“You’re dangerous?” I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitively realized the truth of my own words. He was dangerous. He’d been trying to tell me that all along.
He just looked at me, eyes full of some emotion I couldn’t comprehend.
“But not bad,” I whispered, shaking my head. “No, I don’t believe that you’re bad.”
“You’re wrong.” His voice was almost inaudible. He looked down, stealing my bottle lid and then spinning it on its side between his fingers. I stared at him, wondering why I didn’t feel afraid. He meant what he was saying – that was obvious. But I just felt anxious, on edge… and, more than anything else, fascinated. The same way I always felt when I was near him.
The silence lasted until I noticed that the cafeteria was almost empty. I jumped to my feet. “We’re going to be late.”
“I’m not going to class today,”
he said, twirling the lid so fast it was just a blur.
“It’s healthy to ditch class now and then.” He smiled up at me, but his eyes were still troubled.
“Well, I’m going,” I told him. I was far too big a coward to risk getting caught. He turned his attention back to his makeshift top. “I’ll see you later, then.”
I hesitated, torn, but then the first bell sent me hurrying out the door – with a last glance confirming that he hadn’t moved a centimeter.
As I half-ran to class, my head was spinning faster than the bottle cap. So few questions had been answered in comparison to how many new questions had been raised. At least the rain had stopped.
I was lucky; Mr. Banner wasn’t in the room yet when I arrived. I settled quickly into my seat, aware that both Mike and Angela were staring at me. Mike looked resentful; Angela looked surprised, and slightly awed.
Mr. Banner came in the room then, calling the class to order. He was juggling a few small cardboard boxes in his arms. He put them down on Mike’s table, telling him to start passing them around the class.
“Okay, guys, I want you all to take one piece from each box,” he said as he produced a pair of rubber gloves from the pocket of his lab jacket and pulled them on. The sharp sound as the gloves snapped into place against his wrists seemed ominous to me. “The first should be an indicator card,” he went on, grabbing a white card with four squares marked on it and displaying it. “The second is a four-pronged applicator – ” he held up something that looked like a nearly toothless hair pick ” – and the third is a sterile micro-lancet.” He held up a small piece of blue plastic and split it open. The barb was invisible from this distance, but my stomach flipped.
“I’ll be coming around with a dropper of water to prepare your cards, so please don’t start until I get to you.” He began at Mike’s table again, carefully putting one drop of water in each of the four squares. “Then I want you to carefully prick your finger with the lancet…” He grabbed Mike’s hand and jabbed the spike into the tip of Mike’s middle finger. Oh no. Clammy moisture broke out across my forehead.
“Put a small drop of blood on each of the prongs.” He demonstrated, squeezing Mike’s finger till the blood flowed. I swallowed convulsively, my stomach heaving.
“And then apply it to the card,” he finished, holding up the dripping red card for us to see. I closed my eyes, trying to hear through the ringing in my ears.
“The Red Cross is having a blood drive in Port Angeles next weekend, so I
Thought you should all know your blood type.” He sounded proud of himself.