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By the end second week, the chaos had died down a bit and Regina was settling in to her new life. She had never returned to the Titan table, but she did sit near it. She had made friends with a girl she took home economics with, so she was sitting with her at lunch. She was glad that the table was near the Titans so she could stare at Alan often. She wasn’t normally shy, but the thought of talking to a white guy in a racially split town wasn’t a good idea.
“Hey, Regina.” said Bernice, the girl she befriended as she sat down at the table with her. “What cake were you gonna make for home ec?”
“I don’t know…I really don’t bake. Hell, no one in my family bakes. Not even my mom. That was the great thing about having bakeries down the street from where I lived.” she said with a laugh. “I guess I’ll just find something easy.”
“Well, I know I’m making my grandma’s coconut cake. I’ll lend you some recipes if you can’t find anything. I know my family got a bunch of ‘em.”
“Thanks.” Regina said as she began to eat her lunch. She looked around the room and saw the school was still as divided as the first day. “Do you think this school will ever come together. I mean, look around this room.”
“I know you from the North and all, but you know that ain’t never happening. It’s the way it’s been and it’s going to stay that way.”
“I know…can’t blame me for trying.” she said with a shrug. “And it was separated and stuff in New York, but things weren’t this bad. I mean there’s some hope, right?” she said as she stared at Alan. He saw her and waved with a big smile on his face. Bernice turned around to see why her new friend was suddenly smiling and saw a guy with an equally big smile.
“Is this about this school integrating or are you trying to get closer to a certain white Titan who goes by the name of Alan Bosley?”
“Why would you say that? And stop talking so loud…he could hear you.”
“Uh huh…you got a thing for him alright. You know that’s never going to happen, right? I’m not trying to put you down, but you got to be a little realistic about this. I mean, his dad is known for not liking our kind too much.”
“What?!” Regina said in genuine shock. “But, Alan is so…friendly with blacks. That can’t be right.” she said as she stared at him joking with his teammates.
“I don’t know…maybe over the summer the guys bonded and they’re thinking a little ahead than the rest of us. I mean, they did have to go up there together and I heard that Coach Boone made blacks and whites stay in the same rooms. Maybe he is different…” she said as the bell rang and people were leaving the cafeteria.
“Hey, Regina?” Alan said as he tapped her shoulder as they walked out together. “How do you think you did on the first quiz?”
“I don’t know…good I guess. How about you?”
“Oh, I know I failed it. English just isn’t my thing. It never has been.”
“Well, English is surprisingly easy for me. I don’t know why.”
“Well, maybe you can tutor me.” he blurted out and she looked at him strange. “See, I kind of need to keep my grades up to stay on the team and…”
“Right…” she said knowing that it was something behind his cordial conversation after about two weeks of not talking to her besides saying hello. “I’m not doing your homework for you, Alan.” she said before turning to walk away, but he stopped her.
“I didn’t say you were doing my homework, I just wanted some help. Please.” he begged with a puppy dog look on his face. The expression on his face was so cute, she swore she would kiss him, but she stopped her urge by thinking about what Bernice said about his dad.
“Okay, fine…I’ll help you.” she said, reluctantly, agreeing to help him. “I guess I could use my expertise in English to help those who aren’t as lucky.”
“That being me.” Alan said with a sheepish grin.
“Yes. So, I’ll torture you, Alan.” she said with a smile.
“Thanks.” he said with a smile before walking into his next class.
She rushed to her class at the end of the hall before the tardy bell rang. She sat in class thinking about Alan’s smile. Maybe it was just a one-sided crush, she thought. Even if it was, she would try to be his friend because she was now, curious as to why a boy with a father that is known to hate blacks can get along with them so well.
“Okay everyone, you will be partnering up today with the person sitting next to you. So, everyone partner up.” said her biology teacher. She was sitting next to a blonde haired girl who was less than enthusiastic about partnering up with a black girl.
“Mr. Bearer., I would like another partner.” the girl said as she sneered at Regina.
“Brittany, there’s an even number in the class and everyone has a partner already.” the teacher said with a sympathetic look towards the blonde haired girl as if he was sorry she had to be partnered up with a black girl. Regina almost lost her temper, but she remember what her dad said and swallowed her anger.
“Okay, class, you will be looking at the cell of a potato root at different stages. Tell which stage your slide is and why. Take turns looking at the slide. You may begin.”
“I’ll go first.” the blonde girl said and Regina, begrudgingly, let her. She figured it was a small fight that she didn’t need to get in that day.
They got through the assignment by not really talking to each other. She still couldn’t believe that after almost two weeks, people were still trying to fight the integration. She wasn’t expecting for blacks and whites to hug each other and be friendly. She wasn’t that stupid. She was just hoping they would at least settle to civil terms.
The bell for class to end rang, and Regina walked down the hall to her locker. She was happy that it was the last class of the day, because she knew she couldn’t stay calm after her biology class. That girl had tested her limit for the day, and she knew she would snap. She felt someone tap her on the shoulder and she turned around to see Alan standing behind her.
“Hey, Regina. I was wonder if…Well, I…” he said struggling to get out the words.
“Yes, Alan?” she said as she stared at him. She couldn’t stop staring at his dreamy blue eyes as they seemed to be fixated on her full lips. But, that could just be her own eyes playing tricks with her mind. She had pushed all thought of him actually being attracted to her out of her mind the moment she learned about his dad.
“I was just going to ask you to meet me at the library tomorrow at two. That’s if you’re not busy on Saturdays. If so, we can meet some other time.”
“I’m not busy on Saturdays. I really haven’t found anything to do here that would catch my attention…” she said with the same sheepish grin he wore, earlier. “So, see you tomorrow?”
“Absolutely. Although, you know some Saturdays I can’t make it because of the away games. Sorry about that.” he said with an apologetic face.
“It’s okay. So, I’ll see you tomorrow, then. Goodbye.” she said with a smile before walking off wondering if he, indeed, did like her.