She tried not to tap her pencil. Or twirl her hair. Or bite her lower lip. All her ticks, all the signs she was nervous, yet she couldn’t help herself.
He was sitting right there. Right there. The next table over.
She was suppose to be studying for her Diff-E-Q final (Differential Equations). She was suppose to be reviewing her notes, redo-ing past assignments, her normal studying routine.
But she couldn’t, because he sat there, not ten feet away from her.
She knew this was stupid. She could just go talk to him. He was just a guy.
Oh, who the fuck was she trying to kid. He wasn’t “just a guy.” He was the guy. Big man on campus. The one everyone loves. Well, loved until the final game of the season, when he missed the free throw.
In a sports school, if you don’t win, you’re less than nothing. There was no entourage now. No adoring fans. He was in the library like her, studying. Or reading. She wasn’t quite sure why he was there.
Maybe he wasn’t as arrogant as he seemed. Maybe he was just a guy. Or maybe that one shot brought him back down to the ranks of the rabble.
Either way, this was her chance to try.
She could just go over and ask for a pencil, or a piece of paper, or…
Shit, anything she thought of would sound so stupid. He would see right through her rouse.
She could just go up, say hi, ask for an autograph? No, she didn’t want an autograph.
What did she want?
For some reason, she wanted to make him feel better. It seemed like he was… deflated as of late. Who wouldn’t be after that?
She wanted him to feel better. But why? Did it matter?
It could be she missed the smile in his eyes, the one time their paths had crossed, when they both took Microeconomics sophomore year. He needed notes; she always ended up sitting in front of him. She liked seeing his eyes that way, when he asked to photocopy her notebook after class that one day. She wanted to see those bright smiling eyes again, even if for a moment.
Okay, I can do this, she thought. I can do this… as soon as she finished going over one section of her notes. She just needed to finish the section. Just two more pages. Then she would take a break. Say hi while sipping some water. Strike up a conversation. Try to make him feel better.
She had a plan. And she was almost finished. Almost done reading.
But then he rustled. He had been engrossed in his book, a small paperback whose title she couldn’t glimpse. Within three breaths, his book was in his bag, he had stood up, and walked out the door.
So stupid, so stupid to have waited. Why did she wait? Why did she wait?
Deflated, she packed away her things as well. She’d already studied more than she planned, stayed in the library past the time she thought she would.
It was well after dinner. The Dining Hall would be closed. She’d need to order delivery.
Or maybe she’d walk down to the main strip, take in the cool night air (at least she hoped it was cool; the day had been so warm, humid). The walking would be good, a break from all the thinking, remembering. Maybe her brain would hurt a little less.
And as she walked out of the library, a small grin on her face, she saw him, seated under a nearby tree, a soft breeze rustling the leaves above him.
As she walked out of the library, a small grin on her face, he looked up from his book. She grew her smile for him. He gave her a slight one in return.
She walked out of the library, walked over to him, sat down, re-introduced herself, and smiled.
Categorised as: Gen Fiction
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