Everything is sort of ‘out of structure.’ People I haven’t talked to for ages, who shunned me for being my dad’s daughter now congratulate me with backwards comments such as, “You saved your friend, that’s amazing. You don’t have to worry about your dad’s bad gene pool then.” And all I do is laugh because what else am I meant to say?
Sometimes when I hear their comments I agree with them as if I was a bad person up until this point. That I had inherited my dad’s bad gene pool but I’ve started stopping myself. Biologically, yes, I have my dad’s genes but spirituallly, mentally, I am my own person.
I sit down in my usual spot at the back of my form room in the corner, behind the door and lay my head against the cool desk, closing my eyes. My breathing slows down and my eyelids get heavy. The feeling of weightlessness lifts me up and now I start to feel as though I am floating. Everything is black and dark and there is nothing, absolutely nothing. I am in nothing but I am reaching for something. I keep moving further forward until it feels like I am being pulled instead of moving of my own accord.
A giggle, I hear a giggle and then a flash of colours passes in front of my eyes and suddenly I am in a field. The grass is bright and new looking, daisies line the ground. The sun beats down from above in a cloudless blue sky.
Everything has a hazy image, everything I look at looks like I am watching through water. It makes me feel kind of nauseous, I want a better image.
Whatever is happening, the images in front of me get sharper. I can feel the wind in my hair and on my skin, I can see as a small beetle climbs along the strands of grass in the soil.
Another giggle and then the words, “Higher! Higher!” Can be heard. I turn towards the sound, finding a small girl sitting on a swing laughing gleefully as someone pushes her from the back. Do I know her? Her face is vaguely familiar but not enough for me to put a name to it.
And then I am being pulled back, floating up into the sky and for a second I think. ‘If I go any higher, I’ll burn, I’ll burn in the sun.’ And I am about to, I am about to burn but everything starts to fade and then I am in the darkness again and...
The sound of a book slamming onto my desk startles me awake. I jolt up, heart racing, head spinning.
“Ms Coles,” I look up to find my form tutor(his usual I-have-no-time-for-your-nonsense expression on his face) towering over me, “Please find time to sleep in your own time, especially if you wail like a puppy chasing a cat in its dreams.”
I shrink into my chair as my peers begin to laugh at me and the humiliation builds up. I’m happy that I have dark skinned cheeks or my blush would be completely visible to everyone in class and I would feel even more embarrassed. I hide my head for the rest of form because I’m sure that even though you can’t see the embarrassment in the reddening of my cheeks, you can see it in the features of my face.
I wait for everyone to leave, including the teacher, before I begin packing up to leave for my next lesson. I take a breath before I bravely(If I do say so myself) step into the corridor.
Now it feels like the whole world is watching me and there is no where to run. The corridors start to look fuzzy and my vision pans in and out and my chest begins to feel heavy. “Mae!” A voice calls and then I feel a hand grab my wrist pulling me to somewhere. I know that touch and it’s warm and comforting to me and I cling onto it. Eyes shut tight. Arms wrapped around their torso. Head buried in their body as I breathe deeply. They do the same, holding me tightly and after a few minutes I feel as though I can breathe again. I look up at his face, Rolan’s face, to find his eyes glistening with concern and worry,
“Are you ok?” He asks, “I saw you in the corridor. You didn’t look too good, I was...” He clears his throat, “Worried.”
“I’m fine, better now.” I reply as I awkwardly step out of his embrace.
“Are you sure? What was, what was wrong?” He asks as he takes my hand in his
I bite the inside of my mouth nervously, “I’m, I just don’t deal well with being the centre of attention, that’s all. But I’ll be fine now, I’m going to get going, got class and, you know, stuff.”
“Or,” he says, “You could stay here with me.” One eyebrow raises in suggestion and a small smile forms on his lips, a charming, inviting smile.
“I, I don’t know.” I reply, “I’ve got stuff, to do.”
“Come on,” he says, “It will be fun.”
I bite my lip, contemplating the decision. He intrigues me to say the least, everything about him intrigues me. I want to know what makes him who he is, I want to know why he came to me in the hospital, why he wants me with him now. “Where, where would we go?
“Anywhere. What do you want to do?”
I laugh nervously, “I really don’t know,” I answer, “I’m not sure if you can tell but this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. Bunked, I mean.”
“Well I’m glad I could be here for your first time.”
The words, ‘your first time,’ hang in my head and I clench my legs to stop the dirty thoughts from racing around my head. “I mean I’m glad you’re here too. I mean, you’re Rolan Clarke who wouldn’t want you for their first time. I mean, no, that’s not...” I bite my lip, “Please forget I just said that.”
“Wow, Mae, I never thought you to be the dirty minded type.” I let out a noise of embarrassment and look at my feet as he teases me. “I think you’d get on well with my friend, Jake. You’d be like two peas in a pod.”
“I didn’t mean it like that.” I say, “I just meant you’re the Rolan Clarke. People, more specifically, fangirls, would consider it cool to bunk with you for their first time.”
