"Class, I'd like you to meat James Thomson. He'll be joining us for the reminder of the school year."
Thirty two heads swiveled around to meet the gaze of the newest student in Mrs. Stuarts biology class. James Thomson was a handsome boy of about seventeen, considering that this was a sophomore class this was a pretty sure sign that he had failed his first time around, and more than one set of female eyes roamed over him suggestively. I, however, didn't bother and opted instead to continue reading.
The main character was just getting into an action scene when the scraping of the chair next to me being pulled out interrupted my thoughts. I looked over to find the new gut steeling into place beside me.
"Is that okay with you, Nita?" I looked up to find Mrs. Stuart gazing at me expectantly. I had obviously missed something (an event that happens all to frequently if you ask me) but I wasn't about to let anyone else know that so I chose, instead, to get myself further into the situation.
"Sure" seemed like a safe answer to me at the time. I should really be used to being wrong by now.
"Great," Mrs. Stuart said looking pleased, "James will be Nita's new lab partner. James, if you have any questions about classroom procedures or class work ask Nita, she's my very best student." She added beaming at a rapidly reddening Nita.
I had always hated praise from teachers. Somehow my fellow classmates managed to turn it into even more ammo against me (as if they needed any more). Right now for instance there was more than one envious gaze aimed in my direction from various female members of the class. Although I'm thinking that might have less to do with my newfound status as star pupil and more to do with my newfound status as James's lab partner.
This was not a recent development that I was relishing however. I took a moment out of my busy schedule of reading and waiting for Mrs. Stuart to begin teaching to study my new lab partner. His jeans were faded and tight in all the right (or wrong depending how you wanted to look at it) places and he had shed his leather motorcycle jacket to reveal a short sleeved black fitted t-shirt. His arm muscles were clearly outlined by the sleeves of his shirt and I could make out an outline of black peeking out from the right sleeve that might very well be a tattoo.
All in all he looked like the type of slacker who would be doing nothing positive for my grade. He didn't even have a backpack or any school supplies with him.
"okay take out a sheet of paper and copy these notes," Mrs. Stuart called from the front of the class "you'll be needing them for Mondays lab."
I dog eared the page in my book and got my overstuffed binder out of my overstuffed backpack along with a pen and started to jot down the notes on the overhead all the while watching the boy next to me. He was staring absently out the window overlooking the courtyard and had made no move to take down notes of any kind.
Fine, if that's how he wants to live it certainly makes no difference to me but he can do it on his own time. My grade on the other hand won't be suffering due to the slacker sitting next to me.
I tore two clean sheets of paper out of my binder and got a spare pen out of my bag. I slide the paper over to James and set the pen down over them with slightly more force than necessary so it came down with an audible click. He looked over at me, down at the paper and back to me again and arched one dark brown eyebrow.
I ignored him and pointedly continued to jot the notes down off the overhead while stealing glances at James out of the corner of my eye every few sentences. James, however, was none so subtle and was staring openly at me and making no move to appear as if he wasn't. I tried to look as if I didn't notice/ care that he had his baby blues trained on me. After a few minutes of clinging desperately to this tactic I gave up and looked over at him again.
"What." I snapped as quietly as possible, which apparently wasn't very quiet at all considering the few curious glances we received from our neighbors. "What" I repeated more quietly this time.
"What's with the paper?" he asked looking amused. For some reason this annoyed me.
"It's for taking notes since you obviously came unprepared." I told him. This only served to make him look only more amused still which of course served to make me more annoyed still.
" I don't take notes." he said and leaned back in his seat and took up the pastime of looking out his window again.
I looked down at the paper and pen he had slid back in front of me and back at him again. He apparently thought this conversation was over. Well, he obviously doesn't know me very well at all.
"You do when you're my lab partner." I said and slid the paper back in front of him.
He looked at me for a long time then. So long that I could feel a blush working it's way up my neck. Then he took the pen I had provided him with and started to write on the paper. When he was done he slid back up and once again slid the paper back over to me (all this paper sliding was getting on my nerves) and what he had written down on that paper had absolutely nothing to do with Mondays lab.