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Making the Change
Author's note: I’ve always liked to write and I really started to write in 7th grade but most of the pieces I wrote then were very juvenile. This is the first piece I’ve wrote that actually seemed like something I would want to read if someone else wrote it. Now I know you don’t give up, you keep trying because in anything you write, even if you think it’s the worst novel, poem, or book ever written, there is something worth saving.
“You’re a” I didn’t hear the next word. Everything was muffled and my ears rang. After a minute I realized he was waiting for a response.
“I’m a what?” something told me I didn’t want to know the answer. Was the ringing my self-defense?
“You’re a” the word muffled again, but now his hesitation made sense, how did I get to this point?! Everything has happened so fast. . .
6 months ago September 8th – Back to boarding school.
“Bye mom, love you”, I whispered as she drove off, leaving me to face boarding school, courtesy of the dad I’ve never met.
Within the first few hours I’d met my roommate, which was my old friend Jessie that I met last year, heard rumors about a new guy, and was putting my clothes away while talking to Jessie.
“We have dinner in 20 minutes, do you want help?” she offered, looking at my half packed suitcase.
“No I’m good, but could you find the new shirts?” she left the room mumbling something about stupid uniforms. You see the shirts are our uniform. They have the school insignia on them and we must be wearing them at all times during class hours, and to all meals.
I let out a big breath. If going to this stupid boarding school annoyed me, knowing my dad paid for it, and for some reason cared about my grades, drove me insane! If he wasn’t such a coward he would come meet me. Mom said he goes between the U.S. and England, so he must be a busy guy, but too busy to visit the daughter he’s quite literally paying for? As I get older, every summer is spent waiting, each year gaining stress. Right then, Jess walked in.
“Here you go, come on were going to be late!”
I threw on the shirt, brushed my hair and looked in the mirror. My mothers auburn hair, her fair skin, but emerald eyes and tall lean build just like the sperm donor himself. They formed me.
Jess and I ran to the café. We went through the buffet line and picked the only edible food out that day, spaghetti and salad. But when we turned round I could see exactly why there were rumors about the new boy already. He was good looking like all the other guys that went here, but he was sitting at our table. Jessie didn’t seem to mind, she headed to the normal spot so I followed but of course she left me the seat next to him. Wonderful, see Jessie has a boyfriend and she’s determined I need one too. The scary part was when he looked up at me, I felt like I already knew him.
“Sorry am I in your spot?” he asked me with a slight English accent. He stood up, offering me his seat.
“Oh, no it’s fine; you can sit here… if you want.” I felt myself blush as I said this but he sat back down and I sat down next to him.
“Hey so, this is Thomas Xavier, Thomas this is Lizzy Conroy.”
“It’s nice to meet you Elizabeth” Thomas said. We locked eyes and I fumbled with a response.
“It’s nice to meet you too.” I finally managed “and Jessie you know I don’t like being called Lizzy.”
Jessie just smiled and laughed. “What else am I supposed to call you?” the question was obviously rhetorical, but Tom answered anyways.
“You could call her Ellie.” Jess and her boyfriend, Charlie, looked at him. I blushed.
“Ellie. How about it?” Jess asked
“Yeah, Ellie is fine. That is my family’s nickname.”
Everyone went quiet, I felt Thomas looking at me. He smiled and raised an eyebrow while getting up, asking me to come along. Jessie saw and nodded. I followed him out.
“So Ellie, funny you came up with that name.” I said to him as we left the doors swinging behind us.
“Mmm well I think it fits you. You’re quite striking you know?” he smiled obviously trying to divert me, again this only made him seem more familiar to me. It worked though.
"You think I'm striking?" I asked. He smiled.
"Striking as beautiful and I take rather intelligent?" He was flirting with me, obviously.
"You know I recognize you from somewhere. It's just so strange, you seem so familiar." His face clouded over at the comment but it was gone so quickly some wouldn't be sure they saw it, but I was… I think...
