Declan fell in love with Raven the minute he laid eyes on her.
Actually, scratch that. They were fourteen and he would’ve called it love, but that doesn’t mean I have to.
Raven was everything that Declan thought he wanted in a lover. And lover is the term he used, but only to himself because the world would judge him. Raven was dark—of course—and she was a shy, quiet type, but with an attitude, you know, like an edge. But at the same time, whenever a teacher called on her, she had the most bizarre take on things.
“Who won the battle of Gettysburg?” asked the History teacher.
Raven answered, “The crows.”
There were giggles and snickers about the crazy emo goth chick, but Declan thought she was fabulous. The way she never made eye contact, like she was just above it all, the fact that she was always reading.
It was the mystery of her. How no one could ever possibly get in her head. A “challenge” some might call her, but for Declan she was something more. She had something, he thought. Something that he needed.
“Are you alone for a reason?” he asked when he reached her table with his tray.
“Safe bet,” she snarked.
“Do you want to be alone?”
She shrugged. He sat.
“Mind if I talk at you for a second?”
“Could go sixy. Could go longer.”
She frowned at him.
“Do you mind, though? I just want to talk at you. You don’t have to listen.”
Some folks talk, some folks listen. Some folks don’t even try to do that. Raven did them one better, tried not to. Just shrugged and went back to her book.
“See, I got this theory,” said Declan, “that you’re good at something, but you don’t want people to know. Or you don’t need them to. I think you can sing.”
This caught her attention.
“And I think if you tried, you could sing pretty well. Well enough to make people notice.”
There was a flicker in her eyes. He could tell he was getting through to her, but he didn’t know yet what that meant. Worst case, he thought, I’m pushing too hard, I’m an asshole. But he found he could live with that, given the stakes.
“But I don’t think you want people to notice,” he said. “You want people to leave you alone, right?”
She looked away and said “I have a girlfriend.”
Quietly, with dignity, Declan’s world shattered. “Oh,” he said. “OK.”
“Just in case you were hitting on me.”
He had been, of course, but in a rather roundabout way. He’d been looking for an excuse to approach her and Angst had provided him that. If it turned out she couldn’t sing and didn’t want to, he could still use that as a jumping-off point. But now that that was off the table, though…
“Would your girlfriend mind if you were in a band?”
There was that frown again. “What kind of band?”