Never, before this moment, had I ever been so grateful for a massive outbreak of pink eye at school. It was nothing new, of course. Our humble facilities seemed to be constantly plagued by some disease or another. It probably has something to do with the layer of shit on the water fountains. Or the discolored sludge on the bathroom walls.
Whatever the reason, teachers, moreso than the student body, were dropping like flies. Actual pink-eye? Or an opportunity to escape a couple days of force-feeding useless information to unwilling teenagers? Up to interpretation.
What it all meant was that when the umpteenth teacher called in sick, because our school had spent their whole budget on adding a salad bar to the cafeteria to please some picky (rich) parents, they had no money left in order to hire substitutes. What do you do? Cancel school and give us students some much needed free periods to further our personal growth?
Psh. No way.
Their solution instead was to combine classes. I kind of felt bad for the remaining teachers and all, I mean, it must've been hard enough to teach Pride and Prejudice to a class full of sophomores without the added presence of twenty seniors who had already been bored to near-physical pain by it the previous year.
However. I, for one, was not complaining.
Calla. It was the first class we had had together the entire year. Actually probably a good thing, because if we had any actual classes together I would be failing them-but how was I supposed to focus when the most beautiful girl was sitting a row behind me?
She sat cross-legged in her desk, (She actually had a desk, whereas I did not-Thank you, public education system!) with a chin propped on a cupped hand. I could guess that she had probably already read the book several times over, because that was such a Calla-thing for her to do, and because I was pretty sure she was drawing in the margins of the book with her pencil. I wished I could look over her shoulder and see what. She still owed me a drawing. For the tenth time, I made a mental note to try to get her to stop wearing make-up, remembering Quil's warning to me to be careful. Apparently critiquing a girl's make-up was the equivalent to walking barefoot on a minefield. I truly didn't understand why, especially when she looked perfectly perfect without that shit.
Her eyes flickered from her book to my face, my neck craned back to watch her. Back to her book. Back to me. I grinned. Her lips pursed as she tried not to smile. I sighed and stretched, noticing the way her eyes fluttered to my arms before she shoved them back to her book. Yeah, I knew I had muscles-it kind of came with the whole werewolf-thing, and if she liked them, I was not above using them to gain her...favor...
I made sure the teacher's back was turned before I leaned back and flicked her with my pencil. She raised her eyebrows, and I used her momentary distraction to snatch her book. She gasped and opened her mouth to say something, but stopped when several people gave her dirty glares. The teacher had promised detention for the whole class if so much as one of us uttered a peep.
I was right, she had been drawing. And she had been drawing...Me. She had taken it upon herself to draw me. And there were no devil horns or anything, either. It was really good, too- I mean, really good-and it also explained why she had been giving me annoyed glares throughout the duration of the class whenever I changed positions.
No way was I giving that back.
I set the book with the drawing on it next to me and used my own to scrawl a note in the margin.
Pretty good. Do I get paid to model? I slid it over to her.
"Give it back," she hissed, leaning over her desk. I grinned, and she huffed. A person sitting behind her shushed us. Asshole.
She picked up the book indignantly and flipped a page, writing something with her pencil before giving it back to me. At the front of the room, the teacher snorted after taking a gulp of her Diet Pepsi, then turned back to her magazine. We were safe.
I was bored. You were sitting there. It doesn't mean anything.
It doesn't mean anything...That meant that she was worried it implied something? Like what? Anyways, I didn't believe her. She got defensive when she was angry.
Really? I thought it meant you were in love with me.
When she read the note, her face flushed bright red. I made sure not to change my expression, but on the inside... I didn't know what I felt. Hopeful? Nervous? She thought I was just joking, didn't she?
Was I joking?
NO. It meant I was bored, because I have already read this book. YOU haven't. Get back to your work, slacker.
She put the book back down next to me with a little more force than necessary. Let's see, the word 'no' in capital letters... yup, I had just been rejected. My heart sunk. Whatever. Another day. I needed a subject change.
How many times?
She paused a moment before answering, the blood still fading from her cheeks.
The book? P&P? Two.
I stared at it pointedly when she slid it back over to me, and after a couple of seconds she leaned down and crossed out the 'two,' replacing it with a 'three.' I smiled.
