She suddenly felt as though she were under a microscope, like some kind of newly discovered insect. It was hot, and she blinked as though she was staring into a bright light.
There was something about his stare that made her think he could see directly into her soul, as though he knew all of her thoughts and dreams, her aspirations and her plans. It was like he'd known her for years, and they hadn't even said one word to each other. She wasn't sure if it was the scars, or his strangely smokey eyes that made her feel that way, but it was definately something.
"What the hell are you looking at, Scar?" Liza growled at him. Grace gasped, and stared at her friend, very aware that she was beginning to blush.
"Oh, sorry." Adam replied, clearly unruffled by Liza's attack. He turned around, and began to scribble furiously on the paper in front of him, and Grace couldn't help but wonder what he was doing. Although, she didn't dare try to sneak a look while Liza was sat right next to her.
"Can you believe the nerve of that guy?" Grace was vaguely aware that she was being spoken to, but she wasn't really paying attention. It was like those eyes where imprinted on the inside of her eyelids, and everytime she closed her own eyes, she was staring back into his all over again.
"I know." She managed to reply, almost certain they were thinking different things.
He didn't look back again for the rest of the lesson, but she found herself hoping that he would. When the bell rang, he was the first to leave, because he had no bag with him. Whatever he had been drawing, he left on the table, and she slipped it into her bag as she passed, hoping that Liza had not noticed.
Grace walked to her next class in silence, and listened as everyone gossiped about the new boy with the nasty scars, the oddball, the freak. She was thankful that Liza wasn't with her now, joining in with everyone elses discussions. If there was a bad thing to be said about her friend, it was that she followed gossip and hearsay far too religiously. Still, everyone had their flaws, as far as Grace was concerned. Nobody was perfect.
She had History class next, and filed into the small room along with everyone else. Her seat was right on the back row, and she sat alone, which she didn't mind; Grace was the only person who got to sit by themselves. She liked to have her own space.
Mr. Johnson began to take roll call, and after answering her own name, she decided now was the best time to take a look at the drawing she'd stashed away in her bag. Smoothing out the crumpled edges, she saw that it was a portrait.
The girl had shoulder length hair, and large wide eyes, almost cartoon like. It was only a pencil sketch, barely finished, but Grace thought it was stunning. He had even initialled the bottom, a hastily scribbled A.C. She wondered what his last name was.
And suddenly he was there, moving quietly into the seat next to her. His eyes were on the drawing, and he held his hand out for it.
"May I?" He spoke quietly, but clearly. "I'd quite like to finish it, if you don't mind." She nodded worldlessly, and slid the paper across the desk toward him.
She looked forward at the board in an attempt to concentrate on something other than him, and became aware of the class watching her. It took time, but Grace finally realised that she was notn reacting as they had. Subconsciously, she shifted a couple of centimeters away from him in her seat, praying that he didn't notice. If he did, it didn't show on his face, and he continued to sweep his pencil across the paper.
"I don't bite, you know." He said, so quickly, she wasn't sure he'd said it at all.
"I don't bite. You moved away. Like I'm contagious or insane." She cringed inwardly,embarrassed that he'd spotted her a few minutes before. What kind of impression must she be making on him? "I can assure you, that I'm neither." Adam continued.
"I'm sorry. It's not you, its them." She indicated the rest of the room with a slight inclination of her head. "You seem perfectly stable to me."
"Well, thanks." He smiled, and she practically beamed at him in return. "But be careful, you don't want to be seen talking to the freak." His tone was joking, but she could see the sadness etched in the slate of his eyes. It bothered him.
"Don't worry about it." She reassured him, eager to watch the pain dissipate.
An awkward silence fell between them, and she couldn't think of anything else to say. Adam went back to his drawing, apparently knowing everything that was being taught in the lesson. She assumed that he'd already covered this particular topic in his old school, but something about his cool assurance told her otherwise. She just wasn't exactly sure what 'otherwise' was.
"Here." He muttered, sliding the drawing back across the table as everyone packed their things away at the end of the lesson. "You keep it."
Grace took it from him, and smiled; it was a sketch of her. When she looked up to thank him, he'd disappeared.