6

Through His Eyes

He turned at a loud noise behind him to see her for the first time. She stood at her locker, glowering at the shut metal door. Clearly amused and distantly attracted, he made his way over and casually leaned against the locker next to hers. She didn't even look up, he mentally noted as his confident smirk grew. It was true; the shorter girl just stared straight at her locker, as if daring it to further upset her. He said nothing at all; he only watched her try her combination once more before reaching slowly for the lock. And he genuinely grinned when she groaned loudly and slammed her small fist onto the metal door. Friends of his passed by, waving and calling greetings. He returned them, but didn't move from his place next to the girl. A quick glance at his watch told him that it was about seven minutes until class started, though he wasn't worried. After all, who cared if you were late to gym?

"Are you going to help me?" the girl finally demanded. Turning his attention back to her, he raised an eyebrow when he saw her leaning her forehead against the shut locker. Her hair completely covered her facial features, but he could hear the exasperation in her voice. "'Cause you've been standing there for a while and it's not that funny." Her voice was muffled due to her close proximity with the locker, but he understood her nevertheless. When he didn't respond, she blindly raised the arm closest to him and began swinging it randomly, obviously hoping to make contact with a person. He laughed outright when she slammed her hand into another locker. She jumped backwards and he watched as her lips formed the first syllable of a very bad word before she clasped her non-injured hand over her mouth and glanced around her for a lurking teacher. It was hilarious to watch but, judging by the angry look on her face, not to endure.

"Who are you?" she asked, gently flexing her fingers before placing her hands on her hips. She rose to her tip-toes to shorten the long distance between their heights, though it didn't help much. Looking up at him, she screwed her face into a very nasty look, to which he stifled more laughter. He could almost see her distaste for him rising in tendrils off her head. With what he thought was a charming grin, he told her his name. And with an un-charmed raise of her eyebrows, she huffed before turning back to her locker. She looked up at the clock that jutted out of the hallway walls and groaned in disbelief—class began in less than two minutes.

Completely disregarding him, she turned to her locker and began pleading with it. "Please, please open?" she begged, turning the dial once again. No luck. "Please? I really need my books for class!" Murmuring more 'pleases' under her breath, she turned the lock for her combination. Slowly, she tried raising the lock and quickly she was denied. She let out a wordless whine before grabbing his hand and pulling him in front of her locker while fishing a piece of crumpled paper from her pocket. She shoved it into his hand and took one step back as if her presence alone could affect his efficiency with her stubborn lock. And apparently it did, seeing as how he easily spun the numbers and pulled the locker door open. She squealed in happiness before clapping her hands together and shoving him aside to go digging through her now open locker.

"What, I don't even get a thanks?" he called as she raced down the hall with her books secured in her arms. She turned back swiftly, called a "Thank you!" to him before continuing with her run. After she disappeared from his line of sight, he heard the bell chime overhead. He shook his head in quiet amusement before closing her still-open locker door and heading off to gym class.

That brief exchange was in October. By May of the next year, he had never seen her face again. It was as if she only came to school for that one day—though the school was large in size and population, so it was more likely that they just didn't have any class near each other. At all. For two years. "Knew I should've asked her name" was a phrase that he often found himself saying quietly to himself. It had just never occurred to him that he would see her once in the eight hours of school, five days a week, nine months of the year. And it was definitely a strange thing to try and find someone you don't even know; at least, that was what his friends told him, though he paid them no mind. He didn't know her name; he didn't know what year she was in. All he knew was that he would really like to talk to her again or at least see her.

Was it strange then, to fall in love with her? He obviously didn't think so, but he also wasn't aware of how strong his feelings were. And he was only in high school! No one fell in love in high school. Unless the pair had been dating for an umpteenth amount of time—then falling would be acceptable. Never had he heard of a case of love at first sight. And besides, it was more of an automatic thing for him. It didn't click, it didn't hurt, it made no notification at all. But eventually, he felt it. And eventually, he realized it.

