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The Phoenix Diaries: chapter 2

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?Damn remind me not to piss you off in the immediate future. Seriously kid, way to take a level in bad ass. Of course it was all my doing and don?t ya forget it,? said Shadow.

Travis sent his alter ego flying with a blast of flames.

?You talk too much.?

He smirked at Shadow and then the next instant they were standing atop the desert plateau. They stared down each other until Shadow called a truce. They shook on it and as Travis is just getting accustomed to the awkward situation he sensed something above him and grabbed at the air where he thought it was.

?God, leggo my arm already would ya. The bus driver just wanted me to wake you up. No reason for you to go psycho on me,? groused Joshua Giovanni. The ginger freshman was a brash and cocky midget, who commanded respect where ever he went, but he began fidgeting the moment Travis grabbed his arm. He never noticed how dirty the floor was until this morning. He knew he should have protested or made up an excuse not to wake the brunette, but that would have drawn undue questions from his friends, and that was the last thing he wanted right now. He schooled his nerves and put on the mask of bravado he wore so well. He nodded to his friends David and Jason as they exited the bus and laughed at his current predicament all the way inside school. He guffawed at himself as people streamed pass and stared at the pair. He glanced at the boy, wondering if he was ever going to budge. And once the others left his hazel eyes feasted on Travis. He studied the wild tangles of black, and to his surprise, the faintest traces of red hair. Satisfied it?s just a trick of the light his eyes honed in on the boy?s gapping mouth and thick, kissable lips.

Kissable lips; he can?t think like that about Johnston. Not here, not now, it?s too dangerous. OK yeah so Travis was not an Abercrombie boy like Josh. And maybe he was a year and a half younger than him and kind of chunky, but damn it Josh liked him. He had to stop perving on him before someone noticed. Why was this so hard, why couldn?t he just talk to Travis like the other guys. It sucked, he couldn?t stop thinking about him but, but he doesn?t even know Josh exists. He kept saying today was the day he?d finally go up to him and say hi, but he just can?t do it. Josh was such a pussy. He lived ten minutes from the boy and he?d been there a lot of times just to watch him read or watch TV from his hiding spot in the bushes. He was totally messed up in the head, but he can?t help himself. He loved him. He didn?t even know if the brunette batted for the same team, and even if he did it wasn?t even like he?d be into the ginger. Hell Travis probably took shits bigger than him. Ugh, he couldn?t keep doing this to himself. If Josh don?t talk to him today he was going to go insane.

Josh was pulled out of his self deprecation by the warning chime. However Johnston snoozed away with a kung fu action grip on Josh?s poor wrist. Josh was torn between waking him and ending this, or prolonging this lovely scene. The dilemma came to an end when Travis let out a huge yawn and finally woke up and released him. He marched off the bus without sparing the shorter boy one glance. Josh flexed his arm trying to get the circulation going again then watched Johnston head inside. Something seemed different to the ginger; he felt a weird vibe radiating from the brunette. He followed behind the other boy and whispered, ?Every single day I find it hard to say I could be yours alone.?

Travis turned and stared at Josh. Improvising the fifteen- year-old mumbled, ?Um, you know if we don?t hurry we?re gonna be late to home room and you know what an ass Mr. Rosh is. So, um yeah let?s hoof it, bye.?

Well that was weird, and cute in a stray puppy way.

Oh come on you know ya wanna kiss him.

Yeah huh, I?m too tired talk with you, silence.

Travis put up his mental barriers and Shadow was subjugated.

He sleep walked to home room, took his usual seat near the front of the room and snoozed through morning announcements. Josh hesitated when homeroom ended then saw his chance, gathered up his courage and woke the brunette up. Still half asleep Johnston walked right past him again, but Josh?s resolve strengthened.

Dodging the sea of students Travis made his way to his locker and as he was about to open it a hand slammed it shut. Exactly whom Johnston didn?t need today stood in front of him. Jordan Maxwell: 6?3, 220 pounds of brain dead jock. The self proclaimed god?s gift to women made it his mission to torment the brunette at every turn. But things didn?t go quite as planned for dear old Maxwell.

?How?s my favorite freak today? Oh, can?t wait to blow me you say. OK, just this once since I?m such a nice guy,? the blond taunted.

?Move it.?

?It speaks, I?m shocked.?

?It can talk, just not very well. Ergo it doesn?t that often, especially not to meatheads like you. Now move it.?

?Make me queer bait.?

Poor Jordan really should have listened this time. Any other day Travis would have sat through Jordan?s crap until he got bored and left him alone. Instead he shoved Jordan away. The sophomore went flying a yard down the hallway, much to everyone?s surprise. A small crowd gathered to watch a potential fight, but before things had a chance to escalate the chime for first period sounded and everyone rushed off. Seeing his opening Johnston got his English notebook and math text and then raced off to Art with one thing on his mind, What the hell just happened?

As usual Travis was the first one in the room and was all set to head back to sleep. He loved free period art class; perfect for napping or doing homework he should have done earlier (even borderline geniuses have their slacker moments). He had almost nodded off when the commotion of other students roused him. The rumor mill had worked overtime and the minor incident in the hall had morphed into him putting Jordan in hospital. Resigning all hope of getting some sleep, he began to doodle.

Ms. Molly walked through the room surveying her students, offering a complement here, constructive criticism there, but always with a positive attitude. She?d been had never seen him produce anything above crude contour line drawings and so she was quite surprise with the level of detail in his current sketch. While no Rembrandt, it was above par for Travis.

