Chapter 3: His name rhymes with Beary (as in teddy bear)

 

My plan didn't last long, though, because as I entered the room where the Creative writing class was supposed to be, I saw him sitting at the back, looking into his notebook. He was here! He was everywhere I went today! I stopped at my tracks by the door. How was I going to pass through this? I could feel the nervousness begin to swell in my stomach.

As I gave it enough thought, Reece did mention he had a thing for writing and I, myself, knew from my observations that he always carried the same notebook with him.

He looked up, his eyes traveling through the room, until they stopped at me. But I was quick to look down to the floor. I didn't want any excitement, not right now! His face was gorgeous. "Look at him again, at his blue eyes," I said to myself. But I gathered enough courage, crossed the room and took my seat behind the front desk. I was going to act as a teacher, but right now I wasn't even a senior. I was like a kid on his first date!

All eyes were now directed towards me. His eyes were looking at me! There were around fifteen people in the room all expecting something to happen. And it did!

It was like taken from a movie. Although I was glad something changed this whole atmosphere, I was still angry with her. I heard some noise behind the door and it slightly opened. A head popped out of the opening. It was the head of Hayden. I recognized it by her hairstyle, but mostly by its emptiness (yes, that's it, but she's not blond!), because not the whole head was into the room. Only the eyes were present, those devious looking eyes, always seeking for a way to make me uncomfortable. They were now scouting the room.

All of us were now watching her, or the part of her head. When she realized it, she closed the door. I sighed, thinking there was not going to be anymore of her foolishness, but I was wrong. Suddenly the door flew open and in she came. She tip-toed next to me, but at the same time she tried to impersonate something, which I thought would be considered a drunken ninja.

She came next to me and in a nod of hers, which I understood, she told me stay on the chair. All this happened in front of everyone, who I knew were on the verge to burst out laughing. Then she went back to close the door and took the central spot like she was putting on a performance.

I was still bewildered with what this was about, but I let her play her act.

Hayden was swaying, switching between her toes and heels. She still hadn't said anything and all eyes were on her.

"Hello boys and girls," she started, "you are probably wondering what I am doing here. The answer is: I am serving fate." With that she took a paper out of her pocket.

"What the..." But she didn't let me finish.

"Jace, don't mess with fate. Sit there quietly," she said while the others shared a little laugh.

I knew where this was going, but what could I do? She was the devil himself!

"Okay, we are all set. I'm now going to read something to you, it's not very long. It is called Alchemy of feelings." There we go. "But don't think that I am the one who wrote it. Oh, no. The one who wrote it is right here," she said as she patted me on the back. "It was Jace, the same m-m-ma..." She stopped and looked at me. "Sorry, Jace, I can't say it."

"Enough with your foolishness, Hayden," I said sternly.

"But can a person be a man if he can't express his feelings, say love."

"Just get on with it already." I was really becoming annoyed.

"As I was saying, it was Jace who is going to teach you the mysteries of writing, or he is supposed to. Personally, I think this is shit," she said nonchalantly while waving the sheet of paper, "but you decide for yourself."

She started reading, not fast, not slow, just perfectly, with amazing eloquence. She always knew the right intonation, with which I wrote my stories; it was the same like my inner voice of thoughts, the way I wanted it to be read. And her voice was beautiful, too. I felt like I have hired a high class orchestra to play with me, only in my case it did the reading part.

Hearing her voice was enough to make me calm down. I mean not that I was so self-obsessed about hearing my own works, but you could feel her soul through her voice and the whole idea came out just as my intention was.

"Into a million pieces it shall scatter, / into a million pieces of suns. / The two a mask shall wear, / as long as broken stays the truth. / Bound the heart and reach the soul, / unveil the eyes, which fear no dark. / In the reflection lurk illusions, / into the falsely light lie dreams. / If together, they shall crumble, / if together, the pieces shall be tied. / A million pieces shall be united, / a million pieces of flaring suns."

