Is he sick? Is he skipping school? If he is skipping school, why is he doing it? I thought. I sat down in my seat and got my things out. I was anxious for Connelly to turn up, even if he was twenty minutes late and still going to be rude, but he never did.
Next, I went to Home Ec. where Louis was waiting, and at the sight of his smiling face some of my nervousness ebbed away. He seemed to see that I was stressed and asked what was wrong, but I shrugged it off and said that it was me being sleepy. He didn’t look like he bought it, but still didn’t bring it up again. That is, until after class.
“So what was wrong in there?” he asked when we were at our lockers.
“Oh nothing. I was just a little stressed, but I got it under control.” I said.
“What were you stressed about?” he asked, leaning on his locker and looking at me.
“It was just something stupid. I shouldn’t have been worried about it in the first place.” I dodged the question.
“It wasn’t stupid to you.” he said, standing and moving closer to me. I caught my breath and looked down for a minute.
“But you’re right. You shouldn’t worry, because things are going to turn out the way they’re supposed to anyway— whether you do anything about them or not.” he said and I looked up at him. We were very close to each other and I could hardly breathe. In fact, I wasn’t breathing at all. Then the bell rang and I jumped, but he stayed calm and kept our eye contact.
“I-I have to go to Biology.” I said, looking down briefly again.
“Right. I have to go to Math.” he said and stepped back out of my personal space. He blinked his eyes a couple times and then we both turned and headed in separate directions.
I hurried unnecessarily into class and sat down. Everyone looked at me slightly, no doubt wondering why so fast. I needed to be calm. Vincent was here so that just meant that— What did that mean? It didn’t matter I guess. Maybe it just meant that he wasn’t in the hospital. I took a deep breath and released it slowly.
I craved to see Connelly’s face and get through his mysterious walls surrounding his real self and feelings. I closed my eyes and his face sprouted in my mind and I tried to picture what it would look like if he didn’t have the hat on.
Then the bell suddenly rang and I nearly stabbed Dale in the eye when I jumped.
“Whoa! — Kota it’ll be fine. Just calm down. Come on, some food will relax you.” Dale grabbed my hand and we headed for lunch.
“I’m fine.” I said as he dragged me along.
“Yeah, right. Louis told me.” he said, giving me a brotherly knowing look before quickening our paces.
We talked about normal stuff; movies, music, boys, girls, school gossip, etc., and as everyone laughed around me I tried to ignore the fact that the school day didn’t seem the same without Connelly there to glare at me. I laughed a lot, trying to force my happiness, but everyone, especially it seemed Louis, knew that it was mostly fake. I stopped after I noticed their faces and just resigned myself to eating and listening. Dale was right though, the food did help a little.
In English Lit., I looked over at Ivan for an explanation. He looked over at me and smiled comfortingly, like he knew what I was going through. I raised my eyebrows in a way that said “really?” He smiled again and nodded his head. Then he took two deep breaths, indicating for me to do the same. That made me feel better and I did take some deep breaths.
Okay, so he wasn’t hurt. That was good news. But where was he? What was he doing? Just before I returned to my work, I noticed that when Ivan looked down at his work, he smiled and shook his head.
“I haven’t seen Connelly today.” Sue said as we walked to gym.
“I know, but Ivan told me to calm down so I guess that means he’s okay. But I’m still nervous.” I complained.
“I’ll ask him what’s up.” she assured me as we walked into the gym and put our stuff down.
“Hey Kota, come dance with me!” Dave called as he ran over to me.
“Lilly’s got a cold. Come on.” he held out his hand. I looked from his hand to his face. Nothing good can come of this. I thought, but I was too bored to do anything else. I took his hand and we walked over to where the others were getting ready. I looked over at Sue and she looked worried.
“So, Connelly’s been being pretty rude to you I hear.” Dave said as we started to move around the floor very slowly. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say; I was concentrating on our feet. We moved kind of awkwardly because I hadn’t danced yet and his feet seemed frustrated at the slowness of mine.
“Don’t worry baby; you won’t have to worry about him anymore. I’ll take care of him.” he said and twirled me, which nearly made me fall because I hadn’t expected it.
“Why?” I asked, not really riding on the subject. I had been about to ask how he knew Connelly had been rude to me, but this derailed my train of thought.
“Well, we’re together aren’t we? I can’t have some freak messing with my girl.” he asked. This completely caught me off guard and I stepped on his foot.
“Ah, agh!” he yelled, clutching his foot and hopping on the other.
“I’m sorry. You just caught me off guard.” I said.
“How did I do that? Haven’t we been together for a few days now?” He stopped holding his foot and looked at me, anger starting to rise. I looked at him, surprise and utter astonishment plain on my face. I had totally forgotten about Dave, and in fact his name hadn’t even entered my mind in it seemed like forever.