Subtly Unsubtle

by Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I looked around to watch her smile. I haven’t talked to her; but I wish I had the courage to simply go up to her and say hello. She’s never sad or angry; I don’t know how she manages to always be happy. I wish I could be like her.

I won’t lie, I do like her.

“You’re making it very obvious that you like her,” Andrew whispered. “Say hi already.”

“I can’t say hi,” I say as softly as possible. ” I wouldn’t know what to say to her.”

Andrew rolls his eyes.

“Follow my lead,” he says getting up from his desk and walking over to Sarah.

“Hello,” I hear him say. “How are you?”

“Hi,” I turn to see Janice respond; she was standing next to Sarah’s desk. “May we help you with something?”

“Yes, actually I was wondering whether you can help me out with some of the things we’re learning in class?” Andrew asked, as politely as I have ever heard him talk.

“Oh, well, I’m having some difficulty with this subject as well,” Janice said. “Sarah is helping me out, math has never been my favorite subject to study.”

“Sarah,” Andrew said looking at her. “Can you help me out then?”

“Meet us in the library today at three,” Sarah said smiling. “Don’t be late.”

It was then that the professor walked in; the class began to settle down and Andrew sat in the desk next to me. He gave me a wink and the thumbs up, annoyed at his ease, I rolled my eyes.

It was ten to three when we arrived in the library. Sarah and Janice were at the main desk waiting to get a study room. Andrew nudge me to keep walking. My knees felt wobbly as Sarah turned and spotted us.

“You guys are early,” she said slightly smiling. “I thought you’d be late.”

I felt like answering, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything that would sound intelligent or funny even. Andrew was quicker though.

“That test that’s coming will be tough,” he said with such an ease that made me want to punch him. “We need all the help we can get.”

Now that was a lie, math had always been my specialty and Andrew didn’t need the help. He was perfectly fine with his B.

The woman gave Janice the key to the room and we headed up the stairs. Janice, who until now had ignored us, turned to smile at us and playfully punched Andrew on the shoulder.

“That class is such a bore,” she said. “I wish my major didn’t need math.”

“Ha,” Sarah said. “You only took it this semester because you knew I’d be taking it and I would most likely help you pass.”

Sarah laughed at Janice’s pretend- shocked face.

“By the way, I’m very sorry,” she added turning to me and holding out her hand. “I’m Sarah and you are?”

“Oh,” I said and managed to chuckle. “I’m Eric.”

“Oh, yeah!” Andrew exclaimed. “I totally forgot, sorry Eric, my bad.”

I knew he did this on purpose, but I am grateful that she talked to me.

“Very bad manners Eric,” she said jokingly. “Anyway our room the door to the right, I’ll be right back.”

“We know where it is, mother,” said Janice sarcastically.

I smiled, but I couldn’t help wondering where she was going. Without thinking, I said “Can I go with you?”

Janice burst out laughing, while Sarah’s cheeks turned a slight pink.

“No, you can’t,” she said holding back a chuckle. “I’m going to the ladies room.”

“Oh,” I said, I could feel my ears turning a bright red and turned quickly so she wouldn’t see my face turn red as well. “We’ll be waiting then.”

Janice walked in front of us, laughing and giggling. She unlocked the door and waited until Andrew and I were inside before she spoke.

“You have a crush on Sarah, don’t you?,” she asked in a half- joking tone.

I didn’t respond, but just shook my head. Janice, however, smiled widely. I saw her eyes look towards Andrew, who had nodded his head behind me.

“You suck at lying,” she said. “And even if you didn’t I already knew.”

I turned to look quickly at Andrew, half accusingly, half questioning.

“I didn’t tell,” he said holding up his hands. “I told you, you were making it obvious.”

“Did she notice?” I asked quickly.

“She wouldn’t notice anything of the sort,” Janice said. “She’s quick minded about everything except anything to do with gushy romance or relationships or even guys for that matter.”

“Wow,” Andrew said. “Why is that?

“Well, she fell deeply in love with this one guy,” she said, I noticed her eyes zone off. ” He really ripped her heart it, more like shred it.”

