|Nod and Smile
Author: Nikkithedead PM
Small and perpetually confused, the life of Seth Rogers is made all the more difficult when Kyle, his best friend with whom he's been in love for several years, catches the eye of a cute girl named Casey Carter.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Chapters: 22 - Words: 48,739 - Reviews: 84 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 10-16-12 - Published: 04-14-12 - id: 3013616
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This has nothing to do with any of my other stories (although familiar secondary characters may crop up). I just created some characters and needed a way to flesh them out a bit more.
Nod and Smile
Character: Seth Rogers.
Chapter: The Casey Carter Situation
It's a perfectly normal day. I'm sitting at my desk, next to Kyle. Outside the classroom, the sky is not quite-sunny, but not-quite-cloudy. Our teacher, Mr. Pratt, is a record breaking 15 minutes late for his own lesson. Around me, my peers chat enthusiastically to each other about whatever it is they've got going on in their lives, not at all concerned that they're being deprived of their education. But then, neither am I. 15 minutes without Mr. Pratt means 15 more minutes I'm allowed to stay in my head before being harshly yanked out by the lessons demand for attention.
Next to me, Kyle drums his fingers on his desk, propping his chin up on his elbow as he stares across the room.
"Hey, what do you think of Casey Carter?" Kyle asks, out of the blue.
I raise my eyebrows, and follow his gaze across the room, where Casey is sitting next to her friend Lina. She's wearing a sort of itchy looking pink sweater, with two puppy dogs on the front. "Uh, her sweater's pink?" I say, unsure of what he's looking for. Why we're suddenly discussing Casey Carter is beyond me.
Kyle snorts and rolls his eyes at me, giving me that look he has when I say something stupid. I guess I say a lot of stupid things, because he usually gives me that look at least four times a day. Usually it's followed by him putting a hand on my shoulder and saying "you're so you."
Kyle's been saying that to me for years, and I still don't understand what it means. "You're so you." Well, yeah. I'm me. Who else would I be?
I just don't get it. But I don't want him to know that, so whenever he says it I just smile and nod, and pretend like I know what he means.
"That's not a thought, Seth, that's an observation." Kyle says to me. "What do you think about her?"
I look at Casey Carter a second time, and try to think of something to say about her. "I don't know," I say, giving up after a moment. "I don't think about her, I guess." I shrug. "Why are we talking about Casey Carter all of a sudden?"
Kyle shrugs, looking at her again. I wonder if he's seeing something I'm not. Something worth looking at. I can't imagine what.
"Jimmy Howlett told me she likes me...I was thinking of asking her out." Kyle glances sideways at me as he speaks, as though gauging my reaction.
Honestly, I couldn't say what my reaction is. We've never talked about girls before. I guess I feel...stunned. And confused. Why would Kyle want to ask out Casey Carter? Just because she might like him? That wasn't fair.
"Why?" I ask, because it's the only thing I can think to say.
Kyle shrugs again. "Why not?"
"Because—because since when do you care about Casey Carter?" I ask, hoping Kyle doesn't hear how upset I sound. But the sudden interest in Casey Carter and her stupid blond hair and itchy sweater is slightly distressing. He doesn't even know her. She might have gotten that sweater from an old lady she beat to death with a cane. Sure, it's not likely, but you never know.
"Since I found out she might like me, dude." Kyle says, still staring at her stupid blond head. She glances over, and gives Kyle this tiny little smile that's probably supposed to look cute. To my horror, Kyle smiles back at her. "I'm gonna go talk to her," He says, getting up. I can just stare at him as he walks over to her, with out a second glance back at me.
I still can't find one thing about Casey Carter that's worth talking about.
I'm in the hallway for a lot longer than I should be, taking my books slowly out of my bag and switching them for others in my locker. Everyone else went to class five minutes ago, but I can't make myself move any faster.
I can't stop thinking about Casey fucking Carter. Casey Carter and Kyle. On a date.
I can already feel my shoulders tensing. This wasn't fair. Casey Carter had liked Kyle for what, a week? I've been in love with him since we were 13 years old. I've been his best friend since we were 10. When he caught the stomach flu during the summer of 7th grade, and couldn't go outside for a week, I was the one who stayed with him every single day, even though it meant I caught the stupid flu myself. And the next week, when I was sick, he stayed with me.
Where was Casey Carter during that?
There are footsteps coming down the hall towards me, and I turn my head to see who it is. I sigh. I don't have time to deal with this right now.
The footsteps stop right next to me, and the blond haired jock that belongs to them leans against the locker. "Rogers," He says, cooly. I don't respond, and suddenly Steve pushes me back against the lockers. I look up at him, and he brushes a piece of my curly black hair off my face before leaning down to press his lips against mine. I've never understood how it could be comfortable for him, at 6 foot 1, to kiss me, at 5 foot 4. But since we've been doing this for the last two months, I guess he doesn't mind.
Steve pulls back after only a moment, because we're in the hallway, and gives me a big, slightly goofy smile. "Hi," He says.
