Chapter 4 - Spacing out
CHAPTER 4 - SPACING OUT
Wednesday. For some reason I woke up in a different mood this morning, more … cheerful, so much that mom looked at me like I’d gone nuts. The truth is, if I’m right, today is going to be a great day. I was taking my books from the locker, having to head to Math in five minutes, when, closing the locker, I noticed shoes on the opposite side of its door. My heart started thumping in my chest, convinced it was Kyle, but …
"Lost this in my car."
The voice behind the locker door said, well, kind of grumbled. I closed the locker and in front of me I found a pretty tired Eric, hair disheveled (that, by the way, made him look even sexier), handing me a keychain with a little grey elephant. I gazed at the thing, confused, but then I recognized it. It was the little thing I had hanging on my shoulder bag. Didn’t even notice it’d had fallen.
"Uh … thanks …"
I mumbled, retrieving the keychain from his hands. Eric just grunted and left. So lovely, huh? Oh, well, I shrugged it off. Nothing would ruin my mood today. I walked to class with a big smile on my face, because I love Math so much … what I love most about that class is the second row, which for some reason always attracts my attention, taking it from the blackboard … guess that’s one reason why I suck at Math, but overall it’s because I don’t understand it.
Once arrived, I took my usual seat in the fourth row, left side, and just waited … for the teacher? Nah. For my angel to arrive. And he didn’t disappoint me. Like always, Kyle entered just a minute before the teacher, his cute smile always at its place, talking to some boys. Really I did my best not to stare, but, differently from other times, he noticed me and actually waved at me! He waved at me, he actually raised his hand and saluted me! Even smiling! Oh, if you could feel how fast my heart was beating right now … anything he does seems made to cause me a heart attack.
I barely succeeded in taking notes about functions, which sure as Hell I’ll never understand, since all I could think of was Kyle and how cute he looked when he was so focused on listening to the teacher. Maybe I could ask him for help in Math … mmh, no, judging from his grades, he’s not that better than me at it … Math is the only subject in which I fail, the only one. I just don’t get along with numbers, they confuse me.
Time went by quickly as I, almost looking like a stalker, just kept staring at Kyle, chin leaned on my elbow, dreamy look that I hid underneath the impression of being focused on what Miss Stern (no kidding, that’s her real name and it fits her to a tee) was writing on the blackboard. Once it finished, I packed my things slowly, having no will of leaving that special class, especially since following there was Philosophy, and I hate Philosophy even more than Math, I mean, it’s sooooo boring! Why do we even study it? Just as I exited the classroom, I was startled to find Kyle out there, waiting … for me??
He greeted me with one of his lovely smiles.
"How you doing?"
He asked me as I unconsciously walked past him, so he followed me.
"F-fine … thanks …"
Tell me I’m not crimson, tell me I’m not crimson … I could feel the heat on my cheeks, so yeah, I surely blushed, but Kyle either didn’t notice or pretended not to. He just smiled.
"Good. Listen, about that project …"
"I … worked with Eric yesterday."
Kyle blinked his eyes, surprised.
"Seriously? You’ve managed to get that jerk to actually work on it?"
"Well, it’s … not like he came up with ideas but … yeah, he did cooperate."
Astonished. That’s the word to describe his expression, I think.
"It … wasn’t that hard, you know?"
I muttered, trying to debase the thing since he was making it look like I’d just climbed the Everest and come back without a scratch. Kyle arched an eyebrow at me, which I could only find so cute …
"It’s Eric Rivers we’re talking about."
"That jerk does nothing without a profit."
"Well, it’s … not a favor he did to me, it’s …"
His lips quirked up to a smirk, and odd one, one I couldn’t exactly define.
"You don’t know him, Nat."
Kyle told me and I frowned. Of course not, I don’t know Eric that much, actually, I know nothing about him apart from his bad boy reputation, but does Kyle know him? I’ve heard they’ve had their … misunderstandings, which should be why they can’t stand each other, although I don’t know what happened between them, for me it’s always been only a matter of simple the bad boy can’t get along with the popular guy, plus, it’s not like Eric gets along with many people in this school, I mean, those three guys that follow him around like puppies, they’re the only ones allowed to approach him and the only ones that don’t change direction just not to cross his road, but I bet that deep down they’re pretty scared of him too, which is why they follow him, like, you know, every villain. Or maybe Kyle and Eric have fought over a girl … it’s quite plausible after all … as far as I know Eric never had a real girlfriend, just flirts or so, but Kyle yes, so maybe the bad boy slept with the other’s girlfriend … oh, if Jamie was here, she’d find out, I’m sure, I mean, while I’m very good at keeping secrets, she’s very good at finding them out, which is why I always end up pouring my heart out to her, because, I mean, that girl simply doesn’t know what giving up means. Oh, by the way, remind me to call her this afternoon, it’s my turn this week.
