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Her books sat in front of her, like always. She glanced around, trying not to show the nerves tying her stomach in knots. Her hands were clenched in her lap. When he walked in, she finally relaxed.
He walked into the class, light glancing off of his silky dark brown hair. His steps were slow and deliberate, as always.
“Hey,” was all he said as he slid into the desk beside hers. It was all he ever said.
“Hey,” was all that she said back. She always wanted to say more, but never could.
This was just like every other day. Her day wasn’t complete until she saw him in her second-hour class. He was just a bit taller than her, a little short for a high school boy. His name was Brian. That was all she knew, besides what he looked like. She had no idea what he was like. He might be the meanest boy in school, or the nicest. She’d never know. She could never say anything more than “Hey” each morning.
She never learned much in this class. She knew that in twenty years she might not even remember it was Mr. Roberts teaching World Geography. It didn’t matter; she always knew that however much time passed, she would always remember those strong hazel eyes, sleek brown hair, and clear, deep voice that greeted her every morning, without fault, without change.
It was always the same, except for once, about a week ago. She had dropped her pencil. It rolled off her desk, and she never had a chance to grab it. But he had. He had reached out and grabbed it halfway between the desktop and floor.
“Thanks,” she’d said softly, letting him hand it back, she knew she’d turned the deepest shade of crimson humanly possible.
“Not a problem,” he’d replied. She saw him smile as she looked away. It was a very handsome smile.
Throughout the class, she always tried to sneak peeks at him. She never knew how discrete she actually was. She might glance around the room, and look at him longer than anyone else. She might turn to look at the clock on the back wall and let her eyes linger on him for a moment. When Mr. Roberts passed out papers, she watched out of the corners of her eyes. She got good enough grades, considering she never paid attention, but noticed his were always worse than hers. She soaked up every bit of information about him that she could.
This class always went the fastest for her. Maybe it was because she never actually looked at the clock, or because it was the best part of her day, so it only seemed to go so incredibly fast. Maybe she paid so little attention to everything besides him that she didn’t even notice the passage of time. Whatever the reason, she always jumped with surprise when the bell rang. She would gather her books, and then walk out of the room with her head held high. She had seen him, now her day could go on. But she would never know his side of the story.
He walked into Mr. Roberts’s second hour World Geography class …timing each step as always. He always wanted to look extra cool in this class. If any of his friends knew he went through this much trouble for her, he’d never hear the end of it. Forget about them, he decided, this hour is for her, only her.
“Hey,” he smiled at her as he slid into his seat.
“Hey,” was all she said back. Her voice was musical, but he could never make himself say anything more than that same old thing.
She sat in the same seat every day, and so did he. They didn’t have assigned seats in this class, so she must not have minded sitting by him. That was good. It was easier to watch her from a shorter distance. If she sat halfway across the room, he wouldn’t be able to see her big brown eyes, or every curl and wave of her light brown hair.
He sometimes argued with himself whether her hair was a dark blonde or light brown. Maybe she was naturally brown with just enough blonde highlights to keep him guessing, or the other way around. No, that couldn’t be it. She didn’t even know he paid that much attention. He doubted she would ever look twice at him. He was too shy. She might like him if he talked more, but he could never work up the courage.
She was twitchy, but seemed nice. What other girl would actually say hi to him every morning, without fault, without change. It was kind of weird, though. She never seemed able to sit still. He watched her openly, the whole rest of the class probably knew he liked her, but always looked away when she turned towards him. Her moving about so much always made it difficult to watch her. He did realize that she would look at his grades. Her’s were better than his, but he wondered why she checked.
He remembered one time, not long ago, when he had been watching her do an assignment. It was why her grades were so much better than his, she actually did the work. She had set down her pencil for a quick moment to fuss with her hair, when her pencil began to roll and fell off her desk. She hadn’t been paying attention, and never had the chance to grab it. Since he’d been watching, he’d had time to grab it before it hit the floor.
“Thanks,” was all she had said as he dropped it into her hand. Watching her closely, he’d noticed her cheeks turned a pale shade of pink, but why? Her pencil had fallen, but that was all.
“Not a problem,” he’d replied. He tried to smile and be engaging, but she had only turned away.
She always jumped at the end of class, and he always wondered why. Usually, this far in to the school year, most students knew how long each class was, when it began, and when it ended. He always tried not to laugh when she jumped at the bell. He would watch her gather her books, then walk out behind her. But he would never know her side of the story.
Her books sat in front of her, like always. She glanced around, trying not to show the nerves tying her stomach in knots…