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I Can But I Won't, I Can't But I Will.1

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He was just so beautiful. His big hand ruffled his bronze hair, leaving a cute mess. He was perfect. He was a new guy; I had never seen him before. His amber eyes reflected fluoresces, making the twinkle visible from 10 feet away. His lips curved up, and his dimples came out as he laughed along with his new friends. His deep red Hollister shirt stood out, fitting his muscular body. My eyes eagerly took his images in, locking them into my memory, unwilling to release them anytime soon.

“Earth to Jane, earth to Jane.” Justin called. He added in a whisper, “Who are you staring at today?” He was joking, of course. His eyes skimmed through the cafeteria, searching to find the gold. I smiled, knowing he would never be able to find my crush out of the 300 other juniors. I glanced at our bracelets. Our aunt gave them to us when we were born. Justin was two minutes older than me, he always took that advantage. We were twins, and we had the same birthday. Does two minutes really count? That was the question of my life.

We looked nothing alike, and we only had one thing in common, physically. We had blonde, curly hair. Mine was longer, of course. My eyes were blue, and his were green. He had mom’s eyes, and I had dad’s. I was an inch taller than him, but I lied about it and said we were the same height. I didn’t want to embarrass my brother.

Our bracelets were nothing close to identical, either. Mine was smaller and it looked fragile. It had a charm with a J on it, hearts dangling from the silver chain. Justin’s was bigger, and it had a tiny piece of silver that said J on it. You could barely tell they were a set. He didn’t seem to be bothered by it, and I wasn’t either. We were best friends.

The bell rang, and we ran off to our classes. I smiled to myself, and put my bottle of water in my Coach purse Justin gave me two months ago, on our 17th birthday.

I was feeling abnormally tired. Before I realized it, the bell rang again and I was officially late, so I ran as fast as my athletic legs could take me. I was head in the track team, and nobody could outrun me. It felt good to be running fast. I was about to make my last turn when a huge figure ran into me, and I hit something hard. I smacked my head on the carpet floor, and I saw complete blackness. Then I heard silence. I regained my conciseness a while later and I woke up in the nurse’s office.

“Hello, Miss Doyle. How are you feeling?” The school nurse asked me. I felt weird. Someone was holding ice on the back of my neck and head. It was too cold to be comforting.

“What happened? How did I get here? How long have I been out? I remember running in to someone and then I saw blackness. I don’t remember anything. Why am I here?” I managed to get out.

“You ran in to Russell Timberland. He carried you here. I am so glad you’re okay. You’ve been out for about 20 minutes. It looks like you hit him pretty hard.” She chuckled, and pointed her head towards a guy with a bloody nose.

He had carried me? Huh. I would have noticed being lifted off the ground. I turned my neck, and saw a big guy. A stunning smile and striking gold eyes, drop dead gorgeous. It took me a moment to realize that it was the guy I had spotted at lunch.

“Oh my gosh! I am so sorry! I was running so fast and I wasn’t paying attention to anything. I don’t know how I hurt you but I’m sorry. Oh I’m so sorry.”

He smiled weakly. “I didn’t know such a small girl could make me bleed. But right now, I’m more worried about you. I freaked when you passed out in front of me. Are you sure you’re okay? You run really fast. I didn’t see you coming. You run track, don’t you?”

He didn’t sound mad. I was so relieved.

“Yeah, I run. I’m the fastest. I think I’m okay. Don’t worry about me. Is your nose broken?” I was about to point out that I wasn’t short or small, but I saw his bold shoulders and his long legs, and I realized I was a lot smaller than him, so I closed my mouth.

Before we said anything, Justin rushed in.

“Are you okay, Jane? I’m going to drive you home before my next class. Is this the guy who ran into you?” He said, eyeing Russell.

“Thanks, Justin. Yeah. I mean, no. This is Russell Timberland. I ran into him. I made him bleed. ”

“Oh. Sorry, Russell. I’m Justin. It looks like you’re okay, so if you excuse us…”

“No problem. I’m glad we both turned out okay. Bye Jane, bye Justin. Nice meeting you guys.” The smile had disappeared from his face and mine too. I didn’t want to leave. I was eager to ask Russell more questions, but I didn’t want make Justin late for his next class, so I got up-a little too quickly. I felt gravity beating me, and I flew backwards in the cot.

“Whoa.” Two guys rushed to catch me. Justin looked at me with worried eyes. Our bracelets clinked, and I mumbled. “I’ll spend the rest of the day here. Pick me up after your classes. I’ll wait here.” My eyes were still closed, afraid to see the world spin again.

“I think that’s a good idea, Ms. Doyle. Have you eaten anything recently? I’m starting to think that you might have low blood sugar.”

“I drank diet coke.” I said, remembering that I had never gotten to eat my sandwich.

