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Guardians: The Girl (The Guardians Series, Book 1)

By:Lola StVil


Okay, it’s official: I’m a coward. No one is in class today but me—and the new twin foreign exchange students from Japan. The boy’s name is Rio. He’s tall, lanky, and on the cutting edge of fashion. His hair is flaming red and falls into a shaggy bob cut that usually covers his face. His lips are plum red and he has eyebrows most girls would die for.

Rio looks like a Harajuku poster boy. This I learned from Wikipedia; it is a fashion trend in Japan where the kids dress in bold colors, patterns and off-the-beaten-path clothing. I find him sexy in a dark, mysterious way.

His twin sister, Miku, is more bohemian. No matter the weather, she can be found in dresses that are usually soft, flowery, and flowing. She has almond-shaped gray eyes like her brother. Her hair is jet black, bone straight and falls down to her waist. Her bangs frame her soft face beautifully. She wears a single honey blonde braid on the right side. But where Rio stands at 6’0, his sister is nearly a foot shorter.

We’ve said hello to each other in passing, but I’ve never struck up a conversation. I wonder what it would be like if I had that kind of charm. Would I take over governments? Start wars? Or maybe, just try to get a date for senior prom?

It didn’t surprise me that the twins are here. They never miss a day of school. Since they arrived, I’ve been fascinated by the way they are with each other. They could be laughing quietly and joking around, but if a student enters the room looking worried or upset, it changes the mood of the twins. Suddenly they are concerned as well. Of course this is all me—having way too much time on my hands to analyze other people’s behavior.

Still, I imagine their lives are somehow filled with adventure. I wish mine were. I’d like my life to be as exciting as Joan of Arc’s or Queen Elizabeth’s. Their existence changed the world. I daydream about being that kind of girl. But those women were brave and defiant. Me, on the other hand, I can’t even cut one lousy class.

The reason for such a low turnout in my last class period is the weather. New York City rarely has temperatures above 30 degrees in January. But here we are just two weeks in to the new year, and it’s a blissful 70 degrees outside. So everyone said a silent “Thank you” to global warming and ditched class.

My friend Sara was trying to coax me to join her, but at the last minute, I chickened out. I never go against the rules. Not because I don’t have a desire to, but because I am afraid of the repercussions. What if I cut class and got caught? They’d call my mom and I’d be grounded. Not that I ever really go anywhere but still….

It isn’t just the weather that has made people skip Mr. White’s history class, it’s Mr. White himself. He rarely makes eye contact with the class, or even asks questions to see if we are following along with the lesson. It’s as if he’s talking to himself. He’s a one-man show, and we inconvenience the hell out of him by being there.

I raise my hand and get permission to go to the bathroom. I head down the hallway and encounter the Armani- Dior-McCartney parade. Fashionistas come towards me armed with posh handbags, perfect teeth and utter disapproval.

I am the only kid at Livingston Academy that doesn’t have old money. Actually, I don’t have new money either. My Grandfather was a janitor here for twenty years before he died. As a favor, the dean arranged it so I could get a partial scholarship. It’s still out of our price range but my Mom won’t hear of public school.

Standing there, I thought I’d get my stuff and make a break for it, but no, I walked right past my locker and into the girls bathroom. Like I said: big coward.

I look at myself in the mirror and sigh. I am so uninteresting. My face is too round, my eyes are too far apart and my cheekbones lack the height needed to elevate me to exotic. The only things that stand out about me are my eyes: they’re as purple as the stupid dinosaur. And, well, that’s just weird.

What’s even weirder is that they go various shades of purple depending on my mood. If I’m angry, they become such a deep shade of purple they appear black. When I’m sad, they lighten up and take on an electric, neon glow. I hate my eyes. They come from my father. He had encountered my mother on her way home from school—and raped her. She went to the police, but they never caught him. She tried to put that night behind her, but then I came along.

My mom, Marla, calls me the one good thing in her life. Funny, I never saw it that way. She had a scholarship to Columbia University and was going to be pre-law, but she had to postpone school to have me. Then my grandparents died in a car accident and she had no one to help support her.

