She rushed out of the school’s bookstore, heading towards the cafeteria. She had hoped that she had gotten there before they stopped serving food; if not, it looked as if fast food would be in her near future yet again. It was a hard task for her to not show off her enhanced ability of speed and Tabitha sadly decided that she would just have to walk normally and hope she made it in time. She mentally promised herself that she wouldn’t starve herself ever again for the sake of being on time for classes.
“Hey… Tabitha?” she heard a familiar voice. She turned and saw Peter walking towards her.
“Hey, P! What’s up, buddy?” she smiled. The picture he had taken of her statue was indeed the feature photo; her popularity was on the rise.
“Glad I ran into you! I wanted to thank you for letting me take a picture of your sculpture.”
“Oh… isn’t that part of your job…?”
“I’m freelance so I only get paid by how great the photos are. Which… you may have landed me a permanent job…”
“The Daily Bugle would like to have a different sculpture from you every month. It’s not guaranteed that it would be used for the cover of the arts section each time but… you’d be compensated, regardless. Would you be interested?” he asked. She no longer was worried about getting to the cafeteria on time.
“Whoa… wow! That’s… that’ll be great! Wait… will this benefit you, too?”
“Then, I’ll do it. You came all this way to tell me that?”
“Oh… I’m a student here, too. Just part time, though.”
“Let’s see; a freelance photographer and a student… only met you twice and you keep amazing me! Say… wanna join me for a late lunch?” she asked. Peter looked at his watch and slightly frowned.
“If you’re talking about the cafeteria, then I’m afraid it’s too late…”
“Damnit! Well… want some Burger King…?”
“Is this your first time in New York?” he eyed her. She nodded, “Then, I have a better idea!”
The two took their seats in a local diner and ordered their food. She took a sip out of her soda and looked out the window to watch everyone walking by.
“So many people…” she thought she said it low enough for only herself to hear it. Peter looked on as well and smiled.
“Not used to it?”
“Starting to get back used to it.” she admitted. It was one thing to be around the various students on campus; she was in the heart of the city, “Guess you can say that I went through a hermit phase for a while…”
“Is it me or do all artists have these depressing stories about their childhood?” he asked and it made her immediately laugh.
“My childhood was great, thank you! For about a year, though… I didn’t feel like dealing with anyone. I kinda liked it, though. Being away from the outside.”
“Must’ve been tough on your friends and boyfriend.”
“I never had too many friends to begin with. The people I stayed with were my friends… well, no. They’re family.” she smiled. Their food was delivered and she immediately went to work on her burger.
“The statue you did… is that them?”
“Yeah. And… there was no boyfriend. What about you?” she wanted to change the subject. The thought of a potential boyfriend only brought back memories of Tony… and she really didn’t want to dwell on that.
“It’s… somewhat complicated.”
“There’s this girl. We’ve been neighbors since we were little. We’re really good friends but…”
“She don’t know that you like her.” she finished for him. Peter nodded sadly, “It’s a good thing you ran into me, then; I got the solution to all your problems!” she perked up. He gave her a look but kept a smile on his face.
“You gotta take the bull by the horns!”
“… What…?” he asked. She stuffed almost a handful of French fries in her mouth and waited until she was halfway done chewing before speaking again; she loved French fries…
“You know; lead by the reins!”
“… I think you have the saying wrong…” he tried to joke. She huffed.
“Take charge of the situation! Go up to the girl and tell her how you feel, smart ass!”
“I can’t; what part of ‘complicated’ did you not understand? What if… she doesn’t feel the same way?”
“There’s only one way to find out! What’s the worst that could happen?”
“… Total rejection… a ruined friendship…” he started but she waved him off.
“Wuss! That only happens in the movies, anyway! P… life is too short to let the one you love walk away without ‘em knowing how you feel, at least. I…” she stopped herself before she said something that she wasn’t ready to admit; it pained her to even think it. Tabitha stared down at her plate, “Sorry. I think I said too much…”
“No… I think you have a point.” he waited until she looked at him and shrugged, “I don’t think I can afford to sit here and not say anything to her; she’d end up with someone else, again. I think… I will take your advice.” Peter agreed. It was enough to make Tabitha smile.
“Good!” she said and stuffed her mouth with the rest of her fries.