“Just wait until after school, you little punk.”
The threat repeated itself over and over in my head, ebbing deeper into my mind with no plans of leaving. Sighing, I took unusually long at my locker, looking at every notebook, paper, and book to see if I would need any of it for he hospital visit I was bound to have.
In the end, though, I took only my history book and a couple of notebooks, figuring if nothing else I could use the book as a weapon if worst came to worst...which it would. Already I cringed at every little noise and quickened my pace to get out of the school. It was only my second day, I couldn’t afford a fight on school grounds.
“They aren’t going to do jackshit anyway...” I murmured to myself, stuffing my hands into the pockets of my black trenchcoat and lowering my head so that my shaggy black hair fell into my face. It was a spoken lie to make myself feel better as I could tell I was being followed...it wasn’t that hard to pick out their taunting voices and heavy steps. I lived only a couple blocks from school but I knew I would never make it, already the steps getting closer.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a hint of movement and I turned quickly, gripping the history book with my golden eyes wide. Needless to say, what I saw was not what I had expected. A car had pulled up to the curb and the driver stared at me with a raised brow, his solid blue eyes indifferent.
“Need a ride?” he asked, his voice light but vaguely harsh.
“N...no, I’m fine...” I replied hesitantly, loosening my grip on the book.
Without a word he looked past me at the boys ready to kick my scrawny ass then back to me, his blank expression never changing. Finally, he spoke again, “wasn’t a question, get in.”
I blinked, not quite sure I had really heard, or understood, what he said. After a few moments I glanced over my shoulder at the boys, who seemed almost as wary as I was. ‘Anyone who can keep them from beating me to a bloody pulp is worth taking a ride from...after all, it can’t be any worse than staying here,’ I decided easily, walking around the car and getting in, careful not to shut my leash in the door.
He looked at me, silent again, then looked ahead as he pulled away from the curb, his curly brown hair pulled back into a loose ponytail to keep it out of his face.
“Thanks for...you know, saving my life...literally...” I managed, watching him out of the corner of my eye but keeping my head lowered.
“Yeah,” he said without even looking at me, speeding up for a yellow light then slamming on the breaks to stop when it turned red before he could make it. I jumped, grabbing the dashboard to avoid being flung forward.
Clearing my throat, I took another stab at conversation, my voice shaky. “Why did you stop to pick me up? I mean, won’t this just cause problems for you?”
There was silence for at least five minutes then, “your cute.”
“Uh...?” I was at a loss for words. Looking at him again, I noticed he still didn’t look away from the road and he still didn’t seem to care.
He shrugged a bit and finally glanced at me. “I don’t know where you live...”
“Oh...uh...shit, watch the road!” I yelped, sinking down further into my seat as he barely avoided hitting an oncoming car. My hands tightly clenched the end of my leash and made my knuckles white, my short, miserable life flashing in front of my eyes.
He, on the other hand, appeared completely unconcerned and kept driving, though slower now.
“Hell...” I looked around, taking deep breathes. “Er...I don’t know where we are...I mean, I live around here but...I’m new to the area...I--” he cut me off with two words, “street name?”
“Elk Drive,” I replied after taking a few moments to think.
He merely nodded, making a sudden U-turn and heading back in the direction of the school.
“Do you have a name?”
“Would it kill you to lose the laconic nature for even a little while?”
Irritated, I stared up at the ceiling for a while until startled out of my revenue by another sudden red light stop.
Without warning, Naim reached over and grabbed my leash, giving it a gentle tug and raising a brow.
“Shut up...I mean, stop giving me that look,” I snapped, pulling away from him.
He released the leash and returned to driving, speeding down the street just as the light turned green and almost getting hit again.
“Do you even have a license?” I asked suspiciously, starting to fear for my life.
Shrugging, he pulled his license out of his wallet and tossed it to me. Sighing, I shook my head, “it was a rhetorical question...”
We drove the rest of the way in silence though I kept my eyes on him, chewing at my lower lip until it bled.
“Wha?” I tilted my head to the side a bit, my hair again falling into my confused face.
“...house number?” he repeated.
“Oh...1304.” I stumbled over the words, pausing before adding, “thanks for doing this.”
“Nnhh...” he replied, taking a sharp turn onto Elk Drive and causing my heart to almost stop for the umpteenth time. Part of me wondered whether the beating would have been better...at least then I had a chance to try and save myself.
“1...3...” he mumbled to himself, so light it was hard to tell if he had even spoken.
“It’s right the--ACK!” my hands flew up to grab the dashboard as we came to an abrupt stop in front of my house. ‘I have enough stress in my life to worry about driving with this hazard...’ I told myself bitterly, opening the door with a shaky hand.
I was almost out of the car when his hand on my shoulder stopped me. I looked back at him, my leash in his other hand, which he held out to me as if in offering. Smiling slightly, I took my leash and wrapped it around my wrist a few times to get it out of the way. “Thanks again,” I said gently, a tinge of red going unnoticed in my flushed cheeks.
“Meet me at my car after school tomorrow, I’ll give you a ride home, Nicodemus,” he offered after I had shut the door, leaning over into the passenger’s seat to talk to me though the open window. I was surprised to hear him say so much but I nodded, my smile widening.
“Bye Naim,” I replied, stepping back from the car just as he pulled away, speeding haphazardly away and swerving to avoid hitting a squirrel.
It wasn’t until I got into my house and locked the door behind me that I realized I still had his license in my hand, the monotonous boy in the picture staring up at me with no emotion in his unblinking eyes. “Cute,” I muttered, mimicking his tone and tossing my notebooks and books onto the couch along with the license.