Just Me(2)

By: L.A. Fiore



Aunt Kim, as usual, ignored me completely.

It was September, the first day of school, and the bus didn't come into my aunt and uncle's neighborhood. The stop closest to them was in the wrong direction, so I'd taken to walking. I didn't mind it when the weather was okay, because the exercise was good for me, but once winter kicked in, I'd need to make arrangements for a ride.

Poppy and Shawn, my friends since grade school, could always be counted on for that. They were dating, and had been since sophomore year. It was because of this that I didn't hitch a ride during the warmer months, since they liked “time alone” before school started. Sophia, the fourth in our close-knit group, and I were always teasing them, but I knew, at least in my case, a bit of envy fed my teasing.

I've dated, but I never made a connection to someone like the one Poppy and Shawn shared. I didn't exude the preppy, perky vibe, nor was I good at making meaningless small talk. I couldn't ask a question of someone merely to ask it and not be at all interested in the answer. I found their insincerity, of those I've tried dating, annoying.

As I reached school, the sprawling single-level brick structure loomed before me. The huge campus had sports fields across the back span, as far as the eyes could see. The football stadium, which brought the community out en masse during football season, was nestled off to the left. Cement pathways, lined with trees, and the student and teacher parking lots dominated the front of the building. As pretty of a picture as it made, it was still school, and students meandered slowly toward the double glass doors.

Starting through the student parking lot, I noticed, as was tradition, the football players and cheerleaders all got the really great spots up front—their cars were all foreign and expensive—while the other students, and their less than perfect cars, were forced to park in the back. This was an unspoken rule of the school. There were a few brave souls, with their less than perfect cars, who had attempted to change the status quo and were rewarded with their cars being decorated with trash. It was a blatant, yet effective, deterrent since the anonymity of the threat kept people from reporting it.

It was while I walked toward the entrance of school that I heard a motorcycle coming down the drive. I gave myself a moment to appreciate the fine curves of the Harley as well as those of the rider. He wore a black t-shirt stretched across the muscles of his chest and shoulders, but it was the full sleeves of tattoos down his arms that held me captivated. I couldn't see the designs, but the colors took my breath away. As he approached I noticed the black, well-worn boots on his feet and the faded jeans snug across the muscles of his thighs.

He parked right in the front, to the bewildered and annoyed glances of the popular crowd, before he climbed from his bike: that movement causing a beautiful play on his muscles. He lifted off his helmet revealing what I had only caught a glimpse of—long, inky-black hair that brushed his very impressive shoulders.

He was the most beautiful boy I'd ever seen even from my distance. A face of all angles with his cheekbones curving into the hard line of his jaw, full lips, and eyes a color somewhere between blue and green: fringed by thick, long, black lashes. My fingers itched to sketch him.

A glance at the cheerleaders, flipping their hair and giggling, confirmed my suspicion that I wasn't the only one to find him eye-popping, tongue-dropping gorgeous. It was just as well. I pulled up my hoodie and lowered my head. Turning up my iPod, I walked past the hot boy and headed into the building.

***

“Have you seen him?” Sophia asked breathlessly as she practically pinned me to my locker. “I think I'm in love. He's yummy.”

“Yes, I've seen him.” I couldn’t help but grin, because Sophia thought herself in love at least four times a week. The problem was, she was also fickle, and so anything could cause her to fall out of love. At the end of last year Danny Keener was the love of her life. Her crush on him lasted two months until one day he showed up to school wearing a yellow polo shirt and just like that, her heart moved on. I didn't get it, but then Sophia was a bit odd, which was one of the many reasons I loved her. I did as a dutiful friend would and ate ice cream with her and watched romantic comedies until she pulled herself from her self-induced funk at yet another relationship failure.

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