Living Again~ Four

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I was once again reading a book during lunch. Since it was the last day of school, I wanted to complete the final chapter and return it so it won't be overdue. I had to pay a fine for the last one I returned late. Plus, I needed to borrow another stack of novels to read over the dreary holiday beginning in just a few hours. I have always been a slow reader by choice. If I had to, I could read a lot in very little time. However, I preferred to really get into the story. Right now, even when I was practically skimming through the long descriptive sections, I was so into the story that I completely felt like I was in the forest described in the book. The leaves, the chirping and the moist, cool climate was-

"Mind if I sit here today?" The sound startled me, bringing me back to the lively cafeteria. It was Ethan. I was still caught up in the story and everything felt like a blur so it took me a few seconds to respond.

"Yeah, sure." I wasn't expecting this. Even though I wasn't mad at him anymore, I didn't exactly want him to sit with me. I wanted him to ignore me like he used to. Obviously my wishes weren't going to be coming true. As I glanced at him, he wasn't looking at me; he was spraying pepper over some pasta. What a weird choice, I thought. I noticed the slight redness above his mouth where I punched him and felt the guilt coming back. But I avoided those thoughts and went back to reading, trying to ignore his presence.

"Where's your lunch?" he suddenly questioned, surprising me yet again.

"I'm not hungry."

"I see." He gave a disapproving frown. Before he could throw another random question at me, I continued reading. The forest was transforming into some sort of a black hole, all the trees were being dragged into it and-

"You know it's kind of rude to ignore someone who's trying to make conversation."

"You know it's kind of rude to interrupt someone when they're trying to read," I snapped. He was getting on my nerves. I was hoping to put him off with that, but it seemed to have had the opposite reaction. He looked pleased, probably because he had finally gotten my attention. Sighing, I put the book down.

"Sorry," I said calmly, not sounding apologetic at all. It's not my fault though; I wasn't doing it on purpose. I can't remember the last time I showed some emotion in my tone of voice.

"No problem." Then his mood shifted and all of a sudden he was all business. It was fun to watch this odd transformation as he pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes, coming up with a plan. "So about the assignment, how about each of us do half and we'll just hand it in one so it seems like we-"

"Or we could just work on it together," I interrupted. I swear I had no idea where that came from. He seemed pleasantly surprised. I mentally punched myself for saying anything in the first place.

"Yes, we could. That would be...great. So, um, I'm guessing you have forgiven me?" he asked hopefully. I hadn't forgiven him. Not at all. I didn't hate him, but after what he did to me, I could never trust him. For all I know, everything he's saying right now could be part of an act.

"Sure," I lied smoothly, shrugging. I'm not certain I fooled him with it though; he just looked at me for a second and got back into the planning.

"Ok then. We'll have to find time to work on it. You're not going out of town are you?"

"No, I'm staying with my aunt and uncle. Their house is just a few streets away from here."

"Oh, that's perfect. My house is nearby too. So, I'll contact you later about when and where to meet." He sounded like he was very excited about this project. Maybe he had a particular interest in history, who knows?

"Sure." The bell rang then. Thank god. I hurriedly picked up my bag and walked off before he could offer to walk me to my next class. Which, considering his expression, was exactly his intention. There were two hours of English before the holidays would begin. I was dreading it even more now because of Ethan. I should have gone along with his idea, but no, I had to open my big mouth. Ugh.

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