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Sierra Winchester Sierra Winchester
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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

Jayne walked into the school quickly, head down, because her earbuds were distracting her enough and she had to watch her feet to make sure she didn't fall. Per usual, All Time Low was blasting into her eardrums and she was dressed in her typical fashion: messy bun that she threw up in less than a minute, long Arctic Monkeys sweater, leggings with a complicated pattern and black converse.

  Jayne wasn't popular, per say, but she certainly wasn't a loner. Jayne was friends with what many call the outcasts and the rejects. Jayne befriended the book worms, the screamo kids, the drama nerds and so on.

  Everyone else knew of her name. How could you not? The school was small, only about one hundred and thirteen students milled about the halls of Calico High School. Therefore, everyone knew everyone else. The jocks knew the geeks and the party kids knew the introverts, simple as that, but that isn't to say any of them hung out outside of school.

  She was walking towards her first period, math with Mr. Tailor, a tall man with a bit of a beer gut back from his drinking days. Obviously, she waved to a few of her buddies and sat down quietly in the back of class.

  "Hello, Ms. Willow," Mr. Tailor said, kindly.

  "Hello, Mr. Tailor," Jayne responded with a smile, taking out her earbuds and sliding them into the hood of her sweatshirt a bit.

  He smiled a bit, turning and greeting the other students that walked in. Soon enough, the room was filled with students, chatting idly amongst themselves.

  "Quiet, kids, quiet," Mr. Tailor called, just barely above his normal voice. Everyone quieted, because that's how it worked. Mr. Tailor spoke and you were quiet, he was nice, but could be stern.

  He began teaching the lesson, something about trigonometry, but Jayne wasn't really paying attention. Jayne was too busy inserting her earbuds again and leaning back. This was her junior year, and she was in all AP classes. Since she was a good student, paying attention wasn't something she typically did. She observed more than anything, but she didn't mind. She enjoyed being a wallflower.

  During her look around, Jayne noticed a few new things. Riley Williams had dyed the tips of her black hair a vibrant blue, Noah Spunk had gotten new glasses, and Trina Michaels had broken her leg. Most importantly, though, Daniel had joined her class. Daniel was something different. Different from anything Jayne had ever seen before.

Daniel was a bad boy, the stereotypical bad boy, to be exact. Daniel had tattoos covering a large portion of his body, smoked Camel cigarettes and occasionally wore leather jackets. More often than not, he just kept his "hipster" style, though.

  Daniel slumped down in the seat in front of Jayne. Jayne was just as her name suggested to Daniel, plain- Plain Jayne. Mr. Tailor began droning on and on about tree-anomatry, or shapes or something. Daniel didn't know, nor did he care. This was just another boring class in his school regime. One final year and he would be done and could leave and get out of this place for good. This deadbeat town, this dumb school and away from all the vegetables of people.

  Daniel could feel the slight urge to get a cigarette. He only had a slight addiction to the nicotine, but he missed the feeling of an accurately named cancer stick hanging from his clenched jaw as a warmth spread over his body and the smoke wafted out of his mouth.

  Mr. Tailor was an okay teacher and a pretty good guy, but he knew about Daniel's bad habit. Everyone did in this tiny, dingy town. So, he probably wouldn't let Daniel out for a quick light. Still, Daniel wanted to try.

  Before he could even raise a finger on his hand, Jayne did. Due to how amazing of a student Jayne is, Mr. Tailor called upon her.

  "Sir, may I go to the nurse, I'm not feeling too well," Jayne said in a soft tone, mascara'd eyes squinting a bit in obvious pain.

  With a sympathetic smile and a quick nod of his head, Mr. Tailor agreed. "Of course. Who would like to walk Jayne down?" He inquired, glancing around the class of seventeen.

  Daniel raised his hand and stood, "I will, sir."

  All eyes shot up to stare at him, but they quickly calmed down. They knew Daniel wanted a smoke, so it wasn't a big deal that he was to take her down.

  Mr. Tailor didn't once disagree, allowing Daniel to loop his arm through Jayne's and lead her out of the classroom with a crumpled pass in her hand.

  "Daniel, I can walk alone.. I'll be fine," Jayne whispered, trying not to lean against him as she got dizzy.

  "Nah. It's okay. I'll walk ya," He grinned at her cheekily and kept walking with her.

  Jayne sighed, just nodding. A migraine was thrusting itself into her temples and she felt sick. This was typical, though. Music kept her migraines away, oddly enough. Not a single doctor could figure out what any of this meant, but they agreed it helped. Sadly, it didn't always help when she was in class, because her attention wasn't focused solely on her music and a dark room.

  Daniel stopped outside the nurses office and quickly pulled her back a few feet, "What the-" Jayne began, but Daniel cut her off with his large hand covering her mouth.

