Since a couple days had passed since Bob and Desirae had confessed to each other, things were less awkward, but more friendly. Though, sometimes Desirae could sense uncertainty from him, as if he felt she would tell his secret that he had revealed to her. She swore on her own life she wouldn’t tell a soul and maybe soon he would come to understand that, because Desirae had deadly secrets of her own. Her father had it made it perfectly clear about the consequences of talking to someone. She was bound by the ropes of shame and fear, and everyday she hoped she cut a piece of that rope till one day it broke free, and so would she.
As for the dreams that somehow had Rosalina in them, Desirae tried her hardest to put them in the back of her mind, and it had worked…sometimes. She could still hear the cries of children and women in the distance, and she wondered if it was a sign or just plain nonsense. She soon realized that if it was in fact important, it would give her more signs to work with. Until then, she planned to excuse the unwanted dreams.
It was safe to say Autumn was officially here, and everyone had begun to dress more warm. Sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, anything to avoid the morning cold that crept its way around the city and Desirae hated that the most. It was because it would be a distraction of her morning rituals and sitting down on frozen like grass wasn’t exactly intriguing like it used to be. Desirae had still been a victim to her father’s unwanted love at night, but the bruises had been less frequent. She wouldn’t question it, just accept it for what it was and hoped it lasted for a while. She assumed he had been giving more work like he hoped for, making less stress for him and the hurt for her as well.
It was another same old day where school had begun and teenagers had talked about the latest party and the cutest boy or girl in school. Who was the top movie star and whether hair should be straight or curly, blonde or brown. It was always the same, and Desirae had expelled her self from that gossip long ago, she was unwelcome to it, and it was unwelcome to her. She had much other issues on her hand besides hair and memoirs of Marilyn Monroe.
As usual, Desirae took her spot at her seat while the rest of the students piled in, including Frank, which she had noticed him and Lisa weren’t fighting anymore. Lisa wouldn’t talk about it, but Desirae could sense the friendship forming, while Ray and Kimberlee on the other hand were still sorting out their issues.
With the project coming practically coming to end, Desirae had felt that she had made progress. Sort of rocky, but things were looking up as it progressed.
“Well class it’s obvious the project is ending, and I expect those folders to be done, but with every project there is the writing the part. An essay.”
The class sighed and Mr. Angell just smiled, as if the class had just complimented him.
“Relax, it’s a just one page explaining what you have learned and how you think it went or could’ve went. I’m giving you a week, so I won’t do for any complaints. This is health class you hardly get any homework, yes?”
The class grumbled but eventually agreed.
“Exactly. One week. I want folders and a paper each. Or you can share the credit, I really don’t care.”
“Great now that we got that cleared, I’ve got many papers to grade, and I’m not looking forward to it. So keep it room level and do whatever for the remainder of the period.”
He shooed the class off with his hand before sighing as he sat down at the desk where several piles of paper awaited him. Desirae pulled out a piece of paper and a pencil before sketching lines and other shapes. That was also when she noticed something was different. Today was she was not hit with paper planes like she always would. In fact, she had not been bothered once, since two days ago, Joey and his friends spent the day mocking her to the point of Desirae being in tears, but did not show it. She looked around and spotted Bob who was going over math, his attitude was rather comfortable and it was only when Joey had walked into class his eye rimmed with purple.
Desirae couldn’t help herself from smiling as Joey looked mad but afraid as well. She found the source when he seemed to cringe as he passed Bob, who in return glowered at the boy before him. Joey’s friends had looked the other way when Bob averted his eyes to them, then to her. Desirae didn’t look away but stared back, while his eyes seemed to say “Yes.” She smiled once more before returning to her drawing feeling relieved then she had felt at school. One thing was sure, she was not going to let it pass without confronting Bob. Whether he admitted or not, Desirae had appreciated his gesture, but wondered why. Either way it was worth seeing the look on Joey’s face and now he felt the humiliation as other students whispered around him. He glared and kept his head down for the rest of the time being.
“Hey.” Someone said and Desirae turned her head to see Gerard looking at her.
“Can I borrow a pencil? I had extras but some goof over there took them.” He glared at Frank who smirked.
“Sorry Gee, I needed them.”
“For what you moron? You hardly do any work as it is.” He retorted.
“Well that’s cause, Mikey does it for me.” Frank replied sweetly and Desirae held in her small laughter as they had their own little fight.
“Exactly, so why am I missing pencils? You do this to me every month.”
“Cause you’re the art person, you have all the supplies. I don’t know where your pencils are, their somewhere around here.” Frank said looking around the floors.
“Anyways. Do you have one to spare?” He asked and Desirae nodded and handed him a pencil.
