After You

Grace managed to make it to school much earlier the next morning. If she had the choice, she always preferred to arrive early than late, to any occasion. She also felt that in some way, it counterbalanced the days that she was late when Eli was ill. 

The school would be almost deserted one moment, and then packed full with the cacophony of talking teenagers the next. Grace would often sit in the school library first thing before Homeroom and almost always found herself taken by  surprise at the crowds where there had been no-one barely minutes earlier. 

Because her home life was rather chaotic, she liked to study at school in relative peace. Her parents, both quiet and unassuming individuals, always seemed a little relieved when they left - she knew they would spend more time with her if they could, but she loved Eli as much as they did, and didn't mind him monopolizing their energy. She was used to being alone, and, though she loved Liza to bits, the girl could really talk someone's ear off if given half the chance. 

When she arrived there was a boy sitting at her table and she stopped dead in her tracks. He had large black headphones over his ears, a stark contrast to the white blond of his hair, and he was nodding ever so slightly to some unheard beat. Grace almost laughed out loud at her good fortune, and strode over to the table with great confidence, not unlike Liza had for her many years before. 

If Adam was alarmed by her sudden presence, he hid it very well. Without even looking up he shoved his books to one side to give her a little more space. He seemed to be concentrating very hard one some algebra, a small frown between his eyes that Grace reached over to smooth away for a split second before catching herself. 

"Feeling brave this morning, are we?" He said slowly, as quietly as he had spoken yesterday. 

"Brave?" It was Graces turn to frown. 

"There are many other places you could have chosen to sit." Adam gestured grandly about the room, stretching casually as he did so. "Aren't you worried someone is going to see you?" 

There was a smoothness there again that made Grace want to think he was making a simple joke, but there was a hard edge to his voice and a tightening around his eyes that made her think she shouldn't laugh. She back at him levelly instead. 

"No, I think just here is fine, thanks. Unless you'd like me to move?" 

"No." 

She watched for a little while as Adam settled back into his algebra. His headphones now sat around his neck and so she could hear the distant beat to a song she couldn't quite make out. She wanted to make conversation with him, get to know him like she had resolved to do the night before. But it seemed easier to sit in silence for a while. It wasn't awkward - she didn't feel like she had to talk, like she often did when she sat with Liza and some of the others at lunch.  

Suddenly, as was always the case, there was a distinct sound of feet clamouring in the hallways, and Grace made to pack her things away and find Liza before homeroom. She made it to the library doors a second before Adam who very chivalrously held them open for her.

"After you." He smiled, and she couldn't help but smile back, dipping into a small curtsy and heading out into the noise, Adam at her back. 

The End

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