Perfect Chemistry

Brittany Fisher seems to have it all; wealthy parents, the perfect boyfriend and the "right" group of friends. But when Brittany is forced to become lad partners with Zayn Malik, a gang member from the wrong side of town, her perfect life starts to unravel.

Zayn is a bad boy, and he knows it, so when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it.

But as they grow closer, sparks begin to fly and they both realise that sometimes appearances can be deceptive. Will their emerging feelings be enough to keep them together when the world is determined to tear them apart?

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3. Chapter 3

 

*Brittany*

          I turn on my phone and call home before chemistry to see how my sister is doing. Brenda isn’t too happy because Tasmin was freaking out about the way her lunch tasted, apparently shortly after she pursued on to tip her bowl of yoghurt onto the floor in protest.

          Was it too much to hope that my mum would take a day off from hanging out at the local club to ease Brenda in? Summer is officially over and I can’t be there to pick up where the caretakers usually leave off. I should be focusing on school. Getting into my first choice Uni so I can go to the closest one to home and be there for my sister as much as possible. After giving Brenda some suggestions over the phone I hang up, take a deep breath, paste on a smile and walk into class.

          “Hey babe I saved you a seat” Colin motions to the stool next to him

          The room is arranged with rows of high lab tables for two, this means I’ll be sitting next to Colin for the rest of the year and be doing the dreaded A2 project together. Feeling foolish for thinking things wouldn’t be okay between us I slip onto the stool and pull out my heavy textbook.

          “Hey look! Malik’s in our class” a guy called Liam calls out from the back of the room “Zayn, over here mate”

          I try not to stare as Zayn greets his friends with pats on the back and handshakes way too complicated to reproduce. Actually, I think the presence of Zayn caught just about all of the attention from everyone in the room.

          “I hear he was arrested last weekend for possession of meth” Colin whispers into my ear, making jump slightly

          “No way” I gasp slightly as he nods his head

          “Yep.” Well, the information shouldn’t surprise me. I hear most weekends Zayn spends drugged out, passed out, or doing some other unknown illegal activity.

          Mrs Peterson closes the door to the classroom with a bang and all eyes move from the back of the room, where Zayn and his friends are sitting, to the front where Mrs Peterson is now standing. She has light brown hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, the woman is probably in her late twenties, but her glasses and perpetual stern expression make her look way older. I hear she’s tough now because her first year teaching the students made her cry. They didn’t respect her as a teacher who was young enough to be their older sister or something like that.

          “Good afternoon and welcome to A2 chemistry” she sits on the edge of her desk and opens a folder “I appreciate you picking your own seats, but I make the seating arrangements…alphabetically.”

          I groan along with the rest of the class, but Mrs Peterson doesn’t miss a beat. She stands in front of the first lab table and says “Colin Adams, take the first seat. You’ll be partnered with Darlene Baunem”

          Darlene is deputy head girl, next down from me. She flashes me an apologetic smile as she slides onto the stool next to my boyfriend. Down the list Peterson goes, students reluctantly moving to their assigned seats.

          “Brittany Fisher” she says, pointing to the table behind Colin. I unenthusiastically sit on my stool, “Zayn Malik” she finishes, pointing to the stool next to me.

          Holy shitcakes. Zayn…my chemistry partner? Fuck, now way, SO not okay. I give Colin a ‘help me’ look as I try to avoid a panic attack. I definitely should have stayed at home. In bed. Under the covers. Forget not being intimidated.

          “Oh and Mr Malik? Take off that bandanna. I have a zero tolerance policy in my class. No gang-related accessories are allowed to enter this room. Unfortunately, Zayn, your reputation precedes you. Dr Fletcher backs my zero tolerance policy one hundred percent…do I make myself clear?

          Zayn stares her down before sliding the bandanna off his wrist, exposing a small bird tattoo on the side of his hand. She goes down the rest of her list while I do everything in my power not to make eye contact with the guy sitting next to me. It’s too bad I left my purse in my locker or I could pretend to look for nothing like Amber did this morning.

          “This sucks” Zayn mumbles to himself. His voice is dark and husky. Does he do that on purpose? How am I going to explain to my mother I have to partner with Zayn Malik? Oh god, I hope she doesn’t blame me somehow for screwing this up. Fuck it, what am I saying. Of course she will.

          I glance at my boyfriend, deep in conversation with Darlene. I’m so jealous, no point in even hiding it. Why couldn’t my last name be anything other than Fisher? It’d be nice if God gave everyone a Do Over Day and you could just yell “Do over!” and the day would start new. This would definitely qualify for a DOD.

          Does Peterson actually think it’s sensible to partner the head girl with the most dangerous guy around? That woman is delusional.

          Mrs Delusional finally finishes assigning seats “I know you think you guys know everything. But you should never think of yourself as a success until you can help treat diseases that plague mankind or make earth a safer place to live. The field of chemistry plays a crucial role in developing medicines, radiation treatments for cancer patients, petroleum uses, the ozone-”

          Zayn raises his hand.

