Consequences – Chapter 5

Salvador’s office was as ominous as ever. To anyone else, the place was unsuspecting, even playfully cluttered. There were costumes and wigs and set pieces and photos of past years’ plays everywhere. One wall showed a cast photo of the school play for all twenty years Salvador was at the school. All of the plays won some kind of award of merit in a county drama festival or something. 

The most ominous thing about the room was how his desk didn’t face the door. He had some kind of closet installed in the room that was next to the door, so you had to walk into the room and then turn to your left to face Salvador’s desk. Much like everything else about the guy, you couldn’t just wave and walk in. You had to knock, wait for his response, and then enter and turn to display yourself to him.

When I entered, the only thing he said was “Hello,” and he refused to say anything more until I directly asked him a question. He was looking over some papers the entire time we talked. And I say ‘we,’ but I spent most of the time talking. He spent most of his time listening. It didn’t take long for me to start talking about what was going on, as if we never stopped from last year.

Seemingly halfway through realizing this was another one of our sessions, Salvador’s eyes suddenly lit up with a realization and, with a stern face, he held up a hand. “I’m going to need you to stop,” he informed me. “I heard what you said, but I can’t hear any more.”

I paused, nearly being stopped mid-sentence. “Why?”

“I need to clarify two things,” he said seriously. “One, you ended last year saying that you were okay. If these talks resume, I’m going to need you to be honest with yourself and let me know you’re not okay.”

I needed to tell him that I was not okay…? Sounded ass-backwards. What if I didn’t want to say that, and just needed someone to talk to?

“Two, these talks need to be for things where I can provide insight, as a teacher.” He sat back in his chair, looking intently at me. “This can’t just be weekly chats about your relationship problems.”

I paused. “I thought… but… Last year, like ninety percent of what I came to you about was basically relationship problems, wasn’t it? You said life is a lot like drama, an-”

He held his hand up again, but didn’t speak immediately, opting instead to swivel in his char. “Yes, I suppose it was,” he admitted. “I can’t help but feel like I got too involved in your personal life last year as it was. I am your teacher, not your friend, Adam. If you need to talk to your friends about this, go talk to your friends your age. I wanted to help you feel more comfortable talking to your own peers, not to replace them.”

I was silent for a bit. I wanted to refute his points, but as much as I was… frankly angry at Salvador, I knew that what he said was at least something a lot of adults believed, so I couldn’t exactly call him unreasonable for it.

He took the silence in the room with grace, and gave me more time than he should have before asking, “Was there anything else?”

“So… what do I do if I tell my friends about my problems and they don’t get it, or they tease me about them?”

“Tell them it’s serious. If you need an adult’s opinion, I believe you have a good relationship with your parents.” He wrote some things down on his paper. “I want you to figure things out for yourself, Adam. You’re old enough. You’re mature enough. And aside from that, I shouldn’t be having a student whisper into my ear every week about the increasingly sexual situations my own students get into.” He sat back again. “It just isn’t right. I have a responsibility, as a teacher, to discourage that kind of openness. Some types of openness are good. Some aren’t. This isn’t.”

I sighed, but found myself slowly nodding. I weirdly never considered it, but yeah, telling a teacher I had sex with a student of his probably would be weird for someone in charge of facilitating teenagers, wasn’t it? “That makes sense.”

“Yes it does,” he told me. “I will be seeing you next semester, correct?”

“You will,” I told him.

“Good,” he replied flatly, moving onto another paper.

I sighed again, and turned to leave. “Bye, Mr. Salvador,” I told him. He didn’t reply. 

***

“I guess I won’t see him until next semester,” I reflected to Nicole as we walked side-by-side in the hallway.

“I got no such luck. I have drama, second period, and if you think grade nine drama class is tough, I got news for you.”

I chuckled. “It’s Salvador, so I believe it.”

She scratched the back of her head. “I bet most universities don’t cover what this guy does in their first year of dramatic arts,” she mumbled, mostly to herself. “We’re reading about dudes like Antonin Artaud and Peter Brook. We have to do a whole-ass one act play to finish the semester. We have to do a thousand-word personal essay on our feelings about drama every week. A thousand words, every week! That’s, like, four thousand words a month.”

“Knowing you, I bet you get up to four thousand words a minute,” I joked. 

“Nah, I sit at around ninety-two pretty consistently,” she recounted, as casually as one would recall their first period class. “But still, who the hell would willingly subject themselves to four thousand words a month?”

“Hey, some people have to do more than twice that for a living,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, well, those people are dumb,” she countered. As she walked, she accidentally elbowed a guy she was walking past. “Oh, sorry dude,” she casually told him, walking by.

“Watch it, slut!” the guy growled back. It sure seemed like guys were warming up to calling girls ‘sluts’ openly this year. Either that, or I just started noticing it this year. Either that, or-

Yup, it was Rodney. Clearly no cheerier for having been reported by her. I had to wonder, did Nicole really elbow him, or did he try to walk into her again like he did the last time? Either way, it was clear the dude hadn’t given up on being a practicing member of the Church of Douchebaggery.

Nicole, of course, wasn’t fazed. She was clearly annoyed by being called a slut in public like that, but her reply was immediate and yet also effortless. “I fucked your dad last week. I see why your mom left him.”

When the words left Nicole’s lips, it was like two spotlights shone on the two of them. The few students around us who could hear Nicole erupted into a cacophony of “ooooooh”s and laughter. Even if it were just the two of them, I doubt Rodney would have taken that sitting down, but now, spurred on by his public emasculation or whatever, his expression turned into one of pure rage. He charged at Nicole, clearly swinging his fist at her, not caring how many people were around him. It was clear on his face: he just had to hit her for what she said.

Big mistake. I backed away, knowing Nicole’s expertise, and she just rooted herself, waiting for him to get just close enough before strategically sidestepping inwards, and unleashing her counter. In the space of a second, after stepping inwards so that they were facing each other, she deflected his punch with her right hand, then wrapped her left arm around his punching arm, using her right hand to push the side of his face away so he couldn’t easily retaliate. All it took was a strategic squeeze from Nicole’s constricting arm to make it clear that not only was Rodney stuck, he was defeated and, probably in a decent amount of pain. 

As soon as it was clear he wasn’t going to try that again, Nicole let go of him and let him collapse to the floor, suddenly aware of the crowd she caused. “C’mon, everyone, no one benefits from a crowd like this,” she chided them. “Classes start soon, get going!” She turned to me. “That should go for you too, squirt. There’s gonna be fallout and I’d rather you not be here for this.” She gave me a half-smile. “Trust me, I’d rather you turn around and start walking, please.”

I gave her a look before doing as she asked. Hazelwood took fights seriously, or so I was told, and it was pretty public what just happened, but I worried about one thing – was it as clear to them as it was to me that Rodney started it?

***

“Now of course, since it’s an E.R. verb, it keeps the “e” in all but the yo conjugation – just like A.R. verbs,” Mrs. Luciano went on, her face flustered from having to explain it to the slower kids in the class about three times. “Can we move on to-”

The crackle of the PA system took Mrs. Luciano out of her speech. We all turned to the system and heard the beep – it was a longer one. That meant the system was paging the class directly.

Mrs. Luciano walked over to the system and pressed the button to communicate. “Hello!” she greeted melodically.

“Don’t you mean, ‘hola?’” one of the kids joked, then mimed grading a paper.

“Hello hello,” the nasally old voice of the secretary greeted the classroom. “Do you have an Adam Watson in the class?”

“Yes, he’s here now,” Luciano replied, looking right at me for confirmation.

