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The Art of Losing

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“Jimmy, get down here now or so help me I’ll send you back to that godforsaken orphanage!”

I groaned as I rolled around in my bed, taking my time to sit up and stumble to my closet to get my clothes (which I picked out after nearly twenty minutes of consideration last night before my bubble bath). Dad always had a funny sense of humor, threatening to “un-adopt” me. It’s funny because I know he’d never do that to me, I’m his only son!

The smell of bacon filled my head as I pranced down the stairs of our mansion. I slid into the kitchen, amazed at my own style and grace, to see my father sitting at the table with his newspaper and coffee.

“Breakfast smells good, dad,” I said excitedly. Dad never let me have fatty foods! Looks like he finally decided to let me live like the other kids do! I could almost taste the Cheetohs he must have hidden somewhere.

“Tell it to Lupe, that’s the helps’ food. Yours is right here,” he said, motioning to the protein shake at the other end of the table, not even looking up from his reading.

“Oh. Lupe, smells good,” I said, deflated. We sat in silence as we ate (while I drank, really). The only noise being from the paper crinkling or from the Mexican butlers and maids scuffling around and cleaning things that weren’t the slightest bit dirty.

Dad stood up and I followed him through the house and to the garage where he kept all his fancy sports cars. One of the few white butlers was already waiting in the black car that we always use for “unimportant” errands… like taking me to school. We clambered into the car and it took off at a safe speed. Dad didn’t look at me the entire time, but that’s okay because parents are supposed to be preoccupied with the sport pages.

The car stopped in front of my high school, where all the other kids were pulling into parking spots and talking to their friends in front of the gates.

“Dad, why don’t you let me drive to school?”

“Driving is dangerous for a kid, especially one as thoughtless as you.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t you have a math test today? Remember the rule, if you don’t pass it’s no Skittles for a week.”

Daaad,” I groaned. “I’m seventeen!” He reached for the door handle and I grabbed my bag to go. “Oh, dad, I have skate practice today, so I’ll be home late.”

He grunted some kind of response and I scurried out onto the pavement and up the steps to the building. He already drove off and I was almost across the street when a blur of black and leather sped past me, a foot away from my face! It almost hit me!

“HEY!” I called out to the blur, which slowed down in a parking spot. It was some punk on a motorcycle! “You almost hit me, you-you—” I stopped dead. The punk got off his bike (he didn’t even wear a helmet!) and turned to face me with the biggest smirk I’d even seen.

“Sorry, little girl. Must be in the wrong lot. Thought I was at the high school, not the daycare.” He laughed at his own joke.

“This is the high school, moron!”

“Could have fooled me, goldilocks.”

Who did this guy think he was? This was my domain and some cocky new student wasn’t going to ruin what I had going for me! He got closer to me and I smelled the distinct odor of AXE body spray and… taco meat? His hair was longer than mine and looked so rough but so soft at the same time. I wonder what it felt like—

“Hey, little lady; looking’s free but touching’s gonna cost ya.”

I retracted my hand, hoping nobody saw my faux pas. “Like I’d ever want to touch you; I’d need a chemical bath to get all the grease off!”

“Yeah you would.” He smirked again. What?

“What?”

The warning bell rang and I jumped. I’m never late and I’m not letting this forty-year-old-in-teenage-clothes interrupt my perfect record! I stuck my tongue out at him before running up the pavement to the front doors. I could feel his smirk and those stupid eyes burn through the back of the perfectly brushed hair on my head.

I rushed into my first class, a generic history class. Looking around I saw her—the perfect girl, the prettiest and smartest girl in the entire school: Katie Van Waldenberg. She was reviewing her notes before class and I couldn’t look away. She was perfection, and the desk next to hers was empty! I took a step toward her, knowing I could totally make my move today, when suddenly—

“Hey, Jimmy!”

I cringed. “Hey, Hector.”

“I saved you a seat!” he frantically patted the desk next to him. I sighed and begrudgingly sat with him. Hector was something else, always following me and starting clubs based around me, like the “Competitive Jimmy Fan Club.”

Class was about to start and I had my books and pencils out and ready to learn about history—right now it was the Opium Wars. Then my day got worse. God must hate me today, for when I looked up from my notebook I saw the worst possible sight: the punk who nearly killed me was standing in the doorway.

“Class,” my teacher called. “Welcome our new student, Charles Michaels. Charles, go sit with Jimmy over there, he can fill you in on what we’re learning.”

“It’s Chazz,” he sneered. “And who the hell is Jimmy?” Thunder cracked as the sky outside the window darkened into a sudden storm. Our eyes met and I could feel my veins fill with a passionate hatred. “Goldilocks? Should be fun,” he scoffed.

And so he sat down next to me, sandwiching me between the two people I couldn’t stand most. And there, across the room, was Katie. I could have been over there. I could have totally asked her out and passed love notes with her all class.

“Hey, little girl,” the personified smirk said. “Looks like we’re gonna get real close. Get ready for a little Chazzle-dazzle.”

“A little what?

As if on cue the fire alarm blared loudly. Our teacher herded us out into the halls and out the doors to the parking lot, where the rain poured down on us and the wind blew my perfect hair into a damp, fluffy mess. Everyone groaned and in the distance I heard a few teachers argue over the false alarm.

That’s when we were ushered back inside. Before we even reached the classrooms the principal was on the intercom, calling everyone to the auditorium for an emergency safety meeting of the entire school. I was again stuck sitting between that idiot Chazz and my stalker, while Katie was swept away into a crowd and was even further away from me. Even soaking wet she was perfect.

A metal flicking noise brought my attention to Chazz, who was playing with an old-looking lighter. “You idiot, put that away before we get in trouble!”

He just smirked at me for the millionth time and pocketed it. I huffed. Today couldn’t get any worse.

“STUDENTS OF COLORADO HIGH,” our principal boomed. “Our resource officer has found a burning cigarette in the boy’s bathroom in the science hall. As you all know, cigarettes are not permitted on school grounds and the perpetrator has caused the smoke alarm to go off. We will be inspecting lockers and class rooms for evidence of who caused this. We will be on a lockdown in here until we get to the bottom of this!”

My stomach dropped. There was no way. There was no way that idiot caused a fire hazard to get out of class! I couldn’t be trapped in this small room with four-hundred other people, away from Katie, near two idiots who smelled like soup and wet dog! No!

The bane of my existence leaned in close to my ear, his breath tickling my skin. “Chazzle-dazzle.”