one

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one | green walls

THERE'S A GIRL in my free period class who I see for an hour and forty minutes every day after lunch, and there's no other reason for her to come all the way to sit with me other than the fact that she probably has a crush on me.

Her name is Mila. Her hair is dark brown and her skin is tan. She likes to whistle as she's writing. It's not exactly distracting, since half of the people in the study room are talking anyway, but I kind of feel she's trying to impress someone or something.

I don't mind her sitting with me, because, hey. I have company, at least. The reason I picked a four-chaired table was to allow people—as in, familiar people—to come and hang out with me. But now, people are going to feel weird because they know I'm not close with Mila and they might think we're trying to date or something.

I will mind if Taka Nakamura sits here with me, though. And I mean that in the best way possible. I can get to know her better and admire that cute little mole under her left eye that lights up her eyes every time she smiles.

But Taka's not here. And, wherever she is, she's probably with someone luckier than me.

I'm probably just be overthinking things. Mila probably has the same fate as me in this free period—as in, we don't have any of our friends here. She probably saw me alone on this table a week ago and thought, hmm, you know what? New friend! Woohoo!

I think that makes sense, actually. Until I get something more from her, I'm going to think that's the reason why Mila decided to sit across me in our free period class, for an hour and forty minutes every day.

Because she wants to be my friend, and totally not because she has a crush on me.

"Wow," Mila breathes out. She stops writing and puts her chin on her hands. If Taka did that, she definitely would've looked prettier. "It's like a library in here."

I look around the study room. Groups of people have decided to leave early, making the whole room feel emptier and kind of intimate. Mint green walls and polished softwood tables reflect the ceiling light, illuminating the room in a blinding way like I'm on stage. Not that I've ever been on stage. Some of my friends have, and they tell me the lighting gets crazy when they perform.

"Why're you whispering, though?" I ask Mila.

She shrugs as she examines the study room like I just did. "Just feel like it."

I bite back the urge to frown. When she starts saying weird stuff like that, I can't help but feel a little freaked out. If she really wants me to like her, she needed to start somewhere that didn't involve confusing other people.

But still, I feel I should whisper with her too because it's the polite thing to do. "Okay."

She leans back and puts her hands behind her back before she whistles again. I look around. Thank God no one can watch her right now.

"Hey. Why do you like to whistle?" I ask her.

Her eyes dart to me for a second. It makes her look shy, like she's just been tiptoeing around the corner and I catch her doing something weird. But instead of going beet-red, Mila giggles. I don't get what's funny.

"I don't know." Her voice is whisper-soft. It reminds me of a feather. "I do it out of habit. My dad whistles whenever he's working on something. He can be fixing the lamp and...he'll just start."

I nod, absorbing the information as I lean back in my chair. Taka Nakamura talks just like Mila does—maybe softer, even. Taka's voice is the polite and level-headed type of soft. Calming, heavenly, and pretty like a harp. Mila's voice makes her sound happy and light-hearted.

Worry latches onto her face. "Is it annoying?"

"What?"

"You don't look happy. I thought I did something wrong." A line forms between her brow, making her look more disappointed than angry. With herself, maybe? I can't tell.

"I...looked unhappy?" I repeat to her.

She shrugs. "It just looked like you weren't enjoying yourself."

"Oh..." It must be something I said, or how I said it. How did I let myself offend someone in our first conversation? "I'm sorry. I, I didn't mean to, you know, look unhappy. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

Her dark brows shoot even lower and she tilts her head to the side.

"I was just curious. No one around me does that. You know, people normally don't just randomly whistle like...like you do. And now that we're sitting together, I mean, I never—it's just—"

"You don't wanna sit together?" the corner of her lips slowly lifts up. She's leaning into the table with her arms folded below her chest. Her eyebrow is raised. She seems offended just a second ago and now she's teasing me like it's a fun thing to do. What?

I want to hit myself across the head. My face burns and I know she knows I'm blushing.

Remembering how much time is left for this free period, I run her a question, "Do we have any lessons t-together?"

"There's still two classes after this before home time, so, we'll see! But this is our first time talking. We never had any lessons together before this. You wanna introduce ourselves?" She extends her hand to me while smiling as brightly as the green walls in this study room. "I'm Mila."

Swallowing, I think about how there's something about her that I can't quite place, and how it intimidates me. I don't know how to act around her. She breaks every code I've ever known about how to talk to a person.

If I tell my friends about her, they'll joke about me not knowing how to flirt. Except, I wasn't trying to flirt. I wanted to make a conversation; I pointed out something unusual about her and I ended up offending her.

I can't leave free period knowing someone thinks negatively of me.

I shake Mila's hand and hope that my smile convinces her that I'm not the bad person she must think I am. "I'm Cooper Dalton."

lmfaooo i think i'm gonna enjoy writing this

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lmfaooo i think i'm gonna enjoy writing this. as always, i'm going in blind (partially) to this story, so whatever you see written up here is a first draft. the characters develop themselves as they go. i only know like an outline of how this story's gonna end.

anywho, i hope you enjoyed this first chapter! thank you so much for reading <3

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