I kissed Taylor goodbye before agreeing to talk to her tomorrow. I waited for the elevator door to close with her in it before heading back towards the kitchen. I stopped just outside when I heard Lark speak up.
“I think I should be getting home too actually. I still have some reading I need to get done before my creative writing class tomorrow and I don’t have any of my stuff for that class with me.” Her voice was soft and I found myself leaning back against the wall, just enjoying the sound of it.
“What? I thought you were going to stay for a while still? Besides, I am the TA for that class I can just tell you the points we are going to cover from the reading.” Greyson tried to reason with her, and Lark’s laughter filled the room.
“As much as I’d love to risk my academic integrity, on only the second day of classes I might add, I’m going to have to pass on your offer. Besides I’m tired. I had a long day and all I want to do is sleep and dream about that sandwich shop Aidan took me to today. Best turkey sub of my life.” Lark’s tone was playful and I could hear her gathering her stuff that had been scattered about the kitchen island.
I was surprised that she had gone to lunch with Aidan. I was even more surprised to hear that he took her to Joe’s. That was a place he only shared with us, but I suppose Lark was always included in the term us.
I decided I should probably rejoin the others instead of lurking in the hallway like a creep. When I walked in, I got head nods of greeting from everyone.
Everyone, except Lark. She was incredibly focused on the zipper of her backpack.
“So, what did I miss?” I leaned against the island directly across from Lark.
Finally, she looked at me.
She didn’t say anything and just let the guys tell me about their days and what they had been up to. I heard bits and pieces, but I can’t say I was listening. Not when Lark was looking at me like she was trying to decide something important. I could see she was biting her cheek on the inside of her mouth.
Her eyes closed for a beat longer than a blink. When she opened them back up, she looked over to Luka and answered a question that I hadn’t heard.
“Umm, sure. Hurry up and grab your camera and we’ll get going.” She lifted herself out of the seat she had been occupying and went to go grab her coat that was resting on the back of the couch in the living room. I used her brief absence to get caught back up.
“Where are they going?“, I asked trying not to sound too desperate to know the answer. “They are just going back to her place. Lark wants to head back and work on school shit, and Luka asked if he could come with since he hasn’t shot at night in a while. We all know it’s just an excuse to spend more time with her though”, Aidan chuckled.
Before I could respond, Luka came back running into the kitchen. His camera bag resting on his shoulders, with his Nikon, strapped around his neck.
“Okay, I hurried. Let’s go!“, Luka’s excitement was clear and I didn’t miss the way Lark’s eyes lit up as she looked at him. Oddly enough I wasn’t jealous.
I just wish she looked at me like that.
She quickly gave all the guys hugs and little goodbyes before making her way over to me. She stretched up on her toes to wrap her arms around my neck, but she pulled away before I could really hold her.
I watched as she and Luka disappeared into the hallway, chatting about what Luka was hoping to see and how much homework Lark had to get done. I hadn’t realized I had been holding my breath until I heard the elevator close and my shoulders sagged.
“She heard me f*cking Taylor.” It wasn’t a question, but I still looked over to Grey and Aidan. “Oh yeah. She heard. She tried to get us to leave when we all realized it wasn’t going to let up anytime soon. Luka convinced her to stay by giving her his noise-canceling headphones. As weird as it was, it felt really good to have her here just hanging out.” Greyson’s words carried over to me and settled in my brain.
I brought my hands back to my face and rubbed at my eyes.
I hadn’t done anything wrong. Taylor was my girlfriend.
Why did it feel like I just failed some test though?
“Did any of you notice how she wouldn’t even look at me? God, I felt like I had just killed her puppy or something.“, I tried to make a joke out of the situation but the other two could tell I wasn’t in a joking mood.
“It probably just surprised her is all. The last time she really knew us, girls weren’t something that was on our radar. She was the only girl that any of us spent a lot of time with. Plus, Taylor was really loud. I even felt slightly uncomfortable and I’ve heard you having sex many times.” Greyson tried to put me at ease, but it didn’t work.
I never wanted to make Lark uncomfortable and that’s exactly what I had done.
It felt like I had just gotten her back, and now I was pushing her away without even realizing it. She’s Lark though. Our Lark. We were always meant to be in each other’s orbit and I had to trust that she’d give me a chance to show her that.