“Which reminds me.” he said and took my wrists in his hands.
“I’m sorry.” he said suddenly and looked at me.
“For what? You didn’t do it.” I said and he stiffened. I caught that, but I let it go… for now.
“Why do you keep talking about this guy like he might not actually be a guy?” Connelly asked, trying to cover up his slip.
“Well, I don’t really think he’s a guy.” I said, looking out at Sue as she and the others did their exercises.
“You’re very dramatic you know that?” he asked and he seemed a little on edge all of a sudden.
“Yes.” What in the world? I thought. What’s his problem? Why so stiff all of a sudden?
“What do you think he is then, if he’s not human?” he asked roughly.
“Well, by the way he leaned in towards my throat before jumping off, would seem to make him only too clearly a vampire.” I saw him tense a little out of the corner of my eye.
“So, then what did you do?” he asked like he knew what I was going to say.
“So, I looked up vampire legends and found a few promising ones that seemed nice.”
“There is no such thing as a nice or good vampire.” he said knowingly and, I must admit, a little darkly.
“How do you know? It’s not like you’re a vampire.” I said, a little irritated, and looked at him. He smiled and shook his head.
“Of course not.” he said in a dark voice.
“Oh my gosh!” I gasped. I was running through the encounter again and I noticed something I hadn’t before. When the theater monster had told me to go the last time, the loud crashing covered up another word he’d said.
“What?” asked Connelly, looking at me and moving a fraction closer.
“He said my name.” I said almost in a whisper.
“What?” he said in surprise and shock.
“He said my name. He knows me.” I said, looking at him. And now that I looked at Connelly, more closely now, he looked a lot like the theater monster. Actually, he looked exactly like the theater monster, except with a hat and the fact that he wasn’t seeping darkness stuff. It was him.
My eyes narrowed.
“Okay guys, let’s go to the track.” Coach Bailey announced and started towards the doors.
“Kota — Let me explain.” he sounded nervous, sad, angry, and scared as he said this and these emotions all showed obviously in his face as he stood with his hand open to me. But I didn’t spend too much time looking at his face. I knew that if I did, I would fall under his spell and do whatever he wanted me to do. I didn’t take his hand either, but instead stood and brushed passed him roughly. I walked quickly across the bleachers and jumped off beside Sue as she went out the door.
“What’s wrong?” asked Sue. I looked at her and she seemed concerned as she looked at my beyond angry face and still narrowed eyes.
“I just found out that it was Connelly, not Alister, that attacked me on Saturday.” I said through gritted teeth.
“What? Why in the world would he do that?” asked Sue, looking back with shock plain on her face.
“He thought it would be funny I guess.” I said. Yeah, ha ha. I thought.
“He’s telling me to tell you to slow down so he can talk to you. He looks really insistent.” she said, still looking back at him.
“Well he’s out of luck. I’m not in the mood to talk to him right now.” I said, walking faster and pulling her with me.
“He’s glaring at you now.” she said, looking up at me.
“I don’t care — I glared at him first. He can just wait until I calm down a little.” I looked straight ahead.
“What are you going to do when Gym’s over?” she asked.
“I — Oh crap.” I had totally forgotten about dance practice.
“I’ll either ignore him or talk to him. It depends on whether or not I’m still mad.” I said. Sue nodded and we caught up with Dave and his friends. I didn’t really talk; I just listened so I could occupy my brain with other things.
“Kota, so how come you’re not with your boyfriend?” Dave asked jealously.
“He’s not my boyfriend and we’re kind of fighting.” I said, glancing at Dave. His face changed from jealousy to happiness.
“Oh, well that’s too bad. I hope you two work it out.” Dave said, not meaning it. He looked passed us and over at Connelly, Ivan, and Mira who were walking together a little ways behind us.
“He’s glaring at me.” Dave said, his face wrinkling in a glare back. I looked back and saw it was true. Connelly looked scary, and even with his hat covering his eyes I could still feel them. Then he shifted his head in my direction and his angry stare softened a fraction.
I almost started walking towards him, but stopped myself. He played a cruel joke on me and I wasn’t about to let him loose because he was gorgeous. No, he was going to have to do it the old fashion way — say sorry and explain. Which, really is impossible if I don’t let him talk to me. Hm, I guess I should let him do that. — Well, he can go ahead and wait until we dance. I thought.
I was still looking at him and his face was completely soft now and I noticed my face wasn’t angry, but sad and I had stopped walking. I must have gotten lost in thought and hurriedly turned around before he could start walking my way. I was determined to stay angry as long as possible.
“I thought you were going back over to him.” said Sue when I caught up again.
“No, I’ll wait until we dance. He won’t be able to yell in front of everybody.” I said and Sue smiled.
“Neither can you.” she scrunched her face up.
“Darn, that’s right. Well, I’m just going to have to manage it.” I said and we both smiled. We caught back up with Dave and his friends and talked for a while.
I knew Dave was a little stuck up, but until then I hadn’t known how far. He talked about him and his friends like they were some kind of glorious warriors and everyone else, including me and Sue, like we were lowly peasants not even good enough to rub off his shoes.
A whistle sounded twice. “Okay kids, it’s time to go!” yelled Coach Bailey from the gate. We all turned around and started towards him.
“I’ll see you later.” Dave hugged me and Sue, but we shrugged him off. Slime ball. I thought.
“Don’t worry about Connelly. Like I said, I’ll take care of him for you.” Dave smiled as he started running up the track towards Connelly.
“No, don’t!” I called after him. He continued to run towards Connelly and raised his leg.
“He’s going to trip him.” said Sue.
“Stop!” I called, but then Connelly stepped aside just as Dave swung his leg. Dave’s leg swung up high in front of him, pulling his other leg with it, and he fell on his back. Connelly never broke stride as he and his siblings continued towards the gate, not ever looking back. After a minute though, Dave’s friends realized that he wasn’t with them and went back for him.
I stared after Connelly, not knowing whether to smile or grimace. I looked over at Sue for an example, but her face was as undecided as mine was. We started jogging with everyone else and were soon passed the gate and hurrying for the doors. I looked up before ducking inside and saw storm clouds darkening the sky.
We followed the other students through the hall and into the gym. All the other dancers from the other gym classes were in there and were waiting for the students who weren’t dancing to leave. Connelly and Ivan were over by the rest of their family, who were leaning up against the wall.
“Hey, what happened to Dave?” asked Dale, coming towards us.
“He tried to run up behind Connelly and kick him, but Connelly stepped out of the way and Dave landed on his back.” I said and couldn’t help let a smile slip out.
“Ha!” Dale laughed. He pulled me into a hug and swung me around as he laughed some more.
“Dale, I’m getting dizzy.” I said, already feeling queasy.