Matthew was at school that next day, and I could hardly avoid him. Not after...well. It kept repeating though my mind: "one false move". I had to pretend everything was normal. I mean, after all, he seemed alright, despite the whole load of evidence against him being a possible arsonist. Then again, there was that necklace incident as well...oh, come on Dani, an arsonist and a thief? Now I was really jumping to conclusions...though I knew Clara didn't like him...
"The boy's bad news, Dani. I mean, he looks at you all the time, yet he doesn't have the courage to ask you out! Ergo, WEIRD." Now I knew Clara's opinion of Matthew came from a pretty different, less accusatory angle, but I trusted her gut instinct about as much as my own. Especially as they were more or less the same. I managed to dodge him through most of the school day- offered to carry books across from different classrooms during recess, made sure I just missed him in the cafeteria- but I couldn't avoid Matthew forever. As we came out of class at the end of the day, I told Clara that I'd left something in homeroom, aware that Matthew always went back there for five minutes at the end of the day to pack his bag. I had to take a breath as I stopped at the door, in a vain attempt to slow down my heartbeat, which was currently pounding against my chest rapidly in fear of...in fear of what? He was hardly going to kill me...right?
I cleared my throat and Matthew turned round, surprised at first but nonetheless smiling to see me. He won't be smiling when I tell him he's a psycho... "Hey Dani, what are you doing here? Don't you have a- don't you have a lift?" He avoided saying "don't you have a chaffeur waiting?". I looked at my feet. How to come about this... There really wasn't an easy way to get to the question I wanted to ask.
"I just wanted to ask...did you set fire to your old school?" I couldn't help the words tumbling out of my mouth, and I immediately tried to backtrack, in a desperate attempt to erase the look of mild horror off Matthew's face, and the feeling of definite terror from my mind. "Only, you seem really evasive when you talk about it and I..." No, I couldn't tell him about what I'd heard. Because what if it was all what I thought? I had a feeling I didn't want to discover how psychotics react to confrontations... "I, I watch way too much CSI. I'm so sorry." I felt as limp as my attempt at a confrontation. The silence for a second as Matthew just stared at me was unbearable, and then...
"Yeah, way too much." He laughed and I felt myself immediately relax, my shoulders slumped back to their normal state. It wasn't safe that I was showing myself off guard so much, not when I still knew nothing about Matthew, who was a bit closer as he laughed. He couldn't be a pyscho...maybe he was just messed up... "You know I just don't about my old school because I had virtually no friends there! The kids there were really horrible, if you weren't like a miniature Ashton Kutcher you were white trash." I couldn't help smiling at the sincerity of his speech. Well, I say sincerity... "In short, I would not set fire to a school. And if I did I'd let you lock me up in a padded cell." I laughed. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all...
"I'm so sorry, Matthew. It's just, I heard something the other day, something in the doc-" I was cut short as Matthew suddenly ducked in and crushed his lips against mine, with such force that I fell backwards against the lockers and clenched my eyes as my head made contact with somebody's heavy padlock. His hands reached up hurriedly and his fingers wove themselves into my hair. I strained to open my eyes but then I realised that I didn't want to. I didn't want to make this end. Because I'd waited so long for this moment, I'd dreamt of it, and it was better than I'd imagined. I felt my hands go to his face and realised that this was my reward after all the waiting, all the hoping. I was finally kissing him, I was finally kissing Tommy.
...Oh God no I wasn't. I shoved Matthew away and smoothed down my clothes, which had gotten crumpled from the locker shoving incident. He looked hurt for a moment, and I hastened to give him an excuse. If he got angry this time it'd be a "crime of passion".
"I have to- my dad, he worries if I'm home late..." Matthew nodded and I walked out quickly, gradually quickening my pace until I was running out of the school and straight into...
"Woah Dani, you're going to get arrested the speed you're going at!" I ran straight into Tommy, and jumped back immediately as he made some rubbish joke or other. Just seeing him made me feel instantly relieved, as if none of the Matthew stuff was there anymore. As if I hadn't just kissed him and now he thinks I like him even though I still think he's a psychotic arsonist and/or thief. Just seeing Tommy made all of that blow away. And his hair was really nice... "Are you okay?" He asked, and I suddenly noticed I was still tense and a little shaky.
"I'm...I'm just under a bit of stress, that's all." I tried to shrug it off and felt a tear sting my eyelashes. Oh please, don't cry in front of Tommy.. "I can handle it, honest."
I got an unimpressed look. "If you say so. But in my opinion you still need a hug." I could hug Tommy all evening, if it were possible.
"Thanks, Tommy, you're the best."
"That's what friends are for." Urgh, everything he said made me want to cry more. I pulled away. "I can't keep my lift waiting. See you tomorrow." Still, I felt a lot more relaxed...tomorrow would bring the whole crisis back again, but at that moment I couldn't care less. Because I had Tommy, if only for a minute.
Unfortunately I hadn't seen Matthew at the school doors as I'd hugged Tommy, or the look on Matthew's face that meant this had only just begun.