I can't believe you, I wrote back, flipping a page. If the librarian knew about this, she would be having a complete fit. No offense, but...this is shit.
IS NOT! She wrote back, uncrossing her legs and giving me a kick with a boot-clad-foot. It's a classic!
Not the book, I wrote back, quickly backpedaling. This assignment. When am I ever going to SILENTLY READ my way to success? Miss Lame-o McGonagall is supposed to be teaching us life skills.
She had to cover her mouth with her hand to stifle giggles, and my chest lifted again. Not that I was taking her note to heart, but if she didn't love me now... Well, that was okay. I just had to keep her laughing. She would fall for me eventually, right?
God, this was confusing.
The bell rang seconds later, and there was an audible release in the room as everybody let their books drop closed. I waited until she was packed and standing to meet her. We started walking out, and she slapped the book against my chest.
"I believe this is yours."
"Oh, no, you keep it- I believe you'll want to look back on it in twenty years and laugh about that handsome charmer who used to distract you during class." She was walking right next to me. I could move my arm three feet and slip it around her waist. Was it wrong that I spent a lot of my time with her imagining how it would feel to do just that? Warm skin underneath the cotton of her flannel, the soft curve of her waist...
"Whatever. You're a senior, you can afford to slack. I have to go to Trig."
What did she have against me touching her, anyway? Emily, in a moment of motherly wisdom, told me that I had to be gentle. Gentler than I thought I had to be, because girls didn't like it if you were too rough. Somehow I didn't think that was Calla's problem, though. It seemed like there was still so freaking much I didn't know about her, and it kind of pissed me off-
"Wha-I-oh, yeah. Yeah. I'll see you. After school, okay?"
She nodded, but by the way her eyes were searching my face, I knew she knew I was thinking about something else. If only she had any idea...
Oh well. Technology time. Fortunately, the teacher was present. Unfortunately, this was also the class I had with Chase.
True to form, five minutes after the bell rang, I could see him start texting around underneath the desk with his phone. When the teacher started giving him the stink-eye, he took out his binder and started fiddling around with some notebook paper. He looked at me, looked back, and seconds later he slid a piece of paper onto the corner of my desk, covered with his familiar abominable handwriting.
All right. Um, passing notes with Calla was one thing. With Chase? I don't think so.
"Dude," he muttered through the corner of his mouth. "Read it."
"A note? Are we seventh grade girls?" I hissed.
"Just read it."
I sighed, but slid the note over anyway. Chase's topics of conversations were focused on either girls, alcohol, or both, but what he had to say had to be more interesting than learning how to create freaking graphs or whatever the teacher was talking about.
What's up with the new girl?
I stared at it for a full ten seconds before realizing what he was talking about. Was it the brunette he called out on a couple weeks before? Knowing Chase, probably.
What about her? Ignoring the feeling that I was in fourth grade, I wrote it down and slid it back to Chase, who snorted, then tried to cover it up by going into a brief fake-cough attack.
You were making eyes at her.
I looked around the room. The brunette... Yup, she was in here. I didn't know how Chase had even slightly construed me looking bored to "making eyes" at her or whatever the hell he wanted to call it, but I guessed he was just trying to rile me up. He didn't know that, in the past three weeks, I hadn't noticed a single girl unless she wore hats and bad make-up and liked country music and drew me in the margins of her thrice-read Pride and Prejudice. It wasn't that I didn't think the brunette was a nice girl and all, I just... I just failed to see the appeal anymore. Must go with the imprinting-thing. I didn't mind.
I realized that not responding to that was a mistake, because Chase took it as an affirmation. He wrote something else down, then wiggled his eyebrows as he slid the next note to me.
I didn't have to take any time to realize what he meant by that one.
He wanted me to rate her.
A flame of anger ignited all of a sudden, somewhere in my stomach. I knew it was hypocritical, I knew I had no place to be angry - Chase used the "rating" system all the time, and it wasn't like I hadn't participated before. Rating girls in a system, from 1 to 10 - every feminists worse nightmare, and I knew it was wrong. But I had never had any problem with it before - why was this making me so angry, now? And what would Chase say if I didn't answer? If I rated high?