I couldn’t help, but feel protective of her. She’s so sweet and kind, why any body would do that is beyond me.

“Is she alright?” I asked too quickly that the words became a slur.

“She’s happy now,” Janice said. “She’s picking up the pieces and moving on.”

I was going to ask for details, but the door opened and Sarah walked in.

“Why are you guys still standing?” she asked, looking around the room confused. “You haven’t even set your stuff down.”

“We were waiting for you,” said Andrew smoothly.

Sarah’s cheeks turned slightly pink, “Well, I’m here. Let’s get to work.”

We did the assigned homework; Sarah was more like a mother, looking over her young ones than a teacher. She would take her time to explain every thing and make sure we understood before moving on. I couldn’t help but pretend that I misunderstood a couple of questions so she could simply sit by my side and talk to me. It was nearly three hours later when we had finally finished.

“I’m going to take the key back downstairs,” she said, grabbing her bag and rushing out the door before anyone could stop her.

Andrew taking the hint said and heading towards the door, “Hey, you guys mind waiting for me, I need to see if the book I asked for is in.”

“Yeah, no problem,” Sarah said completely oblivious to what had occurred.

“Do you feel comfortable for next week’s test?” Sarah asked me as she placed her notebook and pencils inside her bag.

“Yes, ” I simply said. “It feels like it’ll be a piece of cake, but I don’t want to jinx it.”

“Yes, I hope everyone does well,” she said. “So, is there anything in particular you would like to ask me?”

I could feel my heart rate quicken. Janice said she didn’t notice anything, maybe she could have, after all Andrew did say I was being obvious.

“No,” I said. “I feel comfortable with the subject, it was few things that I didn’t understand.”

“I wasn’t talking about math,” Sarah said, zipping her bag. She turned to look at me. I couldn’t help but notice her honey colored eyes. She was shorter than me, but the look she gave me made my knees feel wobbly again.

“Oh, well no,” I said as calmly as possible.

“Well,” Sarah began. “Then please explain why a straight A student feels the need to come ask me questions about a subject he fully understand?”

“What do you mean?” I said, but my voice did not hide my nervousness.

“I sit diagonally from you, I saw you grades for the past tests,” she said, her tone was not accusing more of questioning.

“Oh, well,” I said, trying to come up with an excuse as fast as I could. “Andrew didn’t want me to tutor him and he invited me along. That was a very good thing, because I wasn’t paying much attention lately.”

“Ah, I see,” said Sarah smiling. She picked up her bag and nodded towards the door. I let her go first and she whispered a soft thank you, that was not meant for me to hear.

“You’re welcome,” I said, she looked at me and smiled wider.

We didn’t see neither Andrew nor Janice. If I know Andrew, he’s probably watching us now, either way I still texted him to hurry up. I’ll bet anything that Janice is with him though. I glanced around the library, but I couldn’t find them anywhere near the entrance.

“That’s odd,” Sarah said. “Should we wait for them?”

“I texted Andrew, but I think his phone is off,” I said, staring at my phone.

I texted Janice,” Sarah said, taking out her phone. “She hasn’t returned my text yet. Maybe she has no service.”

“Are you planning to go anywhere after this?” I asked. I know it wasn’t the right moment, but I have to try. Better now than later.

“No,” said Sarah. “I think I’m going to head home.”

“Would you like to go somewhere to get something to eat?”

Sarah stopped looking around the library and turned to look at me. Her questioning eyes bore into mine. I could almost see the thoughts running through her mind.

“Well, I guess that would be all right,” she said, leading the way out of the library. “You know you could have asked me to dinner someday during class. You really aren’t subtle.”

She winked and smiled at me as my face turned really red.

“I’ll try that next time,” I said, smiling and catching up to walk beside her.

3 Responses
  • William
    January 7, 2010

    What a sweet little couple. Nice story.

    -Murazrai from Xanga

  • Brent Allard
    January 10, 2010

    Nice story. Very real characters! I like the narrator’s awkwardness.

  • RestlessButterfly
    January 23, 2010

    Intense story.

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