She stepped foot into the classroom again, dreading the possibility of meeting Kayton again. Peeking inside, she checked to see if anyone was present. She let out a breath, relieved. No one was here yet. At least, Kayton wouldn’t have the luxury of picking on her while no one was around. He usually either arrived early – earlier than she did, or he arrived fashionably late. The difference was so jarring that he had a record for being late on half of the days in the semester. The teacher had even threatened to fail him if he continued.
But it never happened, and he continued to be late. It wouldn’t be fair for the teacher to fail him anyways. Despite his tardiness track record, he was also known for having some of the top grades in the class. She couldn’t match him, regardless of how many hours she spent studying at home. Looking up, she checked the wall clock for the time, and let out a breath. Class would be starting in less than ten minutes. It was unlikely that he would arrive before someone else joined the class.
Furthermore, it was examination week. One more week and they would be reassigned. She prayed that she wouldn’t be seeing him in her class next year. It wouldn’t be fair. Her best friend, Breygit, was never assigned to share a class with her, despite having attended the same school for years. Perhaps next year would be the charm.
She pulled out her school books. It would be a good time to study. A ten minute refresher would do great in event that the teacher decide that it was a good day for a pop-quiz, a technique that he so often enjoyed using in place of the normal procedure for taking attendance. She pulled out her pen, and with her notes out, began to rework some of the example problems that the professor gave in the beginning of the semester. Any refresher on the earlier material would be beneficial for the exam that was scheduled at the end of the week.
A hand slammed down on the books she had piled on her desk. She had been focusing too hard on the problem to realize that someone approached her. Glancing around the room, she realized that most of the class was already present.
“Where’s my lunch money?” Kayton demanded, hand over her textbook as if holding it hostage.
“Say, how would I know? Why don’t you get your own?” She answered, not wanting to bow down to him. She hadn’t even the slightest clue why he would target her out of all people. And to think that she once saw him as an angel. As a kind someone that only helped others. Since she’d become his target, she could confirm that he was nothing like that. In fact, for as long as she had come to know him, it seemed that, at least based on how he treated her, he was the total opposite. Feeding off the pain and earnings of others to benefit himself. She returned her attention back to the problem that she had been working on prior to his arrival.
“Oh?” He answered, picking up her textbook. A tearing noise could be heard. She looked up to find him slowly tearing a page out of the textbook. The textbook that had been checked out under her name. “So you don’t care about this textbook?”
“If you’re itching so hard to tear something, why don’t you go tear your own?” She asked. “Besides, there are plenty of witnesses here that can vouch for me. You think I would be the one getting in trouble for your actions?”
“Is that so?” He asked, smirking. “But there won’t be concrete evidence would there? The book is checked out under your name after all. Regardless of who does anything to it, you are the one responsible for whatever happens to it.”
“You…” She said, out of ideas. Her parents only ever gave her enough money each morning for her own meals. But the textbook would cost so much more than that. She didn’t know how she would bring the matter up to her parents if she gone home with a bill charging a couple hundred dollars. Fishing through her pockets, she threw all the cash and changes she had onto her desk before her.
“No. No.” He said, clicking his tongue and waving his finger at her. “I won’t accept such a rude gift. I’m not returning this until you give me the change directly.”
She glared at him, biting back a response. She wanted to argue that keeping it on him would give her the perfect excuse to incriminate him for his actions. But she knew that it would do no good. He’d only argue that she borrowed it out to him, and therefore reverting the blame back to herself. Infuriated, she backed her chair out, and picking up the money, she walked over to him. Yanking at his free hand, she placed the money into it and snatched her textbook back before he could respond.
“Students! Students! Let’s get settled down!” The teacher shouted, as he entered the room. “Put everything away. We have a pop-quiz today.” As she expected. But Kayton’s distraction had cut down some of the valuable time that she would’ve otherwise spent reviewing and preparing for both the upcoming final, and the pop-quiz.