"Well I do know a few Conroy’s, what is your fathers’ name?" he asked. Okay the 'flash' had to mean something or maybe not. I could just be imagining things like usual. So I decided to answer his question.
"It is possible I know him" Tom responded with a smile.
"Yeah so what brought you here?" I asked lamely, not knowing quite what to say.
"Well some family affairs. Moved here for a year or two my Dad said. What brought you here?"
"Ha that's a bit harder to explain." he waited.
"Oh, uh, well my Dad doesn't live with me anymore and I guess he had always felt kind of guilty so he pays for my education. The catch being he chooses the school. So here I am." I said summing up my explanation pretty lamely realizing we both had some daddy issues.
“When is the last time you saw him?” Tom asked quietly; that made me stop.
“I … I can’t remember” I finally stuttered out.
We had stopped walking and I realized we were very close to each other, and then suddenly Thomas reached out and took my hand. I couldn’t do this. Not only because I had just met him, but because this girl had trust issues.
“Tom, I can’t. It’s not funny, I mean we just met, and yeah for some reason you feel familiar and stuff but-” He cut me off.
“I did not realize holding some ones hand was a crime in America. Please, enlighten me on what it means?” he asked me with this wry half smile on his face. I just wanted to slap him for it but I knew his intentions were different than other guys so I restrained myself.
“You know what it means. A couple. And being the first time we’ve met, it is not right and -” Once again I was cut off.
“Then would you like to go out this weekend to better our knowledge of each other. We could even make it one of those annoying double dates you Americans seem to enjoy so much.” He smiled confidently, joking I presumed but after a moment I detected an air of seriousness.
“Just let me know when” I whispered, surprising myself.
He smiled radiantly and led me back to the café. Charlie and Jessie seemed to detect something and I saw her raise an eyebrow. I just shrugged. What had I gotten myself into?!
“He asked you out? What did you say? I knew something had changed when you guys came back in! You like him, don’t you?” Jessie rambled on and on but when she paused to take a breath I took the advantage.
“Yes” her eyebrows shot up. Woops yes to which?
“I mean no I don’t know if I like him, yes he asked me out and I said yes… sort of.”
That was good enough for her. She launched back into her ramble. Finally she tired and we went to bed.
So much for trying to forget about Tom because he sat with us again, but what he said was even worse.
“Morning luv, morning Jessie. I was wondering if you would like to come on a double date with Ellie and I this Saturday?” He seemed at ease thinking nothing of his words. I blushed beat red the minute “luv” came out of his mouth.
Jessica cast me a sidelong glance and then exclaimed “of course” just like I knew she would.
I groaned. Tom seemed amused by me. When he sat next to me he made no secret of taking my hand. In fact he did so right on top of the table where everyone could see. I tried to pull away but he didn’t budge. He just raised an eyebrow in response, probably recalling our conversation from last night.
That morning I found out that tom had the exact same schedule as I did, down to a T. He sometimes held my hand or just walked close to me. I liked him, I had to admit there was just some natural chemistry, an understanding, of each other. Now we were in English class, the period before study hall then lunch.
Mr. Cartier entered the class room throwing books down the isles as he walked by. Tom had insisted on sitting in the front row and when we received the books the groaning had already begun. It was Shakespeare monologues.
So we were doing poetry? That seemed alright. It was better than grammar for the twelfth time in twelve years.
“who- without looking- can give me a book written by the great William Shakespeare ?” Mr. C asked.
Many girls raised their hands but only a few boys. One of course being Tomas.
“ Macbeth, sir” Tom answered as Mr.C went around to all the hands. One of the plays most frequently mentioned was Romeo and Juliet.
“Ah, and do you know any lines from it Mr. …?
“Mr. Xavier, not at the moment. I read it years ago.”
“Well at least you knew more then Romeo, something to add Mrs. Conroy?”
Crap. He saw that. I had just rolled my eyes at tom, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. Tom was smirking, fully aware of what I had been doing.
