Chapter One - Please Don’t, We’re In A Library
″Holy shit!″ My best friend, Joanne exclaims in pure excitement before clamping her mouth shut as she takes a seat beside Seth.
To say the least, Joanne and I have been best friends ever since we were kids. However, there are times when I feel like I’d want to beat the crap out of her but nevertheless, I love her with all my heart: she’s my partner in crime. It was always the two of us wherever we go and when we were in high school, people even called us lesbians because of how close we are yet we stood proud, not denying anything even though my mum didn’t like the thought of us being a couple. Don’t blame her, she’s pretty religious.
I still remember the day of Joanne’s 18th birthday and I wasn’t allowed to go because our mums thought we were going to run away and elope in Vegas. It was wild how I ended up jumping from my bedroom window and broke my arm in the process. That was how it all came out, Joanne and I weren’t a couple. We weren’t lesbians, we were just fooling and messing around with people because we knew, regardless of gender and of preferences, love is love.
When I was a tad bit younger, I was never the angelic daughter despite my name being beauty. People thought I’d grow to become graceful like the Disney princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast but they were disappointed as soon as they found out how much of a daredevil I was. Joanne was no different, like I said . . . my partner in crime. My mum has always been religious and I still remember it vividly how she would drag me to church every Sunday and how much I dreaded for it to end.
On a hot Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t stand the fact of hearing another preach. So, I lied. I lied in a church saying I needed to go to the restroom when I was making a run for it through the backdoor with Joanne. We got caught, it was thrilling but we were kids, we didn’t know how foolish we were acting. We were just following our instincts, no matter how embarrassed my mum was for a moment when people kept talking about her daughter; they thought I was a product of bad luck because I was nothing like my mother.
″Joanne, what the hell?″ Seth moves his hand over to cover Joanne’s mouth.
Seth, on the other hand, is our second partner in crime. We both met Seth when we were freshmen and he was too. There are two stories about Seth and how we managed to be friends, considering the fact how attractive he might be to the eyes of ours and others. It started a bit funny with Seth playing basketball and ended up hitting Joanne’s head with a ball—Joanne being the drama queen she is, she fainted and we had to take her to the hospital.
I still remember how it all went with Joanne asking him, ′are you an angel?′ before grabbing onto his hand to only hear him utter, ′I’m gay.′ and that was all it all started. Seth grew closer to us and now we’re inseparable, even though I still hear Joanne complain about Seth being beautiful and gay is a problem for her because she knew she’d never have a chance.
Joanne pulls Seth closer to her before whispering in his ear which causes his eyes to widen, ″You what?!″
″Please don’t, we’re in a library.″ I close my eyes in embarrassment as soon as we hear people shushing us but Joanne is like a woman made out of steel, she starts to lean forward in order to talk to me.
″I saw Haden,″ Joanne says, excitedly. ″He is the most beautiful human being,″
″No, no, no, we’re not having this conversation right now. Please don’t distract me,″ I look away from both Joanne and Seth before turning to write down my notes, trying my best to ignore Joanne and Seth whispering to each other about Haden: making my heart boil in defeat. There’s just something about Haden that makes me want to drop everything I’m doing and listen about him. ″Okay, you got me. What’s up?″
″I knew you couldn’t resist,″ Joanne laughs which earns us another shush from a different group, ″Jeez, sorry! I can’t contain my excitement. Give this girl a little space,″ She adds, rolling her eyes in annoyance before grabbing onto my hand.
″Tell me. Tell me, tell me, tell me.″ I grin, waiting for her to continue.
Haden Merrick or more preferably known as ‘my future boyfriend’ is a senior. The thing is, I’ve had a crush on him ever since I laid eyes on him and the moment our eyes meet, it felt like fireworks and dancing kangaroos. Even though, disappointingly, he has never noticed me. I thought our gaze meant something or that he would at least be like ‘oh hey, you’re that girl I was looking at’ but no, unfortunately, whenever our paths cross, he’d just walk away. He’d just pretend I wasn’t there.
Not that he was pretending. He really didn’t see me. Ever.
