“You always reading,” the boy said. “You ever have any fun?”
My Terry Brooks novel was next to the keyboard. We were in computer class. Knowing what he was going to say next, I kept my eyes on the screen. I was getting better at pretending he wasn’t there.
He scooted his chair an inch closer. “You’ve never had a boyfriend, have you, girl?”
The cursor blinked at me. I tried to look for the teacher without appearing to look and hoped my classmate would get bored with this soon. Some days he gave up faster than others. He put his hand on the back of my chair and I resisted the impulse to move away.
“You’re as pure as snow. I can tell,” he said and leaned in a little closer. “Hey, why don’t you ever speak to me?”
I tried to type the program in, but the keys blurred. I wondered if any of my other classmates ever heard what he said.
“I think I might come over to your house some time. What do you think?”
I gave in to the pressure in my chest. “Don’t do that,” I said, but looked past him.
The teacher straightened up from helping a student across the room. “Would the two of you mind keeping your conversation until after class?” she said to us.
He laughed. “Sorry, Mrs. V,” he said. “We was just having a friendly chat.”
She rolled her eyes and went back to her desk. He winked at me. “After class, Snow White.”
He was assigned the seat next to me at graduation. We hadn’t spoken since the end of our junior year, and I hoped he wouldn’t recognize me. Sitting beside me under the June Florida sun, he glanced sideways at me. I concentrated on the feeling of pennies in my hand. That was our class joke. Every senior would pass the principal 86 pennies when given their diploma. My hand was sweaty and the pennies were hard to hold.
He cleared his throat, and I looked at the torn up grass. “Hey there,” he said. “You know, I just wanted to say sorry for those things I said. I was a real jerk and you’re nice girl.”
“Oh, what? In computer class?” I said. “I’d forgotten all about that. It’s no big deal.”
He relaxed a little. “I’d kill anybody who talked to my sister like that.”
“Yeah, well. I don’t have a brother, so…” I shrugged. We didn’t speak again.
I can’t stop from adding magic and bad guys to my stories. Weird things happen–rooms in a house rearrange themselves, let’s say–and at least one guy is a creep. So, two things are on my mind. Is the fantastic necessary or is it a distraction? I have a hard time telling if something moves the story forward or if it just makes me happy.
As for the guy…he may be a creep but I want him to be human. I’m not sure I pull that off. I’ve learned that some readers will see only the creep no matter what I do.
Now I’m going to try and work on listing the elements in my fiction. As if I know.