Zack took a seat at the front of the lecture theatre. He liked it that way. Nobody ever sat in the front row, so it meant he could sit by himself without anyone else sitting beside him. That way he wouldn't have to talk to people, or have to interact with them. He looked around to the rows above, of people sitting in friendly groups, idly chatting, and wondered if he could ever be like them. Turning back, he put the thought out of his mind. There was always the danger of someone brushing his face, and this was the only way to reduce that danger. Well, he could have worn one of those Islamic burqas, he supposed, but that would have defeated the purpose of trying to socialise. And he wasn't a woman.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a girl come down to the front row. What, the hell. Fine, it wasn't like he owned the row, she could sit down as long as it was over there a bit. The girl kept walking up the row, slowly getting closer. Zack looked up, he had to, and threw her a dirty look, but she wasn't watching. She was already sitting down. In the seat beside him. He was furious.
"Hello," she said, finally looking at him. She has a nice voice, Zack thought. Perhaps that helped him wipe the cold look of his face, and replace it with a slight smile the instant before her head turned. He was too nice to be uncivil to someone he hadn't even met yet. Hell, maybe his smile was even half genuine; she was actually quite beautiful. And wasn't he just wondering what it would be like to sit beside people? Fine, I'll make an effort, he thought.
"Hi, uh, I'm Zack. What was your name again?" he asked.
"Natalie," she replied, "nice to meet you." She offered her hand to shake. She offered her hand to shake. Already he was starting to dislike her. Already this wasn't going well. She better not be a touchy kind of person, thought Zack. He hated people who invaded his bubble- and not without good reason. But he couldn't be rude, so he offered his hand. Thank god he was wearing gloves.
"So how come you always wear gloves?"
This was going from bad to worse. He wished he could just abandon ship. This was why he didn't talk to people; they put him in situations where every natural instinct told him to lie. He fought the impulse; he would not lie, not for this. He hated lying. It was what other people did, always so many lies, whenever he read someone. It was why he vowed not to read people anymore.
"I like wearing gloves," he replied. It was true. It wasn't the whole truth. "Why do you wear clothes?" he reposted.
Natalie laughed, "Fair enough, I suppose I just like wearing clothes." She started taking her jersey off. Underneath she was wearing a tank top. "But that doesn't mean I wear them all the time," she said, almost suggestively.
Zack looked away. Damn him for being early to a lecture! He wanted nothing more than the lecturer to come and start his lesson so that this conversation could politely die. But there was no end in sight. He wondered in what way Natalie would encroach upon his personal space next.