It's Wednesday and the day we put on our uniforms. I walk into ROTC, happy that I finally get a chance to hold a longer conversation with Jason. I see him as I enter the classroom and start to smile. He smiles back and says, "Oh, I'm sorry if I interrupted your studies last night." I laugh and blush a bit, then I held out my arms to give him a hug. All of us upperclassmen go to the LET 1 classroom to fall out the freshmen for inspection. That's when Raina called me over to her.
"Hey," she whispered. "Don't talk to Jason, because he'll become attracted to you, then Trina will kill you."
On the outside, all I could do was stare at her in surprise. On the inside, however, I was processing what she said to me. What I first noticed was that she was giving me a light confirmation that Jason was at least slightly attracted to me. Then, there was some kind of connection between Jason and Trina. Did she like him? Were they dating each other? All this analyzing of that one sentence, I did in the time frame of two seconds.
"Oh...kay?" I finally responded.
We then feel everyone out to the teacher's hallway for inspection. I took the position of squad leader of the first squad. I was the first to be inspected, and that left me with plenty of time to day dream until everyone else was done. I glanced down the squad line to see how close we were to being done with inspection, and standing in front of the wall opposite the platoon was Jason. He caught my stare as he turned his head in my direction. I kept the contact with his eyes rather than look away, and held a small smile on my face. Jason returned my smile encouragingly, and then he gave me a wink. My smile immediately doubled in size, stretching wide across my face. As I turned back to face forward again, I took on the full impact of that moment.
He winked at me, I thought to myself. That small gesture had set my heart to pumping faster than necessary, and had my throat feeling suddenly dry. Could it be that Jason possibly shared my feelings?
Before I had anymore time to think about that, it was time to practice our marching. I realized as I started walking that my knees were like jello. I prayed for the end of the hour to come soon. We finished up and I tried to get back to the classroom quickly. I wasn't quick enough. Jason walked up beside me and smiled at me again. I returned the smile the best I could, but my mind was working frantically. Maybe I needed new glasses. Maybe I had just imagined him winking at me. No, I was sure he did, but that left me with so many unanswered questions. We walked together to the LET 2/3 classroom. It was only a few minutes until the bell rung, so I got my stuff and headed for the door. You-know-who was right behind me, of course, deciding to walk me to my class.
"What's your next class?" he asked conversationally.
"Oh, uh," I stumbled with my words, trying to remember how to form sentences. "I have Japanese next."
"Japanese, wow. That sounds hard," he replies, taking the opportunity to get me talking.
"Not really," I say shutting down his plan.
We walk in silence for a moment, taking the long way to the fourth floor.
"So," he says trying to stir my interest again. "Do you like ROTC?"
I immediately take my chance to express my opinion. "Ugh. It's alright I guess. It's an easy grade, but I hate wearing this ugly pickle suit," I complain.
Jason laughs and smiles at my sudden animation. "Oh, it's not that bad," he says. "Do you think you'll be in ROTC next year?"
I pause to think about this. In truth, I'd rather not go through another year's embarrassment in ROTC. But then again...
"Maybe," I say looking at him straight on for the first time. "It depends."
At this, I feel my cheeks flood with color. I wonder if he noticed. By this time we are walking up the stairs approaching the fourth floor.
"Oh, my class is on this floor." I mumble. Jason stops and gives me a hug. "I guess I'll see you then.