Erich - ElevenA Chapter by emily
Well that ought to teach them not to give us power over our own schedule. Gabe and I quickly took to skipping class altogether after our fire warden shifts. Obviously we knew we couldn’t keep it up forever, unless we wanted to get expelled and sent back home. But apparently, when given the option, we would rather sleep than learn about economic patterns or the Magna Carta.
Weird guy that he was, Gabe always ran off to go to third period. Half the time he woke me up dashing out that door so fast. That anatomy class must have been really tough.
Even with the perks, I hated being a fire warden. It was cold and exhausting and awkward as hell up there on the roof. Gabe and I seriously never said a word to each other. I usually slept propped up against the chimney and he just sat there and gnawed on his nails. I swear, I told him to knock it off so many times he must have been doing it just to annoy me. I was starting to hear his clicking teeth in my sleep.
What was really strange, though, was that I quickly came to be glad I was stuck with Gabe. When it came right down to it, I liked him the best. Never in my life would I have admitted it, but if I would have had to spend my nights with Hersch or Jim, I really would have thrown myself off the roof.
Gabe’s pathetic loyalty was usually ridiculously irritating. But in a lot of ways, he was a good companion. My world had always been so solitary; it was calming to be around someone who didn’t feel the need to talk. But he was always right next to me, so I was isolated, but not lonely, which was exactly how I wanted it. Up there on that roof, sometimes it just felt good to see the smoldering end of his cigarette light up his face. The guy was growing on me.
Of course, he still did things that made me want to kick him. Like when he tried to cover for me in Brit History. I hated it more than anything when people thought I needed help. It made me feel weak, which was the worst thing I could possibly feel. I had ignored him the rest of the day.
Besides the long nights on the roof, the week passed pretty quickly, and pretty soon we were done with another week of classes. After dinner on Friday, we wall split up. I went to see if there was any way for me to pass Economics, Gabe ran off to work on something for his Anatomy class, Jim headed for the library, and Hersch disappeared into the shadows.
It did not take much to convince the Economics don to accept my excusatory letter, really forged by Jim, from the infirmary, explaining my absences on Wednesdays and Fridays. Actually, it took less time than I thought. So I dug in my pocket and found that I had my lock picking pin on me.
During one particularly long, boring weekend, Hersch had taught us how to pick locks. It wasn’t hard, once you got used to it; the school had the same simple dead bolt on all the doors. I had reminded them more than once that my way had worked better when it came to Knight’s door. But I guess we couldn’t just go through campus kicking down the doors.
I broke into the kitchen pretty easily. The kitchen was our top priority now that we could get in. There was already a stockpile of stolen apples and sweet rolls mingling with the cigs and whiskey in the boiler. The place barely had anything we didn’t already get at meals, but after some digging I found a bunch of grapes and figured it was the best I would get.
It was a warm night, so I decided to walk outside to get back to the dorm, even though I was already in the main building. It was almost totally dark, but it didn’t take long to recognize the light-footed, almost delicate, silhouette that was dashing down the path in front of me.
“Moretti!” I called. He stopped in his tracks. Gabe had a strange carrying case with him, and he immediately shoved it behind his back when he saw me.
“Erich!” He was the only one who rarely called anyone by their last names.
I caught up and came to a stop in front of him, craning my neck to get a better look at the case. “What’s in there?”
Gabe threw an uneasy look behind his back? “This? Well this is… equipment… for my class… um… Anatomy class!”
I eyed his suspiciously, but did not ask anything else. Obviously he was hiding something, but whatever it was I didn’t want to know. I knew if I wanted him to stay out of my life, I would have to stay out of his.
So I shrugged and said, “Want a grape?” Gabe took one and popped it into his mouth, swallowing nervously and stifling a sigh of relief.
“Hmm, montepulciano,” he mused quietly. I wondered what the hell he had just said, then remembered he had spent the last two years in a vineyard and probably knew plenty about grapes. Again, I didn’t ask. “You headed back to the dorm, then?” he asked.
I nodded and started back down the path, with Gabe falling into his natural place two steps behind me.
We made our way back to the room in silence. As we made our way down the outdoor stairs to the basement I felt, once again, strangely grateful for his silent company.
As soon as Gabe had closed the door behind us, we saw Jim rush out of the dorm, slamming the door behind him and turning a few panicked circles before spotting us. He dashed towards us.
“Moretti!” he hissed, skidding to a stop in front of us. “Amery!”
“What the hell, Banhart?”
“Guys,” he wheezed, “Hersch has a girl in there!”
© 2011 emily
Added on August 8, 2011
Last Updated on August 8, 2011
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AboutHello all! My name is Emily, I'm 18, I am definitely not at home in this tiny MN town, and soon I will be the most famous author my generation. I go to Barnes and Noble to see where my book will sit .. more..