Kitchen Partner

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Two weeks fly by,
and then three.
I'm rather surprised by
how quickly the school year
is passing already -
a month flashes past,
and I fall victim to
the busy workload
that always comes with high school.
Eunice is busy with fall track,
and Thias with soccer,
so I'm usually left
at home after school,
watching Eddie and
helping him with his homework.

I almost forget
about Natalia -
almost, and then I'll pass her
in the hallway at school,
or see her talking to
Eunice and her teammates,
and I'll remember her again.
Once, when I was
running behind the football field
after school,
on my way to the track
to bring Euni her backpack,
I even caught sight of her
at the top of the bleachers
with a group of football jocks,
smoking something and
laughing into the wind.

Even though
they probably would get in trouble
if there were any teachers nearby,
I couldn't help but stare
at them -
envy them, maybe.
Or maybe I was just
envying the boys
who got to sit with her
and hear her laugh
up there on top of the world.

Eventually, when one of them
leaned in to place
a kiss on her lips,
I remembered myself
and the backpack weighing me down,
and ran off again.
For the rest of the day,
a weird feeling had
settled deep in my stomach.
I still don't know
what it had meant.

It's about
two months into the school year
when things start changing.
For one, Mrs. Harrow -
a home ec teacher who had
been pregnant since
sometime in my freshman year -
begins her maternity leave.
The school can only find
a substitute who will cover
all but her eighth period class,
so said class ends up
being combined with
that of the other home ec teacher,
Mr. Barnes.

I'm in Mr. Barnes'
eighth period class.
Natalia is in
Mrs. Harrow's.
You can probably see
where the issue lies.

Well, it's not so much
of an issue as it is
a distraction.
My eyes are
riveted
to her face
as she walks in the door,
looking for an empty seat.
I manage to look away
before she can catch me staring,
but not before realizing
that she's one of the
last people to come in,
and most of the empty seats
have been filled.

So cue the
cliché situation.

“Oh, hey,”
she says as she
sits down in the seat
right across from me.
“You're Eunice’s sister -
Matty, right?”

For some reason,
being so close to the girl
that I haven't been able to
get off of my mind
for the past who knows how long
leaves me speechless -
and it's really embarrassing, because
I can just imagine
what she must think of me
for just
staring
at her for
a solid ten seconds
or so.

“Y-yeah,”
I finally manage -
and mentally slap myself
for sounding like a five-year-old.
“Natalia, right?”
I don't even have to ask -
my curiosity about her
has perfectly preserved her name
in my memory -
but she beams at me anyway,
as if pleased that I
got it right.
For a moment, I'm left
dazzled by that smile of hers.

“Yep!”
she laughs.
“Nice to meet you
again, I guess.”

Before she can
say anything more, though,
Mr. Barnes clears his throat
from the front of the room
and starts his
long-winded explanation of
what we all know is going on.
It's easy to tune out when
Natalia is right in front of me,
still with a little
half smile on her lips
as she listens to his
mini lecture.

“Kitchen partners will
also be reassigned,”
he says at length,
catching my attention back.
“You will now be paired with
the person sitting
directly opposite you.
Please see me
after class
so that I can record
the new pairings.”

I don't know how this
all worked out, but
the next thing I know,
Natalia is grinning at me
while I sit there,
at a complete loss.
“Looking forward to
working with you, partner,”
she whispers so that
the teacher won't hear.

All I can do
is nod
and hope that I don't
look like too much
of an idiot -
which I'm already certain
that I do.

×

I feel like this was sort of cliché or something but I don't care, these two are cute already and I'm definitely enjoying writing this. It just gets cuter from here on out, honestly. I love Natty so much--

okay, here come the angry hordes of Catty shippers, whoops;;;

Anyway, if you guys liked this chapter, I'd love it y'all would vote and leave me some feedback - it'd be very much appreciated. How do you guys think this is going so far? Does it all feel rushed, or too slow? I'm honestly not sure at what rate I should be developing Matty & Nat's relationship, because I have a lot planned for this story and I don't want to drag it out too much, but at the same time I don't want to rush how their relationship builds. I don't know, I guess I'll figure it out, lol.

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