He should have known something was up by the buzz. Gene was used to people not talking to him, so he shouldered his way down the hall by himself, ignoring everyone like they weren’t even there. Most of the time people got out of the way. He could be Moses, parting the sea of people just by walking, the way they moved. He liked the idea, but it wasn’t real. Especially when he got close to his classroom. More and more people weren’t noticing him. Like the two girls standing right in front of the doorway.
“Did you see her?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t believe it. What does she think she is? A rock star?”
“Shut up! She’s coming this way.”
The girls hushed each other and backed up at the same time. The look on their faces when they backed into him was priceless, but he didn’t get to enjoy it long because that’s when he saw her.
“Tracy.” He didn’t even realize he’d said her name until her eyes lit up and she waved.
“Gene! There you are. I’ve been all over this school looking for you.” She swaggered over to him, all black leather pants and metallic shirt. Her hair had every colored hair extension he’d ever seen her wear, plus maybe a new dye job.
“What did you do, raid Miranda’s closet?”
“Pft. Like she’d let me.” Tracy kept coming on, didn’t even slow down.
She walked right up to him and put her arms around his neck, pressing that way-too-good body against him so he was going to have to walk around with a bulge if he didn’t cool it. The two girls who were talking before gasped like this was something incredible. He could imagine what they’d say if the saw what Tracy made his privates do. He reached up to take her hands from around his neck, maybe push her back enough to get himself under control.
“Aren’t you glad to see me?”
“Glad?” He was shocked. He wanted to pinch himself in case it was just a dream. He was too numb to be glad, and too sure she wasn’t going to stay anyway. It was a joke, right? One of Tracy’s practical jokes.
“Look at you! All glowerings and sexy and everything. You’re what Spike would call ‘big bad.’ “
The girls giggled. There were more people now, and they were all staring at Gene and Tracy. Tracy, of course, didn’t notice a thing.
“Spike who?” Gene did some of that glowering she was talking about, this time directed at her on purpose.
“You know. Buffy, Vampire Slayer? Spike, the vampire? Never mind. Doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we’re in the same class! Isn’t that great?”
“We are?” He was starting to feel like a total idiot.
Lisa and Ben walked up.
“Hey,” they all said to each other in greeting.
They stood together in a loose circle with a much larger circle of onlookers. Some were staring and some pretending not to, but no one going into the classroom.
“Looks like we’re both in the class next door,” Lisa said.
“Funny, isn’t it? They split us up into couples.” Ben grabbed Lisa’s hand and gave it a squeeze.
“Yep!” Tracy grinned, and grabbed his hand.
“Huh,” was all he could say.
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