This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment, the online community writing site for young readers and writers.
My Brain: Recalculating route.
I could see Chase Hanson smile at me from the thick crowd of high school students making their way to last period. I turned around looking for a classroom to slide into until he gave up looking for me. Self-consciously, I looked back to see if he was staring, but I got something even worse.... He was waving.
My Brain: Quick, Dean Martin impression! Or Better yet, pretend that you don't see him.
Going with my brain's idea I continued walking ahead and pretended I didn't notice him.
Why did my physics class have to be so far away?! I wondered to myself while trying to keep my head down and sift through the crowd like Jason Bourne on a mission. I looked around and found the stairs that led directly to the science hall.
My Brain: Escape Found. Destination: Approximately 4 minutes by speed walk.
As I got to the stairwell, I could hear someone running.
"Celia!" Chase panted and touched my shoulder.
"Hey!" I put on my happiest voice and cheesiest smile.
My Brain: Stop panicking. Look him in the eye. Pretend this isn't awkward. Scratch that...it shouldn't be awkward, this is the third time he's done this!
"Hey, I was wondering if you wanted to be partners for the physics project. You know, maybe we could get some coffee over at The Shack after school and plan." He flashed me one of his bright smiles, and I noticed just how much he looked like an adorable puppy.
My Brain: The notorious sympathetic "oh I'll just give him a chance" road. This nearly always ends in a horrible wreck.
I shuddered at the thought.
"Sure." I said quickly before waving and running up the stairs.
I didn't look back, but nearly crashed into my friend Cammie.
"You saw Chase didn't you?" She laughed.
"How did you know?" I asked trying to catch my breath.
"You have that look of dread on your face." She put a hand on my shoulder.
"Just tell him that you aren't interested before someone gets hurt." She walked me to class before going to her swim meet.
The Shack was crowded and I looked around slowly before spotting Chase sitting in a booth far in the back. He was on his laptop and sipping coffee.
I walked over and slipped into the booth.
"Celia. I'm glad you made it. You want something to eat or drink? I'll pay." He stood up.
"No! I'm fine." I assured him before sitting down.
My Brain: Tell him! Tell him! Tell him!
"Alright, well I think we should get started." He sat next to me and put his laptop between us.
"So, I was thinking we could do something on Newton's theories." Chase looked at me and I pretended to read the physics outline document.
I could see in my peripherals that he was analyzing my face. I felt a gut-wrenching pull to slip away.
"Sounds good." I turned to him and checked my watch.
"I kinda have somewhere to be right now." I lied and averted his eyes.
"I'll walk you out." Chase gathered his things and led me outside. It was a bit cold and we walked side by side to the parking lot. I unlocked the door of my grey Mini Cooper.
I slipped inside and before I could close the door, Chase stopped me.
"Yeah?" I looked at him confused. He swallowed hard and then pulled out a pair of tickets.
"You want to go to prom with me?" He didn't smile or blink.
My Brain: ...
My Heart: Tell him the truth.
"Look, Chase. I really like you and you have been so nice to me. Nicer than most guys I've met at the school. It's just, I'm not really interested in dating you." I looked at the ground and kicked a cigarette butt that rested between us.
He turned to walk back into The Shack, but I caught his arm.
"That doesn't mean I don't want to get to know you or be friends with you. It's just I'm not ready to make that large of a leap." I bit my lip and searched his face for the happy Chase I'd seen in the halls.
"Yeah, well I need to go." I let my hand release him and watched as he walked away.
Two weeks later.
I walked the halls and Chase didn't smile at me or come up to me. He looked at me like I was a stranger to him.
On the windshield of my car was a card. I opened it.
"I thought about what you said. Maybe we don't have to date. But I'd really love to take you to prom. Even if it’s just as friends." - Chase H.
I smiled at his understanding and quickly ran back into the school to find him and tell him I'd accept his offer.