Chapter Twelve: Life Sciences and Bugs

Hope's POV

Trent (one of our neighbors) was in my Life Sciences class, but he hid in the back row and pretended not to see me every day. I knew he did see me because every time I looked up he was staring at me. The class was pretty boring and the instructor was even more boring. It was relatively easy compared to the rest of my classes. I kept zoning out.

I was staring at my neighbor's tapping pen and completely lost track of time until my neighbor shook my shoulder. "Hey, are you alright? Class is over. You were acting like you were in a trance," she asked. She had red-horn rimmed glasses and dark hair. She was quite pretty, but looked a bit geeky.

"I think I was."

"Have you been neo-hypnotized?" she whispered even though no one else was there.

"What?"

"It's a new thing the government is trying out. I'm really into conspiracy stories and stuff like that. It's said they can use it to plant information in a person's head. Only to be accessed by hypnosis again."

"What good is that?"

"I don't know. It's a safe storage device, I guess, because no one can access unless they know how to do the hypnosis and they know the information is there." She packed up her mind.

Government made me think of my grandfather. Hypnosis made me think of him, too. Secret info? Him, too.

"Hey, I have to go to my next class. I'll see you later," she said as she exited.

--finding hope—

Matt and I had dinner together at Pizza Hut. We sat in one of the standard booths. I was trying to decide if I should bother to tell him that Gideon and I weren't dating. I sort of liked the jealousy . . . if it was that. I wasn't sure. Dritan said it was and so did Deirdre. They were good at knowing those sorts of thing, so they might be right.

"So, Gideon and you?" Matt asked as we sat down.

"We're broken up."

"HE BROKE UP WITH YOU? I'm going to—"

"Kick his butt? Beat him to a pulp? Calm down. I broke up with him, if that makes it better."

"Oh, really? I . . ." he looked down and started to undo his napkin.

"Were you jealous?"

"Jealous? Of course not! We're just friends."

"Oh." It was my turn to fiddle with my napkin.

e laHe laid his hand on my hand. "Not that you not the most beautiful girl I've ever met. It's just you're seventeen."

"So, my lack of years makes you not be jealous?"

"We'll see how you feel about me after you turn eighteen. Or you meet a Harvard boy you like." This got my hopes up. Maybe it just is my age that is keeping us apart.

"Who says I haven't met a Harvard boy I like?"

"What? You're already thinking about dating someone else. Is that why you broke up with Gideon? To date a new guy?"

Here we go again.

--finding hope—

I found a bug in my flowers and not the insect kind. The old government issue kind, but it was weird that it was so easy to find. I thought government agents were better at hiding things. It made me think that some was trying to warn me that they were watching me. Or maybe I just had a stalker . . . that could buy government stuff. The girl knowing about the neo-hypnosis, the strangest of that guy, the weirdness of our neighbors, and my past history with the government was just too much.

The doorbell rang. The guy from the party was there with flowers in a tux. "Hello, Hope," he greeted. "I'm here for your friend."

"I never told you my name."

"Of course you did." He winked as Deirdre came up in a black tutu and corset. He was eyeing her chest, which made me think he wasn't there for one of my male friends.

"Hope, you can't steal my date," Deirdre said as she smiled at Landon Central.

"I . . . Do you know who he is?" I don't think she would be going out with him if she realized he was a rich guy. She was really against rich people.

"Of course, he was the delivery guy. Geez. Hope, I didn't realize you was such a snob." She was out the door before I could stop them.

I was left looking at the bug in my hand.