A/N: Here it is! Chapter two! Sorry it took so long. Edit: The formatting messed up slightly. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Warnings: Account for probable typos.
Chapter Two: Preoccupied
By: Nuit Songeur
Mana eagerly stepped into the classroom and her green eyes quickly zoned in on the tall figure sitting at the back. She giggled quietly behind her binder she was holding protectively in front of her face. But, she then remembered that she was supposed to have a slip of paper signed by all of her new teachers since it was her first day. Her gaze transferred from the empty desk beside Seto and then to a tall, balding man sitting at a desk in the front of the room. She quickly rushed to the teacher, hoping that if she got the introduction with him over fast enough, then she could claim that desk as her own before any one else did.
Though, in her haste, she didn't pay much attention to her surroundings. So, as can be imagined, the leg of the corner desk went unnoticed as her toe caught itself in the bar, sending Mana to the floor with a loud crash, just inches away from the teacher's desk. Concerned, the teacher quickly rose from his chair and bent over to help her to her feet.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"I'm fine, fine," Mana stammered, her face turning a nice, bright cherry color as she nervously brushed off her skirt. "I tripped, is all. I'm a bit of klutz and I don't really pay attention to where I'm going. By the way, I'm a new student. I was told to get something signed by you…" Mana quickly fumbled through her bag, hearing curious whispers erupt from newly-occupied desks. It made her ears match her face. When she found the small thing, she handed it to the teacher and began combing her fingers through her hair.
"Mana?" he said. Mana nodded. "Well, welcome Mana. As you've probably figured out by now, this is the World History class. I'm your teacher, Mr. Peterson. I give new students the option of whether or not they want to introduce themselves to the class though, judging from the color of your face, I would say you'd rather opt out of that?"
Mana nodded anxiously.
"Very well. Just chose anywhere to sit; I don't have assigned seats. Just pick any desk you want and I'll give you your syllabus of the class in a few minutes along with this week's notes. Quickly now! Before the vultures take the seat you want!" He turned away from her to return to his desk and Mana couldn't help but smile at his sense of humor. Maybe he will make history more interesting… she thought to herself.
When she turned back around, Mana saw to her relief that the desk she had been eyeing earlier, beside Seto, was still vacant and she quickly went to take it, making sure this time there weren't any pesky desks blocking her way. She slid into it gratefully and deposited her binder in the basket beneath the seat. She set her bag on the floor beside her and, cautiously eyed Seto sitting next to her, worried that her tripping performance messed up his first impression of her. However, he wasn't looking in her direction but rather drilled his attention into a book he was reading.
Mana suppressed the urge to sigh. He was one of those bookish types? It would be hard to find common ground with him…
Normally, she would have said something to him. But, at the moment, she was still too embarrassed from before and also, he seemed a bit intimidating when he was reading a book. Had the 'Interrupt me while I'm reading and you shall DIE!' kind of looks. Mana didn't like disturbing that type of person; she'd done it enough many times to know that it wasn't a pleasant experience.
But she had to say something to him, get him to notice her, somehow…
"I see you're one of those types of people," said Mr. Peterson, breaking across her thoughts. Startled, Mana looked up, realizing too late that she had been staring at Seto. She blinked at Mr. Peterson, her mind drawing up a blank of what to say.
"What?" she simply asked. An amused grin crossed his face.
"You know- the kind that sits at the back. The bad influence. No, I'm just kidding. I understand wanting to sit at the back what with being a new student and some-" his eyes flickered to Seto. "distractions."
Mana's face, which had just returned to its normal color, reddened once again as Mr. Peterson handed her some papers.
"These are pretty simple to understand. The syllabus outlines classroom procedure and the sections we're studying this semester. We're currently on the Babylonians, hence the notes. If you're having any trouble at all, feel free to contact me for help."
Mana nodded, bobbing her head quickly. Mr. Peterson gave her a small encouraging smile and returned to his desk. Mana took refuge behind a binder as she stuffed the papers Mr. Peterson handed her in one of its pockets. She kept the binder standing up on her desk, acting as a potential fort to any curious eyes that wanted to see the awkward new student.
All the while, she managed to sneak in a few glances at the gorgeous student sitting next to her. He didn't look to be the type that was interested in small talk which would pose as a problem later on since that was what Mana generally did to get to know people better.
"Oh," she sighed to herself, looking away from him. His penetrating gaze was trained solely on the book he was reading. He wouldn't even look at her! What made her think that he would ever be interested in her? The frizzy-haired, annoying new girl? She didn't have a chance with him…
Mana had to get a grip on herself. She knew herself only be pessimistic when she experienced humiliation, such as tripping in front of the class. By tomorrow, she would be her normal perky self that was ready engage Seto Kaiba into an interesting, casual conversation. She would capture his attention and exchange phone numbers and email addresses…
Who was she kidding? Seto Kaiba exchange phone numbers? Seto freakin' Kaiba? Was she really that naïve to believe that? He would just look at her like she was crazy, like she was an annoying pest who didn't know any better. He'd probably only see her as the girl who tripped over a desk and have that event forever attached to her face. Who would be interested in a klutz? Definitely not Seto Kaiba.
