The next morning, I rushed to the bathroom, showered and washed my hair. I wrapped a towel around my body and dried my hair with the other. I have wavy brunette hair which reaches down almost to my elbow and tends to get frizzy sometimes. I pulled over a beige jumper, a black skinny jeans, wore my black converse sneakers, combed my hair and dabbed a little foundation on my face. Whenever it came to makeup, I believed that the less, the better. I picked up my text books from my study table and pushed them inside my backpack and ran downstairs.
Grace was humming while preparing breakfast. She was making pancakes. I checked the time, it was twenty five minutes past seven, and Cee hadn't arrived yet. I still had five minutes for breakfast.
"Good Morning" I greeted and stood next to Grace.
"Good Morning dear." She smiled and placed a pancake on a dish and started preparing the other. She poured the batter on the pan and waited for bubbles to pop up, and when they did she flipped it.
"Let's eat." She spoke as she set up the table and I slid into a chair.
"What's up?" I asked her.
"So I got this really big project and I will be away for some weeks." Grace is an event coordinator. She organises weddings, showers and birthday parties. But a part of her job includes lot of travelling to plan large scale events such as grand weddings and parties, high-profile meetings, trade shows, and music festivals.
"Oh great ... So ... when do you leave?" I asked her.
"Tomorrow morning at eight." She replied.
"Okay .... " A honk caught my attention and cut me off.
"That would be Cee." I got off the table and slung my bag on my shoulders. "See you later, Grace and thanks for the breakfast." I spoke and scurried out.
"Bye." I heard Grace's voice from behind as I walked outside the house. Cee was parked in our driveway and waved at me.
"Hop in, we're late today." Cee called out.
* * *
Cee killed the engine of her gray Ford at school parking lot after squeezing it between the other cars.
"I don't think we can get out." I spoke after analysing the way Cee parked the car. The doors couldn't open properly, let alone getting out of it.
"We definitely can, babes." Cee opened the car door and struggled for a few seconds before getting out of the car. "Come on, are you going to sit in there whole day?"
I somehow managed to get out of the car and jogged a few steps to catch up to Cee.
"Hey wait" I spoke catching my breath, "We're not that late, are we?"
"I don't want to be in Coach's bad books again, so be quick on your feet." Cee replied and scurried ahead.
We walked into our first class which was Chemistry. Coach Cooper hasn't arrived yet and everyone was busy talking or engaged in reading the textbooks.
"I guess we're early." I said and took off my backpack from my shoulders and placed it on my desk beside Cee.
"Fortunately!" Cee rolled her eyes, "God I can't bear to study this stupid subject." Cee whined.
"You can't or you don't want to?" I mocked.
"You believe in gut feelings?" She asked.
"Why would you ask that?" The truth was I believed in gut feelings, those you get when you're so sure about something, like I was so sure that the note under my pillow was somehow related to the presence I sometimes felt around myself.
"Last night I tried to understand the current topic Coach is teaching, I studied for at least an hour, but I couldn't decipher a single thing, this whole chemistry is too elusive for me and I have a gut feeling that I'm not going to pass this class in the next examinations." She explained.
"There's nothing like gut feeling, alright." I said, "It's just your fear of appearing in the exam." I concluded.
"It's not about the fear of exams, it's like an intuition and it's bugging me since last night and it's telling me to drop chemistry and choose some other class."
"Aren't you a little late to switch classes, besides you're not thinking rationally Cee, if this is about exams then I'll help you with chemistry."
"Fine, I won't switch classes as long as you provide me your wonder notes." Cee gave me a conceited smile.
I gave her a look that said whatever and Cee laughed on that.
"But thanks to Chemistry, at least I get to see some handsome guys in this class." I noticed Cee' gaze towards the class door as Zach and Lucas entered the class. Zach flashed us a welcoming smile with a two finger wave while Lucas bore a dead expression. Zach headed straight to our seats which were side to side at our shared table and Lucas went over to his seat at the back of the class. He didn't even bothered to look towards us.
As far as I knew, Zach was fond of company, he liked fraternising with others, but Lucas, he seemed to be less gregarious and reserved. I turned my head back and there he was sitting on his seat. His eyes were fixed on his textbook and his hands were placed on either side of the textbook. As if he sensed me staring at him, he looked up and his eyes met mine, my reflexes came into action and I instantly turned back.
Zach kept both his hands on our table and leaned over a little, "How you girls doing?" he spoke, his thin lips slightly curving at one side.
"Oh we're great." Cee leaned forward and wrapped a hair strand around her finger. "What about you?" She added instantly.
"I'm good." Zach spoke and the next second Coach Cooper entered the class, causing Zach and other students to rush back to their seats.
"See you around" Zach spoke before leaving and Cee smiled at him.
Coach Cooper set his books on his table and begin, "Good morning class", he begin, "Let's start where we left off yesterday."
Coach Cooper begin teaching and we continued listening and scribbling down the notes. After the class, Cee and I walked over to the lockers to get our stuff for our next classes. I had Biology next, the only class without Cee. I asked her to meet me in the cafeteria after class and walked over to my class.
