8.16: Noticed

The corners of Emberlynn’s lips curled into a soft smile as her brush danced across the canvas in front of her. Though pencil sketching was her preferred medium, being able to paint in Art class was exactly what she needed right now — this was the most relaxed she’d felt all day.

To say that her morning had gotten off to a rough start would be an understatement. Not only had she been forced to endure a Chemistry test (which she was nowhere near prepared for), but she’d also had to put up with Dominick’s death-glare whenever she walked by his seat.

She’d thought things were getting better with him. In the past week and a half, he’d at least gone from hating her to ignoring her. Which, though not ideal, was at least better, in Emberlynn’s eyes. But now suddenly his previous contempt for her seemed to be back in full-force. But why?

Though she continued on with her painting, Emberlynn allowed herself to get lost in these thoughts as the end of the period drew nearer. She hadn’t even noticed when the bell rung. The only sign that class was over was the commotion of movement all around her — and the appearance of a tall, muscular figure standing beside her easel.

“Nice painting.” Trent’s low, silky voice reached her ears.

She felt her cheeks grow warm as she she gathered up her things. “Thanks.”

“Now I get why your costume was so epic.” He continued sincerely, heading for the door with her. “You’re great at this kinda stuff.”

Emberlynn shrugged. “I guess I’m pretty good, yeah.” She admitted. “It’s kinda my thing.”

Trent appeared amused at her reply. Her heart sank at the sight of the look on his face.  Oh shit, was that bad? Was I not supposed to agree?! But… I AM good! Was I supposed to lie and say I’m not though? Does he think I’m totally full of myself now?! Ahhhhhh!

“Uh, but I’m not THAT good or anything. It’s just… It’s like a hobby. But uh, thanks.” Emberlynn added awkwardly, positive that all she was doing was making it worse.

Trent chuckled softly before replying. “So I was wondering… Do you wanna sit with me and my friends at lunch today?”

“W-what?!”

“There’s extra room at our table.” He continued. “And I think it’d be cool for you to meet everybody.”

Emberlynn stared at him, wide-eyed. “Everybody? Who’s everybody?”

“Oh, you know. Jace, Natasha, and Ren.”

“Ren?”

Trent laughed once more. “Sorry, ‘Serenity’. She hates it when I call her ‘Ren’, but old habits die hard.”

Emberlynn nodded in understanding. “So it’s like a nickname from when you were kids or something?” OMG Why the heck is everything coming out of my mouth a question?! Oh shit, that was a question too, wasn’t it?

“Yeah… Don’t tell her I told you though.” He gave her a little wink and her stomach did a somersault.

“I won’t.”

“Good.” He flashed her a smile as he spoke. “So… I’ll see you at lunch then?”

“Yeah! See you then!” Emberlynn replied a bit too enthusiastically.

With a little nod of farewell, Trent turned on his heel and was off down the hallway, leaving poor Emberlynn alone and wondering if that conversation had really just happened.

——————————————————-

When lunchtime finally rolled around, it turned out that her conversation with Trent had, in fact, happened.

As she carried her tray of food back toward the tables, Emberlynn saw him across the cafeteria waving her over to him.

With a quick, apologetic glance toward Cleo and Athena, Emberlynn headed over to join Trent, Jace, Natasha, and Serenity at their table. She could feel her two friends’ eyes watching her the entire time. And, from the other side of the cafeteria where she sat with some of her other friends, Zelda’s gaze burned just as intensely in her direction.

“Ah, there she is… our guest of honor.” Serenity’s high-pitched voice filled the air as Emberlynn uncertainty took a seat alongside the others.

“Hi.” Emberlynn forced a smile, having absolutely no idea how else to react to that bizarre greeting.

“Emberlynn, this is Natasha, Serenity, and Jace.” Trent nodded around the table to each of the others as he spoke. “Guys, this is Emberlynn.”

It felt so odd to be introduced to people she’d gone to school with for years. But then, this was the first time she’d had any sort of meaningful interaction with any of them. So they might as well have been strangers to her.

Natasha let out a harsh sort of laugh at Trent’s words. “We already know who she is, Trent.” She assured him.

Emberlynn couldn’t help her surprise. “You do?”

