"I didn't 'pour my heart out'," was Raa's automatic grumble, though it held no conviction. He stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets, shoulders forward in another nervous gesture. Derrick couldn't know. Julian would never have spread around Raa's shame, not even to his own family.
Raa glanced around, noticing that Derrick was one of the last people left outside, meaning the warning bell, and possibly the final bell for class, had already rang. He cursed, turned to Marcus, and said, "I gotta get to class, too. I'll see you after school!" before jogging into the nearest door, heading toward History, noting with a flicker of dismay that the halls were vacant.
Julian was in his class, he thought as he ran. Maybe he should just ask him? But the thought of talking about it again today was about as unappealing as licking the tiles in the boy's restroom. And Julian was probably mad at him anyway, though one would think he would be used to Raa's behavior by now, especially over things that Raa would rather cut his own toes off before talking about. It wasn't the first time Raa had taken his anger out on Julian, and it wouldn't be the last.
Raa was running so fast he had to catch the sharp edge of a stand of lockers just outside his classroom door to stop his forward motion, nearly landing himself face first into them before he managed to pull the motion up short. He stood with his hands on his knees, heart pounding wildly and painfully in his chest for a long moment before his gulping breaths managed to slow it down; normally, running was as easy for him as walking, but the last few weeks, it had left him tired and absurdly out of breath. He stood, smoothed his hair back with one hand that only served to muss it up further, and opened the door to his classroom, stepping inside.
"Nice of you to join us, Mr. Hakesh," Mrs. Phelps said flatly, gaze over horn rimmed reading glasses stern, as the entire class turned in their seats to watch him.
"S-Sorry, Mrs. Phelps," Raa panted, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a crumpled piece of paper to hold it up between two fingers. "I have a note-"
"I am not interested in old grocery lists, Mr. Hakesh," Mrs. Phelps said, turning back to the book open before her on the podium. "The next time you try to pass me off with one, you're out of my class."
The class snickered, and Raa cursed inwardly, displeasure at being caught written all over his face as he made his way to his desk and plopped down into his seat, sliding his backpack to the floor beside him.
"Page 214," Julian whispered through his teeth from Raa's right, his brown eyes carefully on the lecturing teacher.
Raa grunted in lieu of thanks, and reached into his bag, but paused as his fingers encountered the rough torn binding of a sketch book. He tapped his fingers against it, then pulled both it and his history book out, biting his lip as he looked at the black cover with contemplation.
He couldn't give Marcus' a picture, but maybe...
No. He shook his head, stuffing the sketchbook back into his bag as he flipped open his text book, missing the page and having to backtrack a moment before he found it. Raa hated drawing stills of himself, and Marcus would probably laugh at the effort.
"If he asks me what day of the week it is, I'll be sorely tempted to answer 'orange'." ~Chang WuFei,