“Why- what…” this boy just…he just walked out and–
“Chloe?” asked an older voice a flight above me.
All I could do was stand with a confused look on my face, with my back turned towards them wondering whether or not I should ask t-shirt guy what his deal was, but I stayed.
“Chloe, you know class is starting in,” she glanced at her watch as if she didn’t already know, “about ten seconds.”
“I’m sorry miss Martin I was just…”
“No need to explain just get on up there” she said with a wink and definitely not a space for me to say anything more.
I ran practically, to room 207 where I saw Kels for the first time since we spoke over the phone as she struggled to keep her eyes open until she saw me frantically sit in my chair—past the bell.
Immediately I felt a light smack in my back from a crumpled up paper that I knew belonged to the sleep deprived wild child.
“Chloe, you’re never late what happened?” it read.
“I don’t want to talk about it” I whispered loudly throwing it back to her.
“We don’t have to talk, we can write” she begged.
Nothing but silence from me until I caved and wrote back “I’m not taking any chances, plus writing notes is a decade old” I inked in, tossing it carelessly and realizing it didn’t get to the right hands until I got it back from none other than the boy who’s locker might’ve dented my forehead.
“I wouldn’t talk about it either, the mark on your forehead says it all” I read in messy handwriting I could recognize in a heartbeat.
Immediately I felt I was drowning in my own humiliation.
I glanced at Kels who had her mouth wide open and eyebrows furrowed.
“WHAT does it say” she mouthed with wide eyes.
I gave her the coldest stare, first she takes off in algebra, then lunch the other day, now she’s caused my insides to feel like they were melting because of her damn need to know about another embarrassing thing.
“—Then he just rips open the note like its meant for him, as if everything I do is meant for him to catch…”
“What does that mean” questioned Kelsey.
“Nothing, just a figure of speech…” I trailed off focusing on picking up speed to get to my bus home. So pathetic, a senior who still takes the bus.
With a few seconds to spare I realized in the midst of replaying last classes nightmare, I thought of the boy in the white t-shirt.
He seemed unfamiliar at first, but maybe I did know him.
Kelsey could see my mind was elsewhere but didn’t pry too much, instead opting for “is there anything else on your mind.” Pretty much the most basic friendship question.
“No, not really.”
She didn’t believe me, I could see it in her mirrored expression of a fake grin as we both knew I had to go.
I sat closest to the window and stuck my head out calling to Kels to text me later.
As I turned back around I picked up my purple headphones and began listening to music, trying frantically to find something to relate to my mood, so I wouldn’t feel too alone at this moment.
Stepping off the bus I started the 15 minute walk home, and as I turned the corner a shine caught my eye.
It was the keys of some guy, maybe a couple of years older hopping out of his car getting home from work—when I then realized another on the passenger side opening his door and climbing out.
Wow he has pretty hair from behind… and cool shoes… and… oh my god he’s turning around.
I look away as quickly as I can hoping with every fiber of my being he doesn’t recognize me, or at the very least think I was looking at him.
I walked as fast I could, as normally as I could past his house, trying my best to hide my annoyance. How had I not realized he lived in my neighborhood?
He didn’t have to catch me, he could’ve let me fall, it would’ve made sense too considering I had just banged my head against a locker about a minute before.
“Do you normally take the bus” I turn around to find Mr. t-shirt checking the mail.
I stood in silence.
“Do you normally not speak?”
Once again, silence.
He shuts the mailbox with one hand while still looking at me.
“You just left, why did you just catch me and leave” I demanded to know, unsure of where that came from.
He stood shocked and began to open his mouth but I had a little more to say.
“I don’t know you, and I don’t plan on knowing you, but what I do want to know is why didn’t you just let me fall?”
“Why would I do that? Because it’s a human reaction I guess, and I don’t want to just let my neighbor fall on her face.”
“We live a whole street away from each other.”
“Eh, that’s not so far.”
“Yeah, you’re right it’s not far enough” I said hostile.
“I think what you’re trying to say is thank you” he said back.
“What I’m trying to say is that I can handle myself thank you very much.”
“Oh, you’re welcome. But don’t forget you did walk into a locker before that—“
“So, you saw that too?” I questioned.
“I did—but it wasn’t bad, and it didn’t cause a lot of attention or looks.”
“Do looks matter to you?”
“No, not unless it’s you looking” he said as I felt my cheeks get warm remembering a minute ago..
“I wasn’t looking at you—it was your driver’s keychain that made me look.”
“Whatever works” he said with a slight smile.
I turned around and got about five feet away before I heard him say “I’m Hayden by the way.”
I kept walking, determined to get home and away from whatever was happening here; but his blue eyes stayed in my mind.