We have cross country in the woods near school for PE the next day and none of us are happy about it. It's freezing cold, we're forced to wear shorts, it's raining and we pretty much hate running. We run for about ten minutes before we're all exhausted and panting for breath and we start to walk but our teacher yells at us and we jog reluctantly.
"This is the worst day of my life." Alice says, miserably.
"I want death." Carrie says.
"I'm about to cry." Johanna adds.
"I'm already crying." I say and we all laugh at each other.
"Hey, Kaya!" I hear a voice call and all of a sudden my friends are sprinting away, giggling and nudging each other. I wonder why I can hear them whispering "I ship it! I ship it!" when I see that Alexander is hanging back to speak to me.
"Guys, do not start that!" I yell after them and then Alexander starts jogging beside me, a confused smile on his face.
"What's up?" he asks.
"They're just being stupid." I wave it off.
"Anyway, I was just thinking that maybe we should start the compilation off with Wonderwall instead of She's Electric because you know, everybody knows Wonderwall so they'd get the idea of the whole thing. And I was wondering if our teacher would be mad if we sang Fuckin' in the Bushes because I really wanna get that song in there. And..."
He keeps talking and talking, looking effortlessly perfect as he jogs along, chatting away to me about Oasis and I just force myself to breathe normally and not look like a red, messy, dying trainwreck. Eventually, we lose sight of our teacher and we start walking instead of jogging and I try not to collapse on the floor and cry. I'm not made for this whole running thing.
"What made you get so into Oasis?" I ask him, cutting him off mid sentence to try and get him to stop talking about Fuckin' in the Bushes because even though I've never heard the song, we are surrounded by bushes right now and it just feels wrong.
He pauses, shocked that I interrupted him but he answers anyway. "I just think they're really cool."
"So?" I ask.
He shrugs. "I like cool things and they're cool people and they make cool music." he pauses. "Is that like really superficial of me?"
I shake my head. "Nah. Or maybe it is, but a lot of things are superficial. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing."
He nods. "Right? I always think that. Like, I always think that everybody is at least a bit self centered, you know? I wanna say that everybody thinks about themselves too much, but I don't think it's too much. Everybody just thinks about themselves more than they'd care to admit."
"Yes, I totally agree, I always think that!" I say, so happy that somebody else thinks the same way as I do.
It occurs to me then that this is the first time we've ever really talked about anything besides the music assignment and I'm enjoying it and for a moment, I'm enjoying his company. I never disliked his company, but it was never anything special and now I'm starting to see why he has so many friends, why people like him so much.
We walk for a little while longer and talk some more and then I wonder what his friends must think of this and what my friends must think of this, seeing him and I walking along and chatting and laughing together. And then I realise that I can't see any of our friends or any of our class.
"Where is everyone?" I ask him.
Realisation dawns on his face and then he just shrugs. "They're probably just around the bend. We can jog and catch up with them."
So we try to, but there's still no sign of them. And then we realise we're not even on the cross country track anymore.
"I think we're lost." he decides.
I glare at him. "Really?"
He frowns. "Don't blame this on me, Kaya."
"You were the one who came along and started talking to me!" I protest.
"Yeah and you were the one who changed the subject and made me stop concentrating!" he hisses.
I just sigh heavily and we start trying to find our way back to the track but I think we're just going deeper into the forest. We don't say a word to each other, we just sigh heavily and hope the other one knows that we're really pissed off. It does stop raining but then it's just freezing cold. I sit down on a little slope, fed up.
"Where the hell are we?" I sigh, crossing my arms and looking around.
"If I knew that, we wouldn't be lost now would we?" he snaps.
I give him a hard stare. "There's no need for that."
"No need for what?"
"Your attitude." I tell him.
He narrows his eyes. "Please don't get all bitchy with me right now, it's your fault we're lost anyway."
"I have every right to be bitchy!" I raise my eyebrows at him. "I'm tired and hungry and I'm freezing."
"Don't expect me to give you my jacket."
I just roll my eyes and focus on not looking at him. If I had had this kind of attitude with him a few weeks ago, I'd have been mortified because that's just not how you act towards a popular person but I don't care anymore. We sit there in silence for a long time before I feel like the anger has kind of worn off.
"So when do you want to work on the song again?" he says, breaking the silence.
I shrug, still moody, but not with him anymore I guess. "Whenever."
"I'm having a party tomorrow night but you can come over during the day if you want." he suggests.
"Will you stop responding with words that end in 'ever'?"
I smile at him. "Yes."
He grins. "Thank you."
We both laugh, relieved that all that tension has gone.
"I'm sorry for being a bitch." I say, genuinely feeling a bit bad now.
"Thank you." he says.
I frown. "Are you gonna apologise too?"
"I don't think I need to." he says.
My eyes widen. "Are you being-"
"I'm kidding." he laughs, shaking his head. "You're crazy. And I'm sorry."
Our teacher finds us half an hour later. We're yelled at but other than that it's fine and we get reunited with the group and Alexander rushes towards his friends and I rush towards mine and I don't think about him again for the rest of the day.