So, she put off school and got a series of dead-end jobs to make ends meet. Law school became a distant fantasy. She poured all her dreams into me. She wants me to be what she would have been had she not had me: a brilliant attorney slash striking social butterfly.

But it takes a full night of cramming to squeeze out a C+ or B- on my exams. That is not brilliance. And as far as being striking goes, as I said, the only remarkable thing about me are my eyes. I always get asked about wearing contacts. I get so fed up with that question.

So here I am, Emerson Hope Baxter, a fifteen-year-old, purple-eyed freak living in New York City. I look at myself in the mirror once again. I smooth out a wayward strand of ink colored hair and tighten my ponytail. I take one last look at myself. I’m 5’4” without a curve in sight. I sigh, again.

I wash my hands and head out the door. The urge to ditch doesn’t last long. Besides, even if I had ditched class, where would I go? Everyone who cut class today had something fun and exciting to do. Their life had urgency and meaning. My life, on the other hand, is routine and ordinary.

So, no ditching, but I’m doing the next best thing; I head to the nurses office, my safe haven. The nurse’s name is Cora. She lets me crash on one of the cots when life at Livingston Academy has gotten to be too much. I run to the safety of the Lysol-scented office until I get enough nerve to face the world again.

As I head down the hallway I hear a moan coming from the janitor’s closet. I walk up and press my ear to the door. I turn the knob half expecting it to be locked, but it isn’t. The person moans even louder.


“Help!” a male’s voice says weakly in the dark.

I gently drag him out of the closet and prop him up against the wall. I know I have seen him before. I can’t remember his name, but he works in the main office. He’s about fifty or so, balding with dark rimmed glasses and kind eyes.

“They’re coming for him. Must stop them…hurts so much,” he says in barely a whisper.

His face is pale and his lips are pressed together so tightly they form a thin white line. I put my hand on his shoulder to calm him. That’s when I first see the blood. It has seeped through his white shirt and tie and continues to spread its way across his abdomen. By the time I find the origin of the blood, it’s seeped down to the floor. I put my hand on the hole in his stomach but that does little to slow the bleeding.

“Help! Somebody help!” I cry out. The hallway answers back with staunch silence.

“Help me!” I call out again. Nothing.

He’s trying to say something. I lean in closer.

“Find him. Tell him to run.”

“Find who?”

He hands me a crumpled blue 5x7 index card. The kind all the students have to fill out detailing their address and other important information. It’s covered in blood.

“Find him,” the man insists again.

“Okay I will,” I promise, hoping that would get him to stay calm.

I call out for help once again but this time I don’t wait for the silence to mock me. I stuff the index card in my pocket and I run down the hallway as fast as I can. It doesn’t seem fast enough. Should I have left him alone? Can he hang on until I get back? How long does it take an ambulance to come? Stop thinking, just go! My heart is pounding so hard my chest hurts. I scan the hallways. Not a person in sight.

As I call out again, something hurls itself at me and throws me down to the ground with the force of a category five hurricane. I hit the floor. I would have thought I were dead save the acute pain traveling from my shoulders down to my ankle. I groan in agony as the thing that attacked me pins me down to the ground. I stare into the face of my attacker.

It’s Rio from my history class. But before I can be sure, he covers me with something. Everything goes dark. I don’t have time to pinpoint what it was because just then gunshots rang out.

I don’t know who is shooting because my attacker won’t let me up, so I fight him. I know in my head that it is a bad idea to stand up, what with a hail of bullets flying overhead, but panic steps in, and I just want to flee. I have to get up and run away. I punch him repeatedly. I kick and scream for him to let me go. It’s hard to tell if he can hear me over the sound of the gunshots. If he does, it in no way affects him. He holds me down effortlessly with his body and what I think must have been some kind of dark blanket. But where did it come from?

I make one last desperate attempt to free myself; I push past the pain running down my side and hurl myself forward to get out from underneath the boy holding me captive. He doesn’t even budge. How can he be so strong? He’s only 120 pounds or so.