But I wasn't interested in listening to it. My eyes were elsewhere. I found it hard to stop every time I looked into his face. I followed the lines of his face, imagining what it would be like to feel it closely. It looked fragile, as though it was going to break, if even a slight touch came into contact with it, like it will violate its smooth milk surface. He was definitely listening carefully because he didn't look at me at all.

Hayden soon finished. What I didn't expect was the loud applause that followed. I guess it was thanks to her reading it.

"I take it you liked it. I was wrong then," she said. "But what we need to do now is find a person, who resembles the second figure. The one, obviously, is Jace himself: black hair, green eyes. The other, however..."

"Hayden," I spoke.

"Don't interrupt me, Jace." She lifted her hand and pointed a finger across the room. "You, young man. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a candidate." Do I need to tell you it was him? "Could you come here and ask Jace if you can be the character of his story."

Shit, Hayden! Don't embarrass the boy. Don't do whatever you want! But I secretly wanted her to ask him his name that I had to admit. But I felt flustered by her devious methods to make her friends happy. It was not the time and place!

"Hey, what is the fag doing here? Why does he get to be chosen?" a voice came from the other side of the room.

"Oh, who are you talking about?" Hayden said and turned her head to me.

Shit! I was going to strangle her! I swore!

I searched for the eyes of the boy, but he didn't seem to mind that comment, he wasn't feeling uncomfortable. But I felt the need to protect him, to stand by his side.

"Hey," I shouted, drawing all the attention to me, "do you have some kind of problem?! You think you can just insult whomever you want?!" My eyes were full of anger by now. I was going to close the distance between me and him, but I felt Hayden's hand grab my wrist. "Either you apologize or get the fuck out of here!"

The boy looked a little scared. He was probably considering was it worth taking back his words, imagine!

"I don't need his apology," said my boy all of a sudden.

I looked at him. His face didn't look hurt, but it didn't have the traces of that calm beauty.

The other boy stood up, grabbed his things and left. Just like that! Like he didn't do anything, like he didn't feel the need to apologize, because he didn't just insult somebody, no, according to him, he probably did his little `right' thing. Idiot! Imagine what nerve you must to have to blurt something like that. He didn't know the boy! He didn't know anything about him! He judged on that self-righteous instinct, that is the cause for so much hatred.

I would like to think that most of the people here were not homophobes, didn't have a mind, clouded by prejudice; wrote from the heart and with passion; and knew themselves. But come on! That is just a small handful of people. Those were ideals from far-off generations of writers, who treasured their individuality more than anything else. You can't expect someone to teach you how to be good in something or write great. That is something you teach yourself, after familiarizing with quality, and you gain it with knowledge and experience.

Mrs. Anderson made it my job to `teach' them something or, at least, tell them something about writing, but after what happened I wasn't in the mood to do so. So, I just left Hayden work with them. I didn't even look at the boy again. My mind was absorbed by that homophobic idiot and I must have maintained quite an angry face, thinking what I would have done if Hayden hadn't stopped me.

 

Thirty minutes later I was in the parking lot, unlocking my car, the anger still hadn't left me. Just as I was about to go in, I saw something that made me lose my not-so-calm-at-the-moment temper. I hadn't realized he was walking behind me, I hadn't realized that I had passed some jocks in the parking lot. When I turned I saw them picking on him. I recognized one of them. His name was Ashton, a year younger than me. Within seconds I closed the distance and without thinking I grabbed him by the shoulders and slammed him hard in the car behind. They were all startled by my sudden appearance, including the boy. They didn't expect this to happen. I was still holding Ashton, as he tried to escape my grip.

"What the fuck, Jace?! Are you insane?!"

"Am I insane?! You listen to me! If you or your friends ever touch or try to harm him, I will personally break every bone in your bodies." My eyes were red, my anger fueled.

"With what? A pen and books?" The others snickered.

I shot them a death stare and they got quiet. I was serious.

