My face is flushed. Whether it’s from anger or embarrassment, it remains warm even with the cool water splashed on it from the bathroom sink.
My hands grip the sides of the sink and I duck my head slightly, trying to gain a sense of control over my emotions again.
I knew Alexander didn’t like me. I knew he had defenses and didn’t trust me. But never would I have thought he would be so deliberately mean.
They all seemed like such good friends, nice people, but I guess I underestimated them. I should have known that just because they seemingly wanted to talk to me, they wanted to be friends.
I guess I just got ahead of myself. I got so excited to have someone actually notice me that I guess I got too comfortable. I shouldn’t have said anything. That wasn’t my place, they’re friends, they know what to do and they had others to help. They didn’t need me interrupting.
God I’m so stupid.
I suck in a shaky breath and straighten myself up. I can’t hide in the bathroom forever. And if they don’t want to be friends, I’ve survived enough before them, I can do it again.
I’m just not sure if i’ll ever be able to get rid of those burning brown eyes. Those ones filled with such sharpness aimed at me. They make my chest tighten in pain and tears pop up.
I blink a few times and pull my head up. I carefully leave the bathroom, not wanting to run into anyone by accident.
When the coast is clear, I head down the empty hall and to my locker, I need to get my things and get to my last few classes. I’ve missed part of my class and I don’t want to miss any more. No need to let this affect me any more then it has.
The noise of me kicking my locker resonates through the hall, seeming louder than usual in the empty space. I shift through my things for the rest of the day and head down the hall to my current class.
I basically run up the concrete stairs to the second floor, not wanting to be later than I am.
My heart leaps as my foot catches on the last stair and I fall forward. The things in my arms, tumbling to the floor around me
I stand up and inspect the front of my shirt and jeans, which now have a light layer of dust and dirt on it due to the dirty floors which seem to never get clean. I start to wipe myself off as dust falls off me to the floor and to the air.
A stinging on my palms has me jerking my hands away from my shirt and turning them to inspect them.
I wince when I see the red irritated skin on my palms. Some parts are slightly bleeding and I sigh out in frustration. Things don’t seem to be going my way.
I try my best to maneuver the dirt away from my wounds and off my hands but it does little good. I sigh and try to ignore the stinging in my hands as I kneel down to gently and carefully pick my things up.
It’s all a mess, my papers slip from my feeble attempts to grab them without getting blood on them.
I lightly groan when my paper falls from my grasp along with another book that falls with a loud smack on the ground.
The paper flys smoothly down the hall and I roll my eyes in frustrated exasperation.
I watch it in surprise as it catches under a black converse shoe which leads up to Alex who watches me with careful eyes and his bottom lip caught between his teeth.
It’s quiet as I watch him squat down to pick up the paper under his shoe and make his way over to me.
He pauses in front of me, eyes glancing at my awkward pile of things in my arms before he tucks it between the folds of one of my notebooks.
He then leans down to pick up my remaining things and neatly tucks them under his arm.
I’m starting to realize Alex’s strong suit isn’t exactly words. But at least he’s not lashing out at me right now.
“Would you mind putting those in my bag?” I ask quietly, not wanting to ruin the calm atmosphere we’ve created.
He nods and moves to my other side, the only sound is the sound of my zipper on my bag. I feel the extra weight being placed into my bag and Alex holds out his hands for the rest of my things.
It’s an awkward shuffle and trade dance we do. Sometimes something will drop and he’ll catch it like some sort of spiderman, or he’ll simply pluck things from my arms like daisies from a lawn, but as we put the last of my pencils in my bag, he gently grasps my hand and brings it up to his face, eyes narrowing on the little patches of broken skin from falling on the concrete.
His sharp brown eyes look up to mine and it makes me blink in surprise when he asks “what happened?” I was so accustomed to the quiet and our silent method of communication that it takes me a minute to stop looking at him like I’ve discovered leprechauns are real.
“Oh, I fell I guess” I shrug lightly and gesture to the floor “hard floors”
It’s only a second, and so minuscule I can’t be sure it was there at all but when his mouth turns up just a millimeter I see a whole new side of him
It’s playful and cocky, it’s amused and protective, it’s longing and softness. It was all there before his face turned back to an almost indifferent look.
I bite my lip nervously “its okay” I pull my hand back. Not meaning to but feeling a bit self conscious of his words said just earlier.
You expect to just become the center of everything
You’re not some special snowflake that gets all she wants.
It’s as if he can read the words in my eyes and for a second he looks pained.
Hesitantly, he takes my hand again, I take in a sharp breath when one of his fingers brushes over a tender part of my skin.
