Alpha Harris - It Is You

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Chapter 3 - Lunch

The rest of the morning is uneventful. I go to my classes, everyone is polite and responds to us but nobody really makes an effort to talk to me. My brother and I have experienced this before at all our new schools - people are sussing us out.

Tomorrow someone will bother to make some small talk back - it’s very predictable.

We head to the canteen. It’s a large hall with circular tables, various cabinets and counters line the front of the hall with a large selection of hot and cold food and drinks. My brother and I are standing in the line to browse the cabinets. Whilst looking through the sandwich selection, I can see that everything has cheese. Does anything NOT contain cheese? I don’t like cheese, I’m weird, I know. Still searching for a cheese free sandwich I feel a large presence behind me. I turn to see what it is and my face meets a rock solid Harris’ chest.

I glance up at him and find myself staring at his jaw line and stubble, I slowly follow the trail up his face to his eyes, before meeting his gaze. I quickly snap out of my staring and say “Oops sorry”. Before looking back at my tray.

What is wrong with me? Why have I just made myself look like a creep on my first day.

I feel intimidated with him standing behind me. Why is he so intimidating? Is it his height? I feel like a toddler next to him, he is easily good foot taller than me, maybe more.

He looks down and me and... silence. He just stares confusingly at me.

Well that’s rude, I say to myself. Maybe don’t stand so close, Harris, and I won’t bang into you. But then I immediately think that I am being harsh and that maybe he just doesn’t have good spacial awareness because he is the size of a lorry.

I’m just about to go back to my sandwich selecting when I hear him take a long slow inhale.

Not sure what he’s doing, I as subtly as I can, try to have another glance (without the creep factor this time). I look up just in time to see his head and body moving back up bringing him back to standing straight again.


Did he just sniff me?

I quickly tilt my head downwards to get close to my chest and hair so I can subtly have a quick inhale without being obvious.

It’s fine. I smell good.

I think? For some reason I feel it would have been weirder if I smelled bad.

Feeling pressurised by his large prescience behind me, sniffing me. I quickly grab the first sandwich I see, cheese be dammed and rush along the counters to the drinks cabinet only to realise he is still following me.

Despite him not really doing anything wrong, I get mad. I feel like he is rushing me or something. He is making me anxious. I do not like being rushed. Or feeling anxious.

I take a moment to gather myself, I do not like being rushed. I take a stand and I immediately slow down, deciding I am going to take my sweet time and have a long good look at the drinks selection. The handsome Harris can wait.

I hear him sigh. Whilst I’m still annoyed for being rushed I’m also extremely aware that I’m over tired, and possibly overreacting. I can’t tell if it’s him or me who is being rude and I don’t want to be rude to people on my first day at a new college. That would not help me make friends where I will be at least be spending the next 3 years in my new, permanent, hometown. I put on my big girl pants and put on the nicest sweetest voice and turn politely saying;

“Oh I’m sorry, I’m a newbie, feel free to skip me as I’m going to take a minute or two to see what the selection is”.

He, again, does not respond but continues to look down at me. As I glance down to go back to looking at the drinks I see his tanned hands with white nuckles from gripping onto his tray. Hard. I look back up and meet his eyes, his deep dark brown eyes. Dammit - he has good eyes. The whites are whiter than white and his brown irises looks like chocolate swimming pools that I want to dive into. Against his tanned skin they are like targets that draw you in. I cannot stop staring at his eyes and he doesn’t break eye contact either.

We are just standing. Staring at each other.

I don’t know what I am doing or how long I am staring but I eventually break our stare off when I hear his friend, Finn, clear his throat.

Still feeling dazed from our stare off I take a moment try and compose myself. I take some deep breaths and start counting to ten, this is my grounding technique to clear my head and focus.

Before I even pass the number five, I am hit with his smell. Oh dear Lord. He smells GOOD. A mix between a delicious aftershave which I have never smelled before and clean fresh washing. Like a garden, or maybe the outdoors or something. I don’t know I’m not good at describing smells but whatever it is, it is good.

I quickly think to myself I must get the name of the laundry powder he uses. It’s delicious. I want to cuddle him just so I can smell him. Maybe he was smelling himself earlier? That would make sense. I’d smell myself too if I smelled like that.

