Holding Love

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Seventh Grade

I always watch her. I watch the way she walks. The way her long, silky blonde hair ripples down her back with each flowing step she takes. I watch the way her face lights up when she speaks to someone. The way her beautiful, bright green eyes flash when she's excited. The way her smile can brighten up a room when displayed for a matter of seconds. I watch the way she cares, always providing comfort and happiness when needed to people who really need it. Including me. Especially me.

She calls me her best friend. And I call her mine. But, lately, I've found myself wanting her to be more.

She is so beautiful. I've never met any other girl like her. She's funny, and smart, and caring. She is always willing to go out of her way for people she cares about.  Especially me.  She has many things for me that I would never have dared to ask anyone for.  She's never failed me.  And she never will.


My thoughts are interupted by the calling of my name.  Before I turn around, I know.  I know it's her.  It's her voice, calling me.  I savour the silkiness of the simple word before I turn around.

The first thing I see is her face.  Her beautiful, flawless face. Her face that looks like it should belong to an angel.  Her face that's pink and twisted with panic and as she rushes down the seventh grade hall of Oak Ridge Middle School towards me as I stand at my cluttered locker.

"Oh, my God, Austin," Clary says as she reaches me, panting.  "I completely forgot about the science test!  If I fail, my parents will kill me.  I promise you."

"I believe you," I say, smiling.  "What'd you do to forget this time?"

"It doesnt matter," she says frantically.  She's freaking out.  I can tell, because she's biting her nails.  Clary hates nail-biting.  She thinks it's the most disgusting thing in the world.  She only does it when she's really, really stressed out.  And right now she's chomping her nails down to nubs.  "I just seriously need the notes, like, right now.  Can I pretty please borrow yours?"

"What about your notes?"

"Why don't you go ask someone that has a clue?" she says, then taps my open locker door with her forefinger.  "After you let me borrow yours, that is."

"You're such a mess," I say.

"What's new?" Clary shoves at my right shoulder, roughly but playfully.  "Please, I'll be your best friend if you let me borrow your notes."  She looks at her watch.  "Now."

"Well, that does sound pretty tempting," I say, already digging through the tornado-beaten pig sty that's the inside of my locker for my sloppily written science notes. 

Finally, my eye catches the word Science among the damage.  I grab the word and pull the paper that it's written on out, holding tight as it's lost among an avalanche of papers and who knows what else.

When the paper-slide is over, I attempt to flatten out the paper so that it's maybe possibly somewhat readable.  One of the top corners is missing, and there are an uncountable number of rips on the edges.  I'm sort of embarrassed to give this sad scrap of paper to such a perfect person, but I hold it out to Clary.

She grins at me like I've just given her a million dollars.

"Thanks sooo much!" she squeals.  "Just think.  If I study through English, I might make a C!"

Before I can say anything in response, the bell rings, and for a moment or two chaos reigns in the hall as students scramble to their classrooms.  I just barely have time to wave goodbye to Clary before we depart to different sections of the hall.