“Could you send him to the principal’s office right now, please?” the secretary asked.

“Yes, he’ll be right down,” she dutifully replied, amongst the chorus of ominous “ohhhh”s that always came with a student being called to the principal’s office. I had a pretty damn good guess why I was being called down, but I wasn’t going to give that information to the class, as mature and amazing as they all were. 

Without even needing to say a word, I left for the principal’s office, fearing the worst. Did someone see me there and presume I did it? Was Nicole being expelled? Was I being expelled? Did Rodney have some dirt on me? Oh, fuck… was Jarrod maybe Rodney’s younger brother and he sent Jarrod to spy on us to find something bad?

I arrived at Mr. Scott’s office and knocked on the door. Mr. Scott answered with a surprisingly warm demeanor. 

“Hello, Adam!” he greeted me. “How are you doing?”

“Uh…” I looked into the room to see Nicole and Rodney sitting, looking away from each other. “I guess I’m nervous.”

“That’s fair enough,” he replied. “Come on in.” He closed the door behind me and went to sit down at his desk. “Now, I’m sure you have some idea of why you’re here. About four minutes before the start of third period, there was a fight between these two students, and both of them confirmed you were a close witness.”

I shot a look at Nicole, then back at Scott. “Am I really the best witness to ask here…?” I asked gingerly. “Isn’t this, like, a conflict of interest?”

“Yeah, everyone knows I’ll beat the shit out of Adam if he doesn’t immediately take my side and lie for me,” Nicole noted gently and nonchalantly.

“Nicole,” Mr. Scott warned, “not now.” He turned back to me. “That is true, but any other witness we can confirm couldn’t get a clear view of the fight, and I’ve been led to understand that you could. I know you and I’m going to trust you to be a hundred percent honest with me. Could you see the whole thing?”

I chewed my lip. “It went by fast, but yeah, I could see the whole thing.” I stole a look at Rodney. “Is this a he-said-she-said we’re dealing with?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t answer that,” Mr. Scott gently deflected. “Who, would you say, threw the first punch?”

I inhaled and exhaled slowly, reconstructing the scene in my head. “Rodney,” I said with confidence, hearing contesting sputters behind me. “He ran at Nicole with a punch. Nicole defended herself.”

“And did Rodney back away after Nicole, as you say, defended herself, or did he try something else?”

I hoped Nicole didn’t actually plan on me lying for her, because I could not look in Mr. Scott’s eyes and lie like that. “No, she pretty clearly incapacitated him,” I replied truthfully. “She had like a grip thing on her arm, or rather, with her arm, and after she let go, he just kinda went on the floor.”

“There, see?” Rodney spat at Scott.

“I never said otherwise,” Nicole dryly replied.

“You two, I want to hear no more talking,” Scott ordered. “Can you give a full account of everything physical you saw?”

I tried. For a good few minutes, I recounted every detail I saw of the grip and how it worked – Nicole tried to interject at one point to correct me on which part of the arm she constricted, but Mr. Scott shut her up – and by the end, Mr. Scott was sitting on the edge of his desk, arms folded, nodding.

“And one more thing. What led to the first punch, why were they fighting?”

My view narrowed as I stared at the wall. It would have been so easy to just say, “Rodney called her a slut.” But if I did, Rodney would no doubt interject with what Nicole said, and I couldn’t help but feel like Scott would only care about what Nicole said. Something about what little he did, barely anything more than lip service, made me question if telling him was even a good idea.

“…Adam?” he asked.

“I wasn’t focused on it. I don’t really remember,” I fibbed, mumbling towards the wall.

“You don’t remember anything Rodney or Nicole said?” he pressed.

“Told you this guy was going to lie,” Rodney spat. “Nicole yelled out plain as day, she was glad my dad died.”

Even with Nicole replying, “Funny how none of the witnesses remember that,” I froze. His dad died. Jesus, that was rough. This situation sucked. 

Mr. Scott noticed immediately. “You okay? You seem troubled.”

“No. I’m, uh, just sorry his dad passed.” I turned to Rodney. “That’s awful. I’m sorry, dude.”

“Shut up,” he dismissed me. 

I turned back to Scott. “I think I would have remembered if Nicole said something about being glad someone is dead. You saw how it affected me here. I’m 100% sure I didn’t hear that. Nicole doesn’t say stuff like that.”

Mr. Scott sighed, and nodded again. “Okay. Thank you, Adam. You can go back to class.”

I was glad to hear that. With little more encouragement, I slowly walked out of the room, catching Nicole’s gaze as I walked past. I left the room swiftly, only to be greeted by Sydney and Rick in the hallway.

“Oh, hey,” I awkwardly greeted them. “You guys here for Nicole?”

“Yeah, it sounds like shit is getting rough in there,” Sydney acknowledged, looking off towards the office. 

“I don’t recall seeing you guys around during the fight,” I pointed out.

“Oh no, we weren’t,” Rick replied. “We’re just, like, here for her. She texted us saying this stuff is getting to her and we just wanted to be there for her.”

“Really? She didn’t text me,” I replied, not being able to help my tone carrying my hint of jealousy.

A brief pause floated between us. “Well, be here for her too then,” Sydney awkwardly said. “Why not, right? You’re her boyfriend. Who better than you?”

“Yeah, but if she texted you guys but didn’t text me-”

“Then she’ll be pleasantly surprised to see you stayed to help her too,” Rick smoothly finished. 

Ugh, Rick was being nice. I almost didn’t want him to be nice. I wanted to dislike him, but he wasn’t giving me enough material. Aside from maybe smelling a bit like BO, I had nothing on the guy. I kept looking at him, and he gave me a smile. “We all want Nicole to feel better, right?”

“Right,” I replied, a little more weakly than I wanted. It was what I wanted, but I dunno… I wanted her to feel better thanks to me. I wanted to feel like the one who knew her best. I didn’t even know who Rick and Sydney were last year, so they couldn’t have possibly been that important to her. More importantly, there was no way that she both met them this year and got closer with them than with me in that same timespan without… something… happening. I dunno, something wasn’t right.

We waited for a bit until someone left Mr. Scott’s office. Rodney left first, so of course, all three of us looked off in some random direction as he walked by. A few minutes later, Nicole emerged from the office, saying something with a sarcastic smile to Mr. Scott. The smile vanished like lightning when the door closed.

“Nicole!” Sydney called out gently.

Nicole looked up to see us three and rolled her eyes, a smile forming on her face. “You guysssss,” she chided, jogging over to us. “What are you all doing here?” She started giving me a playful noogie as Sydney spoke.

“You said this shit was getting to you, so we all wanted to be there for you,” she said with a smile, as soon as the noogie ended, the two shared a hug. Then Nicole hugged Rick, then after, she faced me with a pained, muted smile like how Frodo looked at Sam at the end of Lord of the Rings.

“Wasn’t that something?” she asked with no emotion. “Aren’t you glad I told you to scram?”

“I’d do it a thousand times if it meant shit like that happened to you less,” I told her.

“C’mere,” she replied, pulling me into a hug and kissing me on the lips. At the end of the kiss, her eyes were somewhat misty. “Thanks for sticking around for me,” she replied. “I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Just means I should do it more,” I cheesily replied. “Next time, text me too. So what was up with… all that?”