“Of course we do.” Jace finally spoke for the first time, smiling kindly at her as he did so.

“Oh… I guess I just never thought you guys noticed me before.” She admitted. Emberlynn had seen them eyeing her from a distance before, but she never knew that they had any idea who she really was.

Serenity smirked at her. “Oh, we’ve noticed. I’m pretty sure half the school’s noticed, actually… Especially the half with dicks between their legs.”

The others all laughed heartily at Serenity’s joke. Was she supposed to laugh too, Emberlynn wondered? Despite her embarrassment, she forced the best laugh she could.

“And speaking of dicks… Sorry about what happened with that little boyfriend of yours.” Serenity continued, sounding anything but sorry. “Donovan, right?”

“Dominick… But he wasn’t my boyfriend.” Emberlynn corrected her. “Or a dick. It just… didn’t work out.” She explained with a small shrug.

This time, it was Natasha who replied. “Well, looks like you’ve moved on to bigger and better things anyway, judging by that Halloween party…”

“Oh… You saw that?” Emberlynn bit her lip nervously, suddenly remembering that she and the boy in the Banana costume had been making out pretty intensely in front of the other party-goers before she pulled him into the closet.

“It was quite the show.” Trent teased.

This time, it seemed that the others could sense her embarrassment.

Serenity rolled her eyes. “God, we’re not like, judging you or anything. Relax.”

“Well, I’m judging.” Jace interjected, grinning widely at Emberlynn as he spoke. “10 out of 10.” There was the rustle of movement from beneath the table, followed by a loud thud and wince of pain from Jace. “Sorry, babe. I was kidding!” He muttered.

“I know you’re not judging.” Emberlynn replied quickly, hoping to save face. “It really wasn’t a big deal or anything. Just messing around a little.” She shrugged and hoped she sounded casual.

Jace’s smile had returned. “Well, it’s nice to see somebody who just does what they want without giving a fuck about what anybody else thinks, for a change.”

Emberlynn was taken aback by his words, but tried her best to keep her expression neutral. “Thanks… I guess I usually just try and have fun without worrying about anybody else. And if people don’t like it, whatever. It’s their problem.” Emberlynn smiled, hoping that none of them realized that she DID care very much what other people thought of her… especially them.

“See? I told you guys she’d fit right in.” Trent grinned at his friends as he spoke.

Serenity was giving Emberlynn another strange, appraising sort of look. “I like your style.” She said at last, smiling. “And I don’t just mean that costume of yours.”

“That was pretty impressive though.” Natasha jumped in. “Did you seriously design it yourself?”

Emberlynn nodded proudly, finally feeling somewhat at ease for the first time in the entire conversation. “And I made it too. It took months, but it was totally worth it!”

“How’d you end up getting into all that design stuff anyway?” Trent asked, sounding genuinely curious.

She was thoughtful for a moment before replying. “Well, my Papa and Onkels are really into costumes and stuff, so that’s a big part of it. And when I was really little, I used to like looking at old pictures of my Papa’s Oma. That definitely inspired me too.”

“Your Ur-Oma made you wanna design clothes?” Serenity asked curiously.

Emberlynn nodded. “Believe it or not, she was a supermodel.”

Trent and Jace exchanged an odd look, like she’d referenced some sort of secret inside joke between them. “Oh, we believe it…” Trent muttered as Jace let out a hearty chuckle.

Serenity gave her boyfriend another kick underneath the table.

Emberlynn barely touched her food as their conversation about art and fashion took them to the end of the lunch period. She was surprised at how interested they all seemed in her pastimes. And how… not-totally-awful they all were. Even Serenity.

As the bell signaled them to return to class, Emberlynn rose from her seat, smiling at the others. “Thanks for inviting me to sit with you guys today.”

“Sure. Let’s do it again sometime.” Serenity smiled up at Emberlynn as she spoke.

“Yeah… Okay! Sounds good!” Emberlynn replied awkwardly, internally kicking herself as she did so. OMG shut up before they un-invite you!

Trent gave her a nod of farewell. “See you around, Emberlynn.”

With that, she finally turned away from them and headed back to class, feeling both more excited and more confused than she’d felt in a very long time.

