The next day, all three of us were laughing in the car, while Rachel gave us all confusing stares. Layla was sitting in the front seat, and Eric was sitting in the back next to me. After the movie last night, Eric went back to his room and we never talked about anything that happened. We held hands for the entire second half of the movie and we didn’t care about the sweat that formed between our fingers.
I don’t know about him, but I didn’t want to let go.
“Hey loser, can we listen to something other than Metallica?” Eric shouted to Layla over the loud drums blaring through the speakers.
I was in my own little world, rocking my head back and forth to the beat.
“Judging from Cecil, I’d say majority rules. Sorry bud.” Layla grinned in my direction, as I was completely oblivious to my surroundings.
Eric looked over at me and smiled. I was staring out of the window at the sunny blue sky, thinking my usual thoughts. I felt his eyes burning a hole right through me, and I quickly turned my attention back to reality.
“Huh? What?” My face grew a pinkish color.
Eric, Layla and Rachel all laughed and I slid down in my seat a little, cursing to myself.
“Are you alright back there?” I heard Rachel ask from the driver’s seat.
“Yes, of course. Sorry! Just um... in my own world I guess.” I laughed.
“Typical Cecilia.” Layla said as she turned the station on the radio.
I liked that they were paying enough attention to me to know when I was zoning out or not.
Eric slowly slid his hand across the seat and gently placed it over mine.
Sparks flew yet again.
“You sure you’re alright?” He asked softly enough so Layla and Rachel couldn’t hear.
“Yes, I’m fine. Promise.” I smiled.
He was checking up on me and still touching my hand. I wanted to pretend we were alone and jump across the seat to his lap. I wanted to bury my face into his chest and breathe in his delicious aroma. Fresh out of the shower with a soft spritz of cologne, he managed to pull off even the simplest of clothes which were dark blue jeans and a jet black t-shirt, followed by his gold plated watch and black Vans. His hair was brushed, but still slightly wet. I tried to keep my eyes forward because if I kept staring out into the abyss, he was seriously going to think that something was wrong with me.
“You know, you don’t have to do that.” He looked at me, nervously.
I brought my attention back to his face, trying to stare more at his eyes than his perfect lips that mine were crying out for.
“Act all shy and unsure of yourself. You are allowed to look at something that you... like.” He shot me a grin and winked at me, showing off his annoying ego.
“Pft, I’m not shy or unsure. I’m looking at exactly what I want to be looking at.” I peeled my eyes away from his gaze and put them to my phone this time. I tried to scroll through Facebook, but not a single thing caught my attention. Nothing could ever come close to the wonderful sight of Eric Daines.
“You shouldn’t be so cocky, Daines.” I teased while my thumb still scrolled through my news-feed.
He laughed and wore a huge smile at the sound of his last name coming from my mouth.
“Whatever you say, Collins. Whatever you say.”
A smile broke free from my face as well.
We pulled up to the school parking lot and got out of the car. We said our goodbyes to Rachel, and I thanked her for having me over for the night. She told me that I was allowed over anytime I wanted, and then she waved goodbye as she drove out of the parking lot.
“Alright, time for first period.” Layla grabbed me and pulled me with her towards the school doors. We went to each of our locker’s and pulled out our books for our first four classes.
Eric walked away meeting up with his friends. He sure had a lot of them. Everywhere he walked, you could hear “hello’s” and “hey’s” coming from all different directions. Some of them were from other guys, but a lot of them came from different girls. I found myself wanting to shoot every girl who talked to him in the face, and I had no idea why. I’m usually never the jealous type. Then again, I had never had a boyfriend or even a guy friend for that matter, so I never had anything to be jealous over. Eric is far from being my boyfriend, but I did consider him at least a friend and that is enough for me. For now.
The second bell rang and Layla grabbed my arm as we darted for first period. Mr. Thompson wasn’t too fond of anyone coming in after the second bell. Most of the time, he would make you sit outside for the first ten minutes if you were late, and no one was allowed to give you any help if you missed anything important from the lecture.
We got there just in time and walked towards the back to our seats. I sat down and realized that Layla was still standing next to her desk with a glare on her face. I suppose Eric had taken it upon himself to occupy Layla’s seat today.
“Um, what do you think you’re doing?” She hissed at him.
