The faucet dripped into the sink, soundlessly falling against gray fiberglass.
So, Gentry thought to himself, he’d guessed correctly. It was the stall on the far-left side--- pushed right into the corner. The kind of stall you’d overlook at first glance, since most people used the middle ones. It was, however, the most obvious choice if you knew what you were looking for.
“If you’re going to stay here, Handson said he’ll mark you as a cut.”
With a loud bang the bathroom door swung open and Zach charged on out. He turned the faucet, and cupped his hands under it.
As the door loudly dribbled shut, Gentry watched as Zach glumly splashed his face with the cold water and frantically rubbed his eyes.
“You were so cocky in the classroom. Why are you hiding in the bathroom?”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you came here to hide, too.”
“I don’t need a bathroom stall to hide.”
No reply. Just the sound of a faucet running and paper towels being ripped from the dispenser. Rushed and angry, but not as self-indulgent as slamming the stall door.
Gentry subtly tilted his his head to steal a glance at his eyes, to discern what words could not say. He knew Zach wouldn’t supply an answer if asked, and that he wasn’t in any position to demand one.
So in frustration, he gripped Zach’s shoulders and brazenly slid a hand up one cheek.
“You better not be crying. Do you have any idea who’s out there?”
He finally had him where he wanted, that proud angry face turned to him. But he barely swiped a glance when a fist connected to his jaw, hurling him back against the bathroom door he just barely caught on to. His heart was pounding and his face searing red as a cold sweat drenched the back of his neck.
Rubbed the side of his face as it swelled up, and glared reproachfully as Zach, who was standing open-mouthed and wide-eyed in the corner. Shaken but not submissive.
Their heavy breathing came in wary intervals, then just barely in unison.
The only other sound came from the slowly dripping faucet, the hollow trickle slowly turning into a pencil-thin stream against the plexiglass. Zach closed his mouth firmly, and Gentry stormed up to him. He menacingly fixed his eyes on him and tersely raised a hand, only to drop it again when Zach flinched.
He gave him a firm hard look. There were so many things he could say, so many things on his mind, but none fit, none worked. Here was this cornered, angry, frightened, boyish wonder, watching him as if waiting for the slap he deserved. What could you say to that?
So he kept his silence and raised that same hand, using the moment Zach flinched to instead carress the side of his face, and cup it before gently placing a kiss on his lips.
The door suddenly thrust open, and light flooded in.