it had been an exceptionally frigid day for the students of st. barbara's. the air conditioners in the building had broken, causing the air temperatures to plummet drastically.
the girls were at their lockers, gossiping with each other on which lucky girl would be asked out to the dance first.
"it's definitely gonna be yamela."
"you're buggin'. it's so gonna be samantha."
angel just shivered to herself, listening to her friends ramble until they had to go.
"i gotta get to sanchez. he'll skin me alive if i end up late to his class again. i'll see you ladies later."
"yeah, i gotta bounce also. bye, guys!"
the lamb watched her friends walk away after waving her goodbyes. now alone, angel had concluded that her herself should also head to her next class. shutting her locker shut, she was surprised to see what had been waiting for her on the other side.
james macaroe. angel's childhood friend, the school's favorite, and the same guy that mary-jane, lilith and tabitha think would look perfect with their little babe.
"hey, angel." he spoke, beaming at the sweet creature.
"hi, james," she replied rocking back and forth because of the frostiness. she tried to be as inconspicuous as possible about how cold she was in front of the older boy, but as soon as her teeth began to chatter, she knew it was a lost cause.
"oh no, you're cold," james observed, his face morphing into a concerned expression. "here," he said, shrugging out of his navy blue, uniform blazer before extending his arm, offering it to the shivering girl.
at first, angel had rejected the considerable act, with a "but no, you'll get cold too." ultimately, she ended up accepting the warm garment after james had refused to take it back and stared at her until she submitted. putting it on, the pair noted how large it was on her, causing james to chortle.
"cute," was all he said, while angel blushed to herself. whatever, she thought, at least she'll be extra warm and snugly.
abruptly, the bell for next period had been rung. angel and james watched as their fellow peers strolled off to their next classes.
"cmon, i'll walk with you to math," james offered.
they had the same class at this time, so angel saw no reason to oppose. "sure!"
together, the young students were off, leaving the emptying hallway as they headed to a world of equations and solutions.
angel was about to cry. god, why did geometry have to be so hard?
the medium-sized classroom had been so quiet; so silent to the point you could hear a pin drop. because of this, angel retained from raising her hand to ask for aid, afraid of attracting unwanted, embarrassing attention from her fellow peers.
what had really pushed the girl to her limits, was observing how everyone was able to exceed angel and make it onto page three hundred and forty-seven with no problems, yet angel was stuck three pages behind because she didn't know how to find the area of a rectangular prism! who even needs to know how to find it? it wasn't like the girl was planning on being an architect!
gnawing anxiously on her nails, she quickly gained attention from james, who had been sitting a row across from her.
"hey, hey, hey, no," james whispered, pulling her fingers out of her mouth. "what're you stuck on?"
"how did you know i was stuck on something?" angel asked, brows creased in confusion.
he smiled. "because you'd always bit your nails in ms. kim's class back in sixth grade whenever you were stuck on a problem."
angel beamed, a little endeared that james had thought back to one of her childhood quirks.
"here," he said, scooting over so that he was shoulder-to-shoulder to the angel, making it easier to assist her quietly. "let's see how we can fix this."
james had found out that the girl's struggles came from not understanding how to find the area of certain shapes, which the retired mathlete was able to explain the steps to the girl.
after completing questions with james' help then advancing to solving them individually, the girl was feeling immensely grateful for the boy's help.
"see, " he said, silently chuckling over the girl's newfound enthusiasm about the work. "wasn't that hard."
angel couldn't put her gratitude into words, so instead, she showed it with her actions.
off-guard, the straight-a student was pleasantly surprised by the sensation of warm, plump lips on his cheek, which only lasted for a split second.
angel gazed innocently as her partner 's face turned rosy, darting his eyes straight to the ground.
did she do that?
finally, the class had been deemed over, represented by the bell ringing.
"remember, class, " mr. irish, the math teacher exclaimed over the sound of papers rustling and shoes squeaking against the marble-floors as students scrambled to evacuate the dreadful environment. "pages three forty-nine to fifty-two is homework tonight, along with the classwork that wasn't completed during this time."
angel had gathered her stuff and was about to vacate until she was stayed by a familiar hold.
"angel, i wanted to ask you about the dance, " james let out, his books in his opposite hand.
"sure, james, " angel agreed, under one condition. "can we talk about it outside the room, please? i want to make it to lunch on time."
obeying her wishes, the couple were strolling in the hallways, headed for angel's locker.
"is there anyone you're going to the party with? has anyone asked you yet?" james casually asked as angel opened her locker.
"no, " angel responded, timidly. "i don't have a date, yet. to be honest, i don't think anyone is going to ask me." she placed her books into her lockbox, a little bit unhappy with the narrative she'd painted into her psyche.
"oh, angel." janes said, heartbroken at the girl's words. "that's not true... that's not true at all."
"what do you mean?" angel posed, shifting her full attention onto james after closing her locker door shut.
unfortunately, the honey bee will never get her question asked, since her friends decided to appear in that moment.
"nothing, " james brushed off, shaking his head while tittering. "i'll see you around, okay?"
wishing both angel and her friends goodbye, he left the scene, inciting the attention to divert onto angel.
"so what was that all about?" tabitha curiously asked.
"oh, it was nothing, " angel started, following her friends as they sauntered towards the lunchroom. "he just asked if i was going to the dance with someone, that's all."
the girls hit the brakes instantly, causing angel to crash into one of them.
"that's all?" mary-jane asked once angel had caught up to them. "what did you say back?"
"i told him no, " she launched, once the clique began walking again. "... and i said no one is going to ask me out anyways."
they paused again. "and what did he say?!"
"he said that i was wrong, but wouldn't tell me why. i didn't get it, why did he act like that? am i missing something?"
all the girls could only laugh at their dear friend's predicament.
"oh, angel, " lilith said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. "oh you poor, sweet thing."
the girls resumed their walk to the cafeteria for the last time, without any talking.
the silence was just enough for angel to revel in her thoughts. what did james mean? what did her friends mean? what was she missing? bubbling down on the multiple concerns, she finally settled on an easy solution.
she'll just ask slash the next time she sees him. he'll know what to tell her.