          “Zayn?” the teacher asks mid-speech

          “Uh Mrs Peterson, are you sayin’ that Obama isn’t a success?”

          “No, what I’m saying is…money and status aren’t everything. Use your brain and do something for mankind or the planet. Then you’re a success. And you’ll have earned my respect, which not many people in this world can boast about”

          “I got things I can boast about Mrs P” Zayn says, obviously amusing himself and his herd of bandits that are now spread out among the class

          “Please spare any details Zayn” she says, holding her hand up in protest.

          I shake my head, if Zayn thinks antagonising the teacher will get us a good grade, he’s sadly mistaken. It’s obvious she doesn’t like smart asses and my partner is already on her radar

          “Now” Mrs Delusional says “look at the person next to you”

          Anything but that. Please? But I clearly don’t have a choice. I glance over at Colin who seems pretty content with his assigned partner. Darlene has a boyfriend, that’s the only thing from me starting to seriously question why she’s leaning in a bit too close to Colin and has already flipped her hair multiple times.

          “You don’t have to like your partner” she continues “but you’re stuck together for the next ten months. Take 5 minutes to get to know each other and then each of you will introduce your partner to the class”

          “Why don’t you just write something down for me and I’ll do the same” I say shoving a piece of paper and pen out in front of him. Well, it’s better than actually having to have a conversation with him.

          He nods in agreement, although I think I caught the corners of his mouth twitch as he hands me his notebook to write in. Did I imagine that twitch or did it really happen? Taking a deep breath, I wipe that thought from my mind and write until Mrs P instructs us to stop and listen to each other

          “This is Darlene Baunem” Colin begins, being the first to speak.

          But I didn’t hear the rest of Colin’s little speech about Darlene and her trip to Italy and her dance camp this summer. Instead, I glance down at the paper given back to me by Zayn and stare at the words written on the page with my mouth open.

 

*Alex*

 

          Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have fucked her over with the introduction thing. I wrote nothing other than ‘Saturday night, you and me, driving lessons and hot sex…’ on her paper, but I was itching to make Little Miss Perfect stumble in front of the whole class. And stumbling she is.

          “Miss Fisher?”

          I watch in amusement as Perfection herself looks up at Peterson. Oh, she’s good. This partner of mine knows how to hide her true emotions, something I recognise because I do it all the time.

          “Yes?” Brittany says, tilting her head and smiling like a beauty queen. I can’t help but wonder if that smile has ever gotten her out of a speeding ticket.

          “It’s your turn to introduce Zayn”

          I lean an elbow on the lab table, waiting for an introduction she has to either make up or fess up that she knows less than crap about me. She glances at my comfortable position and I can tell from her deer-in-the-headlights look that I’ve stumped her.

          “This is Zayn Jawaad Malik” she starts, her voicing hitching the slightest bit. My temper flares at the mention of my middle name, but I keep up a cool façade as she continues with a made up introduction. “When he wasn’t hanging out on street corners and harassing innocent people this summer, he toured the inside of all the jails around the city, if you know what I mean. And he has a secret desire that nobody would ever guess”

          The room suddenly becomes quiet. Even Peterson straightens to attention. Hell, I’m even listening like the words coming out of Brittany’s lying, pink frosted lips are gospel.

          “Which is” she continues “to either go to college and become a chemistry teacher like you Mrs Peterson, or…to sing”

          Yeah, right. I look over at my friend Liam who seems amused that a rich chick isn’t afraid of giving me smack in front of the class. She flashes a triumphant and sarcastic smile at me as if she’s won. Think again seniorita.

          I sit up in my chair while the class remains silent.

          “This is Brittany Fisher” I say “This summer she went to the mall, bought new clothes so she could expand her wardrobe, and spent her daddy’s money on plastic surgery to enhance her, err, assets”

          It might not be what she wrote, but it’s probably close enough to the truth without having to even read it

          Chuckles from my mates Liam, Harry, Niall and Louis disperse from around the room, and Brittany is now stiff as a board next to me, as if my words hurt her precious ego. Fisher is used to people fawning all over her and she could use a little wake-up call, I’m actually doing her a favour. Little does she know I’m not finished with her intro either

          “Her desire” I add, getting the same reaction she had not so long ago “is to date me before the years over.” As expected, my words are met by comments and low whistling from the back of the room.

          “Way to go Malik” Harry barks out

          “I’ll date you mamacita” Liam says. I give a high five to another Latino Blood named Niall sitting behind me just as I catch Isa shaking her head as if I did something wrong. What? I’m just having a little fun with a rich girl from the west side.

          Brittany’s gaze shifts from Colin to me. I take one look at Colin and with my eyes tell him game on. His face instantly turns bright red like a chilli pepper. I have definitely invaded his ‘territory’.

          “Quiet down now class” Peterson says “Thank you for those very creative and…enlightening introductions. Miss Fisher and Mr Malik please see me after class.”

