I walked into school and sighed as I glanced up at the poster hanging across the entrance. It read; "Walden High Year 12 Formal."
Well there's no way I'm going to that, I thought to myself as I flicked my long hair out of my eyes. It fell back a moment later. The school was pretty much deserted considering it was only 7 am. I liked to arrive early...getting out of the house was a priority for me and the school welcomed me with open arms. The silent atmosphere was almost peaceful and I found myself daydreaming as I stood beneath the ominous sign. All of a sudden, a strong hand clamped down on my shoulder, breaking me out of my dreamlike state and making me shriek in surprise.
"Sorry," Christopher said solemnly but then chuckled immediately afterwards.
I turned to face him, my hair covering my eyes almost completely. He seemed uncertain for a moment, like he was trying to decide something very difficult. After pausing, he leaned forward and tucked the errant strand of hair behind my ear. Though the movement itself was quick and fluid, his hand brushed intimately against my neck and his eyes glowed. I shivered involuntarily and then blushed, hoping he hadn't noticed.
"You're blushing," he noted, tilting his head, "why?"
"No reason," I said quickly, blushing further.
His eyes were so quizzical, unsure of why I was so embarrassed but I refused to give in, moving my eyes to the floor and away from his determined expression.
"I was meaning to ask you something...you distracted me. You have to stop that."
I looked up at him then and there was something disturbing in his eyes, that intrusive knowledge that he seemed to have of me and my life. This time, I shuddered.
"Why were you looking so solemn before?" He asked softly.
I could barely remember anything before the moment he'd touched me.
“Oh lord, what is happening to me?” I asked myself.
"When you were looking up at the sign...you looked so...hopeless," he described, staring off into the distance, puzzling over my facial expression no doubt.
"I was thinking of how I'll never get to attend a formal," I blurted out, regretting it instantly.
I was unable to stay silent though. He just made me feel safe. I was afraid that he would unravel my secrets but apparently I wasn’t afraid to open up and show him my scars. His eyes filled with the deepest emotion and he reached out to me, taking my hand in his. I pulled away automatically, feeling the contact was too intimate for a teacher and his student. He realised himself and took a step back too, eyebrows furrowing.
"I didn't mean to..." He started.
"It's fine," I said, looking past him.
It wasn’t fine. Something dangerous between us was escalating. I wanted to know what it was. I wanted to know what it felt like to him. I wanted to run my forefinger across his bottom lip.
“Oh crap,” I swore inwardly, “why am I thinking about his bottom lip?”
He sighed loudly and I wondered at the emotion behind it.
"Eva," he said determinedly, "I want you to go."
I looked back at him, eyes hardening.
"I don't have any reason to go to it. I'm not going to stand in the corner and watch it all happen from afar. I don’t know why you’d care anyway."
My tone sounded angry, even to me. I didn’t mean to lash out but it wasn’t his place to tell me what he “wanted” me to do in my personal life.
"So don't," he urged, "join in. I care because you’re missing out on so much."
I laughed darkly and then abruptly spun on my heel. As I glided down the corridor, I felt his hand grab my wrist and he whirled me around to face him, his eyes flaring. I glared at his hand on my arm and he let go quickly, staring at his own hand for a moment in confusion.
"What is so funny Eva? Why is it so ridiculous that you should join in?" He questioned, his face so intent on my answer.
I smiled sadly and brushed my hair from my face again.
"They don't want me to. I'm an outsider. That's just the way it is," I spoke weakly, as my throat began to thicken.
Don't cry. Don't cry. Don’t cry, I chanted to myself. I didn’t want to be the kind of girl who let things get to her but ever since I had met Christopher, I had felt these emotions increasing. I’d tried not to cry too often in the past. I’d give in to it when I was on my own but I made a rule of not succumbing to my tears in front of others. It was like a wall had been brought down inside me when I met Christopher. Suddenly all those tears were threating to overflow like some kind of vicious reminder that I couldn’t keep sending them away.
"Come," he said and it was an order.
"I-" I attempted to protest.
"No excuses," he cut me off, "I want you there."
His voice wrapped around those words like a caress and I visibly jolted.
"You'll be there?"
He smiled at me, amused.
"Of course, it is mandatory for teachers to attend but I have a reason to want to attend now," he said and he dragged the back of his hand slowly down my cheekbone.
I inhaled quickly, holding my breath until his hand left my face. No one had ever been so tender to me. Nothing had ever felt so electric. Butterflies played in my stomach and I felt the beginnings of lust pooling.
"I have to go," I said abruptly, turning and fleeing before he could stop me.
I breathed out deeply as the fresh air hit me, closing my eyes for a second just to appreciate the moment. I was scared half to death but exhilarated and enchanted. I hadn't imagined it...I couldn't have. There was something between us...and he felt it. He wanted me to be there…so I would be there, if only to figure out what was happening. I was changing and I didn’t know if I could handle it but I knew without a doubt that I had to figure out what I was changing into and why. The why involved Christopher so that meant I had to spend more time with him. I had to go to the damn formal.