I didn't hear back from Milo that night... or the next morning. I went to Physics... no call. Scientific Analysis... no call. And, when dinner time came around, I still hadn't heard from him. Melanie and I walked to the cafeteria for pasta... still no call.
And there was no way I was calling him again... so... as they say in dramatic scripts... we were at an impasse.
Mellie poked her plastic spork at me while I prodded my pasta with my own utensil. "Why haven't you called him?!"
"I just called him yesterday!" My voice was a little defensive... but, really, why did she think I hadn't called him? Because I'd broken all ten of my fingers and was unable to press the little cell phone buttons? Because I had dropped my cell phone in a glass of limeade and let it crystalize? Or because I had come to the realization that I liked my best friend as more than a friend and was dreading the shreds that our friendship would be torn into after this topic was discussed?
If you picked A or B, you are about as intelligent as a hula hoop.
Anyway... Melanie and I half-argued through dinner and all the way back up to the dorm. She even tried to convince me to walk up the last two flights of stairs to Milo's room... which was tempting, I'll admit.
But, what if he was mad that I hadn't made an effort to talk to him all day?... No, he hadn't made an effort either.
What if my mocking 'This is Anna.' message had hurt his feelings?... No, I've said worse things and he's laughed at each of them.
What if he realizes, just from the tone of my voice, that I have completely fallen for him, and he doesn't want to lead me on, because he doesn't feel the same way?... Possible. Very possible.
And probable. Very probable.
Well, eight o'clock rolled around... still no call... Mellie still making suggestions. I gathered up my astronomy textbook and my skymap. I had to get that astronomy lab finished before Monday. The task was to identify the constellations in the night sky using the skymap and to write a list of ten stars from brightest to dimmest based on our own observations.
Look at stars. Find the shiniest. Record your findings.
I grabbed my jacket off its hook and started for the door... Wait! Pencil! I needed a pencil! I draped the jacket over my desk chair and shuffled through one of the desk drawers.
Eureka! A pencil! I said goodbye to Melanie and headed for the park.
It was 8:20 when I arrived, night had already claimed the park.
Before you ask... and I know you were going to... I wasn't afraid to go to the park at night by myself because the security escort station is there. Four or five guys sit on golf carts, reading magazines and waiting for a phone call... at which time one of them springs into action.
Well, he sort of zips... slowly... into action on his golf cart. He picks up whoever called him, takes them wherever they need to go on campus, then drives the golf cart back to the station.
In essence, the park is a safe place at night. Safer than most of the campus. So, I settled myself on one of the benches, flipped open the skymap, and got down to business.
Bootes... check. Pegasus... check. Hercules... check.
I was starting to shiver a little. The night was warm, but the breeze was chilly. A sea-breeze. Darn it! I'd left my jacket at my dorm. Whatever... I'd be done in a few minutes anyway.
Cygnus... check. Vulpecula... check.
My teeth started chattering. I set the skymap on my lap and crossed my arms against the breeze.
Lyra... check. Corona Borealis... check. Milo... Milo?!
"Hey. You cold?" I stared at him, shivering. He had his hands the pockets of his jeans and one eyebrow raised.
"N-n-n-not r-r-really." I managed to stutter.
That made him smile "Liar. Can I sit?"
I had the urge to be childish and to ask 'I don't know, can you?'... but I thought better of it. "Sure. If you w-w-want t-to."
He sat "Why wouldn't I want to?" He seemed genuinely curious.
"I d-don't know. Because I'm a c-crazy k-klutz. I c-could slip on j-just about anything and lead you t-to your ultimate demise?"
Well, I thought it was a convincing enough argument. But Milo started laughing... laughing hard. I sat there and shivered... shivered hard.
I sniffed at him and turned back to my skymap.
Aquila... Milo snatched the map from me. I tried to glare up at him angrily, but he was smiling down at me... so it was really really hard.
"First of all." he folded my map "You are shivering... therefore, you're cold." He reached his arms around me to tuck the skymap into my textbook... and kept his arms around me... kept his eyes on mine. "Secondly, I'll admit that you are, indeed, a crazy klutz; however, there are many things in this world that even you are not capable of slipping on. And finally," his arms tightened as he pulled me to his chest. I stopped shivering.
"As to my ultimate demise..." he was whispering now... "if that's where you want to go... I'll be right behind you."
I pushed myself away from him, so I could look him straight in the face. "I'd rather not."
His eyes are so... amazing "You'd rather not what?"
"I... I'd rather not lead you to your ultimate demise."
His smile grew and he touched our foreheads together "Too late." And he brushed his soft lips against mine.
So that's all. It started in a box, it ended on a bench. Socks and soda set it in motion. Chocolate candy tastes like turpentine and pencil sharpeners give good advice.
And really, that's all you need to know.