"If he’s accepted so easily, he’ll want something in return."
Kyle told me, taking me off of my thoughts. Wait, I have my amazing crush in front of me and I space out?? What the hell is wrong with me?? It’s a miracle he didn’t just leave.
"I haven’t asked him anything. It’s for his own grade, so it’s not for me."
I replied and Kyle cracked a smile.
"Maybe he just likes being around you …"
He commented, winking at me. Boy, you’re playing with my coronaries, here! You can’t just act like that! Oh, wait, he said Eric likes being around me? I let out a sarcastic chuckle, unable to keep it, and Kyle smiled. Oh, those pearly white teeth … every single detail of him is perfect … how’s that possible?
"Anyway, it’s my turn today, isn’t it?"
I blinked my eyes at his statement. His turn? What am I? The toy they pass each other? To my mind came back the odd smirk Eric had made when I told him about the “link” thing. Had they made an odd deal to split me between them? Just to make fun of me? Nah … they barely talk to each other. You’re being paranoid, Nat. Paranoid. These guys are only noticing me because they were forced to. When everything’s over, they’re gonna go back to acting like I never existed … well, honestly, in Eric’s case that’d be a relief … I’ve got the feeling the boy hates me. Well, he hates everybody and everything, but something tells me I’m on his black list. You know, one would think that yesterday we managed to get to know each other better, but no, all we did was talk about the project when I didn’t have to serve clients, well, I did the talk, Eric just nodded bored or said “mmh-mmh … yeah”. I know he’s not a great talker, well, neither am I, but unlike me he doesn’t come from a shy past and certainly neither is introvert, he just holds grudges against the whole world for some reason nobody knows. I nearly screeched when I felt a hand on my arm.
"Nat? You ok?"
Kyle asked me. Oh, my God, he’s touching me! His soft hand is actually on my arm! Yes, I know, I’m pathetic, but understand me, this guy makes my heart beat faster than ever and it’s actually a miracle if I can talk to him without throwing up or speaking nonsense.
"Yeah, I’m … fine …"
I replied and he smiled, making my heart do somersaults. Oh, boy, I’m not gonna survive this day. Unfortunately, the bell decided to play killjoy …
"Ok, so, here’s the thing. I’ve got detention this afternoon, so am free only by 5 … is that ok for you?"
Kyle asked me. I blinked my eyes, realizing I had also nodded when he smiled and left, mumbling a “see you later” or something like that, I mean, I was too confused to really listen. I should do something about this habit I have to lose myself in my thoughts, I mean, I’m becoming worse than JD of Scrubs … oh, hope I don’t have the same silly look on my face when I get distracted.
I rushed to class just in time and made it through it without, amazingly, falling asleep (have I mentioned that Philosophy is soooo boring?). Luckily, before lunch I had a free period, so headed to the library with the intention of reorganizing the very little Eric and I, well, I had written yesterday. There were few kids so I could sit wherever I wanted, but I have my own favorite place, which is the table in the corner, next to the window. It has nothing to do with that window being on the sports field where I can see Kyle running often, I swear …
As I looked through my bag, I realized, quite stupidly, that I obviously didn’t have the notes on the fairy tale … I’d written it on Eric’s notebook, so he had them … duh. Now what? To work with Kyle I need them … oh, don’t tell me, I need to approach Mr. Bad Boy and ask for his notebook … if it was whoever I wouldn’t bother that much, but it’s Eric Rivers … the one boy able to scare the hell out of me only with a single look. Where do I even find him now? Oh, wait, he should be having detention … but I can’t go there, the teacher wouldn’t allow me to talk to Eric … guess I’ll just wait for the lunch break, at least then he’ll be in the cafeteria … which is full of people … where he can’t murder me without witnesses … ok, I know, he’s no killer, but I can’t help but think he does have such instincts. Anyway, since I couldn’t work on the fairy tale, I decided to grab my Math worksheet and at least try …
"You’re doing it wrong."
A male voice startled me once I was halfway through the first (yes, the first!) exercise after 20 minutes of smashing my head against that damn worksheet. With my heart still pounding, I turned around and saw exactly the boy I needed but didn’t dare to approach. Eric grabbed my paper and analyzed it.
"It’s all wrong."
