“Haven’t you heard this is the new fashion craze?” I jokingly rolled my eyes.
“As enthralling as the latest trends are, Ms. Mitchel, I still have a class to teach.” Mrs. Cotter appeared from the back. “Everyone’s already been paired with a partner, except for our new student, Shane, who just registered today, so you two can join him in the back.”
Following her gaze, my heart suddenly fell.
God? Going shopping with Kayla, Libby, and Kirsten wasn’t bad enough? Guess not, because there, looking like a professional wrestler with his massive shoulders and upper body hugged tightly in a gray t-shirt, was the biker guy. I didn’t know if he was even paying attention to what the teacher had to say as our eyes locked in a penetrating glare; he seemed unable to hear the chattering and gawking going on around him.
Val gently tugged me along, bringing me out of my thoughts. In typical Val fashion, she smiled and said hello to a few of her friends on the way down the aisle before we finally took the only available seats on either side of the new guy.
He sat confidently with his black leather jacket draped over the back of his chair. I was just about to bury the hatchet and introduce myself, when his eyes dropped to Val’s pink, glittery Christian Louboutins and he muttered, “Nice shoes.”
“I know, aren’t they fabulous?” Val marveled at them.
I was just about to explain to her what he really meant when he snickered. “Yeah, Dorothy called, she wants them back.”
Now Val might be overly enthusiastic, but I loved her for it, so I wasn’t going to let some stuck up jock put her down. I opened my mouth to ask him what kind of self-respecting, straight guy notices shoes anyway, but Val beat me to a response. “Well, you tell Dorothy that if she wants them back, she’s going to have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands.”
His face pinched at the unexpectedness of her comment, but instead of encouraging her, he just blinked and then shook his head.
Val clicked her heels together three times and said, “There’s no place like Prada, there’s no place like Prada.”
I sunk down just a fraction on my stool, but thankfully, our conversation was interrupted because Mrs. Cotter began to instruct the class on how to use our lab equipment properly. “Remember, never use a clear liquid to put out a fire and be advised that we have a fire extinguisher in the back of the room. Now, I would like for you to start out by practicing lighting your burners.”
“Ladies first.” Shane offered up the pack of matches in his gigantic hand, bringing my attention back to our lab partner.
“Oh, goodie, I’ll go first.” Val grabbed up the matches before I could stop her.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” I said hesitantly. Val wasn’t exactly good with anything that came with safety instructions. Before I could stop her, she struck a match and quickly flung the dud onto the table. Shane eyed me warily when she actually lit the next match but once again flung it on the table.
Quickly snuffing out the flame with his thumb, he snatched the packet of matches from Val’s hand. “Here, take these before she burns down the school.” He tossed them over to me and then paused as if pondering whether or not I could light a match. He then raised his eyebrows in sarcastic relief when I lit the burner in seconds.
“Those things light up really fast!” Val gulped.
He leaned over causing the side of his warm body to press against mine. I got a whiff of spearmint on his breath before he lowered his voice and asked, “Is she…
“No.” I glared back at him. “She’s just a little prone to accidents.” Okay, more like the class klutz, but I didn’t like what he was implying about my best friend.
Glancing down at my crusty t-shirt and jeans, it finally seemed to dawn on him what had really happened earlier. “Wait…how did you end up on the ground then?” His eyes lit up with the memory.
“I tried to catch her,” I answered dignifiedly since he seemed to be enjoying the little incident way too much.
“And how did that work out for you?” He grinned.
“Not how I had anticipated,
“I can hear you,” Val sang.
“You two are quickly becoming the most ridiculous girls I have ever meant.” He cracked a smile.
“It’s only first period.” I sighed. “Give it a couple of classes…”
Photo © 2011 Kim Cotter
L e a h S p i e g e l
, a graduate of Edinboro University, spent her first twenty years drawing imaginary worlds and now she writes about them. She is a native of Washington, Pennsylvania but has lived in North Carolina for the last five years. Check out her upcoming books on her website:
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