Clarke smiled “Aww, you really miss me, don’t you.” she slipped the ticket through the machine and walked through the doors.
Her best friend sighed, “I never said I didn’t… Here everyone hates me.”
Clarke rolled her eyes “That’s not true. What about Emily?” she could almost see him, looking down at his shoes and kicking a pebble to hide his flush.
“Yeah, everyone but her….” He admitted in a whisper that she almost missed.
“You know what my dad always says-” she started getting on one of the firsts carriages of the train that would take her back to Cambridge.
“Sometimes all that matters is One person.. Yeah, I know, he says it all the time” Wells interjected making Clarke laugh while she pulled her beanie and scarf off, and threw them on the window-seat.
“Well, he’s right. And I think you’ve already found yours.” She said sitting on the other seat and resting her feet on the one across her.
“Mhm.. But I still need my best friend anyway.”
Clarke sighed “I really miss you too, Wells. But I’m as stuck as you are. I have exams all this month and then I have my monthly visit home.. You could come too, you know..”
“Yeah, but then I’d have to see that ugly face of that hag of my stepmom, no thanks. There’s a reason why I chose a Uni at 413 miles away from home.”
She threw up her free hand in exasperation, “Then, when are we supposed to see each other?”
“I don’t know..” Wells said in a pitiful sad voice.
She sighed again and pinched the bridge of her nose “Look, I’ll try.. We’ll figure something out. Okay?”
“Okay.” She heard the relief in his voice and smiled “uh-oh”
“What?” she asked pulling her feet down and straightening up when she caught the stink eye from an old lady sitting on the opposite set-of-four seats beside her.
“I think my dad’s calling.”
Clarke bit her lip. “He really misses you..”
“Yeah, then he should’ve never married that.. that-well you know.. I gotta go, though.”
She sighed inwardly. “Sure… Good luck.”
“Thanks. I’ll hear you soon… Knobby”
“WELLS!” she heard him laugh and then the line went dead.
That stupid nickname.
One day, when they were in middle school, they had to research the story behind nicknames for a History assignment and Wells in a moment of madness decided to research hers… and Knobby or Nobby happened.
KNOBBY. Seriously? Where the hell did that come from?
Well, actually she knew, something about clerks having to wear nobby hats and/or that because they used to write a lot they had callused fingers so.. nobby clerks..
That ass-hat knew how much she hated that “nickname” and of course he used it almost every time they heard each other, just to piss her off and amuse himself.
She pulled open her bag and took her laptop out planning to work on some course assignment.
But just as she opened a new word page, her phone biped signalling a new message from her roommate.
Can you come on FB?
She rolled her eyes and opened the Facebook page.
When are you coming back?
Why? What happened?
Even written that sounded defensive.
Not to mention that you totally misspelled..
I may have broken the toaster again..
I can’t believe it!
That’s like the third time!
Jee girl, calm down I’ll repair it.
You don’t even like toast!
How did you break it, this time?
I dON’t knoW!
I just poKe it and
Then all I kNow is that all Hell broke lOose
Why would you poke it?
That doesn’t even make sense
I think that the thing hates me so..
It doesn’t matter.
Clarke was typing when a boy barely made it on the carriage just as the doors where sliding close, so she didn’t notice him until she saw movement from the corner of her eye, on the seat across hers.
When I’m back, the toaster will move in my side of the room.
Away from your evil hands.
When she looked up from the screen her breath caught.
Across from her was sitting the most gorgeous boy she had ever met.
The perfect subject for one of her sketches.
He was looking for something inside his backpack but suddenly he looked up and caught her staring.
He smiled. And God, he also had a gorgeous smile.
She blinked and flashed him a quick smile dropping her eyes back on the screen of her laptop.
A cute guy just sat across from me..
The heck are you doing still talking to me??? Go talk to HIM!!
She rolled her eyes smiling and sneaked a look towards the cutie
Why do you keep putting the cap-locks like that?
She could practically see her friend rolling her eyes.
Stop it! Tell me what’s going on!
Woah, calm down crazy,
Nothing’s going on here.
She pressed enter stealing another glance at the stranger, and wait, are those freckles??
Ugh, he doesn’t know what he’s missing..
I should know since I’m the luckiest gurl in the whole wide world in having the privilege to share the ROOM with yOU.
Still in wonder from her discovery- her hands itching for a pencil so that she could draw him like that, whit that intense look in his eyes, completely taken by the story he was reading,- she had to read the message twice, and when she did, she laughed.. Loudly.
She was laughing so hard that her eyes watered and she was forced to cover her them so that she wouldn’t see the screen, and tried to breathe normally.
