Benedick frowned as an envelope fluttered out of his locker. Picking it up, he recognized his own spiky handwriting adorning the front, identifying it as the same letter he'd slipped into Beatrice's locker that morning. He was sure it had been her locker. It was the one her and Donna were always stood in front of before registration but he knew Donna's locker was around the corner because John often dragged him along to meet her there at lunch and after school. So how had it ended up back in his locker?
Turning it over, he saw it had been neatly ripped open, confusing him even more. Unable to resist, he slid the letter out and was immediately struck by the red annotations scattered across the page that definitely hadn't been there earlier. Scanning the page, he realised what had happened. That harpy had had the nerve to write spelling corrections all over his heartfelt declaration of his love for her! While he was good with words, he knew spelling had never been his strong point, but honestly!
Just then he heard a familiar laugh from down the corridor. Looking up, he met her eye, pausing in his hurried actions to hide the envelope before changing his mind. Closing his locker, he strolled up to meet her just as Donna turned into the classroom on their left.
Holding the letter up between them, he simply raised his eyebrows in question.
"Well, as you've so often professed you detestation for the prospect of dating anyone and you know my stance on the subject matter is much the same, I could only assume it was an English project you wanted help with." Beatrice smirked as she carried on walking.
Falling into step alongside her, Benedick let out an amused huff of air. Clearly despite what he'd overheard John and Alec discussing yesterday, Beatrice was still refusing to allow her feelings towards him to show.
"Oh I see, yes of course. Obviously that's why I put it in your locker rather than asking you during registration."
"Benedick please, we both know if you'd asked during registration I'd have laughed in your face."
"I notice you're not doing that now though, so I reckon something about this particular piece might have interested you slightly?"
Anyone else would have missed the slight hitch in Beatrice's breathing at that, or the way a look of panic fluttered across her face for less than a millisecond before her carefully crafted mask of indifference slid back into place, but Benedick caught them, and he smirked quietly to himself at having caught her out.
"Why would it? Reading you gushing about some fictional character who happened to be called Beatrice? Please I'd have rather been listening to my dog barking at a crow than reading that!"
Ignoring the last comment, he raised a single eyebrow at her.
"A fictional character who just happened to have your name and look exactly like you?"
"Lots of characters have red hair and blue eyes. And besides, 'hair like the sunset and eyes like the ocean'?! How cheesy can you get?!"
They stopped walking and turned to face each other outside their Maths classroom.
"Shut up." He brought his hands up to her face and, meeting her eyes, slowly began leaned forward. Just then, then bell startled them out of their trance. Beatrice flushed and quickly ducked under his arms, motioning frantically to the classroom behind her.
"-Yeah of course! We should, um-"
"Um yeah. So erh, see you later?"
"Yeah. That sounds good." Benedick smiled at her softly. Beatrice felt her lips twitch upwards briefly before she felt her cheeks heating again and ducked her head to hide behind her hair as she headed into the classroom.
Benedick allowed himself a quick grin before heading in after her. Perhaps she'd admit her feelings pretty soon after all.
(Yes, the title is a reference to Sonnet 116)