For a long moment I considered turning around and walking out without any sort of explanation. I'd just leave Dylan standing there with his hand empty and a confused look on his face. Would he chase after me? Probably. He did seem like the type to chase after a girl in the pouring rain just for the pure romantic basis of it all.
But it wasn't pouring rain outside, so my escape couldn't be deemed as romantic. All it'd be viewed as was me running away from my problems. Not only that, but then I'd have to share what the problem was in the first place.
The problem was James' eyes boring into mine.
Dylan and I had barely stepped into the burger joint when the familiar tone of his voice met my ears. I'd hoped I was wrong, hoped that maybe I was just making things up out of nervousness; but I wasn't. Sure enough James was there with three of his friends, all huddled in the corner booth talking loudly to each other about something or another. I'd bet a million dollars it was sports related.
Just as I'd thought that he'd looked up, his eyes connecting onto mine as though he'd known I had been standing there all along. And now, now I was trapped in his gaze.
At my side Dylan was unaware, his hand still in mine, his smile still in place as he made a little bit of small talk. How was your game? he asked, or at least I think that's what he asked. I was too busy panicking at James stare to really process it.
He won't do anything, I assured myself, peeling my eyes away from his to look up at Dylan. I was met with the winning smile he always seemed to have for me these days. It cracked through my worry just enough for my smile to slide easily onto my face in response. "Are we still waiting on our table?"
Dylan nodded, squeezing my hand a little when he realized he'd gotten my attention back on him. "Yeah, the wait for a table is longer than one for booths."
My eyes betrayed me, flickering over to James once more. His sturdy frame was leaning forward, talking quietly now to the boy who sat across from him. It surprised me to recognize the back of Jim's head as the person he was talking to. I hadn't known the two to be friends, but it only made sense. Both of them were in the same grade, at the same school, hell- even minorly in the same crowd.
Maybe it's a good thing, I couldn't help but think as I nodded to Dylan. "Makes sense," I responded, even though nothing did these days.
"Are you all right Kara?" he asked, a soft hint of concern in his voice. He looked down at me, searching my face quickly. "You seem distant lately."
Truth of the matter was I was distant. My mind was everywhere but with Dylan when I was with him. And the moment I wasn't with him? Well, then of course I found myself thinking of him.
The way his hand fit perfectly around mine, his warm grip always firm enough to know it's there but not enough to feel like a fight for dominance. How his thumb would brush over my hand, gently massaging it whenever he'd notice I was nervous. Kind of like he was now.
The gentle look in his eyes overwhelmed me quickly and I looked away, shrugging slightly to buy some time. The way he relied on me always being happy was a bit of a burden to carry. If I wasn’t smiling then he just had to know how to make it all better. Just as sweet as it was disconcerting; as were all thing in relation to Dylan.