The lead pencil tip digs deep into the paper. Another draft, and it’s another, ‘I don’t know what to write’ that wracks my brain. Too many thoughts and not enough words. I mean, does that even make any sense? I can’t concentrate, not while he sits across from me.
My eyes dart in his direction. He hasn’t a clue I exist at all. His dark hair hangs down in front of his forehead as he focuses on the assignment. I watch as his pencil glides across the paper with ease, never stopping, with his fingers wrapped tightly around it. He looks up.
I dart back to my essay, hoping he doesn’t see me staring. I can feel his deep ocean blue eyes look intently in my direction. Look away Brent, please just look away. I’m nobody.
“Okay class, time is up.” The teacher walks the aisle as we all hand the essay finals to the person sitting on the end row. “Your grade will be posted outside my office on Monday.”
I failed; I know I did. The instructor won’t pass me, not when I didn’t get more than two hundred- and fifty-words in. My parents said, if I didn’t pass a single class with a C or above, I was on my own paying for college.
I grab my bag, hauled with books, and dart toward the door. My next class starts in thirty minutes. Barely enough time for me to cross campus and make it there on time.
“Hey, excuse me, Miss?” I hear Brent say, as I scurry out to the hall. The rumble of his deep voice is soothing, sending butterflies to my stomach. I don’t look back and instead briskly walk down the corridor. He’s not talking to me anyway, why would he? I’m not like most other girls who wear makeup. Far from being the college cheerleader, or so I assume that’s his type.
Brent plays for the college football team. He’s not the quarterback or anything like that, he’s not even the star player, but he does play defense. He’s caught a few interceptions this season. It’s possibly one reason we’ve made it as an undefeated team this year.
Students crowd the hallways, as I try to brush past them. I hate being in confined places. There’s always a fear I’ll be trampled.
“Hey, wait up.” It’s Brent’s voice again.
Is he following me? There’s too many people in the hall for me to look back. Plus, I’m too short to see over them and find out if he’s even talking to me. I reach the doors to the outside, and I’m immediately hit with the cold fresh air. That’s when I realized I’d forgotten to put on my hat. I stop to pull it from my pack and quickly find it isn’t there.
“Looking for this?” he asks.
I turn to see those hypnotic blue eyes again, pulling me in. Brent has my college beanie I bought in the bookstore last month, in his hands. “You dropped this.” He smiles. It’s definitely one of his stronger features. That smile, those eyes, could knock a girl out.
“Thank you.” I nod, not knowing what more to say, and put it on.
“You’re Arizona, right?”
How does he know my name? Stunned, I nod. “People call me Ari, but yeah.” I’m glad it’s cold or he would probably assume my cheeks are flushed because of him.
“I’m Brent.” He’s taller than most people, probably over six feet, and is physically fit. But of course, he plays college football.
I smile. “I know who you are.”
“Oh, right.” He grins. “Are you a football fan?”
“Um, no, not really, but I’ve been to a game or two with friends.” I swing my backpack around my shoulders.
He wants to say more, I can tell, but I’m too shy to stick around. “I’m sorry, but I can’t be late to my next class on the other side of campus.” I walk away, but not before turning back around, saying, “Thanks for my hat.”
Snowflakes begin to fall. It’s the first sign that winter season is next week. Only a few more days left before my life will change forever.
My cell phone buzzes. I pull up the text:
‘I’m still waiting on an answer’, it says.