"MVH is kickin' it baby! Ooo! Ah!" the cheerleaders chanted from the corner of the gym.
It was the typical night for me. Link up with my friends, smoke a blunt or two while getting dolled up and strolling into the basketball games that we knew would be packed. All eyes would be on us and we just knew that we were the shit. Considering the fact that Mount View was playing Bluefield, we were prepared to bring our A game. We'd grown up and went to school with the same people for most of our lives. The usual faces stopped tapping into our hormones a long time ago. Most of the guys were like brothers to us at this point. Of course, we weren't the only ones that thought that. When a new face came around the girls at school, it looked like feeding time at the zoo. You wouldn't believe how thirsty they would act. The only thing that set us apart from the rest of them is the fact that we played it cool. We refused to flock to every new face that wore nice clothes and looked like they had money.We simply let them flock to us.
A lot of the time, it wasn't all about they guys and attention with me. I just loved getting high and keep my mind calm in a room full of people.
My life had always been one long ass lecture that felt like it was never going to end.
Don't do drugs!
Stay in school. You need to go to college, you might like it.
You can't stay in Welch.
Don't dance with random strangers at parties.
Don't sleep with someone you barely know.
Don't date him. Don't hang out with those kids.
Blah, blah, fucking blah.
I was pretty sure that everyone in my life took pleasure in dictating my every move. It often made me feel like I was just a puppet. That wasn't the most annoying part about it though.
The blood that ran through my veins was apart of one of the largest families in Welch. That wasn't even something significant. It wasn't like any of them were rich, but people watched me like a hawk."Are you a Dawson?" they would ask. In Welch, everybody knew everybody. They knew all of my relatives right down to my great-grandfather, Garland Dawson. His name rang bells and turned heads. My every move was always reported to him and he always knew when I was lying.
My parents always made it a point to compare me to my cousins, Anton and Pash. It was bullshit because Anton was my age and everyone saw him as the good child and saw me as the bad seed. If only they knew the person he really was. He was just as bad as me. Pash's sexuality was frowned upon by many, but he still wasn't as bad as I was or even Anton for that matter.
I've never felt bad about any of the shit that people say to me or about me. I've always been pretty fucking great at deflecting things I don't want to feel. Feelings make you weak and a girl like me couldn't afford to be weak. My bold ass attitude has always protected me and kept my head above water. No one's ever been able to control me.
"There's a party in Gary tonight after the game. You in?" Ashe asked, nudging me. I didn't even realize that my high had set in and I was staring blankly at the empty floor in the middle of the gym. I never heard the buzzer go off or the roar of the crowd. I looked up at the score board and noticed that we had surprisingly won. For a second, I thought that I didn't have my head on straight, like it was floating away. Then I started to feel fuzzy and my attention span continued to fizzle out, masked by my high.
It took longer than I expected for me to answer. "Bitch! Come back to Earth!" Brina yelled as she waved her hand in front of my face. I slowly turned my head to look at her with my eyelids getting heavier and heavier. "Yeah, I'm in," I said nonchalantly with a shrug. I was clearly too spaced out for my body to catch up with my mind and Ashe couldn't hold back her laughter. The two of them grabbed my wrist and began to pull me along through the crowd.
I heard a deep throaty laugh coming from the bleachers and glanced over my shoulder to find what had caught my attention. Of course, Pash and Anton were sitting around with another group of guys being assholes. That was typical of them to hang around after the games to catch up with some of the guys on the basketball team. They were also with Aaron and Dominic, which was also expected. You never saw Anton without the two of them or his girlfriend. It was a huge relief to not see Lonnie around for once. She was a bitch and I knew that Anton would never leave her, so I would usually avoid her at all costs.
Laughter from the group continued to fill the gym. But, there was an unfamiliar laugh and voice that stood out. I put my feet down and snatched my wrists away from Ashe and Brina. I was curious and being high didn't make it any better. "Angel, what the hell?" Ashe said, growing annoyed. I turned my back to them and without even thinking, I was slowly walking closer to the bleachers. Something in my mind was dying for me to get a closer look and see if they were sitting with a stranger.
