II. Aloe Vera Tissues
My head leans against the window, listening to the beats inside my earphone as my forehead feels the cold glass. Gazing outside, I can see the pitter-pattering of the raindrops hitting against the window.
Moving my sights towards the rearview mirror, Todd’s reflection came into view. His hair is still slightly damp from when he rushes towards Brody’s car earlier. Todd doesn’t ride with Brody and me, but his car broke down a few days ago. So, now we are carpooling, and I’m kicked to the backseat.
Brody and Todd were laughing, pushing each other, over some dude jokes probably. I zoned out again until a penny hit my eye. “Who in the world?” I shout, pulling off my earphones.
“We’re here,” Brody said with a smirk on his face while I rub my aching eyeball.
“I’m keeping the penny!” I shout as he slams the door shut, straddling towards his bros.
Grabbing the handle, I fling it open overhearing someone let out an owing sound. I jump out of the car, covering my mouth, seeing sitting on the ground with papers scattered around him. “I’m sorry!” I went on my knees, helping him gather the half wet papers.
Using the tip of my finger, I held up what seems to be our Calculus homework that’s soaked in water. “I’m so sorry,” I apologized again while he gave me a meekly smile.
Todd shrugs. “It’s fine. I’m pretty sure I did it all wrong,” he grabs the paper sliding it inside his black binder.
My eyes met with a familiar piece of paper, and I held the binder before he slipped it into his backpack. “Interesting note huh,” Todd said capturing my attention
I nod. “Why is it inside your binder?” I ask, wondering why he didn’t throw it away.
Todd stands up, patting his semi-wet dirty jeans. “A reminder.”
“To zip up your zipper?” I ask, and he chuckles, nodding his head.
“Yeah. Sometimes after I go to the bathroom and take a pi-” he stops, cheeks turning red, and clears his throat. “I forget to-” he gave me another lazy shrug, “you know.”
I stand there staring at him, then nod my head slowly. “I understand. I forget all the time.”
His brows crease as his head sways slightly to the side, blonde hair covering his sparkling blue eyes. “Really?”
I laugh, “No, never.”
After our laughter dies, we both stand there, awkwardly swaying and fidgeting around.
I grab my backpack from inside the car then slam it shut. “You know, you should just throw away that note,” I said before walking towards the school building.
Todd is hot on my trail. “Why?” He questions, raking his fingers through his hair, pushing it back.
I walk inside with Todd beside me. “It just seems kind of creepy, someone you don’t know leaving notes inside your locker.”
Todd’s lips thin severely, and he nods. “Definitely, but I think it’s kind of cute.” He sends me a sweet smile that I haven’t seen in a long time.
I reach my locker, scrolling on my birthday. “You know, that may be a dangerously creepy Todd worshipping stalker you just call cute.”
He crosses his arms, swaying towards the lockers, a twinkle of mischief inside his eyes. “Probably a cute girl who wants a piece of this.” He dives his hand up and down his body.
I couldn’t fight the urge to roll my eyes as I stuffed the books inside my backpack, “Or maybe a forty-year-old janitor who rents his mother’s basement calling it his man cave.” I gesture my head towards Mr.San, our school janitor.
I shut my locker, turning towards Todd, who seems still disgusted by what I state: “Why are you here?” I ask.
He twinkles his nose like a baby piglet then pinches it, probably attempting to hold in a sneeze. Todd always does that ever since he was a child, but it never works.
He sneezes into my beautiful, used to be snot free face.
His eyes widened in shock, reaching for me, but I put a hand in front of him to stop him from touching me. “I’m going to go before you sneeze again.” I wiped his saliva from my face as he gave me an apologetic look.
“I’m sorry, I won-” I quickly grab my book, drop my backpack, and cover my face.
I glance down at my spit filled books than at Todd, who sniffs his nose and twinkles it again. “Sorry,” his voice was a few chords deeper. “How did you know I was going to sneeze again?”
I grabbed some hand sanitizer from my backpack and wiped my face as well as my book. “You always twinkle your nose before you sneeze,” I respond, handing him a tissue.
He put it in his nose and blew like an elephant. He takes a sniff and looks down at his snots as I take a step back. “It’s those aloe vera tissues. Nice.” His voice grew more profound, and I realize he might be getting sick.
Todd handed me the tissue, and I shook my head, wondering why he would think I wanted it. Then again, maybe I should keep it since I basically called myself a dangerously creepy Todd worshipping stalker, and to hold that title, I have to worship his snots. That sounds weird, even inside my mind.
“Keep it,” I replied, pushing the nasty tissue towards him. He threw it in the nearest trash can then went back to me.
“Why are you here?” I ask again as he leans his back against the lockers.
“Why can’t I be here?” He questioned.
My eyes scurry towards his usual group seeing Megan giving me the deadly glare. “Because we haven’t spoken since elementary school.”
He shakes his head. “Not true. We talked a few days ago.”
Scoffing, I twist my head towards him. “I said, hi.”
He sends me a sly smile. “Hi to you too,” his voice was dripping with flirtatiousness, one which he uses to seduce girls into bed and well, bow chicka wow wow.
I shake off the odd tightening sensation inside my chest. “You should go home; I think you might be getting sick.”
He merely shrugs as a response trying to act tough.
I lift a brow and nod. “Okay, bye,” I said, then quickly turned around and left him.
Glancing back, Todd is still standing at his original position with Megan walking up to him. He looks at her and smiles, as she wraps her arms around him, pecking his cheeks multiple times.
School smoothly rolls by, and it’s time for Calculus. Sitting in class, I noticed that Todd wasn’t in his usual seat in the back corner of the room with the so-called popular kids. We weren’t remotely close when it comes to seating. He would sit on one side, and I would be sitting near the window, rows away from him.
The bell rang, and I walked towards the teacher. “Where’s Todd?” I ask, causing him to lift a brow.
It’s weird that I asked about Todd because everyone knows he is my older brother’s friend, and that’s all. We’re rarely seen talking to each other or even stand by each other unless Brody wants to speak with me.
“He wasn’t feeling well, so he went to the nurse’s office,” he replies. “Probably because he didn’t do his homework again,” he includes in a mumbling voice, shaking his head.
I bit my lips, feeling the guilt emerging from the event this morning. “That’s not true,” I said, causing him to stop grading the papers presented in front of him. “Todd and I were doing our homework together last night. But, this morning, I accidentally knocked his paper in the water, destroying it.”
He tilts his head, almost as if not believing me. It was understandable since Todd always makes excuses for why he couldn’t turn in his homework. The truth is, Todd isn’t good at math, so he probably didn’t finish it.
I remember how in elementary school, Todd refused to turn in his math homework because it was incomplete despite staying up all night with me. He tries hard, but it just doesn’t click. It probably took him a long time to do this assigned homework.
I don’t know when it started, but he would act cool and fake it till he makes it. He fakes not caring about not turning in his homework, but I never once missed the guilt lingering in his face.
Finally, I was able to convince the teacher-I-don’t-know-the-name-despite-having-him-twice, and he extended Todd’s homework to Friday, but it means he has to do the other ones too.
I walk towards my locker and pass by the vending machine. Digging into my pockets, I found a few coins and grabbed a drink. The vending machine used to be filled with cool weight, consuming snacks, and severe adverse effects on dental health drinks when I started school. Now, with all the health protests, they decided to replace it with healthy but dry food.
Since I’m already late for class, I decide to make a quick stop. I slide the door open, seeing a body lying on the bed, rough coughs leaving his dry throat.
Sneaking over, I take a seat beside him, placing my hand over his head, feeling his sizzling skin. “What am I doing?”