Back To the Forest

I walked out of the cafeteria and to the science building to my chemistry class. Nikki was in it as well so I copied her notes from the lecture Ms. Lang had given on Friday, catching me up to the current lesson. We talked a bit over random things until some kid in the front asked a ten minute question that had us all taking notes. Class seemed to have ended soon after it started.

I had health next. Nikki pointed me in the right direction and I headed to Ms. Bennett’s class. Raven met me at the door.

The class hushed when I entered. I didn’t have to be a mind reader to know I, and probably my date Friday night, were the topic of conversation.

“Don’t let them bother you,” Raven whispered behind me. “They were just itching for some good gossip, you know?”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

We watched a video in class about the effects of drugs on the body. It was pretty boring.

Athletics was next. I figured it would be easy. Coach had us run three miles down a well-worn path in the woods. I loved the silence and stillness the forest held. I couldn’t even hear my own breathing I was so focused. I loved the weightless feeling like I was floating as I ran. As I was on my return back to the school, I heard Scott bounding towards on me. He practically broke every twig in the forest on his way.

I quickly moved out of the way of the juggernaut and waited for him to come to a stop. I gave him a moment to catch his breath.

“So, news around the school is that you have a date Friday night.”

“Yeah. Raven gave me no choice. I’m pretty sure she’s living vicariously through me,” I answered, laughing at the antics of my new friend.

He smiled and looked off into the distance for a moment. “So you’re going on a date with James, right?”

“Yeah. I just met him though. And I’m not so good with dates. I don’t even know what we’re going to do.”

“I have a pretty good guess,” Scott answered, his eyes mirroring the scary-calm tone of his voice.

“What? Does James have some kind of reputation or something? I’m not easy so he can throw away any hopes of getting with the new girl if that’s what he’s after.”

“No, no, nothing like that. He is just known as untouchable. Girls have been trying to get with him since he moved here. I guess he just hasn’t been interested because he has turned each and every one down. There were even rumors for a while that he wasn’t even into girls. But since he asked you out, he must be. So as you can see, every girl in Eau Clare wants to know your secret. You are top girl right now.”

“What do you mean ‘top girl’? I just moved here. He was probably just happy to meet a girl who treated him like a person and not a god.”

“Yeah, but be careful. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. My dad makes me carry my cell and pepper spray at all times. And plus, I’m smarter than that.”

“I figured as much, but I just wanted to make sure. You know, if you ever wanna hang out, I’m pretty easy to find. I’m trying to fix up a ‘68 Stingray right now so you can pretty much always find me talking to my buddy Mark. He works down at Ray’s.”

“Ray’s huh?” I said, trying to hold back a laugh.

“Yeah. It’s a smaller shop, but they really seem to know their stuff. Why? Have you heard of it?”

“My dad is Ray. It’s my favorite place to be besides the forest. You can always find me there, unless I’m here,” I replied, letting loose the chuckle.

“Cool. That would definitely explain your car. I don’t know many girls like you, into cars and stuff. I like it,” he said, smiling.

“Yeah. You can blame my dad.”

He smiled again. He really did have an amazing smile. “I should probably be getting back to the school now. Class should be almost over and I don’t want Coach to worry.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “I have to be getting back too. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I hope so,” he answered, grinning.

We started running back to the school together. Scott only had to slow down a few times so I could catch up, but I could tell he didn’t mind. We ran until we got into view and stopped just shy of breaking into the clearing.

He turned to look at me. “It probably wouldn’t be such a good idea if you showed up out of the woods with me when you’re going on a date with James on Friday. It might give people the wrong impression and the girls here would love any opportunity to gossip about you now.”

“Good point, thanks.”

We parted ways and I headed inside to check in with my coach. He looked relieved to see me. He told me class had ended ten minutes ago. I explained I had gotten lost. He nodded and walked away. I headed to the locker room to change.

I changed back into my jeans and tee quickly and headed for the parking lot. Frenchy sat, looking as beautiful as ever, right where I had left her this morning like a faithful dog. I drove her to the shop elated after my first day at school had gone so well. I figured I could do my homework there and maybe see if Scott showed up, not that I was looking for him exactly.

The End

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