I lifted myself up off the bed slowly, and stepped onto the wooded floor of my bedroom, my body rapidly responding to its coldness. Shivering, I made my way over to the bathroom to wash my face when I paused to look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t help but ask myself questions everybody asks themselves at some point in their life; who am I?
Of course, it wasn’t a simple question, and Damien certainly hadn’t made it any simpler. With each splash of warm water hitting my face, a new thought of him seeped into my mind. Did what happen yesterday really happen? Was it just a picture I painted inside of my mind that I somehow confused with reality? The questions flew through my head seamlessly and endlessly. In the shower, while I subconsciously picked out my clothes and got dressed, on the drive to school; I didn’t have any of the answers.
Monica waited by one of the columns at the entrance of the school, slightly lying against one of them as she read what was presumably a text message she had just received. I honestly didn’t want to deal with her upbeat nature today, and in actuality wanted to avoid her at all costs, but it seemed today wouldn’t go as planned.
“Hey,” she said trying to grab my attention as I walked past her. “What’s your rush? The bell doesn’t ring for another ten minutes.”
I wanted to tell her to just leave me alone, but I didn’t have the heart to. Or maybe I was just too scared to lose one of the only friends I had since I moved here. I froze, remaining quiet.
“Are you going to answer me? Hello?”
“Oh, I have to get my book for English from my locker, and since my locker is all the way on the other side of school, I figured I should probably go get it earlier.”
She sighed, most likely because she didn’t know what to do with herself. “I’ll go with you, since I have nothing else to do.”
Just then, a group of girls wearing matching shoes began making their way over to where Monica and I were standing. “Monica!” one called out.
Turning, she pulled out a little mirror from her American Eagle tote, and tousled her hair so that it perfectly framed her face. She then stuffed the mirror back into her tote, looked up, and smiled at what was clearly her little group of friends.
“Hey guys!” She greeted warmly as they approached us. The scent of their various perfumes hit me like a breeze of acid, and I began coughing viciously. All of their attention was then put on me. “You okay, Seb?” Monica asked, concerned, as her friends giggled in the background.
I patted my chest a bit, trying to get all the poison out of me. “Yeah, I think I’m just going to go. I’ll catch up with you later though.”
I walked away as Monica and her friends chatted like it was nobody’s business. I could hear them say things such as, “He’s so cute!” and “I wish more guys from New York were around here!”
The hallways were pretty much empty except for the overachievers spread throughout the school buried in their textbooks and club applications as well as the slackers who were rushing to the library in an attempt to get yesterday’s homework complete before the bell rang. I had been a mix of both back in New York, not able to complete my school work for the reason that I had been involved in many extracurricular activities. Here, it wasn’t so much so. I just wanted to do the work I need to do, be done with it, and not dabble in a school society I didn’t really care about.
I felt like a loser walking around alone, and it was pretty much confirmed by all the blank stares I received from nerds who were at least working with other nerds. Yet, I couldn’t help but actually feel a lot better knowing that there was nobody around who could interrupt my thoughts as I unintentionally reflected back on what had happened with Damien yesterday. There had to be a reason he kissed me. Or maybe a reason I kissed him.
At least, I didn’t think I kissed him. But the more I thought about it, the more it made me nervous. Surely I hadn’t kissed him! He could have just been very tired and decided to rest his head on mine, forgetting I was there. The more I thought about the situation, the more it drove me insane. What was wrong with me?
I turned the corner and entered the hallway of my locker where Damien stood, rummaging through what had to be his own locker. Astonishment overtook my body and melted me into a big pool of Jell-O, the kind you get when you use too much water and forget about it in the refrigerator. Slowly, I stumbled my way over to him, breaking a cold sweat, my eyes shifting from side to side worried about what he would say.
The locker door slammed shut, and I slightly jumped. Damien looked up and giving a mischievous grin. “Hey Seb, what’s up?”
The question was so simple, and yet my mind couldn’t process anything. The words flew into my ear, and yet none of it could be interpreted. I stared at him dumbfounded before finally regaining my senses. “W-what’re you doing here?”
