During Chemistry, I was thinking of new ways to torture Andrea when the teacher, Ms. Johnson, rudely decided to assign us in groups of two for labs. I work much better alone, so I really hated Ms. Johnson at that moment.
"Hannah with Michael, Josie with Ella..."
Everyone begrudgingly got separated from their friends as they made their way over to their new lab partners. I waited, annoyed as well, listening for my name.
"And Jill with Caleb."
Did I hear her correctly? I was about to die in a sea of love right there in the Chemistry lab.
I loved Ms. Johnson.
I practically floated over to where Caleb sat. He was in the back, bending over a piece of notebook paper. When he saw me, he quickly tucked it away, staring at me.
"Hi!" I chirped, then wanted to slap myself for sounding too eager. I dialed it down a notch. "Uh... We're supposed to be lab partners." I stated the obvious.
"Um, I know," Caleb responded, slightly mockingly. We stared at each other for a minute, until he finally moved over and I put my stuff down. Caleb watched as I organized everything, putting it in its proper place. I felt the heat of his gaze, and tried to look as cute and irresistible as possible while putting my binders under the lab table.
When that was done, there was an awkward pause where we both just stared at each other. To give myself something to do, I cleared my throat and began reading the instructions. "OK, so it says that we need to pour Substance A into the beaker, then Substance B, and figure out what our substances are by observing the chemical reaction that takes place." I glanced up at him. He was still staring at me. "Do you understand?" I asked hesitantly.
Caleb nodded. He was still looking at me. I focused on pouring the first substance into the beaker. Then, he finally spoke. "You're Andrea's new friend, right?"
I gave him a sideways glance. "Yeah. I used to go here a while ago, though. I knew her from before." Idiot! Why would you say that? What if he remembers you from seventh grade?!
Caleb raised an eyebrow. I thought only girls could do that. "Before." It wasn't a question. When I nodded, he stared at me quizzically. "How come I don't recognize you, then?"
I shrugged and started to pour Substance B into the beaker. Please don't remember what I used to look like. Please.
Suddenly, Caleb snapped his fingers. "You were the science fair state champ, back when we were all in seventh grade." His eyes narrowed. "You look totally different."
My face flushed. Why could everyone remember me and what I used to look like, yet I don't remember anyone from Theodore except Andrea? Like, seriously? "Don't tell anyone." I whispered.
Caleb opened his mouth to reply.
Suddenly, the beaker containing Substance B slipped out of my hand, making a large crash on the table and spilling glass everywhere. Ms. Johnson came running over, scolding us for not taking proper care of the materials. She told us to back away while she cleaned up the mess.
Caleb whispered in my ear. "Being smart isn't anything to be ashamed of."
I answered back, "Yeah, but being ugly and fat is."
Caleb raised his eyebrow again. He looked hot when he did that. "Why do girls always do that?"
"Do what?" I was clueless.
He shook his head. "Put themselves down like that. You're not ugly now, you weren't ugly then. And you aren't fat now, and you weren't fat then."
Just then, the bell rang, breaking the connection between us. I watched Caleb walk out, and butterflies filled me from head to toe.
Oh God. I had it bad.