He held my letter in his right hand, a biology GCSE book in the other. He stared down at me with mild amazement and something like bemusement, a blush tinting his cheeks. His messy auburn hair fell in front of his eyes when he moved his head every so often to watch passersby, his gentle hand brushing it away casually from his view. Our breath mingled and froze into white mist almost as soon as it left our bodies, floating around us like a silvery spider’s web then disappearing into the refreshingly cold mid-December air. I clasped my hands behind my back, my heart was beating so fast I could help but smile nervously.
“I didn’t know you felt this way.” He murmured, his hair once again obscuring his emerald green eyes.
“I- uh...What do you mean?” It was a stupid question, and before I even finished it I was mentally kicking myself. It was obvious what he meant! Could this be any worse?
“This.” He replied, brandishing my letter. An amused smile was painted on his delicate features, pearly white teeth reflecting the clear, weak sunshine.
“Oh yeah...that.” I brung my hands up to my face, suddenly feeling the urge to sneeze. I begged the higher powers for it not to be a horrible, slobbery sneeze.
“Uhh...?” He looked confused, but jumped slightly when I exploded.
“Achoo!” It wasn’t bad, but it could’ve been ALOT better. I looked up at him shyly, embarrassed so much I felt my ears steaming. He looked at me in puzzlement then uttered a short, god-like laugh.
“Cute.” Bang. My heart popped. Did he just call me...cute? Did this mean he likes me? Did he feel the same way but was too shy to say anything to me? That was how I’d been for weeks now, my shy nature preventing me from telling him how I really felt. In fact, it was only my friends boisterous encouragement that had cajoled me into coming here today.
“Does that mean...You like me?”
Time stood still. Even the birds ceased their singing to clarify the answer that was to follow. This was the ultimate question, and now, to me, nothing else mattered to me. My hectic family, my assessment that was due yesterday, cleaning out my hamster’s rancid cage, my sick grandma, and general life. Nothing even entered the equation.
What was that? Did he just say no? The world shattered into millions of pieces around me, the sun darkening until it faded completely before my eyes. Nothing mattered now, because it felt like I just died on the inside. Hot tears spilled over my eyes and streamed down my face like waterfalls, causing my vision to be blurry and unfocused. Except him. He was crystal clear amidst my tearing pain, a stone that diverted a rivers flow.
“N-N...No?” I snuffled loudly. I should have been embarrassed, but I was too angry and dumbstruck to care.
“Nah, sorry. I’m not into snivelling girls like you. I like girls that have a bit of backbone, an attitude, y’know? See you around, uhhh, whatever your name is.” He turned to walk away, whistling nonchalantly as though he had just been told there was a free class trip to a chocolate factory in a few days time. I was crushed, then it sunk in, I was completely outraged. He didn’t even know my NAME!
I dropped all my bags and ran up the corridor, making him turn round in puzzlement. I pulled myself up to roughly his height and glared at him through a salty film.
“What the HELL was that?! ‘Nah, sorry.’? ‘snivelling’? You don’t even know who I AM!” I shouted right in his gormless face. He was silent for a few seconds then he burst into raucous laughter. Laughing? How DARE he!
“Look sweetheart, I know I said I like girls with an attitude, but...I just don’t like you. I don’t even know who you are! I have no interest in wallflowers, thanks.” He grinned as though he had declared something indisputably righteous, his stupid symmetrical white teeth gleaming.
“You want attitude? Will this-” I slapped him. Right across his perfect, tanned face. It started to turn a bright shade of red instantly, a clear handprint symbolising my outrage. I decided to say, sweetly and innocently: “Be good enough?”
He said nothing. Just stood there in a dumbstruck silence. He clutched his cheek with one hand, the other still hung limply by his side. Although he had dropped his Biology book. Pathetic.
I grinned and strode back down the corridor, picking up my bags and striding straight back out the school door. Out into the freezing air, down the street, past the Co-op, and into my garden. I extracted the key from my pocket, and unlocked the door with a fluorescent click. I shoved it open, only to slam it behind me. A few moments silence, deep breaths. The irresistible urge to clutch my pillow and sob uncontrollably overwhelmed me. I dropped everything and ran up to my room. I cried and sniffled, for what seemed like hours and hours.
I must’ve fallen asleep, because when I opened my eyes again it was dark. I was still in my school uniform, but was crinkled and creased. I quickly changed, slipped into more casual clothes. I wore a loose plain, black t-shirt with a grey jacket. Ripped jeans and black converse trainers completed my general look. The house was almost silent, save for the buzzing of the tv downstairs and the snoring of my father.
I tiptoed down the stairs, a few yards from the front door before I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. I stood, stock still, muscles tensed, not breathing.
“Where’re you’z goin’?” He was half drunk, half sober and heavily drowsy. This was my father. A huge towering man, never seeming to smile, only to exhilarate a huge, booming laugh that often mocked lesser people. I pulled away and desperately grabbed the door handle.
“Don’t be cheeky! Whatever, just make sure you’z is back... uhhh, whenever!” I didn’t immediately spring to action, and this annoyed him. “Well? Get lost!”
I started, and wrenched open the front door. I skipped out of it, running needlessly sprinting to the end of my road, only pausing for the oncoming traffic. I didn’t want to die, I wasn’t that depressed. At least, not yet.
I walked endlessly, my hood up and my back hunched. Nobody spared me a glance, not even a curious stare. It was relieving, but also unnerving. Was nobody really bothered? There was obviously no one here who cared about me. No one at home. A few people at school but, there were more people that avoided me than talked to me.
Unfortunately the heaven opened and rain began to pour and hit the ground in huge splatters. The streets were virtually empty within minutes, going from bustling to deserted. Everyone had sprinted for cover, exceptions for the few that carried umbrellas and such with them. I found salvage in a mucky alleyway, underneath an unstable hand-made balcony that groaned disconcertingly. My hair was dripping, as were my spiky eyelashes. My jeans were soaked and the cuffs of my jacket were uncomfortably damp. The rain was strangely comforting, as though the sky was offering a shoulder to cry on. I really wanted to cry again, I felt drained. I had no idea what face I was portraying, out in the freezing rain, on a bone-chilling night. But my cheeks were already wet.The problem was; I couldn’t tell whether they were raindrops or tears.