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Odds & Ends

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"…and for that we need to find the atomic weight, so let’s go PT cruising…”

Their chem teacher made exaggerated arm-wavey motions toward the oversized periodic table plastered over the side wall of the classroom. Beatrice rolled her eyes. Why couldn’t she just say “let’s consult the periodic table” like any other sane human being?

In the course of her eyeroll, Bea’s eyes fell on Benedick, who was smiling at her a little too broadly, trying a little too hard to share a joke. She responded with her best unimpressed glare and turned her eyes back toward her notebook.

Ben-the-dick had been enough to deal with, but Ben-with-a-staggeringly-obvious-crush? was taking things to a whole new level of weird, and not just because he was being so incredibly Ben about it, but because it made her remember how things used to be.

Here he was at every opportunity trying to strike up the kind of banter she used to find enjoyable. The kind of banter that, a few years ago, had started her heart beating quicker and set a fire in her stomach that led her to the realization that she was in the midst of her first crush. Things had gotten so much easier for her once she had chased him off into an affronted silence, but now she had to be on her guard again. Twice already, she’d found herself slipping into the easy, yet heated back-and-forth typical of their old conversations, and it had to stop.

Because here was the thing. Back when she was fourteen, she hadn’t yet had time to decide her stance on this whole dating-guys thing. But now she’d seen enough of her friends start dating, and she knew that this whole dating situation was just completely antithetical to everything she wanted for herself at this point in her life. She wanted to focus on classes and hanging out with her awesome friends, not being stuck with one person all the time, kissing and holding hands (ewww!) and saying mushy sentimental things about how much you like them.

So, she decided as the bell rang and the teacher called out a last-moment reminder about the homework due next week, she was just going to ignore it until it went away. And if seeing Ben every day pulled at an achy spot in her gut, she’d ignore that too.