Monday, February 27th
A hand clamped down on my arm as I left Mr. Randell's class. I turned to my right, looking up, expecting to see Tony there. I was ready to joke about this being an unnatural move. But there was nobody there. I shifted my gaze down, and my eyes fell upon a swath of black hair, turned away from me. "Come on." Rinna started down the hall, pulling me with her. Turning my head back, I saw Tony just exiting the room. The question formed in his eyes before it reached his mouth - What is going on?
I shook my head at him, hoping he wouldn't intervene. It would only cause a needless scene. I mouthed "I'll explain." to him before allowing myself to be pulled down the hall. Rinna was stronger than her slim arms let on. This definitely wasn't about the project, since otherwise Ellie would have come. We had already worked everything out Saturday, already, and had plans to meet at Ellie's house to work the next weekend. So what was this about?
I kept silent, knowing there would be a more opportune time to ask. It couldn't hurt to follow. I'd be lying if I said my interest wasn't piqued.
It was only when we walked by a group of freshman girls talking about who-knows-what when I realized the potential consequence of following Rinna. I caught a few taking furtive glances as I passed by, and I definitely recognized one of them. This would not do any good for my reputation. I was known as a tennis player who kept to his studies and friends, not some kid to be dragged around the school. I shook my swath of brown hair, annoyed at myself for letting this happen. It was a bit late to turn around now without drawing more unwanted attention to myself, and I didn't want to offend Rinna, either.
A faint set of giggles followed me as Rinna led me up a set of stairs, to the second floor. Where the hell was I being led?
I almost ran into Rinna when she halted at the intermediate landing, between the first and second floors. "So, uh, what's this about?" Rinna let go of my arm, and turned to stare at me.
"What?" She sounded as confused as I felt.
"Why did you drag me from history, through the halls, to here, without saying a word?" My arms flew up from my sides into the air.
"I thought I was making things easy for you..." Rinna trailed off. She grabbed her left arm at the elbow, and shifted her gaze down. "You can leave now."
My arms dropped down. "Oh." Shit shit shit. How did she even get that vibe from me?
"Umm..." No words came to me. It probably would hurt my rep more if I just left now.....Rinna would probably feel bad too. "I'll stay." I put on my best fake smile, shrugged my backpack off, and took a seat on the steps. "That is, as long as you promise not to go silent on me." I joked as I pulled my lunch out. I might as well make the best of this.
Rinna sat down on the windowsill. The landing overlooked the field, a vast expanse of white. It had snowed that morning - not much, but enough to make the world a pure, white slate. She stared out the window for a moment before speaking up. "Silence isn't always bad, you know."
"I guess." I looked up from my sandwich; Rinna still had her head turned from me. It...irritated me. I could not put a finger on quite why, however. Rinna seemed so calm here, and it was clear that her seat was a familiar one. "You don't...." I spoke without thinking.
Rinna's gaze turned to me, searching my face as I grabbed for words. "You don't...eat here every day, do you?"
"Mostly. Yeah. What's wrong?" Rinna fluttered her eyes, not understanding. I'm not sure if shock or concern was more apparent on my face.
Rinna opened her eyes with understanding. "Oh! You feel bad for me, don't you? Don't. I prefer it this way. People are stupid."
"Oh." Why did I say that? I searched for some way to undo the depressing turn this conversation had taken. After a few moments' pause, I spoke again. "Hey, do you think Ellie's a vampire?"
"What?" I was taken aback by the surprise in Rinna's tone. She sounded genuinely shocked.
"You know, avoiding Olive Garden and all. She kept dodging my questions as to why she didn't want to go."
"How does that connect with being a vampire at all?" Rinna's tone was flat. Does she not see that I'm joking? I wouldn't put it past her. She doesn't know me well, either.
"Vampires don't like garlic, right? And Olive Garden has a lot of garlic in its dishes. Why are you being so defensive? Are you a vampire too? Gah! I'm surrounded!" I continued to joke. Rinna finally seemed to get it; she laughed.
I swear that the world stopped that moment. Then, it was gone, the sound fading away like chimes on the wind.
"You should lighten up a little. Laugh a little more."
"I don't have much reason to."
"Do you need a reason?"
"Fine." What was it with this girl? "So there was this one time..."
Tuesday, February 28th
"What happened yesterday man?" Tony had gone into overprotective mode again.
"Uhh, what? Nothing. I'm fine." I held my arms up, palms open. I gave him a skeptical look.
"She didn't do anything to you?"
"What? Rinna? No!"
"She looked pissed."
"That was your imagination run wild."
"Then what did she want you for? You were gone all lunch."
"She just wanted to talk. It was enjoyable."
"Watch out, she's moving in..."
"Watch out for her."
"She's not as weird or dangerous as you think she is."
"What has she done to you?" He gasped in mock horror. I chuckled, glad that, as always, he realized when his efforts were unappreciated, if only a little late.