Chapter 2

Every. Single. One. Of. My. Classes. Mr. Newbie had to be in all of my classes! And I thought that all my classes were full. Not only that, but my biology partner, Mattie, was now no longer my partner.

He was. And he was walking right toward me, taking Mattie's spot next to me. He slid out the stool slowly and sat carefully, adjusting himself so that he was leaning on his left elbow, into my personal space. And when I sent him a glare, he smirked at me. I wanted to die!

"Now, for the next twenty minutes, class, you will be watching a informative video on microorganisms, talking about how they affect us as well as how they react to certain elements and so forth." Mr. Stewart drawled, automatically scratching the balding area on the top of his head. "At the end of the hour, each person will hand in an essay on microorganisms according to the four points I have written on the board."

I sighed, leaning toward the window rather than the male on my other side. As much as I hated writing essays, at least I wouldn't have to speak with my new biology partner. I didn't want to talk to him. As the day had progressed, I had only felt more and more uneasy about him. It was as if I could feel his gaze on me whenever he was near, even if he wasn't looking at me! I couldn't wait until the day was out.

"Can we work with partners on our essays?" Asked Donnie, one of those jocks that were stereotyped as dumb for a reason. His partner was a boy named Arrow, the resident nerd that occupied my table. He could probably beat Newton at explaining, exploiting the problems with, and experimenting with gravity. Donnie usually forced him to do his work while in class, though he couldn't get near Arrow whenever he was outside of biology.

Mr. Stewart sighed. "No, Mr. Hillings. You should learn to listen as I said "each person" rather than stating that you could all work with your table partners as I usually might."

Of course, it was then that my new partner rose his hand, and it wasn't the one that was invading my personal space, either. After the science teacher nodded at him, he spoke. "Sir, since I haven't been here to learn what the rest of the class has and would therefore be put at a disadvantage from my lack of information, could I ask my partner for help if I don't understand something?"

Mr. Steward paused, pursing his lips at my partner. It wasn't every day that he got a student that could actually state his case and ask politely while using the numbers of his class against him. Although it was true that Mr. Steward didn't mind a bad reputation, he did mind when he felt he was failing his students. After a moment, he nodded. "You may work with Ms. Height on the paper and until you or I feel that you have a sufficient understanding of the subject."

I sighed. That was one more problem for me.

"Thank you, sir." Sucker.

I straightened, suddenly uncomfortable, well, more uncomfortable. He hadn't said that. And I couldn't read minds. But that was not something I had thought. Hands clenched into fists, I sneaked a glance at him and his odd violet eyes with the strange clothes.

Naturally, he simply smiled, despite not looking at me.

Anger then flooded through me and I had to fight against the heat that took my body. Whether that statement was mine or not (which it wasn't), Mr. S was not a sucker. He was a good teacher, no matter what that didn't change. That would never change.

I glared as the lights switched off. I prayed silently that I would get through the hour quickly, because I was slowly feeling more and more angry around him. I even felt a little murderous. That was never a good thing.

I took a deep breath and tried to force my attention to the video up front.

I failed.

. . .

"What does it mean by classifying a microorganism?" He asked, violet eyes sparking with fake innocence.

I licked my lips, answering the best I could. "Taxonomy. How are they alike and how are they different. The idea is choosing whether or not an organism belongs in a known species or if a new one needs to be created for it. Or if it needs a new genus or should be in an already existing group."

He stared at me, his stare almost violating. "So you're as smart as you are hot." At the sentence, every single hair on the back of my neck that wasn't already standing rose from it's sleeping position. I suddenly got another taste of the abnormal thought that wasn't mine. Perfect.

I scooted further away from him, not knowing exactly how to reply. "I'm sorry, I don't think I caught your name."

"Scorpio." He stated, a satisfied smirk on his face. "Though my friends call me Scorpion."

Yeah? It was probably because he was as deadly as one. I glanced at his paper, my eyes narrowing. He hadn't written anything down since I had spoken, and now I saw why. He was done, and it was all very well written. Figured he was just trying to get a conversation booster.

"Good for you." I looked back down at my own paper, trying extremely hard to ignore him. I didn't want anything to do with him. Of course, he kept talking.

