Assignment for Creative Writing Now character development.
| Sebastian released a cool sigh and draped a too-lanky arm over his kid brother's shoulder. The pair stepped onto the grounds of the campus Sebastian had graduated from over a year before.
"You're really going to like it here Reid. I guarantee it," Sebastian said with a thumb pointed to his puffed-up chest. The teenager beside him grinned, but didn't reply. He was occupied with taking in the sights of the college grounds - the beautifully sculpted statue in the center of the manicured grass, the massive buildings, even the garden where Sebastian had discovered his green thumb years ago.
The boys were processed through a check-in station in the main office and Reid was given a visitor's pass, while Sebastian was waved off as alumni. Reid immediately inquired about the science classrooms and labs, but Sebastian suggested saving "best for last".
While hiking across the wide campus, between the cafeteria and the math building, a young woman bounced in beside the brothers, smiling cheerfully at them. She wrapped her short fingers around Sebastian's free hand. He pulled it up to his lips and kissed it.
"Hey, Amber," Reid greeted with a little wave.
"Hey kid! How are you liking the school so far?" she asked cheerfully.
"It's... well, its a lot to take in, but I like it. Are you done with your classes for the day?"
The woman nodded and hummed a quiet "Mm-hmm", her cropped auburn hair sweeping out from behind one ear. "Well, I mean actually just until mid-afternoon. I'm free for your tour, though. Oh!" She paused in her stride, stopping both the boys with her. "Sebastian, Professor Turney in the computer labs is leading a tour group today. Maybe we'll bump into him and you can ask him yourself about that I.T. position his connections are looking to fill. And I'm sure he'd be pleased to see you again, too."
Sebastian grinned at the girl and squeezed her hand a little tighter. She could be a little flaky, and maybe irresponsible at times, but she sure as heck had his back. She had been listening to him complain about his new job since the day he stepped in the door. Although he considered himself lucky among his friends to have found a job after graduation in his field of study, the I.T. position in the company he currently worked for was a joke. Sebastian alone was typically expected to accomplish the workload worth two additional people, without the tripled pay to show for it.
Sebastian tried to turn his attention away from all the chatter about the school's history and any manner of other topics that had irritated him during his own campus tour over five years prior, but it was hard to tune out. He made a point of not boring his brother with the same information while they explored.
After making the rounds through most of the school's structures, the trio approached the building where the science labs were contained. Sebastian sighed, relieved to be free from his brother's incessant pestering. He knew Reid well enough to tell he'd barely been taking in much of anything in the tour so far, his mind far away in the lab, imagining how he could expand his scientific creativity with the tools this school had to offer. And if the options the college had didn't satisfy Reid, then the whole afternoon had been a waste.
The trio hiked up the steps to enter the science building, and Reid's eyes were glowing, nearly bulging out of his head. Sebastian, trying to get a break from the chatter and pestering, hung back a little ways while his brother explored each classroom and poked around the labs. Every so often, however, Reid would pull Sebastian over to check out whatever neat thing he'd discovered, which Sebastian had undoubtedly spent four years of science classes looking at or using. Amber only smiled at him sweetly, and once had motioned silently for Sebastian to take a breath. He left to occupy one of the desks in the empty classroom.
The door popped open then revealing a tour group, a handful of high-school kids Reid's age - rather, grade, since he was always a year younger than the other kids his grade. They were led by a staff member and a few college students, whom Amber recognized and waved to. The staff member, a man of medium height with a thick brown beard and hair just brushing the tops of his ears, approached Sebastian sitting by himself. Amber began bouncing from one foot to the other while she stood near Reid, who couldn't have noticed if a bomb had gone off in the room - except to admire the chemical reaction.
"Hey there, 'Bastian!" The group leader cheered and offered his hand. Sebastian finally looked up at hearing his name, and took notice of the group. He smiled when he saw the professor. He jumped up and shook his hand.
"I heard you were giving tours today, Professor Turney. It's good to see you."
"You too, kiddo. Is this your little brother, here to blow up our lab?" Reid looked up from playing with a Bunsen burner, clearly intrigued by the words "blow up". The professor chuckled. "Why don't you three jump in line? I was just about to show these kids the store room where we keep all our reactive goodies."
Sebastian groaned inwardly. He questioned if he had the patience remaining to accompany his brother, whose energy was draining him dry, along with a bunch of other kids who would only do more of the same. Alternatively, he could sit by himself and sulk while he ignored the opportunity to better his employment status, which Amber had placed before him.
Knowing to needed to be a responsible adult and focus on bettering his career, he nodded to the professor and tried to keep his reluctance in check. He stood and followed the group of high school kids, pulling his eager brother along beside him. Sebastian pushed his way through the students to get closer to Professor Turney, but the man set his focus on leading the group of kids. Sebastian walked alongside him silently, teeth drilling into the inside of his cheek.
Amber slipped in beside Sebastian and wove her fingers through his. He gave her a sidelong glance and breathed deep. Her perfume danced in his nose, and he could almost feel his heartbeat slow. One of the kids stepped on the back of his foot, but he ignored it.
The tour group stopped next to a shelf of chemicals and Professor Turney addressed the kids in explaining the different substances and what courses they could take to use them. Reid pulled next to Sebastian and stood beside him, bouncing on the balls of his feet while he listened. Every time the professor leaned in to grab a new substance, Reid leaned in to his brother and flashed little whispers, asking what he thought could be done with it; what kind of explosive reactions might happen.
As the minutes pressed on Sebastian gritted his teeth and squeezed Amber's hand tighter and tighter. She let out a yelp and jerked away, rubbing her fingers. One of the other kids made a joke and Reid sniggered in Sebastian's ear.
Letting himself go, Sebastian yelled "back off" at Reid and shoved his brother in the chest, hard. He flew backward into a girl behind him, who bounced into a metal shelf against the wall. The structural rod holding the shelves as one bent and caved in. The top shelf, now sitting at a gross angle, sent products spilling down.
The girl was only just pulling herself up when a clear liquid from a large plastic bottle spilled in her lap and hair, dripping down onto her arms. Professor Turney grabbed the girl up and thrust her out of the cramped store room just as the liquid on her skin became tiny white foaming bubbles, and she let out a fearful wail. The professor flushed the girl with the emergency shower while the rest of the kids stood awkwardly by with eyes wide, murmuring to one another.
Reid snarled something at Sebastian but he didn't really hear it. He pressed himself against the cool brick wall and squeezed his eyes shut. Several minutes later he heard the water shut off in the attached classroom but still kept his eyes closed, and his fists like heavy stones at his sides.
When Sebastian felt a pair of lips press against his cheek he blinked. Amber was looking up at him, the ghost of a smile on her bright lips. She held up a container, plastic and filled about one quarter with a clear liquid. A large crack webbed across the top, leaving a jagged split for the liquid to pour out. The label read Hydrogen Peroxide.
"She's just fine, Bastian," Amber smiled sweetly. "You didn't hurt anyone."
Sebastian nodded, comprehending. The fact only made him feel a little better.