“Thanks.” He smiled and returned to his work while Frank was balancing a paperclip on his fingers. He looked up and smiled at Desirae who smiled back. From the corner of her eye she could see Lisa glaring slightly and Desirae immediately turned away, not feeling right as Lisa stared.
She was never more thankful for the unruly sound of the bell as it echoed and she gathered her books and began to walk out, avoiding Lisa in the process. Gerard had smacked Frank over the head as they turned left, Frank whining while Gerard shook his head.
“Stop whining.” Gerard retorted while Frank rubbed his head. They soon disappeared, and Desirae spotted Bob walking to the right, and Desirae subconsciously followed him. He walked to the other side of the school, stopping at the choir room and peeking his head in. Desirae heard faint jazz music in the distance and Bob watched the fellow people practice. She recognized the group, it was mostly colored people, since they were separated from the other students. They got to practice after school when no one was hardly there. Bob had looked entranced by the music that was playing, especially drums that echoed off softly.
In that moment, Desirae had realized this where he went after school. He wanted to join, and Desirae could see the longing in his eyes, but the truth was he couldn’t. It would cause disruption with the whole school and among the people in the choir. They didn’t mix and they didn’t belong, it was the same way if Bob had joined. She frowned as his sadness and eventually he moved on to a bench before sighing deeply.
Fighting the temptation to go over there, it finally won, and her feet were making their way towards him.
“Why did you do it?” She spoke. Bob’s head snapped up and his blue eyes dilated from the sudden voice. He looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
“Why did I do what?”
“You gave Joey the black eye didn’t you?” She asked and he shrugged.
“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.” He retorted and she smiled.
“Maybe I got tired of witnessing him pick on certain people.” He averted his eyes to the open grass of the school yard. Desirae joined him on the bench, unafraid of his reaction.
“Thank you.” She said softly and he turned his eyes to her.
“I saw him picking on you the other day, and I didn’t like it.” He admitted.
“It’s nothing new, he does it all the time.” She replied.
“Exactly and you didn’t stand up for yourself, you just took it.”
The words cut like a knife, and Desirae hid her hurt. Standing up wasn’t something she could do.
“Well what I was supposed to do, when he always has his friends around him.”
“Tell them to fuck off.”
“Right, and then they would beat me to a pulp.” She retorted and he just shook his head.
“They’re not that strong mentally.”
“Obviously.” She mumbled.
“Well point being I don’t think he will bother you or anyone anymore.”
“What exactly did say to him?” Desirae asked cautiously. He shrugged again.
“Told him to stop messing with people and get over himself…after I punched him.”
“You got him good.” She encouraged and he smiled.
“Do you want to join the band?” She asked and he sighed.
“Why don’t you?” He shook his head.
“Its impossible. They wouldn’t let me join.”
“I’m sure they would…”
“There’s a difference between us and them. They won’t accept me because of the common rules, which is color.” She frowned in agreement.
“But you want to join.” She replied and he nodded this time.
“I love jazz music. The drums in particular. The regular choir doesn’t do that. It’s a different ball game with the other choir though, the music is better and so is the passion. But the regular wouldn’t let me join either.”
“Why not?” She asked and Bob sighed in annoyance.
“Because I’m failing. They won’t let me join because of the stupid math class.”
Desirae frowned, but with hopefulness suddenly in her, she turned towards him.
“I could h-help you.” He looked at her and sighed.
“I can’t learn it.”
“I’m pretty good at it, you might just.” She raised her shoulders. He looked up to the sky and then back at her.
“Why do you want to help me anyways?” He asked softly.
“Cause you helped me.”
“It really wasn’t anything.”
“You punched Joey a.k.a Satan, I think that’s more than a valid reason.” He chuckled.
“I guess.” He nodded.
“Well great, tell me when you need help and we’ll go from there.”
Bob laughed nervously.
“Are you busy usually?”
“Cause I’m going to need a lot of help.”
Desirae smiled and shrugged.
“Then I guess we’ll be seeing each other often won’t we?”
“I suppose.” He replied and the both of them smiled. The awkwardness had officially subsided for the most part. It was obviously nice to felt needed, even for the smallest things. Sure it wasn’t a big deal, but to Desirae it was. They were both looking out for each other, even if they didn’t know it.
Bob had secretly enjoyed his encounter with Joey, because he knew Desirae couldn’t stand up for herself. He began to wonder why, but he also knew there was something she wasn’t telling him, like the mysterious bruises he keeps spotting. She really wasn’t that clumsy was she?
Desirae lingered for a moment before her eyes widened.
“Shanna!” She called out and gathered her books, completely forgetting about the girl who usually waited her. She said goodbye to Bob who still wanted to sit at the bench, but he waved back at her. She left to meet Shanna with a clear and unmistaken smile placed upon her face.