She let go of me, then got this thousand-yard stare even as she remembered. “Yeah,” she simply said. “Turns out his dad kicked the bucket a few weeks ago. I knew his parents were divorced, but that part, I uh, wasn’t privy to.” She sat down next to us on the nearby bench. “For the first time ever, I kinda agree with Scott here. That was reckless of me. I didn’t know the whole story.” Her voice started to quiver. “I was not expecting to feel bad for Rodney of all people.” She exhaled a few times, then looked Sydney right in the face. “It turns out actions have consequences. Who knew?”

“You can’t know everything,” Sydney soothed her. “And he was being a dick. You did what anyone wou-”

“Of course he was being a dick, you idiot,” Nicole spat back, looking down at the floor. “I would be a dick if I lost my dad too. I’m sure I… have… been.” Her voice started to get choked up. “I’m sure that I’ve acted in ways I…” Exhale. “Wasn’t proud of, after… you know.” I knew the expression on Nicole’s face, I knew it well. Memories of the graveyard came flooding back.

“I can’t speak for everyone here, but I only knew you after that happened,” Rick interjected. “And you’re… headstrong, but not a dick, Nicole.”

“I’m a dick to him.” She pointed at me, still looking at the floor. “Maybe because he knew about Mitch. I sure as fuck was a dick when he found out. I think it’s natural to be a dick about shit like that. I still have nightmares to this day, I can’t even imagine what… what Rodney…” She cleared her throat. “I’m gonna write him a letter. I wanna make this right. I’m gonna write a letter, and I wanna talk to Scott about this shit. Maybe set up an assembly. Let these kids who lost people know they’re not alone. As a matter of fact…” She got up and walked with determination back towards Mr. Scott’s office.

“Nicole,” Sydney called out with determination.

“What?” Nicole asked, still walking away from us.

“You told me to tell you if I spot any periods of hypomania from you,” she replied gently. “I think we’re seeing one.”

“I don’t care,” she dismissively replied, knocking on Mr. Scott’s door. “I need to do something. I can’t just do nothing. Don’t you get it? Doing nothing is how we… it’s how we get here. We need to do something. If I’m not doing something, I may as well be dead.”

Her last sentence echoed in the halls, with no one knowing what to say to that. Eventually, the door opened and Mr. Scott popped out, murmuring something I couldn’t hear. 

“I have an idea about all this. It’ll be quick. Can I come in? Please?” Nicole asked, loud enough for us all to hear. Shortly after, she went inside and the door closed after her. We were back to just us three, with a decidedly different tone.

“She’s getting worse,” Rick noted out loud.

“Yup,” Sydney acknowledged, then turned to me. “Adam, Nicole… she… Jesus, how do I even explain this to…?”

Rick gave her a weird look. “He’s her boyfriend,” he replied, clearly baffled by her. He turned to me. “Hey Adam, do you need anything explained to you?”

“Was she recently diagnosed with anything, or is it just you guys keeping track of her behavior?” I asked.

“No diagnosis,” Rick confirmed.

“Then yeah, I know,” I replied uneasily. “At least I think I do.” I motioned to my arms, indicating lines.

“Sorry, what??” Sydney nearly exploded, making me freeze in place. My expression turned from understanding to horrified. “Like, cuts?”

Both of them were looking at me with wide eyes. A pit formed in my stomach. “You can’t tell her,” I immediately said. “She’d never forgive me.”

Sydney was breathing heavily, but Rick seemed to take it understandingly. “I guess that makes sense,” he acknowledged, then turned to Sydney, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, calm down. It’s still the same Nicole. It’s just… more of a big deal than we thought.” He made her look at him. “The best thing we can do is be there for her.” 

“She’s cutting,” Sydney said weakly out loud, to no one in particular. “She’s fucking cutting. And she never told us.”

“She never told me either. I found out,” I offered, hoping it would help. 

I don’t think Sydney cared too much about how much she was telling her versus me. Maybe I should have followed that example. “We have to do more about this,” she told Rick.

“Like what?” he challenged her. “She’s just gonna cut us out of her life if we start, like, keeping her on a leash now.”

“Don’t say ‘cut,’ don’t say that now,” Sydney blubbered weakly, burying her face in her hands.

“Oh, get a grip,” he commanded, then turned to me. “You’re there for her, right? You’re helping her?”

“As much as I can,” I said with a sad shrug. And – can you keep a secret?”

“Sure.”

“Nicole can never know this, but I’m the reason the school got her a psychiatrist.”

Rick paused. Sydney did too. Eventually, he slowly said, “Adam… I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do. Nicole hates being smothered. She also doesn’t do well with grown-ups thinking they’re better than her. I get you’re thinking that helped, but-”

“Are you serious?” I asked with a lot of heat. “I-”

The principal’s office door opening made us all stop in our tracks. Nicole, nearly unrecognizable from her previous sad state, skipped out, closing the door herself. “Another swing and a hit for Baker,” she proudly declared. “Shit is happening. Progress, baby. Progress. Swish!” She practically danced her way over to us. “The fuck are you all still doing here?”

Sydney was the first one to make a move, unable to hide her deep sadness. “I have to go,” she choked out, practically running out of the main hallway.

Nicole looked from Rick to me. “…Did I say something wrong?”

“The whole… dad situation is hitting her harder than she, like, thought it would,” Rick lied with clear expertise. Everything from his tone to his facial expressions were on point. 

“Oh shit,” Nicole acknowledged, nodding slowly. “Can’t say I don’t get that.” She shifted, then the light of excitement returned to her eyes. “Well, anyway, we might be getting an assembly for understanding family grief and shit. Scott says we gotta play it right – don’t wanna just give these people PTSD flashbacks when we wanna help. I said ‘sure.’ We start working. Scott and I work out this idea where…”

I couldn’t recall the last time I saw Nicole this excited in my working memory. I wasn’t sure if I was reassured or more scared.

***

“And some of these… ehhhhhh, these buildings… still stand today,” Mr. Kovacs finished clumsily. He always went ‘ehhh’ to stall when he couldn’t think of the word in English.

“Monuments, Mr. Kovacs,” I heard a voice call. I turned to see it was Baseball Kid from last year. His tone wasn’t condescending, just… engaged. His book was open. Last year, he was definitely not the type to care about classes. Good for him, I guess.

“Yes, yes, monuments,” Mr. Kovacs replied. “Raise your hand next time. When we think of these, ehhh, monuments… we think of the Colosseum, of course, and we think of all these monuments in Italy, but if we look at, eh, France… we can see many examples of…”

I audibly heard Zelda’s head hit the desk next to me. I couldn’t help but smile. Even though Mr. Kovacs ordered her to sit away from me in her first class, the next class she just moved back and he didn’t say a word about it. 

I leaned in close to her. “Having fun?” I teased.

She slowly raised her head. “How can you take a subject as fascinating as ancient history and do this to it?” she whispered back.

“I bet most of the students here didn’t care a lot about ancient history in the first place,” I noted, silently adding that I was one of those students. 

“Well, no wonder,” she replied, gesturing to Mr. Kovacs. “At my school, we don’t just have ancient history class, we have three types for different times and places. And all of the teachers… care about it.”

“Maybe I should move to Denmark,” I joked.

“You’d like it. I also took a class on cryptography. That was probably my favorite class,” she added with a smile.

Her smiles were always so genuine. She seemingly never smiled without reason, she just happened to smile a lot. Like she was a particularly motivated person. Or… maybe I made her smile a lot. That would be cool. 

“…What’s cryptography?” I asked.

Another smile, although this one was an ‘oh, come on’ smile. “You’ve never heard of cryptography?” she asked. “I thought you were the native English speaker.”

I shrugged. “I never said I was good at it.”

