I picked at my fingernails, waiting for this class to end and trying to ignore New Kid. I could feel his eyes boring into me. What was his problem?
I almost wanted to look up at him, to look him square in the face and tell him to knock it off, but I decided it best to keep my eyes to ugly blue carpeted floor.
"Can anyone tell me why?" Mrs. Laney asked loudly, reminding that I wasn't alone.
I glanced up to make sure she wasn't looking at me and returned to my previous activities. A folded piece of paper found its way to my desk, and I almost jumped out of shock.
I unfolded it to look at its contents.
What are you thinking about?
I was beyond disbelief. I looked to my left at New Kid, irritated.
He motioned towards the note, demanding a reply.
"I think that passing notes should be left in the middle school. It's childish," I whispered.
"I know its childish, but I really didn't know how else to get your attention." he responded.
"Uhm, try saying my name? It's called Common Sense. You should look into it sometime."
He rolled his eyes. "That's no fun." His smile was crooked, and I had to admit that he was attractive. But I shut my mind off to those kinds of thoughts. I couldn't put anyone in that kind of danger.
Just small chat could get any one of these people killed if the Silver Liners were to find me.
"Are you mad at me?" New Kid asked when I didn't reply right away. I shook my head, not wanting to get into it.
"Then why are you pushing me away? I'm trying to be nice to you because I think we could be good friends. But you just keep pushing me away. It looks like you push everyone away." His voice was soft, enticing. It was so hard to not tell him. But I knew he wouldn't believe me. Nobody would believe me. I didn't even believe me.
"What's your point?" I said. My voice was harsh, cutting, but still a whisper to keep from drawing the attention of Mrs. Laney. I went onto defense.
"Do you have any friends?" He asked. It wasn't meant in an offending way, I could tell. "I'm sorry, that came out wrong."
"Look, New Kid. If I wanted friends, I would make friends. It's really not that hard."
"First of all, I have a name. It's Carson. I'd appreciate it if you could call me by my name. Second, I think I understand."
I snorted, despite myself. "Believe me, New Ki-- Carson. You don't understand, and if you do, then I live in Antarctica." I thought about it for a second, concluding that that's not a half bad idea. Change into a polar bear, I'd be good for life, probably.
"Yeah, I really think I do understand. You must move around a lot. I know what that's like; you're afraid to make friends because as soon as you did, you'd have to leave them. I used to be that way too. But you really should try to grow out of i--"
I cut him off before he could say anything more. "Believe me, I wish that were the case. But I live here, and so you're wrong. Now drop the subject." I hated him. I really hated Carson for leading my mind to these depressing memories.
I tried to push them back into the depths of the vault I stored them in, but they were too strong now.
Images of Tawny and Toby, Mac and Lizabeth floated to the surface of my conscious mind. Toby's great hugs, Mac's sweet kisses, Tawny's support, and Lizabeth's humor... It all rushed back to me in a whirlwind of visions and sensations.
Then the image of watching them simultaneously give me angry and questioning looks before the bullets were sent into their heads, one by one. The cruel laughter of the Silver Liners, my screams of protestation and horror ran through my head, taunting me with these vicious memories.
I blinked the tears away, and hid my face in my hands, trying not to sob. I bit my tongue to remain silent, and locked my limbs into place to stop the shaking. I had to stay calm.