Love Is

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“Do you like black coffee or sweet?” I question as we stand in the Spacebucks line.

“Super sweet,” he responds, smirking and looking down directly into my eyes.

I feel like he isn’t just talking about the coffee.

Oh shut up, stupid.

“W- well, there’s a lot of drinks to pick from then. But I really like the Chocolate Unicorn. It’s just a chocolate milkshake with brownie bites, cookie dough, and lots of whipped cream. Oh, and chocolate chips with a chocolate-covered strawberry for a horn and chocolate syrup for eyes and a mouth. But Harlo won’t let me buy it often, cause she says it’s unhealthy and I’ll get too hyper.” I explain, and he just stands there, listening attentively.

“I’ll get that then,” he declares.

“But what about your coffee?” I ask, confused.

“I don’t need it. We can split a Chocolate Unicorn.” he shrugs, glancing away.

“That’s really sweet of you, but I’m supposed to be thanking you- ”

“I won’t take no for an answer,” he interrupts, giving me a slight smile, and I sigh in defeat.

“Wow, using my own words against me.” I turn to see that the line disappeared for the few moments we had been talking. The cashier looks at me in annoyance before noticing Maddox.

“Hi! Can I get a Venti Chocolate Unicorn? With two spoons and straws, please. Oh, and an extra cup.” I say, giving a wide smile to the cashier.

“Sure, anything else?” She asks me, but her eyes are on the tall male behind me, giving him suggestive looks, clearly expecting a flirty answer in return. “Maybe something for your cousin?”

I frown a bit but shrug off her comment. I’m not going to be jealous because I literally just met the guy, not even a half an hour ago.

“That’s it for my girlfriend, and I’m gonna pay, okay Dove?” he corrects, not giving me any room to object as he gives the unfortunate cashier a hard look.

“I’m so sorry, Sir, Ma’am. U-um your total is $6.50. ” she falters and I turn toward Maddox, who was paying for the drink.

Why did he tell her that?

And what’s with the nickname?

I think, ignoring the butterflies in my stomach from the words that had just left his lips.

Girlfriend? Dove?

The girl leaves to get our drink, and Maddox glances toward me, his eyes giving me a frustrated look, and I get the feeling that he’s about to say something. Finally, he asks me “Does your boyfriend go here, or somewhere else?”

Does he think I have a boyfriend? That’s a laugh. “Oh, I don’t really have a boyfriend. I only told Rodney that to get him off my back. And no, I’m not gay, just really, really forever alone.” I blurt, wanting to facepalm myself.

My mouth just loves to run away. Maddox raises an eyebrow at me and slowly nods. A new employee, a male this time, serves our treat, and Maddox turns to head back to the table as I just happen to spot Harlo heading for us, the twins in tow.

“Hey, you finally made it! ” I smile, and she just barely glances at Maddox before saying “Yeah, it took a little longer than necessary since Mr. Habard wanted to give them a whole speech about the highlights of the school.”

I feel Maddox just towering stiffly at my side, a slight scowl on his face, making him look so much more dangerous than he probably is. How dangerous could such a nice person be?

“Guys, this is Maddox. Maddox, this is my best friend, Harlo. Behind her are Tuesday and Adelyn who are also new here.”

Maddox gives them a single nod and, without a word, hands me the entire Chocolate Unicorn. I barely hear the faint “Bye, Dove” he murmurs before he heads back to his table, where Crispyn is busily wolfing down six whole pancakes.

By the time we’ve all gotten our breakfasts, the dining area is filled with the usual morning latecomers, and seats are scarce. I look around and groan inwardly. There are no four seats together. Except for one place that I have been avoiding, praying that Harlo wouldn’t suggest the table.

But Crispyn is the one to crush that hope. He stands up, waving at us. “Hey, come sit over here,” he shouts to us, making everyone turn toward him, then in our direction to figure out who he was calling to. Giving in, I put my head down and rush toward the table, hearing things like “It’s way too early to be shouting like that.”, “Wow, who’s his friend,” and “I heard that’s the prude that turned down Rodney”.

