She reaches down with one hand, covering the tear in her tights, and nods at me. After a silent moment, I see her pull out a notebook and pen. She opens them up and starts to take notes. I lean back in my seat, clearly dismissed, but I keep my eyes on her. I watch every movement of her small fingers and the way she holds her pen. She’s left-handed, and for some reason I like that. Occasionally she pushes a strand of hair away from her face, and I look on with fascination.
I want to ask her questions, which is weird, because normally I avoid talking to anyone. It’s not that I’m not interested in things, I can just usually find them out for myself. Small talk with assholes in the locker room who compare the girls they fucked, or girls who try to get with me because of what I can provide for them, don’t interest me. And yet for some reason, this girl has my attention. She seems like she needs someone to watch out for her, and I’m starting to take a personal interest in that.
Before I know it, the bell rings, and I realize I’ve been staring at her the whole time. I sit up and move closer to her, intending to ask her a question, when I’m nearly hit in the face by a cheerleading uniform.
“Hi, Ren. Looking good today. Want to sneak off campus with me for lunch? I was thinking of hitting Joe’s for a burger,” Kristen says, leaning down towards me.
“No thanks.” I stand up and grab my backpack, trying to move around her.
“You sure? We could take the afternoon off and you can take a spin behind my new Mercedes. My dad got it for me for my eighteenth birthday last week. I’m legal now.” She winks at me, but it does nothing to make me want to go with her. Besides not wanting her, that car is impractical in this kind of weather.
“No.” I grit out wanting Kristen to get lost. The blonde stands up and grabs her coat, and I don't know how much more time I have. “Hey, I’m Ren.”
Her big blue eyes meet mine for a second, and then she looks down.
“Lily.” The one word is spoken so softly and sweetly I almost don’t hear it.
“Yeah, this is Lily Parker. The new girl. Must really suck starting a new school halfway through the year,” Kristen says and elbows her like they’re best friends. “Want to walk with us to her next class, Ren? We can drop her off and you can walk me to Spanish.”
I want to say no, because I don’t want to go with Kristen, but I do want to talk to Lily. She looks at Kristen and then up to me before looking away quickly. She’s silent, so I nod, and Kristen bounces on her feet.
“Sweet. Let’s get out of here.”
I walk out beside Lily and see her pull out a piece of paper. I see it’s a class schedule and I try to read it as we walk. Kristen is talking, but I don’t pay attention to what she’s saying, I just keep watching Lily for even the smallest movements.
I reach to Lily and hold my hand out and wait for her to give me her schedule. She hesitates for a second and then hands it to me. I see we’ve both got Advanced Calculus next. After that we’ve got lunch, then Physics, and a free last period. I smile at her and hand it back, wondering how I got so fucking lucky.
“I’ll take her, Kristen. We’ve got the same schedule today.” I see a ghost of a smile on Lily’s lips, and we fall into step together.
When we walk down another hall, I realize that Kristen left us as some point without my noticing.
“Thanks for showing me around,” Lily says softly and holds her jacket to her chest.
“Sure.” I grab the door and hold it open for her as she walks through. I point to the seats in the back.
“Is there always an empty seat next to you?” she asks as she drops her bag down beside her.
I can feel his eyes on me through class. My normally downcast eyes have to fight to stay that way, because I want to look at him. I try to concentrate on what the teacher is saying and follow along as he maps out the math problem on the board. But all I manage to do is copy his work from the smartboard onto my paper, all his words going in one ear and out the other.
I give in and glance over at Ren, and he gives me a half-smile, showing off his perfect teeth. I snap my head back down to my paper, and all the numbers on the page look like a freaking mess. I hear him move his desk a little closer to mine. The thing lets out a groan, and I have to bite my lip to keep from smiling. I’m not sure how he fits in it.
Ren isn’t small by any means. He doesn’t look like a high school student, although he still has some softness in his face that is partially obscured by stubble. I know he’s the same guy Kristen and Carrie were talking about in the office this morning. The one who got the football scholarship they all were wanting a piece of. He definitely looks like he belongs on a football field, snapping people in half and bursting through walls of bodies, but even with his size, for some odd reason I’m not intimidated by him. In fact, he put me at ease when he offered to take me to the next class.