“So what now?” Vinh asks me as he bites into his apple. I had spent all weekend alone and while it concerned my mom, I still managed to convince her that I was just tired from the events of last week.
“What do you mean what now?” I slowly slide my books into my locker.
“So you’re single now,” Scar asks for confirmation. I see a struggle on her expression as I nod. She must be trying her best not to pity me.
“I know it’s a bad time, but I’m gonna say it,” Vinh says before Scar slaps his arm and glares at him, “Ow! What? I can’t say I told you so? He was messy. Now you can be with Damon.”
“Why do I have to be with anyone?” I close my locker to turn to the both of them. They both look healthy now, much different from before we dealt with Jeff. A small smile reaches my lips as I realize that I contributed to that.
“Because you clearly have some feelings for Damon, but you won’t admit it. Especially back when Silas was in the picture. You need to get a guy who will treat you right and that is, no doubt, Damon.”
I have to stop myself from flinching when I hear Silas’s name, but that did nothing compared to seeing him walk by us in the hallway with Pam on his arm. He didn’t look attached to her, but rather, she looks like she’s leeching onto him.
I meet his eyes and we both have a sense of desperation for each other that I hope no one else can see. Then, remembering what he had done, my lids lower and my eyes grow cold. His eyes lower and I fight the urge to throw my arms around him.
“Hey, Tammy,” I hear a guy’s voice to my side. I turn to see Kent waving with a smile. His locker is a few down from mine.
“Hi, Kent, how’s it going?” I see Silas turn around at the sound of my voice saying Kent’s name and I realize what I had just done. I think I just made it clear that he’s no longer my Clark Kent, that he never will be again.
“Oh, you know, just neck deep in all this homework BS,” he chuckles as he walks off. “I’ll see you ’round.”
I nod at him and turn back to Vinh, who carries a look of amusement on his face. “What?”
“What was that you had with Silas?” He gasps, “You can’t show him that you’re weak, Tam. He’ll find a way back in and then you’ll get hurt again.”
I turn to Scar, who nods in agreement.
“What do you think I should do,” I ask Scar. I don’t have many conversations with her about this topic, but seeing how happy she is with Vinh makes me crave for a better life than the one I’m stuck in.
“I think you should heal. You should take some time for yourself, and then when you’re ready to let someone in, you should give Damon a chance, because he’s done nothing but stand by you through everything.” Her wisdom is clear through her articulate response. She’s thought this through and she knows what’s best for me.
I give her a slight nod and a smile stretches across her face. She pulls me in for a hug and whispers, “You’re going to be alright, Tammy. We’ve got you.” Vinh joins in for a group hug.
“Hey, hot coffee for the lady!” Damon walks up to us and hands me a cup. I can’t help but become very aware that Silas is still just down the hallway, glancing at us every few seconds. “Three sugars and five creamers in a dark roast.”
“How do you know how I like my coffee?” I raise an eyebrow at him as he nonchalantly sips on his own cup. I turn to Vinh with my eyes narrowed and he smiles sheepishly at me and Scar.
Behind Damon, in the distance, I see Silas frowning at the sight of us together. It shouldn’t matter to me. I should be ignoring his feelings. So why am I noticing it?
“I gotta get to class. Tammy, wait for me today, I’ll take you home!” He jogs off with his backpack and cup of coffee.
The bell rings and as I enter class, I realize I didn’t know where to sit. Silas has taken my old seat and Pam behind him. I feel their eyes on me as I sit in the newer seat that Silas had lead me to last time when we wanted to avoid Pam.
I settle in quietly and start pulling out my material, when Matthew turns around to greet me, “Hey, Tammy.”
I hadn’t realized that he sat in the seat before mine. Perhaps I was a bit preoccupied with Silas last time. “Mornin’ Matty,” I try to sound cheerful, “How’s it going?”
“I ran into Damon earlier and he asked me to give this to you.” He hands me a folded piece of paper and grins at me before turning back around. I unfold the paper.
“You look pretty today. I hope you’re feeling better. -Damon.”
With that, a smile creeps onto my lips and before I knew it, there was a wide grin on my face.
“Ms. Vo,” I hear Mrs. Francis call for me and my head snaps up, “would you mind passing back these past assignments, please?”
I know that if I do this, there’s a chance I’d have to walk by Silas and Pam. But if I don’t I’d have to give a really good reason, which I don’t have. Scowling, I get up and take the papers from her hands. The whole stack takes me about a few minutes to finish passing back. At the bottom of it all was Silas’s. I walk over to his seat and I could feel his eyes on me as I approach him, but I avoid them, knowing that one look into his warm brown eyes could send me down a hole I can’t get out of.
As I drop his paper on his desk, I notice his binder, near his feet. He still has my little sticky note in the cover. I fight back tears as memories of us together rush back: the chicken bacon noodle soup, the superman bobblehead, the nights of talks, and the rice bowls with fried egg.
I rush back to my seat and remain quiet for the rest of the day. I have three classes with Silas and in those three classes, I remain completely emotionless in my expression as I lower my head. Still, I felt his eyes on me all the time and it pains me not to return his gaze.
By the end of the day, I was glad to have Damon take me home. Talking to him eased my mind and he somehow managed to make me constantly laugh. Maybe he was trying a lot, but the truth is, he didn’t have to. Being with him helped take my mind off the betrayal I felt of Silas.
Days go by and they turn into weeks as live off of Damon’s presence. He brings me coffee every day, takes me home, and I tutor him for a few hours. Over these weeks, I noticed Natasha warming up to Pam, yet she still occasionally spoke to me, only in secret.
“Why are you befriending Pam?” I asked her once.
“I know she’s a bitch who hurt you by stealing your lover, but trust me, I have a reason and I need you to be patient about it, okay?”
During Thanksgiving break, she and I even had a girls’ day in, where we cooked food and baked desserts while watching chick flicks.
Of course, during that time, Damon would come over every day just to talk or watch TV with me alone or with Vinh and Scar.
I was growing comfortable and finally it was the day before winter break. I don’t know why Damon and I are here in my room, studying, but I figured he might be confused about something.
I bite on my pencil as I look down at my math notes. There was just one concept I haven’t been able to comprehend and I’m just on the brink of a shining light bulb.
“Yeah?” I let go of my hold on my pencil and look up at him. He looks devastatingly handsome, even now as he nervously rakes his fingers through his hair. His eyes are soft and the sea of green in them make me want to float in those waters.
He grabs my hand and draws a symmetric heart on my palm with a pen. “Will you go out on a date with me?”
I don’t think twice. He’s been with me through it all and he’s been supportive and patient. I had thought about it days ago and made up my mind about this. I’m ready.
“Yes,” I say and he wraps his arms around me. I chuckle and feel him kiss the top of my head.
“You won’t regret it, I promise,” he whispers.
“I know I won’t.”
He pulls away to look down at me with adoring eyes and I blush at his gaze. He grins at me and starts packing his things to go.
We both stand up and he turns to me, stepping a few inches closer, until all I can smell is him.
As I wave him off, I look down at my hand, at the drawing. I know what this means. I have his heart in the palm of my hand and I know that this must be a big deal to him. I close my hand, balling it into a fist, and rest it on my chest.
Damon, you’re really something else.