“Uh, no sir.” I said, giving Tom a disdainful look.
“Very well.” he said before he turned his attention back to the rest of the class and continued.
“We will be reading a book of his by choice, and choosing a short passage to recite. You may pair up if you desire but I must approve it. Now let us refresh ourselves in the way of poetry.”
The class droned on and on when finally five minutes before the bell we got to choose our books. Tom and I both picked Romeo and Juliet. Strange now no one else did. But from the sound of it most of them had already read some variation of it.
Ring!!! The bell sounded and out of the room, heading to study hall.
“We should recite an excerpt together.” Tom said suddenly.
“Why don’t we make it past a first date before we become Romeo and Juliet?” I snapped at him, but he just seemed amused.
“Fine, what’s say we go out tonight then?” he asked teasing again.
“Convinced it’s that easy to get with me? Not quite.” I said peeved. This was gona be a long day.
“No,” he said looking confused. “I just want to get to know you, alone, on our first date.”
“Well you are the one who wanted the double date!” I said raising my voice. Some people passing by looked at us.
He smiled, “So tonight at 7 then?” he was so annoying with his bemused look all the time but I couldn’t deny the attraction I felt.
“Whatever.” I said rolling my eyes as his arm fell over my shoulders.
“S***!” I muttered burning myself on my curling iron. You know what, forget it, I’ll just shower and throw some mousse in it. See? This is what happens when I’m forced to go on a date! I fall apart! There was a knock on the door but it was only Jess. “Be right there!” Okay, fine forget the shower. I wet my hair in the sink, threw in some gel and let Jess in. “Well someone is getting worked up” she said entering the bathroom which had exploded with hairspray and make up. “Shut it if you know what’s good for you.” I warned, but she just chuckled. “Who’s the hot date, Tom?” “Be quiet.” but I was laughing with her now. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. I turned and opened the door. “Hello” Tom said standing outside the door. “Crap, is it 7 already? I’m sorry I’ll just be a minute. In that time Jess slipped out of the room. I ran to my bed to grab my purse and I slipped on my ballet flats. I continued looking around for a moment, making sure I had everything. “Did you lose something?” Tom asked now standing beside me. “Oh, no…. I think I’m good.” “Okay lets get going, we have reservations.” So I let him take my hand and lead me away from the troubles that always seem to be dwelling around me, for the first time of many.
“Thank you again for dinner. I had a really nice time.” I heard a girl say to her date as they passed us, still waiting for the table that was supposed to be reserved.
I felt Tom give my hand a squeeze and then let go. With the release I felt an unexpected wall of loneliness hit.
“I’ll be back in but a moment love, don’t fret.” he whispered as his mouth slowly left my ear. He had practically read my mind, but before I could comment he had walked up to the front desk, asking to be seated where his reservation specified. It looked like the girl was giving him trouble for a moment but then I saw her say “oh of course! Right this way.” and Tom smiled, motioning for me to follow.
Tom had us seated in a deserted area, which I fond strange because the restaurant had a 20 minute wait.
“I picked here so we could talk freely. You know, no worries if there’s someone from school here who decides to be nosy.” He said.
I nodded acting like I understood why it really mattered, but it was considerate of him I guess. All I really knew was that suddenly I felt very safe with him, and with out… well not quite as safe- though I don’t know why I would be in any danger in the first place. His face had clouded up as I thought this but just as I was about to ask what was wrong, he spoke.
“Have you ever been here before?”
“Oh, no. The only places I have been around here are the movies and a couple stores. You have?”
“A few times actually. One of my fathers favorite places in the area.” he said sounding passive, like he would rather leave his personal life alone. Well I wasn’t volunteering any information, so he could move off of that.
He raised his eyebrows, and again it seemed like he could read my mind. Thankfully the waiter showed up just then.
“How are we doing tonight? My name is Matt and I’ll be servicing you tonight. Can I start you off with something to drink?”