“In that case, you should eat something that contains sugar.” Mrs. Johnson went to buy me a candy bar. I grimaced at the thought of eating chocolate. I had been avoiding eating chocolate to keep me in shape for track season. I sighed, and got out my ham and cheese sandwich. Justin had gone to his next class. For some reason, Russell was still here. I would have thought that he was gone by now, off to his next class. Guys don’t usually spend a lot of time in the nurse’s office. I rarely do either, but today was an exception. I wasn’t ready to go back yet. I didn’t want to hit my head again. I took my eyes off my sandwich, and looked at him. He was silent, and his face looked a little pale. He looked less appealing.

“Are you okay? You look sick, Russell.” I said, still lying down. I thought about all the ways I could say to make him interested in me. His eyes lighted as soon as my voice reached his ears, and his smile returned. It brought heat of my pulse back. I felt my cheeks growing pink as he answered,

“Yeah, I think I’m okay. I’m just shocked. I’ll wait with you until Justin comes back, if you don’t mind. ”

I got a chance to stare into his eyes, and get a really good view of him. He was a total hunk. His eyes were talkative. I’ve never seen anything so perfect. I’ve never been a big fan of cute guys, but this guy, he was so beautiful. He sat there, looking tired. And he was still insanely gorgeous. He tried to keep the conversation going, though.

“So, you’re name is Jane Doyle?”

“It’s pretty simple, huh. I’m Jane Alison Doyle. My favorite color is purple, and I never faint. I run for the track team, and I’ve been living here in Henderson for my whole life.” My heart was beating in my throat, burning my cheeks. I guess my sandwich and bottle of mineral water had fixed my blood sugar problem.

He grinned a much stronger smile than before, and said, “I’m Russell Taylor Timberland. I play football, and I never get knocked out-especially by girls. I moved here two weeks ago and today is my first day of school here.”

“What I exactly do to you? I mean, besides running into you at full speed. ” I asked, still not being able to understand how I had hurt this big guy.

“Well, I was trying to figure out where my next class was. I was looking down, searching for the classroom on my schedule. I was running; well, jogging compared to your speed, but I turned the corner and you crash against me with incredible force. And your head hits my nose. Didn’t you feel anything? Don’t you have a bruise or anything? I didn’t know my face was so soft. At least your face stayed beautiful. ” He smiled jokingly, and I knew he wasn’t angry.

I felt around my head, and found a sore spot on the top of my head. I winced, got up, and grabbed the bag of half melted ice that was still on the table between us.

He let out a laugh. “I told you.”

I ignored that, and asked a different question. “How did you carry me here, while you were suffering from the pain?” I asked, trying to beat him.

“Easy. You were as light as a feather, and you weren’t moving. It was like carrying a football around. Of course, you’re a lot prettier than a football. ” He answered, defeating me again. I was much heavier than a feather, and I was taller than football, but I couldn’t say anything more. His blue eyes were something I could never beat.

Mrs. Johnson came back proudly holding a snickers bar. She threw it to me and I caught it swiftly. I stared at the nutrition label, let out a sigh, and set it on the table. She looked at me, and said “Eat it. You’ll feel better, trust me.” I sighed again, and broke it in half. I took the smaller half.

“I don’t like chocolate. Here Russell, take the rest.” I glanced at him, and traced my eyes over his muscles. After a little studying, I found that his left shoulder was slightly bulging out more than his right shoulder. I threw the other half of my snickers bar towards his left side. He showed us an expert catch with his left, his eyes still on me. He was a leftie. My eyes never miss anything. I smiled full of a secret triumph. He took it eagerly, and popped it into his mouth.

“Call me Russ. Everybody does.” He said, with his mouth full and gooey. He seemed to be comfortable with me. He still looked as crisp as he did before, before we had crashed. He looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. I nodded to myself, I promised myself I wouldn’t make him mine today. I wanted to see him when I wasn’t passing out.

“Okay” I answered as I chewed slowly, gripping my water. I finished my half quickly, and plopped back on my bed, and fell back on my bed, which was more like a cot. I heard two people jump up on their feet, so I said, “That was on purpose, so everybody step back. I didn’t faint.” My eyes were closed, my lips curving up. I feel asleep instantly. The bell rang and woke me up. Seconds later, Justin was here again. He grabbed my purse, and motioned for me to get up. Russ whispered into Justin’s ear, then they punched their knuckles together lightly, and I followed Justin to his car. My teeth chattered, our bracelets jingled in the snow. The last sound was the sound that brought me home.

