Lark(9)

By: Erica Cope



“So what did you think of the book?” he asks after we have been eating silently for a few minutes.

“I love it!” I say too quickly. He cocks an eyebrow at me. “Well, I think I will love it. I haven’t exactly had a chance to read it yet, but it looks…interesting.”

“Good. I hope you like it and, uh, find the information in it useful,” he replies, clearing his throat uncomfortably.

“Useful for what? Like playing Trivial Pursuit?”

“Not quite, I was thinking more like for life in general,” he states cryptically.

“Um, okay.” I’m a little confused as to what life lessons I could possibly learn from this ancient story book. I reach down for the leather bound book and rub my hand across the weathered cover which has been intricately engraved with a beautiful swirly sun symbol.

“Don’t you enjoy reading fairy tales?”

“Um, no. Not really,” I admit. “Most of them are kinda twisted.”

The Disney version definitely didn’t show Cinderella’s step-sisters cutting of their toes and heels in order to fit that glass slipper. I was a little shocked the first time I opened up Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

“I think you will find this particular one interesting.”

“Yeah, I’m sure I will.” I am not really sure what else to say. Sometimes he can be so strange. I take a bite of my breadstick

“Homecoming is this weekend, correct?” he suddenly asks.

“Yep.” I choke a little on the chunk of breadstick I just put in my mouth. Brilliant response, Mia. Just brilliant. And classy. Definitely classy. Gah. My cheeks redden. Why am I so uncouth? No wonder he just wants to be friends.

“Well, I was kind of wondering if you were planning on going?” he continues, a slight pinkish tint appearing on his cheeks. No freaking way. Is he really about to ask me what I think he is about to ask me? Maybe Hannah was right. Thank God I didn't say yes to Dandruff boy.

“Um...well, nobody has asked me yet or anything,” I say slowly as I inwardly try to calm my now frantically beating heart. He doesn't need to know that I did in fact have a previous invitation because it's not like I ever considered saying yes to Ethan.

“Would you like to go with me?” Oh my freaking gosh! He is asking me! “Just as friends, you know,” he continues, successfully deflating my previously swelling heart in the process.

I should have known better than to get my hopes up. But since I want to go, and I do, after all, have a dress, I say, “Sure. Just as friends. Sounds great.” I continue to eat the rest of my lunch in silence, hoping that I’m not pouting on the outside as much as I am on the inside.

I just don't get it. When we are together, it always seems like there is more to us than just friendship. It's not like he has ever kissed me or even held my hand, but sometimes I get the feeling that he might be tempted to, and then something always changes his mind to make him pull back. Are boys always this confusing?

I spend the rest of the afternoon contemplating whether I should tell Hannah now or later about Grey asking me to Homecoming. If I tell her now, she is liable to start squealing, thereby attracting unwanted attention from members of the Greyson St. Clair Official Fan Club. There is a moment that I’m tempted by the thought, but my more logical side wins and I decide I'll just tell her after practice when there will be less people to witness her over-exuberance.

I head out to my car to put my book-bag away and grab my practice bag. Grey is waiting for me like always after school. The fact that this is now our routine is sort of amazing and sort of confusing at the same time, but I just go with it. He seems to be his usual cool, collected self but there is a slight reluctance in his eyes that I don't quite understand.

“How was your day?”

“Good, yours?” I ask out of habit as I dig out my keys from my bag. I see him frequently throughout the day, in between classes and at lunch, so it's not like he doesn't already know, but that doesn't seem to ever stop him from asking me anyway.

“It was fine. Have fun at practice.” He smiles as he holds up his hand to say goodbye and then gets into his shiny, black truck.

When I get home after practice I’m exhausted and starving. I grab a snack and make myself comfortable in my favorite reading chair. I pull out the book that Grey got me and start to flip through the pages. I start to read the first chapter but I quickly lose interest. There are too many foreign words I can’t even begin to pronounce. I flip to the back of the book to see if maybe there was a key or something but no such luck. How frustrating! I hate not knowing how to say the words I am reading. I spot Paul’s laptop on the writing desk in the corner and decide to do a quick Google search.

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