The chatter of what seemed like a million people bathed the halls in constant indistinguishable noise. Weaving her way through the mass of people, Lindsey had to push some people aside here or there just to be sure that she'd be on time for her next class, which for reasons she could not imagine, was on the opposite end of the school.
After several minutes of repeatedly saying 'excuse me' and 'move' and any variation that happened to come to mind, she was into the more thinly populated halls of the west wing. She thought she was in the clear, checking her watch as she rounded a corner. She was wrong.
She collided with somebody and fell to the ground. "I'm sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going. I'm going to be late if I don't -" she stopped, looking at the person, still on their feet, looking down at her. One word went through her mind. Crap!
Lars Milton was the last person she'd want to run into figuratively, let alone literally. Standing at least six feet tall and slightly over two hundred pounds, he was the biggest kid in the school. And just in case you couldn't figure that out for yourself, he had no problems showing you.
"So where do you think you're going in such a hurry?" he said. Getting quickly to her feet, she braced herself for whatever may happen. "I, uh... I'm sorry. I was just going to Calculus. You know, room two-oh-"
"I know where it is, " the bulky man interrupted.
"Good, then we've got to go, " Brendan said from behind her. Any normal kid Brendan's size would have been frightened. Their voice might crack, maybe they'd stutter a little, anything. But Brendan sounded like he might as well have been talking to a little old lady.
Lars let out a small laugh. "Really? Well I think your girlfriend here owes me an apology first, " he said, his voice rising slightly.
"She already said she was sorry, " Brendan pointed out, his tone staying level and calm as ever.
Lindsey shrunk back slightly. I don't want to look. This guy's gonna get creamed.
"And maybe I don't think she's sorry enough, huh? What if I think you aren't giving me the respect I deserve?" Lars took a step forward. Lindsey knew this was going physical any moment.
With a sigh, Brendan replied "I guess you'll just have to live with it."
Lars' hands snapped forward, grabbing him roughly by the collar, and still there was no real reaction from the boy. "I think you'll have to live with a broken nose, punk!"
"A broken nose, really?" Brendan said, a hint of amusement coloring his voice. "You mean, like this?"
Brendan's arms flew from his sides, grabbed the inside of Lars' arms, and headbutted the massive man in the face.
Lars let go immediately, hands cradling his face, blood streaming between his fingers. "You'll pay for that!" he growled. He swung a massive fist, but Brendan stepped backwards out of reach. Making a tsking noise, he waved a finger. "Much too slow."
With another growl, Lars launched forward again, his first level with Brendan's nose.
Lindsey could have sworn she saw the faintest smile adorn Brendan's face, just for a moment.
All in one move, Brendan grabbed the arm flying towards him, spun around half way, and flung Lars onto his back. The massive man blinked a couple of times, looking just as surprised as if he had seen lobsters crawl out of Brendan's ears.
Lindsey, unbelieving eyes staring at the spectacle before her, hadn't noticed Brendan walk up beside her again. "We still have class, if you remember?" he said.
She stood looking over the mountain of muscles, her words not quite forming the way she intended. "Yes, but... How?"
He laughed, a grin lightening his face. "Fighting is about technique, not how much weight you can hold over your head."
The first bell rang, and she was sure to give Lars plenty of space as she walked around him. But the bloodied and confused bully simply stared dumbly at the ceiling, waiting for the pretty dots of color to fade from his vision.