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That afternoon, he had danced across my mind for the third time, since the first bell had rung less than twenty minutes before. To push him out of my thoughts, as I had failed to do previously, I listened to something else. The sound of markers gliding along the board, one that never seemed to be fully clean, which matched the soft hush of whispers from a few of the students across the room. The occasional screech of a chair across the tile floor, briefly interrupting the flow of the underlying symphony of a classroom, one that I could only hear if I payed a close enough attention to.
The abrupt smack of bubble gum from the mouth of the girl sitting next to me, jolted me farther from my daydreams. The colorlessness of the teacher’s voice drawing me back in, his monotonous tone made it seem as if his words were drawing all the energy out of him with every sentence, taking my patience with them as they drifted in one ear and out the other.
The board, which was several feet in front of me, was covered in words that resembled more gibberish than trigonometry, although I had always assumed they were closely related. I was at a loss of understanding and scanned the rows, of which several desks were slightly askew, for someone who seemed to have been paying attention. I did not note anyone whose head was raised from a phone, they not so discretely hid, or from homework, from a class that was not this one.
I took another deep breath, patiently waiting for the dismissal bell to ring, so I could see him. I could almost feel his sun-kissed brown hair in between my fingertips. His bright blue eyes looking down on me, watching me intently, like he was never going to see me again. His stature towering above me, making me feel safe.
My cellphone vibrated in my pocket, taking me deeper into thoughts of him, Ed, Edric as I liked to call him. I knew it was him. His image consumed my thoughts once again and this time I couldn't hold back my smile as I could feel it crawling onto my face. I covered my mouth with a sleeve of my sweatshirt and pretended like my trig worksheet in front of me was somehow humorous. No one seemed to notice, they rarely ever did.
It seemed like years for the bell to come, as it always would on Friday’s. I picked up my already packed backpack and was the first one to slide out the door. I slipped into the nearest bathroom to check over myself. There were several other girls who had the same agenda as I did. I stared at my reflection for a minute before I attempted to do anything to change it, my straight hair and brown eyes had always made me feel so plain. I looked away before the other girls started to notice.
I brushed my fingers through my ashy brown hair, trying to make it fall perfectly, framing my face. I checked over my makeup, looking for smudges, for imperfections. While I scanned the mirror it seemed although the weather was growing warmer I was getting paler. I checked over my outfit, smoothing out wrinkles and straightening my shirt.
I left the bathroom and joined the steady flow of students as we all rushed through the winding halls, down stairs, and through several doors until we made it out of the building. There was a change in energy once we all reached the fresh air. Words seemed to be spoken easier, laughter seemed to be more genuine, steps seemed to be more relaxed.
I saw him.
He leaned against his white sahara jeep, as he did everyday, he never got in first, he always waited for me. He would wait even if it was pouring rain, or snowing. He never once waited in the jeep. Although, today was a nice day, and it wasn’t any trouble for him, I still couldn’t help but smile. It was nearing the end of the spring months, the start of summer days began to tease us. He wore dark blue jeans and a simple white t-shirt.
I compared myself to him, in my best rendition of natural beauty, rolled up jeans, converse, and an old concert shirt, I would never look as good as he did without trying, even if I spent hours in the bathroom as an attempt to.
“There you are, Morghan. What took you so long?” He asked me with a smirk, when I was close enough to hear him. He wrapped one arm around me, and he pulled me towards him.
“I didn’t take any longer then I usually do.” I said back to him, my voice slightly muffled by being blocked by his body. He was lean, tall, and obviously spent a large sum of his time at a gym, the name of which I now forget.
“Ah, but every second I spend without you is dreadful.” I detected a slight hint of sarcasm behind his voice.
“Don't be disgusting.” I rolled my eyes and tried to ignore my cheeks turning redder by the second. He led me around the jeep to the passenger door and held it open for me, another thing he never failed to do. I slid under his arm and into the car. He eyed me up and down as soon as he got in. His eyes seemed to light up when he looked at me.
“How was your day?” He asked me while he shifted the car into gear. Edric was a year ahead of me, a senior, so we didn’t have any classes together. This predicament had proceeded for my days to be monopolized by thoughts of him. I never did tell him that, at a point I assume, I barely noticed that he was all I had thought about.
“It was fine.”
“Oh come on, you know I need more than that.” His smirk grew into a smile as he eyed me for a more appropriate answer.
“Eyes on the road.” I told him gently pushing his cheek with my hand so that he no longer faced me as we pulled out of the school parking lot. For a minute, I watched as cars pulled out of their predetermined spaces, out of their rows, and out onto the road that every car was supposed to share, but rarely did. As soon as we pulled out of the lot and onto the main street, I heard Edric sigh, a deep, sarcastic sigh and I gave in and recounted my day with him. I told him about every period and something interesting or notable that happened, he could always tell if I was holding something back from him so I had gotten myself in the habit of letting him know everything.
If I was on his end I would be bored to death. Listening to someone tell me everything about everything would drive me crazy. Edric liked to listen, he liked to listen to me. He smiled at me when I had finished. I ended the same way I did everyday, with a simple ‘and now I’m here,’ and his reply, the same way he did everyday, ‘and I’m so happy you are.’
