Falling For You
I walked into science class and sat down at the lab table that I shared with Dana. The late bell rang a few moments later, and she had not come in. I realized this was the fifth day that she had not been present. I thought for a second…..she couldn’t be sick, I had seen her in the hallway the day before. She must have changed schedules. Oh, well.
I broke out of thought as the teacher began to explain our lab for the day. She then handed out everything we’d need. When she got to me, she realized I had no lab partner. "Harry, why don’t you come work with Alura?" she said to a guy in the back of the class. He didn’t have a partner anymore either.
Harry sat down next to me. Ugh. *Harry*. I recognized him now. I had met him once before—a friend of a friend sort of thing. What a typical *guy*. He had light brown hair and blue eyes. Other than the eyes, he wasn’t really that cute. He would be to most girls, but I like the unconventional type of cute. "Hey", he nodded to me. I gave a weak smile. Then I quickly took out my calendar--when do we switch seats again?
A few weeks later, we still hadn’t switched seats. I walked into science class again, trying not to trip on my long blue skirt. "Hello," greeted Harry. "Hi," I replied, sitting down. I took out my little calendar book and opened it to the current month. I noticed Harry was looking at it. "You watch ‘Dark Angel’?" he asked me. "Yes," I said, "it’s my second favorite show." "What’s your favorite?" "The X-Files." "Oh yeah, you wear that shirt all the time." "Uh huh." Then we lapsed into silence. I don’t know why, but these little conversations really annoyed me sometimes.
Harry started to talk about "Dark Angel". Apparently, he liked it, too, and a moment later I could see why. He started to talk about the young woman who played the main part. Obviously he liked the show because the main character was hot. *I’m a girl* I wanted to say to him. *I don’t care how another woman looks*.
Class started then. Harry would help me out with things I didn’t quite understand the first time around, but mostly I helped him. I didn’t really feel like it, but what choice did I have? He wouldn’t stop asking questions. I sighed. At least if I make him understand what he’s doing, he won’t cheat off of my answers again.
"Come on, we have to pick up Braeline before we go!" I shouted up the stairs to my father. Braeline was my best friend. My mother was making me to go this teen religious group thing, and I asked Braeline to go with me. I didn’t want to hang with a bunch of Christian kids from my school once a week by myself. She agreed. But if we didn’t leave then, we’d be late for the first meeting. My father hurried down the stairs and we got into the car.
Seven minutes later, Braeline and I arrived at the church. We walked up the stairs and looked around. There were twenty or so kids there, and I didn’t know any of them. I suppose I’d seen them around before, but I knew no names because almost all of them were older than me. Braeline and I spotted the man who ran the group, and we gave him the registration forms. We sat down and began to chat about our weekend.
Two minutes later, I heard someone walk up the steps. A guy about our age came in. he was taller than me, and had brown hair. Wait a minute, it can’t be--
"No way, you are so not here!" I said to Harry. Of all the places in the world, of all the bad luck.....He smiled at us. He then handed his registration form to the man and joined us. "Umm, Braeline, this is Harry. He’s the one in my science class. This is my friend Braeline." I said. They greeted each other. Braeline knew who he was--I had complained to her many times about having him as a lab partner.
The meeting started then. We talked some and played volleyball. I thought this was odd, but I just shrugged it off. An hour and a half later, it was over. Braeline said good-bye to Harry. I just waved. The moment we had stepped outside, Braeline giggled loudly. “Oh my god, he is soooo cute!" "Who?" I asked. She continued to laugh. "No…." I said disbelievingly. "Please don’t tell me you like him…." She nodded. "Ugh! Braeline!” I hit her jokingly on the arm. "How can you like him? He’s such a jerk."
She shrugged. "You’ll have to tell me every detail of science class from now on, since I don’t go to your school," she said to me. I sighed and shook my head. "You’re crazy, you know that?"
