I look around the room, not bothering anymore to try and pay attention; I was passing this class, anyway.
My friend’s face was blank, completely apathetic.
I continue to look around the room, each face containing a different expression; one of curiosity, one of boredom, one of interest. Someone was sleeping in the back.
My eyes land on a boy I’d seen in a couple of my classes, mainly just this one, art, and lunch. I couldn’t remember his name. I could hardly remember anyone’s name right now, my mind was in a state of numbness, unable to process anything.
He seemed pensive, his eyes far away, thinking of something, or someone, else.
I took a closer look at him, noticing the maroon color of his eyes that I hadn’t noticed before. His jaw was firm; his shoulders were very tense; his hair, his hair was a mess. He had ruffled, light brown hair that looked like he didn’t care about his appearance. But I was sure, no matter what he wore, no matter how his hair was, he’d always be just as good-looking. He was handsome, and everyone knew it. Everyone except for him, apparently.
“Miss De Aza, why don’t you come up and try the next problem?”
I felt myself gulp. It was bad enough that I hadn’t been listening this whole class, but it was even worse that the topic we were studying this week had complete power over me. I was horrible at math. Plain and simple.
I shift in my seat, standing slowly, taking the dry erase marker from Ms. Parker. She smiled, encouraging me to go on.
The problem was written out, luckily. Now all I had to do was solve it. I had to stifle a laugh and fight the urge from erasing the problem and announcing, Problem solved.
Instead, I acted on instinct, using all of my prior knowledge, or at least all that I had about this type of math. My marker squeaked against the board as I continued to write out each step.
Then I stopped.
I was completely stuck.
“Um,” I began dumbly. “Could I get some help?”
Ms. Parker smiles. “Sure. Xavier, why don’t you come up?”
The boy I’d been staring at stood. Xavier. That was his name.
He was swift and quiet as he got out of his seat, walking up next to me, taking the marker from my hand; his fingers lightly brushed against mine.
“It’s simple, really,” he mutters, looking straight at me with his bright red-brown eyes. “You take this…”
I dozed off. His voice was so rough, yet so smooth. I nodded, pretending to listen. He finishes the problem, and Ms. Parker nods in approval. “Thank you Xavier. Good try, Natalie.”
The walk of shame to my seat would have been twice as horrifying if it hadn’t been for Xavier.
The bell rang, startling my deep thoughts. The class shuffled to their feet and left the room, while I took my time to stuff my books into my bag, sighing, half of relief, and half of distress.
“You have art next, don’t you?”
I turn quickly, my cheeks turning a deep shade of red when I see Xavier staring at me with an awkward smile. A half smirk.
“Uh, yeah,” I mumble under my breath. I begin to leave, and he follows me. My skin feels hot and I’m unable to speak.
He moves up beside me. “So…Natalie, right? Nice name.”
He gives a small laugh. “Are you shy, or do I just make you nervous?”
I narrow my eyes, and groan. Great, I think. He’s one of those guys. Snotty, obnoxious, haughty…
Hottie is right.
Wait, what was I thinking? I walk away, shaking my head.
“Hey, wait. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to be funny. Guess that didn’t work then, huh?” He looks at me sincerely, smiling a cute smile.
He walk around the corner, making our way into the art studio.
“Anyways, um…want to sit next to me?”
My heart begins to race. “Sure.”
As the teacher begins to explain to us the techniques we’ll be using this week, Xavier pulls out his sketchbook and turns to a blank page.
When the teacher is done talking, he tells us to pair up with a partner and draw a portrait of them. Students begin to move, but I stay in my spot. Should I ask him if he wants to be my partner? Should I pair up with my friend?
“What do we have to do?” Xavier asks, as if he hadn’t heard anything.
“D-draw a portrait of someone,” I stutter.
He laughs. “Well, I guess I’m already done. I hope you don’t mind.”
He stretches out the sketchbook in his hand, revealing his quickly sketched art. I gasp.
On the page was a replica of me. He captured me so beautifully, I didn‘t even think it was me. My hair fell gracefully over my shoulders, my head tilted in the slightest way. I was smiling.
My whole body felt warm, including my heart. Aside from the portrait, there were other things in the image in a collage style.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“Shards of glass. You seem like the kind of person that is so delicate, so easily broken, yet can slice through skin just as easily.”
I look away. “Well, that first part sounds like me.”
He chuckles. “Trust me, so does the second part.”
“And that?” I point to a strange pattern in the corner.
“It represents chaos. I was watching you in math class. Looks like you have lot going on in your life, you know, too much stuff swirling around in that pretty little head of yours.”
I blush, trying to decide if he was calling me pretty. He clears his throat. “Um, well, yeah. Do you want to draw me?”
I nodded, but was afraid of capturing him horribly, that it looks nothing like him. I could never show him in the sentimental way he did with me. It’s like he’d known me for my whole life. Like he knew what I was thinking, what I was going through.
Xavier smiles as he says. “I think we’re going to get along just fine.”