He followed me and I really didn't want him to. Why couldn't he just let it be? I gave him his stupid notebook back. In hindsight, I regretted it. I hadn't even considered that he'd be so curious.
The guy followed me all the way down two flights of stairs, across a corridor and out onto the back of the school grounds. And that is where I finally whipped around, the motion so fast it caused my hair to be released from the clip I'd put it in. I caught it in my left hand.
And it was weird. I felt the wave of heat push away from my body like a force field. Arlyn actually stopped in his tracks a few meters away. I wasn't sure if it was the force of the heat or just because he'd felt it and it was fucking odd. I stood there, chest heaving, and just stared at him while I caught my breath.
What was I supposed to say? 'Oh sorry about that, it was just my fire powers acting up without warning again.' Not likely.
Clearly, Arlyn decided to go for the whole 'I'm just going to pretend that didn't happen because of you' and said "Did you feel that?"
I shrugged. "It's a hot day." It was a weak excuse but it was all I had. "Can you just leave me alone please?"
"No," he said, somewhat casually. It pissed me off.
"No?" I said, laughing once, involuntarily. "All I did was give you your book back. I thought it'd be nice but obviously not. You just decided to delve right into my private life like you were talking about the weather or something. Well I'm sorry I don't want to tell you, I'm sorry I coughed up blood on your book, and I'm sorry your pictures are ruined. And I'm starting to be sorry I gave the damn thing back."
"Huh, not so nervous now, are you?"
"I don't appreciate being lied to."
"Well I don't appreciate being interrogated by strangers. I'm not going to tell you why I was in hospital so forget it."
I moved my hand to my wrist in order take off the medical bracelet but it wasn't there. You burnt it off you idiot. I didn't even bother looking for it. If Arlyn wasn't going to mention it, I definitely wasn't.
"Samantha, whatever you were in hospital for wasn't a normal thing, I know that much. When you were stood next to me I could literally feel intense heat radiating from you and let's not even go into what happened just now."
"Like I said, it's a hot day. And I'm ill. So I'm gonna go now. Please don't follow me."
And he didn't. So, for roughly thirty seconds, I walked in silence.
"Combustive body heat," he said as I reached the end of the basketball court we were standing in. "I can read. And I'm sure you know this, but combustive means that you could - and probably should have by now - burst into flames."
"All right. Fuck. I'll tell you." I walked all the way back over to where he was and exaggerated a secretive expression to make it seem as though I was being sarcastic. "I have unexplainable magic fire powers."
I grinned and turned to walk away again but he grabbed my arm. And it hissed. He quickly pulled his hand back.
"See, you just evaporated my sweat," he said weakly.
"Whatever just evaporated, it was definitely not your sweat. I know what sweat feels like because, believe it or not, my body temperature kinda calls for it. And," I said after a pause. "It was definitely not my fault."
We stared at each other in silence.
"Just tell me what your problem is and I'll leave you alone."
"I already told you, Arlyn," I said through gritted teeth. "I have unexplainable magical fire powers."
"Come off it now," he said. "Just tell me. This has gone far enough."
And it suddenly dawned on me that he genuinely hadn't believed me the first time. Well, of course this would sound made up to him. But there was absolutely no way I would be proving it to him... on purpose, anyway.
"First of all, you're the only one trying to extract personal information from somebody you don't know. So if anyone's taken it too far, it's you. But secondly," I relaxed my voice and posture, smiling. "I guess you're right. I'm sorry for lying to you. But it really is way too personal and I just don't feel comfortable telling you. Okay?"
He sighed, defeated for now. "Fine, fine. Thanks for returning this to me. I really appreciate it."
"Right, okay. Maybe we can start over at some point."