"Hey, we're going to be late."
The girl's eyes opened, revealing the soft, amber-green color behind thick, black eyelashes.
"I'm resting," she murmured, turning her head away from the other girl.
Said other girl growled.
"You can't just forget about school, how will you get into college?"
"Leave me alone, Jessica. I get enough of that from my parents, I don't need you on my back too."
Jess glared at her, grasping her wrist and pulling her up.
"I frankly don't care, Rita," she hissed. "Now, get to class."
"Fine, fine. Whatever."
Rita dug her hands into her pockets. Jess' gaze flickered over to her from behind. The girl was in her P.E. uniform, as that had been her last class. The uniform was the same for every girl, but seemed to look the best on Rita.
The simple orange shirt and white shorts made some girls complain about feeling like an orange pop. The orange tee hugged the smaller girl's curves though, the shorts revealing her long legs. Rita's long, luxurious black hair was pulled up into a ponytail, swaying gently as she walked. Rita's skin was like porcelain, and her black hair and hypnotizing eyes made her look like a doll.
Jess blushed suddenly. What was she thinking?! Thinking about another classmate, a female one at that, as though she were something to ogle at! Disgusting! Rita was a person, not an object.
Yet, she was so pretty. Jess couldn't help but to glance over at her again, looking at her thin waist. Rita suddenly looked back questioningly.
"Is something wrong, Jessica?" Rita asked.
"You're so thin," Jess murmured.
"Thin? Not really."
Jess took a step closer to her, pulling the smaller girl into her chest.
"See? Compared to me, you're really thin," Jess stated. "And I'm not that large."
"Oh, I guess I never really noticed," Rita muttered, averting her eyes.
"Is something wrong?" Jess asked. "I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just a little unusual."
"I suppose so," Rita nodded.
Jess noticed she was shaking, and her cheeks seemed a little pink.
"Really, Rita," Jess sighed. "You're acting strange. We need to get to class."
Rita began walking again, her head down. Jess slightly wondered if she'd said something to hurt the girl's feelings. She shook it off, assuming that Rita was just being her usual, strange self. She didn't notice the girl tug at the hem of her shirt self-consciously.
"Man, college is difficult," Clyde sighed. "I'm so tired."
"What's wrong?" Rita asked.
"Jess has been working us into the floorboards recently," Clyde muttered. "She ordered me to run halfway across the university five times. Majoring in science with her around is more difficult than you'd think."
"I wouldn't know," Rita stated. "I'm majoring art and design."
"I know, I shouldn't complain about my seniors to you."
"It's fine, I don't really mind."
Clyde perked up, looking behind her.
"Hey, that looks like Jesse," he muttered. "I wonder what he's doing here. He should be in class about now, right?"
Rita glanced at her watch.
"No, he got out ten minutes ago," she stated. "You probably didn't notice the time go by, since you walked to the cafeteria."
"You mean, he's been out for ten minutes?" Clyde questioned.
"Yeah, he gets out of class at two, right?"
Clyde ducked his head.
"What's wrong? Is that bad?" Rita asked.
"Yes," he muttered. "I accidentally told Kayla that I didn't have to be in the lab until five, and he immediately insisted we go on a date."
"He seems to be looking for you," Rita stated casually, looking back over her chair. "He's even talking to your professor."
"Don't watch!" he hissed, horrified by her nonchalant attitude. "Can't you see that Jesse makes me very, very, very uncomfortable?"
"Yeah, I noticed."
"Then, stop looking over there."
"Fine, fine. Whatever."
Rita turned back towards him. He sighed, glancing up. His blue eyes suddenly widened in horror, and he stood urgently.
"Well, looks like it's time for me to get to the lab," he said in an unusually high tone. "Haha, I'll catch up with you some other time, okay, Rita?"
"Yeah, sure. I don't mind."
"G-great. I'll see you-"
"There you are!"
Clyde froze, suddenly embraced from behind. Rita blinked at the sudden pair of arms around her friend, only to connect them to the dark-eyed owner. Jesse glared at her darkly, his blonde hair sticking up in odd places from hurrying.
"Jesse, don't act like I'm competition," Rita sighed, leaning her cheek against her hand. "You and I both know that if I asked Clyde to run away and get married with me, he would no matter the circumstance."
