Chapter 7 - Lab Partner

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I was dumbfounded at my realization. Why would that ass help me? Well, was he an ass if he saved me from Lord knows what? I was so confused. I sat on a bench down the hall at the end of the day, waiting for him to creep on my locker. I was right, assuming he’d come by. He walked over to the locker, blowing through to combination with ease. I had no idea how he found out what it was. He opened it. He dropped to his knees, lifting up some of my books to look in the back of the locker. I crept up behind him.

“L-Looking for something?”

He banged his head when he jumped. “Damn it,”

“First off, what is this all a-about?” I pointed to the locker.

“Nothing,” he put my things back and shut the locker door. I groaned and followed after him.

“Wh-What were you doing in the park the other night?”

“I wasn’t.”

“L-Liar,” He kept walking. “Please s-stop walking,” I called as he nearly out ran me. “Harry, right?”

“Yes,” he kept walking. “You should leave me alone.”

“Please, I-I’m not athletic, can you s-stop running?”

He groaned, and in the parking lot of the school, finally stopped walking. He turned. ‘What the hell do you want?”

I shrunk a bit, so easily intimidated. “I, I just want to know why you were in my locker. I think that’s a reasonable q-question. I want to know why you s-stopped Taylor, why didn’t you tell my parents w-who you were. Why make it a s-secret?”

“I…” he shrugged. “I like your locker I guess. As for the park I don’t know why you’re talking about.”

“Liar,” I whispered. “I remember the smell. You r-reek of lilacs.”

“Lilacs?”

‘Yes, I know that s-smell anywhere. It’s the first f-flower I ever s-smelled here. You stink of it, in a good way.” I stumbled out. “Why?”

“Just stay away from Taylor. He’s not a good guy.”

“H-He said the same for you.’

He smiled, dimples on his face. I hadn’t ever seen him smile before. “Yeah, well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?” he started away. “It might be a sweet appearing small town, but everyone has a dark side.” He got into a red truck, and it roared to life. He sped away, leaving me confused.

What was his side?

 The question kept haunting me as the days went by. I wanted to know who he was, or why he helped me.

I tapped my pencil in chemistry, waiting to do a lab. My partner finally got here, Harry. I hadn’t spoken to him in about a week, since our conversation in the parking lot. I hadn’t spoken to Taylor either, thankfully he left me alone.

“Hi,” I said quietly. He only nodded. I sighed. “A-Are you going to be a dead beat lab partner, or are you g-going to be helpful?” I tried to raise my voice, but it was so shaky.

“I’ll be a mix.” He took the directions and his eyes scanned the page quickly. He picked up the right beakers, and filled it up with the right amount of the chemicals. We were trying to make smoke. “You pour that in,” he pointed.

I nodded, and filled up a flask, pouring into the large beaker we were using. “You um,” I shook my head. He stared at me. I just stopped talking, he seemed puzzled. I just didn’t know how to talk to anyone anymore. I was so scared to. Taylor really, really freaked me out. I felt this steady, always present stress on my shoulders.

“Are you okay? You’re shaking.”

‘I’m fine,” I shook my head. “I-I,” I just failed again, and got up, washing my hands for no apparent reason. Harry filled out our lab form, and I sat back down.

“Done,” I nodded, playing with my fingers. “Seriously, are you all right?”

“Fine,” I squeaked. “I-I w-was just thinking about the other night i-in t-the p-park.” I half whispered. “I’m really… I-I lack social skills.”

He nodded. “Don’t worry about the park. Taylor won’t come near you.”

“You admit it then?” I spoke quietly. “Y-You helped me?”

“I think we both know the answer to that.” He said stiffly.

“Why? I called you r-rude, a jerk and gave you t-tone.”

“Tone?”

“I’m not c-confrontational. S-So when I give t-tone, it’s a-a lot for me.”

‘Clearly,”

“T-Thank you for stopping him. I g-guess he was drugged out.”

He got a bit stiffer. “What was I going to do? Let him maul you?”

“I suppose, I was l-letting him.”

“Everyone reacts to fear differently. You were clearly scared out of your mind.

“I was, b-but really, thank you. I-I thought you were a j-jerk who breaks into my locker as a hobby.”

‘Let’s pretend that didn’t happen, fair trade. I helped you; you help me by not repeating that.”

“I c-can do that.”

He relaxed. “Good.”

“I’m Finley by the w-way.”

“Harry, but you knew that.” He got off his seat just as the bell rang.

I took a moment and sucked in a breath.  I hated my damn stutter. I got up and headed out to the rest of my classes. It was so strange; I wanted to keep talking to him. I felt like the vibe he was putting off was making that impossible. But I was very curious of him.

“How was school, you feel okay?” My mom asked over dinner. My dad looked at me with worried eyes.

“I’m fine guys, don’t worry.”

“Did you figure out who that boy was?”

“Yes, I did. He was very nice about the whole thing.”

“Good.”

I only hoped he’d be nice about everything.

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