  "Stop. Wait. Don't go in there... I don't know how bad of a gag reflex you've got, but someone is hurling their guts up in there..." Daniel mumbles a bit, blocking her view from the window.

  "Oh..." She nods slightly, "Thank you.."

  "Yeah.. C'mon." He takes her hand and leads her outside, onto the curb with him.

  Daniel flicks his lighter and lights up the cigarette, but doesn't offer one to Jayne. He knows she won't take it.

  "Just relax. It'll pass." He promises, getting the same types of migraines when he goes a few months without cigarettes.

Waiting on the stoop of the cement curb outside Calico High for a bus or a friend to pick you up was typical. Waiting on the stoop of the cement curb outside Calico High for someone to finish puking so you could relax in the back room of the nurses office? Well, that isn't very usual. Nor is it usual for a good girl, especially for Jayne Willow, to be waiting with the notorious Daniel Sanders.

The minutes drag by in silence. Daniel smoked, staring off at the road of cars that drove by at a leisurely pace. Jayne just relaxed, laying back against the solid ground and closing her eyes against the bright morning sun.

  After a while, Daniel pipes up, snubbing the end of his smoke on the pavement at his feet, "So... I'm just wondering, but why don't you just skip when you get migraines?"

  With a sigh, Jayne forces herself up and looks him in the eye as sarcasm drips from her words, "Maybe because, unlike you, I want to get somewhere in life and actually be a member of society. Or the fact that I'm not that bad of a person, or just that I'm a good person."

  Instead of being stunned, like Jayne was expecting, Daniel burst into peals of laughter, gripping his stomach as he practically rolls around. Once Daniel regains control of himself he grins, "God, you're a smart ass! And hot, too! Maybe that's why Mayers likes you."

  Jayne kept her jaw from dropping. Mayers liked her? THE Steven Mayers like her?? Impossible. Unfathomable.  Inconceivable. He was the biggest jock in school and the most popular. Surely, be couldn't like simple Jayne.

  Realizing what he had done, Daniel shrugs a bit, "Don't tell him, yeah? I wasn't meant to tell you. He just has a small crush on you."

  She nods slightly in understanding. Steven liking her was massive, although she didn't like him back. Jayne wasn't the type of person to get crushes, let alone such cliche crushes. The only reason she even cared about this was because her friends would be completely flabbergasted about the monumental news.

  Yet again, the two lapse into a calm silence. Jayne's headache was going away, oddly enough. That, of course,  made no sense to her. Music and a dark room had been the only two things to ever help her rid herself of the agony the migraines brought. Nothing else ever helped, no matter how strong the pills or how hard they tried.

  Surely enough, Daniel was the one to begin speaking again, "I think it's safe to go in, again."

With a nod, Jayne stood, with Daniel's hand pulling a bit of her weight as well. Together, the two walk inside quietly and stopped twice, once at Daniel's locker so he could spurt some aftershave on-hiding the overwhelming scent of smoke- and the second time because they had arrived.

  "Guess this is adios," Daniel grinned crookedly, "See ya next period, Willow!" With a deliberate wink and a smirk, Daniel turned on his heel and walked off.

  Jayne found herself smiling at his back, but soon enough dropped it. Why was she smiling? She barely knew the jerk, and anyway, he was a bad boy. He was someone you didn't want to get affiliated with. No matter what.

Life returns to its usual within the next day. Jayne finishes all her homework days early and Daniel slacks off, even if he was in AP trig. Although, Jayne did wonder about that. How had he slipped in? He was a terrible student. She tried not to think about it much, though. She shouldn't. Daniel wasn't the type of guy she wanted to be associated with, end of story.

  As for Daniel, he resumes his typical way of doing things. He mouthes off to teachers and smokes whenever he got the chance. He could be spotted at any party anywhere, and he was always with a girl. Typically a girl from a few towns away, since not many here will shack up with him.

  Although their lives continued as if their time on the curb never happened, they were both changed. Isn't it odd, how fifteen minutes with someone you don't even know can change your life? Every single aspect altered so radically it's amazing. Especially so when nothing physical is out of place.

  So, as the two ignore each other, except for the side of snark that each dished out during appropriate times, they tried to forget the time spent together. Both could tell something was different though, and as the story goes, Daniel 'found' her number from a friend and texted her.

  "Hey, sweet thang. Can we, like, hang after school or something?" Daniel sent Jayne that lunch period and when her phone vibrated from the pocket of her torn jeans she fished it out and read it in slight shock.

  "Daniel? What? How did you even come across my number? Never mind that... I guess...." Jayne replied quickly before leaving it on her lap as she finished off her bag of chips.

