Frederick pushed open the gymnasium doors and looked up into the bleachers only to find that he was among the first to arrive in the morning. “Great, now begins the debate on who will choose or not choose if the bench I occupy is filled with cooties,” he mumbled to no one. He didn’t wait long before the next bus arrived. Half-awake students filed into the bleachers. He looked at the faces of each one to see if they noticed him or not. He saw her, wide-eyed, nervous, scanning the room. She paused for a minute to decide which row to choose. Her light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail swung as she made her way.
OMG! She’s sitting next to me. She has no idea who I am. No history, no knowledge of the rumors. A chance to start the 9th grade fresh.
Frederick lost in his thoughts on how to get her to notice him. Without warning and to his surprise he heard it. Her bra strap has been snapped by the boy behind her. He turned in horror to discover Michael Green has seen her too. He doesn’t dare try to defend this beauty and risk his humiliation. He sat quiet and will comfort her later away from prying eyes.
“Please stop,” she said and turned to face the boy who has offended her. As soon as she turned around again, he heard it again. He cringed for her.
“I said to stop it.”
The tone of her voice was stern, confident even and little irritated. She didn’t notice Frederick as he tried to make himself invisible. He heard the sound again. Before he can even glance at her reaction, she hopped up, turned around and yelled at him.
“I mean it when I say stop it. It hurts my skin.”
Frederick turned to see the look on Michael’s face. The same look he got every time before he’s pushed aside and disregarded mischievous and wicked look. Her eyes flame up. Those bright blue eyes were fixed on Michael. She raised her arms to bring them down on his head and shoulders so fast while she yelled at him.
Michael covered his head and ducked down in the bleachers. She stopped and looked around at a full gymnasium of her classmates. In a loud, stern tone, she announced.
“Keep your hands to yourself or you will be sorry.”
She plopped down in her seat, “Childish.”
Frederick took a chance to look at her. He heard her breathing hard from the effort. She stared out into the basketball court area at nothing in particular as she tried to compose herself. She was breathtaking to watch. She must have sensed him as he watched her, he saw her cut her eyes at him without a turn of her head. His heart did a flip in his chest.
Later that day…
“How am I supposed to concentrate on Algebra, with Coach Miller of all people, when she sits in the front row?” Frederick asked.
His best friends joined him over lunch at their usual lunchroom table. Steve, Henry, and Robert looked across the room to find Stephanie ate alone.
“Dude she looks nervous. I don’t think you have anything to worry about if you just talk to her.” Steve said.
“Look, I can’t talk to her by myself. You all know this about me. You have to help me.” He felt the panicked and his palms sweated.
“We’ll come up with something. Right now, we have to get to class.” Robert said as he stood to pick up his tray.
Coach Miller scribbled on the chalkboard the equation of something. Frederick’s ears stopped hearing as he watched Stephanie’s laser focus on the board. When coach Miller turned around to announce that this will be on the quiz, Frederick needed to know this information. He raised his hand.
“Can you show us how to do the equation again?”
“What are you, stupid? Pay attention next time!” Coach Miller barked.
Oh crap, I’m failing this class.
Frederick only thought of Stephanie for the rest of the class. After the bell rang, he noticed Stephanie talked with Melissa. Even though he can’t hear the words, he knew she looked distressed. He doesn’t see her again until after school. She entered the bus next to his. He watched her through the windows. She even sat in the front row of the bus. His stomach flopped over. His palms sweated. Mesmerized by her beauty, he can’t look away, but he sank into the seat to avoid her gaze.
To Be Continued … Follow Stephanie on Day 2