Ursa flirts with a different man. Vix gets quite a surprise.
Ursa's third class that day was Creative Writing. She took her seat in the left middle of the class and pulled out her notebook and assignment.
When Louis came in, she met his eyes feeling a little bashful. They'd spoken a handful of times, since he usually ended up sitting right next to her. He was shorter than her, but he was fit and didn't take himself too seriously. His short, brown hair always looked very clean, his green eyes were always clear and sharp, and his teeth were impeccably straight and white.
Louis was definitely cute.
"Hey," he said, smiling. He sat to her right and she made herself busy by reading over her short story. It was about a farmer's daughter who found out she could grow flowers that gave birth to fairies. It wasn't her favorite; it was a little too light-hearted.
She turned her head and Louis was watching her. A tiny smile lit her face. "What's up?"
"You know that play-writing assignment due next week?"
"Would you want to watch a play that was mostly asides?"
"That depends. It could end up coming off as pretentious. What's it about?" They were in the type of conversation where they were completely focused on each other. His every tiny facial expression was communication.
"It's set in a hospital during World War II. People who are in bad condition start dropping off."
"Okay," Ursa said, smirking. "I'm interested."
Louis smiled back, his white teeth peeking through for a moment. "So it turns out that one of the patients is a German spy."
"Does he have an accent?"
The teacher walked in and Louis lowered his voice. Ursa had to lean toward him to hear his next words. "The asides are full of speculations from the staff about what's happening."
"That actually sounds really cool. What's happening in the background?"
"The staff is trying to save lives, but they fail again and again."
"It's brilliant, Louis," Ursa said. It wasn't flattery.
"Not pretentious?" he asked, with an eyebrow raised.
She shook her head. "I'm kind of annoyed now."
"Well, first of all, it sounds way better than mine, and secondly, I want to know how it ends."
The teacher was standing at the board, ready to begin the lesson. "I haven't decided yet," he said, nearly whispering.
She made a moue for his benefit.
After the teacher had been talking for a few minutes, he turned to face the board and Louis slipped a note onto her desk. She tried not to smile so her pursed lips twitched.
The note read:
I'm trying to decide between ending it with a bloodbath
Or with a kiss.
Ursa read the note a few times. Then she put her pen to the page and wrote:
A kiss, definitely.
She folded the paper, waited for an opening and placed the note calmly on his desk.
He wrote: The feminine answer. I should have known.
And Ursa wrote back: Ask the opinion of a woman...
Louis read the note and laughed. The teacher glanced at him suspiciously and Louis shook his head humbly.
He wrote: You almost got me in trouble. Literary women are such bad influences.
This time, Ursa laughed. She hurriedly shoved the note into her bag. Then, embarrassed, she attempted to catch up with the lesson.
When it was over, Louis walked out with her. "Where are you parked?"
"Over by Avery hall."
"Me too," he said.
Ursa felt very gawky walking next to him. He probably thought of her like an Amazon. Actually, that didn't sound too bad. She liked him. It was so great talking to someone who could interest her like that. She braced herself and took a chance. "Hey, Louis. D'you want to go get some coffee or something?"
He grinned, slyly. "Really? Coffee? That's what you go with?"
Ursa blushed hard and covered her face with her hand. "Oh, my God."
He laughed happily and put his hand on her arm to keep her from making her escape. "Ursa, I was kidding. Coffee or drinks or whatever. Really. I'm in."
She peeked at him from between her fingers. "Okay."
He laughed again. "You can take your hand down; I'm not going to make fun of you again."
"I'm waiting until my face turns back to its normal color."
He grinned. "Damn, you're cute. I've always thought that."
Her hand dropped. "Really?"
"Yeah. But you never seemed to be interested in me. You were always so reserved, I figured you had a boyfriend."
"Oooh, you're bad. Passing notes about kissing to a girl with a boyfriend..."
"I live life on the edge, Ursa."
They grinned at each other for a second before Ursa had to look away bashfully.
She was incredibly happy, but then, for some reason, she thought of Erik Daughtry and felt a twinge of guilt.
Vix was in auto shop and she and Kyle Perkins were changing a carburetor.
"Vix!" Kyle said with a laugh. "You've got grease all over your forehead."
Vix wiped her forehead with the back of her hand and sighed. "Dammit. I can't get my head straight."
He shook his head at her. "What is wrong with you, man? You're acting all girly today."
She gave him a confused look. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Auto shop was the place where Vix was the most at ease; in her element. She was the ace of her class. There, no one had ever before accused her of being "girly".
"You keep looking in the sideview mirror at yourself and you're wearing something unspeakable. Well, it's gotten better with the grease streaks."
Vix looked down at her now-stained, green top and grunted. "Shit."
"See?" Kyle asked. "Since when do you care about your outfit?"
