I made my way down the hall to my locker, a huge grin still plastered on my face. For having such a crappy morning, the day turned out to be not so bad. Frank and I had wondered the halls for all of the first class hour, sneaking into different parts of the school and just talking, getting to know each other better. I wish I would have listened more to his words than the sound of his voice coming out in a husky, low-toned whisper. I had a hard time concentrating in the rest of my classes for the day. My mind kept wandering to the bathroom stall, with his hand on my waist, and the jolt of energy I felt when he led me through the halls, all the while holding my hand. I bit my lip to stop my smile from widening anymore. I got to my locker to see Frank already in it, putting his books away. I walked up to him slowly, realizing he hasn’t noticed my presence yet. I snuck up right behind him, and just as I was getting ready to scare him he turned around and yelled a quick, “HEY!” at me. I gasped and fell backwards almost losing my balance and falling flat on my butt.
“So, thought you could scare me?” He asked, laughing.
“Well, I was going to attempt to, yes.” I pulled myself together, straightening out my uniform. “How did you know I was behind you?”
“Believe it or not, my peripheral vision does work. I saw you half way down the hall way. So, what are you so happy about?”
My face started to turn a slight shade of pink. He could see that? I cleared my throat before I began to speak, feeling my insides start to quiver. “Maybe I just like to smile. And maybe you’re peripheral isn’t that great. Don’t give yourself too much credit.” I replied jokingly, pushing him out of the way so I could put up my books. As I slammed my locker shut and began to put on the lock, I had a sudden realization. “Hey, how did you get into the locker? I thought you forgot the combination?”
This time I watched his face become a little heated. He shifted on his feet nervously, pulling his backpack further onto his shoulders. “Oh, I … umm … just remembered it was on my schedule. I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget. Looks like it didn’t help too much, huh?” He said chuckling. This time his laughter was different; it’s not as natural as it was a minute ago. I smiled back at him, as his face returned to his natural color. “So, are you going to need a ride home today?”
My smile quickly fell as I remembered this morning. I had so much fun with Frank that I completely forgot about what had happened earlier, and what was probably waiting for me when I got home. I could only assume that my dad wasn’t coming to get me. Obviously I didn’t have time to ask him this morning. I looked up at Frank and his smile turning into a look of concern. I forced the best smile I could muster up before answering. “I don’t want to inconvenience you. I can walk.”
He rolled his eyes at me. “Seriously, it’s not that big of a deal. Besides, I don’t have anywhere to be for the next…” he glanced down at his watch and he frowned a little “well, the next 5 minutes, but it’s ok if I’m late. We usually don’t start on time anyway.”
“I didn’t know you had a job?” I said in confusion. Hopefully he didn’t mention it earlier in our little questionnaire around the school, because I had totally missed it if he did. Damn his distracting good looks!
“Well, it’s not really a job. It’s the band that I’m in. I think I told you earlier? Maybe I didn’t, who knows. I talk too much” He said, a little embarrassed.
“Oh, right. I remember now.” Nope. Totally missed that.
“It’s not a big deal though. So, do you still need a ride home?”
“Yeah, if you could, that’d be great.” I thought about it and decided that walking would give me more time to get home, but I’d probably spend most of my time thinking about what was waiting for me there. Even though Frank giving me a ride would get me there sooner, at least he would make me forget it for the time being.
We walked out to his car. Once again, he took my bags, placing them in the back seat, then stood back, holding open the door for me. I shot him a smile before slipping into the passenger seat. He shut the door and made his way to his side of the car. While he was walking around the car to get to the driver’s side, I let my eyes flutter close as I took a deep breath. I couldn’t get over how amazing he smelled. The mixer of the cologne and stale cigarettes lingered seductively in my nose. The scent was comforting in a way. It made me feel safe for just the short time I was able to spend in the vehicle. Suddenly, I heard his door swing open, causing my eyes to shoot open just as fast. He jumped in and started the car but he didn’t take off right away. I turned to him and saw that his playful smile had once again turned to a look of concern. I turned my gaze away from him quickly and sat facing the front, too nervous to turn my head and look at him again. Why does he keep doing that? I thought. He finally broke the silence that was beginning to weigh heavily in the car and answered my silent question.
“Angela …” He said just above a whisper. He voice sounded so serious it caught me off guard. I turned to look at him only to find that his eyes were fixed on the steering wheel.
“Yeah?” Confused, I waited for his reply. After what felt like minutes, but in reality it had only been about ten seconds, he answered, still in the quite but stern tone.
“What happened to your wrist?” He finally looked up, locking eyes with me. His gaze was so intense I had to look down at my lap.
I slowly moved my bracelets to get a closer look at my wrist. It was a slight purple shade, the imprint of a hand just barely visible. I moved my bracelets back. My face started to burn an intense shade of pink. I kept swallowing the lump that had formed in my throat, but it refused to go down. I couldn’t bring myself to answer him.
“Angela…” He waited for my reply. “Angela!” He wasn’t loud but he said this with more intensity. It made me jump.
I finally looked back at him. To my dismay, my eyes started to brim up with tears. Damn it! I didn’t mean to let my emotions take over that quickly, but the event was still so fresh in my memory, and the fact that I had had bruises more noticeable and darker than this, and this was the first time that someone bothered to ask, it brought me to tears almost instantly. I forced them down, but he already see’s the pained expression on my face. A look of anger washed over him, and was quickly replaced with concern. I saw his hand slid over and grab mine, holding on with a protective force. I looked down and just started at his hand grasping mine. I didn’t look back up at him. I couldn’t.
“Angela, you don’t have to go home. Come to band practice with me?”
The lump in my throat was still there. I couldn’t look at him. I didn’t want to answer him. I wish he wouldn’t have seen it in the first place. I didn’t want to talk about it. Not even with Frank. He may be nice, and he may be good looking, but that didn’t change the fact that I don’t know him and I couldn’t imagine telling a complete stranger my problems. Although he wasn’t asking for the story, or even who did it, I just felt like he had pride into one of the darkest parts of my personal life. I was embarrassed; I was upset. I wished that I would have just gotten up on time this morning and none of this would have happened, but I couldn’t stop the warm feeling that washed over me when he held my hand. He made me want to tell him everything. Not just about today but what I had been going through, when it started, why it started, the pain of losing my public school friends, my somewhat normal childhood and innocence being crushed at such a young age forcing me to grow up too fast. I wanted him to know everything about me. Just the feeling of his hand on mine let me know that I could be safe with him, that he is willing to protect me, and he has no idea who I am. I felt his grip tighten on my hand.
“Please. Come with me.” He didn’t ask this time. I closed my eyes and felt a small stream of tears fall down my cheek. I finally nodded my head yes. He put the car into gear and took off out of the parking lot. I opened my eyes and looked down in my lap. I concentrated on his hand still gripping mine. I took deep breaths to control anger and embarrassment that was threatening to escape me in the form of cascading tears and guttural sobs. The silence that fell over the car this time wasn’t awkward. There was nothing to say; not right now.