Last Bell

May 20, 2013
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The bell rung. Like it did every day. Like it has done for about three thousand years. Like it will for a few more thousand years. The bell rung and I sighed. Like I did every day. Because this would be the last time I saw him. He was leaving, I would never get to spend another English class with him. I would never see him again.
I followed him out the door as usual, biting my lip and walking as quietly as I could. What if he saw me? What if he looked at my red cheeks? What would happen if he actually noticed my existence? I almost fainted at the mere thought. He could not see me, not now. Not in this school. Not in this lifetime. He was him and I was me. We didn’t mix.
As soon as I was out of the English classroom, as soon as I watched him walk away into the distance; to the schools left wing, I could breathe again. For a minute, I wanted to say goodbye. But I choked it down. I could breathe again. That was enough for me. “I will miss you,” I whispered, before wandering down the right wing.
I was putting my textbook away when Casper met me at my locker. I smiled as he walked over.
“You still on for football tonight?” he asked. I nodded.
“You know me. I’m not one to quite,” I joked, punching him in the arm.
“Hey, I temporarily retired from my football career because my mother wanted me to focus on academics,” he tried to defend himself. I just had to look at him, and he caved in.
“Fine. I flunked Bio and they kicked me off the team. What are you going to do about it?” Casper glared at me, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
Bethany came over then, eyeing us suspiciously.
“What are you up to?” she asked.
“Nothing, Beth! How long does it have to take you to realize that I am not leaving you for Katie?” Casper kissed her on the cheek and Beth laughed.
“Yeah, like you could score Katie. It took you three years to score me!”
“Wow. That hurt. But, I will be willing to forgive you. You may kiss me now.”
“P*** off!” she shoved him away, giggling, and Casper wandered off to his locker.
“Have you told him?” she asked me as soon as we were out of ear shot of Casper.
“I can’t. He doesn’t even know I exist. There is no point.”
“The only way you will be able to finally accept your feelings is to tell him. It will go awfully, I know, but you will feel so much better. Trust me. And whatever happens, I still love you,” she smiled, stroking my arm. I gave her a hug.
“You’re the best friend anyone could ask for.”
“So you’re going to tell him?”
“I don’t know.”
“You HAVE to.”
“But how?”
“You’re going to do it today. It’s been two years. You are going to follow him home, and just before he goes up his drive, you will yell his name and just get it out. Get it all out. Don’t hold back. Tell him when you can. When you’re alone. When you have nothing to lose. If you don’t you’ll regret it forever.”
Her words sunk in. She was right, I had to. This was the last chance. He would be gone tomorrow. I would never be able to see him again.
I didn’t even get a chance to thank Beth. Before I knew I was sprinting out the school grounds and finding my way to his house. I knew the way by heart. I knew him by heart.
I raced as fast as I could, trying to catch him. I wouldn’t make it. He would be inside before I arrived at number 43 Brick Lane. It would be too late. Everything was all too late.
I turned the corner, and there he was. There was the boy I had loved for two years. There was the boy I would never see again. There was the boy of my dreams.
“LUKE!” I bellowed at the top of my voice. He stopped in his tracks. My breathing quickened. My heart was beating faster than ever. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead.
He turned around, surprised. Our gaze met. He was looking at me. I was looking at him. For the first time ever, he noticed me.
He smiled. Every muscle in my body twitched. Luke Peterson was smiling at me.
And then he spoke:
“What can I do for you? Jake, isn’t it?” he asked.
I could breathe again. No bell would ring.

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