Two months ago, I went to an end-of-summer party with Kyle at Jimmy Howlett's house. Kyle had gone off to see which of our peers would pass out first in a beer chugging contest, and I was sitting on a couch in the basement, counting the seconds until I could leave. That's when a slightly drunk Steve sat down next to me, and struck up a conversation. I can't remember what that conversation started out about, but it ended with Steve telling me he thought I was the most gorgeous boy he'd ever seen, and kissing me.
Steve was only the second boy to ever kiss me, and he was the only boy to ever tell me I was gorgeous. I kissed him back. A lot.
Ever since that night, Steve and I have been in this sort of routine. Mostly it involves making out in the janitors closet.
"Hello Steve," I reply, hoping he's not going to want to sneak off together and continue this. I'm already late for class.
Steve smiles again and takes a step back—not so far that he's out of my personal space, but far enough so that if someone else were to catch us like this, it wouldn't look suspicious. "You skipping?" He asks, not bothering to disguise the hopefulness in his voice. "'Cause I was thinking of forgetting about math, maybe taking an early lunch..."
I shake my head, and turn back to close my locker. "Nah, I've got English now." I say. Steve nods—he knows I like English. I can tell he's a little disappointed, but he brushes it off.
Steve watches me closely as I snap my lock shut, and heave my backpack up onto my shoulder. He raises an eyebrow. "You okay?" He asks.
I shrug and start to mumble something about being fine, but then I change my mind and look up at Steve. "Do you know Casey Carter?"
Steve looks surprised. "Uh, blond girl, roundish face...about your height?" He questions.
I bristle at the implication that Casey and I have something in common. My height is mine, Casey can't have it. But I know that's immature, so to Steve I just say: "I think I'm taller than her,"
"I kind of know her," Steve says, shrugging a broad shoulder. "Why?" He grins. "You sweet on her?"
My immaturity takes over and I answer Steve's question with a loud retching sound. Steve laughs, and it makes me smile. Steve's laugh always makes me smile, I can't help it. I know there's a lot of nice laughs in the world, but Steve's has got to be one of the best. It's vibrant and warm, full of honest amusement at whatever it is he's laughing at.
Steve's laughter dies down quickly, and I look at my shoes, feeling embarrassed. "So why the sudden interest, may I ask?" Steve says, still sounding highly amused. "What on earth could a sweet girl like Casey Carter have done to deserve that reaction?"
"Sweet?" I say, my face scrunching up. "Sweet? You think Casey Carter is sweet? Why? Because she has a sweater with puppies on it? That's not sweet that's juvenile. She's juvenile, and-and tacky and—"
"Woah, chill out," Steve says, holding up his hands. I huff and cross my arms, indignant at being told to "chill out." I've never understood that expression. How does one "chill out"? What does that even mean?
I roll my shoulders, trying to ease the tension out of them. "I'm late for class," I mumble, then take a look at my watch. I cringe. "Very, very late."
Steve nods. "Sorry, I didn't mean to hold you up," He says.
"It's alright, I was late even before you came along," I tell him. "You just exacerbated it."
Steve purses his lips. "You know that fun game we play sometimes, where you say a word and I pretend to not know what it means, and you define it for me..." He trails off.
I give him a small smile. "It means you made it worse, my being late."
Steve nods again. "Cool; well I mean I already knew that of course, but for the sake of the game...cool." He grins at me, and I shake my head.
"Goodbye Steve," I say, turning to leave.
"Wait," Steve says, stepping forward and reaching out a bit as though he intended to grab my arm, but didn't. I raise my eyebrows at him, and he looks away, his cheeks florid. "Um, I was wondering what you were doing this Saturday," He says nervously. "I, um—my parents, they're going out of town...so my house'll be empty." He gives me a look that I won't understand until half-way through English class. "I just...I like you, Seth, and I was sort of hoping we could take this beyond making out in the hallway, or in the janitors closet, you know?"
"Oh," I say, feeling put on the spot. I don't want to turn him down, or hurt his feelings, but I always hang out with Kyle on Saturdays. We never do anything big, just watching TV or movies...but we've been spending our Saturdays together since we were 12. It's an important tradition. I glance back up at Steve, who's still waiting for an answer, and my stomach churns. His blue eyes are so wide, and he looks so nervous... "Can I think about it?" I say, taking the cowards way out. I'll come up with an excuse later. Or maybe I can talk to Kyle, and we can hang out during the day and I can see Steve for a little in the evening—not that Kyle knows about Steve...or that I like guys, at all.
I'll figure something out.
Steve nods, his expression unreadable. "Yeah, sure. Um, you have my cell number so just...call me, I guess?"
"I will," I promise. I look around the hallway a little, checking to make sure we're still alone, and then I gesture for Steve to lean in. He does, and I give him a quick kiss before turning around and making my way down the hall. At the end of it, I glance over my shoulder and see Steve still standing there, watching me walk away. I'm not quite sure why, but something about that makes me smile a little. From down the hall, Steve smiles back, and I give him a small wave before I turn the corner and finally get myself to English class.
Other characters in this story:
Kyle Barnes: Suddenly Things are like, Really Confusing
Steve Anthony: Locker Room Closet Case
Casey Carter: Girl in the Pink Puppy Dog Sweater