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Zac is standing in the hallway, watching Stephen’s fist as it swings closer. When his fist makes contact, Zac can’t help but smile a little. His simple little plan is working.
As he falls, Zac notices that there’s a crowd forming. Fellow students watch Zac awkwardly catch himself against the lockers. He feels his nose, pulls away, and sees crimson. He smiles at it.
Really, he deserves it. He called Stephen’s girlfriend a sl**. And she really looks like a sl**, but Zac normally keeps that sort of comment to himself. Not today, though.
Zac stands and faces Stephen, who has his fists clenched and his teeth bared. With a grin, Zac says, “Hit me again.”
Stephen’s stone face cracks with confusion. “What?”
“You heard me,” Zach says, feeling the endorphins. “Hit me.”
Whispers go through the crowd. Zac notices that people have their phones out, no doubt recording the scene to later post on Facebook.
Stephen becomes furious again. “Is this some sort of reverse psychology s***?”
“No,” Zac says. And he’s telling the truth; he genuinely wants Stephen to hit him again. He wants a black eye, a bloody mouth, a broken nose. And he doesn’t want it for street cred or to look tougher. Zac just wants to feel the pain because god damn it, at least he’s feeling something.
Zac can tell that Stephen no longer wants to hit him. He decides to reignite the flame.
“Can’t throw another punch like a man, can’t defend his woman like a man,” Zac says. And it works. One right in the eye. As a reflex, Zac accidently throws a punch back, but it seems to work because Stephen counters with a blow to the mouth. Zac tastes the thick, salty liquid that is his blood.
Hands of a security guard finally pry them apart. ‘Took the guy long enough,’ Zac dryly thinks, but he’s also thankful for the guard’s laziness.
Because god damn it, today he actually felt something.