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Lily Heavens sat at her desk, staring into space. Ah, school tomorrow. She thought to herself. Another lonely day at school for me.
The next day, Lily walked into the crowded halls of Basalt High School and noticed Chase Neal in the corner of the hall playing with different colored balls. I wonder what those balls are called. She thought to herself. And he's always by himself. Doesn't he have any friends?
At lunhtime that day, Lily went into a teacher’s classroom to warm up her lunch, and saw Chase talking to another person in the room. She overheard something he said, and she couldn't help herself when she laughed at what he was talking about. “That's pretty funny,” she said, going over to the snake tank.
“Yeah well, that was a pretty stupid thing to do,”he replied.
“I'm Lily by the way,” she introduced herself, extending her hand.
“Chase,” he replied, shaking her hand.
The microwave beeped, telling them Chase's food was cooked. He grabbed his French Fries and walked out of the room. Well, that was nice. Lily thought. Definitely brightened my day.
Over the next few weeks, Lily and Chase saw each other every day in the same teacher’s room at lunch. First, it was only for about five minutes while Chase's food cooked. Then they wouldn't see each other till the next day. After a while, Chase stayed until Lily's food had cooked as well, then they went their separate ways. Soon Lily found where Chase ate lunch in the cafeteria, and waited in the hallway till he came out, and they chatted till the end of lunch. After about a month or so, Chase surprised Lily when she found him sitting in the hallway. She started to sit down, and said, “Hey. How are you?” But he had his I pod on and turned up the music, ignoring her question. Umm, okay. She thought. I don’t understand. Maybe he’s just having a bad day.
She got up and went to go sit in the bustling cafeteria. But Lily soon realized that Chase wasn’t just in a bad mood that day. She continued to go to the science teacher’s classroom and every time Chase saw her, he grabbed his food and abruptly walked away. She tried to ask him why he was acting so strange, but he avoided her everytimee she tried to ask him.
He hadn’t spoken to her in two weeks, and when she came out of the teacher’s classroom after heating up her lunch, she noticed he was talking to a prettier girl, and her heart sank as she watched the girl flirt with him, and finally understood. Well, I guess he’s not into me that way. She thought.
But Lily had no one else to hang out with, so she was lonely without him. She was depressed and angry. Though the only habit she couldn’t break was going to the same science teacher’s room to warm up her lunch. It had been about a month since she and Chase had spoken and she was opening her cup of soup. She was so angry that the soup spilt a bit. “Darn it,” she muttered. She reached for her extra napkin but before she could wipe up her mess, a hand reached over hers and wiped the mess for her. She looked up and saw Chase smiling down at her.
“Chase,” she stuttered. “I…I thought you were mad at me.”
“I was,” he admitted. “You were getting a little clingy but I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m not very good at explaining what’s on my mind.”
“I didn’t know, I’m sorry,” Lily apologized. “If you ever need time with other friends, tell me. But why were you flirting with that other girl?”
“That was nothing,” Chase said. “Was she flirting with me?”
“Yes,” Lily said bluntly. “You couldn’t tell?”
“No,” Chase admitted.
They sat down in the hallway, and began eating.
She'd enjoyed his company and found eating with him very pleasant. “Hey, what's your number?” she asked, taking out her phone.
“Here, let me add my number,” Chase replied, taking her phone. He gave her his phone and they swapped numbers.
Later that day, Lily decided to text Chase.
Lily: Where are you?
Chase: At the bus stop.
Lily: Oh! I didn't see you walk down.
Chase: I got a ride down.
Lily: Where do you live?
Chase: In Carbondale.
So he lives in Carbondale and takes the public bus to and from school. Lily thought. Wow.
Lily: Do you always take the public bus home?
Chase: When my mom can't come pick me up.
Lily: I always see you playing with different colored balls. What are those called?
Chase: They are contact juggling balls.
Contact juggling balls. Lily thought. Well, they are very cool.
Now Lily had a new friend she could talk to at school and in her free time.
Right around Christmas break, people began to notice that Lily and Chase were hanging out a lot. From walking in the halls together to Lily just standing with him while he played with his contact juggling balls, people were noticing.
In Spanish class Friday afternoon before the break, two girls, Anna and Sarah who were working with Lily, asked her about Chase.
