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I Swear I'm not a Stalker...

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The boy beside me finished whatever he was sketching and threw his pencil down with a flourish. “Done!” He breathed, and the hardcore studiers around me rolled their eyes and muttered things under their breath. This boy was the obnoxious artist of the silent reading room.

He leaned back, stretching his hands behind his head and peering at me over the wood of the divider between us. I pretended not to notice. He quickly ducked back toward his desk and out of my field of vision, a light blush spreading over his face. I stifled my laughter, thankful for the divider.

I loved the library, but he was one of the main reasons I spent so much time here. I’d head here after school and make a bee line for the silent reading room. If he was there I’d sit and study for awhile, listening to him over the divider. If he wasn’t there I’d walk to the art stacks and pretend to look at books as I watched his eyes shift excitedly over the pages of a book of paintings. I’d continue to watch him as he carted a stack of books to a table to sketch.

For the record, I’m not a stalker. I don’t mean any harm in watching him…he’s just interesting. I’m drawn to him naturally. I honestly don’t do this sort of thing. I get embarrassed whenever I find myself scanning a room for him. I wonder if he notices me…if he ever thinks about the girl who is constantly his shadow.
****

She was standing in the Renaissance art section, a book poised just under her nose. I pretended to ignore her, glancing up every so often to note the details of her face. I was drawing her, and though I turned bright red every time I looked up, I was happy to be doing so. I hoped she didn’t notice…if she noticed she’d think I was some creep. I’m not a stalker, she’s just pretty and seems kind and…I need someone to draw alright?!

Whenever I’m in the silent reading room I always go out of my way to draw attention to myself, and though I’ve had to be reminded of the definition of silent many times, it’s worth it. I’ll do anything to make her see me just a bit, even if it’s just as a nuisance.

I’m an artist; at least I try to be. I’m in love with art, the careful paint stokes you can see if you look very closely at a painting, carefully observing your model until their image is burned into your mind. I love it when people look at my work, even if they hate it. That breathless feeling when they peer at your sketch, the near heart attack when they hold it up to the light to get a better view.

