I am leveraging the M-W word of the day as a writing prompt. I may never come back to these, but want to push out at least 500 words. Today's WotD is Timorous. Try your hand at your own...

He pushed the books into his locker. It was a jumbled mess of papers that he never seemed to take home, gym clothes and other odds-and-ends. If he remembered right, somewhere near the bottom there was even a project he made in wood-shop from the beginning of the school year.

Not that he was very good at wood-shop. Most of the other boys seemed to know a lot more about tools and things. He imagined that was one of the benefits of having a father around. Sure, his mom did everything she could to keep things together; but it just wasn’t the same.

He knew he was not being realistic, but he always imagined the other boys in his class working with their dads on some shared project in the garage on Sundays, maybe rebuilding an old car or fixing up some broken appliance. Their dads would patiently explain how to replace a fuse, rewire an outlet or change the oil.

If his father was still around to teach him practical things, maybe he would have a better grade in wood-shop. And maybe, just maybe, he would also be a little better at talking to girls.

He liked to think that people considered him smart, introverted, maybe dorky even. In AP Chem or Bio, he was the first one to raise his hand and had no problem presenting in front of the whole class when it had anything to do with academia; but in social situations around girls, his voice took on a timorous tone and he melted into the background.

All that will change next year, he thought, or at least it better.

He already had acceptance letters from two of the three schools that he applied to. Without a scholarship, his top three were beyond his reach; but he spent most of this last weekend working on his formal application to a merit-based full-ride scholarship, and his ACT score was high. There was still hope, even with a B in wood-shop.

With one hand holding the papers at bay, he pushed the locker closed. The hinges whined, a grating of metal on metal.

He snapped the padlock shut and gave the dial a spin, then leaned his head against the locker, closed his eyes, and sighed.

“Yes, college… college will be different,” he said, mustering up some level of conviction.

“Oh will it now? How so?”

He turned, startled. Jessica McKnight smiled at him. Or was it a grin? He really could not tell.  He thought she looked like a cat that had just discovered a mouse and was creeping up on it slowly, biding its time, enjoying the moment.

He wilted. “Uhm. Yeah. It..” He shrugged his shoulders and gestured vaguely with his hand. “College.”

The End

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