  "Great! Meet me at the old Sycamore on Chestnut, alright? See ya!;)"

  After reading that Jayne slipped her phone back into her pocket and stood, the bell rang just as she did. As she picked up her trash and followed the train of students to throw it out, she caught Daniel's eye.

   His smile seemed to challenge her to look away first, and his gait was slow and confident. Her eyes kept the lock on his until they were both swallowed up by the sea of students roaming the halls, and so, began the wait.

Now, if you know anything about sycamore trees then you know they're renowned for their height and shade. Maybe that's why the town of Calico planted so many. See, Calico may be small, but it sure is beautiful. That's the thing about small towns, they're all gorgeous.

  During the summer, the sunlight filtered through the canopy of tree leaves above and covered the whole town in sparkling rays of gold. During the fall, the leaves turned the color of the now lowered sun and would drop off one by one, leaving trails of yellow crunches on the ground. In winter, the snow would fall heavy on the thick branches, coating them all until they were precariously full, yet they held almost all of weight of the ice and snow so the ground was quiet safe. During spring the leaves would begin to hide the full view of the sun yet again and as flowers bloomed near the roots and birds nested in their new bark, the world seemed so much brighter.

  At least, that's what Jayne thought. In fact, that's exactly what she was pondering upon when she arrives at the oldest sycamore in town, the one on Chestnut Avenue. Jayne's eyes perused the quaint area, wondering whether Daniel would actually show up. As she waita, she hunkera down in the lull between some branches and began reading.

  Footsteps could be heard about half an hour later and soon a whistle and a holler of, "Ms. Willow, are you hiding in the sycamore? It isn't your family!" Daniel's voice held back the hint of a chuckle, a terrible joke, yet still funny due to how dumb it was.

  Clambering down the small portion of the sycamore she had climbed, Jayne hops down and lands directly next to him. Yet she seemed to literally fall from the sky out of nowhere, Daniel realizes, surprised.  

  "I don't see why you climbed down. We are going straight back up." Daniel smirks and began climbing the tree with a skill that Jayne didn't know he possessed.

  Soon after the initial reaction of shock, Jayne scurries up after him and they found an area about fifteen foot up where there was enough room for the two of them to lay across the thick, sprawling branches and speak.

  With the two laying on their backs, faces towards the cloudless sky, they began talking.

    Sitting fifteen foot in the air with Daniel was, to say the least, different. To Jayne, it was as if she was in a whole different universe. That may be due to the fact that she always saw Daniel on the exact opposite side of the spectrum in comparison to her, so being with him was impossible in this realm, but here she was, by his side in a tree.

“So...Why did you invite me here?” She finally questioned, glancing over at Daniel's smooth face.

Even with the tone of her voice, the planes of his clear face didn't once change, “What? Am I not allowed to invite a beautiful girl to the oldest tree in town?”

Without looking, Jayne already knew a small smirk was growing on his face, “Tell me the reason, Sanders.”

Her voice was gruff and he just sighs, wishing she wouldn't take it quite so seriously. “I wanted to talk to you. Particularly about the time we spent on the curb.. Jayne, we both see that something has changed in the bit of time we spent together.. What is it? What has changed?' Daniel leans up on his elbows, looking at Jayne in inquisition.

Jayne releases a small sigh, “I am not sure, Daniel... We seem to have clicked..” Daniel was about to respond, mouth open, but Jayne cut him off, “No. Listen. Clicking with anyone else would have been fine, good even, but...You? No offense, but we can't. We are far too different to be friends and you know it. Please, let's not push this.”

Simultaneously, those words broke and set Daniel free. He didn't have to worry about her sharing his view, she already did. At the same time, though, he wanted to be her friend. Sure, they were different, but maybe that's a good thing. Different didn't always mean bad. Daniel didn't say any of this out loud, though. Instead, he nodded in agreement and returned his eyes to the heavens above.

Silence engulfed the two for a long while, the only sounds were their occasional shuffles and the birds occupying other trees. Sunset was rapidly approaching and so, Jayne began her descent down the trunk with Daniel only a few steps behind. Once safely on the ground, Jayne turns to say goodbye to him, but finds him to be much closer than expected. Daniel's nose was almost brushing against hers, and their foreheads were just barely ghosting the others. The most prominent thing, though, was the fact that their lips were less than three centimeters apart.

An overwhelming urge took over the two, grasping them. Daniel so desperately wants to kiss Jayne and Jayne helplessly wants to kiss Daniel. Together, as one unified force, their lips slid closer and were about to touch. Sparks flew, but no fireworks could explode, because Daniel's phone rang and the two jumped backwards in surprise.

As Jayne caught her breath and mentally reprimands herself, she ignores Daniel blabbering away on his phone. Hanging up five minutes later, the boy turns to her. “I have to go. My dad is in town...” Nothing more was spoken. Just a simple nod and the two went their separate ways.

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