I sat in my biology class waiting for Clarissa to finally arrive. We had just gotten out of gym, and I knew Clarissa was in the bathroom freshening up before she saw her boyfriend, Todd, who’s also in our biology class. I knew that I looked like a mess. My hair was in a messy bun and my makeup had melted off after running for 30 minutes. If I could eliminate one school subject, it would definitely be gym.
“Where’s my girlfriend?” Todd asked me.
“I have no idea,” I said, startled. “Probably getting all dolled up for you.”
Clarissa and Todd have been dating since fifth grade. Even though they argue a lot, they still love each other to bits.
“Well I hope she didn’t get lost in the bathroom,” he said. “She has my homework!”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be here any minute.”
As if on cue, Clarissa walked in the classroom, looking as fresh as a daisy. Her naturally straight hair was curled gently at the ends, and her lips were painted a plush pink.
“And here she comes,” I said to Todd. Todd’s face turned a crimson red when Clarissa came over to us. Even after all these years, I think he still knew that Clarissa was out of his league.
“Hey Todd,” she smiled sweetly, like he was just another boy in biology class. “Here’s your homework.” She handed him the homework that they probably had done together the night before. “Oh, and here’s another thing.” With that, she planted a kiss on his lips.
“I love you,” he said.
“Yeah, yeah,” she said to him smiling.
“You two are just too much,” I laughed.
“Okay, class, take your seats!” Mrs. Patel said.
I took my seat next to Todd and Clarissa. As Mrs. Patel began to lecture, I took my notebook out and began to take notes. To be honest, I was only kind of paying attention. I took out a blank sheet of paper and began to doodle hearts and stars on it. I like school, but sometimes in math and science I can tend to tune out.
“Sorry to interrupt Mrs. Patel,” Mr. Mulroney, our principal said, opening the door. “But we have a new student today. His name is Ciro. He just moved here.”
Mr. Mulroney opened the door and Ciro walked in. There was a hush over the classroom. Some of the girls literally stopped and gawked at him.
Ciro was tall and slender with very pale skin. His hair and eyes were dark, contrasting against his alabaster complexion. His clothes were perfectly pressed and worn, like some kind of Gucci model. His eyes seemed to dart from each student to Mrs. Patel, surveying the classroom and everyone in it.
“Oh, um, hi Ciro!” Mrs. Patel stammered. “I’m Mrs. Patel.”
Mr. Mulroney walked out of the classroom as Ciro stood at the front of the room. My classmates were feasting their eyes on him.
“There’s an empty seat next to Emmi,” Mrs. Patel said to Ciro, gesturing towards the seat next to me.
My heart began to pick up speed. Next to me? Really?
Ciro walked slowly to the chair next to me. As he walked, every pair of eyes seemed to follow him until he sat down. My breath stopped as his cologne hit my nose.
Mrs. Patel continued to talk. I could feel Ciro’s presence next to me. I put my hand on my chest and began to count down by 10. I began to take large, deep breaths. Calm down, calm down, calm down. His presence felt heavy. A few times I slanted my eyes to see where he was looking. He was perfectly motionless looking at Mrs. Patel. Could he feel me reacting to him like this?
After what seemed like an eternity, I grabbed my books and headed for the door the second that the bell rang.
“Emmi, wait!” Clarissa yelled after me as I made my way to my locker and out the door. Thank God the bell had rung for the last period of the day. Sitting next to Ciro took all of my energy out of me. I couldn’t even seem to think, let alone breathe in that class.
I ran into my car and started the engine.
“Emmi!” Clarissa ran in front of my car. “What the heck?!”
She tore open the passenger seat and sat down next to me.
“Please tell me what is going on!” she yelled. “I was going to have Todd drive me home, but that’s not going to happen anymore! Start driving. What is wrong with you?”
I gripped the stirring wheel and began to pull out of the parking lot of our school. As I drove farther and father away, my breathing became normal and my head was cleared of all the stuffiness.
“I couldn’t think or breath when I was sitting next to Ciro,” I finally said. “It was like I was under water or something. I don’t know. It was so odd.”