Jordan goes to drama rehearsal after school, to find Lien there. At debate, Brian has to put up with Jian. The young Asian man seems determined to annoy Brian.
“I’m going to start with the new kids,” he told Brian. “Think of a subject and get everyone going. Extemp in twenty minutes.”
“Yes, sir,” Brian said. “Okay, y’all. You heard the man. Gather round.”
“Why are you in charge?” Jian asked, his expression and tone nasty.
The other students stared at him, puzzled.
“You just heard the man.”
“I don’t see why you should be in charge. Are you better than the rest of us?”
“Dude, just doing what Mr. Wymore said. He’s the boss. You can join in, or you can leave. I don’t care one way or the other. Maybe you’d be more comfortable in the remedial group?” He invited with a sweep of his hand. “No one will think less of you if your skills aren’t up to snuff. We all started at the bottom.”
That got smiles and nods as each person remembered their early days in debate.
“Up to you.”
“You think I don’t know what I’m doing?”
“I got no clue. Don’t really care, if I’m honest. Put up or shut up.”
Jian frowned, clearly not understanding the idiom.
“He means,” one of the girls said. “Either prove yourself or stop questioning him.” Tossing her hair, she gave Jian a none too subtle reproof.
The Asian boy clearly didn’t like being reprimanded by a girl, but he kept quiet.
“What’s our subject?” one of the boys asked.
“I’m trying to decide. I thought about gun control….”
The girl, Chloe, shiffed, tossing her head again. “So done.”
“Agreed. I thought about political issues, but I think we might end up all arguing on the same side of that. So…. With the ladies in mind: Nice Guys or Bad Boys?”
The girls clapped, cheering. The boys looked at him, stunned.
“What are we supposed to do with that,” the same boy asked.
“You are going to point out the advantages of being a good guy, or a bad boy. Think you can handle that, Ollie?”
“Sure!” Rubbing his hands together gleefully, Ollie sat at a desk and started putting together his argument.
Each student sat and started working. All except Jian.
“This is a stupid subject.”
“Didn’t hear me ask your opinion,” Brian said. “They like it. If you don’t, there’s the door. Don’t let it smack you in your bony, flat ass on the way out.”
Jian bridled, shoulders back, chin jutting, he advanced. Brian stood his ground, looking down at the shorter boy with a calm, placid expression.
“Are you trying to insult me?”
“No. I got better things to do with my time.”
“Since we met, you have gone out of your way to be rude.”
Brian guffawed. “Since we met, you’ve done nothing but give me grief. Trust me, if I really wanted to be give you shit, you’d know it. I’m just going about my business. The fact it pisses you off is just gravy.” He turned away, purposely leaving himself vulnerable.
Jian hopped forward, reaching for him. Brian sensed him coming and spun around, grabbing the other boy’s arm before he could land a punch. He had Jian’s arm in a chicken wing over his shoulder, in less than ten seconds. Yowling, Jian cursed at Brian in his native tongue. He might not know the words, but Brian understood the intent. He’s seriously infuriated the Asian boy.
Mr. Wymore rushed over from the central pod between the classrooms, where he’d been talking to the new students. “What’s going on here? Rhonda, call the office now!”
She hopped up and hit the intercom button. It took a few moments for the receptionist to answer.
“Brian, let him go,” Mr. Wymore said quietly.
Doing as he was told, Brian relaxed his grip on Jian.
“He totally attacked Brian first,” Rhonda said.
“Yes?” came from the intercom.
“Mrs. Sayer, I need the campus security officer in my room to escort a student to the office for discipline.”
“He’s on the way. Is everything all right?”
“It will be. Send Mr. Ferris in, please.”
“He’s coming with Officer Wilke.”
They stood in silence, waiting for Officer Wilke and Mr. Ferris. A few minutes later, the men arrived.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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