4.0 Aiden's Art Of Arguing With Himself

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Even though we decided to meet up at five, I'm at the cafe before time, skipping work and seated at a table by the window so I won't miss her when she enters

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Even though we decided to meet up at five, I'm at the cafe before time, skipping work and seated at a table by the window so I won't miss her when she enters. I don't know when I got so self-conscious, always having been the epitome of confidence and optimism. Now, though, I can't help but feel like I'm not good enough.

"Can I get you anything?"

The voice is unfamiliar but sweet, and I tear my gaze away from my fingers and look up at the girl standing next to me, her pen poised on her notepad to take my order.

"Just water please," I answer her without noticing much about her.

"Are you sure I can't get you anything else?"

Suddenly I can decipher the sweetness in her voice, and it's not one I like at all. I focus my gaze on her pink lips, blue eyes, and red cheeks. Her long legs are thin and her body curves at just the right places, her smile inviting. Just the way she's looking at me tells me she's caught up in my appearance, and I'm tired of being judged by the way I look.

"I'm sure," I say expressionlessly. "I'll get what I need when my date arrives."

Her face falls and I almost feel bad for playing that card. I'm not sorry for turning her down, though, up to my neck in superficial relationships and shallow people. No matter how stunning someone is, as long as looks are all that matter to them, I don't want anything to do with them.

When I see a group of people approaching my table from behind the waitress, though, I'm caught completely off guard by the shallowness and superficiality I see: loud people in glittering attires, giggling girls and boys who high-five each other and wink frivolously. What bothers me, even more, is the presence of Scarlett in the midst of the group.

"... and then he says I don't work on my assignments," one of the girls, red-haired and dressed in a pair of jeans and a top, is saying. " He seriously thinks I should work more if I want a better grade from him. He shouldn't even be saying that. I mean, if I'm going to get a C+ even after sacrificing my beauty sleep, what's the point?"

The group nods in agreement and my eyes meet Scarlett's grey ones as I rise to my feet. My heart sinks when I realize that she's brought her friends along.

So much for a first date.

"Aiden," Scarlett says, stopping with her crew next to the table I'd saved for us. "These are my friends. William. Mira. Zobi. Joseph. Carter ..." She waves a hand at each of her friends. There are more following behind but I don't pay them much mind, focusing on Scarlett instead.

She's dressed plainly, in black leggings and a dress that falls short of her thighs. Instead of carrying a bag like the other girls, she's wearing a coat with pockets sagging because of the weight of whatever she's carrying. The grey woolen scarf around her neck matches her eyes, her long blonde hair the only splash of color in her demeanor. Surrounded by the dark shade of mascara, her eyes are strangely captivating, her otherwise plain face paler than I remember.

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