Chapter 9: The Science Fair
I expected worse frankly. After the initial bit of awkwardness, Erik seemed to take the news of my kissing Todd with relative ease. The next day he encouraged me to talk to Todd about it and it was as if it didn't bother him. Or he was a really good actor.
Todd and I were still avoiding each other the week of the science fair. I went to the Library to do some last minute research for my project and he came in shortly after me. Even though there were several empty computers beside me he took one away from me and turned his back to me. It stung to stair at the back of his school jacket.
"Talk to him" Erik whispered in my ear as he passed by to go over to the book stacks.
I was distracted by my thoughts of talking to Todd and how to break the ice when an instant message popped up on the screen. I wasn't logged in to any chat program except the library one so it had to be someone here.
My brow creased as I reread the words. Who was this person? It took a full minute for me to remember the Halloween party -almost a month ago. The mobster who I had danced with.
I looked up and around, where was PC09? It had to be near if mine was 05. To my right, a few computers down was a boy whose profile might be that of the Mobster James but it had been dark that night and he'd been wearing a hat.
I was busy examine his features with those of my memory when he turned to look at me. He winked and bowed his head slightly in my direction. So it was him! He was a cute mobster. He gathered his things and left the library, turning back once more to look my direction and smile. Oh yeah, he was cute. It wasn't until after he was gone that it occurred to me I could follow him and find out more about him. I sighed and turned back to my research.
The day of the science fair, we all arrived at school early to set up our tables. The sophomores were having their fair during morning classes, freshmen in the afternoon and juniors and seniors the following day. As luck would have it, those of us in Life Studies had also all had our first fake babies - in the form of an egg. So in the midst of setting up science fair displays we had to keep up with our eggs and make sure they didn't have a fake death if they smashed on the floor.
Veronica and Timothy had worked together on their project and as soon as she entered the cafeteria, I could tell she was in a mood. She snipped at Timothy several times as they set out their insect display. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Timothy - Veronica had "forgiven me" for getting her detention but seeing as I didn't feel I needed to BE forgiven since SHE was the one making out in the library, we were at odds with each other still.
"Could you not talk so loud?!" Veronica snapped about an hour into the fair. Timothy had been explaining their project to a teacher when she made her little outburst. To his credit, Timothy finished the presentation before rounding on Veronica.
"What is your problem today?" he asked, exasperated with her behavior.
"You! This is supposed to be OUR project and...." I tuned them out and turned my attention to the teacher approaching my table.
"My project is about the growth properties of Tiberium." I started with a smile. I handed them one of my summaries and started explaining what I had done.
"You're the one who wanted to be my partner! You're the one who asked to do a project together and you're the one who has spent the last three weeks complaining about getting dirty!" Timothy said loudly causing everyone to turned and look at them - including my audience.
Todd, who had a table set up next to mine, turned to look at me and rolled his eyes in response to Timothy and Veronica. For a second it was like we had been avoiding each other for months. But then it seemed to occur to him who he was looking at and he looked away. He started playing with a rubber band and a pen out of boredom and I turned back to the teacher. They finally turned away from the spectacle of V and Timothy and gave me their attention.
I started my presentation again and was about two sentences into it when a pen flew across my peripheral vision, thwacked into my fake egg baby, sending it rolling off the side of the table.
Time stopped as I watched my fake baby fall to it's fake death - and yet I could do nothing about it because in less than a second I was watching it smash into the ground and spilling it's fake eggy guts. I whirled on Todd. "You killed my fake baby!"
"I didn't mean to!" Todd shouted back. If my outburst hadn't gotten everyone's attention, Todd secured the rest of them with his. "It's just an egg!"
"An egg that I now have to explain to Ms. Moore why Erik and I lost out first fake child!" I shouted back, "Why were you playing with that damn pen anyway!"
"Why should you care?! I was bored alright!? And your egg is spreading - perhaps you should clean it up!" Todd said.
"You killed it, you clean it up." I shot back. We both looked down at the egg guts now spreading out to or toes and jumped back. Todd bumped into his table and his own fake egg baby fell to the ground and smashed in among mine. As the two began to combine I started giggling.
Todd started to laugh as well and before long we were leaning against each other "mourning" the deaths of our fake babies with laughter. "We're......fighting....about.....eggs....." I said while struggling to talk, laugh and breathe at the same time.
"I.....know!" Todd said still laughing.
Everyone was looking at us as we seemed to dissolve into madness. Erik came over, surveyed the egg crime scene and then looked at us. Todd and I held back our laughs so that Erik could say something about the demise of his fake baby and possibly our grade. "Egg-cellent" he said with a chuckle. Todd and I couldn't hold back anymore and burst out laughing again.
Erik walked back over to his own table and turned on the stereo there to drown out or cackling (it was part of his project I swear!). The educational science fair dissolved at that point as students started dancing to the music. Veronica and Timothy stopped arguing at some point and seemed to be talking again as they stood together by their own table. Todd and I leaned against the wall together and slowly caught our breaths. We didn't talk about the kiss or anything else but the ice was broken and we were Todd and Ginny again; best-friends.