"So he's from North Carolina." Erin whispered to Mikaela about the new kid, while Mr. Faulkner was introducing himself to the English class.
"He's far from home." Mikaela whispered over her shoulder.
"Apparently he wanted a quiet life." Erin whispered back, "He has this class with us actually."
Mikaela quickly glanced around. "I don't see him. Maybe your 'school spirit' scared him away." She giggled.
"Whatever." Erin gently pushed Mikaela's left shoulder.
"Girls!" Mr. Faulkner's baritone voice cut through Mikaela and Erin's chatter. The whole class stared at them.
They looked up at their teacher who had a head full of chestnut colored hair. He was wearing a light blue, long sleeved shirt which was neatly tucked inside his black khaki pants.
"Is there something you want to share with the class?" He narrowed his eyes at Erin and Mikaela.
"Uh no." Erin shook her head, "Sorry Mr. Um…uh…" She smiled uneasily.
"Faulkner." He kept a straight face.
"Yes that," Erin nodded. "We were just talking about how much of a great teacher you're going to be and how much we're going to enjoy learning in your class." Erin widened her smile.
"Really?" He stared at them suspiciously.
Mikaela nodded uneasily.
"Well," Mr. Faulkner began, "if that's the case then please tell me what I just said."
"Uh you know," Erin forced a smile, "English stuff."
Snickers escaped from some of the students.
"Right." Mr. Faulkner sighed, "Pay attention." He returned to the board.
"Anyway, back to the hottie." Erin went back to whispering to Mikaela.
"Shhh!" Mikaela waved her hand at her.
"Listen to me!" Erin whispered again.
Mikaela ignored her.
"MiMi!" She tugged on Mikaela's long black hair.
Mikaela was about to say something when she heard the class room door open. The new kid that she and Erin saw earlier walked into the classroom.
"You're late." Mr. Faulkner stared at him.
"Sorry." His voice was low and hoarse, he handed Mr. Faulkner a paper.
Mr. Faulkner studied it for a second and handed it back to him. "New to this school." a tiny smile on his lips, "Well I don't know what you're used to in North Carolina Mr. Grey, but here I expect my students to be on time."
The new kid nodded.
"Take a seat over there." Mr. Faulkner pointed to the empty desk next to Mikaela.
"Hey Damien!" Erin waved at the new kid as he sat down.
He turned around and smiled at politely smiled at her.
"This is my friend Mikaela."
"Welcome to Port Orford." Mikaela smiled.
He turned to face Mikaela but when he made eye contact, his eyes widened, a serious look masked his face and a faint growl escaped his lips. He quickly turned away and stared straight ahead.
Erin and Mikaela were puzzled.
"Is everything ok?" Mikaela whispered to Damien, concern and confusion lacing her voice.
Damien didn't acknowledge her, instead he kept his stare straight ahead.
"Hey I'm talking to you!" She raised her whisper.
Damien continued ignoring her, a stern look on his face. He was gripping the edge of the desk so hard that his knuckles turned white.
Mikaela looked back at Erin with a confused look on her face.
Erin stared at Damien and shrugged.
Mikaela surreptitiously scooted her chair near Damien's so that Mr. Faulkner wouldn't notice.
"Stay away!" Damien harshly whispered, his eyes straight ahead, with beads of sweat forming at his forehead.
Mikaela stared at him with hurt in her eyes and pushed her seat back to its original spot. "Are you ok?" She leaned over to ask him.
"I said stay away!" He sounded angry and bolted up from the desk. The legs of his chair squealed, drawing attention to Damien.
"Is everything alright?" Mr. Faulkner asked.
"I need to be excused." Damien collected his book bag and headed out the classroom.
"Wait you need a hall pass!" Mr. Faulkner yelled after Damien but he was long gone.
Mikaela sat there with her mouth wide open as she tried to make sense of what it was about her that freaked out Damien so much.