I like you.
I’m sorry that I don’t have the courage to say this to your face but I just had to tell you before graduation. I’ll be waiting under the maple tree by the football field after school if you have a response.
A love letter?!
I stare in awe at the paper in my grasp that happened to be tucked into the crack of my locker. The cursive writing, the pink paper and a girl claiming to like me? I can’t believe it. I’ve never been Mr. Popular in the dating department so the idea of any girl confessing to me is, well, pure insanity.
Not to mention she said graduation, she’s a senior?! I could get an older girlfriend. I try to think of how many senior girls I know, which is a lot actually. I have plenty of friends so I have absolutely no clue who this girl could be though.
This can’t be happening. It’s not real. There’s no way a girl is writing me a love letter, note, confession, whatever one wants to call it!
“What do we have here?”
Suddenly, the note is snatched out of my grasp without consent. I shout, spinning on my heel to find who stole my paper. I’m not at all surprised to see DJ, my best friend since practically diapers, reading over the note with a shocked but still amused expression.
“What desperate girl wrote this?” DJ snickered, holding the letter above his head when I try to snatch it out of his grasp.
Damn it, being short is the worst! DJ makes sure to rub in our height difference all the time too, freaking over six foot tall sophomore, what the hell? That should be illegal! Puberty rammed into him like a mac truck! Lucky bastard.
“This girl obviously has great taste,” I growl while trying to get the letter back. “If she likes me she has to be cool.”
“Oh, are we teasing Caleb again? Nice, hand that over!” Yet another voice chimes in, this time it’s Sam who takes the letter to read over. While he isn’t a freakishly tall giant like DJ he’s still taller than my 5’5 self. Fuck genetics, it’s my mom’s fault, freaking five feet tall. “Who the hell writes a love letter now days? Was that ever a thing? And to Caleb of all people!”
“Screw you guys, give it back!”
“Are you going to meet up with her?” Sam sneers, waving the letter before my eyes then holding it above his head much like DJ did.
“Of course I am!”
“He’s that desperate for a girl,” DJ laughs, shaking his head at me until I elbow him in the gut. He grunts at the unexpected hit then complains under his breath about how all short people are angry. Of course we are, the world is not made for short people! Everything is difficult!
“No, I don’t even know who it is but the least I can do is meet her,” I explain after Sam finally hands the letter back to me. Once it’s safe within my grasp I put it into my folder for safe keeping. “She probably worked up a lot of courage to write this. I should say hi to her-“
“Possibly set up a date, some cuddling while watching a movie then holding hands and no more than that because Caleb’s knowledge stops there.” Sam cackles earning himself an agreeing nod from DJ.
My face warms up at his teasing. So what if not all of us are good with the ladies? Maybe I don’t want to know more than that! Wait, yes I do, who the fuck am I kidding? I can’t even lie to myself, whatever, that isn’t the point!
“Shit like this is why I can’t share anything with you two.”
DJ chuckles. “Obviously, what else are friends for?”
Sam laughs so hard he starts to snort. Seriously, fuck them! Freaking assholes! I’m about to elbow Sam when he notices my movements and dodges just in time. Of course, being the ass that he is, he sticks out his foot for me to trip over. With a loud curse, I stumble forward into the hall. Most kids avoid me in order to not get hit but one just happens to be right in front me at the right or wrong time depending on how one looks at it.
With a grunt, I fall into the chest of an unknown person. I feel their hands grasp my shoulders to keep me up right while their legs manage to steady us. Thanks to them I didn’t fall flat on my face but my pride sure as hell fell about a 100 feet, especially when I see who it is that caught me.
“Sorry!” I shout so loudly that the boy actually flinches. Shit, I uh…didn’t meant to make it worse, well, shit, this is even more awkward. Can I say shit again?
“It’s fine,” Preston speaks softly, his hands finally releasing me so I can stand on my own again. I take about two steps back, sending an apologetic smile up at Preston, yet another freakishly tall sophomore but to me everyone is tall. Preston doesn’t look bothered but his quiet stare gives me the chills. Those hazel eyes of his could pierce through anyone.
“I was trying to hit Sam for being an ass then he tripped me…cause he’s an ass,” I try to explain for some reason, which doesn’t seem to affect Preston in the least. He gives Sam a glance but quickly returns that silent stare to me. Then he hums, gives a quiet nod and walks off without another word while putting in his earbuds.