She tried and failed at least three times, before the giggle attacks quietened.
When she lowered her hands and glanced across her, purposely avoiding the screen, she noticed something odd. The book on his lap was closed. Clarke looked up, still with a goofy grin, and realized that now the guy was looking at her.. Smiling amused.
She felt her face go hot and immediately adverted her eyes and looked down on her computer. Awful call. Giggle-Attack number four was risking to knock her over as she couldn’t stop laughing even to breath. So she did the most sensible thing to do in these situations: she got up and ran to the restroom.
When she had control of her breathing again she took out her phone and speed dialled Raven’s number.
She answered at the first ring.
“I’m gonna kill you when I’m back” unfortunately she couldn’t muster her meanest and lowest voice, since her throat was still sore from her giggles-attack.
“HA! I was wondering what happened to you when you didn’t reply..”
“That. Was. Embarrassing.” She groaned sitting on top of hundreds toilet papers on the lid of the toilet, and hid her face with her free hand.
“Ow, C’mon what happened?”
“..Oh my god.. I started to laugh so hard and so loud.. When I looked his way, he was staring at me with this cute smile and his book was closed..”
“Wait. Where are you now?” Clarke made a face, anticipating what was coming
“Sitting on the toilet of the restroom..?”
“CLARKE!!” she actually had to take the phone away from her ear, such was high the shrill that came out from her friend, she kept it away for a while even if she could tell that Raven was blabbering something on the other end, certainly about how her habit to hide in the restroom whenever something overwhelmed her was NOT okay.
When she couldn’t hear angry noises coming from her phone she wearily accosted it to her ear.
“You didn’t hear a thing of what I said, right?” Clarke sighed.
“No, it’s fine we can talk about it another time. NOW. You go out there and introduce yourself to the cute guy and have a little fun time with the stranger, okay?”
“Wrong answer. There’s no ‘but’ the guy closed the freakin’ book.” Raven exclaimed. “He wanted to talk to you. So now you go there and talk to him. Done.” The line went dead.
Clarke remained with the phone still attached to her ear trying to figure out what just happened..
Did she just hang-up on me?
She got up from the toilet and looked herself on the small mirror above the tiny sink. That stupid grin was still on her face.
That was such a Raven thing to do that she shook her head still amazed that after five years of knowing each other, her friend could still surprise her in her weird way.
When she got back to her seat, the boy actually stopped reading again and looked up at her. She must’ve had the goofy grin still on because as soon as he made eye contact he grinned back. Already feeling a flush creeping out on her neck she moved her laptop on the seat beside her and plopped heavily on hers. She bit her bottom lip and glanced back at him.
“I’m Clarke.” She introduced herself holding out her hand.
He held his eyes on hers for a while longer before he scooted closer to take her hand and shake it with his. Which she couldn’t help but notice how big was compared to her tiny one, “Nice to meet you, Clarke” He gave a little squeeze before letting her hand go and settling back on his seat “I’m Bellamy.” He said, the teasing smile never leaving his beautiful face.
They kept grinning to each other like dorks before Clarke suddenly felt self-conscious and desperately raked her brain for a topic to talk about.
“I like your freckles.” she blurted out.
When she realized what she’d said, she opened her mouth to say something, anything, but closed it again, eyes wide, and watched helplessly how at first, he arched an eyebrow surprised, and then laughed, so loudly that the sound almost filled the whole carriage, occupied, as she took a quick look around, from the stink eye lady, a man in a business suit reading a newspaper, a family with three giggling kids and the two of them.
“There’s an explanation for that...” She tried to amend awkwardly when his laugh alleviated a bit.
“Oh, please do tell me.” He said making a sweeping motion with on hand, while the other rested on the cover of the closed book.
Why the heck did she had to say that?? She did not have a good explanation… Well not besides the truth…
She was so going to kill Raven. This was all her fault.
“I draw.” She said and then exhaled, annoyed with herself that she could barely formulate a full sentence with this stupid and impossibly handsome and random guy. She was not that type of girl. She set her jaw and looked him square in the eye “…and, well you’re cute.” She declared boldly, still trying not to flinch.
He did that thing again, when he just looked at her for a while and then scooted closer, giving her a better view on his adorable freckles, he obviously had caught her, because when she looked up at his eyes, he was grinning again. “Thanks, but I think you’re way cuter than I am.”
“Oh?” She said dumbfounded. “Ugh, I mean, so… Can I draw you?” she frowned “Oh my god, I probably sound like a creep,”
Uh-oh this is getting awkwaaard
She could actually hear it. Raven’s voice in her head. Damn her! She was so going to pa-
“Well, I still think that you’re
the cutest creep I ever met, so… okay.”
