Thomas dragged himself home for the long walk after the psychotic little girl, and the mysterious hood figure vanished. Each step was getting more painful than the last the further he went, but he was almost home, for that he was grateful. Why the hell did she have to hit my legs too? He thought to himself. Why the hell did she attack me for that matter?
Once home he warmed up in the shower then crawled into bed early. The next morning he woke up sore all over. His bruising turned into purple welts overnight. The snows in the city seemed to ease away a couple of days later. Had that girl somehow caused the unusual amount of snowfall with her presence?
He didn't want to think about that crazy child or the hooded figure. In fact, he did little of anything on his winter break since then. He just stayed home and rested, it was boring, but he had little better to do anyways. For the first time in his life, he was looking forward to school returning.
The girls apparently returned a week or two before school started up and Kellen returned the day before. They met up in the morning at their hangout spot in the gym at the far end of the bleachers. Miranda was the last to show up and with them all together Thomas said, "You guys won't believe what happened while you were gone."
"Your dad quit drinking since the start of the new year?" Kellen asked.
"It's a Christmas miracle," Normia said sarcastically while texting on her phone.
"Two-thousand fourteen be praised," Miranda said encouraging them.
Thomas sighed in great annoyance, "Oh my god guys seriously."
"Raise the roof," Kellen said joining the fun. Then he and the girls raised their hands up and down a few times chanting "Woo woo."
"For the love of god I was attacked, by some child with crazy ice magic."
"You got beat by a child?" Miranda asked surprised.
"Yea some little girl with-"
"You got beat by a little girl?" Normia snickered. "You're right I don't believe it... Okay, maybe a little you pansy."
"This is serious!" Thomas half shouted in anger. That caught them by surprise as they all stopped jeering and listened intently. "She was crazy strong, like, at first, she was making these cool little ice sculptures of penguins then after I showed her I had magic she attacked me. First with this massive snowball that she tried dropping on my head then with these like ice rods that beat me purple, literally.
"Next she was going to skewer me with this ice lance until some guy with a hood showed up and stopped her. He then vanished. Like Normia does in that grey light."
All their eyes went to Normia now, but she was silent.
"Who's Mavrick?" Kellen asked before long. "You seem...Terrified of him."
Normia scowled then grabbed Kellen by the shirt suddenly and pulled him close, "Listen up geek you stay the hell out of my head from now on, or I'm really going to mess you up."
Before he could answer, though, she shoved him on his back and teleported away.
"She's a bit testy since her boyfriend broke up with her over the holidays," Miranda said. "Something to do with the family and this big fight between her and them."
"It's not like I can control it completely yet," Kellen said defensively.
"I know, but whatever’s in her head just try ignoring it, and don't mention it out loud anymore okay?"
The bell rang, and Kellen grabbed his backpack and said, "Yea whatever," before storming off.
Normia seemed to keep her distance from them all after that morning. She even stopped giving Thomas and Miranda rides, so Thomas was back to riding the bus, since the snows made it impossible for him to skate, and Miranda walked home. Fortunately, for her, she was warded from weather conditions by her magic. Thomas could block the winds and the rains a little bit now but not the cold.
Things started to return to normal for all the friends in February. The girls were looking forward to Valentine’s Day while Kellen was dreading it. Thomas, on the other hand, was anxious for it; he planned on giving Lexi a Valentine this year.
"That's a bad idea, she has a boyfriend," Miranda warned him on the car ride home.
"That douche ain't no good for her," Thomas said.
"You know for once my being older is blessing here," Normia said. "I know girls like her, Thomas you're way better off forgetting about her and finding someone nice."
"You don't know her at all!" Thomas said defensively. Perhaps a little harsher than he intended.
"Don't I, though? Look how strung up you are about just trying to give her a valentine gift."
They were quiet the rest of the way to dropping Thomas off at his house. Before he got out though Normia turned to him and said, "By the way my Mom needs to start using this car, so I can't give you rides anymore. But I can still teleport you to school?"
"Wait what happened to your mom's car?" Miranda asked.
Normia shrugged, "Some driving collision or whatever, the things totaled. She's alright, but it's going to be a while before it's fixed. Or she buys a new one, by the way, I can't give you rides home anymore too."
"Yea no I figured that one out by myself."
"It's fine Normia," Thomas said. "I could use some more practice on my board anyways. It's actually rather fun, and I think I'm getting stronger too. Anyways I'll see you tomorrow morning, good thing it's almost Friday."
"Two more days until our much deserved break," Normia said.
The next morning Thomas was out the door earlier than before and hopped on his skateboard. He could finally push himself on it without the wheels already in motion and could even go up smaller hills. His balance was what took the most time, though. He spent several weeks working on it. After he had got better control of his abilities while riding the skateboard, it became really fun, and he never thought it would.
Now and again he would do some tricks on the board but that took, even more, skill and he couldn't do it the conventional way. He enjoyed hanging with the girls but skating, that was his own time, he felt free when zooming down the road on his board. He could never thank Kellen enough for the gift, and it wasn't just the board it was the idea that he could do something more with his powers.
