The students in Mr. Girard's class were doing one of two things: slouching in their desks, half asleep, or whispering and giggling to each other, trying to pass notes. Harmon alternated between observing Mr. Girard and actually doing his math homework. He was a junior and had chosen a study hall over an off hour. That may not make sense; half of the students in there had no choice because their grades were so poor. Harmon had a very specific reason, however.

The reason was something he had a hard time admitting to himself, and there was no way in hell he was telling anyone else about it. Even his best friend, Cameron, had no idea what was going on. The reason tied his insides together and left him dizzy; it also gave him occasional insomnia and his cheeks to grow red when his imagination got carried away.

Harmon snapped his gaze back to the math textbook in front of him when his teacher's green eyes flicked to his. He rested his cheek on his forearm, facing the board and letting his hair fall in his eyes. His hair was a security blanket, hiding his face and true expressions from the world and providing a sense of safety. He looked down, sideways at his paper and wrote out a few more equations and answers for a few minutes before setting his pencil down. He tentatively peered through his dark hair at Girard. He faced his computer, eyes moving back and forth. He was reading something. Harmon watched, knowing his hair would keep his eyes hidden. He looked to the clock and upon discovering he had ten minutes left, he went into full focus mode. Harmon ended up finishing with three minutes to spare. Satisfied, he straightened, cracking his spine, and then crossed his arms and laid them on his desk, dropping his head on them.

"It's a little late in the class to be going to sleep, don't you think, Harmon?" Girard grinned, his eyes never quite leaving the monitor of his computer.

"Oh, I'm not going to sleep," Harmon laughed nervously. Shit, was he watching the whole time? He barely peeked up, seeing his teacher chuckle and nod. Girard did this on purpose. Harmon could tell; the teacher knew how easy it was for him to fluster and tease the younger male. He hid his eyes again, butterflies fluttering back into nothing. The bell rang shortly after, and as usual, he packed up slower than the rest and left the room last, stalling as much as he could to linger. He always passed the threshold and took off down the stairs to gym. There were three floors to descend, and the time he wasted in the end of class in Girard's room always left him with seconds to spare before the next bell.

At the end of the day he would get in his dad's old car and drive himself home. The car hadn't been handed down to him; he had to use his paychecks and do extra work around the house until he earned it. For two thousand dollars and six months of almost doubled chores, Harmon got himself a ten year old Subaru. He got home at three-ten every day and he napped until four, when his little sister Leigh got off the school bus. Harmon kept an eye on her until their parents got home at five-forty-five, at which point he left for work. He worked at a bookstore a few blocks east of the high school, from six until closing at eleven.

Ever since he started that job his mother insisted he should just find a weekend job, seeing as eight hours of sleep was best for his body and the combined stress of work and school would be a lot on a teenager. He shook his head and smiled, responding with "I need work experience and responsibility before going out into the world." Of course she admired the maturity of his statement, but she worried about depression and getting over stressed due to lack of sleep and a packed schedule. He said he caught up on his sleep over the weekends, when he slept in until noon and watched Leigh if his parents decided to go out. Weekends were also the only time they had real family meals. During the week, Harmon warmed up last night's left overs or a frozen burrito, whereas on Saturdays his parents were off and they had dinner around five so Harmon wouldn't be late for work. On Sundays, everyone was off. They could eat dinner together and he could babysit Leigh for the evening if they decided to go out to a movie or a few drinks with friends.