Are you smoking pot?
We walked into the English Lit cuff in cuff. This is the class most of the jocks were together in, so it was always a hard one for me. Embarrassment hit me as soon as I got through the door, we were welcomed by wolf whistles and boys humping the air. Liam, completely not phased laughed along with them, flipping them off as a reply.
I took my seat at the front of the classroom with Liam in tow. He threw off a different aura than the last class, there was more testosterone and a stronger urge for him to play it cool. He just didn’t seem as relaxed.
As the teacher droned on about Shakespeare the jocks played their usual game. Any time the teacher wasn’t looking they would throw a scrunched up ball of paper at the back of my head. Anyone that hit me earned a point. Anyone that got caught got points deducted. They did this every lesson, it was something I was pretty used to.
With Liam next to me I had hoped it would be different, they wouldn’t throw anything in case they hit him by mistake but I think having him there only fueled their burning excitement. I think it caught Liam off guard at first. He sat there minding his own business and unexpectedly he got pelted with a flying, scrunched up white ball hitting him right in the back of his head.
Instantaneously I felt him flinch. More than he should have. It was like someone had just striked him with a rock, not paper. For a split second Liam was frozen with the same expression written on his face as earlier when we first got the handcuffs put on. Then right in front of my eyes his shoulders dropped and he relaxed, probably realizing it was just a paper ball. Furiously he whipped his head around and mouthed ‘what the fuck?’ which was followed by a ripple of laughter throughout the back rows. That set us up for the next hour and by the end of the lesson the floor was covered in big white balls and my ears rung from every profanity Liams mouth could ring out.
With two lessons done there was only four to go, plus lunch, plus detention. We could do this.
“I need a smoke. You coming or you want to take a break now?”
There was a harsh edge to his tone, one that made me think twice about answering him. Eyes that beamed with irritation glared at me through long eyelashes.
“I’ll come.” was about all I could manage, pulling my eyes away from his blistering glare.
Liam led me down the corridor and out of the double doors, our legs falling into synchronized steps even though I could sense he wanted to walk faster than mine would allow. The only noise shared between us was the growing familiar jingle of the metal chain that linked our two bodies. On the way four students whom I didn’t know called me names, slut, whore, prude, virgin. Consistency clearly wasn’t key here. I ignored them all and focused my energy on not stepping on Liams toes or getting in his way.
We arrived at a quiet part of school that nobody really had a reason to go to. It was behind the science block and judging by the used cigarette butts over the floor this is where the smokers go. He propped himself up against the beige brick building, dragging me along next to him. I stood awkwardly as Liam struggled with his jacket pocket using one hand.
Eventually he pulled out a small, rolled cigarette and a red lighter. He made quick work of placing the cigarette between his puckered, pink lips and then continued his one handed struggle to ignite it. A deep frown etched across his face as his thumb continuously failed him, clearly he’s not ambidextrous.
I think what came next shocked us both. I don’t know where I prized my confidence from but I couldn’t just stand there and watch him struggle anymore. I edged myself closer to him. His chest was just inches away from mine, blue eyes dangerously searching mine, trying to expose my inner thoughts. The heat of our bodies burning between us in anticipation.
I approached with caution as if he was a dangerous, wild animal ready to pounce and carefully took the lighter from his hand. Without breaking eye contact I used my own thumb to light the flame, since I had the ‘writing hand’ free. My eyes gleamed with lust but his eyes were empty and desolate, surrounded by bottomless black pupils.
My confidence switched off with the flick of a switch, literally. I stepped back once his cigarette was a light. Somewhere deep inside my subconscious screamed at him to say thank you or acknowledge my gesture in any other way but I didn’t even get as much as an appreciative nod.
Instead he stood there studying my side profile because I wouldn’t give him access to my full face. His brows pointed downwards which created wrinkles between them and he squinted his eyes with concentration. He was really deep in thought, it was unnerving.
“Why do you let them do and say all that shit to you?” he finally muttered out between inhaling and exhaling smoke.
I froze for a second thinking over his question. I tugged at my bottom lip with my teeth contemplating many different answers to his question. I didn’t want to blow the one time he’s actually tried to conversate with me so after taking a deep breath and a shrugging my shoulders I decided to be half transparent with my answer.
“I guess I just think if I ignore them they’ll eventually get bored and leave me alone.”
The other half which I failed to mention was that I was too shy and lacked enough confidence to stand up for myself, so I just sat back and let it happen.
Liam exhaled again, this time blowing perfectly round smoke circles into my face. Then he slathered a sly smirk across his face and then simply replied “It’s because you let them as to why they do it.”
I had no answer to that and honestly my nose still tickled from the smoke circles disgusting fragrance. I had been distracted by Liam’s non existing charms but now something worrying puzzled me. The smoke didn’t smell like a normal cigarette.
“Are you smoking pot?”
My voice came out incredibly high pitched and I think Liam could sense the horror I was expelling. I don’t know how I didn’t realize it before, well I do, but we won’t speak about that.
A large smile stretched slowly across his face exposing the straightest pearly whites in such a stunning manner. Baby blue eyes enclosed by sapphire rings sparkled with expression unlike I’ve ever seen in him before. For once he looked young and carefree, the walls were down and the dimples were up. Mesmerized I held my eyes on his, then I watched as they slowly got taken over by dilating pupils.
Oh no, I’m going to be stuck with a ‘high as a kite’ Liam for the rest of the day.