I yawn as Mrs. Hamburgh goes on and on about some equation I can’t even begin to understand. I try to catch Rick’s eye, but he seems to be focused on the board in front of him. Since I missed our date he hasn’t spoken to me. He hasn’t even returned my texts. I guess I can’t blame him. I would have been just as upset if someone stood me up. Sure, I would have been fine if I heard the situation the other person was in, but since I can’t tell him there is no way that I can explain to him why I didn’t show. And at least he isn’t being an outright asshole. He’s only ignored me the whole of Sunday and now at school. Maybe he will talk to me at lunch. It’s only second period now.
I try to concentrate on what Mrs. Hamsburgh is saying, but it is impossible to do between me staring at her hairy legs in a too short skirt and the tiredness that’s threatening to overtake me.
I yawn again as a piece of paper falls on my desk.
I look at Mandy sitting behind me. She points at Rick who then suddenly turns around and looks at me, motioning with his eyes for me to pick up the piece of paper.
I take it and put it on my lap, unfolding the neatly folded paper and looking at the weirdly scribbled letters. It shocks me a little. Everything about Rick is so perfect. Why would he have such a bad handwriting?
I don’t get why you stood me up. I thought there was a spark between us. Did I come on too strong?
I look up at him and he nods, making his curls fall forward onto his forehead.
I put the page back onto the table and start writing.
Something big came up. Family drama. Forgot about everything. I’m sorry. Please forgive me? I also felt the spark.
I fold the paper and hand it back to Mandy. I watch as it travels via a few hands to get back to Rick’s desk where he takes it and unfolds it in his lap.
He keeps it on his lap and writes on it again. I am pretty sure thanks to his lap the message would definitely be unreadable. When it comes back it’s actually neater than the previous message.
Break time. Drama class. It’s always empty first break.
I nod at Rick, giving him a thumbs up before returning my view to the front of the class where Mrs. Hamburgh is still humming on about the same equation I am sure almost nobody in class is getting.
By the time she gets to the third sum and I am ready to fall out of my chair and sleep on the floor the bell finally rings and we pack up to move out of her class to our next period class.
“What was this weekend all about? You didn’t answer me? And why did your mom drop you off at school?” Mandy asks in my ear as we walk down the hallway, making out way to biology class.
“Long story. Not living with Aunt Barbara anymore,” I answer in a whisper. I have no idea where Rick is. He’s not taking biology with us, but he could potentially still be somewhere around, ready to hear what I am telling Mandy.
“So you guys finally got your own place?” she asks as I pick up the pace, trying to get as much ground between us and math class.
“Something like that. I will fill you in second break. I need to meet Rick first break in the drama classroom,” I say almost running ahead of everyone else to get to biology.
“Slow down!” Mandy hisses at me, trying her best to keep up with me, but just like me she is actually allergic to anything to do with exercise so she is already out of breath without the motivation I have to get to the other side of the school.
I slow down a bit, confident that I have put enough space between Rick and me.
“What did the letter say?” Mandy asks. I pull the letter out of my jackets pocket and give it to her, watching her open it and read it.
“He has really terrible handwriting,” she mumbles. “But he’s into you and that’s all that matters.”
“I think I should break it off with him. Tell him we should just be friends,” I say.
“Why would you want to do that?” Mandy asks with a gasp. “And just so you know… The two of you are nothing more than friends at the moment.”
“Yeah, but that can change and it could make everything complicated,” I say as I take the piece of paper back from her and push it into my pocket again. “And I can’t do complicated at the moment. Everything in my life is going to shit right now. I want him to have someone who is ready to be in a relationship. At this point I can’t even look myself in the mirror.”
“What the fuck happened this weekend?” Mandy asks. “You are acting extremely weird to say the least.”
“Not now,” I answer. I don’t want to talk about what happened. I don’t even want to think it. I keep on hoping everything is just one big nightmare and that it will all go away soon and that I will be back on the mattress in Aunt Barbara’s living room.
“Come on Cory. Just spit it out. You’re acting really weird,” Mandy tries again, but I just shake my head.
“We are going to be late for Biology,” I say, picking up my pace again.
“Thanks to your running we are probably gonna be early,” she replies right behind me, but I keep on walking on, trying my best not to think about the weekend, or even Rick, but rather trying to remember if I even did my biology homework. I know we had homework, but at this moment I can’t remember what it was, when it’s due, or if I have started on it at all.
