She looked up, feeling petulant, and pouted at Alex. "I'm bored."

"Do something," he replied fleetingly, busily sketching in his notebook.

"I've got nothing to do," she replied.

"Well, Clara, I suggest you find something."

Right, she thought. She glanced covertly around the library, making sure to look forward before she looked to her side. He sat there, looking straight ahead, but turning and smiling when he felt her eyes on him.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey, Noah," she beamed. Turning back to Alex, she sobered.

"Write," Alex said.

Curiously, she found her own notebook, turned to a clean page, and took out a pencil. "Write what?"

"A poem," he said, pronouncing 'poem' oddly. Noah laughed and Clara's head twitched in his direction.

"About what?"

"About…" Alex trailed off, looking around the library. "Noah."

Been there, done that, thought Clara. "Okay," she replied.

And she wrote.

three years and days less

i see him every day

a pale star against a dark sky

walking all along his way

he stands and people see

he speaks and people hear

and what i wouldn't give

if to him I'd be near

he smiles and the light shines

i bask in its glow

his mind alone is cause for wonder

men's minds should not think so

the depth, his depth, astounds me

each time i see his face

and every time he passes by

i'm 'gain struck by his great grace

intelligence and wit

and everything at once

he applies them with precision

in all his skillful jaunts

his morals are undaunted

he somehow seems still pure

forgive me if it's unwelcome

but please, sir, a little more?

And then, seconds after she'd scrolled her question mark, she glanced over. She worked best on a computer, and her poem held a factor of sentimentality she somewhat disliked, but it conveyed her feelings properly. Noah looked up and smiled at her again.

When she looked back, down at her notebook, her poem was gone.

Immediately her head snapped up, and, surely enough, Alex held the paper in his hands, eyebrows raised and mouth slightly moving.

"Give me that," she hissed.

"Wow," he replied. "This is good."

"Give me that!" she hissed more loudly.

"Let me finish," he murmured.

She dove for the paper across the table, failing to reclaim it but claiming the attention of the librarian, who strode over quickly.

"What is going on?" she asked I her cruel staccato voice.

"Clara's trying to steal my paper," appealed Alex with wide and innocent eyes.

"Stop it," the librarian commanded before striding away.

Alex looked up, laughing silently. "I didn't know," he said, and his voice was gentler than she had expected it to be.

"Yep," she whispered sadly.

"Does he?" Alex whispered back.

Her eyes widened in horror. "Hell no."

"He should."

"He'd never talk to me again." She felt her eyes grow sad and she shrugged her shoulders helplessly.

"I think he would." Alex looked empathetic and encouraging, and Clara had to look away.

"Can we not talk about this?" she asked, and the bell rang.

"Alright," he replied, and they left together.

She forgot to retrieve the poem.

Happily, she had to quell herself from skipping into the lunchroom. She put her purse on the table and chirped a cheery hello to two of her friends seated there.

"Hey," replied Tobey. "Yo," said Anna.

"I am having the best day. In Spanish, Abby made pie and it was so good and then I got a perfect on the unit test and then-" A tap on the shoulder cut her off.

She looked up, right into Noah's sky-blue eyes. "Hey!" she exclaimed. "What's up?"

A small line appeared between his eyebrows, and her own forehead creased with concern. He reached into her pocket and a feeling of anticipation overcame Clara even before he pulled out her poem.

I'm going to kill Alex, she thought.

And then they were sitting side by side on a bench outside and she didn't remember walking there.

"So," he said.

"So," she intoned.

He sighed, and white vapor erupted from between his lips. Snow fell onto his light hair and melted, rendering it with a slicked-down look.

"That's true?" he asked quietly.

"It's art," she replied self-deprecatingly.

"It was good."


He sighed again. "Why didn't you tell me?"

She smiled at him, a bittersweet thing, and said, "So you could never talk to me again?"

"I wouldn't have done that," he said.

"What would you have done?" she asked, tentative, wary.

"I can't say for sure." He paused. "Maybe something like this," he finished, and kissed her, worth a thousand words and better than a thousand poems could ever describe.