"Okay, okay, I understand," Ashton said.

They probably didn't take me serious, they knew me and Reece were best friends. He could give them the real beating, but I, too, would have done it. I wasn't so weak as they thought. Just the thought of them hurting in any way that sweet boy would build up the courage to do unthinkable things!

I looked at him and saw that he was a little scared. I so hoped he wasn't afraid of me!

"Do you need a ride?" I asked him.

He nodded. Looking at him made me calm down and relax.

"Come on."

 

Only after both of us were seated in the car did it hit my head. I was breathing the same air as him, sharing the same space next to him! With my anger finally settling down, as his presence possessed my mind, I realized that I had talked to him! Well, not that it was a praiseworthy conversation. But now silence folded the car. I had to say something; we were going to talk, right? Act normal! Be yourself!

"I hope I didn't scare you," I said and started the car.

He looked up at me with those gorgeous blue eyes. Ahh!

"Oh, no, I was just surprised," he said shyly. "Thank you for both times." And a heart-melting smile appeared on his face. "But I don't think you would be able to actually break their bones."

"I might manage just fine. I'm not that weak," I said and smiled at him.

I could see a little blush appear on his smooth cheeks. He looked down.

"I don't want to see you get hurt."

It took a moment for me to realize what he said.

"Are you worrying about me? Hehe, there's no need to."

But he didn't say anything in return. We drove like that for a while. My mind was replaying that single sentence over and over.

"I'm sorry, I didn't want you to be seen with the gay kid," he said, breaking the silence.

I was stunned by the comment. The little stick again appeared, poking me in the back of my head. Should I tell him about me? And how will I do it, what exactly to say?

"What are you saying?! I don't care about those things. I am a writer, so keeping an open mind is part of who I am. If you want to talk to me in school, then come. I'll do the same. We're friends, right?"

What did I just say? I think... this was the first time I didn't feel all nervous around him.

"Really?" His eyes met mine.

"Umm, really what?" I asked confused.

"We can be friends?"

"Of course!"

His eyes sparkled and a big grin appeared on his face.

"We're friends. Cool!" I noticed how little was needed to make him happy.

We talked as I drove him home. He told me where he lived and how to get there. Strange, but I was completely comfortable now around him. Still, I often took a peak at his face just to check that if he was really beside me and all of this wasn't a dream (the ones Hayden could make).

"It was a lot of fun back there, in class."

"Funny for you. Next time I see her, I would strangle her."

"But I really liked your story. I didn't ask you, but can I be the character in it?"

"Oh, don't listen to Hayden. I don't even know what that means." But I said to myself, "you already are".

"Pleeeeaseee!" He had the most innocent voice and face.

I blushed, seeing his deep blue eyes. I just had to give him what he wanted.

"Hehe, okay, okay. And thanks, it makes me happy that you liked it."

"Hey, there's my house!" he said, pointing at it.

I stopped in front of his house. Did this really have to end?

"Thanks for the ride. We'll see each other at school, right?"

"Yeah, definitely!" He opened the door and just then it came to me! I still haven't asked him! "Hey, wait, you didn't tell me your name!" I was desperate now that I remembered. I so wanted to know, to hear it.

"It's Marian," he said, smiling at me. "But you can call me Merry."

"Do people actually call you that?"

"No, only you can. That's what I said." He grinned.

It was good I was seating in the car, because my feet would definitely have given up.

"I'm..."

"Jace, yeah, I know."

I watched him as he went around the car and headed for the door. But he stopped, came back and leaned through my window. I felt his scent, the smell of his hair as he peeked inside. He was so close to my face!

"Jace, I forgot my notebook on the seat."

I looked, but there wasn't anything there.

"Ther..."

Before I turn to him, I felt something soft quickly touching my cheek. I sat there unable to comprehend and realize what just happened! The sound of a door shutting pulled me out of the trance.

That was a kiss on the cheek! Merry kissed me!

 

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