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Chapter III

7 years ago

The first two weeks that I was seated next to Killian was pure torture. I am a talkative person, but when he talks to me, I suddenly got no words to say. In my mind, all the words get scrambled up whenever I attempt to talk to him. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like Killian. It’s his cousin, Nathan, that I like.

Nathan is my childhood crush. I have known him before I even became friends with Keeno and I have liked him ever since the first grade. Nathan has this approachable look with his soft hazel brown eyes, framed with his long lashes. He is a little bit shorter than Killian, but they are both attractive in their own way.

Killian’s features are sharper and kind of colder. I think it’s because of his stormy gray eyes that pierce you whenever your eyes meet. I don’t know. He just always felt cold to me even though he does smile quite often. It’s just hard for me to grasp his mood and emotions. It’s like one minute he’s all goofy then the next he’s full-on glaring.

So yeah, compared to Killian, Nathan is your typical nice guy. He was smart and has always been a little nerdy, but I don’t care. In fact, he’s the reason why I studied harder at school. I want to feel like I deserve his attention. I wanted to feel more confident about myself. Bit by bit my grades went up, so by third grade, we were finally in the same class.

In fifth grade, I was finally assigned to sit next to him in class for the whole year. Back then, I thought that maybe this is the sign I was waiting for. Maybe this is the universe telling me to finally admit my feelings to him. Sadly though, I didn’t get a chance to do it.

Aside from the occasional hi and hello, how are you’s, and excuse me’s, I really didn’t get to talk to him that much because of my nerves. Then one day, I heard rumors that he likes this girl from another class and that they have been spending a lot of time together. Of course, I didn’t believe it at first, but when I saw it myself one afternoon, I realized that I lost my chance to make him like me.

That day I made my decision. I decided to just like him from afar. When I mentioned this to my friend, they empathized with me except for Clary. She told me to wait and my time could come next year. She thinks they wouldn’t last that long. Well, that’s what she said to me.

Even though I know that she only said that for my sake, I still believed her. So, I waited. Obviously, it’s just another heartbreak waiting to happen. Because by the next year, they were still together.

He looked so happy whenever they are together. They were always laughing even though they are teasing each other. I have no hard feelings though. They look good together, and it’s not like Nathan owe me something for liking him since first grade.

Then the days nearing our graduation day, I heard that he will be moving to another school with Killian. His parents both work overseas, so he temporarily lives with Killian. Meaning that if Killian’s parents decided to move places, he would need to move with them too.

I was so sad when I heard that news. I thought I would still get to see him in high school, but I guess not. Upon hearing this, I instantly regretted not doing anything. That night, I gathered up all the courage left in me and wrote him a letter.

I was not expecting anything from him because I respect his relationship with his girlfriend. But I guess that was a bit selfish of me. I was writing this letter as a way to help me move on from him. I literally poured all my feelings in that paper and dumped it on him, hoping to be rid of it.

As days pass by, I debated with myself on whether I should give it to him or not. I kept it with me every graduation rehearsal in hopes to find the right timing as to when I should give it to him.

On the last day of rehearsal, which is also our class retreat, I decided to just get it over with. Since we are all already being emotional on that day, I thought that maybe it was the right time. With the help of my friends’ encouraging words, I walked up to Killian when he was alone.

Standing in front of him, I felt so nervous that I stuttered through my first words. “Na…Nathan. This letter Uhm… I guess… I just… it’s for you.” Then I just kind of shoved it towards him with my head bowed because I was blushing so hard.

When I sneaked a peek at his reaction, I saw Killian behind him looking at us with a broody expression on his face. My eyes went wide and my face felt hotter because of embarrassment so I ran away quickly and went home.

That was the last time I talked to Nathan. He never mentioned anything about that letter after that day. I guess he didn’t read it or that he just doesn’t feel the same way. It’s either one of those reasons or the fact that I always ran the other way whenever I see even just a glimpse of him.

That was why I feel so awkward around Killian. I can still remember his expression when he saw me give that letter to Nathan. It was like he was mad, and that it was directed at me. So when he talked to me on the first day of classes without any trace of malice, I was bewildered.

Was he really mad at me that day?

Does he still remember what happened then?

What does he think of me?

Did Nathan read my letter?

Did Nathan let him read that letter?

Did they talk about me?

But he hasn’t said anything about that day and the letter ever since the first day of classes. Maybe I was overthinking things again. I tend to do that to myself, thus making me so anxious that I just found myself biting my nails.

“Ugh! Just forget about it!” I muttered to myself. “I need to stop overthinking this. One year has passed already. I need to stop being like this around him” I added to my mini pep talk.

“You alright?” I heard the person next to me said.

Startled, I snapped my head towards the person asking. “How unlucky am I? This is clearly Keeno’s fault. That unlucky ass!”

He just laughed. Killian just laughed at me! Ugh! Why did I say that out loud!? Go Aine embarrass yourself furthermore.

Without meaning to, I found myself glaring at him. “Wow! I’m glad you found humor in my embarrassment!” I said to him sarcastically.

“I just… are you alright? You kept muttering to yourself. I was sitting here for a while now.” He asked, attempting to hold back his grin but failing to do so.

Still feeling embarrassed, I continued to snap at him. “Why are you here anyway? It’s break time. Go! Shoo!”

With his grin gone, he is now looking at me like I’m crazy. “Uhm Aine, I sit here? Plus, break time’s over. Didn’t you hear the bell?”

“Wait what? I didn’t get to eat.” Startled, I quickly looked around the classroom. When I spotted my friends entering the classroom, I suddenly stood up.

“Excuse me,” I told Killian.

Getting near my friends, I said. “Hi, guys! Thank you so much for remembering me! Lunch was good. Right? I’m so full!” plastering my most sarcastic smile, I directed it at each of them.

“I brought you a sandwich!” Clary suddenly said while she nearly shoved it to my face

Smiling at them more genuinely now, I said in my sweetest voice, “I knew you guys love me!”

Mabelle just laughed at me. “You need to stop daydreaming Aine. We didn’t disturb you because we saw how lost you are in your thoughts again.”

“Yeah! You need to stop doing that. I know you always do that and that we are used to it and all, but it’s not healthy for you.” Keeno added.

“I know. I know. Thank you, guys!” I sincerely said. Then to get rid of this suddenly solemn mood I suggested, “Next time, just drag me out of it. Literally!”

We all laughed together at that then went back to our respective seats for the rest of the day.

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