Touch of Death(7)

By: Kelly Hashway

I shook my head. “He’s not here. But believe me, you don’t want to meet him. I had to call the cops on him, and an officer patrolled my street all night. But he still got past her. He conned the pizza delivery guy to let him deliver the pizza to my door. And he left a message on my cell. How did he get my number? It’s unlisted.” My voice was shaking.

“Calm down.” Melodie reached out and grabbed my hand. “If he’s in this class, then Mr. Quimby will know who he is. Let’s ask him.”

Mr. Quimby. He’d have a class roster. Even if Green Eyes was a transfer, Mr. Quimby must have some paperwork on him. A name at the very least. “I’ll go ask him.” I got up from my chair. Melodie nodded and let go of my hand.

Mr. Quimby was reading the paper at his desk when I approached. “Um, good morning, Mr. Quimby.”

He looked up briefly and then glanced at the clock as if to point out that he wasn’t on teacher duty until the bell rang.

“Sorry to bother you before class, but I was wondering if you knew the name of the new student. The guy who was in the back of the class yesterday.”

He met my eyes for a second before returning to the paper. I’d never noticed his eyes were green. I mean, who really looks at their teacher’s eyes? “I wasn’t told about a new student. You must be thinking about another class.”

“No, this was the only class we had yesterday. We were let go early because of…” my voice trailed off. I didn’t want to relive the other events that had happened. “He was sitting one row over and three seats back from me. He had dirty blonde hair and green eyes.”

The bell rang. “Sorry, Miss Marshall, but you must be mistaken. Now, if you’ll please take your seat, I need to begin my lesson.”

I scrunched my forehead. How could Mr. Quimby not know about Green Eyes? Teachers should know the students in their classes. I walked back to my seat. Mr. Quimby was already picking up with the lecture from yesterday, droning on and on about Hades and the underworld.

“Well?” Melodie asked.

“He said he didn’t have a new student. He didn’t know who I was talking about.”

The rest of the school day was a blur. Matt had a doctor appointment, so he missed the morning classes. I met up with him at lunch briefly before he had to take a make-up test. “Hey, we didn’t get to really say goodnight yesterday with everything that was going on. Think we could maybe try it again tonight?”

I smiled, and Melodie kicked me under the table. “Yeah, we could do that. What did you have in mind?”

He squatted next to me, giving us more privacy. “Let’s check out the new club in town. Serpentarius.”

Melodie leaned across the table, trying to hear.

“We’re not twenty-one. We’re not even eighteen.” Boy, did I sound like a big dork. Melodie must have heard because she kicked me again, but this time a lot harder. I widened my eyes at her, and she nodded toward Matt.

He laughed. “My cousin’s the bouncer. He just got hired about two months ago. We’ll get in.”

I shrugged. “Why not?”

He stood up and adjusted his backpack on his shoulder. “Great. I’ve got to run. Do you need a ride home after school?”

“Oh, um, no. Melodie said she’d take me.” This time I knew the kick was coming. Hell, I wanted to kick myself. Why was I turning down a ride from Matt?

“Okay, well if you change your mind, let me know.” He gave my shoulder a squeeze and left. I watched him go and tried not to drool.

“What is wrong with you?” Melodie flung a French fry at my head.

“I don’t know,” I whined. “He’s just so—”

“Perfect and totally kissable. But you turned him down for a ride. Alone. The two of you. In his car.”

“Yes, I get it. I’m an idiot.” I took a bite of my peanut-butter sandwich and sighed.

I spent the afternoon thinking of believable excuses for why Melodie had to suddenly back out of driving me home so I could ask Matt for a ride instead. They all sounded completely lame. Last period study hall arrived, and I still hadn’t come up with anything. On the positive side, I hadn’t seen Green Eyes either.

I tapped my pencil eraser on my desk and stared at Mr. Quimby. Lucky me, I had him twice a day thanks to study hall. He spent the period ignoring us, as usual. Maybe he didn’t know who Green Eyes was. Maybe he tried not to pay too much attention to his students. He might feel guilty for ignoring us if he actually knew all our names. Just because he didn’t know about the new student, though, didn’t mean no one did.

I gathered my books and walked up to Mr. Quimby’s desk. “Mr. Quimby, I was wondering if I could go to the office.”

He stopped typing on his computer and looked at me. “What for?”

“Well, you may have heard I was in an accident before school yesterday. I hit a deer with my car. I was supposed to get a ride home from Melodie, but she got called in to work.” Matt would never fall for the “called in to work” excuse because he knew Melodie didn’t have a job. Matt and Melodie had been friends for a long time. She was the one who had introduced us. “So, I need to take the bus home. I figured since I haven’t taken the bus in a while, I might need a bus pass.”

He studied me like he was trying to decide if I was telling the truth. I smiled, trying to look innocent. “Very well. You may go.”

“Thank you.” I hurried out the door before he could have second thoughts.

I took the long way to avoid going by the nurse’s office. There’d been a sign on the door all day saying, “Emergencies only”—with “only” in big letters—“should report to the main office.” I guessed they didn’t have a substitute nurse on hand. I cringed at the thought of Mrs. Thompson taking care of sick students. I’d rather throw up in class than have her glare at me for an entire period, but right now I needed her help. So, I put on my best smile and walked right up to her desk.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Thompson.” I faked as much cheerfulness as I could.

She raised her eyes without lifting her head. The effect was unnerving, and I swallowed hard. She didn’t say anything, so I continued. “Um, Mr. Quimby sent me. I have study hall with him this period. He had a student missing from class today. Not from study hall. From lit class.”

“Lit class?” she asked, as if I was speaking another language.

“Literature. First period.”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, he had a new student yesterday. A boy. But he—the boy—never gave Mr. Quimby his transfer slip. You see, Mr. Quimby was in the middle of a fascinating lecture about mythology, and since this unit counts for so much of our semester grade, he didn’t want to interrupt the class to get this boy’s name.” I paused to see if she was buying any of this. Her expression was stone cold, but since she wasn’t yelling at me to go back to class, I decided to keep going. “Um, so Mr. Quimby wanted to know if you could give me this boy’s paperwork, so he could enter it in his grade book.”

My fingers were laced in front of me in an attempt to look innocent, but I was clenching my hands so tightly my knuckles were turning white. I quickly unlocked my fingers and put my arms down at my sides. I knocked over the nameplate on her desk in the process, and jumped when it landed with a thud. “Sorry,” I mumbled, bending to pick it up. I expected Mrs. Thompson to tell me that Mr. Quimby would have to come get the paperwork himself because she couldn’t hand it over to another student for confidentiality reasons. At least, that sounded like something a school should do. Instead, she typed something into her computer.