35 thoughts on “8.16: Noticed

  1. So… is Natasha the one who has ESPN and can tell if it’s already raining, or is she the one who’s going to try to make “fetch” happen?

    I see a lot of this kind of stuff with the teenagers I work with, and it’s kind of amazing how they go from group to group trying to find themselves – but the hardest part to read was Ember trying to figure out the right thing to say so that the boys wouldn’t judge her (is this an appropriate time to say that toxic masculinity is about to ruin the party?)

    ANYWAY, I have to say that my favorite (new) character in this chapter is the punk rocker wearing black lipstick and braids in pictures 8 and 11. I don’t know her name or anything about her, but she is fierce and you should include her more, like how she parties all night and shows up to school on her bike where she promptly goes to the bathroom to finish washing the vomit out of her hair (don’t worry, it’s not hers) and how she’s also fighting with her dad, who wants her to be more ladylike, and her mom who had to give up her dreams of being an industrial dockworker after she got pregnant as a teenager with Greta’s (that’s what I’m calling her until we find out her real name) older brother who went into ACCOUNTING of all things at uni, and so of course her mom totally tolerates everything. I imagine that in the pictures we’ve seen she’s talking to her friend about a rave she wants to go to that’s in an abandoned car park just out of town that’s also got a subterranean office built out of bricks where people can go and party in the dark.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL definitely some Mean Girls inspiration for Emberlynn’s teen arc, can’t lie 😉 But we shall see how similar it actually is to the movie…

      Yeah Emberlynn is definitely trying hard to fit in here… for all the shit she talks about Serenity, there’s is 100% a part of her that admires/respects her, so she’s terrified of messing up in front of her and the clique! It wasn’t just the boys she was nervous about, but our Queen Bee too. But I think she made a decent impression…

      I am loving your epic backstory for that casting call sim 😂 (she is super cool looking and I had fun including her!) I totally would approve if you wrote a spin-off about her! 😂 (I forget who made her though 😱 I’ll have to double check)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a feeling that this group is into somethings that Emberlynn is not ready to do.
    Emberlynn just thinks she doesn’t want a relationship, she really does, but it will take her awile to figure it out.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is definitely a risky crowd for Emberlynn to be hanging out with 😬 We shall see what happens from here…

      And as for having a relationship, she might want once someday! But for now she is very against them 😬

      Like

  3. Interesting development. Trying to figure this out. What do Serenity and Natasha have up their sleeve? Serenity is obviously a little jealous of Jace’s interest in Emberlynn. So – something is cooking, just not sure what just yet. Or maybe Trent really does like her and she is being forced to accept her into their group. He doesn’t seem to be into Natasha….And is Emberlynn getting in over her head with this group? I have to think so maybe…. Hmmm…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, the motives here aren’t exactly clear right now… I think that’s part of what’s throwing Emberlynn off a bit here. But she’s so excited about being somewhat accepted by the popular crowd that it almost overshadows her concerns… But you could be right — one way or another, she might be getting in over her head here 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dun dun duuuuun…Trent WANTS some…bad.

    I hope Emberlynn holds out because if she gives him what he wants, he’ll dump her ass pretty quickly. He’s in for the chase.

    But…looks like Serenity might try to make Emberlynn her little minion. I’m just hoping Emberlynn goes along and then surpasses Ren in a way she (we) wouldn’t expect. Could make for some fun stuff.

    I have a feeling, they’re all going to be awesomely tight in a little while and Ember will have to do some choosing. I do think she’ll choose her cousin over the popular crowd, but that might take a while. (At least I hope to see some realistic shunning by Emberlynn over her unpopular friends.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg did WP eat my reply to you? 😭😭😭😭

      Let me try and remember what I said…

      You might be right about Trent… Emberlynn needs to watch herself! And maybe watch herself around Serenity too… her motives are still largely unclear, for now… Hopefully Emberlynn isn’t too impressed by being noticed by the popular crowd that it blinds her to looking out for herself!

      And you could be right that this could be just the beginning… but if she DOES get tight with this popular crowd… yeah… I doubt Zelda will approve 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I won’t lie. At first I thought they just invited her to mess with her, especially at the beginning, when they were joking about her promiscuity.Glad(?) it wasn’t the case.

