We're waiting after school. It's a good day -- bright and clear, but the sun's setting, and the sky glows all these crazy different hues of color. The only light comes from the glass door at the end of the hall, which leads out into the parking lot, where our parents will pick us up separately. No one else is at the school -- even the janitors are gone. It's just us.
He's helping me, of course. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to help him with even a single part of his homework. We don't have any classes together, and most of his are Pre-APs or APs, anyway. So it's probably something like Spanish. I love the way the rich, foreign words slip through his lips like airy velvet.
"Well, that's it," I'll say, closing the binder in front of me with a hearty, satisfying clap. He starts packing up, putting away his pencils, zipping up his backpack. He's probably wearing a hoodie, and those eggshell-colored jeans we both like so much, the same pair he nearly ruined when he sat in a puddle of soda a few weeks ago.
"My mom will be here any minute now," He'll say, checking his phone. It doesn't have a single scratch on it, and runs like it's fresh out of the box, contrast to my shattered, aged phone I'm holding in my hand. Reminds me of something else about our relationship.
"Thanks for all your help," I'll say, and I'll mean it, and I'll look at him, but he won't look at me. Not quite yet.
"I'll go out and wait," he'll say, shouldering his pack and starting for the door. And that's when it'll hit me, as I stare at his back as it recedes down the hallway, I know the time is now.
"I'm still in love with you." Though rehearsed thousands of times, the words slip out of my mouth cracked and choppy -- tumbling out after so long of being hidden between my teeth.
He stops. He'll turn around and look at me, and I know he's thinking that he's heard me wrong, because his eyes are on my lips.
"I'm still in love with you," I'll repeat, stronger now, as I take a timid step towards him. "I am."
"What?" He'll breathe, and at this point, I can't even imagine what's going on his head.
"I've always been in love with you, and I always will be." I look so small right then, smaller than normal, with my shoulders hiked up and my hands trembling as I sweat through my ACL tee and Nike shorts. And now he's looking at me with those beautiful, chocolatey eyes while his silhouette is outlined by the light behind him, and God, he's so beautiful.
"Before you say anything..." I continue. The speech I've planned out so carefully, right down to every pause, evaporates into thin air. Words begin to spill out of me like an overflowing faucet -- I can't stop them. I'm hardly even registering I'm saying them. "I know we haven't known each other long, and I know that you probably don't even feel the same way, but I can't go on with this in my head. You have to know that... that being around you... it's killing me. It's killing me. Every time I look at you, all I want to do is hold your hand or run my fingers through your hair or kiss you until my lips hurt. Every time you touch me, I'm so painfully aware of this barrier between us."
He starts walking towards me. Slowly.
"I understand you don't want to disobey your parents, and I'd never ask you to. But if I had to, I'd catch the bus at 3 AM just to kiss you goodnight. If we ever dated again, it'd be hard, and we wouldn't see each other much, but for me, it'd be so worth it. It'd be so worth it for all the small moments I get to spend with you. The little things... sitting in your lap and hugging you and just knowing that you're mine, and I'm yours. Everything about you is worth it."
We're only about a foot away from each other now.
"You're different than anyone I've ever met. There's something... indescribable about you. If the answer is no, if you don't want to be with me, or can't, that something will make me wait for you. I'll wait for you until the end of time, and I don't know why, but I can and I will. Because—"
"Because I'm still in love with you," he finishes.
Then his lips crash into mine