“You seem good at talking to me,” she said slyly, giving me a sideways smile. “It’s the study of codes and ciphers and, um, making good passwords. It’s like locks and keys in words. It’s puzzle making and solving, but in a class.”

“Wow,” I breathed. “That actually does sound cool. That’s a class? Our classes are all boring required shit.”

“You have electives, don’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah, but in grade ten you don’t get that many,” I answered. “Drama was really the only actual choice I got to make.”

“Ooh, so you like theater, huh?” she asked, moving closer to me. 

A loud cough on the other side of me made Zelda immediately shift back to her desk. Her eyes, and mine, and a lot of others, focused on the source of the cough – Megan.

She smiled innocently. “Sorry,” she offered. Most people turned away, but I didn’t. Megan looked right at me, and shrugged innocently. “Just clearing my throat,” she offered.

I shook my head. “You suck.”

“Not anymore. Find someone else.”

We stared at each other for a bit until we both broke down into smiles and giggles. I could hear one or two giggles from Zelda on the other side of me, but they were clearly more confused than anything. 

I turned back to Zelda. “Where were we?”

“Who’s that?”

It was my turn to give a sly smile. “You really are a gossip.”

She shrugged innocently, giving me another million-dollar smile.

“That’s Megan. She and I used to be, uh, boyfriend and girlfriend last year.”

“Ahhh,” she replied, slowly nodding in understanding. “So, she wants to stop another girl from talking to him. Protecting her territory.”

“Well, I d-”

“I heard about this kind of thing in American high schools,” she continued, her knowing smile evident on her face. She was looking squarely at Megan. I turned back to note that, luckily, Megan’s head was turned in the other direction, focused on Kovacs.

I turned back to Zelda, digesting her words. “…You don’t have jealousy in Denmark? What? We’re still, like, teenagers.”

“Oh, we do,” she clarified. “But it’s fun seeing it happen in American high schools more. It’s just like the movies. When did you date her?”

Holy shit. It was earlier this year. That was insane. “Uhh, around January,” I replied. “We didn’t date for too long. Y’know, we were better off as friends.”

Zelda was still looking at her. “She’s cute. Nice work,” she said.

“Uh, thanks,” I replied awkwardly. 

“I can see why it didn’t work out though,” she murmured. “She doesn’t seem like your type.”

“Have you even talked to her yet?” I asked.

She shrugged. “I just have my intuition.”

“What, does your cryptography class help decipher the human… soul or something?” I joked.

She winked at me. “It’s all the same stuff, Adam.”

We quietly shared a giggle, then a pause. “Well hey… if you wanted to talk to her… or even get know some new people, you could have lunch with my group. She’s in it.”

That got her attention. I figured it would, given her always talking about how difficult she found making friends. “Yeah?” she asked eagerly. “I’d love to.”

I smiled and turned back to Mr. Kovacs, stealing a look at Megan. I wondered if this was going to bite me in the ass. Megan was really hounding me, making sure I was a good boy – but, like, I was making people like Zelda and Sabrina happy. Wasn’t this a good thing? We didn’t even do anything yet. Hell, maybe Zelda didn’t even like me, though I hoped she did. 

After around fifteen minutes (which Kovacs made feel like two hours), the bell rang, and students quickly gathered their things, ignoring Mr. Kovacs making any concluding announcements. Megan quickly got up, retrieving her bag, giving me a quick smile. “Coming today?”

“Yeah. I was thinking of bringing Zelda along. She’s still trying to make friends and-”

“And introducing her to Carson is a good idea?” she asked jokingly. “Then again, are you much better?”

I think she expected me to laugh but my smile faded. “Okay, you’re kind of pushing it, Megan,” I replied.

I wasn’t sure if she was going to go, ‘Oh, I wasn’t joking’ and start a tense moment, but instead, she folded. “Oh, sorry,” she quickly replied. “I was just trying to make light of…”

“If I’m not a good guy, just say it,” I replied.

She sighed. “It’s just… so weird to me. I never know how to acknowledge it.”

“Making jokes then making ultimatums makes the jokes look like you’re just angry at me,” I pointed out.

Slowly, she nodded. “That makes sense. I’m sorry.” She turned to Zelda, who I only realized now was listening intently. I couldn’t help but turn pink. Even Megan didn’t know what to say. “I…” she began clumsily. “That was private.”

“No, I get it,” she replied quietly. “I don’t think cheating is good, but I get there’s context to every situation.” Her tone was different. Even her body language was different. It was clear to her that she thought she realized what was going on here.

I turned to Megan with a look of annoyance I hadn’t shot her in nearly a year. “Thank you, Megan,” I said in a mock polite tone.

She exhaled. “He isn’t a cheater,” she clarified. “He’s… he’s just…”

Zelda’s face darkened. “You don’t have to lie to me.”

I buried my face in my hands and sat down at my desk. Megan stuttered, but ended up turning to me. “I don’t want to be the one to explain to other people what your relationship is like.”

“Well, you kinda just forced me to do it, didn’t you?” I angrily replied. “Whatever. Go ahead. I think she’d just see it as a lie if I did it at this point.”

Megan nodded in understanding, and turned to Zelda. “He’s in an open relationship.”

Zelda’s face softened, then went into some sort of expression of deep thought. “…Open?” she finally asked.

“Yeah, it means-”

“I know, I know,” Zelda replied, deep in thought about something. She slowly turned to me. “You and Nicole are… open…” she said, slowly.

I figured she wouldn’t believe me. I sighed, opening up my phone, making sure Zelda saw every step of the process. I pulled up my text chat with Nicole, and promptly texted her.

Hey Nicole, are we in an open relationship?

Megan watched too. “She might be busy right now.”

Ding!

I shot Megan a look as Zelda read the reply.

Yup!

“Nicole has superhuman God powers,” I explained to Megan. “It’s like she perceives time differently than the rest of us.”

“Actually, knowing Nicole, that makes sense,” Megan replied half-jokingly.

Ding!

I peeked at my phone, not knowing what Nicole sent next.

If you’re showing this to a girl: have fun, sister. He’s hung 😉

I scrambled to put my phone away, turning pink. Megan was on the other side of me, and didn’t happen to see her follow-up text. “What did it say?”

“It said to tell the girl he was-”

Zelda-

“-showing it to, to ‘have fun,’ and that he’s sweet,” Zelda finished, then shot a smile my way.

I only turned pinker. Her smile was innocent. Maybe I whipped my phone away in time and she only thought she saw the word ‘sweet.’ I hoped so. I already felt like telling Zelda I was poly was oversharing. 

None of us said anything for a while. It was Zelda who broke the silence by looking around and noting, “we’re the only ones left in here. Maybe we should get going.”

I looked around. “Yeah,” I agreed awkwardly, and before long, we were heading towards the caf.

“I’m sorry I presumed you were cheating,” Zelda said as we walked.

“It’s okay. The whole poly thing seems to be a big part of my life now,” I replied honestly as we kept walking.

“The Paulie thing?” she asked. “Who’s that?”

“Who…?”

Megan cut in. “‘Poly’ isn’t a person, it’s short for polygamy. It means having multiple spouses.”

“Orrr, multiple girlfriends, or boyfriends, or even just casual partners,” I clarified further. “But I bet you’d see a lot of polygamy for religious reasons. Like, oh I dunno, baptists.”

“Gosh, that’s funny,” Megan replied in a heated tone. “The first Timothy 3:2 seems to say the opposite of that. So I guess a lot of the baptists you know didn’t listen to the teachings of Paul very well.” She immediately whipped out her phone and got engrossed in it. I guess I’d crossed a line with her. 

