As your day drawled on, you were surprised to find no trace of this supposed ‘new guy’, you were beginning to wonder if there even was one. Were your classmates all in on the this joke about a new kid from California? If you were honest with yourself, you wouldn’t be surprised if it was all a rumour. Hawkins wasn’t exactly the most exciting town to live in. As a matter of fact the last most exciting thing to happen other than the sudden disappearance, death and revival of Will Byers was when your family moved to town, other than that, Hawkins was as dry as a desert when it came to eventfulness.

Before you knew it, it was your last period. You had senior english with Steve and Nancy, a class in which you had both been moved up a grade; a natural progression as a result of your grades. While Nancy and Steve sat closer than need be in a classroom, you sat beside them, quietly listening to your walkman since your teacher, Mr.Harlock, had so carelessly popped in a tape for the class to watch while he reclined in his chair for an afternoon nap. That’s when it happened, the door to your classroom opened with purpose as Hawkins high’s principal stepped in, causing Mr.Harlock to whip forward in his seat.

“Good afternoon, seniors,” She paused, eyebrows raised at your teacher, “Mr.Harlock.”

“G-good afternoon, Ms.Valli,” He stuttered, trying to compose himself. “What seems to be the occasion of your visit?”

“Class, we have a new student joining us at Hawkin’s high. I am here simply because he had seemed to lose his way to this class, so I thought I would escort him.” The sarcasm was blatant in her speech. “Therefore, I would like to introduce you to Mr.Hargrove.”

With that, a tall and rugged figure walked through the door. He was the spitting image of confidence and trouble, all clad in denim and hair product. He was who everyone at Hawkins High tried to be, but failed tremendously, you could hardly believe your own eyes.

“Feel free to introduce yourself, Mr.Hargrove.” Ms.Valli continued.

He looked over the room of dumbfounded stares and smirked, “The name’s Billy. Billy Hargrove.” His voice was gruff yet smooth, more matured than a teenager’s should be, leaving you and what seemed like half of your class speechless.

“Oh, so you’re the Californian, huh?” Commented Mr.Harlock.

“That I am.” Ms.Valli then cleared her throat with expectancy. Billy merely looked at her with defiant eyes before complying with a simply, “Sir.” to conclude his sentence.

“If he’s any trouble, you let me know. I’ve had two of his teachers come to me already.”

“Will do, ma’am.”

The principal then proceeds to exit the classroom, leaving Billy to stand before your class in an aura of superiority.

“Alright then Mr.Hargrove, you may take the free seat at the back of the class.” Your teacher directed before continuing to play the film.

You watched as he walked down the rows of students to his newly assigned desk. You watched as your classmates stared up at him as if he were some kind of celebrity, an idol, a deity, and understandably so, he was definitely a sight to behold. Although, you were more intrigued by the fact that there was legitimately a new student at Hawkins high. Yes, his looks were something to behold but his presence was a rarity which sparked your interest more than anything.

He’d taken up the desk three seats over from yours at the back of the class. You wouldn’t normally be seated so far from the front, but Steve and Nancy insisted. For the remainder of that class you kept sneaking involuntary glances across at him. He leaned back in his seat carelessly as he etched whatever defacement he’d thought of into the desk’s surface. His hair was styled to look messy, but you could tell it was done thoughtfully so. His personality screamed indifference, but his clothing labeled him with desired popularity. He was definitely an anomaly in Hawkins. An anomaly you couldn’t keep your eyes off.

Before you knew it class was over, and Nancy was dragging you out the door alongside Steve who looked more in love than ever.

“So I was thinking we could go in themed costumes y’know like we could-“

“Uuuh, I wasn’t really gonna dress up for the party.”

“What? Why not?” Nancy said in a puppy soft voice.

“You know me Nance, I’m not really into all that stuff.” Steve said, guiltily rubbing the back of his head.

Their conversation went on, but you were disinterested, your mind still on Billy. You got to your locker and let the couple continue their usual petty argument beside you as you loaded and unloaded schools books. It wasn’t until you shut your locker that you caught a glimpse of the anomaly himself. His locker had been located on the opposite wall across from yours. A sudden determination came over you. You didn’t know what it was, but you wanted to make yourself known to likes of him.

“I’m gonna go introduce myself.” You blurted out, shutting your locker behind you.

“Oh, Y/N, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea-“ but it was too late, you had already made your way into the crowded stream of students to meet Billy on the other side.

You took in a deep breath and with that, “Hey there,” You said sweetly.

He looked down at you with hungry eyes, giving off no intention of speaking.

“It’s Billy, right? We’re in Mr.Harlock’s English class together.” You smiled.

“Funny,” He said leaning against his locker, now facing you, “You don’t look like a senior.”

“Oh, I’m not, I’m a junior. I was moved up a grade for English.” You laughed, attempting to seem more relatable.

“Is that right?” He replied lowly, a smirk plastered across his lips as he looked you up and down like a predator does it’s prey.

“I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m-“ Before you can finish, Billy cuts you off.

“Oh, I know who you are, Y/N.” Your name feels dark rolling off his lips, unlike any other way you’ve heard your name spoken before, “and I got one question for you, sweetheart. What is it that you want from me?” With that sentence, Billy’s entire composure shifts. He’s no longer looking at you like he could devour you in seconds, his gaze is now cutting through you with malicious intent; you’re nervous.

“I’m not sure I get what you mean-“

“I said what do you want from me?”

“Why would I want something from you?” You ask timidly, trying to make sense of Billy’s brash question to which you had no answer.

“Well, from what I’ve been told, considering that you’re known around school as Hawkins high’s signature good girl, next to Wheeler over there,”

“Good girl?” You interject, slightly aggravated. Billy only talks over you.

“Y’know, perfect grades, perfect life, a scholarly reputation, and I bet you belong to at least a club or two. With all that under your prim belt, I have serious doubts that you would waltz your ass over to me without a motive. So, what is it, Princess?”

You look up at Billy, at a loss for words. It was a rhetorical question, yet you could see he still examined your face for any sign of an answer. How could you say anything, when really there was nothing to say? Normally you would’ve stood your ground, called Billy out on his rude and crude behavior, but in that moment he had you stumped. Be it the way his eyes burned right through you with their piercing blue, or the way that Billy had gotten progressively closer towards you, close enough that he was looming above you like a grim reaper; you were stunned, and all you could do was study him.

“That’s what I thought.” He spat, finally breaking the intense silence between the two of you. “Now, you stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of yours, okay sweetheart?”

With that sentence, Billy firmly jolted himself off the lockers he’d leaned on and walked past you, acting as if your encounter hadn’t just happened. That was it, your first encounter with the now infamous new kid, Billy Hargrove.