I wish I had stayed home today. My cast and crutches are a BIG attention drawer and people who have never even glanced my way before are suddenly asking me all these questions and trying to help me with my stuff. Frankly, it is getting hella annoying. Well, at least Atlas is being smart and staying out of my way. I just can’t deal with him. He’s TOO nice and plus, I can’t be fraternizing with the enemy… well, actually that was kind of my entire plan. Oh well. Screw the plan for today. I can always seduce Atlas tomorrow.
Trying to get to fourth period, my backpack is completely full, and I’m trying to hold my textbook, notebook, pencil case, and book in between my arm and a crutch. The struggle is definitely real. The extra weight on the one side is throwing me completely off balance and nobody ever told me how frickin hard crutches are to use. My underarms are red and sore from the crutches rubbing and my non-injured leg is exhausted from supporting my body by itself. I can feel my books slipping out of my hand and I’m not really sure at this moment that I can make it to physics.
Someone bumps into me from behind and then I know that I am not going to make it to physics. My books go flying and I trip on my crutches, but manage to catch myself before I hit the ground.
I guess Astroria High isn’t interested in me anymore because nobody lifts a finger to help me. They walk around my stuff, some stepping on it or kicking it to their friend.
I throw down my crutches and awkwardly bend down to pick my pencil case up since it thankfully didn’t go that far. I look around on the ground for my other supplies but I don’t see anything. Great, now some jerk probably has my stuff. That jerk is definitely not going to give my stuff back any time soon. My blood is boiling beneath my calm exterior and I have to take a few breaths to calm down.
The deep breaths aren’t helping. I’m not really upset at that whole fiasco with my stuff, but it was like the last straw. I can feel all my fears and mistakes catching up to me, looming over me like a tidal wave building and building, about to crash down on me. If I don’t fix this whole mess, I’m going to drown.
I grab my crutches and move to the edge of the hallway. I slide down the lockers to sit on the ground. Utterly defeated, I rest my forehead on my knees.
I hear someone clear their throat in front of me. I steel myself and look up, fully prepared to see some basic white girl wanting to get to her locker. Instead,I see the one person I was not prepared to see, standing way to close to me for personal comfort, holding my stuff.
“Need some help?” Atlas asks, holding a hand out to steady me.
Man!* What do I do? I really don’t want to pretend to be nice today, but I need Atlas. If I make him mad at me, I can’t get information out of him. Plus, it may be nice to have some help. I guess I’ll let him win this one.
“Oh my god. That would be great” I sighed, against my will.
“Where are you going?” He inquires, pulling me up off the ground and lockers.
“Room 46,” I reply, trying not to think about the soft tingle that shot through my hand when he pulled me up, or how close I am to him right now, with his hand on my shoulder, steadying me.
Atlas checks his watch and grimaces.
“We better hurry if you don’t want to be late.” he says, handing me my crutches.
“I don’t care if I’m late, but I can hurry up if you are worried about being late, Mr. Perfect,” I tease, starting towards the classroom.
“Well if you want to play it like that, why don’t we skip the entire period. Since, you know, we both don’t care about being late.”
I stop in my tracks, my back to Atlas. This could be dangerous. But, he is the one holding my stuff, and who knows, maybe I can learn something from him. I turn back around.
“Sounds perfect. Side yard?”
He raises his eyebrows and smirks. I think I know what’s coming next.
“Oh! Whatever for?” He suggests, leaning up against the lockers with his arms crossed
“Ew, you pervert! To talk!” I giggle, going up to him and playfully shoving him.
Ew! Did I just giggle? I don’t think I’ve done that since I was 9. The bell rings and the hallways start to clear out as students rush to their classes, yelling and joking at each other. Several people stop to say something to Atlas or simply give him a bro-hug. They all give me a side look, wondering what I’m doing with Atlas. Once the hallways are quieter, Atlas goes back to our conversation.
“Wow, getting violent, now are we?” Atlas jokes.
When I only respond with a glare, Atlas continues on.
“Well come on Nix, if we don’t get to the side yard soon, fourth period is going to be over by the time we get there,” and with that Atlas turns and saunters away in the direction of the side yard.
Sighing, I follow him. As I’m doing so, I can’t help but wonder- What has Atlas done to me?