I entered the class and slid into my seat beside the window, the seat next to mine was as usual empty. I only knew a few people in Biology and all of them had a partner, so I always sat alone, not that it bugged me. Outside the air was laced with a ghostly fog and only the branches of bare trees were visible. The weather wasn't that cold, I felt a chill run down my spine and the hair-raising feeling of being watched by someone returned. I took a deep breath and convinced myself that it was caused by the weather, but deep down I knew it wasn't.
"Is the seat taken?" I heard someone say and turned my head. Lucas stood beside the seat, his fingers gripping the corner of the table.
"No." I answered. A second later, I realized I haven't seen him yesterday in Biology.
He slung off his bag and took his seat. I noticed him, zipping his bag open, taking out the textbook and a pen. Apparently, Lucas valued his privacy and I wasn't so good at striking a conversation, so I chose to stay quiet. A minute later, Coach McKnight entered the class and wrote 'Evolution' on the chalkboard then turned towards us.
"What is evolution?" Coach McKnight asked.
"Modification." Some kid shouted from other side of the room.
"Transformation." Shouted another.
"Evolution is transformation" Coach spoke, "gradual development of species into better ones. But why do you think evolution is necessary?" Coach's eyes roamed the class and then settled on me, "Katherine?"
I stood up slightly spooked and gripped the desk for support.
"To adapt to the environmental changes." I answered.
"Correct" Coach began, "environment is changing and so should organisms in order to sustain their survival." Coach enlightened.
"Katherine, tell me would your partner be able to adapt to some harsh climatic conditions?" Coach asked sanding his hands.
I glanced sideways at Lucas, he was leaned back in his chair, his hands folded, his eyes were fixed at Coach. I looked back at Coach, still contemplating my answer.
"Come on, we don't have the whole day." Coach insisted.
"I don't know" I blurted.
"What about you Lucas? Do you think Katherine can adapt?" Coach looked at him.
Unlike me, he stood up straight with confidence. "No." He answered straightforwardly.
Feeling offended by his answer, my head turned in his direction on its own.
"Do you any reasons to support your answer?" Coach asked.
"Because she is weak-willed and vulnerable."
"And what makes you say that?" Coach demanded.
"She is gripping the edges of the table while standing and not to forget the fact that she contemplated for a whole minute to formulate a perfect answer, yet she came up with nothing." Laughter rose in the room and if I was right, then everyone's eyes were fixed on me.
For the first time he looked me straight in the eye, "Not that I'm saying that she isn't capable of surviving, she obviously is...but that demands the will to adapt, the potential to undergo changes. And right now, she is not capable of anything, because she's not willing to." He concluded.
I stood dumbfounded on my spot. He was verbally attacking me and I had no idea why. I was pissed but furthermore I was embarrassed.
"Excellent observations Lucas." Coach appreciated and walked over to our seat, "Evolution demands the will to survive, the will to adapt" Coach continued, "Let's say Lucas that Katherine is willing to adapt, will she survive now?"
"No....even if she's willing to survive, she won't. She is annoyed by my observations but what she doesn't understands is that I'm pointing out her weaknesses, instead she is more focussed on being offended. If their arises a need for a change, then instead of becoming a prey to the harsher climate, she needs to devise a strategy to cope up with it. But she won't because she is vulnerable."
Who was this guy, and does he know how to read minds, or maybe it was all too obvious that I was pretty annoyed. But I had every right to be annoyed by such ridiculous assumptions. Contrastingly, he seemed to enjoy every single bit of it.
"This is absurd." I finally burst out, I couldn't take such humiliation. I cursed Coach McKnight for making me the subject of study.
"Splendid." Coach clapped his hands, ignoring me, "Before evolving, organisms tend to adapt to the changes. These individuals generally survive and produce more offspring, thus passing their advantageous traits on to the next generation. Over time, the population changes." He moved to the chalkboard and wrote, "Natural Selection" in block letters.
"But the individuals who cannot adapt, eventually die and their population gradually decreases in frequency. This is known as Natural Selection." He pointed towards the chalkboard.
The rest of the class, Coach continued with the theory of 'Natural Selection', stating examples and facts, while my mind was set on what Lucas said.
"Read page number 56- 60 and be ready for the discussion tomorrow." Coach spoke and the bell rang.
As the Coach and other students left the class, I slung my backpack and turned towards Lucas.
"What was that?" I asked him.
"What?" His expression was disconcerted and he raised an eyebrow.
"The whole bullshit you were spouting earlier." I folded my hands demanding reasons as to why he did that.
"You think that's bullshit."
"Yes, I do."
He snickered and looked me straight in the eye, his charcoal grey eyes piercing through me.
"That's one of your biggest flaws, Katherine. You do not believe in what's true, you have all these false opinions about yourself and everyone else, like confronting me here is supposed to intimidate me, but it doesn't, in fact you're exactly like I thought."
He paused for a second and moved closer to my face, "Weak-willed and vulnerable." He added, his lips curving in a conceited grin and the next second he was on his feet.
I stood on my spot feeling defeated and helpless as I watched him walk away. Rage shot through me like adrenaline and I could feel my face heating up.
"Hey you.... wait." I shouted as I dashed towards him.
* * * * *