Rubber Band

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William: Culprit

As William made his way to lunch, following the bell dismissing his fourth period class, he was thoroughly pissed off.

He was tired of it. He was tired of Oliver’s dull attempts at spending time with him, how he was constantly approaching him, starting up awkward conversation and then leaving again, without an inch of progress.

William was waiting for the apology, that he hoped would come, that he dreaded would come. If Oliver really did care for him, he would apologize, but William wasn’t sure if he had the guts too. And that was both a relief and an annoyance.

William was, honestly, terrified of Oliver Emerson. He was terrified of who he became around the kid, and he was frightened by what Oliver made him feel, with merely a glance.

And he was terrified that, if Oliver said he was sorry, if he said he regretted every decision he’d dumbly made in the past, William would give in to his charm, and latch on again; they’d grow close, become best friends once more.

And William wasn’t sure he could take that.

Because what if something happened? Like before?
What if Oliver abandoned him again, or William fell apart under the pressure of that charming gaze; what if he confessed?

No. No, Oliver Emerson had to stay away.
Or William’s resolve would surely crumble.

With a sigh, and a growl for good measure, Will made his way towards the lunch lines at the back of the cafeteria, taking his pick of a salad, adding tomatoes and cucumber atop the green leaves.

He didn’t trust the meat products here. Jacob Donovan, an old student who graduated from Laketown High last year, had once found the tip of a finger in his hamburger, tucked into the patty, seemingly cooked within the meat cake, gone unnoticed, unbelievably. They found the culprit a few weeks after by removing a suspicious looking band-aid atop one of the elderly lunch lady’s fingers.

Since then, William had nearly convinced himself he could become a vegetarian, and for the most part, considering Stan never made any sort of dinner or felt the need to spend money on expensive beef or pork, it was actually working.

Rolling his eyes at his pointless thoughts, he slugged over to his usual table, a small, round, blue thing that sat on its own in the corner of the large room, away from most of the other cluttered groups of students.

Emmy always showed up late to lunch, which was her own fault, seeing as how she loved to work up until the bell in her Biology class, resulting in her having to spend at least five minutes packing her things and visiting her locker.

William was fine with it though; he simply got his lunch, and waited, avoiding gawking teenagers and judgmental glares of which originated from the surrounding cafeteria tables.

William swallowed uncomfortably, and leaned forward, ripping open a packet of salad dressing and pouring it slowly over the dull lettuce, mindful to squeeze out just the right amount, aware that he had a knack for going over the top, in all meaning of the phrase.

And it was because he was so focused on getting his salad to taste right, without an overwhelming portion of bitter dressing, that he didn’t notice Oliver Emerson striding over towards his table, confident and eager, once again.

It wasn’t until the boy sat down with a thump, his tray of nachos and cheese slamming down along with him, as he tucked himself into William’s detached lunch table, away from his football team, and in the sight of glowering, hateful expressions, that William finally realized just who was sat before him.

Not Emmy, no.

The bastard he had been trying to dodge all day.

Why the hell was he sitting here?

What was he playing at? Pitying the orphan gay boy?
Or merely fulfilling a bet he made with his friends?
Oh, I bet you won't go sit with the faggot.
Sure, I will; watch.

William glanced up at Oliver’s bright, smiling face and scowled, “Do you need something?”

Oliver bit his lip and shrugged, creasing the fabric of his plain white shirt, having removed his sweatshirt from earlier, as he lifted and dropped his broad, muscular shoulders, “No.”

Stabbing his fork into his dreary salad, Will glared and looked away from those emerald eyes, that styled blonde hair, “Don’t feel obliged to sit here.”

Oliver cleared his throat and picked up a nacho, scooping it gingerly into the golden cheese oozing on his white, lunch tray, “Okay.”

And he fucking stayed. He just sat there, munching away on his school food whilst William simply stared, shocked and agitated at the same time, completely thrown by his old friend’s audacity, his nerve.

Suddenly, he fell nauseous.
Suddenly, his salad appeared as though it were a goop of moldy lettuce, no longer appealing and no longer edible, in William’s mind anyway.

So, with an angry huff, he slammed down his plastic fork and shoved his food aside. “Look, I don’t know what you’re playing at, but we aren’t friends, Emerson,” William snapped, standing, his numb hands clenching into fists on the hard surface of the cafeteria table, “We stopped being friends the moment you forgot to say goodbye, and lacked to call me once – just once – in over ten years.”

With a shake of his head and a mocking scoff, he snatched up his tray and shoved it into the nearest trash bin, watching the salad topple over and pour out into the black shape of the can, tomatoes rolling and cucumbers flattening against the other abandoned food.

“Will,” Oliver breathed softly, standing as well, and striding over to where William stood, pondering, debating, dreading.

Don’t talk to me. Okay?” William spat, and what was meant to come out as rude and loud and commanding, was merely breathless and nearly inaudible, a vacant whisper with no desire behind it, whatsoever.

With that, the dark haired boy stormed off, ignoring the silent, guilt-ridden expression on Oliver Emerson’s face, a boy so very similar to the one he had known years ago. Besides the newly agile body and chiseled features.

Feet flying, William headed off to his next class, not a care in the world whether or not he would get in trouble for wandering the halls during his lunch hour, or for being too early to his final period of the day.

He just needed to get away, prove his disinterest.
But, by doing so, he felt like he was lying.

To himself.
To Oliver.

He sighed.

Emmy would just have to eat lunch without him today.


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