More Trouble Than it's Worth
The summer before Junior year had come and gone too fast. It felt like yesterday they were back on vacation, going on daring adventures and creating outrageous things. But here they all were, back in an English III class they were oh-so-lucky to all be put into.
Lucky for them, Christmas break was mere weeks away.
Phineas and Isabella had long since tuned out the teacher and taken to passing cute little love notes back and forth across their row. Buford had also decided his time could have been better spent on something besides listening to the teacher read a holocaust book, and was in the process of turning every sheet of paper in his notebook into little paper footballs. Once a football was complete, he'd aim it up and skillfully flick it right into the side of the head of the scrawny Indian boy two seats to his left. Said Indian boy, Baljeet, spent the class with his head bent over his extensive page of notes on the book being read, trying his hardest to ignore the thwack of the sharp origami against his curl-covered scalp and mindlessly chauffeuring the note back and forth across the row. Ferb found himself doodling on some paper while he listened to the book, and otherwise kept to himself.
In the back of his mind, Baljeet was cursing the world.
Well… perhaps not all the world, but definitely the hefty teen who had attached himself to him since they were kids. The stalky, muscular, slightly overweight, football player-esque kid who'd basically forced him into a Bully-Nerd contract back when they were still in middle school. The kid he was still pretty much scared to death of, even though he knew absolutely every one of his deepest secrets.
Not only did Baljeet believe somewhere in his short life that Buford would eventually null out their 'contract' and stop pestering him, but he thought that Buford would just end up maturing to the point where he would completely forget about it.
Unfortunately, if the little paper triangles still being flicked at the 16 year olds head were any indication, Buford had not only not matured in the slightest, but had also often made it very clear to Baljeet that the poor, smaller kid was, now and forever, 'his Nerd'.
Baljeet was this close to exposing all of Buford's dark secrets to the entire school, if only to make him feel both the physical and emotional pain he'd been put through over the years. Much to his annoyance, the fact that he knew practically everything about the other teenager let him predict exactly what would happen if he did do such a thing. Not only would he find his head literally shoved up his ass, but he'd also have to endure knowing that he would have been nail that shattered their friendship.
Yes, even Baljeet had to admit the two of them were close friends. Even through all the bullying and harassment, the two often found comfort in confiding in each other. Over time, the scrawny teen had learned that Buford's threatening exterior was matched only by his equally horrid sensitivity. The bully got attached to things very easily, and if something happened to one of them, he became a sobbing ball of flesh and despair. Though, as annoying as this was, sometimes it was a welcome change of pace.
The Indian boy twitched, the grip on his pencil tightening. His head snapped to the side to send what he liked to call a 'dark glare' at the massive teen two seats away from him. He frowned when Buford's amused smile grew into a satisfied grin, and growled gently as he was handed a note from Phineas. Once he passed the paper along, he shot the bully another hateful look, and turned back to his notes.
Scribbling furiously to catch up on the few lines of text he'd missed out on notating, Baljeet didn't even notice that Buford had pulled his straw from his Gatorade and begun gnawing on some paper.
Baljeet's pencil snapped.
"Do you have ANY sort of DECENCY in your unnecessarily large body!" He practically screamed, standing from his seat and throwing an accusing finger towards Buford's nose. In the short silence following the outburst, the bully merely beamed up at the angry brainiac proudly, as if he'd finally accomplished some great feat.
"Baljeet Rai!" The teacher finally sputtered, caught between being utterly flabbergasted and angry at being interrupted.
Baljeet could feel his face practically catch fire; oh no, what had he just done? "Y-Yes, Mrs. Tyger..?" he muttered embarrassedly, quickly finding himself shrinking back down into his seat to avoid all the stares.
"That was completely uncalled for!" the woman snapped, her brows furrowing disapprovingly. "Such an outburst, and from a model student no less!"
"But Ma'am, Buford was-"
"I'm very disappointed in you, Baljeet. You know better!"
Whining gently in his throat, the poor boy slid down farther in his seat, burying his face in his hands. All the children around him were snickering under their breaths. Buford didn't even have to touch him to set off his temper anymore. How could he have had such an outburst in the middle of class? Oh gods, he was so ashamed.
Much to Baljeet's delight, the electronic whining of a 'bell' decided to use that moment to take it's noisy place in the small-ish classroom. Eager to get out of the bad environment, the Indian boy just scooped up all his belongs and practically ran out the door.