The last one kind of stung, but I brushed it off, more concerned with having to face Maddox. Again. We sit at the table, and I reluctantly sink down in front of Maddox with my drink and pancakes. He darts his eyes up to my face once, then goes back to his phone. To everyone else, it seems that he’s annoyed that we’re here, but under the table was a different story. His foot touches mine and taps twice, making me blush. I turn my head to hide my blush only to see Harlo smirking at me. We’ll talk later, her eyes say.

We eat in almost total silence, and Crispyn finally says “We should get to know each other! You know, cause once we’ve eaten together, we’re automatically friends.”.

“ that rule sounds like complete bull-” Adelyn starts, but Harlo claps her hands over my ears, and all I can see is her mouth moving until Harlo drops her hands.

“Don’t corrupt my innocent child like that! Also, Charlie hates curse words.” Harlo scolds. Adelyn smiles in apology.

“Anyways, let’s see those schedules guys,” Crispyn smirks. Tuesday pulls his neatly folded schedule out of his hoodie pocket while Adelyn has to fish hers from her small purse. The papers are handed over to Crispyn, and he looks them over eagerly before handing them to Harlo. I watch patiently for my turn, but a piece of folded paper slides in front of me. Maddox didn’t even look up from his phone as I open his schedule and make a mental note of every class we have together.

He really confuses me, I muse to myself, as the others engage in small talk. He talks more in front of me and Crispyn but avoids any sort of interaction with anyone else. He gives off the vibe of a dangerous person constantly, yet he saved me from Rodney when he could have just ignored it. I guess he really is sweet, even though he acts really scary.

The bell rings, breaking me out of my trance, and my new friends stand up along with Harlo. “Are you gonna hang out here a little longer, Charlie? Or are you going to class?” she asks me.

I shrug my shoulders but stay seated. “I don’t feel like going to class just yet, and you know how Mrs. Habard is,” I say, half turning to face her. She nods but then looks to where Maddox is still sitting, head down, into his phone.

“I’m going to show the twins their classes. Do you need any help, Maddox?” I barely see him shake his head, but Harlo seems to catch it. “Well see you two later then. And don’t miss too much class! “ she yells back at me, walking towards the door.

Then, it’s just me, Maddox, and the employees of the booths around us. I bite my lip nervously as he pockets his phone, and holds up his head for the first time since we arrived at his table.

“Um, hey,” Hey?! That’s all I can say to him? Seriously???

“Hi, Dove” he chuckles, and I swear the heavens opened up when I heard that sound.

“Why do you keep calling me that?” I wonder out loud.

“Because you are small and really pretty. And your eyes are dark and sweet, like the candy.” he murmurs, staring into my eyes.

He thinks I’m pretty? He barely knows me! I blush harder and argue “But you don’t even know me. And there are girls who are way prettier than me here. Also, I’m not small. I’m height-challenged. It’s not my fault, you look like a freaking telephone pole!”

He gives me a small smile. “I’d like to get to know you though.” The smile really did me in.

It’s not like you were going to say no anyways.

Geez, be quiet brain.

“Well, if you want to get to know me, we’re going to have to start over as friends,” I announced, then stood up. He did the same, and I led him out of the Dining Hall.

“Where are we going now?” he asks.

“The library. You’re gonna love it, even if you aren’t a book lover. But if you aren’t, then this friendship is over before it started,” I tease.

“Lucky that I like books then.” he quips, bumping my shoulder and I feel the butterflies again.

“Y-yeah,” I stammer.

What is he doing to me?

A/N: 08/18/20

Howdy partners! Hope you all are safe and enjoying the read. This chapter's cringy, I know, and I'm only a little sorry. Anyways, I was wondering if you guys were interested in receiving a special chapter? All you have to do in return is leave a comment rating my work. (And possibly share this story with your friends? This is optional.) I had a bit of anxiety and tend to overthink and consider postponing my story a g a i n because i feel like nobody likes my writing style lol. Wow, this was a long author's note. Sorry! :p

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