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Just Like Kindergarten
“Can’t we just talk?”
“We don’t have anything to talk about, Ryan.” I kept walking, not trusting myself to look him in the eye.
“Please, Kelsey. Just wait! Give me a chance.”
I rounded on him. “I did. And you didn’t want anything to do with me. I’m done with your stupid game.”
His brown eyes bore into mine, pleading with me to give him a second chance. “I made a mistake, Kelsey. A really stupid one. And I hurt you. I know that now. And I wanna make this right. Please.”
I held his eyes. “No.” Turning away from him, I walked as quickly as I could around the corner, keeping myself calm until I was away from him. I couldn’t let him see me upset. He had to think I was strong. When I got to the door, I headed straight for the empty field behind the school and sat down beneath a tree. The sobs hit me like a ton of bricks. My whole body shook as I tried to control my breath. Turning away from him was the hardest thing I’d ever done.
“Kelsey…?” Oh God, that voice. That ever-so-familiar voice. Why did HE always show up at times like these?
Taking a deep breath, I looked up and saw HIM with Ashlee. HE was looking at me with concern and she was looking at me with pity. Pity. I hate that word.
“Are you ok? What happened?” HE asked me softly.
Glancing at Ashlee, I choked out, “I’m fine.”
HE released Ashlee’s hand. “Give us a minute?”
“Sure. I’ve got to head home anyway. Call me later.”
They hugged (which didn’t help at all) and then she left me alone with the first boy who ever broke my heart. HE sat down next to me on the ground.
I shook my head.
“Hey,” HE said softly, “talk to me, peanut.”
“Peanut…” I repeated. “You haven’t called me that in forever.”
HE smiled. “I know. Now talk to me. Tell me what’s going on.”
I shook my head again.
“Kels, come on. You need to. It’ll make you feel better.”
I intertwined my fingers with the grass.
“You need to open up. It’s not good to keep it bottled up.”
“I said no,” I said forcefully.
HE sighed deeply. “Ryan. It was Ryan.”
I bit my lip hard and felt tears spilling over again. I was so embarrassed. I was heart broken. I was regretful. I was confused. I was miserable.
“Hey…” HE put his arm around my shoulders. “You can cry. It’s ok.”
Closing my eyes, I let the tears spill over. I let my emotions take over my head and I just sat there, reveling in all the s*** of high school.
HE kept his arm around me, his fingers absent-mindedly drawing patterns on my skin. Tell him how you feel, my mind told me.
No! Are you insane? He has a girlfriend!, the other part of my brain screamed in reply.
So? I bet he feels the same way!
I bet he doesn’t.
“How you doin’ now?” HE asked quietly.
I sucked in a ragged breath. “Better. How come you can always do that to me?”
HE grinned. “It’s a gift.”
I nodded. “It sure is.”
We sat in silence, neither of us knowing what to say.
“Can I ask you something?” HE asked suddenly.
“How can you tell if someone likes you?”
I’m wondering the same thing, I thought, slightly surprised at this question. “Um, I don’t really think there’s a specific way to know. You just have a gut feeling, you know?”
HE frowned. “I’ve learned not to trust your gut. It only leads to pain.”
“No. It leads to the right thing.”
His eyes clouded over slightly. “Remember when we got married in kindergarten?”
I giggled softly. “How could I ever forget?”
HE stared down at the grass as HE spoke. “Well, that day… I went with my gut… I mean obviously didn’t exactly know what I was doing… But I was just looking at you and I thought to myself, ‘I want to marry her.’”
I smiled. “See? Listening to your gut got you a wife.”
HE grinned, his smoky blue eyes coming back into focus. “Man, kindergarten was so easy. You didn’t have to wonder what everyone else thought. You just did what you wanted and just… had fun.”
“I know. It WAS easy.”
Everything happened so fast after that. HE looked at me. I mean he really looked at me. His eyes roamed over my face. And then his lips were on mine. My heart was racing. Or maybe it stopped. I don’t really remember. I only remember the feel of his lips, his hands.
“I love you,” HE whispered. “Just like kindergarten.”
I smiled. “Just like kindergarten.”