My feeling only worsened when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I took it out and saw a flurry of messages.

Never use my religion against me again

If you don’t want me judging you for your sexual desires, don’t judge me for going to church

That is so hypocritical. That was so mean

I go to church because that is where I belong. At least im only judging you because i want you to get better

You cant compare the two, thats just awful

</3

They were coming in one after another. I quickly typed back my response.

OKAY

I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. It was a bad joke.

I don’t judge you for going to church at all. ❤

After sending the messages and giving it enough time, I looked back at Megan and saw a clearly still-angry expression, but it softened a little when she looked into my eyes. She slowly inhaled, and the angry expression was erased.

Drama sucked.

***

The table immediately loved Zelda, and I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for my ‘who approved them’ attitude towards Jason and Athena when I saw that. Immediately, everyone welcomed her with open arms, and, upon discovering she was “that exchange student” they heard about, peppered her with questions about Denmark. Jason, for some unknown reason, apparently assumed Denmark must have been in the Middle East, but he was corrected pretty quickly by the entire table at once. 

Megan was right, Carson took a pretty quick liking to Zelda, and as soon as he started talking, Megan and I shot each other glances. I was glad that whatever angry episode we had was behind us, even if… even if it was clear that tensions were clearly bubbling below the surface. I needed to watch out for that. It was clear she was upset and I just had to watch my wording for a bit. 

It was also clear, unfortunately, that Zelda was kind of flirty in general, and not just with me. I’m sure Carson loved that, although Jason was kind of like a deer in headlights about it. Interestingly, every time Zelda talked about me, Athena looked at me and winked. She barely talked directly to me in the group – it kind of surprised me. Did she know something? Did she guess something? I assumed given how close she was to the blabbermouth Jason that she knew I was in an open relationship, but that didn’t mean every girl I was close to was someone I was banging or something. 

Eventually Athena started talking. “And how did you come to meet Adam?”

“Adam has been so helpful to me,” Zelda replied. “He was the one to give me my first tour around the school, and now he’s in my history class. It’s been hard meeting new people, but he’s been a super nice friend.”

Athena smirked. “I think he sees you as more than a friend.”

“What??” I asked, my throat closing. That was so blunt. Was she just stirring the pot? I looked straight at her and all she did was give me a knowing smile back. I turned redder and redder. 

“And I bet you see him as more than a friend too,” she sang.

Zelda blushed too. “I don’t think – I mean, of course, he’s been good to me, but-”

I chipped in. “Yeah, this is kind of out of nowhere, this is just an unfounded-”

“I mean, he’s in a relationship!” Zelda protested.

“An open one,” Carson practically burped, his mouth full of food.

I could feel myself turning crimson. Zelda’s eyes were on me. “Well, it is clear that Adam has a way with words around girls, he does have a very… flirtatious personality.”

“Flirtatious? He’s awkward as fuck,” Carson pointed out.

Normally I’d be angry at someone saying something like that, but in the context of the moment, I’d take it. “Yes, thank you!” I emphatically agreed.

“But…” Jason started slowly. “You… have been with a lot of girls. Like, even in first year.” I could only guess how he seemed to know so much about that.

“Not as many as me,” Carson pointed out as if it were obvious. “But yeah, they kinda fall into his lap.” He finished his sandwich. “I bet he’d even tell you it was without his intentions.”

I didn’t say anything, so Megan took the wheel. “Well, that does tend to happen when you’re really good-looking.” She smiled at me, sweetly, clearly trying to put a lid on the whole topic.

But all she did was confuse me further. “What?” I instinctively replied, screwing up my face. “That’s not even true at all even. Like, not even. No. Of course I’m not. Don’t even.”

The table was weirdly silent for a bit. “Dude, you have to admit you know about it,” Carson cut in. “I’m a dude, but even I can say you’re gifted that way.” To prove his point, he turned to Jason. Jason shrugged and nodded.

“Um, no,” I replied. “It’s not really cool of you guys to mock me like this. I get it, it’s funny, but-”

“Adam,” Zelda’s voice cut in, with a particularly sympathetic tone. I turned to her and she paused, shaking her head. “They’re not mocking you.”

I turned back to the table, who were all silent again. “I…” Why was this the most upset I’d felt in a while? I had good cause to be more upset at a lot of other things. “I… I was bullied for how I looked… I was called ugly. I know I was ugly. Fuck, shit, I know I am ugly!”

“And lemme guess, in middle school the girls would tease you about looking attractive and then rip the carpet out from under ya and then call you ugly, huh?”

Wow. Bullseye. It was true I got bullied by people like Pierce or Kenny or Isaiah in grade eight or seven, but in my earlier years, my bullies were girls. Hell, if Nicole knew me in grade two, she totally would have bullied me. 

“Well,” Megan replied slowly, “I guess puberty worked its magic on you. You turned around in grade nine and now-”

“Nope, fuck that,” Carson said authoritatively. “I bet you always were soft on the eyes to girls. You just had that awkward thing about you, you made yourself easy pickings. So, bullies. What do bullies always say when they bully? ‘You’re ugly.’ It’s just ‘cause you were easy pickings, dude. Just because a bully says something doesn’t make it true. Bullies will say whatever gets under your skin. They’re called bullies because they’ll do anything to make you feel bad, they’re not like these honorable ‘oh we gotta only say true mean shit’ people. You were easy pickings. And now, because you remember the word ‘ugly,’ you just have this victim complex or something.”

I didn’t know if Carson was thinking he was helping by trying to solve me or whatever, but it was not working. I could feel myself trembling. “So what, you’re gonna tell me my own life and how it went?”

“I used to be a big bully, dude,” Carson replied. 

“Yeah, used to,” I spat back.

He ignored me. “I know how this shit works. Trust, it’s how it went down. Plus, who gives a shit? Don’t believe me about the past if you want, but at least be realistic now. You’re surrounded by a bunch of people who just all agreed you are an attractive guy. Why the fuck would I say it if it isn’t true? What would I get from that?”

“…Why are we always focused on me?” I asked in a small voice.

“Honestly, because being around you makes fun stories,” Carson replied, cracking a smile. “Talking about you creates some entertaining shit. Look at what we’re doing.”

“Hey,” Zelda offered quietly. “I think maybe this kind of stuff is actually affecting Adam. Being told how you remember your own past isn’t true can be really difficult, whether it’s true or not.” She smiled at me. “I think you’re good-looking now, but it doesn’t matter what happened in the past to get you here, unless you want it to matter.” She turned to the rest of the table. “I don’t think any of us would appreciate being told that we’re interesting like a TV show is or something.”

“I don’t… think I’m good-looking, that’s all,” I replied lamely. “I mean, everyone at this table is good-looking. Megan, Carson, Jason, Athena…”

“Hey, that’s my girlfriend,” Jason quickly inserted, in a clear half-joking but overly protective tone. 

“I notice you left me out,” Zelda quietly yet smugly said.

The table went quiet, and I turned pink yet again. Everyone at the table started giggling.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about,” Carson said quietly to Jason, nudging him. “This shit right here.”

I sighed. “Y-yeah, you’re good-looking too, Zelda,” I admitted. “Like, really good-looking. I’ve never seen someone dress as good as you, too.”

She beamed. “Oh, you like my fashion sense?” she asked gleefully. “I’ve always wondered if maybe that should be my future.”

“Ugh, thinking about your career while in high school,” Carson replied, jokingly rolling his eyes. “Tryhard.”