″So, he was outside near the vending machine and then his dollar dropped. When he went to pick it up,″ Joanne giggles excitingly which causes Seth to cover her mouth once again, ″sorry, where was I? Right, when he bent down to pick it up, I was in a total bliss. Belle, how can you not ask him out already? Imagine being able to grab that ass. He has a good damn ass!″
″Joanne!″ Both Seth and I pull her over to shut her up, grabbing other people’s attention. ″Sorry.″
Seth turns to look at me, ″Are you done? I think we should get out of here before she starts to hyperventilate.″
″Let’s go,″ I chuckle before putting a few books in my bag and pick up the rest to hold it near my chest as the three of us exit the library, heading straight down to walk outside in campus.
″Speaking of asses, I have a good damn ass as well. Want to see?″ Seth turns around, walking ahead of us before lifting his shirt up to reveal his toned back and butt. There’s no need of denying how great Seth is and how nearly beautiful he is to Haden but there’s just one thing in the way of ever having that kind of relationship with him, his sexuality. He doesn’t exactly like girls but his eyes doesn’t exactly light up when we talk about Haden. Maybe, he’s just not his type.
″Belle, you have got to confess!″ Joanne stops me, standing in front of me.
″Seth, you have an amazing butt and Joanne, you know I can’t. Not when I fear of rejection,″ I continue to walk with Joanne trailing behind me and Seth walking beside me. ″In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever tell him. Unless, the world is ending and I am dying.″
″Why do you fear of rejection? He won’t reject you,″ Joanne runs after me, letting her dark blonde hair bounce. ″Do you or do you not look in the mirror every morning? You’re beautiful—he’d be stupid to reject you. He’s already stupid that doesn’t notice you. I mean, Seth . . . as a guy, do you think Belle is beautiful? Do you think she’s attractive? Don’t you just want to kiss her?″
I look up at Seth, seeing him clench his jaw. ″Yeah, you’re beautiful.″
″Seth’s gay,″ Rolling my eyes as I make my way through, feeling annoyed of having this conversation again. Joanne have always talked about this, about asking me to confess, telling the truth because what’s the worse that could happen? Uh, hello? Rejection? It’s better that he doesn’t notice or know about him than having him trying to avoid me as soon as he rejects me.
″That’s not my point, Belle. You know it,″ Joanne replies.
″She doesn’t want to do it. There’s no rush,″ Seth butts in, walking in between us before taking our arms.
″Who’s side are you on? I’m trying to give Belle her happy ever after. Our B deserves it,″ She replies, crossing her arms and begins to pout which causes Seth to laugh before slowly pinching her lips. ″Really mature, Seth. Really mature of you.″ She adds, smirking.
Just as I turn to look at both Seth and Joanne, I hear someone shouting out his name which causes me to freeze and immediately turn to look for where that voice came from. Both Seth and Joanne stops as well before their eyes widen in surprise and Joanne begins to slap Seth a few times in trying to express in desperation, ″Oh my god. That’s him!″ She shakes me.
″Yo, Haden!″ The guy says, making his way towards him.
Haden turns to look at him before smiling, revealing his perfectly straight teeth and they begin to have a conversation as he constantly shows what’s written in his book. Once in awhile, Haden would laugh as they continue to walk, slowly getting out of view. Even by staring at his back, I can tell how perfectly carved he is—it’s like he was made by the hands of God itself.
″How can someone be that attractive? I wonder,″ Seth mutters before shaking his head and both of my best friends begin to sigh deeply, shaking their heads together.
″Okay, fine. Look at me.″ I stand in between them, letting them take a closer look at me. ″Look at me and tell me that he wouldn’t reject me. Believe it or not, our eyes locked . . . one time. One time! And, he didn’t even look at me twice. Maybe, I’m not his type. Maybe, I should move on or maybe, I should get a different hairstyle. Should I wear extensions? Does he like girls with long hair? Does he not like girls with hazel eyes? Does he want taller girls? I don’t know, I have these questions stuck in my head and I can’t get it out of me.″
″Mirabel, you look fine.″ Seth cuts in, saying my first name.
″Fine? Exactly. Fine!″ I exclaim, laughing.
″What Seth meant is that you look sexy as hell. We’ve all seen you naked,″ Joanne responds which causes Seth to clear his throat, ″We all know you have a nice body. Have you even looked at your breasts or your butt? They’re good, they’re firm. That’s your power. Moving on, let’s see your face. You look pretty, you’re very pretty. You have high cheekbones and your jawline’s defined. You’re fine!″ She throws her hands up in the air, completely frustrated.
