This is the revised version…Enjoy!

I stared at the boy in front of me. He stood nonchalantly, complete with piercings and sinister black galore. "This has to be a joke." He stared right back, though his pierced eyebrow was crinkled with confusion, instead of my apparent disgust. The teacher stepped in front of me, and raised his eyebrow.

"Is something the matter with my pairing Samantha?" I felt a corner of my mouth curl when my name was spoken. Then I smiled sweetly. "Actually, I do." The eyebrow went higher. "He obviously has not worked a day in his life, physically or mentally." The "he" interjected with a "Hey!" But I continued on, ignoring the subject of my tirade. "If he was wearing all that black for a cause instead of fashion, I'd be surprised."

Mr. Tribani, or Mr. T as he was affectionately dubbed by generations of students was a Santa Claus persona, complete with a belly straining over a belt and white whiskers. I preferred to call him Mr. Tribani though. Teachers deserved respect, and they aren't going to get that with nicknames. Though he wasn't getting any extra respect from me at this moment. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was up to something. But I knew better, and that odd crinkle at his eyes was surely my imagination.

"Nice try Parker, but you're stuck with Berkley. Now remember, the idea is to shake you up, get you outside your comfort zone. Writing from another point of view will do that for you. So through out the next quarter, you will get to know your partner well enough to write their life's story, through their own eyes." A buzzer sounded all through the school, making Mr. T jump and his belly wiggle. A couple of students giggled.

He frowned at the brown box above the door, then looked at the class. "What are you all looking at? That confounded thing just dismissed you!" Every one grinned, except me. Everyone left, except me. Mr. T was staring at a paper in his hand and muttering about buzzer's being hazardous to certain people's health. I got tired of waiting to be noticed, so I cleared my throat pointedly. He slowly raised his eyes to look at me.

"Do you still have a problem Miss Samantha?" he queried. I planted my hands on his desk and leaned forward.

"Mr. Tribani, I may very well be too bold right now, but I can't work with Joey Berkley. You seem to think this is a good idea, but I can assure you its not. We are too different and I won't ever be able to understand his particular person well enough to write about it. May I please have another partner? Cynthia would love to be paired with Joey and Zack is perfectly acceptable to be a partner of mine."

Mr. T had sat down during my speech and now leaned back, the cheap green plastic crackling along with his movements. He steepled his fingers and studied me like a specimen on a microscope. "First of all, is this project too challenging for you? I had thought you would be one of my best students, but one has to be wrong once in a while." I started, and I could just feel my cheeks start to burn.

"No, Mr. Tribani. You misunderstand me. I can handle this project, just not with that rebel without a cause." Mr. T pursed his lips. He had to know I would object to it. And oh- he looked as if he were trying to stop a smile.

"Ah, so you question my judgment." He held up a hand before I could protest. "No Miss Sam, I can assure you that I had this quite carefully planned out. Contrary to your earlier statement, Joey possesses a very high mental capacity. You know too well the strict regulations it takes to enroll in this class. The staff did not make a mistake when they let Mr. Berkley in, nor did they take a bribe. Maybe the only reason you do not believe he is worthy of being your partner is because he does not participate as vigorously as you and your classmates do. You do not need to wave intelligence around like a flag to make others notice it. I have made my final decision, and I hope you have made one too. Perhaps you should think about apologies and how beneficial they are to society while you walk to lunch. I know you will succeed in this and all your endeavors and I can not wait for you and Mr. Berkley's final works."

With that, he did smile, though it was not one of mocking nor amusement. It did seem to be, however, one of pity. Though I strongly object to pity, I could not lift my head to even rebuke him. I shoved a hand through my hair unthinkingly, then instantly patted it back into place. I honestly liked Mr. Tribani, and still did, but his criticism had jolted me. While I'm not much for human contact, I respect my teachers and had hoped to get a recommendation from him at the end of this year.

Oblivious, I walked through the hall, clutching my books to my chest. I was suddenly jerked out of my state of oblivion by a hand on my elbow. Instinctively, I sprang away but not before I got in a panicked punch to my attacker.

Joey couldn't understand why this girl had something against him. Sure, most people shied away from his ensemble, but they weren't as open as Samantha had been.

So he had waited for her outside the classroom door. And waited. He finally decided to go to lunch, when a girl much paler than the one he had seen inside the class walked out of it. He called out, "Sam!" But she ignored him. Frustrated, he tried again, "Samantha Parker!" Some people were staring at him, but he honestly didn't care. Teeth set in determination, he strode through the crowd. He barely noticed how they parted silently for him, how there was no shoving like there normally was.

He grabbed her arm, not expecting the swift punch to his stomach. He managed not to double over as he glared at the girl staring at him with wide eyes. It takes a lot to get Joey Berkley mad, but he was mad now.

"What is your problem?" He exploded. He had waited a few seconds for an apology, but had gotten nothing but even wider eyes and slightly parted lips. "Just because you believe that you are superior doesn't mean you are. Get off your high horse and walk among us petty mortals for a few moments. Even the gods were capable of an apology. I was just trying to get your attention, Your Highness. But I bet all you could think about was how to get out of this project. I'm sorry I'm not good enough for you, but you need to come back to reality."

He stood there, face red with angry pants coming from the depths of his chest. But during his yelling, her face had changed too. No longer were there pale lips and face. No longer were there wide eyes and parted lips. Clenched teeth, angry red cheeks, and slitted eyes greeted him now. He barely had the chance to think, 'Wow, she's kinda hot,' before she was centimeters away.

A sharp stabbing pain occurred in his chest. He looked down to see a slender finger jabbing him there. He looked back up in time to watch her lips as she spoke, like a guy transfixed.

"I have my problems, but I openly admit them, and I don't hide them behind poor fashion trends." She paused to catch her breath- and just in time to catch something else. A giggle. They both swung around to see that they had drawn a crowd. Most of them were hoping for more physical contact than a finger into a chest. A few catcalls went out.

"Just kiss her already Berkley." "Yeah, all that sexual tension is getting to me." "Why don't you come over here sweetie, I'll treat you like a woman should be."


I rolled my eyes. It seemed like that was all I could do. Well, there was one more thing. I sneaked a look up at Berkley. He looked torn between furious and embarrassed. He stared out at the crowd, refusing to look at me. I couldn't really help it. I giggled. His head whipped down to stare at me. That just made me laugh. His look turned to confused. I kept laughing. Slowly, he began to smile. This was in itself a rare occurrence. Girls stared in wonder. They had never seen Joey Berkley smile.

Finally, I got a hold of myself, and linked arms with Joey. He was a bit startled by that, but went willingly when I started tugging him away. He had no idea what was going on, but he didn't want an audience again. So he twisted around fast and gave every one his trademark glare. It clearly said: Back off.

I saw it, but ignored it. Instead, when he turned to look back at me, I just tugged on his arm harder. I was about to get some answers, one way or another,