 

          “Your introductions were not only appalling, they were disrespectful to me and the rest of the class” Peterson says after Brittany and I stand in front of her desk “You have a choice.” Our teacher holds out two blue detention slips in one hand and two pieces of notebook paper in the other. “You can either serve detention today after school or write a 500 word essay on ‘respect’ to hand in tomorrow. Which is it?!”

          I reach over and grab the detention slip. Brittany reaches out for the notebook paper. Figures.

          “Do either of you have a problem with the way I assign chemistry partners?” Peterson pursues to ask

          Brittany says “Yes” at the same time I say “Nope.”

          Peterson sets her glasses on her desk, “Listen, you two better work out your differences before this year is up. Brittany, I won’t be assigning you a different partner. You’re both second years for goodness sakes and will have to deal with a plethora of people and personalities after you finish. If you don’t want to go to summer catch up for failing my class, I suggest you work together instead of against each other. Now, go to your next class.”

          With that, I follow my little chem partner out of the room and down the hall.

          “Stop following me” she snaps, looking over her shoulder to check how many people are watching us walk down the hall together as if I’m Jack the Ripper himself.

          “Wear long sleeves on Saturday night” I tell her, knowing full well she’s reaching the end of her sanity. I usually don’t try to get under the skin of rich chicks, but this one is just too fun to rattle. This one, the most popular and coveted one of all, actually cares. “It gets pretty cold on the back of my motorbike.”

          “Listen Zayn” she says, whipping herself around and tossing that sun-kissed hair over one shoulder. She faces me with clear eyes made of ice. “I don’t date guys in gangs, and I don’t use drugs.”

          “I don’t date guys in gangs either” I chuckle, stepping closer to her. “And I’m no user.”

          “Yeah, right” she scoffs “I’m surprised you’re not in rehab or some juvie boot camp”

          “You think you know me?”

          “I know enough.” She folds her arms across her chest, but then looks down as if she realises her stance makes her boobs stand out, and sharply drops her hands to her sides. I’m doing my best not to focus on them as I take another step forward “Did you report me to Fletcher?”

          She takes a step back in response, “what if I did?”

          “You’re afraid of me” It’s not even a question, I just want to hear it from her own lips

          “Most of the people at this school are scared that if they look at you wrong, you’ll shoot them down”

          “Then my gun should be smokin’ by now, shouldn’t it? Why aren’t you running away from the badass, huh?”

          “Give me a chance, stop following me, and I will.”

          I’ve had enough of dancing around this little bitch. It’s time to ruffle up those feathers to make sure I end up with the upper hand. I close the distance between us and whisper in her ear, “Face the facts. Your life is too perfect. You probably lie awake at night, fantasizing about spicing up all that whiteness you live in” But damn it, I get a slight whiff of her vanilla perfume. It reminds me of cookies, and who doesn’t love cookies? “Getting’ near the fire, Brit, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get burned.”

          “You touch her and you’ll regret it Malik,” Colin’s voice rings out “I mean it, get the hell away from her.”

          “Colin,” Brittany says “I can handle this.”

Colin brought reinforcements; three other pasty white dudes, standing behind him for backup. I size him and his friends up to see if I take them on, and it looks like I could give all four of them a run for their money. “When you’re strong enough to play in the big leagues, rugby boy, then I’ll listen to the shit flying out of your mouth” I say. Quite responsible of me, for once.

          Other students are gathering around us, leaving room for a fight that is sure to be fast, furious and bloody. Little do they know Colin is a runner. This time he’s got backup, though, so maybe he’ll stay to see it out. I’m always prepared for a fight, been in more the ‘em than I can count on my fingers and toes. I’ve got the scars and all to prove it.

          “Colin, he’s not worth it,” Brittany pipes up.

          Thanks chickita. Right back at ya.

          “You threatening me Malik?” Colin barks, ignoring his actually quite wise girlfriend.

          “No, asshole,” I say, staring him down “little dicks like you make threats.”

          Brittany parks her body in front of Colin and puts her hand on his chest, “Don’t listen to him” she says.

          “I’m not afraid of you, my dad’s a lawyer” Coin brags, then puts his arm around Brittany “she’s mine. Don’t you forget that”

          “Then keep a leash on her” I advise, “or she might be tempted to find a new owner.”

          My friend Niall comes up beside me. “You alright Zayn?”

          “Yeah buddy” I tell him, then watch as two teachers walk down the hall escorted by a guy in a police uniform. This is what Adams wants, perfectly planned to get my ass kicked out of school. I’m not falling into his trap only to end up on Fletcher’s hit list. “Yeah everything’s fine” I turn to Brittany. “Catch ya later babe. I’m looking forward to researching our chemistry.”

          Before I leave and save myself from suspension, I slip a wink in Brittany’s direction as she sticks that perky nose of hers in the air as if I’m the scum of the earth.

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