“Damn it, Sam!” I hiss, spinning around to glare at my so called friend. “You made me run into Preston!”
“So we cause him trouble all the time! I bet he hates us.”
“So?” Sam repeats with a shrug. “I’m sure he hates most of us. He’s so quiet that it’s hard not to bother him.”
Our group, ok so it’s mostly me, is pretty loud. Preston, and the few people he actually communicates with, definitely is not. Most of the time he’s listening to music or reading. He doesn’t partake in class events unless absolutely necessary nor does he show up to any after school activities. The only club he’s in is the art club but even there it seems he keeps to himself.
It’s not like he’s a bad guy though. Preston’s actually pretty nice, at least when he needs to be. One time my bike got a flat tire and I couldn’t ride it home so Preston waited with me for over an hour after school until my mom picked me up. We honestly didn’t talk much but it wasn’t bad. It’s just a bunch of little things that makes Preston nice even if he doesn’t talk much.
I wouldn’t call us friends though. Our school’s so small that it’s hard not to associate with one another. I’m sure if he had the opportunity to avoid me all the time, he’d take it.
The three of us head off to class to enjoy our last week of school before summer fun time! We’ve got four days left this week then we’re off for the next three months. Obviously that means we aren’t doing anything in class other than goofing off. Most kids are skipping actually but my parents would kill me if I tried. I don’t mind it though, hanging out with my friends in class where we aren’t doing anything isn’t bad in my book.
Of course DJ and Sam have to inform everyone about my now not so secret admirer.
“How old school, writing a love letter but to Caleb? What a waste,” Mark teases with a huge grin reaching ear to ear.
“I don’t need to hear this again, DJ and Sam have said it since this morning!” I kick my legs angrily from where I’m sitting atop my desk. Mrs. Jackel isn’t having us do anything so she’s at the front of the room talking with some students.
“Hey, Kara, would you write Caleb a love letter?”
Kara, one of our classmates, perks at the call of her name. With a confused stare, the girl replies almost hesitantly, “No way.”
The guys all laugh while I place a hand over my chest in fake pain. Kara quickly realizes her mistake and tries to explain, “N-Not that Caleb is a bad guy o-or something! Just…I wouldn’t…write a love letter. Why are you asking?”
“Cause he got himself an admirer!” DJ sings, attempting to snatch the folder that is holding said love letter. I quickly grab the folder and sit on it cause apparently that is the safest place, under my ass, I think I’m an idiot.
Kara giggles. “That’s so cute! Who is it, Caleb?”
“Cute?” Mark grimaces, seeming ready to argue but I beat him to it.
“Don’t know, it wasn’t signed.”
“Aw, well I bet she’s lovely!” Kara comes up to me to give me a hug. She then turns a glare onto the guys who all stare at her in confusion. “And you three!” She points accusingly at each of them. “Stop teasing him about it. You’re just jealous!”
“That’s right!” Someone is finally on my side!
“Oh yeah, totally jealous.” Sam rolls his eyes and looks around the classroom for the next target. There isn’t a lot of students here so it doesn’t take him long to pick someone. “Oi, Preston!”
I stiffen at the name, quickly hissing at Sam to leave him be. Glancing over my shoulder, I see the boy slowly raising his head from the book he was reading. Brushing some of the dark hair from his face, Preston cocks his head to the side to show he heard us.
“If you were a girl, would you write Caleb a love letter?”
Did he seriously just ask that?!
I quickly kick Sam’s desk for it. The kid chuckles maniacally, as do the rest of my friends while I spin to face Preston with yet another apologetic smile. Those hazel eyes of his are watching me with that same silent stare. I’m ready to apologize to him a second time today but he ends up speaking before I get the chance.
“If I liked him enough I would,” Preston answers that with such a straight face that it causes all of us to freeze.
He shrugs at the response from us, or rather lack thereof, and turns right back to reading his book like nothing happened. Well, I could thank him for shutting the guys up but I’m too embarrassed.
Turning around, I face my friends who easily bounce back from the shock. They’re teasing me yet again and that continues for the rest of the day. Ah, friendship is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
When our last class ends I feel numerous pats on the back as well as hear some “good luck” and “don’t fuck it up.” I roll my eyes at their teasing tones that tell me they don’t see anything coming from this. Neither do I honestly but it would feel rude if I never talked to this girl so, with a deep breath, I head to the maple tree after class.