But then, by the middle of his senior year, he turned his head to a loud noise behind him and saw her once again. Inside, his stomach was doing flips and turns—something that never happened to him. Not even when he was with a really pretty girl. But this girl was different and he decided that he liked different. Quickly excusing himself from his other senior friends, he walked over to his girl. His girl with the jammed locker. His girl in his head. Just another girl in the real world with an obvious locker problem. When he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and read the time, he grinned widely. Once more, it was seven minutes to class. It felt like fate.

"Trouble with your locker?" he asked, coming up behind her. She jumped at the sudden voice near her but quickly recomposed herself. She didn't look at him because she didn't need to look at him. He liked to think it was because her feelings for him were as strong as his feelings for her, though she would later tell him that it was because he was the only one to bother her when she had a jammed locker. It would bother him, but he didn't know it then. Then, he only knew that whatever feelings for her were new to him and he didn't like them very much.

"Yeah," she replied curtly to his question before spinning her combination. Vaguely, he mentally recited her old combination. He had memorized it after only looking at it for ten seconds at the most. Before, he never thought of himself as a person with a photographic memory. And after, he still never thought of himself as a person with a photographic memory. But the sequence of numbers came easily to him, as did the sounds of her fist slamming into the locker. It was a different locker in a different hallway, but those were only minor details. She was here and he had found her again. That was all that mattered in his unconscious mind. In his conscious mind, though, he was laughing.

"Again with you?" she asked wearily, turning to eye him. In turn, he glanced over her form as well. She grew like an inch, he noted with amusement. Honestly, he was relieved; she was still the same girl that he had fallen in love with.

But of course he didn't know that.

And for that matter, neither did she.

Because underneath his cocky manner and confident smirks, he was really a coward; when it came to his own feelings, at least. So throughout his senior year, he would figure out that she was a junior, he would learn her name, and he would learn various little details about her: how she loved the beach but hated the ocean. How she would eat green skittles, but not the red ones. How she wanted to be a reporter when she grew up. He would learn everything. And she would learn about him.

But she would never learn about his feelings because those were his and his alone, he reasoned. Some of his friends picked up on his feelings for her and encouraged him to ask her out—he told them all that he wouldn't and she was just a friend.

What. A. Lie.

It's girls that are supposed to have huge crushes on people, he thought often, sitting back in his chair during class and paying absolutely no regard to what the teacher was saying. Who listened to teachers anyways? he mused. Vaguely, yes, he realized that the information that his teacher was giving out to them would probably be on the test next class, but it didn't matter that much to him; though he didn't have the best grade possible, he was no where near failing the class. One test won't be too damaging, he thought to himself. Or quiz or whatever. But one quiz became a test and one test became two. As time passed, his steady B+ soon dropped down to a C, and barely one at that.

His parents were worried and they didn't know what to do. Their son was always a bright boy and now his grades are dropping, at the most crucial part of his school career? They just didn't know what to do. So they sat him down one day and laid it out in front of him: "Bring up your grade or there will be serious consequences." In all honesty, his parents didn't know what to do to him if he didn't bring up his grade, but the unfinished threat was enough of a wake-up call for him—for whatever reason, this girl was killing his grade and his chance to get into a good college. And he had only seen her, what, two times?

Enough, he thought, enough mooning over her. With that, he pushed all thoughts of her out of his head. I'll be nice if I see her, he decided, but I won't go around looking for her. Senior year is almost over and that should be my priority. And that way of thinking worked for him. In fact, he never saw her again until his graduation. She was the first face his eyes landed on when he looked out into the crowd with his funny hat and his diploma in hand. It was a strange feeling, to look into her eyes again after months of ignoring her. Not ignoring her really, but also no longer actively searching for her.

Did he realize his feelings for her then? Maybe. But also maybe not. Because it was then and there that he realized how much he really did care for her and how… mundane a simple friendship with her would be. But it was also then that he realized that the two of them could never be together in the way that he wanted; he was older than her, for one, and he was about to start his college career. She still had her senior year and he didn't even know if she already had a boyfriend or not. All he knew was her name and that she had locker problems.

Strangely enough, he was all right with that. Because now he had experienced his first love. And now, he was ready for the real life.

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