"You wound me," Jesse murmured. "I just want to make sure."
"I'm not interested in Clyde," she clarified.
"Good~ We can continue being friends! You can be my best man at the wedding, okay?"
"Don't just agree," Clyde muttered. "You're not a man, and we're not getting married!"
"Aw, but you said that she wasn't a man first! Are you going soft on me, dear?" Jesse purred.
"No! Now let go of me!"
"But, if I do that, just about anybody with two eyes, two legs, and two arms will sweep you away from me~!"
"You act as though I'm some blushing bride."
"You would be," Rita muttered, poking her uneaten sandwich.
"Shut up! Nobody asked for your opinions!"
Jesse laughed. He released the other boy, who grumbled and straightened his clothes. Jesse sat beside Rita, smiling at her.
"I noticed that several people have taken an interest towards you," he stated. "You best be careful. Jess will kill them."
"I haven't noticed anyone take any interest towards me," Rita murmured, thinking hard.
"You wouldn't," Clyde said, sinking into the chair across from her. "You think hugging and kissing is something friends do. You also take the whole "It was an accident!" thing way too seriously."
"Really though, Rita," Jesse muttered. "I'm worried about you. You're like a sister to me."
"Why can't you fall creepily in love with her then?" Clyde complained.
"Because you're cuter," Jesse smiled.
"This is not a cuteness contest!"
"Hey, isn't that Jess over there?"
Rita looked over to where Jesse was pointing, spotting the tall girl. Jess was looking around for a free table, her hazel eyes dark and uninviting. She ran her fingers through her shoulder-length hair, nervously clutching a small box.
"What's she holding?" Clyde wondered aloud.
Rita wondered the same thing. Suddenly, Jess looked over at them, and immediately hurried over.
"Good afternoon, Jess," Jesse greeted warmly. "Would you like to sit with us?"
Jess shook her head.
"I'm too busy," she stated. "I have to get everything exactly the way I want it by five, I don't have time to sit and talk for a while."
"Do you want me to come in early?" Clyde asked, shooting a glance at Jesse.
"No, I'm fine by myself," she sighed. "I might seriously overwork you guys if I do that. Anyway..."
She set the small box down on the table, pushing it towards Rita. Said girl looked at it.
"Don't act so surprised. I missed Christmas," Jess explained.
"I know, I just thought you didn't want to get me a gift," Rita murmured.
"Well, Jesse and Clyde both got a gift."
"I couldn't find anything that wasn't Christmas or snow related, so I had to wait for the whole buzz to die down."
"Oh, thank you."
"Yeah. Look, I'd love to watch you slowly and carefully open it, but I need to go now. Sorry, Rita, you'll have to tell me how you liked it later."
"Okay. Bye, Jessica."
Jess only hummed, hurrying away faster than when she'd come.
"She left fast," Clyde muttered. "I wonder if I should go in early, just in ca-"
"No! You can't just leave me like this!" Jesse whined, wrapping his arms around the other boy's waist.
"You're part of the problem."
"What did she get you, Rita?"
"Huh? Oh, right."
Rita slowly opened the box, only to take out another box. She opened this one, only to take out another one.
"Wow, she really wanted to make sure she was gone by the time you got it," Jesse laughed.
Rita snorted, rolling her eyes. She opened the box, staring inside for a second.
"What lab are you guys working in?" Rita asked Clyde softly.
"I think we're in lab B today, but we might be in lab H if Giorgio decides it would be best," the boy answered. "Why? You aren't going to leave me alone with Jesse, right?"
"There are a few workers here."
"What? Rita, you can't be serious!"
Rita stood, taking the small box with her.
"Sorry, I need to talk to Jessica right away," she stated, hurrying away.
Clyde's eye twitched.
"Don't even think about it."
"Aw, you're so mean."
"Hey, that girl is pretty."
"Isn't she? Look at those curves, and that hair!"
"I don't know, it's black. I bet she dyed it."
"Definitely, nobody has that black of hair naturally."
"Think she has a boyfriend?"
"Probably, just look at her!"
Jess' eye twitched, her hand shaking with rage. Clyde glanced up at her from his clipboard.