Homecoming was quickly approaching. I wasn’t going with anyone. I had asked a friend, but I hadn’t really expected him to go with me. He wasn’t really into dating and that sort of stuff. I was fine with this. Many of my friends didn’t have dates. I wasn’t sure what to expect there, but I guess I would find out soon enough.
At last, Homecoming night arrived. I had spent the past two days looking for a dress. I hated clothes shopping because it was hard to find a dress that fit me *and* one that I liked. My mother and other best friend, Robyn, had come with me. Robyn was one of my two friends who had a date--her boyfriend. Finally I found the perfect dress, according to my mother. It was velvety black, sleeveless with a scoop neck. There was no design on it; it was plain but elegant. I had bought a new silver necklace to go with it.
That evening, I took a shower and dried my hair. Then my mother put it up in curls for me. I had decided it would look best down. While the curlers were setting, I did my makeup. I had bought new colors to do a black and brown eye color scheme. It turned out quite well. I put on my dress and took to curlers out. I thought I looked pretty good.
Slipping on my black dress sandals, I went downstairs. My mother insisted on taking a few pictures of me. I figured I’d at least look better than when I did for last year’s formal dance. It’s amazing how much half a year can change.
And so I arrived at school. I found my friends quickly, as they were close to the door. I talked to them for a bit. Then Harry walked in with his date. I knew his date was just a friend, and nothing was serious between them. Unfortunately, I would have to try to be near Harry as much as possible, because Braeline had made me promise I’d keep tabs on him. I was chatting with one of my friends about our nails. She had gotten hers done for the dance. "They’re really long," I commented. "Yeah," she smiled, and she kind of clawed my arm. I laughed and shivered as chills went down my spine.
"Are you cold?" someone asked. I turned around. Harry was standing there. "No, I’m fine. She just scratched me on the arm," I replied, nodding to my friend. "Oh," he said, then walked away. This was odd. It could have just been my imagination, but I thought I caught him looking at me throughout the dance.
The night ended. I went home, exhausted and with aching feet. I called Braeline the moment my shoes were off and told her about the dance. She kind of bristled at the fact that he had a date, but I assured her that they were only friends. Soon after that, I fell into a deep sleep, glad the night was over.
The next few months passed by uneventfully. Braeline and I continued to go to the religious group, where we came to know Harry better. He was into rock bands, sports, drumming….you know, guy stuff. He knew by then some of our favorite groups, although he kept calling Savage Garden "Sound Garden". He’d always ask me how Scully and Mulder were.
He seemed to be a real show-off in gym class. He was on my team once, and the other girls on the team called him a ball hog. I didn’t really care. Gym class was just another annoyance to me. He could seem nice and all on a regular basis, but with his friends he was a total jerk. I still didn’t understand what Braeline saw in him.
He would talk to me in gym, too. While we were playing, he’d shout out tips, which of course broke my concentration, and I did worse than before. It made me nervous to know that anyone at all was paying attention to how I played. I really hate being the center of things when it comes to sports or singing.
It was the middle of winter when the religious group decided to go on a snow-tubing trip. Braeline, Harry, Samantha (our friend) and I were all going. On the morning of, my mother drove Braeline and me to the school from which we would be leaving. We met up with Harry, and Samantha soon joined us. He leader told us all to pair up with a buddy. "I know who mine is!" said Harry, jumping next to Samantha. Braeline and I were automatically partners. She pulled me aside, looking hurt. I tried to reassure her, "He just picked Samantha because he knows you and I are best friends." She nodded, but I knew she didn’t believe me.
The trip there was silent—everyone was half asleep. We drove up into a mountain. This was interesting to me. The only time I’d ever even seen a mountain was when Braeline and I went to the Savage Garden concert in Pennsylvania. I have no idea were we are now. It was fun to scare Braeline, as she was terrified of heights.
We pulled on our gloves, hats, and boots and entered the lodge, where we received our tags. Then we walked to the snow-covered hill and grabbed tubes. The lines were a bit long, but it was okay. I went down by myself; so did Harry. Samantha and Braeline went together.
