Chapter 5: Irony

I rolled my eyes, almost near exploding with a fit of giggles.

"I know, I mean…I didn't know but…It did feel like something was coming!" I said, almost hysterical as a new emotion washed over me.

I couldn't believe I had escaped. Just the fact that Dean had the guts to talk to me in that way was absolutely absurd. After so many small talk conversations with him, after all this time, I was starting to believe myself that we had never truly had a thing. That it had been all just a bad dream, like I had hoped…like I had feared. But there he was, reinstating my wonderfully romantic life. I giggled again, it seemed laughing seeped some of the excess emotion out of my mystified mind.

I quickly put my hand over my mouth, trying to stifle the insane laughter. Mara was staring at me. Blatant concern for my sanity plastered on her face.

"God, how hard did you hit your head?" she asked, mentioning my injury from last night.

I shrugged, my laughs dieing off. "It really doesn't hurt at all." I replied, putting my hand to my head and gently prodding the tender spot there. "No it's really not that bad…"

Mara just shook her head. "No…I meant…Oh, never mind," she grinned at my slowness, "What all happened in there?"

I hesitated, all the hysterical laughter and absurdity of the situation draining from my clouded mind, leaving only a dull numb sensation. I raked my hands through my hair, allowing it to fall where it may. It wasn't that I didn't want to tell Mara what had happened. Just the extreme swings my emotions were taking left me breathless and that breath was vital for clear thought.

Mara waited patiently as I collected myself, leading me out of the semi-crowded hallway, into a deserted classroom. She pressed me firmly into a desk and sat across from me. I looked at her kind blue eyes, auburn curls, and expertly applied cobalt eye shadow, and I told her exactly what happened. She sat patiently throughout the entire story, just as I knew she would. And finally when I had finished did she ask the question I knew was coming.

"And do you still love him?"

I knew it was coming, but the words still hit me like stones aimed skillfully at my heart. The truth was, I didn't know. There was so much uncertainty, so much fear, and so much panic in my life, that a thing like love was easily over looked. And how could I know for sure? Who was I to think like that? Who was I to know really what love was? Yes, it was true, my feelings for Dean were still there, buried so far under all the pain that I wasn't sure what exactly to label those feelings as. But what I knew for certain, beyond all the fear and terror that my life consisted of, was that I wanted to feel safe. And in the brief time that Dean and I were something, I had felt that.

But to deny Dean of what he wanted, in a weird melodramatic and evil kind of way, would be some sort of happiness also. To know that he had been rejected, alone, and broken just as I had been, would feel like some sort of victory. But to do that, to see him suffer, would hurt also. It would hurt just like it had all over again, and I knew I would feel it, the cold, numb, retched feeling of rejection, just because he did.

I didn't know what to say to Mara. I could quite easily laugh and tell her that love couldn't be felt by people who were seventeen. But I knew Mara would see right through it, because we both knew that wasn't the case. So instead, I answered her the only way I knew how: I panicked.

"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know!" I said, throwing my arms in the air. I felt so drained of emotion, so empty, it scared me.

Mara seemed to have seen this coming, so she did not look surprised as my eyes slowly filled with tears. I wiped at them shamefully as they fell. Why was I always the weak one?

"It's OK," Mara said soothingly, "you've just had a really rough coupled of days. You just need to calm down."

I chortled, "Sure, calm down, with him lurking the halls."

Mara looked puzzled, and her porcelain brow furled.

"Who?"

I gave her a tremendous look and she seemed to understand.

"Oh…" she said, "Don't worry about him, he seems nice enough."

Crushing nausea came down on me, breaking through the tears. She didn't understand. No one did. They all seemed to think that the paranoia I felt would go away, because logically it should. In their minds, everyone is a little bit afraid of strangers, but once you get to know them well enough, that fear just melted away. They didn't seem to comprehend that it was different with me. They didn't understand the things I felt when I saw a random outsider at the movie theater, or at the docks. They just believed that I was a little bit different than the rest of them, and that my fears where a little bit stronger and I just needed outside strength to get rid of them. They thought that a comforting word, a squeeze on the shoulder, and some fresh air would do. Most didn't know how deeply embedded the fear was.

I thought Mara understood, after all, she had been there through the roughest times.

The "late" bell rang, loud and clear, three times. I jumped, and looked up at Mara. She seemed to think that we should go and gestured to the door. I nodded, not wanting to go back to Physics, but knowing that I must.

When we reached the door Mara turned around and grabbed me by the shoulders looking into my eyes.

"Alex," she said, "This is all new to me…and I don't exactly know how to handle the whole official new kid business. I don't want you to feel like I don't understand. I don't want you to feel like you have to go into that classroom."

I stared at her, and wondered if she could read minds; because for the trillionth time in our lives, Mara seemed to have guessed exactly what I was thinking.

She winked at me, with that aura of confidence that she always had around her still in tact. "Bet you thought you were all alone in this, didn't you?"

I didn't know what to say. I just stared at her, shaking my head slowly. "Ya, I did."

She smiled at me again, and shrugged her shoulders. "Alex, I know you're scared now, but once you hang around him and get used to him, maybe you'll feel better and maybe you won't, but we'll get through this."

I laughed at that. Such a small statement, filled with truth; maybe she did understand. I opened my mouth to respond, but Mara had already swung the door in. The sight that greeted me was very strange. The entire class was sitting straight ahead, actually listening to the teacher, Warty, or as we were forced to call him, Mr. Wert.

Mr. Wert was standing at the front of the class as always, on a slightly raised platform behind the counter that was the teacher's desk. He was gesturing at the whiteboard with a finger plastered in band-aids. He was a short and stocky man with grey hair that reached his shoulders in thin wispy strands. His nose was rather large and was sporting a bright purple band-aid underneath the circular glasses that rested on it. He jumped a little as we abruptly entered the classroom. It seemed he was ill at ease with the class paying such close attention.

He nervously picked at one of the numerous band-aids that covered the warts on his hands as he spoke to Mara and I. "Oh, Alexis, Marilyn," he squeaked, "How nice of you to join us. Please take your seats."

Mara smiled fleetingly and walked toward the back of the class as I quickly scooted behind her. I tried not to be conscious of the stares we received as we walked by, instead I studied my sneakers. I looked up when we turned the corner, but what I saw made me wish I never came. Sitting there, in between Dean, Lydia, and now Mara, was him.

My mind panicked even though my body refused to move. Why was he there, I needed to sit there. My life depended on being right beside Mara, and how was I supposed to do that when his stupidly beautiful blond face was there instead? Why couldn't this guy go back to wherever he came from and stay there? Why did he have to take the last available seat in the entire classroom?

"Sorry, Alexis dear," Warty squeaked from the front of the classroom, "I seem to have given Isaac your seat."

My eyes flickered to Mr. Wert, standing at the top of the platform, then to Isaac, and finally to the big black lettering on the board.

I groaned, Sir Isaac Newton and the Units of Force.

Hey there! Please review, and tell me if you actually got the irony in this chappie. I dunno, maybe it didn't come across. Anyways, let me know what you think, I am willing to rewrite it if need be.

Thanks for your time, and (hopefully) your review,

arial-96