“Well,” he said as he read something off the front of his binder. “This is my locker, and I put my books in here when I don’t need them, and take them out when I do.”
It took me a second to get his sarcasm, before changing the subject completely. “About yesterday…”
“What about it?” he asked.
“Did we, uh…” I couldn’t really get my point across. I could feel my hands getting clammy as I rubbed them together, trying to spit the question out. Doubtful thoughts began to fill me, and I began wondering if the situation had even happened at all.
He tilted his head the way a dog does when it doesn’t understand its owner. “Did we what?”
My frustration had reached its limit. “Stop beating around the bush!” Just then, the bell had rung, and the hallways quickly became flooded with students heading for their first period.
Damien scoffed at my statement. “You’re the one beating around the bush; you can’t even ask me a question correctly!”
Our voices grew louder and echoed throughout the hallways as we bickered at one another. “You know what I’m trying to ask about. Stop acting stupid!”
“Oh yeah, because I can totally read your mind, Seb.”
Damien began thrusting all of his things into his backpack before swinging it over his back. I opened my mouth to speak again, but my cell phone began to ring. Reaching into my pocket, Damien shook his head. “I’m going to class.”
I pulled my cell phone out just as Damien walked by, knocking it out of my hands and sending it flying and landing on the tile, its impact causing the screen to shatter. He stopped walking and turned back toward me. Angry, I placed both of my hands on his shoulders and shoved him to the ground. “See what you did?”
“It wasn’t just my fault. Don’t push all the blame on me.” he rebutted.
Filled with contempt, I picked up the remains of my phone and shoved it back into my bag. “Funny, seeing as that’s what you had done to me.”
His eyebrows arched outward as I looked down at him, a face full of sorrow and guilt taking the place of his irritated one. I became shocked with myself. What had become of me? Looking up, I noticed a group of people on both sides, silently watching the action unfold. Not knowing what to do, I held my bag close to my body, and ran through the blockade, hoping to find a door somewhere nearby. I raced out the nearest door, exiting the school and hearing the tardy bell ring for first period. The constant sound of footsteps followed me, and it only encouraged me to run faster. I ran across the street, hearing a car honk its horn loudly enough to send a chill down my spine, and once I reached the other side, I turned to look behind me.
Damien stood across the street, staring back at me, coldly. He didn’t dare take another step, and remained observant, watching me closely. Slowly, I backed away from the street, my eyes fixated on him solely. Suddenly, he dropped his backpack and ran across the street. I was shocked to the point where I couldn’t move at all, and just watched his body fly towards me as I was tackled to the grass surrounding the sidewalk. It hurt, but I still felt lucky enough to have landed on something as cushiony as it.
Damien rolled over to my side, and looked over at me, smiling, his eyes glowing as the sun hit them at a certain angle. I couldn’t help but smile back, his happiness flowing through me as if I was a sick patient he had just given his blood to. He reached over and placed his head on his hand, bathing in the sunlight. I took the time to admire his facial features, and wondered how they could be so masculine and yet angelic at the same time. The feeling was new to me, and I couldn’t quite understand what Damien had done to me, or what new path he had shown me to make me feel so different. I didn’t take the time to keep myself from thinking about him because he was a guy. Instead, the barrier was let down naturally, and something within me told me that it wasn’t a bad thing at all.
Another car horn went off, and I heard a car come to a stop on the side of the road. Damien quickly sat up, and I followed. A girl rolled down the window, and stuck her head out, placing her hand above her eyes trying to block out the sun.
“Damien,” she called out. “You alright?”
He stood up, brushing the grass off of his bottom before looking back up at her. “Yeah. Aren’t you late?”
She laughed. “I could say the same thing about you. What are you and your friend doing? Do you guys need a ride?”
“Nah, we were just about to head back.”
She shrugged. “Suit yourself. I’ll see you at lunch.”
The car sped off, and turned into the student parking lot of the school. Damien reached for my hand and I took it and hoisted myself up. “Who’s she?” I asked, brushing myself off.
Damien laughed nervously. “That’s Lorraine. She’s my girlfriend.”