I didn't give a crap about the brunette. He needed to understand that.
I angrily scribbled a '0' under both "departments." Only afterwards, after I had slid it to Chase and he looked at it and laughed disbelievingly, did I think about what Calla would think if she knew I had written that. The thought almost made me feel sick. Chase was feverishly writing.
Agreed. I would want to fuck her about as much as I would want to fuck a dog. Then why do you keep hanging with her? Does her dad own ABC or something?
Moments after I read it, my world started shaking.
I looked at the brunette. Took a step back, tried to look at her like I would look at a girl before I met Calla. And she was... Well, I believe the proper term would be "curvy." Nice "rack" as Chase would call it.
Something was wrong. He couldn't be talking about her. But if he wasn't talking about her...
My blood boiled.
"Who are we talking about?" I blurted, full-volume. Every head in the classroom turned towards us. Chase smiled, enjoying the attention.
"I told you. That new girl. Calla."
Oh, hell. Oh hell.
And I had just-
Calla. Calla. My Calla. Who drew me in the margins of her books and had sad eyes wore hats and had a sweet baby sister who she treated like a princess-
Oh my God.
I wanted to kill Chase. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to see his blood on this floor. He didn't deserve to talk about Calla, he didn't deserve to even look at her or think about her with his-his disgusting mind. I couldn't believe that I had just written that.
Screw hurting Chase. I wanted to hurt myself.
"Boys?" called the teacher's shrill voice from the front of the room. She was about ninety years old and deaf as a doornail, but she just happened to choose this moment to stop and turn towards us, her classes sliding off her nose. "Passing notes, are we?" she croaked. "You know the rules - either share it with the class, or take your behinds down to the principle's this instant."
I stood up so quickly that my chair slammed to the floor. Principle's office it was. Gladly.
I should have realized that Chase was too much of a pathetic dick to just swallow his pride and shack up some detention time.
He laughed, picked up the note, and before I realized what was going on, he had sauntered to the front of the room. The projector from the 1980s was on, and he slapped the note onto it's yellowing, grimy surface.
For all the class to see.
The teacher wrinkled her nose as she squinted it at, completely oblivious. She probably didn't even know what a rack was. But everybody else in the room? They most definitely did.
A handful of the boys snickered, nodding. The girls recorded it permanently in their minds to spew it on Facebook minutes later. A couple had the decency to gasp, or at least look away and act uncomfortable.
I knew my face was contorted. I knew my hands were balled into fists. I couldn't hear anything but my own hot breath, hissing in and out.
You have to understand that I was so angry that I could not think. Even if I could think, though, I most likely would have done the exact same thing, just aimed a little better.
Moments later, there was a sickening crunch as Chase's nose met my fist. He was thrown back five feet and slammed into the pull-down screen for the projector before falling to the floor like a sack of potatoes. He yelled and clutched his nose, which almost immediately started spouting blood as if somebody had just turned the handle on a faucet.
The class looked on in amazement. The teacher was stumbling back, grabbing for her phone. The note was still on the screen, and I was still shaking.
What had I done?
Gasp! Is Embry going to get in trouble? Is Calla going to find out? Well, psh, of course he is and of course she will. Otherwise this story would be boring.
Onto an update on my life: I am completing (um, hopefully) a triathlon on Sunday, and then am promptly heading to the mountains where I will bushwack and sleep under the stars for twelve days. Upon returning I will probably take a day-long shower (NO METHOD OF CLEANSING MYSELF FOR 12 ENTIRE DAYS) and nurse my addiction towards the Mentalist, because by that time I'll probably be in withdrawal. So, basically, unless I find the time to get a chapter up by, say, tomorrow, you guys probably won't be hearing from me for about two weeks.
I be sorry!
On a completely different note... Mentioning Pride and Prejudice in this chapter reminded me of something: does anybody watch the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? They're a series of Youtube videos that shows the story of P&P in modern times and they are AMAZING. If you are totally bored because you spend all of your time reading my story and are lost in life because I'm not posting, just watch them. I promise it's worth it, even if you haven't read the book.
Thanks for reading! Happy...day! :D