“Do you consider it cool?” He asks.
“Well,” I say, “I’m not a fangirl.”
“Ah,” He says, pretending to take a bullet to the chest, “My heart. I’ve been shot.”
“Oh no, someone actually doesn’t idolise you. It can’t be possible.” I say, sighing dramatically.
“Ah, she keeps doing it.” He says, as he dramatically falls onto the floor. And I just have to laugh if only for the commitment to the fall.
“You are absolutely hilarious.” I say as I go by his side.
“Tell my family I love them.” He continues as he pretends to cough.
I laugh but manage to wheeze out an, “I will.”
“I think I need mouth-to-mouth.”
“I think you’re meant to be dying.” I reply.
He laughs then gives one last stretch into the air before going completely still and the room falls silent and in that moment everything is quiet and I can’t help but appreciate how serene he looks. “Rolan,” I whisper.
He opens one eye, taking a peek before deciding to sit up slightly. His breath fans across my face he’s that close. His hand lays gently against my skin, thumb stroking the swell of my cheek. He leans in and for a moment I think we’re going to kiss but instead he leans his forehead against my and whispers, “Would you like to go on a date with me?”
“I-,” I’m at a loss for words. It’s like reality has hit and only now am I remembering who I’m with; Rolan Clarke, world-known fuck boy.
I take a breath, “I think we should just be friends. I just...it would be best.” I say, rising from the floor.
The way he looks at me makes me feel as though I really have shot him. “Rolan, I don’t want to be just another fling.” I say, “That’s not what I’m looking for.”
He shakes his head madly like a convict desperate to prove his innocence, “You aren’t and you wouldn’t be.” He replies.
“I don’t want to be like those other girls.” I say, “You’ve probably broken all their hearts. Made them think that they had a chance with you, a real one. You know that right?”
Rolan stands, seeming almost defensive, “I haven’t broken any girls hearts. I didn’t offer anything more than what I was willing to give. All the relationships I’ve been in there has always been a mutual agreement, just casual relationships, no strings attached. And I didn’t just toss those people out like trash after either. When any of my relationships finished, I made sure it ended on amiable terms and that we were friends afterwards because I respect all those women as people and I value their opinions not just their bodies.”
My heart thunders in my chest. He really did seem genuine but I am still confused. “So, do you... just want a casual relationship with me then?”
Rolan shakes his head, “I want to date you, properly.”
“I don’t know,” I take a breath, “I do really like you. I think we do have a connection but— I don’t know, Rolan. Your actions have consequences.” I say, “You might know and those girls might know how things really are but the behind the scenes aren’t shown in the magazines. What you see is what you get and what people will see if we start dating is me being another one of your conquests and I can’t have...” I can feel as the tears begin to sting the corner of my eyes, “...I can’t have people looking at me and pointing fingers and calling me horrible fucking names. I can’t have that again.” My words are barely audible to my ears but Rolan seems to understand. He embraces me and I melt into his warmth as he kisses the top of my head.
“I know you feel it,” He says, “The tingles.” He kisses the teardrop that has just fallen from my eyes away. “And not just the tingles,” He continues, “In your heart you feel our connection. But I also know you’re feeling scared. I want you to know that I’m here for you.” We stand in silence for a few minutes before Rolan says, “I’m not one of those fuck boys that doesn’t believe in love. I do think love exists though I don’t believe it just comes. Love is something you have to work for but with the right person it’s easy, everything just comes naturally.” He holds my hands to his lips, kissing the knuckles.
“And you, you think that that person is— me?”
“I know it’s you,” He says, “Just by the way we touch.” And just as he says that those tingles I always feel when he touches me go manic, pulsing deeply in my veins.
I breathe slowly, “I want to go on a date with you” I say.
Rolan steps back, looking me deep in the eyes. “Look, I know I just said all of that because I want us to go on a date,” I laugh through my tears at his attempt to cheer me up. ” But I also want you to want to go on a date with me. I want you to be sure. It’s your decision. If you want it to wait, it can wait.” He looks both calm and terrified as he waits for me to reply.
I shake my head, “I don’t want it to wait.” I say, “I think it’s time I got some balls and stopped caring about what others think for once, especially when it’s stopping me from getting what I want.”
He laughs, “So you want me, eh?” His eyebrows raise and I giggle.
“Yes, Rolan, I want you.” I tell him honestly, hand skimming over the slight scar on his bottom lip, “From the moment I first saw you in that hall, I wanted you.”
He bends down and places a kiss behind my ear, whispering, “I wanted and want you too.”
I close my eyes and enjoy the feeling of his lips on my skin before reluctantly pulling away from him and turning out of his embrace, going to my bag, fishing out some paper and a pen.
“What’re you doing?” He asks as he watches me scribble down something onto the blank sheet.
I turn back to him, “Here,” I say, “My number. So you can text me what time our date is.” I tell him. He takes it and places it carefully into his jean pocket.
I swing my bag onto my shoulder, “I’ll see you soon then.” I say.
“Soon,” he replies.