As I walk into math class, I see that someone's sitting in my seat. I swallow a sigh and look for another one but unfortunately, and also mysteriously, there's none left. I'd ask someone to move but I don't think anyone would take kindly to a bottom-rung asking them to move. So, I flop down on the ground at the front of the class to start taking notes. Miss Diabane walks in and almost trips over me, to which I spring up and apologise profusely. "Sorry! There were no seats left for some reason, I swear there were spares yesterday, but I thought it would be better to stay and be in class than skip?" The end comes out as more of a question, which isn't what I intended.
"Ugh, fine, but find a seat somewhere. And have you done your homework?" She snaps. Shit. "Uhh, yes?"
"Great! You can collect everyone's homework then!" She cackles evilly. Great. I sigh and start walking around attempting to collect the homework. Most of the students are above Miss Diabane, so they don't bother, but there are a few at or below her, so at least I can get theirs. As I pass the occupant of my usual seat, I dare to glance at it. I freeze. Quinn. He's not even aware that it's my seat! He goes to look up at me but stops when he catches the eye of his friends, who were looking at him with curiosity from their usual seats on the other side of the room. Surprisingly, Quinn hands me a worksheet with pencil marks scrawled over it. My shock must show on my face - he's so high up on the social tiers he doesn't need to do homework - and I end up standing there like the idiot I am, staring dumbly at the paper in my hands. Clearing her throat at the delay, Mrs Diabane holds her hand out for the sheets and I gladly give them over. "What about my seat? I still have nowhere to sit," I point out.
"Does anyone have a spare seat?" Mrs Diabane calls. She's met with blank looks and slow head shakes. Suddenly, an idea hits me. "I'm pretty sure today's work is in the textbook, so is it okay if I go into the library to study?" The teacher sighs and nods her head. I gather my stuff and wave goodbye to Marissa on the way out. The library is a safe haven, the one place that I can be free and not have to worry about my social status. I open the heavy oak doors and breathe in the smell of thousands of paperback books. I drop my stuff on the nearest table and get my earbuds out. If I'm going to study, I may as well do it on my own terms. I set up my favourite Spotify playlist and plug my ears with the earbuds attached to my phone. Opening the textbook, I start the work, only pausing when I have to turn a page. After a while, I sense that someone's coming towards me. Huh. Mustn't've heard the bell ring. I don't bother looking up as I say "Marissa, I swear to God you better be here to give me a pep talk or chocolate or something because this assignment is killing me - and I'm not even doing it myself!" Someone clears their throat above me, probably to hide a laugh, and I freeze. That, I think, is most definitely not Marissa. I freeze, mentally cursing myself, and turn around to see who it was. As always, my coordination skills are top-notch and I severely misjudge the space between them and my chair.
So, right now, I'm about 4 inches from Quinn Anderson's face.
He laughs, his eyes glimmering with something - an emotion I can't quite place. "Hey, it's Teresa, right?" I nod and step back, almost falling over my chain in the process and feeling my face heat up. Quinn smiles at me before saying, "I didn't get a chance to talk to you earlier, but I just wanted to say sorry for taking your spot in class today. I know you usually sit there but…" He trails off and once again his expression is hard to place. I can feel myself blushing again. Why am I blushing? And more importantly - Why in the hell does Quinn Anderson know where I sit?
The bell rings and I wince, realising I never ended up finishing that maths assignment.