"Why does she even fuck with Anton? They hate each other," Ashe said as she turned to Brina. Their voices faded away as I approached the group. They would have talked shit if I even glanced in his direction. Anton and I were like night and day, but I didn't hate him. Now, Lonnie, on the other hand was a completely different story.
"It's our favorite cousin, Ant," Pash said out loud. All of them looked up at me as I stood there looking like a pitiful lost puppy. Anton smirked when we locked eyes and he turned his head to pretend like I didn't exist.
Fuck you too, I thought.
I could clearly see the stranger now and I had to admit, he made my blood rush and made my body tingle. His skin was a deep but smooth shade of brown. He wore his hair in neat cornrows, much neater than any of the guys I knew that wore them. He wasn't too muscular but he wasn't lanky, but I took note of his height when my eyes landed on his long legs hanging over two rows of bleachers. His clothes stuck to him perfectly and it was driving me insane.
"You don't know him, Angel. Just take a picture, it'll last longer and no, he doesn't want to smoke with you," Pash said with a smart ass tone. That was enough to pull me out of my haze. "Suck a dick, Pash. I didn't come over here for you or Anton and I definitely didn't come over here to hear ya'll's bullshit," I snapped, crossing my arms over my chest with one hip poked out. I wanted to make it obvious that I had an attitude and could hold my own in front of the new guy. Everyone else had gotten used to the never-ending war between the Dawson kids. They were used to our fighting, snide comments, and bickering.
"Anyway, who's your friend?" I asked, pointing my finger and directing my question toward everyone but my cousins. The stranger was enjoying the show, I could tell by his expression. He was drawn in even more when he saw that I was demanding the rest of the crew to spill his name.
Dominic looked at Aaron and Aaron looked up at Pash and Anton, wondering what they should do. I was getting impatient and when I glanced at the new guy, he still wore a smile on his face and his eyes lit up like stars. I was always known for having a fierce attitude, but right now it was in rare form. It definitely had a hold on his attention.
"Alex," he spit out, sitting up to climb off of the bleachers. I raised an eyebrow and smirked. Now I could tell that I had definitely sparked his interest and he was as curious about me as I was about him. "Angel," I said, sticking my hand out. He stretched his hand out to connect with mine for a firm handshake, except he let his hand linger on mine, also taking the other one to hold onto my hand. A wave of heat began to consume my body and I was silently praying that I wasn't blushing. I didn't think that he would just dive straight into the energy that I was putting off. It was my high that pushed me to approach him in the first place.
"Well, are you an angel with horns or a devil with a halo?" he asked in a much more flirty tone. I got the feeling that he was trying to challenge me. It made me nervous, but I was way past the point of acting shy and retreating. I had to stand my ground.
I pulled my hand away from his, placing both of them on my hips. I took a step closer to him, noting that he smelled like a Swisher and that alone was enough to send me over the edge and risk it all. He also towered over me which only excited me even more. I had been a mere five feet tall for the last few years and I was always attracted to any guy that was six feet tall or more. I often felt like I was an ant standing next to a tree, but Alex was a tree that I'd be willing to climb any fucking day of the week.
I puffed my chest out a little, tilting my head back a little to look him in the eye. "Wouldn't you like to know?" I asked licking my lips. I was cheering on the inside. On a regular day, I would have never had the balls to approach a complete stranger and put myself out there. This didn't feel like an attraction based on the fact that he was a fresh face. It felt like he had a magnet hidden in his body that pulled me to him. There was just something about him that I couldn't place my finger on, but I was willing to bet that it was because he looked like he had the potential to be bad and good when it really mattered. We had barely said more than a few words to each other and I wanted to find out what he had up his sleeves in a bad way.
With a wink, I turned on my heels with my hands still on my hips, and I sashayed back over to Brina and Ashe who was still waiting for me at the exit. Just as I had secretly hoped, I left everyone in shock.