The second time around, Braeline still didn’t want to go by herself, but the rest of us did. Samantha and I had tears streaming down our faces because we were laughing so hard as Harry managed to convince Braeline to go down by herself. We laughed even more when Harry let a little kid beat him up while we were waiting to go down.
After a few more go’s, the lines were too long, and we were too cold, so we headed back to the bus. Harry listened to music, Samantha and Braeline went to the lodge for food, and I checked out Harry’s CD’s. We left a few hours later, and had a good conversation over dinner at a rest stop. It happened to be the rest stop that we had stopped at, lost, on the way home from the Savage Garden concert.
Braeline fell asleep on the way home. I enjoyed the nighttime ride home, just thinking and still laughing about the trip. Then my thoughts turned to Harry. I guess he wasn’t as bad as I thought he was. I began to remember how cold I was to him in the previous months, and I started to feel really guilty. That’s why, at the next religious meeting, I told him I was sorry.
Life was back to normal. I had a new lab partner, and I found myself missing Harry always there. I still talked to him in gym, though. He still gave me tips. I would always laugh at him, which still messed me up. One of my friends noticed this, and she said I was flirting with him. "I am not! I don’t even like him that much!" I protested loudly. "The why do you laugh every time he says something to you?" she asked. "I don’t always laugh!" I retorted. She wasn’t convinced. It took her quite a few weeks to let that one die down.
I endlessly thought about what she said to me. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. She wasn’t a very good friend, and she *was* sort of a gossip. Why do I let her get to me? And why does everything seem to remind me of Harry? That’s only happened a few times before, and that’s when--
Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. This is *not* what it seems. It can’t be. It’s impossible. It’s...it’s...true! Oh my goodness, it’s true! I have to call Braeline. But how do I tell her? How will she react? It doesn’t matter, she has to know.
"Braeline? It’s me." "Hey, what’s wrong?" "Nothing really, it’s just...I have something to tell you." "What is it?" "Well, it seems that through a twisted sort of events, I…I like Harry." Silence. "And I’m really sorry, because I know you like him and all, but I don’t know how it happened." "It’s okay, actually," she said, "because I don’t like him as much anymore. I still like him as a friend, but I kind of have a crush on this guy at my school now." Whew. "Good, I’m glad. Oh, but now what will I do? You know I get really shy around guys when I like them. Here we go again," I said.
True to my prediction, I did shy away from Harry. For some odd reason he seemed to not hang around me as much anyway. His locker happened to be right next another one of my friend’s locker. I talk to her every morning; therefore I see Harry every morning. Sometimes I say hello to him, but most of the time I can’t even look at him. I try to act normal at religious meetings, but it’s hard, especially when he hugs Braeline and me goodbye.
I thought of what had happened the last time I liked a guy. I told him how I felt, and it had gone horrible. "But this is different," I thought to myself. "This is a completely different person and situation." Harry was all I thought about. I was driving myself crazy with these feelings all bottled up inside of me. Some decent poems came out of it, but there was no way to rid myself of emotion that was overtaking my mind. It was like a drug, a love drug in my veins, or lack thereof.
I don’t know why love always gets to me. It seems so important and so vital, although I can’t talk about it to others for the risk of sounding stupid. I always get caught up in my emotions, sometimes to the point of quiet insanity (if there is such a thing). I knew what I had to do—I had to tell Harry how I felt. I know I’m risking my pride and feelings and heart, but I just have to make something move. I don’t even care if he likes me anymore, I just want to move on or get over him.
It was these feelings that persuaded me to write Harry a short note telling him how I felt. It was the last religious meeting, aside from the end-of-the-year trip. He had just hugged Braeline and me goodbye when I said, "Harry, wait a sec." Braeline smiled to herself and went out the door—she knew what I was doing. "I wrote you a note," I said, handing the letter to him. He looked at it, puzzled, and asked, "What does it say?" "It says what I cannot tell you in person," I answered quickly before running out the door.
