The morning after my wild night with Joseph, I woke up feeling happy. I was happy because I pushed myself to do something I never even dreamed of doing. I was also happy to be presenting for Klein. Still, in the back of my mind was the niggling fear of choking on my words, but I tried to block it out and went to get dressed for the day.
Something in me said I should be bold. My eyes landed on a pair of long high waisted black slacks. I matched them with a black silk camisole and red pumps that I normally reserved for Christmastime. After looking in the mirror, I felt ready to take on the day.
“Buenos dias!” I sang, waltzing into the kitchen. “Oh, Pa, I thought you’d be off by now.”
He was by the Keurig, preparing his coffee. “Oh, and here I was thinking you’d be happy to spend some extra time with me.”
He and my mom were talking over a lovely spread of berries, pancakes and turkey bacon that bellowed a wonderful symphony of aromas to my nose.
“Mhm! Of course I want breakfast.”
My dad simply rolled his eyes at me and continued talking. I mean, I did get my appetite from him after all.
“I wanted to share breakfast with my two favorite girls, and Sienna you look
“Thank youuu.” I took a seat at the table and helped myself to the stack of fluffy golden pancakes.
“Are you ready for your presentation today?” my mom asked while sipping her tea.
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Last night’s session really helped get my nerves under control.”
My public speaking nerves that is. I felt less anxious about getting up in front of the class, but this morning’s jitters revolved around something else.
“You’ll do fantastic,” my dad chimed in.
Approximately three pancakes, a handful of blackberries and one glass of orange juice later, it was time to head out.
“Ready?” my mom asked as I wiped my face with a napkin.
“Ready. Bye, Pa.”
I looked over the quad to find Joseph and Alex chatting it up. They always looked so deep in their thoughts. I walked along the stone path to our meeting spot instead of walking through the grass like I usually do. There was no way I was going to risk getting my heels stuck two inches into the dirt.
“Hey!” I cheered, approaching the two. Joseph’s eyes widened, telling me he was definitely a fan of my outfit.
“Sienna, you look —”
“GIRL!!! you look so good! Who are you trying to impress?” Alex shouted, cutting Joseph off.
“No one, you goof.”
“You should dress up more often,” he said, sending me a warm smile.
I shook my head, smiling shyly back at him. “Nah, that’d lessen the effect I have on people when I do dress up and where’s the fun in that?”
“Are you ready for English?” he asked.
“Definitely,” I replied, giving him a thumbs up. “Oh, and Alex, I missed you this morning. Mom made pancakes.”
“Sorry I didn’t give you a heads up. I was with this one bright and early to help him out with some stuff,” she said, patting Joseph’s shoulder.
“Yeah, sorry I stole your breakfast companion. This should hopefully be the only time I need her,” Joseph said.
“What was it you needed help with?” I asked.
His hand slowly moved to the back of his neck. “Oh- uh... It was a bit of a personal er-project.”
“You don’t have to get into detail about anything.”
I didn’t ask any more questions, especially because of the last time I got curious. After all, he had known Alex for over a decade and I’m sure they’d gone through many things together. Of course he’d need her now and then. I respected him and his privacy.
The three of us chatted until the bell rang. In class, Joseph took his seat in the back and I sat in my usual spot in the front row.
“Good morning everybody!” Mr. Klein greeted the class. “Today we’ll begin presentations for your papers and I can only hope that the majority of you have done what was asked of you.”
He paced down the front row of desks, to the back of the class and back to the front. “Everyone will have 6 minutes to talk, and since you are one of my larger classes, I’ll give you today’s class period and Friday to wrap this up. Without further ado, let’s begin.”
The class groaned in unison. Sounds a teacher loves to hear. “We’ll be doing this in order of submission, so up first is... Miss Sienna Martinez!”
I took a deep breath and started on my way to the front of the class with a couple of flashcards in-hand.
“Fire when ready,” Klein said.
I shuffled through the six cards making sure I had all of my main points before I started. “Books have always intrigued me... I uh...books —”
Oh no, I was choking. I quickly scanned the classroom for a familiar face when I finally landed on Joseph, his eyes already on me. He mouthed the words “Talk to me,” giving me an encouraging smile. Momentarily shutting my eyes, I rolled my shoulders and let the tension fall away. Everything will be fine.
“Books have always intrigued me... To me, one of the greatest adventures is being able to dive into the story of someone else’s life and the best part of that is never knowing what to expect...”