Status: updates when inspiration and free time collide.

Sotto Voce


My fingers were on the edge of the desk, gripping it tightly as I focused on the sketch in my notebook. Unfortunately, the person in the desk in front of me scooched their desk back to slam into my knuckles, sandwiching my fingers between the desks. I gasped aloud in pain, instinctively kicking the desk forward to rescue my hand.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” the girl hurriedly apologized. “Are you alright?”

I could see the bruises forming already, but I didn’t say anything. “Yeah, it’s fine…”

“What’s your name?” she asked sweetly.

“Um…Brett…” There was something about her that I didn’t really like for some reason.

“Oh, you’re the new girl,” she laughed, giving me the once over and obviously finding what she was looking at mildly distasteful.

I self consciously tugged the sleeves of my sweater down to engulf my hands. “Yeah, that’s me…”

“So, you’re the one that he keeps talking about…hmm.” Kelly turned around after that cryptic comment. I arched an eyebrow, but refused to question her further. I just went back to my drawing. “You don’t want to know who I’m talking about?” Kelly asked irritably.

It was so hard not to laugh, but I did manage to at least keep my poker face on. “Not really, but if you’d like to tell me, I won’t stop you…”

“Jude. Jude Reynolds. You know, the cutest senior on the lacrosse team?”

“We have a lacrosse team?”

Kelly stared at me like I was a fucking idiot, but thankfully, the bell just rung, so class started. I didn’t like Kelly already, and I barely even talked to her. I was glad to leave class, but I wasn’t glad to find that my locker was jammed. No matter how many times I put my combination in, the lock wouldn’t budge. Soon enough, the halls emptied and the bell for next period rang, and I still hadn’t opened my locker. Ugh, late again…

“Brett? Why aren’t you in class?” Zack asked as he strolled by, hall pass in his hand.


He laughed, gently pushing me over so he could access my locker. “I know, it’s always difficult the first few times…What’s your combination?”

I gave him my combination rather willingly, glad to see him again. “That’s what she said,” I added as an afterthought.

“That’s such a freshman joke, Brett,” Zack chuckled, giving my lock a good shove…but nothing happened for him, either. He frowned for a moment, but then he gave it another good shove, his muscles obviously tightening up under his clothing. My locker swung open with a distinct snapping sound. “Figures,” he scoffed under his breath, gathering up the bits of broken pencil. “Someone must have rigged your locker shut on purpose,” Zack muttered, walking away to throw the pencil away.

When Zack rounded one corner out of my sight, Jude rounded another corner into my sight. “Hey, Brett!” he said cheerfully, walking right over to me. “Need some help opening your…” He trailed off when he saw me just packing my books up. How did he know I needed some help opening my locker…?

“No, thanks. Zack here has already gotten my locker open for me,” I told Jude with a smile as Zack returned. “Hey, Zack.”

“Hey,” Zack returned the greeting, sliding his arm over my shoulders and pulling me a bit closer to him. “ ‘Sup, Jude?” Even with the simple greeting, I could feel the tension between them.

Jude arched an eyebrow. “Nothing, nothing…” He began to walk back to class. “Oh, and, Brett? You really ought to watch the company you keep.”

“Shut the fuck up, Jude,” Zack snapped, shutting my locker for me.

“So…where are you headed?” I asked conversationally, a bit bummed out when Zack let his arm fall from my body the minute Jude was gone.

Zack’s jaw seemed to be chiseled out of marble. “English, but I’ll walk you to your next class…Come on.”

We walked in silence for a while. Zack seemed really irritated with Jude – more than I could ever be. “You know I don’t take anything Jude says to heart, right?”

“Yeah, I know…but I’m starting to think you should,” Zack sighed wistfully, giving me a sideways glance as we approached my classroom.

“I would never believe him over someone he gossips about, though… Especially not you, Zack. You know me. I like to have things straight from the horse’s mouth.” I wanted to know the truth. But first and foremost I wanted Zack to trust me. If he would just give me a chance…well, why would he? He’s atrociously attractive and completely out of my league. “Thanks for walking me to class,” I mumbled when we reached the door.

“Hey, Brett?” Zack said softly just as I opened the door. Ugh, that Kelly chick from before was in here again. I forgot. “Are you…uh, busy after school?”

“Today, yes. Tomorrow, no…why do you ask?” I told him with a nervous clearing of my throat to tell my teacher I was here. I actually wasn’t busy tomorrow. I just needed some time to think about the gravity of whatever Zack was requesting, so I decided to say tomorrow.

“We should hang out sometime,” Zack suggested, to which I could only nod. Everyone was looking at us now, Kelly with more hatred than the others. “I’ll tell you the truth about me,” he sighed softly, glaring at his shoes.

“I’d like that a lot, Zack,” I told him with a small smile.

Zack took one last look at me before he took off running back to his classroom.

I explained my locker situation to my teacher and I was quickly allowed back into class because he hated interruptions to class. All I could think of the rest of the day was hanging out with Zack tomorrow. I wonder what we’d do? Where we’d go? How long he wanted to hang out?

I found myself drawing in my notebook again, completely oblivious to Kelly, to the class, to everything right now. And I had every right to be.

I was going to hang out with Zack motherfucking Merrick tomorrow after school.

Fuck yeah.
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thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed it!
sorry it took so long. i lost this chapter and it took me forever to rewrite it :/
anyways, feedback would be lovely and greatly appreciated!