Word Count: 491 words
Notes: For shoemaster who said "Heroes, Claire and Zach "I need your help""
He’s sitting by himself, playing with Mike’s PSP. It must be a cool game, because he’s totally into it, kinda pushing at the buttons and cursing every two minutes. I stand and watch him for a while. I haven’t really spoken to him since sixth grade. We used to be friends. Jackie started paying attention to me and I became friends with her. And I don’t know, we grew apart. I guess that whole time when Jackie and I would shout names at him across homeroom didn’t help.
He looks up at me and I can see what he’s thinking. He thinks I’m here to make his life hell. “What do you want, Claire?”
I try to smile, but it comes out wrong. “I need your help.”
“Oh yeah, what with?” Zach’s staring at me like I hold the answers to the universe, his nose all scrunched up and his eyes fixed on mine. What am I supposed to say?
“Uh… a film. I want to make a demo film. I was thinking of joining drama club.”
He turns away, his eyebrow quirking and his upper lip curling. He’s sneering at me. “Aren’t you busy with your pom poms?”
“It’s sort of a cheerleading film,” I say, nodding.
I sit next to him, putting my hand on his wrist. He glares at it and wrenches his arm away. I should have known better than to try to flirt with Zach. He knows me too well. He knows me better than Jackie or any of the other cheerleaders. But he doesn’t know who I really am. Not yet.
“Come on, Zach. You’re a great photographer. That art film you did with the mime and the inflatable banana? That was cool.”
He’s all bitter. “You’re just saying that.”
“No, I’m not. Really. I need that kind of… vision… for what I have in mind.”
“You’ll just have to find someone else.” He’s starting to stand, swinging his backpack onto his back. No. I need him. There’s no-one else I can trust with this. I don’t even really know I can trust him. But I have to do this. I need to have proof.
“I’ll pay you.”
He turns back. “How much?”
“A hundred and twenty?”
“No, cents,” I say, shaking my head. “Yes, dollars.”
“This isn’t going to be soft-core porn or anything is it, because I’ve got a reputation to uphold.”
I get up and punch him. It’s probably not the best way to secure his help, but he can’t just go around saying stuff like that. He laughs at me.
“Meet me down by the bridge with your camera tonight after school. Do not tell anyone. I’ll have your money ready for you.”
“Okay, Claire. Whatever you want.”
I watch him walk away. This is probably the worst idea I’ve ever had, but in a way, it’s a relief. It won’t just be me now.