“I’m sorry, Coach! But I've got to pee, NOW!” Sun yelled as her screaming legs frantically carried her screaming lungs and her screaming bladder away from the field full of her screaming peers and towards glorious salvation--the cramped, disgusting, high school bathroom stall.
She really was sorry. Sorry she’d just lost her best mile time ever because of the truancy she’d just “gained.” Gaining something was supposed to be good! She was sorry her parents couldn’t stay put for more than six months, sorry she had no friends besides her pet bird, Pete, and most of all, she was sorry she had to pee so badly.
It was a shame then that she hadn’t reached the locker room bathroom five minutes earlier to observe the three giggling sophomore girls put an “out of order” sign on the door and then scurry back to their class.
“Lucifer’s beard, I have no luck!” she panted as she ran past the perfectly working bathroom, frantically calculating where the next nearest bathroom was in the unfamiliar territory of her new school.
Once again fate was against her, or so it would seem, as she turned right down the hallway while the nearest bathroom remained on the left.
Unaware of the new girl’s frantic plight, Drake Devlin walked into school his typical 45 minutes late.
“Well, Hanson High, the infamous Drake Devlin has arrived,” he said as he raised his coke cup in salute to no one in particular as his greeting had been given to an empty hall.
“On to history, Mr. Devlin, dead presidents and radicals await! You know it really is a shame there’s no one here to take part in your absurdity…” his voice trailed off as he turned toward his class located two hallways ahead of our heroine.
“Stairs!” Sun attempted to shout, but merely wheezed, as she leaned against the banister, breathing heavily and squeezing her legs together as tightly as she could. She gazed with dismay up at the blue arrow she had learned designated the direction to the nearest bathroom.
“Why are there no bathrooms on this floor? It’s almost as crazy as a person who stands in hallways and talks to themselves!” she scolded anyone who would listen—which was really only herself.
It is indeed unfortunate our lovely protagonist has no knowledge of the careless shoulder or backpack that had bumped the arrow --changing its position, but not the position of the bathroom it marked.
“On to the bathroom, Sun Stevens, druggies and sluffers await,” she said as she started her journey again up the foreboding mountain in front of her.
“Lucifer’s beard, I have no luck,” Drake whispered under his breath as at the top of the staircase when he encountered two oxen-- more commonly referred to as Varsity Football players, and even more commonly referred to as Jared Jones and Tony Marcelo-- struggling for dominance. In a surprise shift of power, Tony knocked Jared backwards and into Drake's hand, which in turn knocked Drake's coke out of his hand and down the hall.
Sun meanwhile narrowly avoided the battling teenage boys at the top of the stairs, but it was that avoidance that veered her into the newly formed puddle of coke on the floor. Her impromptu skating routine then led her straight into the back of Drake Devlin.
She picked herself up and felt her now soggy shorts with disgust, then looked down at the boy she’d knocked over.
“I’m so sorry!” she said as she helped him pick up his books. She grabbed a copy of A Farewell to Arms and chucked it at him as she ran towards the bathroom that was finally in view.
“You shouldn’t read such chauvinistic authors; it’s not good for your health!”
Drake just stared in dismay at the swinging bathroom door. For the first time in his 18.6 years he was actually speechless. The thought made him smile—and plant himself outside the girls' bathroom to wait for the source of his stunned silence.
Sun came out of the bathroom stall and observed herself in the mirror. Scrutinized herself would have been a better word. Her face was red and clammy from exertion and embarrassment, and her hair was in complete disarray. She met her gaze in the streaky mirror covered in hand prints, lipstick, and crude limericks.
“At least you’ve got those,” Sun told herself in reference to her green eyes in the mirror.
She washed her hands for precisely the length of the alphabet and then readjusted her pony tail before making her way to the door.
“Thank goodness I don’t have to wear these all day,” Sun sighed as she tugged on her now coked flavored gym shorts, and pushed open the bathroom door.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or at least the ranch packet smashed on the floor outside the girls' bathroom, Drake was thoroughly enjoying the clumsy brunette’s rendition of the “ABC’s” floating out from behind the door.