"Aw, shut up," she said, leaning back over the car. "I can worry about my clothes. I'm a girl, aren't I?"
"Well, yeah," he said, ducking his head under the hood with her. "I know that. I just never thought that you knew that."
She pointed her mini-flashlight at his face, making him squint his hazel eyes. "What's the big deal? I'm a woman now. Get used to it."
He pushed her hand away. "You're in love." It sounded like an accusation.
Vix didn't feel the need to reply, especially if he was going to be such a jerk about it.
Kyle put his hands down on the side of the car. "Who is it?"
"He's..." Suddenly, the carburetor didn't seem so important. She inspected Kyle's face. It had gotten lighter somehow as she'd tried to begin her sentence. Even though they'd spent the whole year together, it seemed like she was noticing him for the first time. He was a serious guy and that's why Vix usually chose him as her partner. He cared about cars as much as she did. His blonde hair was always around an inch long and carefully messed up. His hazel eyes were always focused.
Now, they were entirely focused on her.
"Hey, Kyle?" she said under a weight on her chest. "Why do we always team up in here?"
One of his eyebrows raised in a defiant sort of way. "It's 'cause we're a good team."
"Good at working on cars together. Right?"
"Yeah. What else?"
"I don't know. I feel like maybe I've been oblivious..."
He grunted and turned his eyes to the engine. "I keep it professional. Besides, up until a minute ago, I thought you were gay."
The thought was so surprising to Vix that she burst out laughing. She had to lean against the car. "You thought I was gay this whole time?" She giggled.
He was watching her with his mouth hanging open so he tore his eyes away again. "You're doing it again. Acting girly."
"I'm not acting any differently than normal!"
"Yes, you are! You usually act so tough and in control."
"So, what? Now you don't find me intimidating? Why the hell are you complaining?"
He stared into her eyes. "No, I never did find you intimidating. But now I do. Stop acting like a cute girl!"
She glared at him. "Well, the fact is that I am a girl. Just because I love working on cars and don't usually wear pretty clothes doesn't change the fact, Kyle. I never expected you to be some kind of sexist asshole, but if it bothers you so much to work with me, we can change partners!" She turned to storm off, but he grabbed her arm.
"Wait. I'm sorry, my words are coming out all weird, okay? I definitely don't want to change partners." He sighed and shook his head a little. "Let's get back to work and I'll try to explain."
Vix frowned and rolled her eyes; rolled her shoulder to dislodge his warm, dry fingers from her arm. "Fine."
They went back to work.
"It's like this: the first day of school, I totally got a crush on you."
Vix turned away from the engine to give him an incredulous look.
He grimaced and motioned for her to keep working.
Vix frowned at that, but reached over and pulled the new carburetor from its box. She was trying to stay calm, but there was this really strange tickle between her shoulder blades. It had been growing there since Kyle had accused her of being in love.
"So, after a few days, when Mr. Morrison told us to pair up, I asked you to be my partner. Remember?"
"Sure," she said, fitting the carburetor into place. "Shine the light over here."
"Okay, well, after I started working with you, I realized that you were only interested in cars." He passed her a wrench.
"Yeah? So? Did you expect me to fawn all over you and want you to do all the work? 'Cause you're the big man?"
He looked a little sheepish. "Well, yeah, kind of. I thought I could impress you."
Vix couldn't hide a look of disgust, but she sent it at the carburetor.
"But it was so much better that I couldn't impress you. I mean, I respect you, man. I admire you. I could relax around you because you acted like a guy."
Vix ground her teeth and raised the wrench. "I could hit you with this, you know."
He smiled. "I know. I'm just saying: I've always liked you, Vix. I just never thought you liked men, so I gave up."
Vix shook her head. "Kyle, this is the worst confession in the history—"
Kyle leaned farther under the hood and kissed her.
For a second, the tingles rushing from her lips stunned her, but then she pulled away. She held up her hand. "Dude."
He grinned, showing his teeth. "I kissed you."
"Uh, yeah. You did." She felt her cheeks in flames so she busied herself with the car.
"I've wanted to do that for a long time."
"Well, I hope it lived up to expectation." She bared her teeth confrontationally. "Don't do it again."
He nodded but he was smirking, and Vix couldn't help wanting to smile back.
This was incredibly fun, but wasn't it wrong for some reason?
Vix dropped her wrench and it fell down into the engine. Galen! What about Galen? She loved him!
She reached down to retrieve the wrench. How could she do that to him?
Then she remembered what Layla had said. Was that just some effect of a spell?
No way. It couldn't be.
"I really am in love with someone else," she blurted out.
Kyle watched her for a second and his head dropped a little. "Ah. Okay. Say no more." He gave a weak smirk; then stopped smiling; stopped looking at her. "Sorry for acting weird."
It made Vix's spirits drop to her feet.