Combination

He liked patterns.

Patterns made sense. Patterns were predictable and reliable. Patterns were easy.

He was systematic, always finding a consistency in all aspects of life. Whether it was a math problem or a matter of finding the quickest route home after school. Everything was logical, and every problem had a solution.

Taking hold of the cold metal in one hand he expertly twisted it just so.

12-33-9

Click!

His lock snapped apart and he swung open his locker, beginning to sift through the tattered textbooks and loose paper. The hallway around him was filled with casual conversations and the yawns of teenagers who had spent the entire weekend goofing off, only to come back Monday resembling the walking dead.

Grabbing the last of his belongings, he shut his locker with a slam and turned on his heel in the direction of his first period. He stopped dead in his tracks though, when an obnoxious, animalistic growl he had become accustomed to reached his ears.

He sighed.

If he kept walking he could continue his morning in peace. If he was determined he could even make it through the entire day without encountering the terror that stood a few feet behind him. As he heard the sound of a boot colliding with the unforgiving metal of a locker, he changed his direction and started prepping himself as he walked towards the belly of the beast.

He didn't get her.

He didn't understand the complexities that were her.

She was a puzzle. A puzzle where all of the pieces were jagged and mismatched, like someone had given up on finding the right individual spaces and just glued them together. The picture it made was a mess of frizzy, red hair, too many freckles, and a screeching voice that seemed to travel through walls.

When he reached her, he watched as she squinted her eyes at the lock, slowly twisting it between her small fingers. He couldn't help but think she almost looked nice.

She suddenly threw her arms up with a loud roar.

Almost.

When she sensed his presence she turned to him with a snarl on her lips.

"What do you want ya stupid boy?"

He ignored her and pushed her aside. His fingers going to the lock and his ears tuning out her harsh tone. He had learned long ago that arguing only got him a headache and a welt on his arm.

"Who do you think ya are jus' pushin' a lady like that? Didn't yer mother teach you better than that?"

He could hear her foot tapping the floor impatiently.

"Hello? Do ya hear me? I swear to all things Irish I-"

Click!

Her locker swung open and he turned to look at her. Her face was still twisted like it was ready to drop another insult. She pushed him out of the way and began to grab her things while mumbling profanities.

With a shrug he walked away, once again in pursuit of his first period.

Patton Drilovsky liked patterns. He liked when things were as simple as a combination on a lock. Fanny Fulbright was everything, but simple. She was everything that he disliked. She had no routine. No predictabilities. No set way of doing things.

It irked him.

It also intrigued him.

Just a thought that popped in my head.

Thanks!