"Bring your books again next class! And remember, Prom is Friday night! I'm chaperoning the dance, so you kids better not think you're getting away with any bumping and grinding!" the woman at the front of the room called over her shuffling students, book marking her page with that class's colored post-it.
In the hall, Baljeet was scurrying around other students with his books clutched to his chest and his eyes towards the floor. It was lunch, but he wasn't really in the mood for food anymore, so he had decided to go and take shelter in the atrium at the center of the school. Now if he could just get there before-
Baljeet clenched his teeth as a large hand reached through the crowd and grasped onto his shoulder. He was forced to stop, and turned his head slightly to look back at Buford.
"What do you want?" he asked coolly.
"The cafeteria is the other direction," Buford frowned and pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. "Where are you going? Everyone's waiting for you."
"I am not eating lunch with you today. I have to at least hold on to some dignity." Baljeet turned, put his nose in the air, and began back on his way towards the garden. Buford's brows furrowed in annoyance.
"Excuse me?" he snapped, his arm lashing out and taking a firm hold around the smaller kid's bicep. "I don't think I heard you correctly." He just growled further when Baljeet eeped and tried to shrink away. He yanked the boy closer and stared him down threateningly. "You're not doing what now?"
Baljeet stared up at the huge male with wide eyes, trembling gently as he was loomed over. He gaped a bit, then looked away.
"U-uh. I am not.. hungry.. So I am going to go.. do something productive..?" he mumbled, wincing a bit as the grip on his upper arm tightened. He eeped again when the bully pulled him onto his tip-toes, bringing them eye-to-eye.
"And you can't do something productive while you eat lunch with your friends?" Buford growled, using his free hand to poke the dark-skinned boy in the chest.
Baljeet swallowed thickly, and despite being absolutely terrified, mustered up a dark glare and tried to pull his arm away. "I have business to attend to! Why do you even care? You will just dump my food down the back of my shirt anyway."
The bully blinked, the fight in the nerd catching him off-guard. The lapse in thought gave Baljeet enough time to wrench his arm from Buford's grip and quickly begin back into the crowd of people. The hefty male stared a moment, then growled and started after him again.
"Would you leave me alone for five minutes, Buford?" Baljeet yelled back, his confidence rising a little as he kept a good distance between the two of them.
"Look, you," Buford snapped, shoving over small freshman to catch up to Baljeet. "You don't run away from Buford when he's talking to ya."
The smaller teen tried to dodge a group of cheerleaders giggling over a phone, but only managed to crash himself into one of the girls and drop the books in his hands.
"Oh my, pardon me," he mumbled quickly, otherwise ignoring the female screeching about her hair being mussed up. He fumbled with his books, but wasn't able to get them all up before Buford was upon him. He gasped as he was roughly pulled up by the back of his shirt.
"Please excuse the nerd, ladies," Buford said smoothly, smiling at the cheerleaders, who gaped at him in both awe and fear. "He's just a little wound up. I'll show him what happens to the people who mess up a perfect girl's hairdo."
Baljeet would have barfed at the words spewing out of the bully's mouth, had said male not begun to drag him off towards the nearby side-hall.
Now towards the middle of the quieter, semi-deserted hall, Buford stopped and whirled on 'his' nerd. Baljeet squawked as he was roughly pushed up against the wall, what little hold he had on his notebooks failing and sending them scattering. He instinctively shrank back into the plaster, his nails trying to grip into the paint by his upper thighs. Buford slammed both of his over-sized palms into the wall beside the scrawny kid's shoulders, succeeding not only in trapping him, but making him jump.
"You're being unusually pissy," Buford stated, a sudden, uncharacteristically serious look crossing his face as he stared down at the trembling Indian teen.
"Well, what do you expect?" Baljeet hesitated, swallowing back some fear and furrowing his brows. The male in front of him may be huge and intimidating, but out of all the people who knew him, Baljeet should be the last person still scared of him. "You got me into trouble with the teacher!"
Buford blinked, then fell into a barking laugh, throwing his head back. "That's all your wimpy little head was concerned about? Getting in trouble?" he finally responded, still grinning.
"Of course I am concerned, you thick headed imbecile!" Baljeet snapped, clenching his fists as his fear eased away. "I have never gotten in trouble in my whole life! Can you even comprehend what this will do to my record?" He stamped one of his feet on the carpet, growling at the amused look on the bully's visage. "Stop smiling like this is a good thing! You have no idea how horrible getting in trouble is!"
