Chapter 1- First Smile
“I had a good night with you.”
“It was a’ight.”
“Wow I love that about you, your bluntness. Man you’re just my type. Maybe you wanna see where this thing can go.”
“Anyway, I got a History exam tomorrow I should be heading in” I say.
“Damn you’re cold” he says covering his mouth with his palm.
“I’ll see you around okay” I say getting ready to ascend the stoop.
“Dang girl hold on two seconds” he says quickly cutting my path off. “I don’t know how to let you go, I mean how long have we been knowing each other? I’m a good guy right?”
“Eh” I say dismissively.
“So why are you giving me such a hard on—I mean hard time, hard time”
I look at him while I chuckle and shake my head. He looked embarrassed now and fumbled for the words to redeem himself.
“Guess I just sort of put my foot in my mouth just then huh?” he asks giving up.
“Uh huh” I say.
“Hey at least you know where my mind is at. But can you honestly blame me?”
“For your own thoughts and actions I can, yes I can. I’ll see you around Joel” I say walking around him and up the stairs to the sorority house.
I peeped through the window after I got inside and saw him standing there for a while before he took his leave. I went to my room and saw I had six missed calls; I didn't bother to look as I already knew who it was. I sighed, stretched, kicked off my shoes and then plopped down on my bed with my History notes. Like I said, I had an exam tomorrow.
“So how did your date go last night?”
“Wow could I ask for a more detailed response than that?”
“It was......I don’t know—
“—Another precious waste of your time?”
“It’s like you were right there with me” I reply.
“Why do you even bother to go out with these guys? You know they’re not what you’re looking for.”
“Yeah but I need to pass the time, besides keeping my grades up to keep this scholarship wears me out sometimes, and I just wanna go out and drink liquor I don’t have to pay for.”
“Italy, Crissy wait up!”
The voice came from a thick, sugar brown sister with cute dimples; Amora the delinquent, one of my whores. She and I had been friends just as long as Crissy and I had. I met them both in high school. My two best friends on completely two opposite ands of a spectrum, brought together by yours truly. Amora was tallish like me and had jumbo braids falling down her back. She was the loud, flirtatious and outrageous one, kind of like me but amplified about ten times more.
Crissy was short with the same complexion and straight black hair just past her shoulder blades. She was the quintessential good girl; conservative and sweet but so serious minded a little bit like me. She majored in Computer Science, while Amora was attempting to complete her diploma in Radiology for the third time.
I handed my books over to Amora so I could put my thick ash blonde hair in a ponytail. She too went out for drinks last night and was talking about maybe skipping class this morning, while I mumbled about her wasting her intellectual abilities. Her counter was that she still felt hung-over; well that really wasn’t a counter was it?
“Mmmmm” she suddenly purred.
“What?” I asked looking at her funny”
She was looking at the guy now entering the security code for one of the medical labs. He walked in turned on the lights and walked back out again doing this in succession with the other two.
“He’s new around here right?” Crissy asks.
“Yeah” I say.
“What does he do? Well apart from look good I mean” Says Amora.
“No idea” Crissy says as we both shake our heads at her.”
“I think he’s like the controller of the medical labs, you know overseeing all the analyses and what not.” Says Crissy.
I took some time to study him. He wasn't that tall maybe 5’9 at best, broad shoulders, a little built, straight jet black hair that he wore low. He seemed incredibly shy though, always kept to himself. Sometimes it was like he wasn't even here. Something about the way he looked made me stare at him a bit longer. Trying to get a good luck at his face was hard since he refused to look up.
Just as I’d finally given up I caught a glimpse of his dark eyes looking at me.
“Did you guys see that?” Amora asks.
“See what?” I ask immediately diverting my attention back to the books in he hands.
“He smiled at you” she says as I tried to play it off.
“No he didn't” I deny.
“Crissy tell me you saw that” she persists.
“Yeah so what? Big deal, what’s in a smile?”
“Thank you” I say breathing a sigh of relief. I could always depend on her to bring things to a calm.
“The big deal is, he doesn't even make eye contact with anyone yet he smiled at her.” Yep, I can always count on this one to create mayhem. “Forget eye contact he doesn't even talk to anyone here, but he obviously wants to talk to you.”
“I’m sure he talks to some people” I say.
“Like who? Who have you ever seen him talk to?”
“Maybe he doesn't speak any English” Crissy reasons.
“Hmmm, I wonder where he’s from” she says scrutinizing him further as he dipped out of the lab again. “That’s a great opener for a conversation” she says looking at me.
“He looks kind of like a cross between a Latino and an Indian” says Crissy.
“No he doesn't I say. “Look at his eyes, he looks Middle Eastern,” I say as we all stand staring at him now.
“In that case stay as far away from him as possible.”
“Hey sis” I say turning around to face the owner of the judgmental tone.
“Oh come on Danielle, you know you think he’s cute too” Amora says.
“Uhhh no, I couldn't see past the Arab in him”
“Okay” I cut in ending what was about to be a tense discussion.
Yep, that was my sis for you. If we weren't related she’d be the kind of person I might not talk to. She was stuck up, self-centred, hot tempered and too outspoken for her own good. Weighing in at just about 165 lbs, the toffee coloured girl had a head of light brow free flowing curls that fell over her shoulders and surrounded her bosom.
Hard to believe we were sisters since we looked nothing alike. I had light blonde hair just an inch or two shorter than hers. My high complexion was further set off by my very unique eyes; they were two shades of blue surrounded by a ring of green and tinted in a hue of hazel. It pretty much looked like a marble and had made me feel weird my entire life. To top it off I had a line of light brown freckles under my eyes which also ran across the bridge of my nose.
Despite these array of strange characteristics people found me pretty. I didn't always see it though; that made me overcompensate with my body, I was totally dedicated to fitness and my first year here I was consumed with working out at the gym.
“I’ll catch up with you guys later, I gotta get to this lecture so I can get a good seat” says Crissy.
“Yeah chick” I say as we all bid her goodbye.
“I don’t care if he’s an Arab, you guys would look cute together” Amora continues as he heads of in the opposite direction.
“I’m sorry there is no way my sister is getting with a no-English speaking Muslim” she says.
Yep, at this point I should probably mention we were sisters by adoption; raised in the same home with totally different values, well at least for the most part.
“Who says he’s a Muslim?” I asked with a sigh. “There are Christians in the Middle East you know”.
“Whatever, they all have the same culture. You’re a budding anthropologist I’m surprised I have to say that to you. They treat their women like doormats and are the biggest hypocrites alive. Preaching serve God yet flying planes into buildings—
“That’s Muslims Danielle, and you cant blame them all for what a few has done. Anyway I gotta get to my exam I’ll see you guys” I say walking off annoyed.
Her attitude really got to me sometimes; So righteous and Holier than thou, always casting stones and never looking at her own faults. Yeah I know 9/11 had us all twisted up and bent out of shape, even me, but being Christian myself I had to learn to let that grudge go.
Besides, looking at him I just couldn’t see that, granted that terrorists were skilled at deception and operating covertly, for some reason he just didn’t seem to fit the mold I mean if he really was from the Middle East life for him in America was already hard enough, I wasn't going to let the stereotype make me turn him into something he might not even be.