Over the next year the two met often even though they only had two classes together. She was carrying a course load of three times as many classes as he was. She was serious on the amount of degrees she would be working on. He thought there might be four or five by the time she was done adding to her interests.
Dawn was as normal as she could be when she was around him. She had sensed there was something that he was keeping from her but she also didn’t want to hear it if it was what she thought it might be. He was nineteen. She knew that in her bones every time she saw him. She was on borrowed time with him. She expected him to pull back from the friendship that the two had. Though it was odd he never seemed to think it really was. She just went along with it knowing sooner or later the one thing she thought was safe was going to leave her in the dust.
Knowing him he would find the perfect woman to go out with and then by the end of school would be ready to settle down and get married. The more she thought about it the more it hurt her chest. She thought he would be the type to laugh it off as he asked her to be a flower girl or something like that. Dawn knew that if it worked out like that she would watch him give himself to someone else and she would move on to whatever she was deemed fit to do in her life and the two would drift away.
The thought hurt more than she wanted admit. However she was okay with him being happy. That to her was the most important part of it. She would smile and let him have that as she sat on the endzone and waited for that to happen for him. She was just a kid in his eyes. A very smart kid but a kid nonetheless.
It was a Wednesday that seemed like just a normal day. The chemistry lab that the two were working on was made more difficult because she could hardly move her leg. A week after surgery on a torn muscle everyone but him thought it was a good idea for her to go back to school. She was on crutches and was still in a lot of pain. However she was seated on the high back chair and was telling him exactly what to do from her section of the table. He was on the other side near the windows working on the compounds when the whole building seemed to shake a bit.
Before the building even stopped moving he was in front of Dawn. He was blocking whatever was outside the room that did that to the building from her. When the fire alarms started to go off He grabbed both backpacks and shouldered both of them as he bent down and picked her up in his arms. He leaned forward for her to grab her crutches.
At this point they were the last ones in the lab classroom. He shouldered his way out of the door and into the hallway that was filling up with smoke. He looked at her as she covered her mouth and lifted his shirt to do the same to him. He couldn’t help the smile that appeared on his face as he entered the stairwell and walked down the three flights of stairs as fast as he could. When the two made it to the first floor he went out of the building and glared at the professor who was one of the first out of the room.
He set her down when they were far enough away from the building. “Are you okay?” he asked as he looked her over.
“You know I am.” Dawn said as she looked at him in a new light. It was then she knew what she wasn’t supposed to know. It would have to be their secret though. “Mav thank you.”
“Like I was going to leave you there.” He said as he tried to look away from her. He knew he was showing her too much right then and there. Dawn might not understand every thing but she would see the answers to their friendship in his eyes. Everything was there. He knew that as well. He moved to stand in back of her while he managed to get himself back under control. “I will always stand in front of you, Dawn.”
“I know.” She said as she looked up to him as they both looked at the building and the flames that were now licking out of the windows they had been standing in front of minutes before. Soon the fire department was there as well as the police to help direct the growing crowds around the building. Dawn hobbled to a seat with her crutches as she looked on and knew the fire that was raging through the building was more interesting to watch than any of her classes left that day. Though it wasn’t like her to skip one of them she didn’t; feel like going to anything else. Though she had another few hours to go before her ride would be there.
“You should call someone to get you.” He said as he looked at her.
“I’m fine.” She said as she continued to look at the building. “Fires are interesting.”
“Really shouldn’t say that too loud.” He said with a slight laugh.
“they are though. They are like a life form all their own. They need to consume to grow. They sprout more. It is an interesting concept.” Dawn replied.
“Of course you would break it down like that.” He said as he sat next to her. He looked at her as she kept her eyes completely focused on the fire in the building. “Dawn whatever happened earlier can happen right now.”
“I know.” She said without looking at him. “Like a fire somethings just have to happen when the time is right. Then they can come to life and spread. The time might never be right for some to burn but others can just wait until they need to be lit.”
“Let’s hope we both can make it that far.” He said as he also looked at the flames coming out of the windows.
“Time will tell.” Dawn said and he looked at her again. She had taken his hand in her smaller ones while they both looked at the building. It had been the first thing she had ever done that told him she might feel something other than friendship for him.
“Yes it will.” He said as he squeezed her hand in his.