Wicked Fate (The Wicked Trilogy)

By: Tabatha Vargo

Chapter 1

First Impressions

I can sum up the high school experience in one word—shitty. Spending an entire day going through the mundane motions of the learning process, while being surrounded by what can only be described as teenage zombies, merits the description. I wouldn’t even bother coming to school if it weren’t for the slightest chance that I might get a glimpse of him.

I’m getting that glimpse now as he leans against the milk cooler. Talking to the guy in front of him, he juggles a bottle of water and laughs out loud. His laughter is deep and inviting, yet unexpected since he’s usually a quiet guy. His dark hair shifts, then spills into his eyes as he nods at a cute girl that walks by. Getting his attention for even a nanosecond makes the girl blush, not that I can blame her.

No one seems to care that he’s holding up the line like he’s in the VIP section of a social club instead of standing in the lunch line. I guess looking the way he does earns you certain rights. He reaches up and runs his slender fingers through his chocolate hair causing his shirt to lift and giving everyone, including me, a brief teaser of hip-hanging jeans and golden-brown skin.

The crash of a water bottle and the aggravated sigh of the girl in front of me break my concentration. Badly dyed hair gets flicked at me as she spins around, attitude written on her face. But once she notices me, her tan skin pales before she rushes off without her tray.

Anyone else would apologize for not paying attention. If I thought for one second that she’d listen, I’d say sorry for knocking her stuff over. It’s really not my fault anyway, if he wasn’t eight people ahead of me looking like summer seduction on a stick, then maybe I could pay attention.

It’s simple…I blame him.

The small commotion does, however, earn me a brief hint of emerald green eyes as he peeks over at me. Like the girl before, the second of eye contact causes me to blush. I look down, covering my flushed face with my ebony hair.

He turns the corner in the line, and disappears from my sight.

As if waking up from a drug-induced state, my surroundings come back into focus and the noises of the room assail me—loud gossip and laughter fills my ears. The obnoxious sound hurts my overly-sensitive hearing and enhances the headache I’ve had since waking up. I massage my aching temples for relief.

The cafeteria at Summerville High holds more drama than a Lifetime movie. Last year, a fight broke out between two testosterone-filled boys over some loose and limber cheerleader. Sharing wasn’t caring for those two, and one of the boys got sent to the hospital with a broken nose. The year before that, there was a small fire in the “popular” corner. It was said that drugs were involved with the fire, but no one ever went to jail or anything.

I could blow up my table with a meth lab and no one would notice.

The big theatrical display of this year remains to be seen, since it’s the first day and all. My only hope is that it doesn’t involve me or anything that could add to my less than normal reputation.

I pass the frozen pizza that’s seared under the heating lamps before squeezing myself through the dreaded mile-long line. I grab the only edible thing on the menu, a fake chicken patty on a hard bun topped with shriveled lettuce, before hauling myself towards Mage’s Table.

It’s the same table I sat at freshman year and it’s the only empty table in the room. Sometimes I wonder if anyone sits here at any lunch period. Do people think I’m so disease-ridden that they won’t even sit at a table I use?

I look down at the word freak that’s carved into the faux wood from the year before. It’s thicker and bigger than the rest of the derogatory words. I cover the offensive word with my tray.

Don’t think about it, Mage.

Adam and his piercing, green eyes are nowhere in sight, so I focus on fading into the background.

The loud banging of the trays and chattering disappear as I slip in my ear buds and crank up the music.

Today’s turning out to be decent. So far, the gawking eyes have been kept to a minimum. So far, being the operative phrase. Maybe that means this year will be different, maybe it’ll be better.

I’ve lived most of my life on the outside of everything, which is totally fine by me. People around here don’t have much to say to me because, well…I’m different. There’s not really a polite way to put it, but apparently, not being like everyone else is completely unacceptable. Who knew?

It sounds a bit cliché, but I’m not your ordinary teenage girl. I’m unique, but not in the “cute-girl-who-dresses-a-little-awkward” kind of way. I’m unique in the “no-one-should-ever-come-near-me” kind of way, and no one ever does, with the exception of Adam—once.

I’m relieved that people stay away, but I’m curious to know what they think I’m capable of. It’s not like their hearts will stop by being near me. Maybe they think they’ll turn to stone if they look me. The truth is, I’ve never seriously hurt anyone—even though accidently hurting someone is a huge a fear of mine.

My fear of hurting someone, combined with their fear of getting hurt, makes for a very isolated school experience for me. No one ever looks at me, much less speaks to me. In their defense, it’s not like I exude a large amount of friendliness. It’s as if I don’t exist to them anymore and I prefer it that way. The less people bother me, the less effort I have to exert to control what is sometimes an uncontrollable thing.

Also By Tabatha Vargo

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