The rain pounded down angrily onto the rooftop. I stared wistfully at the building across the walkway, internally deliberating whether or not getting to class on time was worth getting absolutely saturated. With a sigh, I decided that staying dry wasn't worth getting a detention, and Mr. Smith had been dishing them out like soup at a homeless shelter. Besides, it would definitely be worth it if he was there. I shook my head. How pathetic. I was so obsessed. I pulled my hood up over my head, and with a scowl on my face, I sprinted out from under the shelter, narrowly avoided a deep and dangerous looking puddle, and made my way up the gushing steps to my last class.
I removed my rain jacket and shook the droplets from my hair as I stepped into the warm classroom, just as the second bell rang. Mr. Smith tutted and raised his eyebrows at me. Embarrassed, I made my way through the maze of desks, school bags and unenthusiastic classmates. I plunked down on my usual seat at the back...next to him. I was surprised he was at school. He had been absent for nearly two weeks. My heart started to race. I shook myself. Our longest conversation consisted of the words, “Hey, do you have a spare pencil?” “N-no...s-sorry…”
The one stuttering was me.
Jared had changed a lot over the last few weeks—physically, I meant. Gradually, he had grown bigger and bigger, taller and taller, until he was absolutely huge. Then had come his long absence; the entire time I had craved to see him. When he returned, he seemed different. If I believed the class gossip—which I tried not to, by the way, for the sake of my pitiful obsession—he had been off school with a bad case of mono.
Jared turned and looked at me. There was this weird look in his eye. His expression went from confused, to surprised, to...dreamy. His dark eyes held mine. I blushed and stared at my desk, burning a hole into the plastic. I took a deep breath and cleared my head. No. He's never noticed you before now. He's probably looking at the person beside you. I turned to my left—a wall. Okay...maybe not. I told myself that there had to be some explanation for why he was staring at me as though he were in love with me.
I glanced back over at him. He was still staring with that lovely look in his eye. Mr. Smith continued droning on. I tried to focus on my work, but how could I when I could feel the eyes of the guy I'd had a crush on all year on my back? I sighed, and scrawled down the notes on the whiteboard. The bell rang, shocking me out of my reverie. I scrambled to collect my books, and stood up hastily.
“Don't forget to hand in your essays on Monday!” bellowed the teacher, over the sudden chatter.
“Hey, Kim, I'll see you tomorrow, 'kay?” yelled Anna, my best friend. I spun around to answer her...and dropped my schoolbag on the ground, which landed with a heavy thunk, spilling its entire contents on the floor. I groaned loudly, bending down. A dark hand suddenly whipped in front of my eyes, scooping everything up.
“Thanks,” I said to the floating hand.
“No problem.” It was Jared. I looked into his eyes, and saw that dreamy glint. I could see I was right. He was looking at me with stars in his eyes. I wondered what had changed with him. What had suddenly made him notice me?
“Er...Kim...” he began. I raised my eyebrows expectantly, trying not to get my hopes up. “I was wondering if you, you know, wanted to hang out sometime? Maybe I could walk you home?”
I realized the rain had finally stopped. An uncontrollable smile slid onto my face. “Uh, sure Jared.” He smiled back and began to walk.
Neither of us actually said anything for a while. He continued to watch me. I was thrilled that he was finally showing an interest. Finally, I was the one who broke the silence.
“Where were you last week?” I blurted out, regretting it almost instantly—I'm sure it showed on my face. He smiled.
“Family stuff... It’s a long story.”
Hmm. That didn’t answer much. At least it wasn't mono. Or maybe it was, and he didn't want to tell me? Ugh. What am I talking about? For all I knew, he just wanted to copy my notes. But that didn't seem realistic.
Before I knew it, we had reached my driveway. It wasn't much of a walk, anyway; La Push doesn't have many streets. He gazed down at me from his massive height.
“Kim, do you mind if I walk you home tomorrow?” he asked in a rush. The way he said my name was weird. Like it gave him pleasure, just to say it, that three-letter-word.
I nodded my head, smiling like an idiot. He grinned back at me. There was that look again.
“I'll see you tomorrow,” he said, turning.
I nodded again, lost for words.
He glanced back at me, with an expression of almost pain on his face. The vanity in me liked to think it was because he was leaving me. Pfft. But at last, my crush had finally noticed me.