A Stranger to Myself

"I feel like I don't even know myself. And if I don't know myself, how can anyone else ever know me?" Autumn has always felt alone, like an outcast. But when a girl comes into her life and reveals things about Autumn she never would have known otherwise, can Autumn learn to accept her differences she's so used to hating?


4. "Fast Friends"

She was in almost all of my classes. I saw her constantly throughout the day. We even had lunch together. And she sat with me. Even though we had the same classes, though, we couldn't sit together on account of the already assigned seats. But I found myself staring at her. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. How could someone be that gorgeous?


I wasn't the only one who was entranced by her. Every guy in the room turned their heads to her involuntarily. Popular girls looked her up and down and did their best to appear unimpressed but I could see the jealousy they felt. They basically turned green.


Carmen occasionally saw these things, but she didn't care. In fact, the only person she talked to all day was me. I didn't understand why. We barely knew each other. I watched several other people try to get to know her but she dismissed all of them, politely, of course. Sometimes she would catch me staring and when I tried to pretend I wasn't, I might see her smirk slightly before I moved my eyes away. Almost like she was proud.


At the end of the day I decided to walk home instead of taking the bus. I walked very fast away from the school the second the bell rang, for some reason finding myself frantic to get away from her. She made me uncomfortable. She was still a mystery to me in every way, so I didn't know how I was supposed to act around her. This was a good escape - she was going to take the bus, successfully being away from me. I just needed some time for myself.


It was a bad idea. I barely knew the way home on foot. But I was managing.


At least I was until  I heard her call out my name from over my shoulder.


"Autumn!" She exclaimed. I pretended like I didn't hear her and quickened my pace ever so slightly but it didn't ward her away, "What are you doing walking home?"


I grimaced when she made her way to my side. She was very close to me. More close than I would have expected.


"It's nice out." Was all that I could think to say.


She laughed slightly, one of the most appealing and adorable sounds I had ever heard in my life, "It's fifty degrees and the wind is blowing our hair into knots."


"I like the wind." That was a lie. I still didn't know how I should be acting, and it was stressing me out.


"Oh do you?"


"You think I'm lying?"


She smiled, and even though I wasn't looking at her, I could literally feel it, "No, no. Hey, want to come over to my place when we get back?"


I tensed up, wondering if I could lie about this, "What makes you so sure we live near each other?"


She scoffed, "We have the same bus stop, idiot."


Good one. I thought to myself, feeling my cheeks light up with a blush. Well, now I just couldn't lie again, it would seem obvious that I was trying to avoid her.


Forcing a laugh I responded, "You got me there. Okay, sure. I'll go. I have homework to do though..."


"We have all the same classes, silly. Which means all the same homework."


I wondered if this would lead to us spending time together after school everyday, because if we really wanted to, we could do our homework with one another and it wouldn't seem forced at all. But I didn't want that. She was too perfect. Why was she spending time with me?


"Okay. We can do it together."


"Great." She linked her arm with mine, and it took all of my effort to keep myself from jumping in surprise, "I think we're going to be really fast friends."


"Fast friends". Did I want that? Or would I not let myself believe that could even happen?


Or did I maybe want more than that?


I felt confusion overwhelm me at those thoughts. I didn't like her in that way. I wasn't even sure if I liked her as a friend. But was that just because I thought she was out of my league?


I shook my head back and forth in an attempt to get those thoughts out of it.


It didn't work.



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