"Listen, 'Jeet," Buford spoke casually, his tone sliding into Baljeet's ears like ice on hot metal. "Haven't you ever thought about what it was like to live on the bad side? You've really never been curious about the thrill of, say…" one of Buford's meaty fingers found its way to the bottom of the smaller boy's chin. It carefully pulled the jaw down, giving the bully a great image of a suddenly very flustered-looking Baljeet with his mouth partway open. "Almost getting caught doin' something you're not really supposed to be doin'?"
The dark skinned teen could only stare, his face surely turned the color of a ripe tomato with all the blood currently circulating in his cheeks. Little bursts of noise attempted to form an answer to Buford's question, but instead sounded something more like, 'I…. Eh….. Ah….'. His arms flinched when the older kid's chubby face leaned closer to his, his wide eyes flickering between the mischievous smile and the furrowed brows. Oh god, was that his heart making all those pounding noises?
"Of course, I'm the perfect teacher for that kind of thing. I could even show ya a few tricks right here if you wanted."
Baljeet could feel the whimper leave his throat more than he could hear it. He tried to sink farther into the wall, his blood pounding in his ears and making him dizzy as Buford drew ever more near. He tried to swallow, but the finger still holding his mouth open initially made that sort of a difficult task.
The foreign, feminine tone that suddenly assaulted the boys' ears caused them both to pause and look down the hall. A sweet looking girl with brown hair hurried towards them, clearly not fazed by the predicament the two were in. Baljeet quickly yanked his face away from Buford's fingers and smiled weakly in her direction as the pounding began to die out.
"W-Wendy! How-how are you?" he asked shakily, laughing slightly through his nervousness. Buford's face curled into a rather pissed frown, but he backed off from Baljeet and merely watched the two from off to the side. Oh yes, he remembered this girl. This girl had been Baljeet's first kiss, back when they were kids.
"I'm doing great!" Wendy smiled, adjusting the textbook on her hip. "Hey, listen, I was just wondering…" She bit her bottom lip and glanced at the floor, then back at a much more calm Baljeet. "You know, Junior Prom is Friday, and uh… I was just, ya know.. Curious as to if you'd.. be my date?"
The nerd blinked a bit, his finally cool face pinking back up at the offer.
"You.. You want to go with me to prom?" he asked incredulously, a smile worming it's way onto his lips.
Wendy nodded hopefully, hugging her book to her chest rather cutely. "Will you come with me?"
Baljeet didn't even have to think of an answer. "Yes! Yes, of course I will go with you!" he chimed, grinning from ear to ear.
The brown haired girl's face lit up, an excited smile climbing up the side of her lips. "Wow! Great! So, our limo will pick you up at 6:30, okay?" She giggled, quickly leaning over to peck the boy on the cheek before turning and hurrying back down the hall with a wave. "I'll see you then!"
"6:30 it is! Bye Wendy!"
Baljeet hummed gently, putting his hand to his cheek. Wow! Did that just really happen? Was he really going to Prom with Wendy? This was like a dream come true!
Any happiness still radiating from the skinny teen's body was instantly lost as he suddenly found himself slammed back against the wall. He sputtered and coughed, trying to catch his breath after the wind was suddenly knocked out of him. As he looked up at the massive figure looming over him once more, his eyes went wide in sheer terror.
He had seen Buford angry before, but not like this. He had never seen such pure hatred burning in his eyes. The horrible scowl showing off his clenched teeth was accented by his furrowed brows, and both the hand fisting the front of Baljeet's shirt and the hand pulled back and ready to fly were shaking.
"What-?" Baljeet whispered gently, instinctually grabbing his fingers around Buford's meaty wrist like it'd protect him.
The two stared at each other for the longest 7 seconds of their lives; a horrified, trembling brown staring into a fiery, malicious green.
Finally, Buford's face softened slightly. He roughly let go of Baljeet's shirt, then dropped his raised fist.
"….. You're not worth it."
Baljeet watched Buford shuffle away down the hall, his breathing erratic and his heart pounding and confused.
… What just happened?
Baljeet spent the majority of lunch idly wandering, his lips tugged into a confused frown. He had no idea why Buford had acted the way he had, and it was starting to eat at him. Such a thing had never happened before. Sure, they got into fights sometimes, but they always made up pretty quickly afterwards, sometimes even within the hour.
So when the Indian teen tried to approach Buford to walk home with him and was very quickly and violently turned down, he came to the conclusion that something really was wrong. Very wrong.
A/N: This story will be updated every Tuesday. ENJOY THE WAIT. Mwahaha.