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“Sexual intercourse!”

All of the words dealing with sex came from Connor, the most perverted junior in our class who was always talking about sex or making sexual expressions with his tongue. I was certain that he had a small penis and never had sex or something because a person who talked that much about sex was clearly compensating for something.

“Team,” I whispered softly, almost voicelessly. Mr. Harper’s eyes moved to me, and he smiled wide. I knew teachers weren’t allowed to say they had favorites, but it was a given that I was pretty high on Mr. Harper’s list.

In the biggest letters yet he wrote ‘team’.

“For the semester I am going to pair you up with a partner. You are going to explore the realms of art, taking both of your personalities and creating a final piece of work that showcases two worlds colliding into one. You will learn their likes, their dislikes, their dreams, wishes, and biggest fears. You should learn anything and everything you can think of about your partner.” He picked up the chalk eraser and began wiping away the words involving any form of sex. “But unfortunately you will not be allowed to have sex with your partner.”

Connor complained, stating that sex was the only non-boring thing about the class.

Mr. Harper kept clearing the board and said dryly, “Don’t be dramatic Connor. No one was planning on sleeping with you anyway.” The class erupted in laughter. Everyone was enjoying Mr. Harper’s humor as always. Well, everyone except me.

My eyes were darting around the room to try to figure out who I would be partners with. The one problem with team projects was the idea of working in a team. The worst feeling in the world was looking around a classroom and realizing that you knew everyone, yet at the same time you knew no one at all.

“Don’t act like I don’t see you all panicking and searching for who you will be paired with. Your partners aren’t here.” Mr. Harper held up a finger, silencing our questioning minds before leaving the room.

Connor huffed. “If he’s not back in two minutes, I’m out!”

No one cares, Connor. By all means, leave.

At a minute and fifty seconds Mr. Harper came back with Ms. Jameson only a few steps behind her. She was the music teacher who laughed too loud and had a beard that was too noticeable. One would think she would’ve shaved it by now seeing as how she taught at a high school with some of the most brutal bullies in the history of bullies, but I guessed she loved herself the way she was.

Behind Ms. Jameson came her classroom of students holding instruments. My cheeks flushed when I saw Levi walking in with a violin by his side.

I shifted my stare to the ground and tried to pretend I didn’t notice him.

I peeked up.

He smiled at me.

I didn’t smile back.

“Art,” Mr. Harper gestured toward our class and then in the direction of Ms. Jameson’s class, “meet soul.” He went on to explain how three days a week we would meet up with our music partners and work on our creative piece, but I’d stopped listening almost immediately. I tried my best not to notice that he was walking toward me. I tried my best not to notice that the seat beside me was empty. I tried my best to hope I ended up partners with Ellie Graze who talked too much and played the flute.

“Hi, Aria,” Levi said, taking the seat beside me. I’d never heard my name spoken so much in one day. Perhaps he had a strange addiction to the letters a-r-i-a. “I guess this is a sign, huh? You’ve been so ubiquitous since I met you.”

“What?” I blinked, glancing around at the rest of my class being partnered up. “What does ubiquitous mean?”

“It was my word of the day this morning. It means being everywhere. Very timely. The universe is obviously shoving us together and screaming, ‘Hey! Get to know each other!’”

“I don’t think it’s anything like that,” I argued. “It’s more of a coincidence. Having one class with someone is pretty common. Don’t look too much into it.” The look of pleasure on his face was showing me that he was indeed thinking too deeply on the subject. “Really,” I sighed. “Stop it.”

“Stop what?”


It had to be painful the amount of time he spent smiling.

“I’ll stop smiling the moment you stop frowning. We can switch expressions.”

“I’m not—” Pausing, I noticed how tight my lips were. Wiggling my mouth around, I loosened my face up and gave him a small, fake grin. “Better?”

His lips pouted out and nodded with the saddest look ever. “Much better.” He placed his violin in his lap.

“So the rumors are true?” I asked.

“Rumors? What rumors?”

“That you’re from the South—though I doubt it’s Brazil—and that you’re a word wizard.” I considered mentioning his tattooed private parts, but that seemed like crossing a line for what was only our second conversation. I’d save it for our third.

“I am from the South, but not Rio, and I do like words, but a word wizard? I don’t know about that seeing how I haven’t been placed in my Hogwarts house yet. Fingers crossed for Gryffindor.”

“You seem more like a Slytherin.”

“That doesn’t mean much to me coming from a Hufflepuff.”

I smiled, because Harry Potter references always brought out smiles.

“What other rumors are there?” he asked.

“Well, there was the threesome you had in the locker room with Jessica Bricks and Monica Lawrence during third hour.”