I ran my fingers through my hair and instantly checked my reflection in the side mirror to see what I pushed out of place so I could fix it. Edric started to talk about our plans for the rest of the day. I always left those decisions up to him, he liked it and I never minded. I let him be in control.
He had decided that we should go stop by a coffee shop that was around the corner from Edric’s house and meet up with a few of his friends from school. He said that he would figure something else out after that. He looked at me for a sign of agreement.
“Yeah, that sounds good.” I told him and I smiled, any opportunity that I got to spend time with him, I thought, would always be worth it.
He plugged his phone into the radio and softly turned up the volume. The rest of the way to the coffee shop, he showed me songs from his playlists that he liked, or loved, or reminded him of me. We listened to several of them the whole way through, before we reached the entrance of the coffeehouse. The parking lot was small and cars were sparse, besides a few employees and possibly one other patroner.
Edric opened my car door and took my hand to help me out of the jeep, although his fingers stayed interlocked in mine as we made our way to the entrance. He opened the door for me, with the sound of an angel gaining wings, we entered. I was hit with an instant wave of espresso, the sharp scent filling my lungs. Edric shut the door, closing us in.
It was quiet, besides the slight hum of the flowing electricity, taps of acrylic nails on a hard surface, and the vigorous clicks on a keyboard from the man in the corner who seemed so deep in thought he had appeared to not yet notice that Edric and I had entered.
The walls by the counter were covered with mugs, tumblers, and travel cups. It was small with a few scattered tables to our left and the long counter stretched across a wall of windows that the man was at. The walls were a soft brown with small hints of a light blue that appeared on some of the chairs, the lining of the counter, and parts of the walls. It was calming, despite all the caffeine being pumped into machines, cups, and our bodies.
We stood only a few feet away from the counter where the barista with jet black hair and contrasting red lipstick clicked her nails, and gawked at Edric with a sweet smile. He noticed, and his response was to wrap his arms around my waist. I could’ve disguised my blush as a side effect of the heat, but I didn’t and I leaned back against him. The barista’s smile changed from sweet to polite. “How can I help you?” I caught the twinge of disappointment in her tone.
Edric let go of me and took my hand again. He ordered me an iced black coffee and a regular one for himself, his with room for cream. When we grabbed our coffee’s, he fixed his, and we took our seat.
“Anna and David should be here soon.” He said after a short sip. He sat across from me, he always sat across from me, he said it was because he liked looking at me. That was bullshit, but I didn’t want to press it, it wasn’t important.
A high pitched voice, ringing louder then the bell from the door split the silence. A laugh soon followed, from the same voice, though I never found out what was so entertaining. She entered my line of sight. It was Anna Eady. Anna was the class president and the homecoming queen. She won by a landslide, in both. Everyone knew her, and she seemed to know everyone. All wanting to be friends with her. And why not? She was charming, outgoing, and beautiful. Anna was straight out of a movie, almost as if she was born to play the role of a high school student. She knew every line, every move to make, and every cue to follow.
Anna was blonde, tall, and thin. She had a natural beauty that only she seemed to master, and she had a certain way of drawing people to her with her unique charm. She was a legend. Someone who I would have never thought would even take a second glance in my direction.
Slipping in behind her was her other half, David Esston. They were the epitome of opposites attract. Anna was bright, luminous, she was a social butterfly, who was nearly a household name. David was quiet and brooding. He wasn’t in clubs, he barely went to school, and he had something of a dark cloud over him. Seeing them together though, her taking his hand and she ordered their drinks, they seemed right, as if they were made together.
David looked over to where Edric and I were sitting, he nodded at us, his stare lasting possibly a moment too long. After Anna handed cash to the barista and told her to keep the change she came over to us, David following, and gave Edric a hug as he was still in his chair. She said her formalities, let go, and faced me.
“You must be Morghan!” Her eyes lit up with her smile, “We’ve heard all about you,” She winked over at David, who had slipped into the seat next to Edric. “All good things. You’re even prettier than Ed told us.” I could feel my face turning hot at her comment, people rarely called me pretty like she just did.
“You’re so sweet, thank you.” I managed to say with a light laugh and a smile. Anna’s grin grew to her eyes. The barista called her drinks, saying they were ready. She grabbed them, and thanked the girl. She sat down next to me, across from David, all in one swift movement, and I stiffened. Her presence was so electric that it was nearly tangible.
We drank our coffees and soon after the caffeine started to take effect, the conversation seemed less tense, or awkward, at least to me. Anna and David, Anna mostly, asked me question after question about myself, things i would always forget to prepare for, but after some time we joked and laughed. I even made David crack a smile. By the end of the hour we acted like a small group of close knit friends. I exchanged numbers with the two before the last few sips of my drink. The get together was seeming to be coming to an end. I was almost disappointed.
Edric stood to throw away our cups and we all followed. Anna said goodbye to the barista and we walked out of the shop. Anna hugged me and we said how much we loved meeting each other, to hang out soon, etc. I waved goodbye to David who was a few steps closer to Anna’s car than she was. Edric wrapped his arm around my shoulder as soon as Anna and David turned away from us.
He looked down at me and hadn’t walked toward the car yet. “What?” I asked with a curious smile.
“I just can't wait to spend more time with my girl.” He bent down and kissed my cheek.