“That was beautiful, almost as beautiful as those acrobatics a couple of minutes ago. Tell me, do you make it a habit to knock down very attractive young men making their very fashionably late entrances? Is that your style?” Drake asked the girl now coming out of the “little ladies room.”
“I-I…” Darn it Sun, think! What in heck's name is he still doing outside the bathroom, anyway? “Why yes, I do—knock over attractive men that is. If you happen to see one, will you send him my way? I mean that’s your style, right? Putting things in my way?” she quipped backed.
I hope that worked, Sun thought to herself. She had just flirted with the most gorgeous guy she’d ever seen! She gave him the elevator look(for those who don't share the same colloquialisms as the charming author, she gave him a 'once-over' aka, she 'checked him out') and she hoped he didn’t notice.
He was tall and lean. He wore a dark blue polo shirt that hugged his chest in such a way that it was quite hard to keep one's mind out of the gutter. His jeans were fitted and torn. He had black flip flops on his tan feet; she hadn’t known people could tan in October in Montana. His hair was black and spiked with shockingly blue tips. His black messenger bag was covered in band and activist pins-- definitely not the cowboy she expected.
He caught her eye and flashed a mega watt smile. She’d been caught.
“What’s your name, Flash?” Drake asked her, and she knew the end was near. She’d already knocked him down, insulted his literary preferences, and been caught checking him out. Not to mention gym class, and all it entails, did nothing for her already hopeless looks. Her name would probably send him over the edge. She could already hear the “freak” and laughter as the only person who’d given her a second thought, even if it was because she knocked him down, walked away. So she decided to lie. One little lie wouldn’t hurt, he probably only wanted to know her name so he could report her and get off for some misdemeanor he’d committed.
“My name is Sarah.”
“Really, now?” He questioned as he reached for the overturned name tag she’d forgotten her new principal had forced her to wear. Something about the first step towards becoming a part of the school community was getting your name out there.
“No!” she said as she grabbed his wrist, making him smirk, “My name isn’t Sarah. It’s Happy Sunshine Stevens. My parents were hippies. Quite frankly I’m surprised I wasn’t born looking worse than I do, what with the amount of drugs they did,” she conceded.
“Well, I don’t think you’re all that bad off, besides,” he said, straightening his shoulders and donning a completely phony British accent, “You have eyes the color of grass blanketed in dew, with little sparkling water droplets of light.”
Sun was torn between gagging and blushing, so she feigned sudden interest in a dust bunny she was pushing around with her foot instead. He just shrugged his shoulders.
“And, I know,” Drake said.
“That your name is Happy Sunshine. I saw your name tag when you were throwing my book at me. I just wanted to hear the angel herself say it,” He grinned.
“Lucifer’s beard,” Sun whispered under her breath. Drake gave her a side long glance and smiled.
“My friends call me Sun. At least they would if I had any friends. Not that I’m incapable of gaining friends, though you probably doubt I have any ability to do anything after this little incident-”
“Hey, Sun, you can explain your people skills to me at lunch. Right now, I want you to take this jacket and tie it around your waist, so that in about thirty seconds when the bell rings and kids come pouring out of classrooms like hobos after a ham sandwich, they don’t see my $.89 Coke on your bottom that looks suspiciously like you never made it to the restroom. You can thank me, and return my jacket later.”
Sun tied the jacket around her waist, and as if on cue, the bell rang, and the hobo-students did come rushing out.
“I have to make it to at least one class today, so I’ll see you later, Flash. Oh, and don’t worry about the name. It's cool. My mom named me after her favorite soap opera character,” Drake said as he jogged backwards down the hallway and tripped a fellow student, causing them to drop their books. He stooped down to help the boy--a stereotypical nerd-- pick up his books, and gave Sun a sheepish grin.
She just laughed; glad to know that even in Nowheresville, Montana, she was indeed still capable of making a friend. Even if he'd forgotten to tell her his soap opera name.