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The Worst Sinner
His name was Mark. Her name was Delaney.
He was new. She was class vice president.
He'd been kicked out of his last school. She had straight A's.
He's under house arrest with an ankle locator. She's a Christian.
Not so similar except for Dr. Lenz's study hall 7th period.
Jolted, Mark blinked. Dr. Lenz hung over him, her curly red strays hanging in her eyes. Her ruby red lips were moving but they didn't match the words pounding into his ears. Killswitch Engaged...yum. "There is to be no sleeping in my class." She repeated once he lazily took out an earphone.
"Psh...this isn't even a class-"
"Well it's not nap time either, Mr. Taylor." She huffed and continued on to the next entertainment-deprived individual. Mark snickered and was about to press play again when something tapped his shoulder. He turned his head, then shifted around to face her.
"What are you listening to?" Her lips said. He stared at them, then at her brown eyes, then her freckles. It took a good few seconds before he actually saw her.
"Killswitch Engaged." He answered, and then added, "What about you?"
"'Can't Get Away' by Rush of Fools." She smiled. "I'm Delaney." She said and offered her hand.
"Mark." He answered and shook it.
"I know." She laughed. He gave her a look. "She calls you out every few minutes." Mark shrugged. Wasn't like it wasn't true. "So how do you like it here?"
"It freaking sucks." Was his immediate response. Her smile faltered substantially. He looked to rephrase his statement but his mouth opened and the bell rang. She looked up at him and gave a slightly forced smile, gathered her things and left. Mark grunted and did the same.
The next day, 7th period, Delaney was gone to a student counsel meeting. That’s how Mark found out she was Vice Prez. The following day, 7th period, FCA banquette. That's how he found out she was a Jesus freak. The next day he was looking at her brown eyes again. Friday.
"So, what are you listening to now?" Was her opening line.
"Lamb of God." He answered...ironic.
"Lamb of God?" she raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"It's death metal." He stated. They tumbled back down.
"So I hear you're a big bible hugger." Mark threw out. She was surprised again but it wasn't a good expression on her face.
"Interesting word choice-"
"Then again you could have just said Christian." She said.
"And yes, I am a 'bible hugger'." Mark rolled his eyes.
"Why?" He suddenly blurted out.
"Why? Because if I didn't have faith I'd end up like you." She snapped but you could tell she immediately regretted it. Mark's eyes narrowed a bit.
"I have faith." He retorted.
"I meant in God, not weed." She said under her breath, but he caught it. Now he was mad.
"WHO THE-" He rose to his feet.
"Mr. Taylor!" Dr. Lenz shrieked from behind her desk. He looked at her flaming red head and gritted his teeth. Then he looked back down to whom he was angered and faltered. Delaney had the most frightened expression. She was scared…of him! Quietly, Mark sank back down and muttered an apology. She didn't relax, in fact he didn't think she was breathing. He forced his eyes to the floor.
"The most important things in life are never actually things at all are they?" Suddenly whispered to him.
"Is that from your bible?" He sneered.
"No...it's a quote by Suu Kyi." She whispered. "I'm sorry for what I said. I didn't mean to anger you...I just get mad when people judge me without seeing me. But my faith is very important to me so I'd greatly appreciate it if you extended some civilized courtesy and kept your comments to your-"
"It wasn't me who was dishing the comments." Mark cut her off. "You talk about being judged, well you’re a real hypocrite."
The bell. The weekend. Bad decisions. The PoPo.
School. Monday. The PO watching his every move.
Home. School. Home. School. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday.
Friday. Mark glared daggers at his PO who was flirting with Dr. Lenz.
"Hey." Mark turned.
"You." He said.
"Me." Delaney nodded.
"What?" Mark had no patience for this conversation. His mind was made up about her. She was judged.
"How's your week been?" She tried, but Mark grunted and turned back around. "I'm sorry, I know you really don't care, but I have a proposition for you."
"What?" He said, not turning back around.
"Under state legislation, any persons under house arrest is allowed, by an honorable judge, to attend the following while under sentence: Educational Centers, Medical Centers, Pre-appointed Work and Religious Centers." She recited.
"What are you-" Mark turned around with a scowl.
"Come to church with me." She stated bluntly. "I know you'll probably hate it, but it beats staying at your house."
Mark and Delaney stayed in a dead lock stare. Mark already had his response. NO. But would it get him out of his house? She sounded sure of the law...
Delaney took a deep breath and pushed open the doors to her church youth group. She turned and gave a tentative smile to Mark, who under his perfect mask, was slightly freaking out. ‘Being in a room of Jesus freaks for two hours! Why did I sign up for this?’
In the youth room there was a pool table, a fuzeball table, a bunch of game stations, even some DDR around the corner. Mark just rooted himself at the entrance.
“We’re not terrible. We’re people.” She smiled.
“Yeah…people who stare.” Mark muttered.
“Walk with me.” She said.
That night, the talk was on the book Ephesians. Some dude named Saul/Paul who liked to kill people actually turned into one of the people he killed. Mark’s mind wandered to the word ‘Nazi’. Hitler was all for blond and blue eyes but he was the opposite. Then the inevitable thought: Did their God love Hitler? Better yet, did their God love him? Ugh…Mark sank deeper into the cushions. He closed his ears, he didn’t wanna listen anymore. Instead he stared, wondering why she was listening intently, being a good little church girl. Mark squinted. Why is she? It obviously wasn’t making her all that popular. She wasn’t the Prom queen, she’s only Vice Prez, and she’s not in any uppity classes. Why did she insist on doing church?
“Why church?” Mark asked. The night was over and he’d managed to survive the whole ordeal.
“I thought we had this discussion already. In study hall…it ended lovely.” She laughed hesitantly.
“Yeah well…it didn’t end like I wanted and you never answered the question in the first place.” Mark answered.
“I do church because…I’m not perfect at all—”
“Obviously—” Mark muttered. She gave him a look.
“—and God loves me anyway. He loves everybody…he loves you.” She quietly died off.
“Does he love Hitler?” Mark whispered, not really intending on her hearing. She did and she laughed. He stared at her as she fell over herself in a fit of giggles.
“Yes!” She cried. “God loved Hitler!”
Monday. Seventh period. Dr. Lenz was actually late. Nineteen students sat in her study hall only wondering where the annoying voice had gone. Mark was twitching a little. Delaney was at another thingy thing and he had a question. One he couldn’t ask while she was on her rampage of guffaws. ‘Could he do a test run?’ Like a God 60-day trial? She seemed…happier than most people, and of course him by leaps and bounds. What would it take to get a Jesus?
Suddenly Dr. Lenz came through the doors with nine arms full’s of files. Her hair was more fuzz than curl and her lips were abnormally pale. She was a mess. One queue, like in the movies her foot caught on some unseen thing and she went tumbling.
‘What would it take to get a Jesus?’
Eighteen students started laughing and snickering. Mark slowly rose from his desk and up the walkway. He bent down and picked up file after file. Everyone fell silent. Dr. Lenz looked up in awe.
“Mr. Taylor…?” Mark saw that it was all awkward.
“Here.” He said and handed her his stack. She took it uncertainly.
“Whatever.” He shrugged and put his headphones on and sat back down. He laid his head on the desk in an attempt to hide his cheeks spasming into a smile.