The bell rang, startling Mana out of her depressing thoughts. She looked up to see that the all the other desk in the room were filled; she made it in time to claim the one next to Seto. A few students glanced at her. When she made eye contact with someone, Mana quickly dodged behind the still-upright binder. Mr. Peterson started the lesson by showing off a map on an overhead projector, turning off the lights as he pointed to various locations on the map.
Mana stressed for the rest of the class period, not only about the Seto situation but also because people kept turning back around to stare at her. It make her self-conscious. Did she had some left-over food on her face from lunch? She surreptitiously wiped her mouth on her arm but found nothing. Did she mess up on her eyeliner that morning then? After digging through her bag and pulling out her small hand mirror to inspect her face, Mana concluded that nothing of her make-up status was out of character. So what then? Were they astounded at her abnormally frizzy hair? She scanned the heads around her. None of them had the same level of frizzy-ness. So were they curious about her hair? Or, were they talking about her tripping from earlier?
Mana sighed, sinking lower into her chair to avoid more inquisitive gazes. What an awesome first day, she thought sarcastically.
The map Mr. Peterson was showing was on the back of the page of notes he had handed to her. And the all the cities he was annotating were already marked on her map. So, she decided to pull out her Geometry homework, a worksheet on angles, rather than pay attention.
She tapped her pencil rhythmically on the desk at a steady beat that gradually gained speed with her agitation for math. I don't get this…
Mana didn't notice the heads beginning to turn in her direction as the furious tapping disrupted Mr. Peterson's lesson. Mr. Peterson, however, didn't hear it, or rather, just ignored it. But, unbeknownst to Mana, she finally managed to get Seto Kaiba's attention as his eyes narrowed at the pencil she was tapping with. He had began to become aggravated at her distraction and, out of desperation, scribbled a note on a piece of paper, wadded it up, and tossed it to her desk.
Mana gave a small jump of surprise as the paper wad skidded across her desk, stopping at the edge of her binder. She looked at the direction it had come from and saw Kaiba staring at her. He expression was blank and his eyes were cold. Mana felt herself flinch away from his as she picked up the paper and unfurled it. It was a note that read:
Stop the incessant tapping. It's annoying. And if you don't want to pay attention in class, then don't draw attention to yourself.
Mana frowned at the handwriting, neat and slanted. She didn't know she had been drawing attention to herself. Then again, her grandmother did say quite often that she was particularly unobservant.
"Sorry," she whispered to Kaiba, folding his note up.
"Hn," was all he said, or grunted actually, before turning his attention back to the front of the class. Mana blankly stared at him for a moment before turning back to her work sheet.
How rude! And mean! Did he not have any sense for manners or politeness or decency? What was wrong with him? Just because he thought he was the King of the World didn't mean he had to act like a snobbish jerk!
Mana felt tears creeping to her eyes and tried to rub them away angrily on her school uniform sleeve. She sniffed which, to her dismay, caused several heads to turn. She ducked behind the binder. What an awful day! And I've got gym next period!
Mana waited out the rest of the class time, staring gloomily at her Geometry homework. She didn't work on it anymore, just stared at the triangles that 'weren't to scale' as she tried very hard not to cry. It was just a rude, inconsiderate jerk sitting beside her… She shouldn't get so worked up… Eventually, the bell rang, signaling her reprieve and the lights were immediately switched back on. Kids around her started to quickly gather their books.
"No homework for tonight except to read the next section. I plan on giving a quiz tomorrow," called out Mr. Peterson before anyone left. There was a unison groan from the majority of the class as they began filing out. Mana was one of the many to groan as she stuffed the papers back into her binder and her binder back into her bag. When she got up to leave, she saw that everyone else had left and then shuffled miserably out of the room.
She saw Joey waiting for her out in the hall. She blinked at him, surprised that he was waiting for her.
"Hi Joey," she said.
"Hey," he said. "I though you could use some help finding your next class." He smiled at her, obviously forgiving her sin of ogling Kaiba. She smiled back at him.
"Thanks. I think I have gym next." She searched her bag for her schedule to make sure. "Yep. Gym." She mentally groaned.
"It's okay," he said. "If I'm not wrong, Téa has gym this period too." Mana felt a little more relieved. At least she would be seeing one somewhat familiar face in there.
She followed Joey down and toward what seemed to be like back to the cafeteria. After they pushed their way through throngs of rude people, Mana saw that they were passing the cafeteria. She briefly glanced at the double doors and then quickly turned her attention back to Joey. But, for some reason, he suddenly stopped. And Mana accidentally bumped into him.
"Oops, sorry," Mana apologized, blushing fiercely. Joey turned around to her, not having noticed her collision or apology.
"Here's the gym," he said. "I don't think the coach will make you dress out or participate today but, you never know. So, be prepared for the worst." Mana anxiously peered around him. Dress out? She would have to dress out?
"Oh, um, thanks Joey," she said uncertainly. She saw him nod from the corner of her eye and leave her there, standing awkwardly in front of the double doors. She lifted a hand and, pausing for just a moment, pushed open a door.
Hope you enjoyed! I'll try to get chapter three in sooner. Please review!