″Exactly, I’d date you.″ Seth says, ″If I wasn’t gay.″
″Besides, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. You can give him a letter or you can just be like ‘hey baby, I’ve had my eyes on you for a little while. Why don’t we kiss and make love already?’ that’s a pretty great start.″ Joanne laughs, giving Seth a high-five as they both continue to walk, hand in hand like the world’s greatest couple.
The three of us continue to laugh as we both walk, Haden slowly drifting away from our minds.
″Oh, dang it! I have this group assignment to finish. B, I’ll see you at home and Seth, I’ll see you tomorrow? Peace!″ She pecks on our cheeks before running away, holding her books tightly to her chest until she’s out of our sight, leaving Seth and I on our own.
Seth turns to look down at me, ″Come on. I’ll drive you home,″
″I can take the cab. Really, don’t trouble yourself.″ I respond, knowing Seth would have to come back here in order to head back to his house. It’d be easier if I take the cab home—he lives on campus while Joanne and I live out of campus. We rent a small apartment outside and in a matter of less than a month, Seth will be moving in with us.
″It’d be no trouble. I thought I can stay over tonight? Besides, I’m going to be living there as well.″ He replies, taking his car keys out of his bag before gesturing me to follow him in which I do. ″We’re getting dinner on the way, what would you like?″
″You know what I want?″ I turn to look at him.
We both enter the car and as he starts the engine, ″What?″
″Your cooking. You’re good at that,″
Seth laughs before driving out of campus, down the road. In all honesty, I have this thing for guys when they drive—they just look much more attractive than they already are. I’d always pay attention to whenever Seth drives, I even wonder how Haden looks like when he drives. However, Seth’s nice to watch as well. ″Then, we’ll have to go and head to the supermarket. What do you feel like eating?″
″Mac and cheese!″ I exclaim, both of us laughing together.
I begin to speak again as soon as the drive to the supermarket ends up being awfully quiet, ″Hey, what ever happened to that new guy in your class?″
″Huh? Which guy?″ He asks, making a left turn.
″The new guy. The one you were talking about, the one with light brown hair. You know . . . the guy who’s in your class.″
″Oh, oh . . . that guy. Yeah, he’s hot. What about him?″ He clears his throat, both of his eyes focusing down the road but he’d glance at my direction once in awhile.
There’s just something odd about Seth whenever we have this kind of conversation. At times, he’d talk about boys like it means the world to him and he’d join in whenever we talk about boys as well. He has seen both Joanne and I naked, he didn’t seem bothered by it or surprised or even attracted in the slightest which makes a whole sense, since he’s not attracted to girls. Then again, it feels like the whole guys at campus just doesn’t seem to be his type. He talks about them, saying they’re cute and all but he doesn’t really go crazy over them.
″Well . . . I thought you liked him? Didn’t you make a move?″ I ask.
″I didn’t say I like him. I just said he was hot,″ He replies, glancing at my direction before smiling at me. ″Why? Are you interested in him? You’re already moving on from Haden?″ He raises an eyebrow, teasing me.
″No, that’s not it.″ I smile, ″It’s just that . . . Joanne meets different guys all the time. She sleeps around and she has fun. She’d talk about guys that she slept with, saying who’s bad in bed and who’s good. She has that kind of sexual life but you . . . I never heard about you having sex with anyone on campus. You’ve told me a few guys that are hot in your class but you never told anything about sleeping with them?″
″So, I’d have to sleep with them?″
″No, no. That’s not what I meant,″
″I get it. Joanne sleeps around and I don’t when I should?″ He turns to look at me for awhile, ″I don’t feel like it. I just don’t really feel like it.″
″Okay, what about the other guy? The one that asked you out,″ I lean closer towards him, grabbing onto his hand before entwining our fingers as he has his left hand on the steering wheel. ″He was pretty cute. Did you turn him down as well?″
Seth smiles, ″I have my eyes on someone else.″
″Oh, juicy. Do I know him? Tell me about him,″ I look up at him, practically grinning.
″You can say that. He’s around campus,″
″Tell me. Who is it?″
Within seconds, Seth has already stopped the car and it doesn’t take me long to realise we’ve arrived at our destination: the supermarket near my apartment. Our apartment. I immediately let go of Seth’s arm and step out of the car, letting him wrap his arm around my shoulder as we continue to walk inside, completely forgetting about the topic we were talking about.
Oh, and is that chocolate cake I see?