“Oh, I can see everyone’s careers now,” Zelda joked, bringing a finger to her forehead. She started systematically pointing to people at the table, beginning with Megan. “Teacher…”

“Hey, I wouldn’t complain,” she replied.

Zelda pointed to Carson. “Bouncer…”

Carson pounded a fist into his open hand. “No one’s gettin’ past me, bawss,” he replied in a Mafia-esque accent.

Zelda pointed to Jason. “Mm… Office worker? Stock broker?”

Jason turned to Athena. “Sounds like enough money to support us,” he told her, kissing her on the cheek.

Zelda’s finger moved to Athena, then Zelda smiled. “World leader.”

“Damn right,” Athena laughed.

Finally, Zelda pointed to me. “Adam, I could totally see you being a diplomat or something.”

“Hey, that means you work for me,” Athena pointed out. 

“You know, I could totally rock being a bouncer,” Carson replied. “My cousin actually worked at this bar, and once, there was a customer who…”

Wow. Zelda totally glued the group together. It was amazing how she and I could introduce the same topic – ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ – and whereas I kinda got dismissed, she could make the group chat in a lively way about career choices. She was an incredibly special girl.

As Carson talked on and on, I looked at Megan and smiled. She smiled back. She grabbed my hand under the table and squeezed. Zelda was a nice addition to the group, and in that moment it dawned on me how I could go about this whole poly thing without upsetting Megan – by having open communication. This whole time, keeping secrets was how feelings got hurt and people thought I was cheating and all that crap. But by having Zelda here, even after we admitted we thought the other was attractive, there was no awkwardness (well, bad awkwardness) and there was no ill will. There were butterflies, but none of the consequences. This was great. I’d cracked the code.

***

Nicole whistled Singin’ in the Rain as we walked to the yearbook room, a box of materials in her hands.

“What are you so happy about?” I dryly asked. For everyone else, the November blahs were setting in. It didn’t help that everything was gray and nasty outside.

“I just really like rainy days,” she simply answered, not breaking her stride. 

Puzzled, I broke away and looked outside. “It’s not raining.”

“Wait a few seconds.”

I remained at the window, looking at it as Nicole unlocked the yearbook room down the hallway. On cue, the first few raindrops began to fall. My look soured as I watched the rain begin. Nicole really did have to be right about everything.

“…No? I must be off,” Nicole’s voice rang from the room. “It really felt like it was going to start though.”

“I hate your magic powers,” I muttered grumpily. 

Her head emerged from the room with a triumphant smile, looking past me at the window. “Fuckin’A! Another swing and a hit. I’m batting a thousand.” I walked into the room to see her arranging some papers on the main table, away from the computers. She looked up to see my expression and laughed. “Don’t give me that look.”

“I wish I lived close enough to just walk home.”

“Then you’d get wet,” she replied daintily, dancing over and giving me a kiss on my forehead. She now had to get onto her toes to do it. “Come onnnn, drop the Grumpy Gus bit. It’s just us in here.”

Her hands were now around my waist. I sighed and leaned in for a kiss. “Sorry,” I murmured. “Things got weird today.”

“Class stuff or friend stuff?” she asked, breaking away and moving around the room.

“Friend stuff,” I answered. “Carson was just trying to tell me who I am and why I was bullied just because he used to be a bully himself.”

“Why you got-? Yeah, that’s dumb,” Nicole sympathized. “Carson’s a meathead anyway. At least you probably had Bacon and Meggs to support you.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. The nicknames were only getting dumber. “Kinda,” I admitted. “I don’t wanna talk about it. How’s stuff on your end?”

“Stuff? Stuff was… fine,” she answered, uncharacteristically blandly. “Just a day.”

I stared at her for a bit, and put the pieces together. “You do something with another guy?”

“Huh?”

“Well, I just figure, you always have something to say. I asked you not to tell me if you’re doing something with a guy…”

Her incredulous look made me stop. “You told me the opposite, Einstein,” she said. “Or at least, I told you I’d always say if something was going to happen, but we agreed I’d never say who. This is exactly why we have communication problems, bucko.”

Wait. Every time? “So… you haven’t done stuff with a guy for… what, weeks?”

“Yeah.”

“Even though you did stuff with guys more than once a week before that.”

She smirked. “That better be a lucky guess and not detective work, squirt,” she replied. “But yeah.”

“Why’d you stop?”

She stopped what she was doing and shrugged awkwardly, her expression making it seem like it was no big deal. “I mean, I just, I didn’t stop,” she replied quickly. “I just… I dunno, haven’t found the time, maybe?”

I was going to say something, but Nicole’s eyes shifted to the open door, then her expression rapidly changed to a mischievous smirk. “I mean, I don’t know if I agree that she’s the most attractive girl in the school, but I don’t think I’m into blondes,” she added in a slightly louder voice, as if this had been our topic the whole time.

I looked at the doorway in time to see Sabrina walk in. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Nicole feign the right amount of shock to be convincing. “Oh! Hey Sab,” she said casually.

Sabrina blushed a little. “Hey,” she offered quietly. She looked down at the floor instead of looking at me, and quickly found a computer. “What are we doing today?”

“General layout, section four. Sports and extracurrs. Try to get a theme going between the two, but I want the feel for the two to be slightly different,” Nicole ordered articulately. “I think Adam here offered to help give any second opinions.” She turned around, and quickly turned back. “Oh, and you’ll be using those computers, if that’s okay.” She pointed across the room.

Sabrina had sat down at one of the computers in the center of the room. The one Nicole pointed to was off in the corner. It faced the wall. It was out of the way. 

I glared at Nicole, who turned to look at me with the plainest, least revealing face in the world. Sabrina looked back and forth at the two computers, and quietly went from one to the other.

“Be there in a sec, Sabrina,” I told her, then walked up to Nicole. “What the hell?” I whispered back. “Is this a game to you?”

“You told me you texted her, I’m just… helping things along,” Nicole gently whispered back.

“Nicole, this is bigger than you th-… I mean…” I struggled.

Nicole’s eyes squinted, reading me, then enlarged. She could probably see Sabrina looking up over the computer at us, because in her normal voice, she added, “I dunno, check your phone to see if you have it, I’ll check mine too.” She whipped out her phone and started texting me.

You already fucked? :O 

I sighed. 

No. Kissed.

She could barely hide her guffaw. A few more people sprinkled into the room, and she just pointed to computers with one hand to guide them in without even looking up from her phone. 

That’s awesome. How was it?

I stared at her for a bit, and she stared back. Eventually, I broke into a smile and texted her back.

Fuck me tonight and I’ll tell you everything.

Her smile widened. She completely ignored Jennifer as she walked in.

Deal, but that includes today, and whatever happens.

I looked back to the computers, then back to Nicole, and shook my head. “Voyeur,” I whispered, and started to walk away.

She grabbed me and pulled me back, whispering into my ear. “Not gonna lie, since Jarrod caught us, the idea of me, like, helping you to find your flings has been kind of-”

“Nicole,” Jennifer interrupted. “How about you get to work?”

Nicole retracted from my ear and looked to face Jennifer, all emotion gone from her face. She clicked her tongue. “Why don’t I?” she asked, sitting down at the main table. Jennifer shot me a look, then quickly joined her.

I had feet of lead walking back to Sabrina. It was clear that over text she was cool with it, but in person, it was still very awkward. I bet it was even more awkward with my girlfriend in the room, even though we had nothing but computers and walls surrounding us.

“Hey,” I opened weakly, sitting down.

“Hey.” She didn’t look away from her screen.

“…Did I upset you?” I asked.