She took a deep breath, doing her best to calm herself. She wasn’t going to let the boy’s actions affect her performance on the quiz or her ability to absorb material. The teacher distributed the papers, handing a stack to the first person of each column. She looked up, only to find that Kayton had taken the seat next to her. He wiggled his eyebrows at her, before passing the remainder of his stack to the other students sitting behind him.
She smiled inwardly, glad that she had taken the front seat of her column. She’d long learned the lesson from sitting at a position behind another student. Kayton would always somehow find his way in front of her, and then proceed to fail at passing her the stack of papers, or otherwise, fail to turn in her paper, whenever the papers were passed forward. She was growing tired of his antics.
Most of the remainder of class went uninterrupted. She began packing her things back into her backpack, after the teacher dismissed the class and quickly left after erasing the board as he usually did. To her annoyance, Kayton was back. It was right before lunch. He should have his lunch money now, what else did he want?
He slammed his hand over her notes this time. Seriously? She breathed heavily, holding in her anger. “Can you please not?” She asked, irritated. “You’re going to smudge my ink with that sweaty palm of yours.”
“Not if you don’t come with me.” He answered with a smirk.
She was definitely not going with him again. Last time she made the mistake of doing so, she was publicly humiliated before the entire school, such that some of the other students, underclassmen and upperclassmen alike still recognized her, and giggled as she passed them in the hallways.
“No.” She answered firmly. She wanted to yank her notebook out from his grasp, but there was a decent likelihood that the action really would smudge the ink. She didn’t have long to regret her decision either.
Without another word, he snatched her notebook from her and grabbed two of her textbooks, while he was at it. Then, before she could alert anyone, he took both items and dashed out of the classroom. She quickly grabbed her things, shoving the remainder of her items into her backpack, without caring for organization, before running off after him.
She caught up to his trail quick enough. It was as though he had been waiting for her to give chase. Known for being athletic, he should’ve had a decent advantage from the time that she took to put her things away, even if she did so in a hurry. Rounding corner after corner, he didn’t stop. He always remained in sight until they reached a dark corner technically outside of the school building. Luckily her parents had signed the permission slip that gave her authorization to leave the school campus for lunch. In the dark alleyway, he vanished.
She entered the alleyway apprehensively. It was dark, and there wasn’t much that she could see. Suddenly a figure popped out from the shadows, pressing her against the wall, and forced a kiss onto her. She squirmed against her attacker, doing her best in an effort to free herself.
“I like you.” The voice whispered. It was Kayton. She’d recognize that voice anywhere. Without further pause, he leaned down toward her again, planting another kiss on her lips. Knowing that it was him, she melted against him. She always had a soft spot for him. He was her first crush after all. “Let’s go out.” He suggested, immediately after they broke apart.
Still, she couldn’t blindly trust him. In disbelief at his words, she mentally scanned him, trying to understand his emotions. To her surprise, they felt genuine. In response to her probing, he sent a projection of his memories – memories that they both shared, from his perspective. Memories couldn’t be faked. While they could fade and be externally manipulated, true memories like these were always honest. At least as far as the sender could tell. He was essentially baring his soul to her.
In the brief moment, she felt all his feelings. All his happiness, all his pain. He wasn’t the jerk that she had assumed him to be. Her initial intuition was right. He was an angel. A person that helped others as much as he could. But he was also deeply insecure, and uncertain of how to express himself. She had been crushing on him, and he likewise reciprocated those feelings. He sought out her attention, whether it was good or bad, just so that her eyes and feelings could linger on him just a moment longer. He didn’t know how to get her to talk to him, so he forced her to, in his own way.
“Of course.” She answered, smiling as she finally came to understand his actions, mentally sharing her own perspective of his actions to him. “As long as you can love and respect me as I hope you would like me to love and respect you.”
“Thank you.” He answered smiling. Happy tears spilled down his face, as he pulled her into a hug. “And I promise that I will.”
This story was written with the, “rainbows and sunshine,” described in the Writer’s Blokke publication rules in mind.