A Quiet Soul, Part 2 of 3: Hayley

Fiction By Clare Marie // 1/30/2011

 The school year surprises Dillon with its swiftness, despite the lethargy and monotony of his classes.  Late fall comes, and with it comes Hayley.  She hasn't been in Dillon's apartment for two hours, and she is already begging to go to class with him.  Dillon had expected her to want to rest for a day or so, and is unprepared for the verbal attack.

"No, you're not coming," Dillon mumbles at her, throwing his textbooks into his backpack.

She leans on the table, her straight brown hair tumbling over her arms.  "Why not?" she demands, her eyes laughing at him.

Dillon has no answer.  He wonders how he can explain his reluctance to her.  He has no friends, but she doesn't know that.  He doesn't want to tell her he has no friends.  The so-called "friends" he has all make fun of him enough already.  What would they say if he brought his little sister to class with him?  True, Hayley is old enough and pretty enough to be mistaken for his girlfriend -- Dillon thinks she's the prettiest girl he knows -- but they would probably ask questions about her anyway, and then he'd have to answer, and the truth would come out.  All those silly, pestering questions, and those silly, pestering classmates.  Dillon wishes he could protect her from them, from the stupidity and ugliness of the world.  How can he explain to Hayley that all he does at school is sit in a corner and read?

Hayley pokes her finger into his shoulder.  "I don't want to spend my entire fall break sitting here in your apartment with only a fat cat for company."

Dillon smiles.  "Tyrone isn't fat."

"Yes, he is!  You give him too many potato chips."

"Well, you know what they say: it's impossible to eat just one."

"It is not.  I proved that theory wrong already."  Hayley laughs.  Dillon hopes she forgot about wanting to go with him.  He grabs his Ohio State jacket and yanks his tennis shoes on.  He turns to get his backpack and finds Hayley behind him, slipping on her pink coat.

"Where are you going?" he asks accusingly, although he knows the answer perfectly well.

"With you," she replies, smiling.  She peeks in the dusty mirror and settles a hat on her head.

"I didn't know we had decided."

"Of course we did, silly.  I'm thinking about attending your college next year, so why shouldn't I go with you?  I'm doing just what any other senior in high school does: shadowing a college.  Only instead of a weird stranger telling me boring facts about the school's history, I'll have my big brother showing me all the cool places to hang out."

Dillon sighs.  He doesn't want her to meet his classmates.  But she is determined, and he knows her too well to try and stop her.

They leave the apartment, and Dillon locks the door.  As they walk downstairs to get to the outside door, Dillon realizes he forgot to bring the opened bag of potato chips he left lying on the counter.

"Darn," he says, refraining from using a stronger word while Hayley is around.  The situation wasn't annoying enough to provoke him into using a swear word, anyway.

"What?" she asks, tilting her head up at him.

"I forgot my potato chips."

"Man, you are addicted," she jokes, grinning.  "Don't worry, Tyrone will take care of them."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

Hayley laughs.  Dillon loves to make her laugh.  When she was a baby, he used to spend endless hours making silly faces at her.  She would laugh so hard that she would begin to hiccup.

"A penny for your thoughts," she says as they wait for the bus.  Dillon wishes he had a car to drive them to school, but cars are too expensive.

"I need a car," he says simply.  He leans against the bus stop sign.  The air is clammy and cold; it smells of gasoline and wet pavement.  Everyone who walks by wears a coat, and some are carrying umbrellas.  The sky is overcast.  It had rained earlier in the day and looks like it might do so again.

"And I need a driver's license," says Hayley, squinting up at the clouds.

"Here comes the bus," says Dillon, after a moment.

The bus pulls up with the shrieking noise of bad brakes, and the doors open with a squeaky jerk.  Dillon lets Hayley go in first, and pays the driver.  They shuffle through the crowded bus and squeeze into a seat between an old lady taking a nap and a businessman with ear buds plugged into his ears.  The bus starts up again noisily, and the passengers bounce up and down involuntarily as the bus drives over uneven pavement.

"I agree with you," says Hayley, breaking the silence.

"Hmm?"  Dillon glances over at her.

"You need a car."

"Does the coach not suit Cinderella?" Dillon chuckles, maintaining a tight hold on the edge of the bench to keep from bumping into the old lady next to him.

Hayley sticks her chin up into the air.  "The Princess is displeased," she announces nasally.  She laughs and leans on Dillon's shoulder.  "Dillon, being with you makes even the most bothersome pumpkin a royal joyride."

Dillon feels his worries fall away.  He glances around the bus, and catches the eye of a girl sitting not quite directly opposite him.  She meets his glance shyly, but with a knowing and satisfied look -- the look of someone who has just solved a puzzle.  He realizes that she reminds him of Hayley; and as she reaches up to finger the wooden choker around her neck, he recognizes her.





Ohio State? My grandmother

Ohio State? My grandmother loves you. :)

And what will happen in part three, hmmm?

Anna | Tue, 02/01/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


Looking forward to the next piece, I find myself regretting that it'll be the last. And I think Hayley is quite a charming personage. :)

Annabel | Tue, 02/01/2011


I'm liking this a lot.

Bernadette | Tue, 02/01/2011

 Thank you. :)

 Thank you. :)

Clare Marie | Thu, 02/03/2011

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

I just read the last two

I just read the last two chapters of this and really enjoyed it. It had this lyrical, sweet, relaxed sort of writing style to it that made me want to read it all day.

E | Fri, 02/04/2011

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


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