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Us and Them

By @ZoeAmber

Hayden

Monday / September 23rd / 4:02 PM

My heart is pounding and I’m terrified she can feel it through my pulse while she cleans up the remaining cut on my hand.

A moment ago, we shared a real conversation. Without any of the preconceptions or forced aggression. And she may even come to like me as an actual human male friend. Maybe. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check, but when she smiles at me with those unfair, X-Men eyes, my body turns to mush and I can’t seem to formulate proper sentences.

“Hey, you’re pretty good at that.” I manage to get out. She smiles, not interrupting her work, but glances up and down again.

“Yeah?” She acknowledges the compliment and I bite my lip in celebration. “Thanks. I’m thinking about going into nursing when I graduate.”

“Really?” I say, a little easier this time. “It suits you.” She finishes and bandages me up.

“All right,” She stands up and puts a hand on her hip as her other dials a number on her phone. “You’re all patched up. But make sure to check with a doctor that you don’t need stitches.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I say as I look over her handy work and get ready to walk out of the nurse’s office. But I stop when I see her take the phone back off of her ear and a slight panic washes over her face.

“Um, do you…” I point a thumb toward the open door. “need a ride home?”

She’s thrown off guard for a second and her jaw drops in surprise. “Oh uh-no, no that’s okay.”

I take a gamble and block the door, cross my arms, giving her a smug grin. “Are you sure about that?”

She bites her lip and her fair face turns a light shade of pink. If I weren’t wearing shoes, my toes would be curled into the floor at the sight of it.

She blushes harder when they don’t pick up for the second time. “Come on.” I say with a grin.

• • • • •

She avoids eye contact as I tighten the helmet straps under her chin.

Of course you drive a motorcycle.” She crosses her arms. “The only way you could add a little more likeliness of death to your daily commute.” I cross my arms as well, lean against my bike and give her a look.

She grins and puts up her hands in surrender. “Sorry. Old habits.”

Yeah right, Lillie Mason couldn’t intimidate a toddler. Especially right now, with her cheeks pushed slightly together in my bike helmet. I jump on first and stiffen my neck enough so as to not allow myself to watch her fair legs under her pink, flowery romper straddle the seat.

For a second I’m p****d that my backpack is between us, but when I push off and let out a small burst of the throttle she clutches my waist involuntarily, then withdraws her hands.

“Aren’t we forward?” I look over my shoulder with a grin. She bites her lip.

“Shut up.” The smile wins and she covers it with a hand, which is a crying shame with those chubby cheeks.

“Okay, hold on tight,” I say and take my foot off the ground before I let off the throttle again and we move out of the nearly vacant parking lot. She grabs the straps of my backpack for stability but when I stop abruptly again at a red light she loses it again and my patience wears a little thin.

I turn slightly and tap my sides and she awkwardly plants both hands on them like she’s a robot.

“Despite, what you might’ve been told,” I smile “I don’t actually bite.”

She smiles back but before she can reply, I surge ahead on purpose when the light turns green and her body presses against mine.

For a second, all I can focus on is Lillie’s sweet scent but then I feel the warmth of the two fair, clasped hands around my waist.

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  1. Kathleen Fazio

    Feb 2, 2022

    omg I love it so much! you are an amazing writer.

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    0 Replies Feb 2, 2022
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