    I’m torn with this. I think they mayyyy have some secret agenda hidden (both the girls and guys) and each has some ”idea” to why having Ember in the group is good. They could also just want her to be in this, but, from th looks of it, they don’t seem like very nice people, one thing is to make jokes like *that* with someone you know well( AKA know that won’t get hurt) another things is to an almost complete stranger.(Which was Ember’s case)Which might make them be like bullys.

    Trent clearly is a thristy boi. But Ember shouldn’t just do what he wants. She’ll end up with Serenity as her enemy and I’m 100% sure Trent won’t be there to back her up.Also, depending in how much time she spends with the popular kids, she might not have much to come back to, once dump out of the group.

    This could go wrong is so many ways. People that you hang out with define you. If Ember walks around with a bunch of people that enable her, and think it’s funny to make mean coments about others.She’ll turn out like this.And of course, she’s thirsty for some attention (Like most teenagers) so of coursce she wouldn’t hear people saying that being in that group is a problem.

    This fake confidence won’t last long. You can’t pretend to be something you aren’t just to please others, also, so what if she cares a bit about others think of her? That sometimes makes people act polite and have decent manners.

    Ember is going to a dark path. If she gets a good spot with the popular girl at the same time that she realizes she’s good-looking, she might do something nasty with all that power.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a good point about how uncertain the reasons behind the group being so “nice” are… and you’re probably right to question whether they’re even as “nice” as they seem too… but shhh 😛

      Your predictions for how things could go wrong from here are very possible 😬 Emberlynn might be dipping her toes in some dangerous waters… but we shall see…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dark WitcHazard: Aw high school a garden filled with beautiful flowers and deadly thorns which will our lovely heroine become I can’t wait! Here’s hoping for a hostile takeover!

    Lover WitcHazard: I get how you feel there’s so many ways the could turn out I kinda just want her to usurp Serenity and have a three way with Jace and Trent!

    Shipper WitcHazard: I don’t condone stealing from an established couple but when it comes to raiding ships for the creation of your own all’s fair on the shipping seas!

    Anti Shipper: I couldn’t agree more! We finally a protagonist who may be onboard with looting! Ah I think Emberlynn might be my favorite heir!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad Anti is the new leader of the Emberlynn fan club 😂 Hehehe

      I love the thought of Ember usurping Serenity’s throne… it’s certainly possible! As is her staging a hostile takeover of the Jace and Serenity ship 😈 (though her eyes seem to be more focused on Trent… for now!)

      Like

  7. I was getting some strong “Normal Adolescent Behaviour” vibes from this whole lunch with that crew. It’s a movie I saw years ago and if you haven’t seen it, a quick Google search will explain the reference. I genuinely hope I’m right though because I’m there for it! Oh the drama! And Phoenix will probably die if he finds out! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if they only invited her, and were nice to her, because they wanted some info on her to spread rumors throughout the school. I bet Serenity and Natasha is cruel enough or it.

    OR, could they really be nice for real?! Could they honestly like her for who she is with no cruel intentions?
    I guess we’ll see 🙂

    Btw for some strange reason I keep thinking of evil killer robots when I think of Serenity and Natasha xD No idea why lol!

    Like

  9. That Jace and Trent line about believing her great-grandmother was a supermodel has me worried lol! But I think Ember is smart enough to catch on sooner or later if that group is being as nasty as I think they might be…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeahhhhh Emberlynn should probably watch herself around those boys 😬 It’s so hard to tell right now what anyone’s true motives might be… but Emberlynn will figure it out sooner or later, for better or worse 😱

      Thank you for reading! ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a very bad feeling about this. Very Mean Girls. This is definitely “the” teenage arc in A2A and what I mean by that is classic teenager drama. Flings, mean girls, the whole thing lol Bless Ember’s soul because this’ll be a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Making friends with the popular crowd eh? Suppose they’re not totally awful. Though the guy is definitely not that swoonworthy. Definitely prefer the youtuber, too bad they’re related 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I work at a local high school in the LD/BD program and I see disaster awaiting…like run away Ember those girls are up to no good….also applies at college ..had my own experience w/ that in RL. I really hope she learns some life lessons soon ….ugh made it thru w/ one teen who’s now grown and another one is turning 15…

    Like

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