Soon as he arrived at the school his phone started vibrating; he was getting a call from Kellen. He answered it, "Hello?"
"Thomas!" He yelled through the phone. His voice was distant sounding like the phone was across the room on speaker.
"What's going on Kellen I'm having trouble hearing you."
"Yea I'm uhh, well I'm in a bit of a sticky situation here. Come to the North end of the school by the football stadium, the flag Po..." His voice cut off a moment until he suddenly shouted, "Shit!"
Thomas hung up and went around the school to find Kellen duct-taped half way up the 75 ft flag pole. "Please tell me you brought scissors... I uh dropped my phone."
"Even better," Thomas said with a smile.
Digging into his pocket, he grabbed his knife. It was a slender pocket knife with many of the little ridges on it. After he was duct-taped to the flagpole the first time he got the knife just in case, it ever happened again. It did three more times, at the start of the school year and the end of it, until Jeff and the twins were off to high school. Eighth grade was the one good year in all of middle school he had.
Thomas levitated the knife up to Kellen and started sawing through the duct tape carefully. "Thanks, Thomas," Kellen said.
"It's no problem, I been here before... Well not here but the middle school flag pole."
"Yea I got sloppy, and they finally caught me. I gave em a good run for it all, though."
"Wait you're talking about that egg toss fiasco all those months back?"
"Damn, they do not let this stuff go lightly... Good thing you missed."
Kellen scoffed and soon enough Thomas finished. Kellen tore himself free from the duct tape, and half slid half fell down the pole, landing on his feet to then fall the rest of the way on his butt. He sighed and said abashed, "Don't tell the girls."
Thomas offered his hand out and said, "It's a good thing they're not the mind readers."
Valentine’s Day was here at last, and now only Thomas and Miranda were excited about it. Normia, who was before looking forward to it, seemed to wake up on the worst side of the bed and kept to herself as much as possible. Kellen meanwhile said little and kept his head down.
Miranda wore a pink dress that day with strawberry lip balm. She even had pink wash out hair dye in long strands of her hair. Thomas meanwhile went with the casual, Blue jeans, and dark jacket combo: he didn't have many clothes to begin with. "You're looking... festive," Thomas said looking Miranda up and down.
She twirled once and said, "Yup it's the one day a year I get to dress in all pink and not look like I'm fashionably retarded."
"Well, you look good all the same. Planning on getting lots of valentines."
"It wouldn't hurt."
Thomas' gaze soon cast over Miranda's shoulder to Lexi. She was wearing a red skirt, light red, pink midriff shirt with a heart logo on it. On her lips was red lipstick and her long brown hair was braided with pink ribbons between the knots. She was alone; this would be his best chance to give her the Valentine.
"I'll be right back," Thomas said going through the end of the hall to talk to Lexi. He had the rose he bought yesterday behind his back with his arms.
"Lexi Hi," he said approaching her.
She looked him up and down and said, "Hi?"
Great, she doesn't remember me...again. "I umm," He cleared his throat. "I wanted to wish you a happy valentine’s day, with this." He pulled the rose out from behind his back and held it out for her.
She took it and smiled politely. Before he could say anything more to her, a strong arm wrapped itself around his neck from behind and started dragging him away around the corner of the hall. He thought it was Jeff at first until the person dragging him spoke, "You know I'll admit I was pretty drunk at the party when we met."
Harold then took his arm off Thomas and pinned him to the wall with his elbow. "But I don't want you making moves on my girl, got it?"
Thomas was scared and about to back down until he remembered the girl he faced on winter break, how terrifying and strong she was despite her appearances. I've faced worse, and he told himself. Summoning his courage, and strength, he managed to push Harold off him and said, "Make me."
Harold smirked then pivoted his hips and slammed his fist upwards into his stomach. Thomas hunched over in pain and out of breath. The sounds of other wincing or cheering turned his head to see the small crowd of students gathered around them. Seeing Lexi gave him the strength to stand straight, even though it was painful.
Harold responded by slamming his fist into Thomas' face, and he was knocked straight down to the ground. He got back up and wiped the blood from his broken lip on his hand. Before the fight got on further though the gym teacher, and football coach, Mr. Larsen busted through the crowd demanding to know what was going on. He was a bald man with a pot belly and a little short for a man.
"We were just rough housing sir. You know how us boys can get," Thomas lied.
The coach turned to Harold and asked, "Is this true?"
Harold hesitated, unsure of why Thomas was covering for him but then said, "Umm yes. Yes, sir just rough housing, showing the girls our muscles and all that."
"Well do it after school, and off the campus." The coach said. The bell rang a moment after and he blew his whistle when it stopped. "Now everyone, get to class, or I'll have you all running laps!"
The students all quickly shuffled off to class, and soon it was Miranda and Thomas left. "Well was that worth it?" Miranda asked as she walked with him.
"I had to show her I was strong."
"What you showed her is that you can take a punch... Decently enough."