Mrs. Achebe was always late as usually and I sat there on the lab stool, playing with my pencil when all of a sudden, from my peripheral vision I saw someone running inside the lab from the back door and I looked back to find none other than Veronica who ran in and looked all over the lab as if she was searching for someone and then took a sigh what looked like as if she was relieved and I was just about to turn back when all of a sudden, her eyes fell on me and as I was caught staring, I turned around as fast as I could and looked at my notebook.
But I had no idea why my heart was racing against my chest and my formed in a thin line as I kept my hand on my chest feeling the speeding heartbeat. Am I feeling sick?
The stool next to me slid and even though I didn’t bother to look who it was, it was surely Veronica who sat next to me as I looked up and scanned the whole lab for any vacant place but found none. The only vacant seat was right beside me and most of the days it was always Jung who sat next to me. But the fact that he caught high fever due to cold last night had him miss the class and it was how Veronica ended up sitting right next to me.
Finally, after fifteen minutes, Mrs. Achebe thought of showing up and appeared before us and as usually gave some lame excuse that she stopped to help someone in her way for which she was late and all. We knew that she knew, we never believed her, yet she remained lying to us only because the students never complained about her.
“Okay class, today we are going to prepare a colloidal solution of ferric hydroxide as your experiment,” she said and as we had already noted down the theory part in the previous class, we stood up from our stool ready for the experiment.
“I hope everyone in here remembers what I had done last class right?” she asked and every one replied a ‘yes’ in response. Today, it was our turn to perform the experiment and note down the readings.
“Excuse me? Ma’am...” I looked at my side to find Veronica with her left hand raised up in the air as she grabbed our teacher’s attention.
“I am a new transfer student and I don’t have the experiment written in my notebook and even the previous experiments. Can you please help me with this?” she asked and I wore my lab coat before preparing the things needed for the experiment.
“What is your name, my dear?” we heard Mrs. Achebe asking the new student her name and she replied “Veronica Sullivan, ma’am,” she replied and I looked at her hearing her last name, clicked something in me.
I have heard that surname somewhere beforehand.
“Alright Veronica, we can solve this problem. Ace my dear,” the fifty-five-year-old teacher called my name and I looked up at her in attention. “Can you help Ms. Veronica in this matter? Provide her your notes and explain the experiments to her. Can you do it?” she asked and I nodded my head in a yes but soon replied verbally and she smiled as she took a seat to begin with the attendance process and I looked to my right to find Veronica already next to me with a pencil and a notebook.
“So what are we doing today?” she asked not even bothering to acknowledge my help with gratitude. I adjusted my glasses and gave her my notebook for her to read while I collected the distilled water, beaker and Ferric chloride solution and rest other things. I waited until she read the whole experiment and after that I took some time to explain how the experiment worked and to my relief she was silent the whole time, occasionally nodding at some points and then we started the experiment.
“You are same guy that sat next to me in that canteen, yesterday, right?” she asked all of a sudden as the solution begun to turn red and I hummed in response giving her a reply.
“Ace?” I heard her and looked back at her “Ace Knights,” I said and she tilted her head to the side and stared at me for some minutes before speaking up, “Can you help me with other subjects as well?” she asked and I gave her a positive nod.
“Sure, you can have my notebooks and if you have any problem then you can ask me about it. I will be glad to help you,” I said and internally cringed at the last sentence that I just said. Why would I be glad? What in the world am I speaking?
“Thank you,” she replied and I smiled at her because she showed her appreciation for my help and it was enough for me to warm up to her. We continued doing our experiment and I made her understand some points about ferric chloride solution and it turned out she was a good listener, as she kept her mouth shut and listened to me attentively while I wrote the readings down on my notebook.
She noted it down and as she was handing me my pen that she borrowed a few seconds ago, I accidently hit her hand by my elbow and the pen fell down on the floor. She looked straight into my eyes and there was a pang in my chest. All of a sudden, I felt my face hitting up and my heartbeat speeding up. She had deep brown eyes and her hair was in a side braid. She had a mole right under her left eye and sharp features. She was as taller or may be little bit taller than me but then I was pulled out of my state as she bent down to pick up the pen that fell down a few seconds ago.
While she did that, she came closer to me and I could literally smell her fragrance. A woody fragrance that had me sniffing the air like a damn dog but before she could catch me with my weird actions, thankfully the bell rung and I picked up my things as quickly as I could as I told her that I was leaving my notebooks for her to take and I left the laboratory from the back door, ignoring her questioning face.
What the hell were you doing? Ace!