|ROAMY|

Here's the thing, I hated everything about him. Zach.

•I hated his stupid wide-grin smile.
•I hated his assortment of non-graphic baseball T's.
•I hated his deep howl like laugh.
•I hated how he always had everyone in the palm of his hand.
•I especially hated him.

He sits in front of me in Philosophy, has been since the beginning of the year, and we've never talked.

Why would we?
He was him.
I was me.

This isn't my sob story about how 'Mr. Popular and I came to be,' it just so happened that this teen cliché was our back story.

Anyways, we never talked.

Until today, when Mrs. Morris said the worst thing a teacher could say

"partner up."

And just as people began to send off hopeful looks to their 'wanted' partner, Mr. Morris decided she'd rather partner us up herself.

The class participated in an abundant sigh, and soon she began picking off pairs.

"Julie, Simon."
"Cam and Heather."
"Victoria, Rita"
"Olivia and Gideon."
"Connor and Cooper."
"Thalia and West."
"Vice, Jules."
"Haily and Ricky."
"Serena and Tauren."
"Palmer and Trent."
"Olive and Wyatt."

The class was paired off, everyone went to their groups. except me.

"Hm, I was sure I had an even number in the class. Who's not here today?" She asks, looking at me.

I knew who wasn't here, I always knew when he wasn't here.

Just as I open my mouth to speak, in rushes Zach. His book bag hangs loosely off one shoulder and he's reeling Mrs. Morris in for one of his great excuses.

He got by on those excuses, I swear he dreams them up so quick and spits them out so fast that no one would ever suspect anything less than his word.

Which Mrs. Morrison doesn't, if it were anyone else, she'd have their head on a platter for being late to her first period.

"very well Alex, be partners with Roamy." She excuses him to the seat in front of me, the seat he always sat in.

I shift uncomfortably.

"YOU ALL ARE MARRIED." Mrs. Morris announces happily.

"Uhm, excuse me. My husbands female?" Serena says, confused, a hand up in the hair.

"Please don't-don't speak before I call on your had, Serena. And who says Tauren's the husband." Mrs. Morris says slyly.
Serena rolls her eyes, pulling her hand down slowly.

"Anyways. These are your baby's." Mrs. Morris adds, picking up a big box and sitting it on top of her desk.

"Why would you pack my baby in a box?" Trent asks. The class laughs.

"Can we get serious." Mrs. Morris shoots.

She hands out a baby to each pair.

"you will feed this baby. You will change this baby. You will love this baby." She announces.

"Can our 'Wives' possibly breast feed this baby?" Wes challaneges.

Mrs. Morris ignore him.

"You also deal with real world problems. Like rent. Like insurance. And other occurrences." She now places stacks of fake money in front of each group.

"This is 1000 dollars. You'll be expected to make it work for the month. Everyday you all come to class you'll be expected to pay some type of due depending on what you draw from out of 'this'..." She now holds up a jar full of strips of paper, labeled 'Wild Cards'

"You must bring your baby back each day and the light on it's back must be green or I fail you for child neglect."

The class is intrigued, now listening intently.

She places cards flat down on everyone's desks, "these are your jobs. Take a moment to discuss with your partner what you do and also work out the child's living arrangements for the month."

The class breaks.

"I'm a baker." I say, flipping over my card. "Mines is blank." Zach says, raising his hand.

Mrs. Morris calls on him, "yes, zach." She says. "My card's blank." He announces.

She clasps her hands together, "Right. The Blank Card, that means you're unemployed and I take away 300 dollars." She says, picking up the stack of fake money and removing a couple of fake bills.

"You two are living essentially harder than everyone else, now. Good luck." She says.

He turns back towards me, placing the baby face down on my desk, "you take it... Like always." He suggests.

I narrow my eyes, "you're seriously not even going to be discreet about your intent to make me do all the work?" I shoot.

"It's not that-" he begins.

"I don't have time for a kid. There is a reason teen pregnancy is frowned upon, you know with the whole -ahh, Iv got my whole life a head of me- thing and what not." He explains.

Good point.

"Not an excuse, you'll make time for this baby." I challenge.

"But I will talk it 3 days out of the week, so you take it Monday and Tuesday, I'll do Wednesday through Friday," I explain.

I push it towards him, "today's Monday,"

He picks it up, shoves it in his bookbag.

"Do you want the monitor to turn red before we even leave the class room?" I shoot.

He pulls it out, "carry it like how your parents carried you." I suggests.

"I was never carried as baby." He jokes, eyes awaiting my laughter.

I don't laugh.

"Tragic." I say.

He smiles, "tough crowd." The bell rings and he picks up the baby and starts for the front of the class room.

I hate Zach.

It's a good thing I don't have any other classes with him.

Of course I couldn't prevent seeing him in the halls.

He smiles at me now.

We talked once and now he's smiling at me?

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