A Different Blue
by Amy Harmon
New Adult Contemporary
Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on in life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.
This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don’t know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can’t love you back might be impossible.
Darcy Wilson POV – Chapter One
It wasn’t like teaching in Africa. In fact, it wasn’t anything like I expected. Every student that walked through my classroom door seemed less than happy to be there. Definitely not like Africa. I’d spent the weeks leading up to the school year holed up in my classroom, determined to make it a place people would want to be. My favorite people in history lined the walls that I’d painted a cheery eggshell blue. Tiffa had informed me it looked a bit like a nursery, but I ignored her. She also thought I should have a poster of the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice framed above my desk, just to be funny. That joke had grown quite old.
None of these kids were going to know my first name if I could help it. They could call me Wilson. And we were all going to be good mates by the end of the year, I was convinced of it. If I could make even one student love history the way I did, it was worth every effort.
I’d wetted my hair down and tried to brush out the curls. I hated the bloody things. If my ears didn’t stick out a bit I would have cut it so short it couldn’t curl. But they did, so I didn’t. But by seventh hour the heat, combined with my own nerves, had it curling around my forehead and ears in quiet rebellion. It had been the longest day of my life.
The last class of the day: European History. The students filed in, most of them seniors, most of them looking as old as I. I greeted them all with a smile. Word had apparently traveled about the Brit teaching history, because they all seemed very intent on my speech, and many of them snickered when I began to take roll. Everyone was present except for one student. Someone named Blue. What was with these American names? I wondered if Blue was male or female. It was impossible to know. I’d had female students all day long with names like Taylor, Morgan, Jordan, even Justice. All of them names I had assumed belonged to the boys.
I wrote my name across the whiteboard, invited the class to just call me Wilson, and was launching into a course introduction when she walked in. My first thought was that she couldn’t be a student. But she was looking for an empty seat.
I don’t know how she managed to move in the trousers she was wearing. They were literally like a second skin they were so tight. The trousers were tucked into a pair of black boots with staggering heels that made her tall and intimidating as she strolled down the center aisle. Her black hair was long and purposely tousled, and her skin was a pale caramel color. She swung her hair back as she moved and ignored me as if she was fully aware that I was the teacher, fully aware that she had interrupted my class, and fully aware that all eyes were on her. I noted the way the chaps in the class had straightened, puffing out their chests like silly roosters. She looked sorely out of place in a room full of sneakers and ponytails. She should have looked ridiculous. But she didn’t. Not at all. She was beautiful. And beauty was never awkward, regardless of how tightly it was wrapped.
She tossed her satchel on the floor and shrugged out of a jumper that made the sweat trickle down my back just looking at it. It was so bloody hot outside I wondered why she had chosen that particular accessory. Then, with practiced ease, she slid down into her seat, stretching her slender legs in front of her and crossing her booted feet like she was settling in for the duration.
“Carry on,” she droned, her tone dripping with boredom. Her eyes shot to mine then, challenging me to react to her insolent display. Her eyes were the bluest I had ever seen, and I felt a funny jolt in my heart when my eyes met hers. I looked at the roll, trying to disguise the disquiet in my chest. This girl was trouble. Trouble. And I was not far enough removed from my teen years myself to not recognize my reaction for what it was. Attraction. I was attracted to her. I felt desperation rise up in my throat. Of all the things I had worried about, this had not been one of them! I had spent hours pouring over my history books, hours planning and plotting how the school year would unfold. But I had not anticipated being attracted to one of my students! I liked fit birds as well as the next chap, but I had never been a ladies man, nor had I ever had difficulty setting girls aside for other pursuits.
I cleared my throat to combat the rising bubble of panic. ‘You can do this, Wilson,’ I told myself silently. ‘She’s just a girl…and not a very nice one at that.’
“You must be Blue Echohawk,” I supplied, suddenly realizing that indeed she must, as there were no other names on my roll. The ‘Echohawk’ brought me up short.
Her eyes shot to the whiteboard and then back to me. “And you must be Mr. Wilson,” she said wryly, lifting one eyebrow expectantly. My new students laughed, apparently in approval of her moxie. She drummed long fingers against her desktop slowly, a muted cadence that in no wise matched my thudding heart. The other students seemed transfixed by the confrontation, and I could see how this moment might determine the trajectory of the rest of the school year. Locking horns with this girl was not going to accomplish anything.
I smiled and kept my voice level. “I am. But as I was telling your classmates, you may call me Wilson. Unless you are late or disrespectful, and then I would appreciate the Mr.” I let my lips curve again, taking the sting out of my request.
She shrugged, a graceful lift of slim shoulders. “In that case, I guess I better stick with Mr. Wilson, because I’m usually late, and I’m always disrespectful.” She returned my smile, but it was slightly mocking and falsely sweet. Still, the flash of white teeth beneath full pink lips sent a clanging alarm through me once more, and I cursed inwardly.
“We’ll see,” I responded quietly, not knowing how else to let the confrontation die. And then I looked away, dismissing her resolutely. I didn’t look at her throughout the remainder of my lecture, letting my eyes skim over her head to an easier audience. Other than a question about my age and a comment about my non-existent resemblance to Harry Potter, the remainder of the hour went smoothly, and the girl named Blue was quiet, though I felt her gaze throughout, and it niggled like a headache and bothered me more than I wanted to admit.
I introduced the assignment that would be a reoccurring theme throughout the year. Each student would write their own histories. It would help connect them with the histories of those who had come before. It was the thread that would tie everything together. When I passed out the papers and was able to sink into my own desk chair, mission complete, I stole a look at the front row.
Blue was sitting with her eyes trained on the blank page in front of her. Her right hand stroked down the sheet as if she were strumming the thin blue lines that I hoped she would begin to fill with her story. She wrote a few words and scowled down at them. But the scowl faded as she seemed lost in thought. I wondered what she would say, what her story really was. She had an exotic face…but the blue eyes were surprising. She didn’t really look Hispanic. There were a fairly large number of Hispanic students at Boulder High School. Maybe she was Italian. But the name indicated Native American heritage. I could almost guarantee that she had an interesting tale to tell. But whether she would tell it? That I highly doubted.
My prediction proved spot on. When the bell rang she still sat, staring at the page that held only a handful of lines. I was suddenly inundated with loose papers being shoved at me from all directions. I had failed to give the instruction to leave the papers on the desks. I was distracted, obviously. The thought made me angry with myself, and as the room emptied and I sorted the mess of papers, I again resorted to the mental pep talk that I would employ often throughout that school year, though I didn’t know it then.
And still she sat. The room was empty now. And I really didn’t want to be alone with her. Not at all.
“Uh…Miss Echohawk?” I determined to call her Miss Echohawk from then on, keeping a nice formality between us.
Her head jerked up like she had suddenly become aware that class had ended. Her black mass of hair fell away from her face, and there was the briefest flash of something childlike and vulnerable before her sneer came crashing down and she stood, gathering her jumper and her satchel Then, very deliberately, she wadded the assignment up and tossed it towards the rubbish bin. It missed, but she didn’t stoop to retrieve it. And I doubted it was because her trousers were too tight. She turned on her heel and headed for the door, her hips swaying and her stride long.
About the Author
Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, so she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called “What I Know” – also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband and four kids, and doesn’t plan to ever move somewhere, because nowhere is sublime. She has written Running Barefoot, and the Young Adult books Slow Dance in Purgatory and the sequel, Prom Night in Purgatory. A Different Blue is her fourth novel.
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