“Gaby, hurry your butt up or we’re going to be late!” Alyssa called from in front of her. Of course, she already knew that. They’d been late to class at least once every two weeks since 5th grade. But for some reason they still couldn’t break the habit; even four years later.
“I know, I know I’m coming!” Gaby hollered back, trying unsuccessfully to keep up with Alyssa’s pace which seemed to be increasing as the seconds passed. As she mumbled to herself about how it didn’t even matter if they were late (it’s the first day of freshmen year, who isn’t late?) she didn’t notice Alyssa making a sharp turn to her left. And of course, she didn’t notice till she was about 3 hallways down that Alyssa wasn’t speed walking in front of her anymore. Looking around, she found nothing useful that would help her find her way to homeroom. She glanced up at the clock on the wall and realized she only had about 2 minutes to find it. Groaning rather loudly, she marched back down the hall she had just been on, trying to ignore the multiple faces of older students who were now giving her weird looks. Picking up her speed even more, she practically ran down the main hall, turning down the very next hall she found. And smacked right into someone’s—a big, tall someone’s—chest. Both were caught off guard and before she knew it, she was lying on top of someone on the floor.
“Ow, shit. Of course this would happen, why not?” she mumbled to herself as she placed her hands on the floor to prop herself up. Wait, Gaby thought to herself, if I just ran into someone and fell on the floor but I’m not on the floor then I must be… Immediately after realizing what happened Gaby threw her head up, flinging her long black hair out of her face and tensed up. Noticing who she fell on, her cheeks burned.
“Ha, hi.” Josh said from underneath her. “You okay?” He asked her, his eyes sliding down to check if she was alright. When she watched Josh’s eyes freeze on her chest for a couple seconds she automatically wished she hadn’t worn a low cut shirt. The people who were standing around them in the hallway whistled.
“Um, yeah.” Gaby said, scrambling to her feet as fast as she could. Josh’s hand instantly went with her to steady her. When she was standing up straight and rubbing dirt off her pants, Josh dropped his hand and started to stand up. Cheeks still burning, Gaby started stammering. “Um, sorry I kinda, you know, just tackled you to the floor. I was kinda in a hurry to make it to homeroom.” Josh—who was now on his feet—picked up his hands to the surrendering position and said,
“It’s alright.” As they started walking down the hallway their shoulders rubbed against each other just like when they would walk to class together the year before. Gaby’s nerves instantly calmed down but they were still there. Josh gave her a light push with his shoulder. “You always say you can take me down anyway. I think I finally believe you.” Gaby laughed remembering all the times over summer break she had told him she could take him on or beat him up. He always denied it, claiming he’d just grab her and pin her to the floor and hold her there before she could even try anything. Not that she would complain.
“Ha, I told you I could take you on.” Gaby said, pushing him back the same way he had done to her. She gave him a triumphant, mocking smile as she looked up at him. “And what happened to “I’ll just grab you and pin you down to the floor”?” She quoted. Josh smiled kind of slyly down at her.
“Do you really want to know?” Did she ever.
“Bring it on; I’ll just throw you on the floor like I did just now!” Gaby teased, her smile growing playful. Within a matter of seconds Josh had her wrists in his hands and her arms crossed in front of her. He held her like that from behind her as they stumbled down the hallway, class entirely forgotten.
Gaby shrieked and tried to free her arms from Josh’s warm grip. She wiggled around, noticing how close they were. Josh had her back pressed up against his chest.
“What’d I tell you?” he said, his already deep voice turning even deeper as he mumbled the words into her ear. She was unable to control the shiver that ran through her. When she said nothing and pouted, Josh laughed and asked, “Do you give?”
“Never!” Gaby yelled, pushing off his chest, finally able to break out of his grip that had loosened as he spoke. Now free she walked backwards in front of him, just beyond his reach. He smiled at her as she stuck her tongue out at him. He lunged forward to try and grab her but she jumped back just in time—and ran into somebody. Whoever it was, obviously a girl, shrieked and turned around to face her.
“Finally!” Alyssa yelled grabbing Gaby’s wrist. “Where the hay did you go?” Gaby glanced back at Josh who was looking down at his schedule then at the number on the door Alyssa was standing in front of.
“Hey, are you two both in this homeroom?” he asked. Already knowing that she had the same homeroom as Gaby, Alyssa said,
“Yup, this is our room. Are you in here too?” Checking his schedule one last time, Josh nodded.
“Yeah. Looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot of each other.” He spoke to both of them but his eyes locked on Gaby’s. She smiled, a warm feeling filling her chest, just as the bell rang. They all shared a look and then hurried into the door. Josh waited behind the girls as they laughed and pushed each other out of the way, trying to get through. But when Gaby saw what was inside, she stopped short. Alyssa laughed from down on the floor where she landed when Gaby stopped so abruptly. Picking up on her stiff posture, Josh asked,
“Hey Gaby? Are you okay? What’s wrong?” He stepped up close behind her in order to see around (well, over) her into the classroom. Alyssa stopped laughing and sat up.
The room was completely empty.
No desks, no chairs, no students—not even a teacher.
“Um, we are in the right room, right?” Alyssa and Josh reached into their pockets and checked it with the sign on the door.
“Yup, room 802.” Alyssa answered.
“Then why the hell is it empty?” Gaby asked, skeptical.
“Well technically it’s not empty. See, there’s a chalkboard, right there?” Josh added, obviously being smart about it. He raised his eyebrows at Gaby and she whacked him with her bag.
“Ow?” Josh said, rubbing his arm.
“Then don’t be a smart ass.” Gaby said simply, giving him her snobby look. Josh smiled.
“I was not!”
“Oh whatever, don’t lie.” She hit him with her bag again.
“Hey guys?” Alyssa cut through their conversation. While they were talking she had wandered over to the only object in the room—the chalkboard. She was rubbing her fingertips on it with a confused look on her face. When the other two made it over to her she asked, “Does this chalkboard seem funny to y’all?”
“Well, besides being blue rather than green, no.” Gaby answered.
“Just feel it. It feels…kinda fuzzy.” Gaby gave Alyssa a puzzled, you’re crazy look but rubbed her fingers against the board anyway. It did feel fuzzy. Josh chuckled from behind them.
“You guys look weird.” Gaby shot him a dirty look and hit him with her free hand.
“Josh, feel it. It’s like really soft.”
“Didn’t I just tell you that you two look weird?” Gaby shot him an even dirtier look, but this time laced it with a little pout.
“Please?” Josh groaned in a very guyish way and reached forward to touch the board.
As soon as his fingers brushed against the surface of the chalkboard, the room exploded in light, and everyone blacked out.