The deep, depressing bell toll still echoed in the cold cement-lined world outside when Wil pushed out of Mr. G.’s cubicle. He’d released them early, for him, which had granted the class a thirty second head start.
She walked down metal stairs and headed toward the main building. Quick, solid footsteps replaced the reflected sounds of the bell. Wil turned to see Art coming after her. Although he’d made amusing faces at her every time she’d accidentally -or, increasingly, intentionally- looked back at him, Wil had forgotten about him once excused from class.
“Hey, Wil,” he said amiably, once he joined her. He walked with her as if they had always walked together. Wil marveled at the sensation of friendship, of being sought out.
“What do you think about the group assignment?” He asked.
“Oh,” Wil replied. She’d also forgotten about that. She was so accustomed to no one volunteering to work with her, that she had mentally written off worrying about it. Mr. G. would attach her to some unwilling group once he asked which group everyone was in at the next class period.
“We could be in a group,” Art said. He glanced at her face, then added, “It would be convenient since we’re in the same class. I could get the two guys by me to work with us, too.”
“Okay; if you’re sure,” Wil replied, hestitantly. She knew Art was intelligent and very interested in History. She didn’t want to let him down by naturally being the opposite of him in those areas.
Art laughed. Wil liked his laugh.
“Don’t worry!” He said. “I think it will be fun.”
They reached the door. He pulled it open for her, with a flourish. “Lady deWinter,” he formally announced, while bowing.
Wil laughed, then scuttled into the building quickly. He caught up to her again. They walked through the crowded school, amidst the hubbub of end-of-day socializing.
“So, m’lady,” Art continued, “Have you any ideas for the project?”
Wil thought, then blushed. “I don’t remember the topic, actually. Sorry.” She was sorry. Unless she wrote things down, or cared about them, she usually forgot.
“Ah,” Art said. “I may need to re-think this group, then.” Wil looked at him in panic, but saw that he was grinning in a teasing way.
He stuck his right hand over his heart and intoned deeply, “The topic is Famous Battles of the American Revolution.”
He and Wil reached a hallway juncture. His locker was down to the left, while hers was to the right. Art waved to Wil, then started down his hall.
She saw him stop, turn, then walk a few steps backward as he called, “Think about it, WIL you?”