School was coming to an end. Finals had finished the day before. Gym class was over, so during that period we all sat on the bleachers and had a study hall. I had nothing to do, so I sat away from the others and read a book. Twenty minutes into the period, Harry appeared next to me "Hi," I greeted him, setting aside my book. We had not spoken since I had given him the letter. "Hey," he responded. "I read your letter." He didn’t look at me. "This much I figured," I said, hiding a smile. "You asked me to tell you, umm, how I feel." I nodded, not trusting myself to say anything. "I don’t like you the way you like me," he said, his eyes finally meeting mine. "I’m sorry to be so blunt about it. I still like you as a friend, I always have." I nodded again, biting my lip. "I’m really sorry, Alura." "It’s okay, really," I said, finding my voice. "Thank you for being honest. It means a lot to me." He nodded, looking pained somehow. "Well, I’ll see you."
And he left. I could swear we were the only two people on earth at that moment. My heart was not beating, and a lump was forming in my throat. I thought I was going to be sick. No matter how much I had tried to anticipate this, this feeling of rejection stung much more than I could imagine. The bell rang then, jerking me out of my state of thought. I carried on to me classes, keeping completely silent for fear I would start crying.
School had let out two days ago. I dreaded the religious group trip more than anything. I must have driven Braeline crazy with all my possible ways to not go or how to avoid Harry for about twenty-four hours. The day had come at last. Everyone was boarding the bus. We’re driving to the Jersey shore and staying overnight. I sat with Braeline on the bus, but we didn’t talk that much. She chatted with Samantha and Harry, while I sat numb with fear.
I think it’s weird I never disliked Samantha like Braeline had in the beginning. It was obvious to both of us that Harry had liked her at some point. Braeline told me that she had disliked Samantha because of this, but has since gotten over it. Samantha, as it turns out, had never liked Harry any more than a friend.
We arrived at the beach to beautiful weather. All of us stayed together on the beach during the day. I mostly sunbathed and read my book, but I did have a couple of swims in the ocean. By nightfall, everyone was allowed to go do separate things. Some were going to the boardwalk, others to the arcade, and some were even going to visit the nighttime show at the aquarium. Braeline had tried to get me to go shopping with her, but I refused. I just wanted to be alone. So she, Harry, and Samantha headed for the boardwalk while I walked down to the beach.
Even in the dark, the beach was beautiful and mysterious. The full moon lit a silvery path for me to walk by. I took off my sandals and felt the cool rush of the ocean around my feet. I walked for a while, just letting my mind wander. Of course, it eventually landed on Harry. I knew I hadn’t gotten over him. I tried—I told myself to move on or get over him. It’s more like move on or sink into minor depression.
None of my situations with guys had ever worked out. I was tired of trying, and just getting hurt. On the other hand, I suppose I did what was right. I couldn’t just sit around and wait for Harry to start things up…but this is where it landed me. I moved away from the water’s edge and lay down on the cold, soft sand. I let my body relax, and I tried to think of happier things. It was no use; I could only think of Harry.
At that exact moment, someone plunked down beside me. I gasped, realizing it was Harry. I hit him on the arm, exclaiming, "That’s not funny! You scared me to death!" He laughed and said, "Sorry, I didn’t know you were so deep in thought." He paused. "What were you thinking about, anyway?" "You," I said quietly. "What?" he asked. "You," I repeated, more loudly, looking out at the ocean. "I was thinking about you. I never did get over you, you know. I still think about it all the time. I think about that and all the other past guys that never worked out. I’ve decided I can’t do it anymore. I can’t put up with such heartache."
He looked at me. "I’m sorry I did this to you. I didn’t mean to hurt you, although I knew I would anyway. I still care about you." He leaned over to hug me, but I backed away. "Don’t do this to me now. Not when I’m so vulnerable," I said. He looked away and said, "I lied to you." "You what?" I asked, surprised at his sudden reaction. "I lied. I did like you. I still do. I have since the beginning of the year. I couldn’t tell you how I felt because it scared me that you felt the same way. So I lied, and it hurt."