I’m standing frozen in my spot. I don’t even realise I am frozen until Finn clears his throat AGAIN which seems to break the daze I am in, AGAIN.

Wow, I am tired. I feel fuzzy.

I continue to feel him staring at me as he mumbles “it’s fine” but continues to stand right behind me. I have forgotten what I even said so his response means nothing to me. Stupid laundry powder.

I glance behind him and see his giant friends looking a little confused but remaining silent.

I’m still feeling dazed and not entirely sure what is going on.

Come on, Holly, get it together.


Do I want Cola or Fanta? I realise that my behaviour may look like I’m doing drugs or something so I shake my head to help try and clear the fuzziness away. As I do my long brown wavy hair shakes as well. Just as start shaking my hair Harris stiffens and the tray he’s holding cracks.

I flinch at the sound of the crack. It wasn’t loud - it’s just that we are silent and he’s standing right behind me so I clearly hear it.

He must be pissed I’m taking so long. I know I’m not quick but he needs to calm down - have a camomile tea or something. I’ve not been making them wait that long. The loud crack and his anger is what I need to clear the fuzz in my head and I quickly say:

“Sorry I’m taking so long, I’m really tired - jet lag and I'm not feeling great ” and then proceed to grab the first drink I see and head straight to the cashiers.

I rush over to my brother who is already sitting at the tables and almost finished his lunch. He examines my tray as I’m taking my seat and says “You took that long to pick a sandwich and a drink?”

I reply “I’m so tired I can’t even think straight, my brain feels like mush”.

“I’ll grab us some coffee”. He says before standing up and grabbing some money out of his wallet. Just as he is about to walk off I quickly grab his arm and pull him lower and whisper “can you just quickly smell me”.

My brother looks at me with utter disgust and says “WHAT? Ew, no. Why?”

I lower my head as if that’s somehow going to make my whisper quieter and say “I think the big guy, Harris is his name, sniffed me in the queue and he’s made me paranoid”.

At that moment loud laughter comes from across the food court and it looks like it’s coming from Finn and Chris, Harris’ friends. Loud hearty laughs. The joke was obviously on the Harris who was staring at my brother and me we with a mixture of anger, frustration and amusement, maybe?

I turn to my brother with panic in my eyes and say “I whispered that, right? They couldn’t possibly have heard me? That’s just a coincidence, right? Right?!”.

My brother laughs and responds “No, no. You whispered. That’s just a coincidence and you are correct. You are being paranoid.”

I rub the temples of my head before responding “I think I’m losing my mind. You know tiredness can bring on psychosis”.

He laughs with a “yes, chronic tiredness, like tortured prisoners of war. Not college students with jet lag for two days. But regardless, I’m not smelling you. I’ll never get a girlfriend if I’m the creepy fucking brother who sniffs his sister”.

He walks off to get us coffee and I quickly try to sneak another glance at Harris only to see he is already staring at me. I snap my eyes away. Dammit!! I didn’t want to get caught checking him out! He’ll think I’m interested when it’s more like he’s a car crash that I can’t not look at. It’s wrong, but I can’t help it.

I’m sitting at the table with my head in my hands trying to break through the fuzz and get some clarity when I feel a presence sitting beside me. I look up to see the girl from earlier.

She smiles and simply asks “feeling alright?” with a sly smile on her face. Like she knows what’s wrong or something.

“Jet lag” I respond, before adding, “giving me bad brain fog”.

She gives me a look that has a flash of relief in it before casually taking a drink of her coffee and sitting back comfortably like we have been friends our entire lives. I love this girl. She joins my brother and I for the rest of lunch and we keep our conversation light and mainly about the town and college.

We drink our coffee then head off to our next classes with one new friend a day earlier than anticipated. This school is full of surprises.

I drift through my final classes in a daze before my brother and I walk home. The classes were a complete blur, and I could not tell anyone one thing from them if my life depended on it. At least I know how my weekend is going to be spent - going over those classes again. I’m already weeks behind, I can’t get any further.

As soon as we walk in the house I stop my dad before he starts his 20 questions and tell him I cannot function anymore and need to go to bed, before giving him a peck on the cheek and walking upstairs.

I am that tired I skip dinner. That is when you know things are bad.
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