“You think he’s talking to me because he has an evil plan to eat me or something? He’s not a monster Dale, and he’s not a killer.” I stated.
“Well, just be careful. I’m telling you, there’s just something not right about him –Or his family.” Dale added this last part as he looked over at Vincent.
“Stop it. You’re being mean.” I slapped his shoulder and gave him a stern look.
“Until he or they start acting weird, I’m not going to stop being nice to them.” I said and once again leaned over my notebook, indicating that the conversation was over.
The teacher came in then and stole our attention by announcing that we would be dissecting frogs the following week. Then she started on the anatomy and all kinds of things about the frog. She also showed us the tools we would be using to dissect them.
“You’re not going to faint or puke or anything, are you?” asked Dale roughly.
“No, I’m not that type of girl… Are you?” I asked, peering at him.
He caught the double meaning in my question and gave me a look. “No.” he said and I giggled under my hands.
“Miss Riley, is there a reason you’re laughing?” Mrs. What’s-her-name asked me sternly.
“No ma’am.” I said, fighting to control a fit of giggles. Now Dale was hiding his grin behind his hand. It looked like she wanted to say something else but since I had said “ma’am” she was deprived the privilege. I noticed Vincent’s back move back to normal, like he had looked back at me. I was suddenly self conscious and I hoped that he wouldn’t tell Connelly, but knew that it was probably a vain hope. No secrets among brothers.
“No ma’am.” Dale mocked me in a whisper.
“I forgot her name.” I admitted and chuckled quietly.
“Mrs. Swoony.” he said between a laugh.
“Mrs. Swoony?” I snickered and then put my hand to my forehead like you see girls do on old movies. Then we both trembled with silent laughs, but got cut off because Mrs. Swoony turned around and glared at us. We looked at her innocently like teenage angels. She huffed and then returned to the blackboard and we tried to pay attention. I wrote down as many things as I could because she didn’t write them down, but said them instead. She declared a test next period and we were dismissed with the bell.
“You are so dramatic.” Dale said and laughed as we headed to lunch.
“Thank you and it’s nice to know that you’re not that kind of girl.” I said and he chased after me until we were in the lunch line.
“Having fun?” asked a voice and I saw Louis walking up to us.
“Hey Louis. You doing alright without me?” asked Dale and they did this thing where they hit fists.
“Yep.” Louis said and looked at me.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“That thing you did. Why did you hit each other’s fist?” I hit my fists together as an example.
“I don’t know. It’s just a guy thing.” said Dale.
“So it’s like a manly handshake?” I asked and let a few laughs out.
“Yeah.” smiled Louis.
“Well I want a handshake.” I said.
“You have one. Hugs.” said Louis and he gave me a hug.
“I mean one that involves hands.” I said.
“Hugs do involve hands — Can’t hug without them.” explained Louis.
“Fine.” I said and gave up. Louis laughed softly and smiled at me. We got our food and then joined the others at the table.
“You got a girlfriend yet Louis?” asked Dale after swallowing a steak finger and some potatoes. He looked at me sideways, apparently watching for a reaction, but I stayed calm. He was still suspicious about why we were under water so long I guess, just as a big brother would.
“No, not yet.” Louis flashed his eyes over to me and I looked down.
“I’m surprised. A guy like you’d usually be hooked up by the first week. Are you a freak or something?” teased Chase.
“No, and I didn’t say I hadn’t been asked.” Louis looked at Chase and Dale.
“Really? Who?” asked Dale and Louis pointed them out. Dale and Chase turned back to Louis, wide eyed and mouths agape. I whispered a laugh and Dale elbowed me in my arm.
“Haley, Stacy, and Alicia?” stuttered Dale.
Louis nodded, not seeing the big deal.
“They’re three of the most popular girls in school. Why’d you say no?” asked an astonished Chase.
“I wasn’t interested in them.” Louis looked at me again and I averted my eyes. I was trying to send the signal that I wasn’t interested, but he seemed undeterred. He was a very determined kind of guy. Which, unfortunately in this case, is one of the things I liked in a guy.
“What about you?” Louis asked them and the answer was obvious.
“Well, I’ve been keeping myself open for someone really good to come along.” said Dale and he lifted his head like he was confident in what he said, instead of just trying to cover up an excuse for his single status.
“Yeah.” agreed Chase.
“Right.” I said. They both gave me a look and Dale shoved me. Then Dale launched into what happened in biology and we all laughed when he tried to do the damsel in distress thing. That signal is definitely only for girls, because big muscle-y Dale doing that looked so weird I burst out laughing and almost spewed my drink on Louis.
After lunch I headed off to a boring Math period and then off to gym, where a surprise was waiting for me. “Great! I thought we were going to keep dancing during gym.” I complained to Coach Bailey. As soon as I had walked into the gym, I saw that all the kids were suited out and I had left my suit at home.
“Well, I’ll let you sit out this time, but don’t forget your suit next time.” he said and pointed to the bleachers.
I nodded reassuringly and when I turned around I grinned happily. Don’t think I lied to him, I really did forget my suit, but I was happy because Connelly and Ivan were also not doing the exercises. I would have been so embarrassed if I had to do my exercises in front of him. I sat half way up the bleachers and as expected, Connelly was suddenly next to me.
“Now, continuing our earlier conversation.” he started up again.
“Why are you so interested in this guy or whatever he is?” I asked.
“Because I want to know what you think of him.” Connelly looked down at his fiddling hands.
“Why?” I asked.
“Did he hurt you?” he dodged the question. I looked at him for a minute, hating that he kept dodging my questions, but then decided just to let it go. Again.
“Other than burning my wrists? No.” I said.