“Yes please, and thanks Connor,” I said as I lifted my eyes to Connor’s and receive his umbrella. I didn’t want to rob him of his umbrella, but I also didn’t want to hurt his pride by refusing it.
I gave him a smile as I locked eyes with him. I would have loved to keep my eyes locked on his bright green ones, but he might have gotten suspicious. I have had a crush on Connor since my old school shut down and I was transferred to St. Carmichael’s School for the Mentally Gifted to start the seventh grade. That was three years ago…well almost four now, because I’ll be a junior next year. I didn’t have any friends and I didn’t know anyone and on top of that I am very shy.
My eyes got a faraway look in them as I had a flashback. The first day I just found an empty desk as far from everyone else as possible in every class. My first class was math, we were put directly to work, even though it was the first day…and the work wasn’t particularly easy at the time either. When the bell rang everyone picked up their stuff and I followed them as we hurried to our next class, English. I got there just as the people were starting to dribble in and take their desks. I chose a desk in the far back corner. Just before the bell rang a group of boys had come in, laughing at some joke that one of them had made. They all found a spot to sit. All of them that is, except one. He had very bright green eyes, so bright it almost seemed like someone had put a light behind them to light it up. His hair was very fine and was a light brown color. Even then he wore it down in a semi-emo fashion: brushed to one side o that it covered half of his left eye.
He looked around the room recognition flaring in his eyes as they passed over each person. I was the last person that his eyes settled on, and this time, no recognition lit up his face. His eyebrows rose slightly and I felt warmth flood my face. He turned and said something to his friends and they all nodded as he picked up his backpack and came over in my direction.
I got really nervous…what is he going to do to me? I thought…after all it was a public school, and Cali is still Cali…is he one of those weirdoes?
He came and chose the desk near me. I quietly moved as far from him as I could, still scared of what he might try. But he just unpacked the things he needed for the class. He finished just as the bell rang and the class began. The teacher went around the classroom handing out the assignment. We had to write a page long persuasive-essay on a topic of our choice so that the teacher could assess how advanced each of us were in English so far.
“Write carefully…Ms. Carter is a harsh grader,” whispered a voice from beside me. Surprised I looked over at the boy. He was smiling at me, his bright green eyes seeming to glitter.
“Thanks,” I said as I felt blood rising to my face again, “I’ll keep that in mind,” I finished as I reached to get my computer out so I could start writing.
“I’m Connor by the way,” The boy, Connor, said.
“I’m Katie,” I replied.
Connor smiled and got his computer out. As I started to type I heard a continuous sound that was almost a hum coming from Connor’s desk. When I looked over I saw that it was from Connor’s typing; his fingers seemed to fly across the keyboard, he already had a paragraph finished. I quickly turned my eyes back to my paper and started to type as fast as I could. He was finished in about half the time it took me to finish my work.
After we had all finished our papers the teacher allowed us to have free time until the end of the class while she graded our papers.
Connor turned to me again, “So, you’re a new kid huh?” he asked with a half-smile.
“Yeah,” I said in a quiet voice.
“Well, would you like a tour of the school?” he asked, “or maybe just being told where your next class is?”
I had spent a while looking for my English class because I was too shy to ask anyone for directions, so I was only to happy to accept his offer.
After class had ended I followed him as he took me around. As I dug around in my backpack for my next class Connor stopped me, “I know what your next class is,” he told me.
“Oh? And how is that?” I asked.
“It’s lunchtime,” he said with a grin.
I blushed and felt really stupid, “Oh.”
“Nah, don’t worry, you’re doing better than I did my first day here,” he laughed, “I got lost and ended up in Mr. Echman’s class. He is the meanest teacher around and nobody likes to get stuck with him. He just sat me right down and made me write a two page paper on why students should know their school before they arrive. That was in the fifth grade too…first day of school.” Connor said with a grimace.
I laughed, “Poor you! How did you score on it?”
“Ah, well that is the good part, Mr. Echman really liked my paper, he said it was the best written paper he had seen by a student in this school since he was hired!” Connor said with a smile.
“Wow! No wonder you were finished so quickly back there!” I put in; finally starting to feel comfortable here.
“Yeah, but the thing is that he has now made it his personal duty to make sure I not only keep up the good work but also study up and get better yet.” Connor put in making a face which I couldn’t help but laugh at.
I realized that I had been following Connor as I smelled something like a meat of some sort with a lot of spices, “What’s for lunch? Or do you know?” I asked Connor.
