It was a cold day in January for Southern California and of course, Mr. Shapiro was insistent that his lesson would be best taught outside. It rained the night before and there was a sharp wind, the sun was behind the clouds and okay, so 50F wasn’t cold to most people, but this was Devi’s absolute most frozen. But because she knew it was cold, she’d avoided all pretense of fashion and worn uggs and fleece leggings and layered. The top layer being a grey Sherman Oaks swim team hoodie. Paxton let her borrow it months ago and there had never been a good time to give it back (especially in that time she was mildly dating Ben Gross) and since she and Paxton had been getting friendlier and flirtier, it seemed like a good time to remind him she had it.
And that plan had worked. When he walked into the classroom to sit down in front of her, he leaned back, making a show of looking at the hoodie and then looking at her, then back and the hoodie, then back at her face. Before he could say anything though, Mr. Shapiro ushered everyone out of the classroom and out to the courtyard.
Paxton walked behind Devi and her friends, he tugged on her (his) hood, but Devi just swatted his hand away. He turned to find Trent in a giant cable knit sweater that didn’t suit him at all, it looked like something out of Knives Out and Eleanor was asking him about it, needing to know where he’d gotten it.
When they made it outside, Devi was comfortable but the wind was cold, so she shivered a little.
“Mr. Shapiro,” Paxton raised his hand, he was still behind Devi, tugging on her hood but she didn’t mind him hovering in her vicinity so she didn’t bother swatting him away this time. “My car is right there, can I grab a sweatshirt?”
“No, Paxton, this will just take a minute, guys, you’re gonna love this, really!” Mr. Shapiro was always so hopeful and always so wrong.
Devi turned around and looked at Paxton, smiling. “Some of us actually checked the weather before coming to school.”
Paxton narrowed his eyes at her, and then tugged on her hood, pulling her back playfully, so her back bumped into his chest. “You’re wearing my hoodie,” he whispered in her ear, his warm breath making her shiver for a different reason.
“Mr. Shapiro! The wind is absolutely biting! It’s like something out of a Dostoevsky novel!” Eleanor complained.
“Here, stand behind me, E, I’ll block the wind,” Trent said, shuffling her behind him.
“It’s great that you brought up Dostoevsky, Eleanor! Because…” Mr. Shapiro rattled on but Devi could not concentrate at all on what he was saying because Paxton had now perched his chin on her shoulder.
“Leave my sweatshirt alone,” Devi said, her face just barely turned towards his because if she turned too far, he’d basically be talking into her cheek.
“My sweatshirt,” he corrected her, and put his hands on the bottom of the sweatshirt band. “Give it back to me, I’m cold!”
“You should have dressed appropriately for the weather.” Devi elbowed him but she didn’t move away. She liked being this close to him and if anyone wanted to say something about it, it was warmer standing like this.
“I thought I’d be inside all day,” Paxton said, moving his hands under the sweatshirt to sit at her waist, covered by the sweatshirt. Devi tilted her head so her ear touched her other shoulder, trying to hide the way she reacted to his hands on her hips. Thank fuck she had all the layers. His hands on her bare skin might have caused her to combust. But Devi hadn’t considered that leaning her head like that would give Paxton easy access to her neck but Paxton picked up on that instantly and blew across her skin, causing her to shiver again.
“Quit that,” she snapped. And he did. Immediately. But Devi rolled her eyes at him. “What are you, five?”
“So then Napoleon, thinking that Russia would be a reasonable conquest…” Shapiro droned on but no one was paying attention. Devi saw Eve and Fab had given up and were sitting on the ground, huddled together. Eleanor had her phone out while Trent shielded her from the wind. Occasionally she’d tap his shoulder and he’d look at her phone and they’d laugh. Several kids were facing away from Mr. Shapiro, playing paper, rock, scissors. “But there were pockets of resistance.”
“Pockets,” Paxton whispered, removing his hands from her waist and sliding them into the hoodie pocket in front where Devi’s hands were. “Shoulda done this in the first place, now my hands are super warm.” His chin was still on her shoulder. She was still up against his chest, and now, his arms were around her so that his hands could be in the front pocket of the hoodie. She might have been worried about what everyone around them was thinking but she was too busy trying to not touch his hands with hers while they were right there in the same pocket.
“Do you mind?” she asked, trying to keep up the ruse that any of this was inconvenient for her but the way she smiled and how he smiled back, Devi knew he wasn’t buying it.
“Oh, sorry,” he said, before lacing his fingers with hers in the pocket. “Better?”
Devi scoffed, turning fully, the movement causing her lips to be almost perfectly lined up with his. He raised his eyebrow and gave her a quick peck, before she turned away, scandalized.
“We’re in class,” she whispered, but he just grinned wider at her.
“Nobody’s paying attention, not even you, the smartest girl in this class,” he said, this time so close to her neck that his lips brushed the skin there.
“This feels like a ploy to get your hoodie back,” Devi said, but she tilted her head again, giving him even more access to her neck.
“Mr. Shapiro!” Ben Gross yelled somewhere from the front of the group. “I think my dad would want to know that we’ve been outside for 15 minutes now! That seems dangerous in these temperatures!”
Devi couldn’t help but roll her eyes and gag at Ben but something else happened, Paxton tightened his grip on Devi. She didn’t know what that was about but she really liked it.
“Ben, I told you not to threaten to sue the school again. Even passive aggressively.”
“It can be a ploy to get my hoodie back and an excuse to hold your hands and kiss you at the same time. I can multitask,” Paxton said, pouting and giving her a look.
“Ah, the puppy dog face, checkmate huh?" She pressed her lips together so she wouldn’t smile. She didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.
“I don’t have a puppy dog face,” he said. “And you can keep the hoodie but I’m gonna stay glued to you like this the whole time we’re outside.”
“I’ll survive,” Devi said. She looked around to make sure no one was looking and turned her head again so she could kiss him. It was a little awkward but neither of them seemed to mind.
“Okay, fine, everyone inside now,” Mr. Shapiro shouted, as the class cheered.
Except Devi and Paxton who could have stayed outside a little longer.