Chapter #5


Life has a funny way of passing you by. Almost like its involved in a covert mission to subtly let every second slip through your finger tips. It was friday, and lately the days had been passing by me a lot quicker than usual. I had yet to decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I eased myself into my car, backing out slowly and driving leisurely to school. I'm not sure what had happened the past three days, but this place didn't feel quite so alien anymore. It felt more like home than Houston ever had. Maybe I was a small town girl at heart? Parking in my usual spot, I sighed hopping out into the cold. It was nearly October, and the temperature had been dropping lower and lower every moment. Definitely not something I was looking forward to.

I went through my classes in a bit of a daze. Jenny followed me around like a lost puppy, but it didn't really bother me today. Jenny was really the type of girl that needed a friend who'd listen, and listen, and listen, but never ever talk. It would be impossible to do so anyways, getting a word in edgewise was definitely a lost cause.

Lunch came slowly, and I tried to keep my pace a bit slow. Looking excited would only crack my facade even worse. Tuesday, Trace had beckoned for me to sit with them once more. Eventually I obliged. Wednesday, the same pattern. By yesterday, I sat with them without him having to come bug me. Save us all a little trouble. And today was no different. They sat at our table, the picture perfect image of masculine youth at its very peak. It was funny how I referred to it as our table now. It was also funny how I thought of them as friends. Genuine friends. I was comfortable around them, which often times the comfort in itself left me very uneasy. I wasn't used to that. And I needed time to warm up to things.

"Morning Eve" Trace smiled, digging into his massive plate of food. He always ate more than Leo and I combined. Which was saying something considering the fact that Leo usually ate double the amount that I did. How they stayed built perfectly without one ounce of fat was beyond me. Then again, they were beyond me, and anyone else here for that matter. There was something about them that was different, I'd noticed it from the beginning, but lately sitting with them made them feel more real, less god like. There was something different, that was for sure, but it didn't feel like a mystery I needed to solve. Not anymore at least. I could leave them in peace, and live my life how I had intended to upon my arrival here.

"Good morning" I replied, offering him a bit of a smile. It was really the most I could pull off. I honestly had no people skills. Mostly because usually people weren't nice, or interesting enough to talk to. Trace and Leo both had a bit of an x factor. But honestly, Leo kept to himself when it came to me. He was very sweet and polite, more so than Trace, but he respected my boundaries, something Trace seemed to have a bit of difficulty with. He was learning though. Slowly, but surely.

"That Jenny girl is smiling at you dude. You talk to her right, Eve?" I looked up at Trace, furrowing my brows. Glancing around, sure enough little red headed Jenny was smiling like an idiot and batting her eyelashes at Leo. She was pretty and all, but her desperation literally made me want to forget she even existed.

"Not exactly, no. She talks, I pretend to listen." I mumbled, chomping down on my fruit salad. I caught Leo's gaze for a moment, his expression softening upon seeing my supposed 'friend.' It was almost pity, but perked with a bit of interest.

"Whoa, are you serious?" I couldn't control myself. It was probably the first time I'd talked without being provoked. Both Trace and Leo stared at me for a long time, surprised at my apparent outspoken-ness.

"What?" Leo asked, a little confounded, not quite understanding why I had asked him the question.

"You're...interested in Jenny!" I exclaimed, but was careful to keep the volume low so no one else heard.

"How in the world do you know that?" Leo retorted, arching an eyebrow as if to study me closer. It was true, he hadn't said anything, merely looked at the girl. Recoiling a bit, I slouched into my chair a little and dropped my gaze to my half eaten fruit salad.

"I don't know, you just..uh looked like it I guess." I said under my breath, chewing on some pineapple. It was quiet for awhile before Trace started laughing. As usual. I sware he was like the built in comic relief. It wasn't until Trace shook my shoulder gently that I realized Leo had stood up and was making his way over to Jenny. (who to my great surprise, did not faint on the spot)

Rolling my eyes, I glared at Trace, trying to fight the smile that I felt rising up towards my cheeks. I had been right. Then again, people really were a contridiction to me. Sometimes they were like a completely different species that I did not understand at all. And other times they were so easy to understand, it become boring.

"Quit laughing, you're making a scene." I grumbled, gulping down my bottled water. I always brought my own water. The stuff they had here was nasty. His laughing quieted, and soon I found that he was just looking at me, a simple smile on his face. It was so irritating when he did that. Like I was an exhibit at a zoo or something.

"What is it?" I groaned, dropping my fork, resting my elbows on the table and looking up at him. I couldn't hide the smile this time. He really had been far too nice to me for me to be so bitter all the time. Despite my every best effort, he still won on occasion.

"I have a question for you." His voice was so smooth. Too smooth. Oh lord, here we go.

"No no no, not another personal question!" I countered quickly, resting my face in my right hand, a thick scowl twisting its way onto my face. Trace simply smiled, leaning a bit forward into his chair.

"Its not a personal question." He responded after a moment. My face dropped into a confused frown, a crease etching in between my eyebrows. I didn't reply. I didn't have to. He'd quickly ask me the question, with our without my consent. That's how he was. He gave me room, but liked to push me sometimes. I'd noticed that. It's like he knew what he was doing made me severly uneasy, but he did it anyways. Not in a sadistic kind of way, despite it feeling like that.

"Do you have any plans tonight?" He asked, a sincerely sweet smile collecting onto his face. It was the first smile I'd seen that was not in amusment of something I or Leo had said or done. It was genuine, and apparently so was his question.

"Uh no." I said dumbly, my face reading surprise from my forehead to my chin. I couldn't hide my expression, he had thrown my a major curveball. Looking a bit nervous almost, he shifted in his seat, the same smile on his face. Once again, it was almost like he had been expecting my reaction.

"Well, do you want to catch a movie?" He finally asked, a new wave of surprise hitting me like a twelve pound bowling ball to the gut. Five minutes probably passed of me simply staring at him like an ape, a lame expression on my face as I attempted to work out what had just happened. Trace Ashcroft, my friend, had just asked me to go to the movies tonight. I was in high school, things like that were supposed to happen. Relaxing a bit at the thought, my muscles became a bit less rigid.

"Like a date?" I asked stupidly, arching the same haughty eyebrow he had thrown at me so many, many times.

"It can be whatever you want it to be." He replied, smiling a bit broader than before. Hey, I guess it was a bit of an accomplishment. I'd give him that. But I wasn't going with him for his persistance. I honestly felt like he was a good guy, someone I may or may not want to continue a friendship with. Not to say I'd like to see him every day, you know, just one of those casual go out to lunch friendships.

"Lets forgo a title for now." I said quickly as the bell began to ring. He nodded his head knowingly as I packed up my stuff, waved at him and scurried off to class. As I was walking away, I heard him call out.

"Meet me at seven." Just loud enough for it to reach my ears. Cape May, New Jersey really wasn't supposed to be like this. Anxiety bubbled up inside of my stomach. I hadn't been alone with someone like that other than my mom and the occasional friend back at home. It made me kind of sick to think about the awkward conversations and the missunderstandings. No doubt I'd either say something wrong, or not say something, which would end up being worse than saying something wrong, and the night would end in disaster. Groaning, I rested my head in my arms. What in the world had I gotten myself into?

The End

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