I didn’t approach her, in any case, right away. By Monday, nobody could have known I was ever in a fight. Fortunately, none of the people who’d seen me knocked to the floor would see me before I could reasonably have recovered.
Fortunately. I’d probably partly blown my cover anyway. Or they just all thought I was nuts. Maybe they were right. Not crazy mental institute, but crazy getting into fights. Two very different things, although I supposed they could sometimes overlap. I didn’t mind being thought of as nuts in that sense. It was the kind of nuts people respected, although more in men than in women.
I hoped, at least, that Monday would be quiet before I got into things again. Of course, I tended to hope such things in vain.
It happened in the corridor by the lockers. Somebody had pushed Clara up against one. I couldn’t quite catch the specific insults they were hurling at her, but I understood the pattern of it.
And then I just felt a shift in the air as I strode forward.
“Leave her alone.”
The boy turned. Then he saw me. “Dyke,” he pronounced.
I didn’t even wince at the word, but as Clara wriggled free I strode towards him. “If you don’t want to end up in the principal’s office, go.”
He did…and tripped over his shoelaces on the way.
Clara muffled a laugh. “I hope he has a week of bad luck.”
I thought it was beyond hoping. Don’t bully a witch – perhaps especially an untrained one. She’d probably hexed him. At least…a week of bad luck was something he probably deserved. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah. You have…you have a rep.”
I nodded. “A rep and, well. He’s not entirely wrong with what he called me.” Not entirely right either. I still found boys attractive. And Kanesha. And girls. And Kanesha. It didn’t really matter, I’d decided. Well, really, what mattered was finding somebody to be with if you wanted somebody.
Or not if you didn’t.
“I saw you with the black girl. What’s her name?”
“Kanesha,” I supplied. “She’s very smart. She’s getting a scholarship and she wants to teach history.”
“I like history,” Clara admitted.
I hoped she wouldn’t get a crush on me, but the bell interrupted our conversation. I resolved not to mention the incident. He’d backed down, so he got a pass.
Plus if he really had earned himself a week of bad luck, I saw no reason to add to it.