The plodding footsteps of the crowd of students slowly lulls her to a meditative state, her surroundings and people’s faces fading into that grey haze that happens when she isn’t connected to anyone around her. But she hesitates a moment, almost sensing him, with his sports jacket and faded jeans, and his soft golden hair abruptly bringing color back into her world. Who was this boy?
Her eyes followed him and her pace slowed as he drew closer, and it almost felt like fate was drawing them together. But then he passed, and disappeared from her sight. She hoped this was one of those moments where she knew that she would see him again. But that would be too coincidental.
Making her way through a narrow paved path that cut between buildings, where no one seemed to walk, the tree branches above her head seemed to make a cocooned tunnel that safely ushered her forward. She wished that she had the courage to have talked to that boy. But it seemed so sheltered in the trees. Maybe being safer is better, she thinks.
Finally, the small slice of nature transforms back into cultured campus, the pavement extending and stretching to perfectly carved buildings and ornate doorways. Conversations come from every periphery, fading in and out as people pass her. “Hey!” An amused but distant voice calls out to her. Shaking her head out of a daze, she smiles in recognition and waves. “Hey Brian.”
Although he had some classes with her, she wasn’t too fond of Brian. With the addition of his flashing white smile and deep blue eyes, his personality seemed to have both depth and the lack of it. He was very cultured and ‘well rounded’ ; courageously attempting sky diving, a prodigy in every class, constantly warm and friendly to everyone; and as a result was very popular. However, something about his robotic perfection grown to make her uneasy. Not to mention what happened with him. Still, she ignored it. She had to.
He walked up to her. “Ready for lunch? Let’s go to Planks.” Planks, or Plank&Sword was the main dining hall on campus, which became very full with students because of it’s cramped layout but was the only place, really, to go. She hoped they would be able to snag a seat. “Alright then,” she replied.
As they walked toward the line, his shoulder brushed against hers. She stiffened. He was warm. Just like that night… but she didn’t want to think about it. Admittedly, although she wished she could hide it from herself, Brian had been a crush for a while. Then he took advantage of it: wooed her, seduced her, and dropped her with as much disinterest as a candy wrapper. He had already consumed what he wanted.
It was hard to act normal, but she was in so many classes with him that maintaining a good friendship was a forced punishment. It still hurt. Once they finally got their food, the search was on for an empty table. Wandering around, her hand trembling slightly underneath the warmth of her plate of noodles, she plastered a nonchalant smile on her face as she noticed a group of students leaving a table, a table that was now completely empty. So it would be just me and him, she thought. “Great,” said Brian, echoing her thoughts as he rested his plate down on the table, a plate heaping with an inordinate amount of raw vegetables and meats, along with a glass of V8.
Her fingers barely holding onto her fork, she began toying with her food as the silence began. Occasionally, Brian would mention something, before eating something and getting lost in thought. It clearly wasn’t affecting him. Sighing to herself with frustration, she mentally grabbed her feelings and mushed them into a tiny little ball, tossing it as far as she could into the recesses of her mind. “I can act,” she thought. “He’s just a friend. He’s nothing to you.”
Smirking to herself at the weakness of her heart, her eyes downcast, she barely notices when Brian looks up to greet a passerby who happened to arrive at the table. “Hey dude, do you have anywhere to sit?” With a darker voice that had the smooth delicious nature of caramel dissolving down your throat, there was a hint of humor in the reply. “No, do you have room for another?”
She feels her cheeks suddenly grow warm. Looking up, her eyes widen. The boy from earlier was standing in front of her, ocean grey eyes glinting with an unidentifiable emotion as he dropped his backpack on the seat next to her, continuing to meet her gaze. He was slim but muscular, and there was a refreshing air about him. She could barely believe it. He was here. With a controlled smile, he politely extended his hand out to her.
“Hi, my name is Jackson.”