"Jess? What's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing, don't worry," she growled.
He glanced over at the boys who were still deep in conversation. He looked past them, at Rita.
"Don't get so jealous," he muttered, scribbling down the observations on the clipboard.
"I'm not jealous," she snarled viciously.
"Sure," he replied, rolling his eyes.
"Well," Jess muttered. "Imagine what Jesse would do in this situation."
Clyde stiffened. His eyes darkened.
"Please," he whispered. "Do not mention him, not here."
She took a step away from him.
"Sorry, I won't mention him, it was just an example," she defended.
Clyde sighed, visibly relaxing.
"I prefer to think that I'm not attractive to other males," he said, scribbling on his clipboard.
"I don't know, you look a little bit like a girl sometimes," Jess laughed.
"Shut up, I know you only have the hots for Rita."
"You know me too well."
"You've been in love with her since we were in junior high, if it isn't true, I'll be surprised. That reminds me, did Rita thank you for that gift?"
"Huh? Yeah, she came in earlier, why?"
"She left me alone with Jesse..."
"Oh, what happened?"
"Don't sound so interested."
Jess laughed, patting his shoulder.
"Are you softening up on him? It's only taken you 13 years."
"What? Since when have you known about that..."
"I was kidding."
Clyde's face flushed. He set down his clipboard gently.
"I've finished with this much, I don't have anymore to write about for a while," he said, his voice unusually cold and crisp.
Clyde's eyes were dark and frosty, gazing at her coldly. He smiled in mock kindness.
"Do you mind if I step out for a few moments?" he hissed.
Jess shook her head. He turned, stepping out.
Clyde sighed, walking down the hall.
Said boy stopped, turning to look at his friend, Joshua.
"Hello, Joshua," he greeted, offering a small smile. "It's been a while."
"Yeah, I heard that Jessica person is overworking everyone in the science department," Joshua said. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, just needed to get some air."
"Oh, cool. We can catch up for a moment."
"I guess, is something wrong?"
"Nah, my girlfriend just broke up with me last night."
"I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do?"
"No, no. I'll be fine. Thanks for at least caring."
"Of course, we've been friends forever."
Joshua laughed, slapping the other boy's back.
"I don't suppose you're finally freed of Jesse's affections?" he chuckled.
"Of course not, don't get my hopes up," Clyde muttered.
"I don't see why he's so obsessed with you."
"I hope not. I'd be concerned if you did."
Joshua laughed again. Clyde smiled.
"It's been nice talking to you, again. It really lifted my spirits. Thanks."
Joshua suddenly smirked, embracing the smaller boy.
"I really, really appreciated it," he said.
Clyde swallowed his surprise, confused.
"Wh-wh-what's up?" he asked.
"Nothing, friend," Joshua smirked. "I hope you don't get in too much trouble."
Clyde stared at him for a moment, realization surfacing in his eyes.
"You're a horrible friend sometimes," he muttered.
Joshua pecked his cheek, pulling away.
"Sorry I couldn't resist. Good luck."
The man hurried away, leaving his small friend alone. The hall was eerily empty, and Clyde hoped that meant Jesse wasn't-
His thoughts were quickly proven wrong at the sudden embrace from behind. He felt warm breath on the back of his neck, and chills ran down his spine. He felt the boy slowly lick the shell of his ear.
"J-J-Jesse," he stuttered. "St-stop it."
"Who was that?" Jesse asked softly in the boy's ear.
"It was just my friend Joshua, his girlfriend broke up with him," Clyde muttered.
"Oh, so he knew about me and just wanted to tease you."
Jesse released him. Clyde's legs gave out beneath him, and he sank down to the floor on his knees. He sighed heavily.
"Are you okay?" Jesse asked.
He nodded, getting up shakily.
"I just came out to get a little air, I need to go back to the lab-"
"Your face is all red."
"You thought it wouldn't be?"
"Nope, I was hoping for this."
Clyde shook his head, sighing again.
"Jess is gonna know exactly what happened, and then she won't let me forget it."
Jesse laughed, pecking the already flushed boy's cheek and darkening the color.
"I didn't think you mind that much."
"Go away, I need to get to work."