I was blasting Les Friction as I pulled into a parking spot. I slipped out the car door and slammed it shut, just as I tightened the strap around my glove. I stretched for about twenty seconds before beginning my jog down towards the beach.
My trainer, Ricky Longruff, told me that I needed to work at my endurance--said I tired out too easily. So I decided I'd take a jog once or twice a day.
My muscles were already beginning to groan after only the tenth minute, but I ignored them. I ran across the sand and closed my eyes, enjoying the breeze that blew through my hair.
My eyes opened when I heard conversation to my right. I stopped when I saw that it was a group of teens having a barbeque. At first I wasn't sure what had made me stop, but then I realized that I actually recognized some of the teenagers who were standing there eating.
He turned away from the girl he was talking to. "Joseph?!"
I laughed and ran up towards him. Tyler put up his hand for a high-five, so I gave his hand a slap and then wrapped my arms around him in a hug.
"Yo, bro," he said, withdrawing from my hug. He pointed to the girl he had been speaking to prior, saying, "This is my girl, Hannah."
"Your girl, huh?" I said, smiling, putting out my hand.
She shook it hesitantly, and obviously wasn't happy. Why, I didn't know. Nor did I care. I looked over to where Tyler had been standing before, only to see that he had already left to go talk with his buddies again.
"Nice to see you too," I muttered, my smile dwindling.
This girl, Hannah, forced a smile. "So your name is Joe I take it?"
I nodded absent-mindedly, looking back at the beach, wondering if I should continue my jog. I looked back at her and said, "Yeah. And you're Hannah."
It was kind of quiet after that, so quiet that I almost turned and left, but then she said, "So what are you doing out here?"
"Jogging," I said, subconsciously wiping some sweat off my forehead. "I'm training to be a . . ." I stopped when I realized that I didn't really know what I was training to be. I recovered with, "I'm just trying to get fit, you know?"
She nodded. "I get it."
I smiled. My gaze started to drift away when I noticed something--someone--walking in the bushes ahead of me.
"Just so you know," she said, interrupting me from--whatever it was that I was doing--"I'm not Tyler's 'girl,' I'm just his friend."
"Figured," I said, struggling to see who it was that was walking in the distance. They looked familiar. Very familiar.
Hannah laughed at what I had said. I laughed too, even though I couldn't remember what it was that I had said.
"So do you have a girlfriend?"
I looked at her. "What--why?"
She shrugged. "Just trying to make conversation."
I diverted my gaze away. "Nah, I don't. I'm assuming you don't have a boyfriend."
I examined her briefly for a moment. Blonde hair, slim, pretty. She looked like she was still pondering the answer to my question. I looked away. "So what's wrong there?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're thinking about a guy right now. You want to be with him right now, right?"
She looked shocked. "What? I don't know what you're talking about."
I rolled my eyes. "Of course you don't. But you should go see him. Whoever he is, I'm sure he wouldn't like it if he knew you were here." I motioned to Tyler. "Besides, you could do better than him. He's a loose cannon, to say the least." The figure in the distance was starting to get farther away, so I started towards him. "I'll see you around."
"Wait--but how did you--"
"I'm a people person."
The biggest lie ever told. I wasn't and never had been a people person. But I could sense pain. Once I felt it, it was no longer hard for me to see it in the eyes of others.
As I approached this figure that I had seen in the distance, I started to realize how crazy I was being. Why was I so drawn by this figure? Who was it?
"Hey!" I called as I approached the silhouette. "Do I know you from somewhere?"
The silhouette turned to face me, and light shone on their face. A woman.
A frown creased my brow. I didn't recognize her at all. "Oh. I'm sorry. I . . . you looked familiar."
She smiled. "It's okay. You look kind of familiar too."
"What's your name?"
"Jan. Jan Metcalfe."
My frown weakened. "Oh. Where do you go to school?" She didn't look like she wanted to answer, so I just nodded and said, "Nevermind."
"You do look familiar though. I just can't put my finger on it."
"So what are you doing out here?"
Her jaw dropped slightly. "Well, I--"
"Wait, Jan? Jane?"
"Yeah. Jane. Why?"
"I think I do know you from somewhere..but..ugh, why can't I remember?" She was about to answer but I cut her off. "So what are you doing out here?"
"I'm--well--this is embarrassing . . . I'm trying to see a friend of mine--or--rather--she was my friend. But now . . . wait--were you that guy who was talking to her?"
I frowned. "You mean Hannah?"
Her eyes widened and she turned, starting to walk away.
"Wait, wait, don't worry, I won't tell her anything. I don't even really know her, we just met!"
"Just leave it alone, please. I have to go."
I watched her run away, my gaze narrow.
Huh. That was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.
I turned and began to jog down towards the beach again, trying to force myself to sink back into the numb, dry mindset of exercise.