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Yours to Hold
Kyle leaned against the locker, hands in the pockets of his mustard-yellow sweat shirt: loose, too big, and smelling like a combination of Old Spice and his mother’s secondhand smoke after so many days of repeated use. His pants were baggy and didn’t quite fit right, down too low with his boxer, checkered red and blue, pulled up too high in order to compensate.
He glanced at his wristwatch for the third time in as many minutes, starting to worry. 7:40. She was always here around ten minutes before now, not five minutes before the bell. It only further confirmed his suspicions that something was up.
Just as he was about to head over to homeroom, guessing she must be sick, Kyle saw her unmistakable head of golden hair bobbing toward him.
Not toward him, toward her locker. But a boy could dream.
“Hey Serenity. What’s up?” What’s up! he screamed at himself. Seriously? What’s up? That’s the best I can do? He shook his head a little and one strand of a red bang fell into his green eyes, somehow breaking loose from the gel he ran through it every morning. He blew at it impatiently, but it simply fell right back into the position it had taken up.
It made the petit brown-eyed beauty in front of him laugh as she entered her locker combination. In her haste, she entered the number incorrectly and her locker, doing its job of keeping Serenity and her things apart, refused to open.
“Damn it!” she said forcefully, punctuating her sentence by slamming her head into her locker in frustration, not just with it, but with life in general.
“Here,” said Kyle, gently pushing Serenity aside, “let me.”
“Thanks,” she said, hastily shoving her shaking hands in her pocket before anyone could see, especially Kyle. He was sweet and a good friend and he didn’t need to be burdened with her problems.
He entered her combination with the ease of practice; this was not the first time in the past few days where Serenity had shaky hands.
Judging by the bags underneath and the lines running around her eyes, she wasn’t living up to her name. She was all jittery, like she’d had to have one too many cups of coffee to get herself moving this morning.
Kyle handed her the correct books over his shoulder (he had her schedule memorized) while mumbling something that the locker’s empty metal space swallowed.
“What?” asked Serenity, trying very hard not to stare at the exposed boxers or the outline of his shoulders in front of her.
“I said,” he told her, turning so she could see his face, his strong chin and other features now visible, ”you never answered my question. How are you?”
“Fine,” she answered immediately, trying not to think about her father’s new apartment, her grandmother in the hospital, yesterday’s D.
“So, freaked out, insecure, neurotic…” he trailed off. “If you give me a minute, I’m sure I’ll think of something for the E,” he told her, making Serenity smile.
“Maybe,” she confessed, leaning against the locker and letting her eyes rest after yet another sleepless night.
Kyle looked at her, sighing quietly. He was so close, yet so far away. He wanted to hold her, tell her he was there for her. That he was hers. But he couldn’t bring himself to say the words. He might be hers, but she didn’t know it. He could never find the courage to tell her.
So many times he wanted to. So many times he’d tried. Kyle had been hers since the first Biology lab freshman year, back when she didn’t even know his name. He’d been hers at homecoming last year, when she went with Jonathan. He’d always been hers. He was just waiting for the right time to let her know.
Serenity looked into Kyle’s deep green eyes and saw something in there she had seen before. Little flashes of it when she stared at him out of the corner of her eye and was thrilled to see he was staring back. But never like this.
She wanted him to hold her, put his face in her hair and whisper that everything was all right. She needed his familiar scent. She needed him.
So she made the first move.
Serenity threw herself into Kyle’s arms, letting tears run down her cheeks, letting her bag and books fall to the floor with a loud clatter. She grabbed the stupid sweatshirt that she had grown to love and pulled herself as close to him as she could get.
Kyle held her shaking frame, listening as she slowly choked out what had been going on in her life the past few weeks. She rested her head on his shoulder and he ran his hand through her golden curls, knowing she loved the feeling and knowing he loved the feel of it between his fingers.
What little distance there was left between them disappeared when Serenity looked up after thanking Kyle for helping her. His face was so close; she could easily see that another hair had fallen out of order and into his smoldering green eyes. He could feel her breath on his face, her brown eyes wide with hope, bright after crying, tearstains on her cheeks, hair hanging in her face as always.
This time he made the first move, leaning down and slowly pressing his lips to hers.
He pulled away quickly, too quickly for Serenity, knelt down and gathered her bag and books before shutting her locker with his foot.
Kyle started in the direction of her homeroom before turning around and saying, “I’m yours to hold. Always.”