Conflicted Affection

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2

I slowly walk towards the anxious chocolate haired boy in the back of the class. I could see he doesn't want me there, which sort of makes me sad. I know I bullied him but I just want to be his friend--well maybe only an acquaintance. But, even that would be bad.

I can see Ryland staring down at his empty desk, shaking his leg. We don't utter one word to each other. I find myself looking at him from the corner of my eye, and I realize how nice his hair color is. What scares me the most is that this wasn't the first time I realized that.

I quickly shoot that thought out of my head. Why would I even think that? Well, it was true. What's so wrong with liking a hair color?

I hear a loud voice bust through the double doors of the classroom, "Morning!" Mr. Shay says with sarcastic enthusiasm.

Most of the class just stares into space with bored expressions and probably wishing for someone to beat a brick over their head, I know I am.

His attention turns towards me and, of course, he hates me most so he should be trying to embarrass me in three.. two.. one, "Dillan! Glad to see you weren't lazy enough to actually get your ass here! I'm glad to see you!" He says once again with sarcastic enthusiasm. Fake enthusiasm is his main communication, and it also makes everyone around him want to choke the living shit out of him. Most teachers don't swear in class, but he definitely does with every chance he gets.

I smile back but my eyes roll and widen with annoyance. Why does he always have to torture me?! Good thing the class doesn't laugh at me because well, we all fucking hate that douche bag.

I try my best to keep calm and just get through the day without getting suspended or breaking down because of him. Geez I would go insane if I had to live with him! Every time everyone else was doing bad things, I would always get called out for it!

His loud and annoying voice busts through the room once again, "Today you have a project, and before you ask, no, you cannot choose your own partners!" He says with actual happiness and smiles big at all the sounds of disappointment throughtout the classroom, "You will be partners with whoever you are sitting beside! Deal with it!" He says excitedly and explains everything we needed and gave us a paper, which he slammed, (and I mean slammed hard), on top of my desk.

I am already nervous about having to be partners with Ryland and the fact that he slammed that paper on my desk and gave me a big fake grin doesn't make me feel any fucking better. Extreme anger and anxiety can nearly make you have a panic attack or even a stroke. Well, maybe. All I know is its not good for you.

When the bell rings, every student in the classroom runs with all the speed they had out of that room to get away from that actual spawn of Satan. As soon as I get out of there, a sense of relief washes over me, until I remember who I was partnered up with.

I could hear quiet footsteps behind me. I turn around to be greeted by my partner.

"Sorry if I'm in your way." He says silently, with an anxious, but also kind of confident, tone. Lets just say, he speaks a lot more confident than he did earlier.

I realize I was smiling a big goofy smile and tried forcing it down, it didn't work. "You aren't in my way, I promise." I am shocked by how much more confident I was. I'm naturally confident and extroverted but, I'm more nervous around Ryland.

Ryland responds with a slight giggle and his head tilted a little bit more. "Bye." He says with hesitance and started to walk away.

I stop him, "Erm, what about the project thing?"

He stops walking and turns towards me, "It's fine, I'll do the work!" He says more confidently and smiles big.

I stop him again almost immediately. I don't want to be around him too much but making him do all the work and me getting a grade for nothing is kinda, well, fucked up.

"No Ryland," I try stopping myself from thinking about how his name sounds to me and quickly snap back to reality, "I can't do that to you, yeah I'm an asshole but I don't want to be an asshole anymore. I want to actually help you with this."

Ryland looks a bit confused, maybe even shocked. "Ok," He really hesitates with speaking.

"So, whose house?" I ask, speaking slowly and hesitantly.

"Mine? Yours? Whatever is easier to deal with. We can, um, find ways to talk to each other on the internet so we don't have to go to each others houses maybe if that sounds cool."

"Maybe we can switch from different options?" I almost regret not just accepting the internet right away. Ryland just nods to me and walks away.

That was kinda awkward, but at least we could actually speak to each other like just average acquaintances or something. I'm just glad we could actually speak. I'm still terrified, of course, but its only fair. I've been enough of an asshole to him, I should at least do this for the guy you know, something nice and not completely douchey.

The whole rest of the day goes on normal and more smoothly. Me and Ryland exchanged glances from time to time and he seems to be less bitter, and we both seem less nervous and awkward towards each other. Maybe he thinks I could've changed a bit? I feel more at ease throughout the whole day, and I love that. Sometimes a good day can start off kinda rocky, I suppose.

I take a deep breath as I exit the school with a relaxing realization that the school day is over and it's a Friday. I enter my car and begin to drive to my little sisters school. When I get there I see her smiling really big, which improves my mood.

She sees me and runs up to the car with full energy and excitement, "Dillan! I missed you!" She yells and hugs me really tight.

I smile the biggest smile I can ever have the ability of achieving on my own. I giggle, "Why are you so hyper, pumpkin?"

She speaks with a fast pace and a bunch of energy, "We had so much candy and we had a party and we got to run everywhere and-"

I cut her off and giggle, "Sweetie calm down!" I say still giggling and smiling like a big goof ball.

"Sorry!" She says with her cute baby voice and smiles really big, opening up a pack of skittles and eating a handful. I don't care how crazy hyper she is, I am seeing her happy and that's all that matters.

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