“So Lily,” Anna said. “We've seen you hanging out with Chase.”
“Yeah,” Lily replied. “He's a nice guy.”
“Do you like him?” Sarah asked.
“As a friend,”Lily answered. “Why?”
“Because it looks like he likes you,”Anna told her.
That comment bugged Lily for the rest of the day. He hadn't shown any signs of being into her, so what did those girls think of saying that they thought he was into her? She constantly thought about it, and finally got the nerve to ask Chase when he texted her Saturday night.
Chase: FWD: Ask me anything and I will give you an honest answer. Whatever the question is, I will be totally honest with you.
Lily: You want me to ask you a question?
Chase: Only if you want to.
Lily: Okay. Do you really like me?
Chase: What do you mean by really?
Lily: Do you like me more than a friend?
Oh my gosh. Lily thought. I expected him to say no. But he said yes?
Lily: How long have you felt this way?
Chase: About a week or two.
Lily: Why didn't you tell me? People are already asking me if I like you more than a friend. When they asked you earlier this week you said no. Why did you lie?
Chase: I didn't think it mattered and you never asked.
After the break, they came back to school and all Lily had been able to think about during the break was Chase's confession that he likes her more than a friend. When people asked them if they were dating, they both still said no. But Lily wanted to erupt and tell everyone that Chase liked her more than a friend.
Later that week, Lily texted Chase.
Lily: What are you doing this weekend?
Chase: I don't know. Why?
Lily: I was wondering if you'd like to meet up in Carbondale and just walk around town on Sunday afternoon.
Lily: Is that a yes?
Sunday afternoon came around and Lily decided to meet Chase at the Dentist Office in downtown Carbondale. When they met up, they chatted easily as they strolled through town, by the Roaring Fork High School through the field and passed the City Market, down to a little trail off the highway that Chase knew well. By the time they had walked fairly far on the trail, Lily's Mom called her.
“Hi Mom,”she said,
“Hi honey. Where are you?” her mom asked.
“Just on a little trail off the highway,”Lily replied.
“Where can I meet you?”her Mom asked.
“How about Sopris Park?” Lily responded.
“Okay. See you there in about 15 minutes,”her Mom told her.
“Bye,”Lily said, hanging up.
“We need to go to Sopris Park,” she told Chase.
“Okay. I'll lead the way,” Chase replied.
They got to Sopris Park in plenty of time. While standing by the bathrooms, waiting for Lily's Mom and talking softly, Chase slipped his arms around Lily's waist and Lily looked up at him, surprised.
When her Mom drove by, Chase released her from his arms. “Bye Chase,”she whispered shyly.
Immediately after she got into her Mom's car, she sent Chase a text.
Lily: Why did you put your arms around me when we were waiting for my mom?
Chase: I was cold.
Lily: Is that so? There's no other reason?
No reason huh? Lily thought to herself. Oh I'm sure he has a reason.
Going to school the next day, people still saw them in the hallway and asked Lily if they were dating. Fed up with all the questions, Lily was really feeling the pressure. Without thinking, she shouted at them, “No we aren’t! Stop asking the same ridiculous question because I don’t even like him that way!!!!”
At that moment, Chase walked by and he had heard everything she had said. When she looked at him, he looked hurt and puzzled. “Really?” he asked. “You don’t like me? I thought you did but I guess I misjudged you. Thanks for the heads up though. You really cleared things up for us.” Then he walked off
“Chase…,” she called after him. But he never looked back.
She looked at the group that had gathered around her.
“You people are all sick,” she said disgust. “Thanks a lot.”
Lily had opened her mouth when she shouldn’t have. She’d lost Chase again, but this time, it hurt her more, knowing that he liked her and she liked him. She tried to text him, apologizing, but he wouldn’t respond.
Chase wasn’t feeling any better. He received Lily’s texts, but he was so hurt, he deleted them as soon as he got them. He saw her in the hallway all the time, and it was painful, as he kept hearing her outburst replay in his head, reminding him to move on. But he couldn’t. He’d developed a special feeling for Lily that he couldn’t let go of. He knew she didn’t mean to explode the way she did, he understood that she was feeling pressured, he was too.
“Dude, you don’t seem so great,” his friend Danny observed.
“I’m not man,” Chase responded. “I’ve lost this girl who I’ve really fallen for.”
