7th grade science (Zach Dempsey, 13 reasons)
Other than being on the badminton team to get out of having to take a gym class, you steered clear of sports. You hated the people, the double standards, and most importantly the fact that most of the school’s budget went to sports. You took part in theater and choir and dance and art and practically any visual/performing arts activity the school had to offer. By the end of your freshman year, you were helping out at the local elementary and middle schools that were putting on plays. Star basketball player, Zach Dempsey’s little sister was apart of play productions at her school.
After coming to one of her plays that you’d helped put on, you noticed Zach has made an effort to come over and speak with you. He seemed a little shy, but the two of you carried on a conversation perfectly fine. The week after that, you noticed Zach making an effort to talk to you every day. You didn’t think anything of it on the first day. Or the second. But things got suspicious after that. His friends started being nice to you. Justin started walking you to some of your classes, Sheri complimented your makeup. Marcus even offered to help you study. None of these people had really talked to you before. You stayed guarded. Your best friend had a history of dating jocks, but other than that, jocks had nothing to do with your personal life.
On this day, your best friend had gone home sick, the two of you didn’t drive, so you usually walked home together. With her absence, your earbuds became your friend for the walk home. You were still walking down the street in front of the school when you were jolted by a honk. You looked over to see a car driving by you slowly. The back seat held none other than Zach and Marcus. Justin filled the passenger seat, while Bryce drove.
“Need a lift home, Y/N?” You hear Bryce say, laughing under his breath. All the boys were staring at you, obviously waiting for an answer.
“Um, I’m fine, but thanks.” You went to put your earbud back in and continue on your walk.
“Got homework to do?” Justin asked. You swallowed. Not making direct eye contact with any of them.
"A lot, which is why I’m gonna get going.” You put the earbud in quickly this time. Walking off at a fast rate. They were, of course, in a car though, and you couldn’t exactly speed walk away from a car under most circumstances.
"We could get you there faster.” Marcus laughed. You could hear their various comments no matter how loud you played your music. Finally, you yanked both earbuds out.
"I’m really not trying to be a bitch. Really, I’m not. And I know none of you are used to hearing the word no. But there’s a first time for everything. No, I do not want to ride with you. I want to walk home, alone, listening to the music I want to listen to. I’ll see all of you at school tomorrow.”
You looked up at the sky, dark clouds were taking over, as well as winds. You, being in a short sleeve T shirt, crossed your arms over you chest and sped up, wanting to get home before the rain started. A minute later, you looked over and they were gone. You breathed a sigh of relief.
"Uh, Y/N?” You jump, startled once again. You look up to see Zach walking next to you. He grinned at you.
"I’ve been here for a solid minute, and you haven’t noticed. What is that you’re on, twitter?” You glared at him, walking even faster now.
"This could probably qualify as harassment. Where’d the car go?” You look around in the surrounding Parking lots and on the streets.
“I told them to go on without me. I wanted to talk to you.” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, still looking at you.
"Yeah, okay.” You mumbled, staring at the ground. You suddenly felt drops on your arms and on your head. It was beginning to rain.
“Shit.” You found yourself mumbling again.
You walked faster, not wanting the papers in your backpack to be completely drenched. You soon realized that Zach was a lot faster than you and could keep up with you. And suddenly, you had his letterman jacket draped over you.
"I’m fine.” You grumbled. He simply chuckled.
“You’re soaked.” He corrected. You rolled your eyes.
"And now you will be to.” He was in a tight blue T shirt, his arms crossed like yours. He smiled at you.
"Better me than you.” You gave him a side eye glance. He wanted to play gentleman, did he?
"Since when do I exist to you?” You adjusted the jacket to where it covered your head.
“What are you talking about? We’ve been friends since elementary school.” You scoffed, pursing your lips.
"Aren’t we friends?” You could feel him looking at you. You walked faster, he knew you weren’t friends before this. He knew you hadn’t talked since you’d been paired up in seventh grade science for a project.
"Do you really think we qualify as friends, Zach? Do you really think that?” You looked up at him. He looked a little hurt, but maybe like he knew you were right.
"Look, I know we just started hanging out but-” you stopped abruptly, catching him off guard.
"Hanging out? You call you and your friends following me around for a week straight ‘hanging out’? I call it creepy.” His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. He hadn’t expected you to be so harsh and brash.
"I’m sorry okay? It’s just, my sister loved working with you so much and it just reminded me of some stuff.” He pushed his now sopping hair out of his face. You were a block away from your house, so you started walking again.
"Stuff being?” You persisted, though you walked ahead so you couldn’t see his reaction.
"It reminded me of why you’re the only girl I’ve ever really had a crush on.” You stopped. Sure, you were in front of your house, but you also couldn’t move. Zach Dempsey had a crush on you? Key word being had, but still.
"How? When? Where? W-” he cut you off this time. You were still in front of him but you heard him let out a sigh.
"Justin and them- they’re better than they seem. But they don’t get biology, or why I love it. Do you remember when we were paired up in Ms. Milton’s class in middle school for a project?” Zach looked at you. You opened the white picket fence that shut you away from your yard, walking inside the property.
"You can come in, Zach.” You held the fence open. He shuffled quickly inside. He looked surprised that you’d even invited him in. You walked up the path way and up to your porch, unlocking your front door.
"It’s not fancy like yours, but it’s home.” You held the door open for him once again and he walked inside, looking around.
"I’ll get you a towel.” You ran up the stairs, soon coming back down, handing him the towel. You gestured for him to follow you as you walked into the living room to sit on the couch. He sat next to you.
"What were you saying about Ms. Milton?” You didn’t want to let on that you knew exactly what had occurred in Ms. Milton’s class.
"Well- we were partners for a project. And- I let you pick the animal we’d do the project on. You picked whales. And I became so interested in sea life after that project. Now I wanna be a marine biologist. It all started in Ms. Milton’s.” He stared at you. He was serious. He’d been in love with you since the seventh grade.
"Yeah? Well you stopped talking to me in high school. I stopped mattering to any sports player once high school hit.” You didn’t make eye contact with him.
"Okay. Well, I thought I’d never have a chance as soon as I became a basketball player. But I’ve liked you so much- ever since middle school.” You looked up he was scratching the back of his neck.
"You do that when you get nervous.” You pointed out. He laughed a little.
"Oh yeah? When you’re anxious or nervous, you pick your nail polish off.” He was right. That was a nervous tick you had. Maybe he wasn’t such a liar after all.
"Listen, I’m sorry if the boys started to bombard you. They just- they hook up with a ton of girls and they were worried because I wasn’t into any girls they sent my way. When I finally told them about my.. thing for you, they went a bit nuts.”
You laughed a little. Justin and Marcus fucked anything that walked at parties. Bryce’s dad set it up so he could order strippers and prostitutes to come whenever he wanted. Zach was different from his friends. Everyone in the school knew it.
"Do you wanna stay for dinner Zach?” You blushed a little as you looked his way.
"Sure, but can I take you out for some food tomorrow night? Just us?”
You felt yourself blushing again. Defensive? Sure you were. But your heart was already fluttering at the idea of going to dinner with Zach Dempsey.