Disclaimer: Don't own.
:Regret the Past/Fear the Future:
Raenef blinked slowly, like a cat, and stretched languidly in bed. Then he looked at the clock.
"Crap!" He yelped and rolled out of bed and started running to the bathroom when he realized that whoever woke him up was still calling his name and pounding on the door. He skidded across the tiled floor in his socks and opened it up. Chris was standing there, looking irate, holding Raenef's book bag.
"Just a little," Chris said, wryly, and let himself in and settled down on the white couch while Raenef ran to the bathroom. He came back out with a toothbrush in his mouth, toothpaste foaming and collecting at the corners of his mouth.
"You left this at my house," Chris said. "I'm guessing you got no homework done?"
"We had homework?" Raenef asked, innocently, through the foam. Chris groaned.
"You promised, Raenef! You promised you were going to study and pass your classes! You know Erutis is going to kill you if you don't make it into a university. I'll kill you too. We're all supposed to go to the same college, remember?"
Raenef felt guilty; Erutis and Chris were basically his only friends. And they had made a pact that they were going to all stay together, three parentless orphans against the world. Or something like that. He didn't particularly care for school or grades so the guilt mainly came from letting Erutis and Chris down.
"I'll work harder," Raenef insisted. "It's only the second month of school, you know. I have time to bring my grades up."
"Yeah right. Well, being late isn't going to help so hurry up!"
Raenef ran back to the bathroom and spat out the toothpaste. Rinsing his mouth, he raked a brush through his flaxen hair, searching for a hair tie. He bent forward, gathering his hair.
"Where's Erutis?" Raenef called.
"She's meeting us at the front gate but I don't think she'll be there anymore. It's already twenty past eight. She won't be late waiting for us."
Raenef flipped his head back and secured the ponytail. He frowned at his reflection, leaning forward until his nose almost touched the mirror. He looked so damn feminine. What was it? The hair? The nose? The lips? The eyelashes? Chris had long eyelashes and long hair and he didn't look like a girl.
"HURRY UP!" Chris bellowed. Raenef sighed and left his reflection. Looking like a girl was the least of his worries at the moment.
Still dressed in the rumpled t-shirt and flannel pants that he slept in, Raenef grabbed a piece of toast that had been laying on the kitchen table since the night before and stuck it in his mouth. He took his book bag and ushered Chris out, locking the door behind him. His apartment was a one bedroom apartment that Raenef somehow managed to pay rent for with work. It helped that it was in a slummy part of town so the rent was way cheaper than other places of the same size in nice parts of the city. It was too small for Chris or Erutis to live in and share the rent; they found a place together in another part of the city and shared the rent there.
Raenef didn't want to ask if they were sleeping together but he kind of suspected it. Maybe that was why he didn't feel as motivated to get good grades and stick with them. What's their trio going to be like with two of them together? He didn't want to be a third wheel. He was his parents' third wheel and look where that position got him. On the streets begging for food, that's where. Though he highly doubted that Chris and Erutis would leave him like that, sometimes he wondered if maybe they wouldn't particularly mind if he didn't…follow them.
He felt so…loosely tied together. Like he was always on the verge of breaking down. Raenef had that weird nervous, anxious feeling in his stomach often, his molars aching, like he was about to fall apart. Whenever that happened, he just grit his teeth and kept barreling forward in his life, moving too fast to regret the things in the past or fear the things in the future. Always keep moving so the breakdown won't catch up with you.
"Damn," Chris muttered. They approached the school gates and already there was one of the faculty members standing there, waiting to note kids down for tardiness. It was a tough, prestigious school with a long waiting list; the only reason Raenef got in was through his high test scores. Erutis claimed that was proof that he wasn't dumb but Raenef wasn't sure. He felt like those entrance exam scores were a fluke, but whatever, at least it got him into the same school as Erutis and Chris.
"I would put you two in detention right now," was the teacher's greeting, as she let them through the gates. "Except there's a new teacher for your class and you need to get acquainted with him."
Chris shot Raenef a look, eyebrows raised, a smile tugging at his lips. New teacher? Now there was something interesting to break up the monotony of their life.
"Raenef, why are you not in your uniform?"
"I'm so sorry, Ms. H, but I slept in. You know how boys are, can't ever get enough sleep," Raenef said, with what he hoped was a dazzling smile. Charisma and test scores. Those were basically Raenef's lifesavers. Raenef made his exit and hurried past her but Ms. H grabbed Chris' sleeve.
"Don't think you're off the hook," she said. "I have your name written down; if you don't come to the library at lunch for a study hall detention, I'll have to come find you." Chris groaned. How did Raenef always manage to stay out of trouble? He blamed it on Raenef's innocent look. Too bad that sneaky little bastard knew more than enough of what was going on around him.
"I'll be there," he said, heavily, and walked towards the school a lot more slowly than Raenef had.
"You have a new teacher and you'll show him disrespect by sauntering to class?" Ms. H barked. Chris sighed and picked up his step. He definitely had to have Raenef teach him how to give that puppy look; it seemed to come in handy a lot.
Raenef slowly opened the door, while the new teacher's back was turned, apparently writing something on the board. Probably his name. Or her name. Whoever the new teacher was, they had long, black hair, almost hitting the back of their knees, tied loosely at the nape of their neck. The figure seemed to tall to be a woman. Raenef guessed that the new teacher was a guy.
