Both Paige and Zack devoured their lunches. The cafeteria was crowded and segregated. Kids of the same races stayed together and didn’t even acknowledge other races’ existence. Certain cliques stuck together.
The popular, rich, and prominent kids sat on one side, the middle-class kids sat on another, then the poor, nerdy, weird kids sat on the other side of the cafeteria.
Everyone was talking and moving around. Paige looked around the room and saw Danielle and Crystal leaving the cafeteria and going outside. Did they see me sitting over here with Zack? Paige wondered.
Paige looked over at Zack and saw that he had already finished his food. “I see you eat fast,” she told him.
“Not really. I would say I eat at a normal pace, but today I was hungry as a mug that’s why I ate a little faster,” Zack said.
“Oh okay, I eat fast too when I’m hungry. Where are your friends?” Paige asked.
“I believe they are with their women,” he laughed. “I wish I had one,” now he smiled at her. “Where are your friends?”
“I don’t even know,” she laughed.
Paige’s cheeks grew hot. When she looked at him, his eyes were already locked on her eyes.
She enjoyed looking into his dreamy and intense eyes, his clear skin, his strong jaw, and his perfect white teeth.
She looked down and noticed his clean, short fingernails, his silk blue shirt, creased jeans, and sneakers.
“Baby, do you have a boyfriend?”
That question startled her. “N-No.”
“Good, nice to know. Can I have your phone number or is it too soon?” he smiled again.
“Uh, yeah, it is too soon. Can we talk for a while before I give my number to you, Zack?”
“Yeah, sure. Sorry, if I came on too strong.”
“No, you’re fine. You didn’t come on too strong.”
Zack breathed a sigh of relief. “Do you live in the District?” he asked.
“Yeah, in the lower tier section.”
“Okay. I live in the higher tier section. I’ve been there my entire life, born and raised,” he replied.
“Cool. I lived in the District since I was a little girl.”
“I see. Have you been going to Emile since the beginning?”
Paige finished her food and swallowed before answering. “Yeah, I first started at Emile Elementary, then went on to Emile Middle, and now Emile High School.”
“That’s what I did too! I don’t remember seeing you back then,” he told her.
“I don’t remember seeing you either, but I saw you regularly since freshman year though,” Paige laughed.
“I remember you since freshman year too but not before then. I don’t know, maybe I did but forgot,” Zack laughed.
They were quiet for a long minute. Paige looked up and saw her friends Danielle and Crystal watching her through the window outside.
She felt shy all of a sudden and didn’t expect to see them observing her and Zack.
Paige stared back at them, but they kept watching and didn’t care if she saw them or not. Nosey girlies, she silently joked.
Zack yawned. The lunch bell was preparing to sound in several minutes.
“Do you want my phone number now?” She smirked at him.
He smiled. “Yeah, I’ll love to have it. I definitely want to get to know you better.”
Paige gave Zack her phone number. He put it in his contacts.
“You want mine? You can call me anytime. I don’t care,” he said.
“Yeah.” She put his phone number in her contacts too.
Zack’s iPhone made a beeping noise. He looked down and read the message and texted someone.
“That’s one of your friends?”
“Nosey,” he teased her.
“Well, I’m not nosey, just curious that’s all.”
“Nah, baby, I’m just playing with you. That was my friend Cain texting me, he was wondering about my whereabouts. I told him ‘fool you ain’t my daddy!’” Zack chuckled.
“All right. Do you have any siblings?” Paige asked.
“Yep, I have one sister, her name is Francis and we’re very close. I wish I had a brother, but you know,” his voice faded off. He cleared his throat. “What about you?”
“I do. I have one brother; his name is Steven and he had been stationed overseas in the military, but he will be visiting me and my parents soon.”
“That’s nice. My father served in the military too back in the day.”
“Wait, ain’t your father the famous senator,” Paige asked.
“Yeah, the four-term elected United States Senator Chad Summerville,” Zack proudly stated.
“Yeah, my father is awesome. He’s running several of our family’s businesses and been at it for many years. He is doing so much for the community and I’m very proud of him.”
“That’s nice. I’m proud of my father too. He and my mother are entrepreneurs as well. They have been self-employed since I was young,” Paige replied.
“That’s cool. I see why you’re proud.”
The bell rang loudly above their heads. They slowly got up from their seats. Paige saw Danielle and Crystal walked off.
She and Zack grabbed their belongings. The students in the cafeteria whizzed by all around them going to their next classes, the restroom, their lockers, etc.
“I would love to go out with you sometime,” Zack told her as they walked off together.
“Yeah, okay. Like where?” Paige awkwardly asked.
“Anywhere that you want to go. I’m a gentleman, ya know. I like to surprise a lady or allow her to choose,” he smiled lovingly at her as if he was proposing to her.
Paige’s face grew hot again. “Awesome, cool!” I have always felt awkward talking to guys. I sound so weird, I know! she scolded herself.
“Sounds good, Paige. I’ll call you tonight, around ten, babe?”
“Uh, um, yeah,” she agreed.
They were now in the hallway going to their third-period classes. This time they had different subjects. She had Arithmetic and he had Science.
“See ya later,” Zack smiled again.
Paige had been daydreaming and didn’t realize he was telling her bye. “Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming, bye, Zack.”
“That’s all right. A daydreamer sounds like we have a lot in common.”
Paige smiled. “Yeah, right.” She watched him leave, he was eventually swallowed up by the crowd.
Danielle and Crystal ran to Paige squealing loudly.
“You know, Mr. Fletcher is absent today, Paige!” Crystal informed her.
“Dang, if I had known that I wouldn’t have rushed to complete those math problems,” Paige griped.
“I know right. You and me both,” Danielle said.