He sentenced then gave it back to me. I frowned. So he’s good at Math? Better than me anyway, well, everybody is better than me at Math. Before I could put together the nerve to ask him to help me, he left. He simply left. This boy is strange. First he nearly causes me a heart attack and then he leaves. Talk about drama king. I sighed. Well, I need to ask him for the notes anyway, so I just better see where has he disappeared … I left my things on the table and wandered around the library but there was no sign of him, till I approached the counter and … wait, he was right there, bored, helping the old librarian reorganize the shelves behind the counter. What was he doing there? Certainly he didn’t volunteer.
"May I help you, sweetheart?"
Mary asked me, halting her rummaging through the shelves for a moment. You can guess I spend most of my free periods in here so the librarian knows me very well. I felt heat reach my cheeks when Eric’s eyes snapped to me. He doesn’t need killer instincts to murder me, he just needs to freak me out, which he does pretty often … so that’s it, he’s subtly and slowly bringing me to death, like a perfect evil mastermind … oh, stop it, Natalie, you’re being silly. I smiled politely at Mary, trying not to stutter when I said it:
"I … I’d actually need your assistant for a moment. Just to … ask him something."
She looked at me surprised, probably wondering what on Earth could a perfect student like me want with the most undisciplined one, but in the end just nodded. Eric leaned on the counter.
He grumbled. I rolled my eyes.
"Always so kind …"
I mumbled, regretting it right after since he smirked, clear sign he’d heard me.
"Uh … I need your notebook …"
I said unsurely. He arched an eyebrow at me.
"The fairy tale … I’m working with Kyle today and …"
He didn’t let me finish, just slammed the notebook on the counter. What the hell is wrong with him?
"Uh … thanks, I guess …"
I mumbled and, grabbed the notebook, turned on my heels and went back to my seat. I wanted to ask him to give me at least a hint on how to do my Math homework, but I highly doubt he’d say yes. I still wonder why was he helping the librarian, though. Wasn’t his punishment to clean up the courtyard? Oh, well, it’s none of my business anyway.
As I scurried towards the cafeteria, I noticed Kyle talking/flirting with a girl right beside the door. It’s something that irritates me, but not a new thing, so … well, yeah, I’ve just come to get used to it. After all he’s not mine, right? I can’t claim him as mine. It makes me green with jealousy (or was it red?) but there’s not much I can do about it, is there? I tried to pass unnoticed, but …
He called me, making my heart skip a beat. My name rolling off his tongue sounds so sweet … I turned around, trying to smile.
I greeted Kyle. Behind him I could see the girl he was talking to quite annoyed … ha! He left that blondie to come talk to me! Imagine my inner happy dance.
"Ok, so, like the moron I am, I forgot to tell you where to meet."
He started, a cute “duh” look on his face. I couldn’t help but chuckle and he smiled, showing me his lovely dimples. Oh, boy, at the end of this project I’ll be completely smitten …
"How about my place?"
He proposed, making my heart stop for a moment. His place? Me and him alone in his room?? Oh, God … no, that, I couldn’t take it, no, no …
"Oh, wait, no … mom’s redecorating, so no, uh … your place? Or the library?"
Wait, why did I say library? We can’t be alone there. But do I want to be left alone with him? Mom will be working so we’d have the house all for ourselves … wait, what am I saying? That … no … no, no … Kyle and I … please … I’m even virgin. Yes, ashamedly, I am. I told you I’ve been invisible all these years, didn’t I? So yeah, I’m untouched. Never even had a boyfriend. Never even kissed a boy, well, if you don’t count my cousin Mike who’s always hugging and touching, but that would be just awkward. Plus, Mike is touchy for his own nature, it’s not a depraved need … I hope … although technically we’re not blood related, I mean, he’s my mother’s brother stepson, so …
I love my uncle, by the way. I’ve heard that he paid a visit to my biological father when he found out about mom being pregnant … I don’t know what happened exactly, but if you knew my uncle, you’d be sure he didn’t go there to talk … mom and him are really close, even if she’s older he feels the need to protect her and sometimes I do wish I’d have a brother to do the same with me … but hey, I can take care of myself, well, when I don’t freak out, then I’m useless. Somehow there’s only one human being that can scare me that much to freeze me on my spot. You know who I am talking about, don’t you? Wait a sec, why do I think of Eric so much lately? Duh, it’s because I see him more than ever of course. Oh, well … anyway, Kyle agreed and told me to wait for him beside his car, then left. Unlike yesterday, I know exactly how Kyle’s car is … ha! I swear, I’m not stalker, just … tend to watch him more than I should …