Feisty. "Which reminds me, yours is Amanda?" The complete superiority in his voice made me grit my teeth. I hated that name with a passion. I didn't want to go by it. I didn't even want to hear it. However, before I could say so, he spoke again. "I've heard you go by Elvira, though."

All the anger inside of me deflated. "Yeah."

Then came suspicion. How did he know that? Was he asking people about me or something? I didn't know him and I didn't want him anywhere near me.

"I like it. It fits you. It's very . . . elegant." He said, a thoughtful gleam to his eye as he paused to tap his eraser on the desktop. His eyes drifted back to reality, though, and stared at me in that violating way of his. "You need a nickname, though."

I frowned. Nickname? Was he serious? I blinked.

Seth called me El usually since it was easier to say than Elvira.

"El sounds fine, but your friend . . . Seth," he said my friend's name as if it weren't a word you were supposed to use in public let alone in a school. I scowled, "calls you that. I need something to call you by that's mine, just for us two."

His? Was he serious? I didn't want to spend any time with him, let alone have him give me a pet name.

And, again, how did he know Seth called me El? It wasn't really public knowledge. Well, unless everyone at this school decided that I and my various names were more important than their lives of popularity and happiness. I highly doubted it, though.

"How about Vira? I like it, and I'm sure that the name fits you." He said, smiling triumphantly, gloatingly. I didn't like him. At all.

It was then that his hand, the one connected to his elbow that was annoyingly in my space the entire class, slid to my bare arm, sliding up to my shoulder. I wasn't sure why, but the sudden feeling of danger hit me again. I didn't feel safe around him. Actually, I felt violated. I didn't want him anywhere near me.

I shoved his hand off, but before I could stand, the teacher's voice interrupted.

"Class, please turn in your essays on your way out." And, thankfully, the bell rang.

However, I found myself detained by Scorpion as his arm that I was sure that I had rudely shoved off my arm gripped my elbow, forcing me to keep my seat a bit longer than necessary as I quickly gathered my stuff. His hot breath tickled my ear. "I'm watching you."

Then he was gone. And I was so thankful. Never before had I ever been so glad in my entire life.

Of course, though, he was still in the room, talking to Mr. Stewart loudly about how smart I was and how thankful he was that Mr. Stewart let me help him, because he would never have gotten through the essay without me.

Liar. I thought savagely.

He smiled in my direction and, shaking, I quickly gathered my still remaining things and threw them in my bag. Once everything was securely placed in pack and on my back, I snatched up my essay and headed up to the teacher, waiting until Scorpion was out of the room until I actually handed it to the smiling biology teacher.

His brown eyes were warm when they met mine. "Good work, today, Ms. Height."

Good work. That wasn't even funny. He didn't realize that I didn't do any extra work. It almost made me sick. Even if he usually told me I did good work.

"Thank's, Mr. S." I said smiling shyly back. He really was a good teacher, even if he did give a few hard assignments and made a few rude (but deserved) comments when kids asked stupid questions. He wanted what was best for his students. That was one reason I actually tried in his class. I respected him.

Another was probably that I was a favorite, though. He didn't show it, but he was never rude to me or spoke badly of me in front of the entire class. The worst he probably ever did was not smile at me on my way out of the class.

"Oh, and don't hesitate if you need anything, Ms. Height." He added as I started on my way out the door. "Anything at all." I don't know why, but the reassuring statement made me stop. Most teachers didn't try to make sure their kids were taken care of, some not even listening at all. But it was different with Mr. Stewart. He cared.

I'm watching you. I frowned. Scorpion worried me. He scared me a little. If I said something, I was sure Mr. Stewart would let me trade seats or give me back my old partner. Maybe he would even watch Scorpion and make sure he never got anywhere near me in his class.

But . . . .

But I didn't want to tell. I was embarrassed to go to him with my problems. Maybe I should go to him with it . . . .

In the end, though, I felt I couldn't. I figured that if it got to be too big for my control, then I would go and talk to Mr. S. I could handle it for now.

If only I had known.

"Thanks, Mr. S." I said, smiling back at him. "Thanks a lot."

Before I left, I couldn't help but wonder if that odd twinkle in his eye as I thanked him was a sad one.