“Nope,” she replied simply.

“It seems like I upset you. I didn’t mean to go that far. I mean, unless you wanted it.”

Sabrina finally looked at me, and I could see pure nervousness on her face. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the look I saw. “Yeah, that look there, and the way you won’t look at me or just say one word,” I continued. “It really makes me feel like you didn’t want me to kiss you, and that I, I dunno, took advantage of you or something.”

“Oh. I’m sorry,” she simply replied, turning back to the screen. We just sat there for about a full minute before she resumed. “I think I’m just scared.”

“Scared? Of me?” I processed what she said, and decided to try a different tactic. “You didn’t seem so scared when you were trying to suggest I should get with Zelda, the exchange student.”

Surprisingly, it worked. Sabrina looked at me with shock, then eventually, started giggling. “Oh my God, Adam,” she laughed. “You are so… Adam.”

“And you’re so Sabrina. We’re a good match,” I joked.

She blushed and looked away, though clearly in better spirits this time. “You know, to be honest, I was so surprised Nicole put you with me. It’s like-” She stopped abruptly, blushing further. “Wait. Does she know that we…?

“Um…” I scratched the back of my head. “So, yes, but only after she told us to sit together.”

Sabrina gave a few breathless nervous chuckles. “Wow,” she breathed.

“What do you think of the drama so far?” I joked.

“You were, um… my first kiss this year,” she admitted softly. “And you’re a, you know, a good kisser.”

“Thanks, so were you,” I replied. Even though we were already half-whispering, our voices got quieter. 

“The drama is, uh, neat,” she admitted. “I think I like it. You’re really lucky, Adam.” She blushed again. “I just couldn’t imagine… she knew, and she still…”

Every girl in my life seemed to get off on this shit. Well, not Zelda. Actually, certainly not Megan. But both Nicole and Sabrina did, and they were both in the room right now. 

Sabrina was practically trembling next to me. Not knowing what was happening, and feeling my own heart beating, I picked up her hand. Her eyes flew to my hand, caressing hers.

“Is this okay?” I asked.

She slowly nodded, then looked up to my eyes. The distance closed between our heads. This was all so crazy. Even though last year got crazier than this, even the tame action of kissing Sabrina in the yearbook room set my heart on fire. What’s more, within seconds of starting the kiss, her mouth opened and her tongue started licking at my bottom lip hesitantly.

What began with hesitation soon became my hands bragging her face, eagerly pulling her in. Our tongues battled and her arms tamely looped around me to give me a hug. Even though we were both in those computer lab chairs, we still managed to pull it off comfortably. I was kissing her again.

Slowly, we broke away. Both of us were breathing heavily ,which quickly turned into an awkward laugh. “We’re okay, right?” I found myself saying.

Her face was flushed, a look of pure interest in her eyes. She nodded, still breathing. “I can’t believe… you chose me…” she panted.

“Huh?”

“All the girls in the school, and… you choose me,” she repeated. “It still doesn’t feel real that you’re even… you know, open. But… you chose me.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Well, hey, you chose me too.”

She bit her lip, and looked away, then saw her computer and instantly went back to work.

Um… did I upset her? “I don’t get you,” I slowly said. 

“I’m sorry,” she offered. 

“So, you don’t want to kiss anymore, I guess?” I asked.

She closed her eyes. “I want it more. Way more,” she admitted, then turned back to me. “On and off, I’ve wanted you since last year, Adam,” she admitted.

“…Last year?” I repeated. “We, uh, met this September.”

“Y-yeah, we did, but I knew who you were since last year,” she admitted. “You were always getting into drama, and getting with different girls, and…” She closed her eyes again. “I thought I blew my chance when I heard you and Nicole were together.”

I thought back, and played the memories again in my mind. “So… you told me about Nicole hoping she was cheating on me and I’d break up with her?” I asked.

“No, no,” she quickly replied. “I would have told you anyway.”

I lowered an eyebrow at her, as if to say, ‘really?’ She immediately folded, blushed and went back to her computer. 

I couldn’t let go of this revelation. “Last year, huh…?”

“Yeah,” she admitted. “I, uh… yeah.”

“And how was it now that you finally got to kiss me?” I half-joked.

She trembled. “I shouldn’t talk about it.”

“I want to know!” I protested, wanting to touch her to show I was being genuine. Her hands were unavailable and her shoulder was covered by her hair, so figuring it was the next best thing, my hand casually rested on her thigh.

Instantly, she reacted. Emitting an unmistakable sex noise at a higher volume then she would have liked, her body instantly reacted to my touch. Her legs squeezed together on her chair. She shuddered. Her body seized up, clearly feeling some effects flowing through her. Her eyes became unfocused, clearly feeling only one sensation at that moment. 

I slowly brought back my hand, realizing now why she was so shy. I felt so dumb. If nothing else, it was now abundantly clear that it wasn’t because I upset her that she was trying to contain herself. Sabrina was now blushing profusely, her chest rising and falling with her breaths, biting her lip, looking over my face. 

“I need to…” she attempted to speak, her voice caught in her throat with her near-hyperventilating. She squeezed her eyes closed again and shuddered in the chair, then in one motion, opened her eyes wide, got up from the chair, and bolted from the room. 

I got up, my head peeking up from over the computers, just in time to see everyone’s heads going from the open doorway to me. “Adam, what did you do?” came the grumpy yet casual voice of Nicole.

“Don’t look at me!” I protested. “She didn’t tell me. We were just working. I think she’s going to the washroom or something.”

Most of the students went back to their work. Nicole’s eyes lingered on me, then after a few seconds, she gave me a playful smirk that lasted under a second. She turned back to her work, leaving me to sit back down, thinking to myself.

I really underestimated what was going on with Sabrina here. I guess this revelation would certainly complement what the gang said to me at lunch. I had better not let this get to my head… Whipping out my phone, I pulled up Sabrina’s conversation and texted her.

You okay?

Her response came nearly immediately.

yea 🙂 just in the bathroom, sorry

I could only imagine what she was doing in there.

***

“Mmm, fuuuuck…” Nicole moaned into the pillow, feeling me pushing into her from behind. “We don’t do this position enough.”

“Let’s fix that,” I huskily replied, grabbing Nicole’s ass and thrusting forward slowly, inch by inch to start. In doggystyle position, Nicole’s ass was up, but the rest of her body was fully down on the bed. “How’s your back?”

“Honestly, not as… hngg… strained as I would think,” Nicole casually answered as she felt me filling her up. “Plus, it’s nice to have… fuck… it strained from the other side for once.”

“Yeah, the only downside is that I don’t get to see your boobs this way,” I noted.

She laughed. “You can see them literally whenever. Ask me to pull them out during a Council meeting and I will, hotshot.”

“I don’t doubt that,” I laughed, my thrusts gaining power. Despite being face down and ass up, Nicole found the power in her leg muscles to thrust back into me, our animalistic lusts for each other growing.

“God fucking damn, your dick…” Nicole moaned. 

“Fuck, I love being inside you…” I moaned back. I couldn’t act slow, not for long when I was inside her. Every time I was inside her, it just felt perfect. I inhaled fire and exhaled bliss with every push. Her hips felt perfect to grasp. The whole room smelled of Nicole – her aura, her scent. It was perfect. It was intoxicating. 

“Unh, unh, fuck…” Nicole moaned, then looked back at me. We maintained eye contact for a bit before she mischievously smiled.

“What?” I asked, still pumping away.

