“Is something the matter Darcy?” Adam asked, as the young redhead sprang her head from it’s position on her crossed arms.
“Oh.” Darcy whispered, her pale cheeks reddening significantly. “It’s nothing really, I have a test next period. ”
Darcy continued to shift uncomfortably in her seat. Adam had grown close to most students in his advisory, but had halted in making any sort of connection with the freshman. She had often opted to use the fifteen minutes of free time perusing through the mountain of unorganized notes that had only seemed to flourish since the beginning of the year. It was a small thing, but Adam had always taken a quiet pride in his status among the students and the itching awareness that he saw a little too much of his young self in the girl prevented him from letting it slide.
“I see.” Adam said, drawing another ungraded lab packet closer. “Stressed out, huh?”
At this, the girl perked up considerably. “Oh no, I’m not stressed,” Adam peeked around the corner of his laptop as her anxious tone shifted to one of excitement. “It’s Mr. Lynch’s class.”
Adam felt a familiar flutter across his stomach, allowing a not so teacherly smirk to cross his lips. “You don’t happen to be the same student who’s impressed him by acing all his tests, are you?”
Darcy smiled timidly. “He’s really impressed?” He nodded and smiled lightly to himself.
Adam had often find himself meandering a little too comfortably in the language hall after school hours in the hope to find Ronan’s door open in invitation. The Latin teacher’s whispered curses providing an odd reassurance to his afternoon grading.
“He really is. You should be proud, he’s a difficult teacher.” At this, Darcy bit her lip in what seemed to be an attempt at reigning in her laughter.
Adam quirked his eyebrow curiously and she responded, “Sorry, it’s just… well, he’s mentioned you a lot in class, I just didn’t realize you were such good friends.”
Adam thanked whatever higher power from above for the steady hands that prevented his coffee from spilling across his students’ labs. Although not completely gracefully, he quickly righted himself and focused on the giggling student before him.
“You got him to talk about Mr. Lynch, Darce?!” Lexi Smithwell, another freshman seated a row over from Darcy all but screamed.
Lexi bent halfway across the aisle and said (to no recipient in particular) “I thought he doesn’t like to talk about him because he always gets weird and quiet about him?”
Lexi swiveled in her chair to face Adam, a demanding expression on her young face. Without thinking, Adam reached a hand across his now burning cheeks from the sudden focus on his ever confusing relationship with Ronan.
“You’re giving the freshman deets, Mr. Parrish?” Senior Teddy Maslow questioned, his brows screwed together in supposed betrayal. “Every time I’ve tried to bring him up, you’ve changed the subject!”
Adam glanced around the the thirty pairs of eyes now hungrily awaiting his input on the highly rumored relations between him and Ronan and thought back to the many times in high school when he’d been able to so effortlessly slide into the background. He’s never missed high school more.
If it were any other teacher, Adam knew he’d have no problem shutting down the prospect within seconds and yet for four years now he’s gone tongue tied every time a student presents him with a far too personal question regarding the tattooed teacher. Not that he doesn’t appreciate knowing that Ronan gets just as equally flustered when confronted by their questionable relationship status. It’s just that he’d rather be the one to cause it… not an overly intrusive 15 year old.
Ever since they’d met four years ago at orientation, Ronan and Adam had gravitated towards each other. They both hated each other, of course, only putting up with each other for the sake of their mutual friend and vice principal, Gansey, who seemed adamant on forcing a friendship between the two. Eventually, it came to the point when they realized they were around each other due to their desire for each other’s strange company.Then Ronan began slowly dropping by his advisory when Gansey wasn’t around and Adam started frequenting the snack machine across the hall from Ronan’s class (and also forgetting there’s one right next to his classroom.) They became a reluctant pair of friends and the strange swoop of his stomach every time they speak told him maybe a little more than that.
Adam tried desperately to collect himself as his students looked to him. “Look, Mr. Lynch-”
“You called?” As if one body, the entirety of the class shifted their stares to Ronan harboring in the doorway, watching excitedly at the rare opportunity in front of them.
“I thought you were supposed to bring me coffee, Parrish.” Ronan drawled, marching steadily next to Adam’s desk and lifting the styrofoam cup Adam had neatly set aside.
With an overly drawn out sip from the steaming cup, Ronan continued to enrapture the attention of the class. Adam tried desperately not laugh at the absurdity of the situation as Ronan wiped the remnants of coffee away with his thumb and jerked his head toward the hall. Following his cue, Adam stood and successfully ignored the excited chatter erupting around the room.
When he made his way into the hall, he found Ronan picking at the leather bracelet poking out under his shirt sleeve. “You looked like you were about to piss yourself in there, Parrish.”
Adam rested his head against the wall beside Ronan and let out a hollow laugh. “I was talking with this girl in my advisory.”
“The one who likes to draw on her pants?”
“Nah, the one with the red hair, she’s in your class.”
Ronan smirked before looking to Adam. “That little asshole’s destroying my street cred, Parrish.”
“It baffles me how brawny they all think you are.” Adam said, remembering the Friday night he’d spent with Gansey and Blue at Ronan’s farm. His hard exterior was nothing up against the gentle gleam in his eyes when they visited the baby cow.
“Teachers who teach the tough subjects gotta assert themselves.” Ronan proclaimed, taking the lapse of eye contact as an opportunity to pick at the scab on his wrist.
“Ronan, you teach a dead language.”
“Still got nine more students in my AP class, though, don’t I?”
“Eight. Vinny Del Prete dropped into my period.”
“I never liked that kid.”
They both stood quiet, yet content, as they glanced at one another. Adam still didn’t understand the strange sense of comfort brought on by Ronan’s presence at what always seemed to be the wrong time. This, whatever they were, made no sense and yet it fit so perfectly together.
Ronan voiced what Adam had been itching to put into words. “You’re a damned conundrum, Parrish.” He said, gliding his thumb lazily along his chin. Adam followed it move, yearning to observe the way Ronan moved, the way he thought, the way he was.
“Well, this conundrum has no plans tonight and doesn’t favor boring himself into oblivion if you’d like to drop in.” The words seemed to come out before Adam’s fully aware of them and yet he can’t bring himself to feel anything other than the excitement bubbling in his chest at the soft look in Ronan’s eyes.
Ronan glanced to the tie hanging idly along Adam’s chest before pushing himself from the wall. “You’ve got a coffee stain on your shirt.”
As he began to walk back to the end of the hall, Adam spoke up, “I’ll drop by your room at four, then?”
Ronan turned momentarily, a reluctant smile across his harsh face. “Asshole.”
Adam grinned. What they were to each other didn’t even seem to matter in the moment, it didn’t even matter that his advisory had most definitely been eavesdropping. The pleasure of Ronan’s presence in his space had become a far more important comfort than he had ever intended. Adam could never recall watching the clock above his desk so intently.