All that one could see of Cristofer during fourth period was that boyish wistful profile as the young man gazed out the window. Sol knew this, for he regarded that profile during the entire class allotment, risking an irate teacher.
Once the end-of-class bell rang, releasing the throngs into the hallway, Sol backed his books into his bag and followed the young man, intending to catch up. It had been several days since Tristam had...since the young man had revealed his base intentions and...and brutalized him. Sol had always considered Cristofer a friend, though the young man held himself somewhat aloof from the general throng - perhaps more for this than anything - but he was having trouble working himself up to explaining the circumstances that had been thrust upon him by Tristam.
Sol winced. Don't think "thrust," he schooled himself silently. At least the soreness had faded.
Cristofer was making swiftly for the hall and Sol got up to follow. A hand gripped at his shoulder, hard, and Sol turned startled crimson eyes on his assailant.
"Tris--" he began, voice louder than he intended, and swiftly modulated his tone. "Tristam. Please let me go."
Tristam's generous lower lip twisted in a dark expression. "Don't you go near him," the handsome boy warned.
Sol pulled away with an effort. He wasn't much for sports, which was how Tristam had been able to so easily overpower him that day. "Whyever not? Cristofer is my--"
Tristam's face closed into angry lines. "Stay away from him, Sol, I'm in earnest! I won't let you...listen, I'll be the one to lay claim to Cristofer!"
Sol looked blankly at Tristam, a stab going right to the core of him. If it were for Cristofer and the loss of him, or for Tristam going to anyone else, the pain of it was indistinguishable. "Is that your honest opinion?" he said angrily, drawing back.
Tristam met his gaze with an unreadable expression. "I wouldn't go to him for succor," was all he said, then he brushed past Sol, deliberately sliding their bodies into contact though there was plenty of room to pass.
Sol watched until the other boy had left the room, quick steps making for Cristofer's line of departure, then muttered bitterly, "No, you'd prefer I do that for you..."