“Sitting? I thought that was obvious.”
“Don’t be sarcastic with me, move!” She said a little louder this time, causing a few heads to turn in our direction.
“It’s a free country and we don’t have assigned seats. You snooze, you lose sis.” He chuckled.
Layla said some very R-rated words to Eric and then sat in the seat that was two people ahead of me. I looked at her and gave her an apologetic smile, hoping she wasn’t mad at me. It’s not like I told Eric to take her seat or anything, though secretly, I’m glad that he did.
“Why did you do that? Layla and I always sit together.” I asked. I really wanted to know what his motives were.
“Yeah, well... Now you can sit next to me.” He smiled and continued writing the notes that were on the whiteboard.
Is he actually doing schoolwork?
Confused, I tried to push past my thoughts and focus on my own work. I heard a tap on my desk a few moments later, and saw a little note being placed on my desk by the guy sitting in front of me. Eric must have thought it actually came from that guy, because now he was watching me like a hawk.
I opened the note and recognized Layla’s handwriting:
Meet me outside by the big tree at lunch – Layla
I looked up and saw her glancing back at me. I gave her a smile and thumbs up, then placed the note inside my folder. Eric saw the exchange and his face relaxed a little.
“What was that all about?” He whispered next to me.
“None of your business, Daines.” I whispered back.
“Both of you in the back, hush! Pay attention!” We both looked up seeing Mr. Thompson glaring in our direction and quickly put our heads back down.
After thirty-five minutes of working, the bell rang.
I walked up to Layla and confirmed our lunch plans despite having already done so. We hugged and went our separate ways since we had different second period classes.
I wonder why she wants to meet me out by the tree today.
The smell of french fries filled the air and I was very happy to finally have some food. I quickly paid for my lunch and began walking towards the side doors of the building that lead out to the tree. Eric was sitting at the lunch table that Layla and I usually sat at. He was alone, which made me feel kind of bad. He was probably waiting for us to come and join him.
I tried to walk quickly enough so he wouldn’t see me, but as I opened the side doors, I caught a glimpse of his eyes following me. I pretended that I didn’t see him and continued walking outside.
I came up beside the big tree in the schoolyard and saw Layla sitting on the grass with her food in her lap. I sat down beside her and placed my food on my lap as well.
“So, is this our new eating place?” I asked, squeezing ketchup onto my tray.
“Yes. Its so peaceful out here, don’t you think?” She smiled at me and took a bite out of her apple.
“It sure is. This was where I used to sit and eat lunch.” I remembered the time before I met Layla. The time where I was lonely and kept to myself. A lot has changed in these last few days and I honestly couldn’t remember ever being this happy to be at school.
“Really? Who did you used to have lunch with?” She asked without thinking.
My smile slowly disappeared, and I tried to swallow the lump that started to form in my throat. I didn’t want to tell her how much of a loner I was. Although, I guess she was going to find out eventually since she was the only person I had been hanging out with for the past three days, so I might as well tell her everything.
“Oh, well that’s cool! I like alone time too sometimes. It lets me clear my mind.” She gave me a reassuring smile.
“Well, I was alone a lot. I don’t have many other friends. Okay, so maybe I don’t have any other friends at all, but it’s by pure choice.” I tried to defend my pathetic self.
“You don’t have to explain anything to me, Cecil. You are who you are, and you don’t need to change for anyone. Even me.” She teased, nudging my arm.
“I know.” I nudged her back and we laughed.
“To be honest, I wanted to have lunch out here to get away from Eric. He’s following us around everywhere and it’s starting to become annoying. I mean, its obvious you guys have a thing, but you were my friend first and I don’t need to share you all the time.”
“Pft, what is this thing of which you speak? There is no thing...” I quickly glanced away from her intense gaze.
“Oh don’t even give me that. I saw you guys holding hands last night. I know you’re starting to like each other. Anyone with eyes can see that.” She looked at me more serious now.
“You uh... think he likes me?” I wasn’t trying to make it all about me an Eric, but I couldn’t help myself. Layla was my friend and I needed her honest opinion.
“Well duh. Open up those big brown eyes girl. I’ve never seen him act this way with anyone before.” She grinned, “Stop wondering, and just ask him yourself.” She finally said, putting her last French fry into her mouth.
“I think I will.”
I definitely will.