“Oh. That girl you’ve been hanging out with a lot?” Danny asked.
“Lily is her name,” Chase told him. “But yes.”
“Then don’t let her go,” Danny told him. “I’m sure you both are looking for an apology from each other. So do just that. Don’t ruin this chance that doesn’t come around very often. Love is a very special thing. True love can be very hard to find. Hold onto it when you find it.”
“Thanks man,” Chase said. “I feel so much better now. Thanks for the advice. It really helped.”
“I’m just here to help,” Danny responded.
A week after Lily’s outburst, Lily received a text from Chase.
Chase: Hey. Can you meet me on the lawn after school?
Lily: OMG I haven’t gotten a text from you in a week!!! I’m sooo sorry!!!!!!!
Chase: I know. Let’s talk more after school. I’ve gotta head to class.
Right at 3:15, Lily was waiting for Chase. When she spotted him coming towards her, her heart skipped a beat. Oh my gosh, he’s so cute. She thought.
When he stopped in front of her, they both said, “I’m sorry.”
“I shouldn’t have exploded like that,” Lily apologized. “The pressure has been really getting to me lately. Why do we keep saying no? I just want to admit we are dating.”
“Yeah, but we aren't dating are we?”Chase responded.
“No, we aren't,” Lily answered him.
“I like you for who you are,” Chase admitted. “Don’t let everyone’s comments get you. If they are really bothering you, just tell me. Let’s not have another miscommunication, okay?”
“Okay,” Lily whispered, smiling up at him.
The next Sunday, they agreed to go on another walk in Carbondale. It was cold and crisp in the late afternoon and Lily had something on her mind, wanting to share her thoughts with Chase. She was waiting by the Dentist's Office again and when she looked to her right, she saw Chase coming with another friend in tow.
“Chase, why is Danny with you?” she asked him.
“He came over last minute, I didn't know,” Chase replied.
“Well, you could have warned me,” Lily told him.
They started on their walk, the three of them and soon they came across the Roaring Fork High School and Danny started mocking the elk.
“Why don't you go over there and mock them?” Chase suggested.
“Okay!” Danny exclaimed, and ran over.
Lily and Chase started laughing at him, and then Chase turned to her, locking his brown eyes on her face. “So what was it that you wanted to talk to me about?” he asked.
Lily turned to see that Danny was on the far end of the field and turned back to Chase."I'm sick of this,” she admitted. “You like me, and I sort of am beginning to like you. I can't take this! Everyone wants us to date, can't you tell? It's not fair that every one's bugging us the way they are. I wish they'd just stop. I'm feeling very pressured right now.”
She was standing there, as tears began to slide down her cheeks and Chase reached out and took her in his arms. “Don't be bothered by them. Remember what I told you earlier this week,” he told her gently. “They just like to see you react, that's like their cup of tea. But I don't like to see you get wasted on their pleasure.”He pulled back and wiped her face with his hand. Then he reached for her hand and they slowly began to walk. By the end of the walk, Danny left and Chase and Lily were waiting for her Mom to pick her up. When Chase wrapped his arms around her, Lily knew she had never felt safer with anyone in her life.
About a month later, Valentines Day approached. Chase asked Lily to meet him outside the school when she finished class. When she came outside, she noticed Chase had a card and a bouquet of red roses in his hand. He handed her the card first. In swirl script, the card read:
Happy Valentines Day! I hope you have a joyous day. I also want to ask you something. Will you be my girlfriend? I love you.
Lily looked up at Chase and he was beaming.“So?” he asked.
“You love me?”she asked.
“More than anything in the world,” he responded.
“Its not just because the students here at school want us to date, is it?" she asked him honestly.
“Regardless of whether or not the students here got the pleasure from asking us if we were dating or not, I still feel the same way,” Chase responded. “So...you haven't answered my question. Will you be my girlfriend?”
“Yes,” Lily answered.
He gave her the bouquet of flowers and pulled her towards him. He leaned in and kissed her passionately. Lily pulled back afterwards and smiled up at him, knowing she finally had someone she could trust.
The next morning, they walked into school hand in hand. Sarah came up to them and asked, “So are you two officially dating?”
Chase and Lily looked at each other happily and smiled.
“Yes we are,”they said in unison.