I felt the warmth of an arm across my waist as I looked up at its owner. Blue eyes. As I stared into the blue orbs, I realized to my horror, the owner of them. Chris Miller. “Again, and again. Why do I keep bumping into him?” I thought as I quickly regained my composure and steadied myself, releasing myself from his arms and bending down to pick up my scattered books.
“No, thank you?” Chris smirked as he bent down to my eye level. All thoughts of thanking him flew out of my mind as I saw his smirk.
Rolling my eyes, I picked up my things, giving him a quick, “Thanks.” Before shuffling into class. Sitting down, I could feel the other students giving me a curious look as Chris walked into class like nothing happened with a smirk on his face with an over-inflated ego behind me as the bell rang.
“Mr. Miller, care to explain why were you late?” Mrs. Romero asked.
“Sorry madam, I got into a… little problem right as I was entering class.” Chris started before glancing at me and grinning.
“Oh. Care to explain Mr. Miller?” Mrs. Romero continued, oblivious to my frustrated glances at Chris to shut his trap.
“Well… Nothing much, madam.” Chris’ grin grew as he replied.
“Since there was nothing, I hope there won’t be a… second time. I take punctuality very seriously. Go take a seat, Mr. Miller.” Chris nodded before walking to his seat and plopping down next to James.
“Now, before we start with the lesson, we have a year-end project that requires you to work with a partner to present a topic in relation to what we will cover over the year. Please let me know your partners at the end of the lesson.”
My eyes went wide at this information. Here in school with no time for friends, I am pretty much a loner. What good can come of a project group that requires a partner when I do not have a single friend? Oh, my pathetic school… no social, life.
While I was in a dilemma regarding finding a partner for this class, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Hey. Lauren? Want to partner up?” I turned my head to see Terrence, right behind me whispering softly.
I was shocked. Terrence? The Captain of the football team partnering up with me? This must be some scam as I am pretty sure that he would throw all this work on me and pretend he was busy all the damn time. I squinted my eyes in suspicion as Terrence raised his hands in defense and whispered, “I know what you are thinking but don’t worry I won’t dump all the work on you. I’ll do my part. So please?”
I gulped and turned my head to the front. I know that I have pretty decent grades in class but I cannot afford to have extra workload from what I can handle. The school curriculum has already taken a lot of my time form company’s work and I have already planned out my schedule in advance to accommodate both the company’s work and school work. Any more workload that may exceed the planned schedule may affect my timings. So, the project would have already messed with my timings and with a slacker? That would be disastrous as I would be overexerting myself. Not to mention that Mrs. Romero does not allow changes once you have chosen.
Running my hands through my hair in frustration while considering Terrence’s offer, Mrs. Romero’s voice sounded past my ears, “Okay class, I am giving you guys forty-five minutes to find your partner and give me the names. Please choose wisely. No changes once you have chosen.”
Turning my head around, I spotted Terrence staring intently at me.
“What?” I asked.
He cocked his head and replied, “My answer?” I bit my lip as I considered the pros and cons of partnering up with him.
“There was nobody asking me and he asked me. That was a pro point, right?” I asked myself. Running my hand through my hair, I sighed.
“Are you sure? I am pretty harsh and a perfectionist.” I said trying to test out his perseverance in his words. He nodded seriously.
“I guess I…” my sentence was cut short as Chris shouted across the room, “Hey Black. Wanna partner up?” My eyes widened and I turned my head so fast I think I got a whiplash.
Kelly’s eyes were like lasers as she glared at me. After regaining my composure of the sudden question, I took a deep breath. As I was going to answer his question, James started to argue with Chris, “Dude. I thought we were partnering up? Like we always do. You know? Bro?” Chris rolled his eyes and patted James’ shoulder.
“Bro, as a brother and a friend, you are awesome. Teammate? The best there is. But as a partner for group projects? You suck. Sorry man. Hard truth.”
James hung his head for a second before looking up and replying, “True. I get it.”
Smiling, he turned to the rest of the class and shouted, “Anyone wants to partner up with me? Cuz my dear bro ditched me for a chick who is way smarter than me. Help a bro out. Anyone?”
One of Kelly minions agreed to take poor James in and I don’t know to feel bad for whom. The minion who has to have a pretty bad partner (based on Chris’ words), or James who has to have a pretty uninterested partner who is always only interested in Kelly and gossips around the school. People might think I am being very mean about these people but I know things. I see things. I observe what is going around me and I know what complements and what doesn’t. Now, what I am seeing is that unless one or both of them have a miracle happen to them causing them to change, it’s going to be a disaster.
Back to the matter on hand, during Chris little speech to his best friend and James’ quest to find a partner, Kelly had made her way to my table. “You little bitch.” she seethed.
“I told you. Stay the fuck away from him. He is mine. I am not scared of your big brother, what’s his name? Jack. So, you better watch the fuck out. You are in my territory and your big brother can’t help you.” I grit my teeth in annoyance and was about to lash out at her when Chris walked over and sat down next to Terrence.
“So? The answer to my question? Want to partner up?” He stated before smirking and running his hand through his hair.
As I was about to open my mouth and answer, Kelly’s screeching banshee voice floated past my years causing them to ring, “Chris? Why are you partnering with her? Ignore this bitch and partner with me. Come on.” She whined. Rolling my eyes, I caught Terrence sitting silently watching the events unfold. I got fed up with people interrupting me and took a moment of silence as an opportunity to quickly speak.
“Chris’ I am partnering with Terrence.” Chris’ face hardened a little before relaxing and replying, “Oh and why is that? Since I am friends with your brother, cut me some slack and partner with me.” While completely ignoring Kelly in the process. Seeing Kelly’s face flushed in embarrassment and anger towards me.
I quickly shut the conversation down with, “He asked first and my brother and you are not friends. Just acquaintances. Please be mindful of your words.” Quickly turning to Terrence, I told him that I would let Mrs. Romero know of the arrangement. He nodded in response and smiled. I smiled back before proceeding to the teacher’s desk to tell Mrs. Romero the partner I have selected.
Lunchtime came and the bell rang. I quickly got my stuff and quickly walked to the cafeteria, hoping to avoid the queues when suddenly, I felt shove from behind and I stumbled and crashed into a trashcan. My books scattered about on the floor. Then, I felt a cold slimy liquid making its way down my back.