?Travis dear, this is an interesting piece. I suggest you use a larger medium to capture more of the fine details. Curious, I didn?t know you were ambidextrous??

Joy, I get to use the canvas like a big boys, is his thought as he dismissed her questions with a nod. He?s half done sketching the outline when a familiar scene began to take shape: the land of fire and flesh. He didn?t know what freaked him out more, that he drew this picture or that he drew it with his left hand without realizing it until just then. The boy felt a head ache coming on as he packed up.

He was halfway down the hall when someone called to him:

?Hey guy wait up, Ms. Molly wanted me to ask you where you thought up that painting. Oh, and Mr. Martin?s subbing for Ms. Campbell?s English class today. Um and like that fight you had with Jordan was so sweet. The look on his face when you pushed him was fucking priceless. I?m so glad someone finally put that d-bag in his place,? Josh rambles out in his squeaky voice.

?Um, OK. It was a dream; there was no fight and thanks.?


?Ugh,? he replies and hastily scrawls his message.

?Oh ok, um you?re welcome and see you in gym.?


?I have Campbell for English too.?


Travis was ready to detonate. Class with Mr. Martin meant a one way ticket to the bleachers for him. Stupid Asthma, he thinks to himself. And knowing his luck Maxwell and his cronies would also be there. Fuck me sideways with a foot long dildo, he seethes in his head. As he and Josh sprinted to the athletic block, he?s surprised he hasn?t started wheezing yet.

?Ha, now I?d pay to see that,? Josh replied to brunette?s unspoken comment.

Yep, it?s official. Travis was losing his mind. There?s no way Josh could hear his thoughts. He felt a full blown migraine coming on and they were nowhere near the gym yet. They broke into a full run, but it?s Josh who struggled to keep up. They made it into the gym ten seconds apart, right as the tardy signal chimed. Josh glared daggers at the other boy when Mr. Martin ordered him to run laps. Once he?s done, Mr. Martin told the class they were to work in pairs and write a twenty page report on Mary Shelly?s Frankenstein due at the end of the month. He then passed out the assignment packet and dismissed them to play dodge ball and went to his office. There was much groaning all around, but what did they expect from AP English. They?d already covered Of Mice and Men, Romeo & Juliet, and a module on Greek Mythology this year. Since he had no social life, Johnston had read most of the book over Christmas break and figured it wouldn?t take long to finish the last hundred odd pages. The only problem was the partner part of the equation. He pulled his post-it leaden book out and dug right in where he left off. A few minutes passed when Josh plopped down beside him.

?Hey, you?re Travis Johnston right? Umm, I meant to introduce myself earlier. Joshua Giovanni, resident smartass and the dude you had a death grip on this morning. Uh, um you wanna do the Shelly paper together or what??

He couldn?t believe he had the guts to finally introduce himself to his number one biggest crush. Josh felt the smile tugging at the corners of his lips, fighting to get out. And his pale cheeks flushed crimson when he finally let it cement itself on his cherubic face. The blushing spread across his face and ears, and brought out the freckles on his button nose. He can?t remember ever feeling this ecstatic or alive. His heart raced a thousand miles a second and sweat was trickled down his palms.

His breath quickened as he felt the familiar tingling in his toes. It spiraled up to forbidden territory and he now felt the hardness pressed into his athletic shorts and panicked. And then the boy beside him spoke.

?No, nein, yet, iie. You weird me out, now leave. Shoo.?

?What?? Josh whispers.

?Leave!? Travis? raspy voice shouted, drawing several people?s attention.

?But I was just trying to be friendly, I just thought maybe??

?You just thought maybe you?d say a few kind words to the freak and he?d be duped into doing your work for you? That you?d come work that cocky little smile of yours on me and I?d bow down to you like everyone else does??

?Why are you so mad at me, I just thought you could use someone to talk to. You?re not the person I thought you were.?

?FUCK YOU. Don?t you ever try to assume you know me! You don?t even know the first damn thing about me. You don?t have the right to speak on me, so hold your tongue.?

?What did I ever do to make you hate me so much huh? All I did was treat you nice and try to talk to you. You don?t know how hard it was just to say hi to you. You don?t even know the first damn thing about me!?

Josh?s fist slammed into Travis? jaw underneath his right eye. The red-head pulled back his fist to deliver another blow, but doubled over from the brunette?s gut shoot. Travis followed up with a vicious upper cut. Blood gushed from Josh?s nose as the fist made contact. Then all hell broke loose as several of Josh?s friends piled onto Travis. And then there is only pain.

He felt a tingling sensation run up his spine and his vision blured. And then the screaming began. He felt the presence of something pull him deeper and deeper under its influence. Travis? body was no longer his. He watched as the force now controlling him laid waste to everything in striking range. As though underwater he watched himself bash Josh?s face in then take a blow to back of the head from Jordan. Travis stumbled but caught himself and then charged forward. The two collide and he was pushed backwards by the force of the impact. He fell but executed a back flip to right himself. Travis charged Jordan again and drilled his knee into the blonde?s chest. He went down hard and was out.

A brown haired sophomore caught him from behind. David Mitchell crashed his massive frame into Travis sending him head first into the bleacher, splitting Johnston?s forehead open. The presence that controlled his body compelled him to get up. Johnston smiled then wiped the blood out of his eyes. David made to strike but Travis caught his wrist and tossed the muscle bound teen over his shoulders effortlessly. He straddled David?s hips and rained down blow after on the boy?s lanky frame until muscular arms forced him face down. His eyes closed and everything fades to black.

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