She winked back at me, then turned back, enjoying the pleasure. She moved the pillow away from her mouth so that she could speak, then as I pumped in and out of her, I began to hear Sabrina’s voice.

“Oh, fuck, Adam…” Sabrina’s voice moaned.

I chuckled so hard I almost stopped. “Are you serious, Nicole?”

“What, does she not swear or something?” she asked innocently in her normal voice. “You’re slowing down, keep going.”

“Sorry if I wanted to fuck you,” I laughed.

“One of the first things we did was me imitating another girl you crushed on as I blew you,” Nicole pointed out. “Besides, I saw the look on her face when she bolted out – and she didn’t come back. I know something happened.”

As much as I would have liked to have been noble and claimed I wanted Nicole and only Nicole, I had to admit, the voice was accurate, and… it excited me. “Fine,” I conceded. “Keep doing the voice.”

I heard an exhale of victory before she quickly refocused. “Oh my God, Adam…” Sabrina’s voice moaned. “I’ve been wanting this for so long…”

If only Nicole knew. I closed my eyes, picturing the scene. Sabrina’s petit lithe body taking me for the first time. Fuck, maybe I would be her first. Another innocent girl I converted. Why was I into that so much? Well, fuck it. Nicole wanted me to go for another girl, and she clearly wanted it. “Yeah, you like that?” I asked breathlessly.

“I do, Adam. I really do,” Sabrina’s voice replied obediently. “I want you to fuck me, over and over. I want you inside me so badly. Fuck me, take me, cum in me…”

“Ohh, fuck,” I moaned, gathering speed. The idea of cumming inside Sabrina was so sexy. The idea of taking such a timid, feminine little body and marking her with my seed like that… Blasting inside her, or all over her slim body… I felt like my entire body was on fire. I wanted her. I wanted her, badly.

“Tell me you want me, Adam,” Sabrina’s voice encouraged me.

“I w-want you,” I replied.

“Say my name, Adam!”

“F-fuck! I want you, Sabrina. I want to shoot my load inside you, and all over you. I want you to be my obedient little bitch!” I yelled the last word as I felt the first rope of cum shoot out of me. She moaned as she felt the gushes of cum blast against her walls, then the next, then the next. A torrent of cum filled up her waiting pussy. She moaned and cooed as she felt me filling her up. 

Gently, her hips still met mine as we finished up. My thrusts subsided and turned into gentle grinds before I leaned backwards and felt my dick sliding out of her. I was still half-hard, so I had to lean decently far back.

“Jeesus,” Nicole groaned in her normal voice, feeling me slide out of her. “Fuck, I did not take that into account.”

“What?” I asked breathlessly.

“You’re not just getting taller,” she replied, getting up on all fours and stretching her back. “Your dick is getting bigger too.”

“It is?” I looked at my cock, and had to admit, for it being half-hard, I guess it was bigger than what it was last year. I looked at it every day, so I guess I just didn’t notice. 

“Yeah. I’ll need to be careful. Any bigger and we may not be able to just mash mash mash and maximum speed all we want,” she added. “That’s almost as big of a revelation as the ‘obedient little bitch’ thing.” She grinned at me.

I rolled my eyes. “You did the voice,” I pointed out, laying down next to her. She immediately became the little spoon, and I cuddled into her. 

She giggled softly. “Just wasn’t expecting that. Whatever happened today must have been something, squirt. And speaking of, I believe someone owes me an explanation.”

“Can you really call me ‘squirt’ if I’m shorter than you?” I asked.

“Can you make it any more obvious you’re avoiding the topic?” she fired back.

I exhaled. “Okay, so, first of all, we kissed again.”

“Cute,” she egged me on. 

“And then, it turns out, she had a crush on me since… like, last year.”

“Oh,” she replied. That clearly wasn’t what she expected. “Like, a sexual crush, or, like, a lusty crush?”

“I didn’t ask. And then-”

“Well, you should,” she replied, her tone losing its humor. “If she genuinely wants to be in a relationship with you, I mean… that could cause trouble, you know? Especially if you’re kissing now.”

“Yeah, okay. So, at one point, I say something, I don’t even remember what, and she doesn’t believe me or something, so I reach out to, like, let her know I’m being serious. I end up touching her leg.”

“Uh-oh,” Nicole murmured, the humor returning to her voice. “Wait, is this the point where I heard the…”

I waited for her. “The…?”

“Okay, so I think it was too quiet for anyone else, but I swore you fingered her or something, because I definitely heard a sex moan.”

“Yeah, okay, so, that was from just touching her leg.”

“Holy shit!” Nicole turned in to look at me. “God damn. She wants it bad!”

“Hey body seized up, and I couldn’t tell if she just reacted or even orgasmed…”

“Probably just reacted, but if homegirl fucking cums from getting her thigh touched, I’m jealous.” She laughed. “I liked how you touch her thigh, so she just moans and dips like that.”

“I had no idea what to feel! I almost feel like this is… maybe…”

“Gonna lead to drama?” Nicole offered, and I nodded. “Derp! Of course it is. Definitely make sure what she’s feeling is just a sex thing. If she has actual feelings, you gotta break it off with her, like, yesterday.”

“Wow, it’s almost as if a certain girlfriend shouldn’t have encouraged me to go after other girls,” I spat bitterly, finding my phone on Nicole’s nightstand and texting Sabrina. 

Hey, mind if I ask you something?

When I turned back, Nicole was fully clothed and casually drinking her mint water. She took her lips off the bottle and slowly turned to look at me. “I give you the freedom to choose, and you immediately go for the one girl that has potentially been psycho for you for months.” She took another swig. “Poetic.”

“It’s not my fault!” I protested.

“Yeah, you’re right. It’s, like, Carson’s fault you kissed her,” Nicole joked.

I stared at the floor. “Um, actually…” I began.

“Oh, don’t even,” she laughed. “Own up to it. And hey, casual sex is like this sometimes. But the best solution is to be honest. ‘Oh hey, I didn’t realize it was an emotional crush, Nicole and I are only open sexually, maybe this isn’t the best idea, I’m sorry I let it go as far as it did.’ Bam. I could solve world conflicts with this shit.”

“Yeah, I g-”

“Ooh, if I become a diplomat, can we please fuck at the UN?” she asked, her eyes gleaming.

“I thought you wanted to become a cinematographer,” I laughed.

She raised her eyebrows at me. “Yeah, diplomat is my backup plan,” she said with a wink.

As my phone vibrated in my hands, I shrugged. “Actually, a friend of mine said that I might be a good diplomat,” I offered, seeing Sabrina gave me the go-ahead.

“Yeah, okay. They’re wrong, no offense,” Nicole laughed as I typed out my reply. I showed it to her and she shrugged, then I hit send.

You said you had a crush on me. Is it emotional or just sexual? Just making sure we know our feelings.

I looked up from my phone to get a face full of my shirt, lobbed at me by Nicole. “Want me to go downstairs and see if my parents made dinner? We can bring it up here.”

“Sure!” I replied, watching her go downstairs. As I dressed myself, I couldn’t help but wonder. If I was as open as possible, was it really true that nothing would go wrong? I couldn’t help but remember the haunting words of Salvador. 

“Some types of openness are good. Some aren’t. This isn’t.”

There was no denying that I was getting down a rabbit hole here. Sabrina’s feelings might be hurt. Megan might disapprove. But most importantly, Nicole and I seemed to actually be getting better. That had to count for something. I’d brave through a thousand mini-fights with Megan if it meant things were smooth sailing with Nicole. And if she said that being open was the best policy, I was going to trust her. Things were going to be okay. 

____________________________

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