I got home and took a hot shower, softly singing “Today was a Fairytale” to myself. I dried my hair, and looked into my reflection. I look really tired. My golden locks had lost their shine, and hanged over my shoulders. My blue eyes were dull, and my nails were unpolished. I sighed. I put on my sweats on and lied down on my bed. I put my music on, listened to Taylor Swift. My phone buzzed. Who was it? I thought. I read my new text, and I blinked. Confusion made creases in my forehead.

I went to school tomorrow, like nothing had happened the day before. Some of my friends welcomed me back, and a few guys asked me if I was fine. I smiled, and assured them I was okay. I promised my track team I would be at practice later that day.

At lunch, I was waiting in front of the small tree behind the school garden. It was somewhere nobody went to this season. It was ugly and it was cold outside. I told Justin that I would go home for lunch. This conversation should be worth it. I never lie to him. Russ trotted over, looking as cool as ever. The popular squad, who had been following him around looked at me in disgusted faces, biting their bottom lips. Russ never looked at them. He stared at the air around me. I felt good.

“Hey, Jane. Thanks for coming. I see you’re better. You’re face has more color. I love your Jimmy Choo’s.” I was killing my feet in my heels. I was totally not running today. It surprised me to know that he knew my shoes. He looked better himself, but I was just so happy he noticed the difference in the me I was yesterday and the me I was today.

Of course I looked better, I thought. How early did he think I had to wake up to make my face and settle my hair, not to mention the time I spent the day before to pick out my clothes when I knew I had to meet him secretly.
“What is it that you wanted to ask me? I don’t lie to Justin.” I was holding back my feelings. I didn’t want him to think I was an immature little girl.

“Um…well, are you and Justin...you know, a thing? I mean, are you two dating?” He asked nervously, twisting his fingers.

I was surprised, and I answered quickly, “No. No. No, actually we’re twins.” I was trying not to laugh. Is that we look like? I didn’t mean to be that close to Justin. I would have to tell him about this conversation later.

“Oh. That’s good. So, he’s single, right? Really good. Thanks Jane.” Then he just walked off.

Weird, I said under my breath. He must be asking for one of his girl friends. He must have tons of them.

He turned around, his heartthrob smile stopping my breath altogether. “Oh, and don’t tell Justin I asked.” I noticed that there was no sparkle in his eyes.

“Okay, don’t worry” Darn, I thought. It was going to be hard to hide this. But if he was asking, I would listen. I was the girl who kept her promises. We went back to the cafeteria, taking different routes. I sat down next to Justin, like always. I remembered to keep a distance between us. I glanced over at Russ. He was staring at our table. I was daydreaming while we talked about the next school dance.

“Why is Russell staring at you?” Justin asked me, a few minutes later. He punched my side, his eyes glowing. His other hand was wrapped around his girlfriend Holly. I blushed, and smiled shyly, giving myself away. Could he be looking at me? I looked back at Russ, but his eyes weren’t looking into mine. He was staying at the person next to me. I turned to see the object he was staring out. I turned my head, my eyes tracing his gaze. My eyes landed on the face I had been looking into my whole life. Justin. He was staring at my brother, and he was smiling. Alone, all by himself. Oh. My. God. My smile disappeared completely.

I had never experienced this kind of thing, but I was pretty sure my strange feeling was right. I had to find out if this was true. I had already figured out that he was a leftie just by looking at him. Could I figure out more than that, in just two days? Was I about to break my own heart? This was the first time I hated being intelligent. Justin was as smart as me. I was always tutoring him. He wouldn’t need to know about this. I had to do this alone. Of course he was hot; of course he knew what kind of clothes to wear. Of course he knew what smells would be tempting. Of course he knew the perfect words. All a little too much, and I bet I was the only girl who could tell. I bet I was the first girl who ever found out, before falling in him.

As soon as lunch was over, I marched over to next class. I wanted to be there early. I knew Russ was in my class. I watched as he sat down slowly next to me. I didn’t see the kind smile in his face. I noticed other things. Things I didn’t want to notice. He complimented my dyed hair color, asked me how long it took for me to get my curls even. He noticed that my perfume was Premier Jour by Nina Ricci. I sighed...I need to talk to him. Privately. I looked at him, straight in the eyes. He saw the sincere look in my eyes. His pupils grew larger, and he inched back. He knew I knew. My lips were a tight line. I couldn’t believe this. I gathered myself together and opened my mouth, starting to speak the forbidden words. The bell rang on me. I closed my eyes, not believing my luck. I kept them closed, waiting for him to leave. He got my telepathy, and left before I opened them again.

I drove home alone. I had left my car in the parking lot yesterday. I felt like crying. No music today. I needed to think. I felt so stupid. I felt like a little girl. It was a hard time for me. I couldn’t talk to my best friend. I decided to put Russ out of my life. Later that day, after I got out of the shower I got a new test from him. It said: I’m sorry you found out the way you did.



to be continued




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