She immediately threw her head up at that “What?”
He chuckled a little awkwardly, and god she wished, in that moment, that she could draw
that lovely sound too, “I said, okay.. You can draw me, if you really want to...”
She didn’t even try to pretend to hesitate, she dived in her bag for her sketchbook and her pencil case and settled back on her seat with her ankle on the other knee and a new sheet ready to be filled with Bellamy’s details, on top of it. When she looked up at him again, he looked... Distressed, and she froze.
Oh my god. Now, he definitely thinks I’m a Creep.
“..How-” he cleared his throat awkwardly “What am I supposed to do..?”
“Oh... You can read, if you want…” she shrugged, “Actually, now that I think about it.. I’d prefer it...”
He nodded and opened the book on his lap.
After some time had gone by, Clarke had shaped his contours on the sheet and taking her pencil away and looking at the sketch in its whole, she noticed that something wasn’t right.
“If you don’t want me to…” She started, “You really don’t have to feel obliged.” She reassured softly, putting down her pencil.
He looked up surprised and she smiled a little. “You’re all tense, and it reflects on the drawing.” She explained and then added, “Besides, I don’t think I heard the sound of pages being turned…”
“Oh, I’m sorry, truth is.. I never did something like this before..” he supplied sheepishly.
“Oh, you mean like being asked by a random-crazy-creepy girl met on the train, to pose so that she can draw you and your gorgeous freckles?” She asked cocking her head a bit.
“You know for someone who gets embarrassed very easily you really got no filter when it comes to praise my freckles.”
She bit her lip and started to put
away her drawing materials.
“I know it seems impossible to believe right now, but I swear to you, I’m not this awkward usually…”
She frowned. “Well, at least I think so..”
He chuckled, some of the stiffness leaving his body and making her stomach do some weird flip-thing. She was definitely going to draw him as soon as she got to campus, she decided. She had a good memory for details, and anyway she doubted she could ever not remember him, but of course she wasn’t going to tell him that. She had already filled her creepiness tank for today.
“What were you reading?” she asked gesturing to the book still on his lap.
He picked it up and held it towards her “The book thief.”
“Oh, I saw the movie.. Beautiful but so sad..”
“Yeah, no spoilers, please.”
Her eyes widened and she held up her hands “Wouldn’t dream of it.. I hate spoiler-people”
“Yeah, tell me about it, my sister is one of them.. She does it all the time just to piss me off..” He said with a grim expression.
Clarke nodded “I know! My roomie is the same, sometimes she research the thing on the internet just so that she can spoil it to me..”
They stared at each other wide-eyed for a while and then laughed.
“We are surrounded by annoying people.”
“Mhm… yeah but at the end of the day we can’t help but love them.” He said with a small smile.
“I guess you’re right, Raven’s one of my best friends.”
He cocked his head and just looked at her. She was dying to know what was he thinking about, but no way she going to ask him. She glanced on the seat beside him and blinked.
“You play?” She asked pointing to the guitar case she just had noticed.
“Uh.. yeah… actually I-”
Ladies and Gentlemen, we inform you that we have just arrived to Cambridge.
Her eyes widened
“Shoot! That’s my stop, this is my stop! How on earth are we already here?!”
She shot up standing, and frantically gathered her laptop, her headphones and coat and beanie that she had stripped from when she’d got on the train.
In her hast the strap of her bag tangled on the armrest of her seat and she groaned as she tried to pull it free, simultaneously trying not to blush as the old lady gave her another judgemental look and the mom of the giggling kids looked over at her amused.
Finally the strap came free, thanks to Bellamy’s help, the doors opening just then.
She looked at them and then back at Bellamy “I have to go…” she said a little breathless from her exertion with the bag and something else.
He got up and gave her hand her squeeze “It was a pleasure to meet you, Clarke.”
She smiled “Mine too!” She declared. “Okay I really need to go now..” She ran out of the carriage, trying not to stumble on her feet and turned to wave but froze when she him come to the doors.
“I’m sorry for the drawing!” he called.
The doors closed. She grinned and shrugged bringing her hands up, so he could see the gesture clearly.
She breathed in deep as she watched the train move away and breathed out slowly when it left the station.
The sounds and smells of the busy Cambridge station enfolding her in familiarity.
She sighed. Bellamy had seemed like a great guy, someone that she would’ve enjoyed to know better, but now he was gone and she didn’t even know where he was travelling to or his last name… no Facebook stalking then.
With a strange ache in her chest she turned away from the empty rails and walked towards what she now regarded as her second home.