Merrin and Marcus

"The way he dresses, he could be a model. He pulls off our hideous school uniform so well. Sleeves rolled up, tie half undone. Pant hems dragging on the floor and shoes scuffed. Hair, styled, yet messy. Looking scruffy, but in a gallant, knightly kind of way.
Mr Popular.
But, when I passed him in the hall, our eyes connected for just a tiny second. And in that one, tiny second, I saw it all."

I blend in. Some might call me a 'wall-flower.' I watch others, as they are oblivious to me. There is only one person that I wish would notice me. Him. We are together, in a way, but, . . . apart.
And when he does notice me, I'm NOT ready for it.

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7. Entry 29

Entry 29

It’s been a month. A month since we talked in the library, on that rainy day. I find myself wanting to rewind time, and visit that day again. When he talked to me, and I talked to him. Helped him. Ah, nostalgia. What a wonderful, painful thing you are.

But, that problem fades in comparison to the great, big, ugly thing staring me in the face now.

I did something very embarrassing today.

Very embarrassing.

Public.

Speaking.

Those two words should never, ever be used in the same sentence ever again. I am not good a public speaker.

But he is.

I can write a speech perfectly fine, but when it comes to getting up and saying it in front of the class – our judgmental Advanced English class – my stomach spawns a cloud of butterflies. And then, sometimes, the butterflies decide to come out my mouth.

Let me describe the scene for you. In detail.

We spent all week on our speeches. We talked out the concept of identity, an easy topic for him. But not for me. In the end, I had my speech, and it was my turn to speak in front of the class. Knees knocking, I got to my feet and walked around the desks. I looked up, and saw all the pairs of eyes, focussed on me.

He’s watching me, too. His green eyes bright, mouth curved in a tiny smile.

A took a deep, shuddering breath, and opened my mouth to speak. All that came out was a few broken words before I clamped it shut again. The butterflies have migrated from my stomach to my throat. I breathed through my nose, trying to calm myself, feeling to teacher’s quizzical gaze boring into my back.

I start again.

I stumbled through the first paragraph. It’s halfway through the second one that I begin to hear the titters. They wormed their way into my ears. The blood drained from my face; and my voice petered out. Someone snorted.

My lips trembled, and I placed a hand to my mouth to conceal it. My palm-cards slipped out of my cold grasp and flutter to the floor. “Excuse me,” I whispered, making my way quickly to the door.

“Now, Merrin, wait!” the teacher calls after me. But I am not waiting.

First it’s just one laugh, but then I heard another. Then another. The whole class is laughed at me, the sounds following me down the hall as I run, reverberating off my eardrums, echoing in my mind.

I slipped around to the back of the school, near the bike racks, where I knew there would be nobody. Then I let the tears come. A horrible thought sprouted in my mind.

Was he laughing with them?

I curled up into a little ball. They’re not supposed to notice me. I’m supposed to be the one who watches them. I thought I was invisible, but now . . .

Caught up in my own thoughts and blinded by my own tears, I didn’t ever hear the footsteps until the feet were right in front of me.

“Merrin.”

I looked up.

What’s he doing here?

“Marcus?” I whispered.

Smiling, he dug in his pocket and pulled out a tissue, offering it to me. I took it, and scrubbed at my eyes. He sat down beside me, long legs flat on the icy concrete.

He looked at me. My lips are pressed together to prevent any more sobs from escaping. The butterflies have disappeared, as I knew they would when I left the classroom.

“Quite an exit you made.”

“I don’t like speaking in front of other people.”

“I can tell. You looks like you were about to throw up.”

“That’s because I was.”

He looked sideways at me, and laughed. The laugh cuts off quickly when he sees the new tears welling in my eyes. I sniffled.

“I-I’m sorry. I wasn’t laughing at you, just at what you said.” His eyes were apologetic, and he tugged at his half-undone tie nervously.

“Can I ask you something?” I said quietly.

“Sure.”

“Did you laugh with them? At me?” I looked at him this time. His face was slightly distorted because of my tears, the colour of his eyes refracting off the water. Rain started to patter down lightly, tapping on the roof overhang above us. He drew his feet up to his chest so his legs didn’t get wet.

“Marcus?”

“The answer to your question is ‘no’. I didn’t laugh.”

“Are you telling me what I want to hear?”

He grinned. “No.”

I sighed. “I don’t particularly want to go back there.”

He jumped up, long legs like springs, hair flying everywhere. He held his hand out to me, and before I knew it, he’d pulled me up off the cold ground. He grinned, eyes shining with the fire I knew, the fire I loved.

“Well, why should we go back?” He grinned.

I blinked. “But-but, we have to –”

He squeezed my hand and took a step out into the rain. I was left under the shelter, while the drops falling from the sky began to flatten his hair, and spot his shirt, turning it see-through. He lifted his face up to the clouds.

“The rain was falling outside, the first time we talked, remember?”

“Yeah.”

“So. You want to get out of here?”

I smiled. I didn’t think. “Yeah.”

Then I stepped out into the rain.

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