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The Bad Ones(2)
Stylo Fantome

When the sound of footsteps broke through her deep thoughts, though, she realized she wasn't alone. She looked up just in time to see a guy barreling towards her. His head was turned around so he could look behind him and as a result, he rammed right into her. She shrieked as they tangled together. Limbs were everywhere and she got a mouthful of his jacket collar. Her camera was momentarily crushed between them and when they ricocheted off each other, it fell to the ground. She, however, didn't fall. The guy grabbed her arms, holding her upright. She lifted her head to see what the hell was going on.

“Jesus, Dulcie, I didn't even see you.”

She stared up into a pair of very deep blue eyes and was shocked into silence. Everything seemed to grow quiet for a second, then a gust of wind ripped across the front of the building. It was strong enough to push her forward, into his chest, and a whirlwind of leaves flew through the air, surrounding them for a moment.

His full name was Constantine Masters. It just had an evil ring to it, like a crazy megalomaniac. Or an insane preacher, leading a doomed cult to its judgement day. Maybe even a serial killer, stealing through a window late at night. His friends called him Con for short, and so much is in a name. Con didn't seem quite as scary as Constantine. But still, there was something about him that had always given her the shivers.

She wasn't sure how long they would've stood there just staring at each other. It was a surreal moment, with the wind and the leaves and the quiet. But then it was ruined when someone began shouting from around the corner.

“What are you doing?” Dulcie asked, and the spell was broken. The wind died down and Con stepped back from her.

But he kept a hand on her arm.

“I was just -”


They both turned and looked at where the voice was coming from – its owner had appeared. It was the gym teacher. He was jogging towards them, huffing and puffing away. He looked pissed.

“Mr. Tully, hey, what's up?” Con replied nonchalantly as the out of breath teacher came to a halt in front of them.

“Don't you give me that shit! I got you now, you little bastard! I don't care who your daddy is, I'm gonna nail your ass to the wall,” Mr. Tully swore. Dulcie was shocked. She'd never heard a teacher talk to a student that way, and had never heard anyone say anything but glowing remarks about Constantine Masters. She glanced up at the boy who still held onto her arm, as if he was afraid she'd leave.

Or as if he doesn't want me to get away …

“I don't know what you're talking about, sir,” Con replied in a calm voice, which to Dulcie just made it seem as if he definitely knew what the teacher was talking about.

“Don't give me any of your bullshit. I know it was you who lit that car on fire. I got your ass now, Masters. No more football, no more parties. I got your number, alright. Stupid punk. Thought you got away with it, huh? No alibis this time,” Mr. Tully sneered.

Dulcie watched as Con winced at first, but then his eyes grew hard. He was staring very hard at Mr. Tully, and a muscle began to tick in the side of his jaw. But his breathing stayed even and the rest of his body appeared relaxed.

Still, though. That muscle.

“What are you talking about?”

Dulcie was shocked to hear her own voice. She'd just blurted it out, no discussion between mouth and brain. Mr. Tully started at her voice, too. As if he hadn't even realized she was there. Con didn't look stunned at all. He looked as if he'd been waiting for her to say something.

“None of your damn business, missy! What're you doing out here, anyway? You should be in class!” the teacher snapped at her. She took a step closer to Con, surprising herself even more.

“I know. I really wanted to get a picture of the tree, but I wasn't tall enough for the angles I needed – Con offered to take the shots,” she lied smoothly.

“Like hell, he did! He was just -” Mr. Tully began to argue.

“Look what you made me do,” Con interrupted. “All your shouting, I dropped her frickin' camera. You made me break it.”

Dulcie watched as Con squatted down and collected the shattered remnants of her camera – she hadn't even realized it had gotten damaged. Her heart broke a little as Con stood up, the pieces cradled in his hands.

A year's worth of tips, gone. All because some jock wasn't looking where he was going.

“What? You expect me to believe you were out here, taking pictures of a goddamn tree?” Mr. Tully sounded incredulous.

“It was for an art project, for a class,” Dulcie's voice was soft as she continued staring at her poor camera.

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