“Ah, that would be pork that has been over-spiced so as to cover the taste of any meat that might be of questionable quality,” he replied with a smile. “Here, I’ll order for you,” he continued, “just find a spot to sit over there,” he finished, pointing to an empty table.
I nodded and we parted for a little bit as I sat at the table and he went up to the self-service area and started to load up two trays.
“Hello, what’s this then?” came a voice from beside me. I whipped my head around to see a sophomore boy with messy black hair and clothed in dirty overalls and plaid shirt staring at me with a leer on his face, “A new girl hey? Let’s have some fun!” He said as he moved toward me.
“Get away from me!” I said in a high-pitched voice as he reached for me. I got up and started to back away but I just ran into another boy clothed in similar attire to the first.
“Ooh, she’s got some fire,” the first one taunted as the one I had just run into laughed and shoved me toward the first kid. “You noobs need to learn your place…and you don’t speak back to your betters, girl,” the first one said as he grabbed me and slapped me across the face leaving behind an angry red mark. I cringed and tried to pull away but he held me back.
I turned my face away and screwed my eyes shut as he drew back for another slap. I waited for the slap to come…”Uughn,” the boy holding me grunted as Connor’s fist flew into his back. The other boy turned and ran off as the one that was holding me fell over.
“You okay?” Connor asked. I nodded as a single tear ran down my cheek and betrayed the action. He saw it and a look of concern settled on his face, “Look, don’t let those idiots get to you…they’re the school bullies everyone get’s it from them…” he trailed off when he saw that it wasn’t helping Then he saw the red hand-mark on my cheek and his expression darkened, “This won’t happen again,” he growled as he went over to the boy; who was still on the floor groaning. “If you dare to hurt Katie again, I will make life miserable for you, you got that?” he asked in a menacing voice.
The boy nodded, completely terrified of Connor. Even though Connor was a seventh grader like me, he was still about as tall as the sophomore. “Come on Katie,” he told me in a kinder voice as the bully got up and scrambled away, “let’s eat before the bell rings and we have to go to our next class.” I followed him, pressing back any further tears…why did I have to cry? It is just a slap, not even a punch, just a slap. I shook my head to rid myself of the thoughts and the urge to cry then followed Connor to a table and sat with him.
“I’m really sorry about that,” Connor apologized again, “if I had known sooner I would have stopped them.”
“It’s ok…I’m better now.” I replied.
Connor looked somewhat doubtful, but he accepted it and we started to talk about different experiences we had had.
The rest of that day flew by as I found out that I had almost all of my classes in common with Connor. I spent most of the time watching him, the way his pectorals pressed against his shirt, he may have been tall, but he certainly wasn’t wiry, he was very well-built. His biceps bulged, and yet I couldn’t see a strip of fat on him…not that I could see all that much.
“…Katie?” Connor’s voice pulled me out of my memories, and back into the present day, as a sophomore-junior.
I looked at him, “Sorry, I was just thinking about my first day at school, I smiled.
He smiled back, “Hmm,” he opened his mouth to say more, but then closed it. I watched as the rain ran down his already soaked hair and into his face; I wanted to at least share the umbrella but I also knew that he would refuse because the umbrella was only big enough for one person.
I sighed and looked at him again. He had grown even more muscular since the seventh grade. Now his biceps bulged hugely even when he left his arms limp by his side. His soaked shirt outlined pecs that were the envy of every guy in the school and a six-pack to match. Yet for all that muscle, he didn’t look like a tank, his face was an oval with a fine chin that seemed almost sharp. His bright green eyes glinted with intelligence, and those who knew him knew that he was very gentle with everyone except those that found joy in other people’s pain. He had long, graceful fingers tipped with neatly trimmed fingernails. He had calluses at the base of each finger where the drumsticks rubbed against them when he played the drums for our garage band.
I wanted to reach out and hug him, but I was afraid of his response, what if he didn’t like me back? I would rather not know for sure and just pretend he likes me back than find out for sure that he doesn’t like me back. So I kept to myself. “So, should we meet tomorrow for band practice again?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ll get it all set up before you guys arrive, come around one-ish give or take a couple minutes,” Connor replied.
After about fifteen more minutes we arrived at the front door of my house. “Well, see you tomorrow then!” Connor said, his cheerfulness defying the weather.
I handed him his umbrella and he put it at his side like a sword, “Aren’t you going to use it?” I asked him.
“Nah, I’m already soaked and it’s harder to jog when I am holding an umbrella,” he replied.
I smiled “All right then, seeya tomorrow.”