The Blessing in Puke

I leaned my head against the cool wall and tried to breath through my mouth. Puking hadn't been on the agenda when my communication applications teacher made us return to the ropes course. I'd made it up the 40 foot pole-then made the mistake of looking groundward. Bad idea.

Thankfully, I was able to skitter unsteadily down, where my teacher assigned Adam to escort me back into the building. I was okay until the scent of tuna combined itself with the aftermath of my dizzying climb. There went lunch.

A knock echoed in the bathroom and I forced myself to inch around the stall door. Adam stuck his head in, looking unconventionally worried.

"You okay?" he called, shuffling a few feet closer. I nodded. He produced a water bottle like magic and sank next to me on the bathroom floor.

After a long drink and several deep breaths, I was able to look at him clearly. "There'll be hell to pay if some chick walks in here and sees you," I managed.

He shrugged. "She'll get over it."

I heaved a sigh. "Do we have to go back?"

"Probably," he responded with a quiet smile. "Unless you want to go through all the nonsense at the nurse's office."

"Hmm. Let's not."

"Okay. Ready?" He stood, offering a hand. I took it and he pulled me up, something I wasn't exactly expecting. I rose with extra force and knocked into his chest, cracking my forehead against his chin.

"Ow!"

"Crap!"

We each held our smarting faces, me scowling at the ever-increasing list of things gone wrong today. Then, to my surprise, he let out a little chuckle. I raised my eyes to look at him incredulously but he simply shook his head, filling the room with his mirth.

When it appeared he was sober, I cocked an eyebrow. "Does bodily harm really tickle you that much?"

"If you had seen the look on your face-" he trailed off into laughter. I rolled my eyes, grinning at his behavior. "How's your head?" he snickered.

I flicked his chin. "Fine; what's wrong with yours?"

He ducked away with a shy grin. Goosebumps ran down my shoulders to my arms and my knees. Adam caught my arm, rubbing the skin with his thumb.

"Um…"We were interrupted by a wide-eyed freshman. She and I both froze but Adam let out a shriek that made the cheap mirrors shake.

I fought for my breath while the freshman looked as if she were going to faint. Then Adam started laughing which set me off- his laugh was a mixture of a coyote howling and a hyena cackling, with a little bit of a hen squawk thrown in for good measure.

By the time we had composed ourselves the freshman was gone. I wiped the tears away from my aching cheeks as Adam stooped to pick up the water bottle.

"Hey, if-" he began, but was stopped by the screams of an angry principal.

"Oh, crap." Adam made sense of it before I did. "That fish probably got an AP. We gotta-" Yet again, he was interrupted by Mr. Davenport, aka the PDA Nazi.

The bathroom door slammed open in a fury of large assistant principal. Adam was gone from my side, his water bottle with him. I did my best to look shocked.

"Miss Waters," Davenport boomed. "What is going on here?"

I glanced to my right, where the stall I had puked in was still open (and full of puke), then to my left, noting the one occupied station.

"Well, I was puking but I'm okay now. Except for the taste." I pointed to my mouth and Davenport's head turned the exact shade of a swastika.

"Oh, really? Because-" Now Davenport was the one stopped mid-sentence, by the obnoxious flush of a toilet. A low curse came from the stall before everyone was distracted by the ominous gurgle of the school's pipes.

Adam burst out of the stall, one shoe still on, the other MIA. Davenport's face turned purple at this new development but I knew better.

"My shoe…fell down…and…"Adam gesticulated behind him at the slowly flooding toilet. "I think we should go."

Before any of us could move, the toilet exploded, soaking everyone in a 10 foot radius with lovely toilet water. Yummy. Adam smiled weakly as water dripped down my back, my legs…everywhere.

"Detention!" Davenport yelled, looking close to an aneurysm. "Detention for you! And you! For the rest of the semester! I'll have you for the rest of your high school career! Get to the APs' office! Now!"

Adam saluted smartly and turned on his heel, heading for the door. I skulked after him as Davenport watched us, silently fuming. The bathroom door closed and soon afterward a roar such as not been heard since The Lion King came out. I snickered and chanced a glance at Adam. He grinned and slung an arm around my shoulders, burying my face in his armpit.

I wriggled out under his arm and made a face. "Ew! You smell."

"I'll reapply in the office," he smirked. "Something you might want to try."

I chose to take the higher road and not retort. Instead I backhanded his ear, leaving a lovely red print on the side of his face. He smiled again and slipped his hand into mine, one shoe flopping on the tile, the other foot slapping it.