One Murder For Another

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Chapter 13

Before she could contain her anger and stop herself, Mina’s feet were on the shiny linoleum floors and she was preparing to storm her way over to the pair of boys sitting in the back of the room, laughing at the fool they had just made out of Khalil. The sound of their laughter and their bright smiling faces made her sick to her stomach and all she wanted to do was give them a piece of her mind, wiping all the humor off of their smug faces, but the hard calloused hand gripping her tightly held her rooted to the spot.

“Mina.” Khalil’s voice was softer than she had ever heard it. It was low and controlled and, full of pleading and desperation. She couldn’t understand how he was managing to remain so calm and calculated over the situation when she could barely sit still from all the emotion she was harboring.

“It’s fine.” he continued to whisper, but it wasn’t fine. Nothing about this entire situation was fine and it was making Mina’s blood boil that he didn’t realize that what had just happened was a problem. He didn’t deserve to be treated like this.

“Really Mina.” he refused to let go of her hand, gripping his fingers around her tightly. “Please don’t say anything.” he shook his head nonchalantly, even managing to muster a small smile, which did nothing to ease Mina’s intense emotion.

“They just covered you in fake blood and called you a killer!” Khalil only continued to shake his head in response, still pleading with her to stay in her seat. She was itching to say something to those boys. She was itching to teach them a lesson, but the soft eyes of the boy in front of her was melting her molten exterior and dissipating her red hot anger. Mina took one last look at the boys laughing like jekylls in the back of the classroom before she returned to the confines of the small and uncomfortable wooden desk beside Khalil.

“How. H-how are you so calm about all of this?” He let go of her hand.

“Because” he sighed. “Because no matter what I do or what I say, you’re the only person whose ever going to believe me.” There was a moment of reflective silence where neither of them spoke as Mina took in the severity of Khalil’s words in contempt. She didn’t want to admit it, but she couldn’t ignore the fact that Khalil had a point and no one in this school was interested in trying to prove otherwise. It was Mina’s turn to let out an exasperated sigh, and she mimicked the small shy smile that began to spread the length of Khalil’s face. His positivity was infectious and it was hard to believe that this was the same person that everyone in the school couldn’t stand.

“They’re all idiots.” she smiled, resting her chin in her hand with a small laugh.

“Yet another thing we can agree on.”

“Hey?” Mina questioned, suddenly becoming aware of the scattered white pieces of paper strewn across Khalil’s desk. There were so many of them, Mina wasn’t sure how she had missed them before, and they all bore the same indistinguishable black marks and scratches. She reached for the nearest one, holding it up in the air as she attempted to decipher the penmanship. “What’s this?” she flipped the paper back and forth between her fingers.

“Oh” Khalil hummed in response. “Just my failed attempt at my physics homework. That class is kicking my ass right now, and the teacher doesn’t believe in extra credit.” he joked, rubbing his forehead with the palm of his hand in frustration.

“It’s ok” he shook his head at the look on Mina’s face. “I’ve already accepted my fate.”

“Mhmm” Mina hummed aloud, placing the now dyed red paper back down on the surface of Khalil’s desk.

“What if-” she began with a sly smile that was met with a look of pure confusion and humor by the lanky boy beside her. “What if I told you I knew a person who was amazingly good at physics, and would be willing to help you fix your grade for free.” she finished, scooting even closer to the boy beside her all the while.

“I-I think I would tell you to shut up.” he laughed, mimicking her actions and scooting as close to her as the confines of his chair would allow. A playful smile was written across his face now. “The people in this school would rather give up their fancy and rich lavish lives before they were ever caught dead tutoring the guy who pushed Chris McClean off a balcony.” he joked.

Mina shrugged her shoulder, rolling her eyes in response.“Not everyone.” She whispered.

“No?”

“No.” Mina couldn’t suppress a giggle at the Khalil’s contorted face and wiggling eyebrows, and though she wanted to feel guilty at the sound, the only feeling she could muster was relief. Relief that she could actually talk to someone in this school who wasn’t consumed by societal representations of them and who she could actually have a real and fun conversation with without being bored out of her mind.

“So?” he crossed his arms tightly across his chest in wonder. “Who is this mystery mathematician who can solve all my problems.”

Mina took a long pause before she answered, milking every single second of their conversation until the joke had come to an end.“She’s sitting right in your face and you didn’t even realize it.”

Khalil pretended to gasp in shock at her revelation. “You?”

Mina shrugged her shoulders.

“A-all this time, I thought you were just another preppy cheerleader with a pretty face. I-I was so wrong about you Mina Joyce.” A preppy cheerleader, a preppy cheerleader with a pretty face. Mina wasn’t sure how she was supposed to discern that, but the best option seemed to move past his words as if she hadn’t heard a thing, but suddenly his careless words were all she could think about. She hadn’t meant to, but she had dropped the act, finding herself unable to look anywhere else but Khalil’s caramel colored eyes.

She opened her mouth before thinking better of it once, twice, and thrice times before she gathered up the courage to respond. She had never been so awkward in her life and, what’s worse, Khalil seemed to be enjoying every minute of her squirms.

Mina cleared her throat, giving him a reassuring smile. “We can meet at my house at around 7, if that works for you.”

“Whatever you want.” It was Khalil who broke away first, becoming strangely interested in the lines engraved in the palm of his hand instead. Mina attempted to change the subject again, eager to regain the air of playfulness their conversation had once retained, though her attempt was flawed.

“I never apologized for what happened with Noah yesterday-” she began, her voice quiet and smooth. She had a feeling she was treading on eggshells with this topic and Khalil’s quick interruption only further proved her suspicions.

“What did I tell you about apologizing for things you have no control over!” He seemed even more frustrated than before, yet somehow he was still managing to retain an air of control, each word he spoke slow and calculated as if he were reprimanding a disobedient child.

“I know but-”

“Mina! Stop. You have nothing to be sorry for, nothing to apologize for.” Silence once again reigned in the short space between them. It seemed as if this silence was now the thing that controlled her life.

“I sure do know how to pick em, don’t I?” she laughed sarcastically, though it didn’t reach the corners of her eyes like it usual did, and neither did the smile that Khalil sported in return but the warmth of his hand covering hers underneath her desk reassured her wandering emotions slightly. Today had already become a whirlwind of emotions for her, but at least she had a quiet and uneventful evening with Khalil to look forward to full of conversation with the only person at this school who seemed to truly be her friend.

Still, she couldn’t shake a sliver of guilt that seemed to creep up her spine unexpectedly, her boyfriends words from this morning still echoing in the back of her mind like a tape.


A/N: I won’t be writing a lot of these notes because (from a a first hand experience) I know that

1) Nobody reads them

2) They’re boring

But I did want to let what little readers I have know that from here on out the story is going to be a lot more interesting. We’ve finally got the boring part out of the way! The next chapter is going to play around with Khalil and Mina’s relationship a lot more and we will find out why he’s so interested in Mina and what it has to do with his parents. Also, I know there are very few of you, but I just wanted to say thank you guys for reading my book and for being so patient with me and my uploads and that there is SO much more to come. *insert evil laugh*

Comment what you guys think about the story so far. What do you think about Khalil and Mina?

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