Nine

38 9 0

The following day in class, Giselle was on time. She sat in her seat, staring at her laptop screen as she waited for class to begin. Scrolling through her Facebook feed, her eyes refused to shift away from the screen, even as she felt a presence slip into the seat beside her. Smiling and liking the photo her mom posted earlier that day, a voice chuckled beside her. "You look cute in that photo."

"Why are you looking at my computer?" she deadpanned. The instant she noticed Hans sitting beside her, she bit her tongue. "Sorry," she sheepishly apologized. "I didn't realize it was you."

"Would it have made a difference if it wasn't me?" he smirked.

She rolled her eyes. "I'm not exactly the type of person who enjoys having people I don't know in my personal space. I have boundaries, you know?"

"Well, why don't we get to know each other. What's your favorite color?"

"Seriously?" she laughed.

"Yeah, I'm serious," he smiled. "We have, what, like, ten-ish minutes before class begins? We have time to talk."

"Which is quite surprising considering how you almost killed yourself," she teased.

Now, in the original take on this draft, I figured I would add something in about how Hans's sister killed herself and how suicide, even joking about it, was a trigger for him. But then I remembered how so many first drafts of books I had read, like ones on the internet written by authors trying to get their start, always made their books way too dark way too fast.

This was supposed to be a light-hearted book. One with romance and the evolving friendship between two individuals. Just because I could make it dark didn't mean I should. Some books have that atmosphere for it if it is done professionally. Otherwise, just adding death and darkness for the sake of it being "dramatic" was honestly ridiculous. Reading back on some of my older books, I could tell I needed to follow the rules, so I quickly changed it.

Hans chuckled. "Yeah, I didn't get much sleep the prior night. I work weird hours right now while we're low on staff, and I accidentally fell asleep before setting my alarm, so I was quite lucky to manage even waking up on time, you know? So, I seriously needed that energy."

"I don't blame you. I would too if I had your shift."

"Where do you work?"

"I'm just a warehouse worker at Home Depot. Yourself?"

"FedEx delivery man and warehouse organizer. Something we both have in common," he smiled as he gestured his hands between the two of them.

"Indeed," she giggled.

Students soon began filing into the classroom. Once the professor entered, he greeted his class. Both Giselle and Hans began to focus on the lecture, though with hazy minds. It was nice for them both to have been able to hold a decent conversation. After transferring to new schools, it was nice to finally find solace in a friend. The fact they had a few things in common certainly helped keep the conversation rolling.

Once class was over, Hans was the one to hold Giselle back instead. "Same time tomorrow?" he questioned.

"How about I give you my number instead? I'd love to keep talking," she insisted.

In an instant, his head perked up and beamed up at her. "Really?"

"Yeah. You seem to be a great conversationalist, what with asking for my favorite color and all," she smirked. "So, what do you say? Wanna text?"

Chasing ZeroWhere stories live. Discover now