Despite his curiosity, Thomas managed to keep himself from Googling FtM. Instead, he kept an eye out for Logan in the hallway at school, greeting him whenever their paths crossed. He wasn’t sure what Briar had meant when she told him not to treat Logan differently, but he tried to be act the way he would with any other friend.
But something felt off. Thomas couldn’t shake the thought that Logan wasn’t just one of his friends. It could have been the fact that Logan was three years younger than him. Could a senior be friends with a freshman? Thomas didn’t see any reason why not, other than the stupid social pressures of high school.
Still, there was something nagging at the back of his consciousness.
Thomas blinked and raised his head from where it had been resting in his palm. Mr. Watson, his Family Studies teacher, was looking at him with a raised eyebrow. With embarrassment, Thomas realized he had completely spaced out during class.
“Uh…” He glanced around. Everyone was looking at him. Had Mr. Watson asked him a question? “Sorry, sir.”
Mr. Watson sighed and shook his head. “You’d be wise to pay attention when I’m describing an assignment.” He turned and started writing on the board.
Thomas started to relax. He hadn’t been asked a question, just caught spacing out. He could live with that. He was sure he wasn’t the first student to have their mind drift during class.
When Mr. Watson stepped away from the board, he had drawn a series of connecting lines that formed something like an upside down pyramid. There were words too, but Mr. Watson had terrible handwriting, and he had written them too small for Thomas to decipher.
He quickly copied the diagram into his notebook. Hopefully Mr. Watson would explain what the words were supposed to be.
“I’m sure you’ve all seen a family tree before.” Mr. Watson told them. “They are a great tool when sorting out relationships.” He idly tapped the diagram on the board. “This would be my tree. See how there is only one spot on the bottom? I am an only child, as was my mother. My father, however…”
He paused to draw another branch connecting a spot in the second row to a new spot. “My father had a sister, my aunt. She has her own family.” He drew some quick branches, but left out what they were connecting to. “You can see how family trees can get messy if not thought out before you start.”
The hair on the back of Thomas’s neck stood up. People were looking at him again. This time he got angry instead of embarrassed. He knew what they were thinking. His family tree was a mess, because his parents hadn’t thought before reproducing.
“I want each of you to put together your own family trees.” Mr. Watson continued. “I don’t like giving a lot of small assignments, so you’ll have to put some effort into this. You’ve got two months, and I suggest you use them.”
He started passing out papers. When Thomas got one, he saw that it was the official assignment sheet, complete with all the little requirements. Their trees had to have at least six people other than themselves represented. That would mean that a tree with a person’s parents and grandparents would be enough.
The bell rang and Thomas stuffed the assignment sheet in his backpack. He wasn’t one for procrastinating, but he didn’t want to even think about this assignment for a while. He had two months, so he would probably be fine if he waited a day or two to start.
When he left the room, Thomas froze. Logan was standing across the hall, leaning against the wall like he was waiting for someone. When he spotted Thomas, he took a step forward, smiling and waving.
Thomas’s stomach lurched. He could still feel his classmates’ stares on the back of his neck, even if most of them had already dispersed into the crowd. Logan would have a spot on his family tree as his half-brother. He could almost see the branches forming in the air, connecting them.
But Thomas didn’t want to think about that, so he turned and walked away.