Bridget was holding the book inside the desk, balancing her stares somewhere between the chalkboard and the biography. It was History, the most dreaded of all classes. But she always brought a book for comfort, and it was always the same book.
As the door opened, she averted her gaze from the worn pages and involuntarily stared at the new figure in the doorway. Her stomach did a back flip. She'd never seen him before, but prayed this wouldn't be the last time. He looked like the embodiment of everything she secretly wished she could be. He had a safety pin in his mouth and six earrings in each ear. His hair was dyed black and held up in longish spikes. He was wearing all black... it almost looked like he was Walking Death.
Everyone was staring. Mrs. Kollman did so herself before speaking.
"Yes?" she asked, almost tentatively.
"Uh yeah... I just transferred," he had a dark voice... almost synthesized.
"And your name is?" Mrs. Kollman's voice carried a hint of exasperation. Everyone else in the class was a prep... and it seemed like Mrs. Kollman liked it just fine the way it had been up until a few moments ago.
"Frank," he answered simply.
"I see. Well, just sit down," she said, her eyes narrowed as she looked at him.
He nodded briefly and scanned the room for an empty seat. That's when he noted the girl with the furious flush on her face, trying to look absorbed in a book she was at the same time trying to conceal. He stepped between the desks, getting occasional dark glances from the cheerleader/ jock occupants of these desks, until he reached the very back. He sat beside the girl. She didn't look like much, but at least she didn't seem like the type to keep staring at him, thinking he was the antichrist.
"You can get back to work. Pages 160-192 of your textbook have to be read by tomorrow, so you'd better start as soon as possible," Mrs. Kollman said in a brisk voice as she noticed that most of her class were talking amongst themselves, and casting occasional glances at Frank. After hearing this, most of the students reluctantly opened their textbooks again and poured over their musty pages.
Mrs. Kollman scanned the isles of desks like a hawk. When she realized that Frank was just sitting casually in his desk, staring at the walls, she felt besides herself. Her prejudice for him was growing with every second. She practically ran to his desk and whispered furiously, "You're part of this class now, so start doing the work!"
"But I don't have a book," he whispered, as innocently as he could with his unusual voice. When Bridget heard it, she realized the uncanny similarity between his voice and the subject of her book's.
Ever since Mrs. Kollman had told him to sit down she had prayed and hoped and crossed her fingers that he would sit in the desk beside her, and when he did, she couldn't read the words in front of her clearly anymore.
"I'm sure that you could have been resourceful enough to ask Bridget to share her book with you!" Mrs. Kollman said in an even angrier tone, startling the still pensive Bridget. As she looked towards Bridget, she noticed the book, half concealed in the desk. Frank studied her, as she looked up at the teacher. Mrs. Kollman was growing steadily madder and madder.
"Bridget, how many times have I told you not to bring THAT, into my classroom. Some teachers might approve of it, but I don't!" she said in the worst sort of mock calm.
"I'm sorry," Bridget stammered apologetically.
"I'm going to have to confiscate it. I've told you one too many times," Mrs. Kollman said cruelly.
"B-but no! I promise... I won't - I wont bring it in here again! Please, please you have to let me keep it," Bridget said, taking the book out in one swift movement and bringing it to her chest. Her eyes darted away from Mrs. Kollman and realized everyone was staring, including him. She hadn't meant to object so loudly, but when it came to this certain book, she couldn't let go. She felt tears starting to form... But that was ridiculous... it was only a book. But...
Mrs. Kollman pursed her lips. "Put it away. If I catch a glimpse of it ever again, I'm taking it away. Share your History textbook with him," she said sternly, motioning towards Frank.
Bridget nodded fervently, and made to hastily put the book into her bag. A large hand encircled the tiny wrist holding the volume. Frank was pretty sure what book it was, when Bridget had taken it from the desk and hugged it, but he wanted to make sure. The dreary cover faced him squarely now, and he smiled as Bridget looked at him with surprise. She wasn't sure why he grabbed her hand, until he let go and groped for something in his own bag. He retrieved a volume of the same book. He smiled at her. And she smiled back, the first genuine smile she had given someone in years.