third hour

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third hour |

"Can I, um, get out?" Jake lolled his head to his left, deliriously watching Riley frown with her red lips that were starting to fade. It took a few moments for him to comprehend what she just said, and that she was trapped between him and a wall.

"Oh. Oh! Sorry," he gathered his laptop that was still sitting on the tray, which was attached to the seat in front of him. Pulling his legs closer to himself, he allowed Riley to quickly slip through.

Jake sighed, sinking back into the seat in a more relaxed position. He was about to fall asleep once again, but a stewardess came down the aisle, rolling a cart of food. She stopped at Jake's seat and asked if he would like some lunch.

"Yeah. Yeah, thank you," the stewardess nodded and was about to leave when Jake stopped her, "Um, the girl sitting next to me would probably appreciate some food, too. If you don't mind."

She handed him another container of food and continued on her way.

When Riley came back, Jake tucked in his legs once more so she could go back to her seat. She picked up her book and started to read, not even noticing the food Jake got for her. As she held her book up, something on her wrist caught Jake's attention. It was a simple bracelet with a red and white cougar charm on it, a symbol of Washington State University.

"Riley?" She looked at him with a quirk of an eyebrow, "I got you some lunch."

Her eyes crinkled as she grinned at him. Jake was blown away by the appreciation, which made him wonder if he did something more than just getting her lunch. He decided he was okay with it, "Thanks."

"Anytime," he paused, "You go to WSU?" Once the world slipped out of his mouth, he regretted it. Jake didn't want to pry at Riley's life and make her uncomfortable. After all, he was a stranger. Awkwardly, he looked back at his hands until he felt a poke on his shoulder.

Riley softly smiled, making him feel better about himself, "Yeah, my third year. What about you?"

"My third year at University of Washington," he shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal, "I'm majoring in sociology and minoring in creative writing."

"Criminology for me."

They fell into an awkward silence.

"So, you like to write?" Riley asked Jake, who nodded his head enthusiastically, "Are you any good?"

"I like to think I am," he shrugged again, something he did while being modest, "I like to write about adventures with no restrictions, acceptance over anything tragic, and random things that can bring a smile to anyone's face." The more Jake talked, the more passionate he seemed, "This one story I'm writing is about a guy, Ian, silently dying. But before he fades away into a corpse, he tries to right the wrong. Leave a mark, fix mistakes, not regret the life he lived. It's stupid, but it's got depth."

Jake noticed how Riley kept smiling as he described his ideas. It made him feel better to know that someone was listening to him.

"That's sweet, seriously."

"Thanks."

"How'd you start?" It was nice for her to seem interested.

"In fifth grade," Jake started, clearly remembering all the way back to when he was younger and more imaginative, "we had to write a narrative story, a thousand words or more. At first, I was reluctant, but then I really started to enjoy it."

"That's good," said Riley, her brown doe-eyes watching him with curiosity.

"Yeah, but that's not what made me start writing. I lost the file, which made me furious. So I just started writing more, and I fell in love."

"Can you let me read some of your stories, if you don't mind?" Jake didn't say anything, but he opened his laptop and started scrolling through his many unfinished ideas.

That was how the rest of the third hour went.

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