“I’m sorry” he mutters. My lips part at his words. He doesn’t seem like he says those words often, and while he looks sorry, it feels like those words were not pertaining to my hand. Like he was apologizing for more than the physical pain I felt.
“I’ll be okay” I answer both scenarios. Of course his words hurt, the first few people to talk to me more than a mumbled sorry in the hall when they bump into me and in just two days it feels like it ended. And most certainly not lightly.
But it’s not going to be the death of me. I will survive and move on. Maybe when I’m older I’ll wonder what ever happened to those boys in highschool. Then I’ll just continue with my life.
I’ll be okay.
“I hope so” he murmurs
He then gently guides me back down the hall where I came from and towards the bathroom.
My eyes widen when he makes no move to stay outside the girls bathroom
I pause and turn to look at him. He eyes me curiously and I fumble for words as I look between the sign of the figure in a dress posted on the bathroom door back to him. Silently worrying about the clear sign that the sign means female, and Alex is most certainly not a female.
His lips turn up once more, revealing that side of him beneath the surface as he just shakes his head and again guides me to the bathroom as he follows behind me.
“Alex.. you can’t just..” I look at him as I just barely scold him for disregarding the rules.
You think you can just waltz into our lives and boss us around
He shakes his head again and shrugs “don’t care. Who’s to say which bathroom I can use?”
He moves to turn on the sink and I giggle nervously. I don’t usually break the rules, and if I do, I don’t want to be caught in the bathroom with a guy by some girl who most likely won’t keep her mouth shut about how ‘some blonde girl was hooking up with Alexander from that group of guys’
My face flushes a little at even the thought of being anything other than being frenemies with Alex
“Probably the girls who are likely to come in to do their makeup between classes” I smile a little at Alex’s unhappy face when I say that
He scrunches up his face as he grasps my wrists and places them under the water, some of the dirt washing away.
It feels nice to have him helping me, it’s unneeded, but it’s still nice, even though a part of me is waiting for him to break my hand
“Makeup is gross” he nods at his declaration as his fingers gently move over my palms, cleaning them.
“I think so too” I agree. I like the nice simple talk we have going on, but there’s a part of me that can’t feel completely content until we can talk about what happened.
That’s what friends do right? Talk?
I clear my throat softly “Alex?”
He doesn’t pause his task but his eyes flicker to me before returning his focused look back to my hands as he makes a noise of acknowledgment.
“Why are you doing this?” I ask nervously “I mean, just a while ago you were yelling at me and if i’m being honest, kind of hurting my feelings” I take my free hand to fiddle my necklace around my neck as I awkwardly laugh at the end, not feeling comfortable with the seriousness this conversation is taking a turn too.
Alex doesn’t say anything for a moment. Just turns off the water and looks to the paper towel dispenser and sighs when he sees it empty. “Because of the five other guys yelling at me for being a dick, I guess I know now I let my self control slip away. And now I suppose I’m doing it again”
My eyebrows furrow, paying no mind that my hands are not only still wet, but resting in Alex’s “I don’t understand”
He purses his lips for a moment before leading me by my hand to exit the bathroom and down the hall back towards the lockers. “As much as I hate admitting it, I guess you scared me”
My head tilts and my I bite my lips as they start to form a smile “you were scared of me?” I ask
He doesn’t look at me, he looks like he’s somewhere in his head, pulling the information from far away “not you, you’re a tiny thing. But more of what you bought”
“Brought?” I ask
“Mhm. you’re all happy and sweet and cute that it just made everyone so happy and mushy and shit. So of course like the asshole I am, my knee jerk reaction is to push you away. And we all know how that went″
Just because you get their smiles and hugs and attention, doesn’t mean you get mine
I nod absentmindedly, remembering his angry eyes pointed at me
“That was my initial self control slipping. I didn’t want to be such a jerk, it was just part of the moment, and that goddamn fear had me spewing shit at you that you didn’t deserve”
He sighs, still looking off, not really anywhere. And while he’s been guiding me this whole time, i’m afraid he may bump into a wall or trip or something. Hesitantly, I place my hand on his back.
I watched his eyes come slightly back into focus before he continues “and then I decided that staying away would be best, I wanted to not want you around. But that’s not true. You’re fucking intriguing and addicting and so damn bright, lts like Im just only able to see. And it was those thoughts that made my control to stay away slip away once again”
A soft breath leaves my lips as my mind tries to comprehend that Alex of all people just called me addicting and bright and not in a bad way.
Alex looks over as a little giddy smile comes to my lips. A tiny smirk appears on his face as he side eyes me. “If you tell anyone I said that, I’ll deny it and call you a liar”