He opened the door and quickly closed it behind him, crouching on the floor. His seat was in the back row so if he could only squeeze past Erutis without being seen by the teacher, he would be in the clear…
At that moment, the teacher turned around and confirmed Raenef's suspicions that he was, in fact, male. Unfortunately, he also caught side of Raenef crawling past Erutis, who had her chair pushed as far back as possible, feet up on her seat so that Raenef could get by.
"And who is this new addition? Don't think I can't see you; stand up."
Raenef froze. The voice was silky, maybe even a little bit seductive. He knew he couldn't disobey it. Slowly, Raenef straightened up, keeping his eyes down, cheeks flushed with embarrassment. He heard a low ripple of chuckling among his classmates. They found his tardiness to be endearing, not disrespectful. It was just how Raenef was and they knew that. Though Erutis and Chris were his only friends, he was, for the most part, well liked by most of his classmates. The same sweetness that charmed his teachers worked on his peers. There were the random floaters that disliked Raenef for various reasons, his femininity, his immaturity, or whatever else they happened to find grating.
"I'm sorry I'm late," Raenef said, eyes still trained on the ground.
"And you are?" Raenef heard papers rustling and he guessed the teacher was looking for the attendance roll.
"Chris or Raenef?" he asked. "You look like a Raenef."
"I'm Chris," Chris said, pushing the door open, looking irate. "So you guessed right."
"I don't recall asking you what your name was," was the smooth, silky reply. He sounded like a serene cat, masking annoyance with amusement. Raenef chanced a look up and smothered a small gasp.
He was much younger than Raenef expected, yes. He was also a lot more good-looking, in a scary sort of way. His eyes were an odd shade of purple and hanging from his left earlobe was a crescent moon earring. He didn't look like he belonged at this school. Raenef wondered how good of a teacher he was that he got the job despite his questionable appearance.
"I'm sorry, what?" Raenef asked, eyes wide. He realized this man's lips had been moving and the words were directed towards him.
"I am asking you why you are late," he said. Was he annoyed? Raenef searched his face and found none of the masked annoyance that was present when he was talking to Chris. He took this as a good sign and attempted to sweeten the teacher.
"I live alone so there's no one to wake me up except for my alarm," he said, widening his eyes even further. He tilted his pointy chin down and tried to look as innocent as possible. "I think I forgot to set my alarm..." His classmates chuckled. One of them called out, "Raenef does it all the time. Mr. Gorlois didn't have a problem with it."
"Yes well, I'm not Mr. Gorlois," the teacher said, but a smile was beginning to form on his lips. "But I'll let you slide for today, Raenef. Take your seat."
Raenef settled down next to Erutis and tried to avoid her venomous glances. She wrote something in her notebook and pushed it to Raenef.
Why are you late?
Raenef scribbled below it, I didn't lie. I really did forget to set my alarm.
Erutis glanced at it and wrote something and pushed the notebook back.
Did you do your homework?
He pushed the notebook back. Erutis raised a coppery eyebrow. Raenef ignored her. Which wouldn't have been very hard to do considering Raenef was very easily distracted by the teacher standing in the front of the room.
"You can call me E," he said.
"What's it short for?" a student asked.
"I'd rather not say."
"Why not? It can't be that embarrassing," Raenef said, before he could stop himself.
"Oh really?" E said, looking at Raenef until the boy sunk lower into his seat. "I suppose Raenef is an odd enough name as well."
"Lay off of Raenef's name," Chris said, irritably. "It's not like he made it himself."
"I suppose not." And went right back to teaching class.
The bell rang and Chris immediately came over by Erutis and Raenef. He sat near the back as well but not anywhere near Raenef and Erutis. He used to sit by them but had his seat moved after the last teacher caught him with his hand up Erutis' skirt during class.
"Okay, is it just me or does E give you guys the creeps?" he asked, quietly.
Erutis shrugged. "Maybe you're just weirded out by his hair," she said, sensibly.
"Yeah or maybe the way he was hitting on Raenef the whole class," he said, sounding crabby.
"What?" Raenef hissed, cheeks turning red. "Shut up, someone might hear and get the wrong idea."
"He was," Chris insisted. "Did you see the way he looked at you? He definitely screams "pedophile" to me."
"Hey, I'm over the age of consent, thanks," Raenef said.
"Yeah but you still look like you're twelve," Chris pointed out. "I'm just saying, you should be careful."
"Oh right, Chris, because the new teacher can really molest Raenef in the middle of class in front of everyone," Erutis said sarcastically.
"Raenef's too innocent and girly looking. You never know," Chris said.
"Raenef?" All three of them jumped at the new voice. They looked up and found E looking at Raenef. Raenef could almost feel Chris' "I told you so" look that he must be giving Erutis. He would have even checked to see if he was right except whenever E was looking at him, he wasn't quite sure if he could look away.
"Yes?" he asked, his voice coming out as a squeak.
"Could I have a word with you before your next class?"
"Um, yeah sure, I guess," Raenef said.
"Privately?" E said, coolly, looking at Erutis and Chris. Now Raenef did intercept the look that Chris gave Erutis.
"Be careful," Chris said, lowly, patting Raenef on the shoulder. Raenef rolled his eyes as his friends left the room. His exasperation disappeared as the door closed behind him and he found himself standing alone in the classroom, E standing in front of his desk, waiting for Raenef. Raenef swallowed. And started walking.