Hi guys, I decided to write this about Speak because I really like the story and the characters. I adore David Petrakis. I think he is very worthy of Melinda Sordino. I sort of wanted to look at Melinda through David's eyes. So here it goes. I might make this a multi-chapter. I don't know, see how it goes.

Disclaimer: Speak is by Laurie Halse Anderson. All rights retained by her. This is fan made. No disrespect is meant.

Noticing Melinda

My lab partner is Melinda Sordino. Rumors say she busted a party over the summer and lost all her friends over it, but I never listen to rumors. Melinda seems nice. She is quiet and doesn't say much. Actually she barely talks at all. It takes a lot of rousing just to get her to say hi to me. Sometimes, she seems far away, like she's here, but not really here.

She doesn't fit in with any of the social groups, the same as me. I want to ask her to start her own group with me, just the two of us. We both could use friends. Every time I try to ask, I chicken out. It's hard to talk to someone who never says anything.

Mr. Neck set her a paper to write and to give an oral presentation to the class. She asked me for help. She actually spoke to me about helping her; after all we are in the same class. Mr. Neck was furious about it. At one point I thought he might actually hit Melinda so I stepped between them ready to protect her. I have no idea why I did that.

After that we sat in the auditorium in silence lost in our own thoughts and enjoying each other's company. It was a comfortable silence.

I need to break the silence, because I have something I want to say. Melinda knows she had no chance with Mr. Neck. I have been trying to get him fired all year. It's nearly impossible to fire a teacher these days. But Melinda must have known. I look at her. She seems so far away. Even sitting right here, an elbow distance from me, it's as if she is on the other side of the room.

Me: I think what you did was great. But you can't speak up for you rights by being silent.

Melinda: Do you lecture all your friends this way?

Me: Only the ones I like.

Melinda abruptly looks at me. I feel my face flushing. Why did I say that? What does that even mean?

Me: I have to go I don't want to miss my bus.

I book it out of the auditorium. I had never moved so fast in my life. I look back over my shoulder; Melinda is biting her nails and staring into space. Outside the auditorium I lean against a wall to catch my breath. It's easier to breathe out here. Melinda is just my lab partner, right? So why do I feel so nervous right now?

Boy: Excuse me, who is that girl?

Why is this guy interested in Melinda? No one ever pays attention to her. She never gets noticed. So just who is this guy? Why is he suddenly noticing my lab partner? What does Melinda have that is so interesting to him?

Me: What girl?

Boy: That girl in the auditorium you were just talking to. What is her name, freshman? Do you know her?

Me: Yeah I know her. What's it to you? Who are you anyways?

Rachel Bruin: Andy? Andy, why are you talking to this geek? I have been waiting for you for fifteen minutes.

Andy? Andy Evans. I have heard of him, and none of it was good. He is the guy all the girls seem to be interested in. Is that why he's asking me about my lab partner? Does he think he has a shot with her? Why do I care?

I start to walk down the hallway toward the exit, wondering why I protected Sordino again. I need to stop doing that.

Melinda: Thank you.

Me: For what?

Melinda: For not telling him anything about me.

I never saw her walk up to me in the hall. I never heard her say thank you before. I never blushed so much in my life. We walked down the hall side by side and into the parking lot. I walked Melinda to her bus before I spoke again.

Me: Anytime, Melinda.

She looks me in the eyes briefly before she got on her bus. She opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, but closes it again. She gives me a folded piece of paper then climbs on her bus. I watch her walk to her seat before I climb on my bus and take my seat.

I unfold the paper. It's a drawing of a tree. I lean against my backpack and study the drawing. It's an apple tree. We cut open apples in science. Is this her way of saying thank you? Grinning, I fold the artwork and stick it in my pocket. I stare out the window at the trees we pass by. Why did she give me a tree? My lab partner is a mystery wrapped in a riddle. Just when I think I have her figured out she surprises me more.

When I get home, I bypass kissing my mother and head straight up to my bedroom. I pin Melinda's drawing on the corkboard above my desk. If only I had a photo of her to put with it. I try to sit in my chair to admire the drawing, but I completely miss it and fall on the fall on my face. David Petrakis, you're a moron.

What do you think? Should I write more? Let me know. Thank you.