I wondered whether she liked the Renaissance or was just bored. From her tastes I had observed before, I guessed the latter. It was rare to see her with anything other than a mystery. I think she noticed my observation once. I dropped my sketchbook, revealing my sketches with notes about her written on every picture. She bent to help me, but avoided my eyes. I hurried out of the library after that, cursing my carelessness. But as always, I couldn’t help but return.
****
It was raining when I pulled my bike into the rack. I didn’t bother bringing an umbrella, and I had a job interview at Barns and Noble later. “Oh s***!” I ran into the library and bumped into the guy who was trying to get in at the same time I was. I muttered apologies, and hurried on my way.
Inside I headed to the bathroom to dry my sopping blouse. I pulled it off, mentally thanking myself for wearing an undershirt. I blotted it with paper towels and held it under the hand dryer.
“Um…excuse me; the hand dryer in the men’s restroom is out of order and…”
I stared. It was him, shirtless, and holding a soaked sweatshirt and tee. I flushed and looked away.
“It’s fine.” I stuttered.
“Sorry.” He replied, pulling on his wet sweatshirt and drying the tee in the hot air.
“We meet again.” He said after a long moment of silence.
I looked at him, puzzled.
“You ran into me as you were trying to escape the rain.”
“Oh, right! I’m sorry about that.” I said, stumbling over my words.
“It’s cool. I was kind of happy that you…” He stopped, turning bright red.
That I what?
“I’m Brigit.” I said, sticking out a soggy hand. “Peter,” he replied, taking my palm in his.
“You’re an artist?” I asked softly.
“Yeah,” he said simply. I was glad he didn’t question where I got that knowledge.
“You’re an Agatha Christie fan?” I nodded.
“Are you?”
“No…but I guess I’d like to be. You like Poirot right?” I laughed at his atrocious pronunciation, but suppressed my urge to correct him.
“Yeah, I could show you some books?”
He glanced down at his watch. “Oh crap I’m late. Thanks, maybe another time?” I nodded and he shoved the still damp tee shirt into his backpack and ducked out of the room with a wave.
I never did end up showing him any books. But I had a name now.
****
It was the worst and best day of my life. I had just come from my art class. I’d gotten an F on my art history paper and my precious A was in danger. I’d only failed because I got so absorbed in the history that I’d gone off topic, exceeded the maximum page length, and turned my paper in a day late because I need an extra day to add finishing touches. The other students gaped at me when they saw the ugly red mark atop my paper. Peter the perfect child had failed for once.
I was steaming as I walked into the silent reading room. Brigit looked up and smiled, then turned away, noticing my scowl. I sat down, slightly guilty. I pulled out my sketch book, and tore out some old, useless sketches and balled them up to vent my anger. When I had a sizable pile, I took up one of the paper balls and batted it with my hands. I threw it up and down, and to my surprise it flew over the divider to Brigit’s desk. Oh no. There was a 99% chance that I’d just thrown Brigit an obsessive sketch of herself.
****
I was doing my Algebra II homework. It was difficult. Math is my least favorite subject in general, but this was especially hard. I was considering giving up and letting my brain resume its normal functions while reading a chapter of my book. He almost had the culprit, and I was eager to find out if my guess was correct…as my guesses usually were. The equations before me were swimming about the page and I was contemplating the possibility of writing coded messages with numbers; messages that could be decoded by solving equations. A piece of paper interrupted my thoughts. It crashed into the jumbled numbers on my answer sheet.
I blinked. Was Peter trying to tell me something? I grabbed the paper and was smoothing it out when I heard a clatter of key chains on desk and saw Peter fleeing the room. Rather noisily as customary. I looked down at the paper and flushed. It was me; there was no doubt about it. Underneath the sketch of me leaning in the art aisle were the words: I learned her name today…Brigit. In and excited scrawl; he really had been watching.
****
This was terrible…absolutely awful. I hid in the manga section, trying to calm my nerves. I kept my face in a book, my tears staining the heavily inked pages. It was humiliating. I’d never be able to talk to her again.
I was about to leave when I saw her. She’d been standing in the aisle, a concerned look on her face.
“Are you okay Peter?” She said my name so gently I had to look up.
“I’m sorry…I’m not a stalker I swear.”
“It’s okay.” She replied immediately.
“What?”
“Well if we’re being completely honest here I guess you could say I was stalking you.”
“Huh?” She was blushing, and I gaped at her.
“Don’t act so surprised. Why else did you think I spent so much time in the art section?”
“Did you know I was…?”
“I guess on some level. But I thought it was too good to be true.”
“I should have just gathered the courage to talk to you. I’m an idiot…”
“No you’re just shy. I am too. Don’t worry about it.”
“I…do you…?”
“I would love to get coffee with you sometime.” She finished for me. “And for the record I think your art is brilliant. It looks exactly like me, if I don’t say so myself.”
I grabbed her hand. “Come on, we’ve got a lot of getting to know each other to do.”
“Are you sure? I think I already know you pretty well.”



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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

Pink_Bubble said...
today at 1:29 pm:
LOVE IT!!!
 
manga_maniac replied...
today at 7:26 pm :
Thanks. :)
 
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In_Love_with_WritingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 18 at 9:37 am:
It wasn't bad, it was nice. You did well. I actually wrote something similar to this concept and was surprised when I say the title suggested something similar to mine. Maybe you can check it out. It's called Marry Me After My Restraining Order. Can you comment and rate it along with my other pieces? It would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much! :)
 
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aladine_98This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 17 at 8:56 pm:
When I realized they both thought they were stalkers I laughed. :) This was cute, funny, and also well put together. Having both sides of the story made it that much more enjoyable and intriguing. Characters were well developed, plotline was funny and sweet, and the dialogue was good too. I loved it. :)
 
manga_maniac replied...
Jan. 19 at 5:12 pm :
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
 
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