I race after him, turning corner after corner until I’m in the male half of the dorms, music filtering out from under doors and raucous laughter along with the sound of machine gun fire and other violent game noises.
I bang on his door.
“Leo?!” I keep banging, determined to, if nothing else, annoy him into opening the door. “Leo please open the door.”
It opens so suddenly I nearly fall inwards.
He glares, his hand on the door tight and tense.
“What do you want, Rose?”
The amount of hurt and pain in that sentence, as well as the anger, almost brings tears to my eyes.
“Can I come in?” I ask.
I half expect him to slam the door shut.
By the look on his face, he’s thinking about it but thankfully decides to let me in, pushing the door open before turning and sitting on his bed.
I shut the door behind me and hover awkwardly. I’ve been in his room so many times over the years but it’s never felt so uncomfortable before.
Now I’m here, I don’t know what to say. How much did he see?
“If you’ve come to try and let me down gently, can you just do it already?” He asks, rubbing the space between his brows, laid out on his bed and staring at the ceiling.
There’s a single glow in the dark star up there, I’d sneaked in one day and stuck it to his ceiling.
I’d forgotten about it till now.
“I’ve just come to explain Leo. Clearly we’re both reading things wrong and-”
“What could I possibly be reading wrong?!” He shouts suddenly making me jump. He swings his legs over his bed violently, resting his elbows on his knees and turning his eyes on me. In this light, with fury glinting in his eyes, they look a gas flame blue.
“You pick him for hand to hand combat, you two have the time of your lives rolling around and flirting and then you go on a date and kiss goodnight. What have I read wrong Rose?!”
“Everything. I went with Alex because I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to beat him up and you were with Barbie. In English he told me if I went on one date with him and still disliked him, he’d leave us both alone. I thought that was fair enough. It lasted twenty minutes before I stormed away but he followed me and changed the terms of our agreement. One kiss and then he’d leave us alone. You just have bad timing.” I accused folding my arms.
He rubs his hands through his hair.
I nod vehemently.
“Yes! And frankly I’m kind of insulted you think I’d have such bad taste.”
A small smile lights his face and he stands up with a sigh, coming to stand in front of me.
“I don’t like Luce.” He says quietly and I look down, realising how much my hatred of the girl who’s recently taken a shine to him reveals about me.
“I don’t know, with you and Alex I was just pleased someone liked me that way.”
“So you honestly don’t like Barbie?”
“No I don’t like Barbie. Um, why Barbie?”
“She’s blonde, tan, pink, fake and I hate her. Barbie.”
He laughs and grabs me in a hug, holding me tight and I close my eyes.
This time, I make myself take note of him, the sturdy shoulders, strong chest, the slight stubble I can feel against my cheek and his wavy hair tickling my nose.
“I half expect Rin to jump out somewhere and make a comment.” He laughs softly into my ear.
I pull back and laugh myself.
“It’s like she has no filter between her brain and her mouth.”
He chuckles, ending in a sigh as he drops his arms from around me and steps back.
“I need to get in the shower before all the other boys steam it all up.” He winces, pulling a face. “You don’t want to know what kind of state it’s in if you get in last.”
I laugh and step back, opening the door behind me.
“Well have fun, see you tomorrow Leo.”
He smiles, eyes warm and back to their normal green.
I close the door behind me, feeling suddenly sad. As if I shut half of myself on the other side, one lung, half my brain and half my heart, leaving me slightly breathless and confused.
I can’t lie to myself any more, it isn’t working.
I like Leo.
And I am totally and utterly screwed.