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Chairs and Love
'I really don't know what to do. I like him, but I don't want to. I don't want to like him, I don't I don't I don't I don't. I refuse to like him.
But what has he done to make me hate him? Nothing. I guess that's why I don't hate him. I don't like him either. He's got nothing in common with me. He's in with the popular kids and I don't want to be. I don't believe in the high school class system. I feel like the luckiest kid in school when I'm with my friends.
He annoys the hell out of me. So full of himself. All he does is play for the glory of it. Why do I like soccer players so much? It's not like I've ever had a good relationship with one. I guess I just pick the wrong ones.
I hate the fact that I like him. It's terrible. All I ever do is argue with him. It's not like we're friends at all.
UGH!!!!!!!!!! Why do I like him so much?!'
Irina finished writing in her journal and put it down on the bottom shelf of her locker. She clicked her lock into place and went to the table she and her friends usually ate at. She noticed that Peter was at one of the desks near the table, all alone. He was never alone.
Irina sat down and waited for her friends to file in. No one came. She checked her phone and realized that John and May were on a field trip and that Kary and Charlie were both sick. George was playing hooky again and Hannah was eating with her other friends. Irina was all alone.
She noticed Peter staring at her. She looked right back and raised and eyebrow at him. He went back to looking at his phone.
The room was almost completely empty. There were some kids on their laptops gaming in the corner, but Irina saw an opportunity.
She went all the way to the other end of the room and made a line of chairs that led from the far end of the room to her table. She walked back to the start of the line and jumped on top of the chair. She walked slowly and regally all the way to the table. She jumped up and landed soundlessly on the table.
The gamers in the corner have her a standing ovation. She bowed and turned to Peter expecting something.
"What was the point of that?" he asked.
"It has always been a dream of mine to walk along a line of chairs all the way to the table. I can do it today because it's work at home day and my friends aren't here to badger me about breaking my neck," she explained, leaping onto his desk.
"Why are you in here? Don't you usually eat with everyone else in the caf?" she asked. He looked up at her.
"I was just bored," he lied.
"So you've been bored for the last two weeks?" she said, putting her hands on her hips.
"No, I-" she cut him off.
"You've been eating at that desk staring at my friends and I for the past two weeks; why?" she said.
He swallowed hard. She really freaked him out. He couldn't keep his cool around her. She just messed him up and made him lose focus when he played in gym class. He wasn't even going to think about the time-
"I'm not going to apologize for 'kicking you' in gym class. It happens when you play soccer, suck it up," she said. Irina sat down on the desk next to the one he sat at. She wondered why he didn't just leave.
"I'm not asking you to apologize, especially because I didn't even feel it," he said. She knew he was lying because his shorts exposed the purple and black bruise she'd left near his ankle.
"Well good. I was almost worried about it," she said. She had worried about it. She had thought about it a lot.
"I need to go get my lunch," he said, trying to find a way to escape her searching eyes. She laughed.
"Okay Peter, sure you do," she said, jumping from the desk back to her table. She finally sat down in a chair at the table and started to eat.
Peter got up and went to the caf.
He bought a sandwich, some Fresca and a cookie. He saw Annie waving at him from across the room but he ignored her. Every single one of his friends was obsessed with shipping the two of them and she was all too happy to oblige. He wasn't.
He walked back into the workroom that he had been questioned in only minutes before. This time, he snuck up behind Irina. He broke his cookie in half and sat down across from her. She was startled out of her book-induced stupor. She raised an eyebrow at him again. He copied her and slid half of the cookie across the table. She eyed it suspiciously.
"What did you do to it?" she asked. He smiled. Her heart twisted, but she shoved the feeling away.
"I didn't do anything to it. It's just a bit of cookie. No nuts either, I know you're allergic," he said. She picked up the cookie. She didn't recall ever saying anything about her allergies when he was around. She took a reluctant bite of the cookie.
"See? It's good!" said Peter, taking a bite out of his own half of the pastry. She nodded, but continued looking at him suspiciously.
"Come on, it's just a cookie," said Peter.
"Why are you being so nice?" asked Irina.
"When am I not nice?" he asked. She shook her head and laughed a little.
"When you're obsessing over how great you are," she said. That stung Peter a little, but he was unfazed.
"I am a showoff. I admit it. In class I show off for my friends, but that isn't who I am. I know you don't buy any of that cheap s*** and here the only person to show off for is you. Satisfied?" he finished. She cocked her head to the side and against her will believed him.
"And how does one show off for me?" asked Irina. Peter laughed.
"I can show off who I really am; I don't need to hide or be fake. I can show off by being myself," he said.
"What brought this on, Peter? The only thing I've said to you all year is 'shut up.' I mean really, why the sudden change of heart?" she asked.
Peter swallowed. Was he making the right decision? It certainly felt like the right decision.
"You did. I really like you and I want to spend more time with you. You want to go to Starbucks after school?" he asked nervously. Before Irina could doubt herself she blurted out-
"Sure, sounds like fun."
Peter settled a little bit. The lunch bell rang.
"See you later," he said. She smiled at him.
"Uh, Peter?" she said, calling after him. He turned around and made eye contact with her.
"Could you help me put theses hairs back?" she asked. He laughed and started pulling the chairs back to the desks.