Jet groans again, stabbing at the delete button as if he wanted nothing but it to be dead. Photography has always been his worst study. And oddly, it has been my best since I was a junior.
‘Nattie, I can’t get the ‘high point’ thingi correct.’ He considers it a moment, ‘What’s the ‘high point’ thingi again?’
‘Firstly, dumdum, it’s called the high key.’
‘Ohhhhh. That’s why the guy next to us just gave me a confused stare.’
I roll my eyes. ‘Secondly, you need more light exposure on the dandelion so that you can get the effect correct.’ I go over the lamps to fix the brightness.
‘Jet, you even used the type of lights wrong.’ I pick up the lamp and shuffle across the classroom.
‘You should use more of a paler, more natural lights. Not yellow LED-’
An abrupt pain flares on my toes. I crouch down, touching my toes slightly. ‘Jesus!’
Jet races over to my side. ‘Goodness, are you alright?’
The lamp is sitting neatly besides me, as if it is making fun of my stumped toe. Stupid lamp.
‘Yeah. I think I’m fine.’ I attempt to stand up. My toes feel numb. Jesus, this hurts.
‘Woah.’ He catches me by my shoulders. ‘Easy there.’
He forehead creases. ‘I think you should go to the nurse to get that bruise checked out.’
‘Jet, it’s not that big of a deal.’
‘Yes, it is. The lamp just tackled your toe. You might need a few days of recovery, maybe even crutches-’
I limp out the classroom by myself, ignoring Jet’s rambling. He just magnifies everything by a hundred times; it can get really annoying sometimes.
Jet quickly scurries to my side and wraps a hand around my waist. Clumsily pulling out a chair out of the closet, he gestures me to sit.
‘Take off your shoes.’ He orders.
‘Take off your shoes.’
Still confused, I obey. Untying my ankle boots, I drop it lightly to the ground.
‘Now, this might hurt a little okay. Just take deep breaths.’ I watch him as he takes out a bottle of bruise cream. I didn’t even notice he already got the First-aid kit beside him.
He mutters soothing words as fumbles with my sock. His finger catches on the rim of my pink stripe socks, and his fingers grazes slightly against my ankles. With one quick movement, he pulls it off.
I suck in a sharp breath. The cold air stings my foot as he stares at my red stumped toes. Small bits of purple bruises are already starting to form, and I’ve got to admit it, it looks disgusting.
Jet didn’t seem to mind at all.
Squeezing a paste of cream out, he started drawing circles on the skin just next to my bruise, mumbling quietly about how it’ll be fine and all.
I whimper in surprise.
Jet whips his head up, wide eyed and alarmed. ‘What? Did I hurt you?’
Everywhere that his fingers touched, it seems to burn hotter. Hotter. My heart beat doubles up. What is happening? It was as if every time his fingers landed on my toe, my heart beats doubled into 2 times. 2 doubled into 4. 4 doubled into 8.
It must be the embarrassment. Yes, that has to be it. It’s the embarrassment.I appreciate his generosity and all, but is massaging my toe in the exposed school corridor really that necessary?
He seems to be waiting for my response, staring intently at me. That’s when I snap back into reality.
I stammer. ‘No, no. I’m good. I-I think it’s better now. Yeah, see?’ I cover up my grimace as I harshly rub on my purple toe, ‘all recovered!’
Hurt flashes in his eyes, and I can’t figure if it’s because he seems to feel my pain or something else. I push my thoughts away and hastily pull on my sock, tying up my laces, whilst trying not to let the pain get to me. Jet cringes and gives me a worried look.
‘You sure you’re going to be alright? You seem to have hurt your toe pretty-’
‘Yup! A hundred percent! I’m feeling great.’ I snatch my backpack up and stumble a few steps.
‘Let’s get back to class! You know how much Mrs. Getton hate it when people go missing.’ I don’t look back as I dash back into the art room, clearing away my messy thoughts.
I continue set up the cameras and lights as if nothing happened, occasionally limping across the room to get a pencil or so.
‘Jet, hand me the worksheet.’
I look back. ‘Jet?’
He isn’t there. Where is he?
‘Um, hey Nat?’
I turn around and gasp when I bump into Chris. His face is just inches apart, and it is as if I can almost smell him. I close my eyes and open them again, not believing this is the second time Chris talked to me in a week. I feel his breath hitch.
My heart beat doubles up. Is Chris Foster actually flustered by me?
He scans me from top to bottom, taking in the T-shirt I slipped on this morning in a rush. I self-consciously look down at my outfit. Today, out of all days, I picked out a pair of trousers with the ugliest shade of brown, and also a dark blue T-shirt that totally contrasts against the pants. But the worse has yet to come. Just at the bottom of my pants, sits a pair of old and dirty trainer. I wince at my choice of clothing. What have I been thinking this morning?
That’s when it hit me. Jet. He was up yesterday night studying with me through the phone for my exams that are next month. I told him multiple times to let me sleep, maybe we could study tomorrow, but no. He has to bug me with science and all those stupid academic stuff during 12 in the morning for an examthat’s next month, and what’s the result of that? Me oversleeping and picking out the shittiest outfit in the history of shittiest outfits! Jesus! What’s that boy’s problem anyways?
‘You look pretty.’ He says, giving me a little adorable smile.
I am shocked. Then I am above the clouds. ‘You really think so?’ I look down sheepishly again, feeling a blush rising from my cheeks.
‘You always looked pretty, right from the moment I laid eyes on you.’
His full pink lips parts as his crystal blue eyes bore right into mine, not allowing me to look away. And really? I wouldn’t in a million years even if he tells me to stop staring at him. He leans closer and suddenly my mind spins in panic. Is he going to kiss me? What if I’m not a good kisser? I never even tried kissing anyone before! I blush as shame kicks in. What should I do?
His lips are just merely millimeters apart, and a fresh minty flavor spills as I drown in the scent. I inch closer as my heart flies in all different direction. This is it, the moment I’ve been dreaming every night, the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life, the moment-
‘CLASS DISMISS EVERYONE! AND DON’T FORGET TO HAND IN YOUR WORKSHEET NEXT LESSON. THAT WOULDN’T BE TOO GREAT EH, FISHY M’ MAN?’ Mr. Groom’s voice booms as his long white beard bounce along to his laughter. I never got why the school still got him as the head of art department, that guy’s 78 for god’s sake!
Chris smiles as he pulls away, blushing furiously. My heart flutters in joy of how I get that effect on him. I, too, pull away as I pack away my papers.
‘So Nat, listen.’ He fiddles cutely at his fingers. ‘I’ve been wondering…you know that restaurant just around the corner? Fish sticks at bob’s?’
‘Omygod, I love that restaurant!’ And it’s true, I do love it. Especially the strawberry milkshakes, they are heaven.
‘Yes, I know right? Now as I’ve been saying…uh, do you, you know, want to go out for dinner tomorrow night?’ He says shyly, looking at everything in the room but me.
I feel a surge of confidence go through me as I grab his hand. ‘Yes, I would love to.’ Together, we walk out of the room hand in hand, and I feel like the happiest person on earth.