You know what, I take it back; I would have rather sounded like a psycho asking Tom if he knew what I was thinking because this waiter was about my age and the way he said ’servicing’ instead of serving made him sound like the king of a porn movie. Such a turn off.
“Oh, sorry. I’ll have -”
“He is gone, I ordered you Chicken Franciase and a sprite. I hope that’s all right?’
Exactly what I had been thinking about getting, but a coke instead of sprite. Before I could say anything though, Tom spoke.
“He seemed to have quite the eye for you.”
The comment made me shiver. “Not my type.” I said.
Tom laughed and then asked flirtatiously ’well who is your type then?’
I blused. “I don’t know; just trust me, he’s not.” I looked down while I spoke and after a moment he spoke softly.
“Let me know when you figure out who is you type.”
I looked up to see his eyes locked on me and his brown eyes looked so warm that they could have been caramel. They made me feel safe and warm.
“Come on Ellie, you two have been dating for two weeks now and you haven’t told me anything. I’m supposed to be your best friend, so spill!”
“You are my best friend Jess, seriously. I like him, and he’s nice to me, that’s all there is to tell.” I blushed, acting totally naïve.
“You know what I mean. Ooooh Is he a good kisser? Where does he take you on dates? Is he super romantic? He seems like he’d be. Ohmygod, have you guys done more than kiss?” she squealed.
“No!” I said blushing totally bright red. “He and I aren’t like that.”
“Yet.” Jess whispered.
“Oh please like you weren’t thinking it too. Come on, were gonna be late for first period.” And we both booked it out of the dorm into our first class.
Tom was there, saving a seat next to him for me. I saw Jess roll her eyes as I blushed and slid into the seat next to him.
“Late start?” he whispered as he leaned in to kiss me on the cheek.
“Um not exactly. Just Jess being Jess.” The blush that followed earned me a curious look from Tom. Note to self, don’t let him know Jess asked about our physical relationship. What an awkward conversation that would be, plus he doesn’t need any ideas…
“Oh, yeah. I’m fine. Just school and stuff, you know? The usual.” I could tell he wasn’t convinced. “Really, I’m fine!” I leaned over and kissed him for good measure and he quickly out his arm around me to hold me close. He deepened the kiss for a moment, pressing himself closer than what I had allowed before, and then pulled away with a sheepish grin on his face.
“Sorry, guess I got a bit carried away.” He laughed in an airy voice, attempting to catch his breath.
I was very aware I was still very close to him when some part of me responded with a “I don’t mind”. I blushed, surprised I had said such a thing. He smiled a faint look of surprise in his eyes along with amusement. “You don’t?” he whispered, and leaned in to kiss me again. He pushed me down in the tall grass as his body hovered above me. I couldn’t believe, this was happening. He’s practically the first guy I’ve really dated and liked, but making out where teacher might see? “Ugh, Tom we should -”
“Shh, Relax.” He whispered. As he pulled my lips back to him I felt his body lower onto mine also. The weight didn’t feel heavy though, it felt right and made me never want to move from him. I moaned and he gave a slight chuckle. His kisses slowed though, and after a minute he rolled over, letting me lay on top of him. When I saw the big smile he had on his face I couldn’t help it, I leaned down and gave him another kiss. He looked a little smug but just then he reached out and caressed my face, his in return becoming awfully serious.
“You’re blushing very badly. Why? Did I do something wrong?” he asked in a confused voice.
I blushed deeper. “No! I .. I mean no you didn’t do anything wrong, its just, I’ve never really … been like this with someone else.” I faded out, looking away.
He gently turned my face towards him, but my eyes stayed elsewhere. “Like what?” He whispered.
I broke down and finally made eye contact. Tom seemed to touch my soul every time he looked into my eyes. It was the most incredible and terrifying feeling I had ever known. I filled my lungs with air hoping to gain courage and whispered “in love.” as I looked into his soul.
The answering smile was filled with more happiness than I had seen from Tom yet. “I love you too”, he laughed as he pulled me back down to him for one more goodnight kiss.