Listening to Cartwright and Greyson talk about writing and the creation of art and stories was something I could do all day. I hadn’t officially declared a major yet, but if I kept leaving this class so inspired I might have to seriously consider majoring in English.
I had just finished putting my things away when Wyatt cleared his throat. “So would you want to go to that coffee shop again? We could make it our regular after class date spot.” Even though he laughed, I heard the sincerity laced within the humor of his tone. I did want to get coffee with him, but I was going to have to shut down the whole date thing.
Following him out of the aisle, I did my best to let him down nicely. “Umm, not today. I loved the coffee shop we went to last time, so maybe next Monday. I just have a busy schedule today.” I saw the disappointment that flashed in his eyes before he quickly replaced it.
“No problem. I’ll hold you to Monday though. If we are going to be friends, you do actually have to spend time with me outside of class you know.” His teasing brought a smile to my face. It felt good to have a friend after so many years of having no one. The guys were different. They were a part of me. Wyatt made me normal. So refreshingly normal. “I’m serious Emmy. If you think I’m not dragging you to all my favorite places in the city you’ve got another thing coming”. I started to laugh again before the sight of his fist came into view.
My whole body jerked back before I could stop it and a light sweat broke out on my forehead. In my haste to back away, I had accidentally run into a girl trying to leave the classroom. She gave me an annoyed look before hurrying to move past me.
Looking past her, I saw Greyson was quickly walking towards us. I tried to subtly shake my head no. Willing him to stay put. When I looked back to Wyatt I could see I had freaked him out.
“Are you okay? I’m sorry if I offended you or something.” He left his statement hanging; clearly confused about what just happened.
“I – I uh thought I saw a spider on your shoulder.” I tried to laugh it off but it sounded forced as I was also trying to calm down my breathing. “Really you have nothing to be sorry about, I just um hate spiders. It was an overreaction.” Even though it was the last thing I wanted to do, I smiled. I had enough practice putting on a bright and pretty face in horrible circumstances. This was nothing.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. My older sister hates spiders too. She usually screams bloody murder so your reaction isn’t even the most severe I’ve seen.” I could tell he was trying to make me feel better, and that alone made me glad I had met him.
We were outside now and the light breeze of the September air made my lungs finally feel like they could expand again. “I’ll catch you later. You have my number so use it!” That last part was yelled over his shoulder as we parted ways. Laughing softly, I made my way to a nearby bench so I could fully catch my breath.
I closed my eyes and let the sounds of the city and the campus surround me. Anchoring me to bench and away from my memories. Before I could open my eyes, I heard someone clear their throat before sitting down next to me.
I knew it was Grey.
“What was that back there?” His voice was dripping with concern that made me want to run and hide. It made me feel exposed.
“It was nothing. I just got startled. I think Wyatt was going to give me a playful punch to the arm because we had been joking around. It was harmless.” Saying that out loud helped the rest of my mind and body finally calm down. When I turned to face Greyson, I could see the questions swirling around in his eyes. “Just please wait until tonight. If I have to bear my soul and rip myself apart, I’d rather do it only once.”
He gave me a small nod before reaching over brush his thumb against my cheek.
The gentleness of his hands took my breath away.
“Okay. I’ll wait until tonight. Are you going to be okay until then?“, he asked.
“I’ll be fine. That stuff happens every once in a while. It’s no big deal Grey, honestly.” I did my best to reassure him but I could tell he wasn’t quite satisfied. I suppose if I had seen him look as scared as I probably had back in class, I’d be feeling the same things he was.
“I have to get going, my next class starts in about 15 minutes.” His voice was soft and he looked at me like he didn’t want to leave me. I wonder if he could tell that I feel the exact same way.
I stood up with him and put my backpack on. I still had a little time before my Italian class, but I wanted to take my time getting there anyway and just enjoy the walk. “Well get going then! You are many things Greyson Trent, and punctual happens to be one of them.” Giving him a quick kiss on the cheek and a wave, I turned and walked towards my next class. “I’ll see you tonight!”
The thought of spending time with them all brought a smile to my face that I felt all the way in my toes. Tonight was going to be hard. I knew they had questions, and I couldn’t keep lying to them.
They deserved more than that.
Aidan, Colt, Grey, and Luka were everything to me. I would tell them the truth tonight and I would not hide behind my familiar lies and evasion.
I just hoped that I wasn’t putting them in danger at the same time.