I looked at him with disbelief. Was this happening? Was this true? After all this.....he liked me? My heart skipped a beat. "Harry, why do you look so unhappy?" "Because I messed everything up," he said. "No. You didn’t. I still like you, just as much as I did before you lied to me," I said, smiling. He quickly looked up at me. "Alura...I should have asked this long ago...do you want to go out with me?" I nodded, a burst of happiness inside of me, as Harry leaned over and kissed me. I don’t know what was better: the kiss, or Braeline and Samantha cheering in the distance.
A door slamming shut snapped me out of my daydream. I sat up and looked around the family room, which was now dark because the sun had set. I rubbed my eyes sleepily and yawned. "Hi, I'm home!" called my dad. I looked at the clock: 7:00pm. I must have been really out of it. Damn. That had been a wonderful daydream, too. Well, the last part at least.
Unfortunatly, I hadn't talked to Harry about the note yet. And I didn't give it to him after the last religious group meeting--I wonder why I dreamed that up. Probably because that's when I *wanted* to give it to him. But the last meeting was canceled, and I had to give it to him in school.
That was 4 days ago. I have to talk to him tomorrow because tomorrow is our last real day of school before finals. I'm a bit nervous, and I hope I get the chance to see him. I don't want to go through the whole summer without knowing how he feels.
The last bell just rang. I walked out of eigth period class, and across the hall to my friend's locker. I waited, and then Harry came by. "Hey," I said to him. "Hey," he replied, glancing up, then back into his locker. I hesitated for a moment, then asked, "Did you read my note?" He glanced at me again and said, "Yeah." There seemed to be this uncomfortable air around us.
"What do you think?" I asked. He said something quietly, and when I didn't hear him, he repeated, "Just as friends." "Okay." "Plus, I have a girlfriend, so, you know, that kind of made my mind up." This news I did not know, and I smiled, repeating, "You have a girlfriend? Who?" "You don't know her, she doesn't go to this school." "Oh, okay. Well, I'm just glad you didn't lie to me or anything." He sort of nodded, then walked away as my friend came to her locker. "Well?" she asked excitedly. I told her what he said.
I sat on the bus contemplating my feelings. I didn't cry. I wasn't happy, but I was depressed either. I was sort of.....blah. I guess I had built a stronger wall around myself than I'd thought. Now that I think about it, I think I only like Harry as a friend anyway. After I gave him the note, the spark had sort of died. I wonder now if he can still *be* friends.
I got over everything amazingly quickly. Braeline helped in that. I had thought one of her guy friends was cute, and she told him, and he called me. I was really happy to be interested in another guy who might be interested in me.
The final day of anything school-related was the class trip to an amuesment park. I went and had a blast with my friends. Except for getting *really* sunburned, it was a great day. A bunch of people were waiting for rides home at the school when we came back. I chatted with some friends who were waiting also. When the pay phone was free, I went over to call my mom. As I was walking back to my friends, I passed by Harry, who was leaning against the brick wall of the school, waiting by himself.
"Your nose is really red," he said to me as I passed by. I stopped and said to him, "Yeah, I got really sunburned. I forgot to put on sunblock." "Yeah, me too," he replied. I then walked away. I leaned against the brick wall too, farther down from Harry. I listened to my friends talking, but mostly I watched Harry out of the corner of my eye.
I wonder why he'd talked to me so randomly. I looked at him again, wistfully thinking that he *did* look cute today, even though that hadn't been the reason I'd liked him. I guess old crushes never really go away, and that certain things will bring a hint of that flame back into your heart. I still like Harry as a friend, and I do miss talking to him. As usual, it was me that screwed things up. There's always next year. I wonder how I'll feel then. And like always, I wonder if Harry ever did like me more than a friend, even if it was just for a second.