Biology slips by slowly as I try to keep my eyes open, trying to suppress my yawns, and trying to remember the new homework being assigned to us. At the end I just give up and stare out the window, pretending that the entire world is fine, vowing to get any and all biology information from Mandy tomorrow.
It feels like forever before the bell actually rings and I slowly pack up my books and start making my way to the drama classroom which is again located on the very other side of the school near the math class.
“Are you coming to find me when you’re done?” Mandy asks behind me as we get to the fork that splits the hallway into two. One side leading to the cafeteria, the other one leading to the classrooms on the other side of the school.
“Yeah. I’ll find you when I’m done. If I take too long I will see you in History class,” I mumble at her and without waiting for a reply I start making my way down the left passage to go and meet Rick.
I walk slowly, trying my best not to bump into anybody running toward the other side of the school for their break, my mind drifting to what I will be telling Rick. I can’t tell him the truth, but I sure as hell can’t keep on lying to him either. The best solution would probably just be my plan A. Tell him we can’t be more than friends and call it a day. Hopefully he will keep on talking to me and having lunch with me, and I can in return watch him fall in love with some other cute guy that doesn’t have the baggage I have.
I take a deep breath before I open the door to the drama classroom and walk in.
I can’t help losing just a little bit of my breath as I look at Rick sitting on the edge of the teacher’s table, his legs crossed, looking gorgeous in what I assume is his favorite leather jacket. He always dresses as if he escaped the 80’s but it just suits him. It’s like it’s his identity. I can almost imagine him hopping around and singing along to Queen songs when he is at home.
“You came,” he says, hopping off the desk to casually lean against it.
“Yeah,” I say as I go and sit down by the desk just in front of where he is standing. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yep. What happened to you on Saturday? I tried to phone you, but your phone was off,” Rick says brushing his fingers through his hair, pushing back his curls that automatically just fall back into his face when he’s done.
“There was some family drama. And I forgot to charge my phone,” I answer. “It was all just a little bit crazy to be honest.”
“Oh well… Don’t worry about it. You only bruised my ego a little bit, but I can handle it. I’m a big boy,” he says flashing me a smile and walking over to the desk I am sitting in. He sits down on the edge of the desk, only inches away from me.
“I’m sorry. I really forgot,” I say, looking down at my hands that’s holding my knees so that I won’t start shaking. I’ve been shaking a lot the past couple of days.
“It’s okay. If you want we can do the movie thing this weekend rather?” Rick says.
“Listen… Rick….” I start but before I can continue he interrupts.
“I hate it when people call me Rick. It’s Patrick really. Not Rick. Rick is just some stupid name some teacher started calling me when I was a freshman and it somehow stuck,” he says. “It would be awesome if you can say my full name.”
I can understand that. Why have a nick name when you have a proper full name that you really want people to use. It also feels like he somehow trusts me with something big, because I have been calling him Rick for weeks now, and now that we are alone he is revealing something to me that I guess not everyone knows about him.
“Okay… Patrick,” I say, making sure to pronounce his name exactly the way he would. “I’ve been thinking. I know I said there’s a spark…”
I breathe in, cutting my sentence just there. I have no idea how to actually say this to him. What could I possibly use as an excuse? Would the usual ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ be enough for this situation.
“I know what you’re going to say,” Patrick says, a grin playing over his face.
I raise my eyebrow. How could he possibly know what I would say? He doesn’t even have an idea just how much I actually like him.
“My house might be a little bit too intimate for a first date. But please, let me promise you that it’s not like that at all. My mom will probably be home and so will my older brother. So there’s nothing to be scared of. We keep it to the living room. We won’t even go near my bedroom at all. I’m really not that type of guy,” he rambles as he pushes his hand through his hair once more.
“Yeah…” I say, not knowing what else to reply. “That’s completely it.”
If only he knew how much I actually wanted to see him in his bedroom he would not have even though me scared of being completely alone with him at all.
“Then it’s a date? I’ll come and pick you up at your place around 12 somewhere?” he says as he gets up from the desk and walk toward the door.
I nod as I get up as well wanting to kick myself for not being brave enough to have said what I really wanted to. It’s bad when your heart overrides every logic thought in your brain.
“I’ll get my mom to drop me off at your place. We have some errands to run early Saturday morning,” I find myself saying.
“Cool. I’ll text you my address,” Patrick says with a smile as he walks out the room, leaving me behind to decide whether I should follow him to the cafeteria or run for the hills.
Mandy is going to love this.