Another short starter, just to get me... well, started! More coming soon!

"What?" My breath caught in my throat. "But…" was all I could manage to croak before cutting myself off with a sharp exhale.

So focused on the Sonnet on my desk, there's surely a chance I misheard the words hanging in the air. I glance back down at the paper as if it holds the key.

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved

I'm not that lucky, and the thrilled voice chimes in again.

"Then it's settled! I've spoken with your English teacher from last semester, and she said you two made a wonderful team. Let's see if we can't get that magic back!"

My mouth agape, I remained non responsive as Mrs. Shaw strolled contently back to her desk at the front of the classroom that was likely now focused completely on Eli and I. I didn't check to see, I couldn't, I wouldn't. I felt Eli's eyes on me, burning into my spine. He hadn't reacted, not a word at the suggestion, or rather instruction, that he and I were to remain writing partners for the remainder of the school year.

After Eli's… episode, he was forced to retake a semester of English, and conveniently, we were placed in the same period, and the assigned seating, alphabetical of course, landed him directly behind me. The hopes for the new semester on the first day were quickly replaced with horror when what should the first sight be that I see, but those hauntingly familiar green eyes, peering blankly back at me as I approached the too-close desk. Day to day, the gaze shifted from blank to frantic, and I don't know which scared me more. A lot about Eli scared me lately.

I sat like a good pupil, quickly jotting down notes about the syllabus, important deadlines, projects and the like, until the release bell rang. The shrill savior had me on my feet half a second later, destined for the door, but the shadow behind me had a similar idea, and we collided, trapping one another in the doorway in the same fashion as we had when we were assigned to each other the first time around. This time, it did not garner a smirk, but instead another blank stare, and a simple, hushed apology through pursed lips.

"Sorry."

And with that, he was gone, headed down the opposite hall I was headed. The singular word sent a shock through my veins, and a smattering of goosebumps rose moments later. Some sickness in my mind told me to follow him, and as much as logic protested, I found myself straying from my next class, falling in step several paces behind the boy. Around the corner, he stopped in front of his locker, slowly turning the dial. I stayed behind an adjoining bank, peering around the corner to observe his non behavior, when I saw Adam approach him.

Always lively, he was going excitedly on about something I couldn't quite make out, but Eli was uninterested. He didn't even turn to acknowledge the smaller boy, his eyes just zoned, scanning the contents of his locker shelf as the words flew over his head. My forehead crinkled in empathy for Adam. I knew how hard he was trying, how desperately he wanted to pull Eli back to his side, but couldn't. For a fleeting moment, I had to admit that I had the same want, but mine could never be known. Of course I wanted Eli happy, healthy. But I couldn't subject myself to his show. I needed to be healthy too. He had to understand that.