His Eyes

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"Where are we going?"
I ask Seth as I
settle into the passenger seat
of his car.
Already inside, he
proceeds to put
his keys in the ignition,
strap on his seat belt
and turn on the heater
before answering my question.

"I don't know,"
he admits with a shrug
as he turns in his seat
to back out of
the parking space.
"Away from there -
I don't think I could
have dealt with that kid
for any longer, regardless
of whether or not
Natalia had ditched us
for whoever those people were."

"Does he really
sell pot?"
I ask suddenly,
without really meaning to.
Sure, Tyler had seemed
pretty shady, but
it's still pretty hard to
think of him doing something
as bad as that.
Seth turns the car onto
the main road seconds
after I had voiced my question;
the sounds of the road
passing by under the car's tires
would probably drown out
my question if I
were to ask it again.

"Used to,"
Seth answers momentarily.
"I'm not sure if
he still does.
His parents supposedly
busted him before
the school could.
Told him that if
he did it again,
they would send him to
military school or something
weird like that.
He was in rehab
for most of the summer,
but I don't know if
it did him any good."

"Poor guy,"
I murmur after
a moment of thought -
to which Seth
simply laughs.

"I wouldn't pity him
if I were you,"
he tells me.
"He got himself
into whatever mess he's in.
He knows exactly
what he's doing."
Going back to his silence,
he steers the car down
a side street
that I recognize now as
being not too far from
my Aunt Margo's house.
I know vaguely
where we are now;
that does something to
ease my nerves.

Even with the heater on,
I'm still a little cold, though.
Pulling my coat
closer around me, I
ask once again,
"So,
where are we going?"

Seth raises a brow
in my direction,
though his eyes don't stray
from the road ahead.
"Why,"
he teases,
"got a hot date?
Oh, wait -
I thought that was me."

Unlike Natalia, who
I could imagine saying
something quite similar,
there's a bit of innocence
to his teasing -
not the cocky or
self-righteous arrogance
that I might have expected
from a guy like Seth.
It's strange and
pretty unexpected,
but I find myself laughing anyway,
that nervous little laugh of mine
that I've always hated.
And he laughs, too,
sparing a quick glance
over at me to flash
a subtle grin.

It's then that I notice
how pretty his eyes are -
not in the startlingly
radiant way that Natalia's are,
a luminescent green against
her darker features -
but remarkable in their own way.
They're a steady shade of blue,
dark like the ocean and
lost among a sea of freckles,
nearly black in the dim light
of the interior of his car.

They're nice to look at -
but I don't feel any of the
butterflies or the nervousness
that people always talk about
when they're attracted to someone
or they think that someone
is really cute or whatever,
other than the normal
undertone of anxiety
that is always present when
I'm in social situations.
I wonder if it's because
I barely know him.
Maybe it'll change
if Natalia has her way
and we really do end up dating.

The car suddenly stops,
halting my train of thought
so abruptly that I'm left
disoriented for a moment.
When I glance over at Seth,
he's staring out the window,
still smiling faintly,
maybe even wistfully.
We're parked in a dirt lot
outside of what looks like
a park, one that
I've never been to before.
It's not like the playground
that I grew up playing on;
all I can see for miles around
are trees and bushes,
open air and the night sky.
It's beautiful in a
lonely sort of way
that our crowded little town
normally isn't.
Somehow, it
takes my breath away.

The cold does, too,
when we get out of the car
to face the chilly night air.
It's like time
all around us
has frozen completely, leaving us
standing in the midst of
everything
and nothing
all at once.
It's quiet,
and it's calm
and peaceful;
it's everything that
everyday life is not.

And then, the wind begins
to rattle the dried leaves
on the trees, and
the spell is broken.

"I used to come here
a lot when I was younger,"
Seth tells me
in a hushed voice,
like he's afraid to
speak too loudly in
a place like this.
"My house is just
down the road, there.
My parents used to fight
a lot when I was little,
before they filed their divorce.
I'd run away down here
and wait until the air cleared
to come back home."

He breathes an airy laugh
into the cold air,
and I can see the white smoke
that is left behind from it.
"I used to tell myself
that I wouldn't ever go back,
that I could live out here
for the rest of my life -
but I think you can tell
how well that worked out."

I can't imagine having
parents who would fight enough
that getting a divorce
would be necessary.
My parents love each other
unconditionally, and
it has never been any other way,
even in spite of having
to take care of four kids
who probably aren't
the most well behaved.
Having a family that is
so broken and hurt
is something that I can't
even begin to understand.

"I'm sorry,"
I tell him honestly -
but he just smiles
as if it's not a matter
of his home life,
a matter of importance.
The smile doesn't quite
reach his eyes,
I can't help but notice.

"It's fine,"
he says
in a voice that barely
carries over the wind -
and we leave it at that.
The night surrounds us,
and the issues of our
mundane lives
cease to matter.

×

I feel like I got way too poetic near the end, but oh well. I had fun writing this chapter, so that's all that matters.

Here's some stuff about Seth, too. Maybe it'll shed a little light in what we already know about him from Misalignment.

Speaking of... I have a feeling I'm gonna have to go back and rewrite bits of Misalignment again now that I have a better handle on both Seth and Nat's characters. I hadn't really developed them at that point, and now that I have, I'm cringing thinking of how they were portrayed in that story. Well, thank god for editing, at any rate.

If you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and leave me some feedback - it would be very much appreciated! <3

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