“I’ll be in my office down the hall. I don’t want to hear a sound from either of you.” Mr. Pentecost paused at the door and turned back to them. “Is that clear?”
Chuck stared at Mr. Pentecost in defiance with tight lips. Even Raleigh begrudged responding but kept a solemn look on his face; clearly not wanting to provoke the already greatly exasperated principal even further.
Mr. Pentecost leaned forward and tapped a finger against his ear. “I said, is that clear?”
He got a ‘yes sir’ from both of them; Raleigh’s was quiet and directed at his desk while Chuck’s was spat out through gritted teeth.
“I’ll be back in one hour.” Mr. Pentecost gave them a long hard look for a few more seconds before turning to leave them. “Either of you try to repeat your actions and you’ll both be in Saturday detention for the rest of the semester.” The door closed behind him.
Chuck kicked the leg of his desk and Raleigh sighed.
“The fuck are you sighing for, Becket?” Chuck glared over at him. “It’s your fault we’re stuck here.”
“My fault?” Raleigh stared at him.
“You threw the first punch.”
“You provoked me!”
“What happened to ‘being the bigger man’, huh?” Chuck raised his hands to air quote one of Raleigh’s previous attempts at trying to stop himself from punching Chuck in the face.
“You make it really hard to do that.”
“Not my fault you’re an infuriating wanker.”
“Just leave me alone, Chuck.” Raleigh turned away from him and doodled absentmindedly on a piece of paper. “If I have to be stuck here with you, the least you could do is keep your mouth shut.”
If Raleigh sat there quietly and ignored Chuck he figured that he could get through this detention and be on his way home. Just be the bigger man he told himself in his head over and over again. It’s not worth it, he added, Chuck Hansen is not worth it.
“I’m the one stuck here with you.” Chuck said.
Raleigh turned back. “You’re the one who always starts it!” So much for being the bigger man.
The pair froze at the sound of the door as it creaked open. Shit, Chuck thought, Pentecost was going to stick him with this arsehole every weekend for the rest of his high school life. The thought of sleeping in on Saturday mornings being taken from him upset him the most.
“Wow, you two must love hanging out with each other.” Yancy said. He had nudged the door open and leaned in. “Look at you both, studying after school together like best pals.”
“Fuck off Becket.” Chuck glared at him but both he and Raleigh breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of the older Becket sibling. As much as Chuck hated him, he was a more welcome sight than Pentecost in that moment.
“What do you want, Yance?” Raleigh asked.
“Not much. Just thought I’d gloat a little; make fun of you in your state of misery. Standard big brother duty and all.” Yancy smirked at him. Raleigh wanted to punch him too.
“I already have to deal with one asshole today.” Raleigh sighed.
“Oi! Who are you calling an areshole?” Chuck cut it.
Raleigh ignored him. “Please don’t add to my misery.”
Yancy laughed, but took pity on his little brother. “You kids stay out of trouble now.” He dodged the book Chuck had aimed at his head and it bounced off the wall and hit the floor with a thud. He shot Chuck a triumphant look and ducked out of the room. “See you at home, Rals.”
Raleigh sighed and rested his head on the desk.
“Your brother is an even bigger arsehole than you.”
“For once we have something to agree on.” Raleigh muttered into the desk.
“Must run in the family.”
Chuck frowned. Becket was no fun when he didn’t react to his provocations.
Raleigh’s silence continued as he sat there with his head on the desk. Surely he couldn’t have fallen asleep. Chuck had heard the stories that circulated of Yancy’s ability to fall asleep in any class; a talent which pissed off every one of his teachers. But it couldn’t have run in the family too. Raleigh was always alert and active in classes. The fucker could never sit still. He was always tapping a pencil on the desk or holding whispered conversations with Mako or Tendo. The younger Becket was like a puppy that had been forced to sit at a desk and kept trying to wriggle his way out.
“Becket.” Chuck said.
He received no response.
“Becket.” Nothing. “Raleigh.”
Chuck began to tap his pen on the desk. “Raahhhlllleeeighhh.” He decided to butcher the pronunciation of Becket’s name in the way he knew the other boy couldn’t stand. Chuck also threw a balled up piece of paper at the back of his head for good measure.
“What?” Raleigh sat up abruptly and directed a pissed off look at him. “What do you want, Chuck?”
“I’m bored.” Chuck leaned back in his chair. He could see that Raleigh was holding himself back from getting up and punching him in the face. The flared nostrils, the whitened knuckles as they gripped the back of his chair and the soft pink lips just barely parted in an outraged expression.
“And whose fault is that? If you didn’t want to get stuck in detention on a Friday afternoon then you shouldn’t have picked another fight with me.” Raleigh’s voice was beginning to rise and his face was turning a shade redder.
“Can’t help myself.” Chuck leaned back in his chair. “You’re just too easy, mate.”
He could see Raleigh’s rage building still and rather than stop pushing him beyond his breaking point like any sane or rational person would, it only spurred Chuck on further.
“You’re a great source of entertainment.” He grinned.
Raleigh abruptly stood up, knocking his chair over, and loomed over Chuck. He slapped his hands down on the desk and leaned down so he was at eye level with him. A few inches closer and Chuck could brush his lips against his.
“What is your problem with me?” Raleigh demanded.
Chuck didn’t meet his eyes. He was too fixated on those lips. He wasn’t even hearing Raleigh anymore. That wasn’t what made him snap.
He flew out of his chair and gave Raleigh a shove backwards.
“Get out of my face Becket.” He warned.
“Why?” Raleigh was in his face again. Chuck backed up until he was against the wall and Raleigh advanced on him until there was barely any room between them.
“No. I won’t. You want a reaction out of me? Well you got it.” He flicked Chuck’s chest. “This is what you wanted, wasn’t it?”
The kiss was far more surprising to the two of them than Chuck’s fist in Raleigh’s face could ever have been. Chuck Hansen was known around the school for his impulsive acting before thinking attitude, infamous for it in fact, and in that instant he had fully given into it.
When Chuck’s brain did start functioning again all it could focus on were Raleigh’s lips; how they were just a warm as he had imagined but also drier and thinner than he had thought they would be. It was exactly what he wanted but he remembered where he was and who he was with and what he was doing.
And then it was over and Chuck was looking at Raleigh like someone had just run over his dog. He was tripping over chairs and knocking into desks and out the door before Raleigh had time to even process what had just happened.
Raleigh remained where he was and stared at the space Chuck once occupied.
Huh, he thought, so that’s what his problem with him was.