I couldn't tell you why he stared at me or why I stared back. I wasn't gay. I didn't think he was either. It didn't matter much, we still stared. His eyes were blue and his hair was an unnatural jet black. He never smiled. I didn't know why that was, just that he never did. Well that was until the day we met.
I was walking down the hall after lunch, fiddling with my MP3 player when I bumped into a tall figure. I was so unlucky to be an eleventh grader and still only measure up to be 5'4". Damn coffee! Why did it have to stunt my growth?!
"Watch out you fucking lunatic—Oh it's you," the dark haired boy said to me.
"Huh?" I took out one of my headphones and peered up at him, "Wow you're tall."
"Thanks for rubbing it in," he smirked, his cheeks turning a slight shade of pink.
"Oh I wasn't. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to—"
"I know," he smiled.
"Braces—" I gasped. That was the reason that he never smiled, that was why.
"Yeah, you seem surprised. Is it so weird that I have braces?" his eyes were strikingly blue.
"No, just, um… never mind. I have to go," I started to walk away, but changed my mind. I turned to him, "What did you mean when you said 'Oh it's you'?"
"Nothing bad, don't worry. I just thought that you were some freshman bastard that was ramming into me because they were jealous that I'm taller than them. Not to mention that see you everyday. You're kind of antisocial, aren't you?"
"No, I just don't have any friends."
"None? That seems kind of odd."
"What can I say? There just some things about me that people don't like."
"Such as?" he raised an eyebrow.
"Never mind," I said, "I have to go."
"But—" I was gone before he could say another word.
Once I got to class I thought about him. Why was he so interested in talking to me? Had he not heard the things that people said about me? I figured he hadn't, being that he was so willing to converse with me. I didn't understand him, I wanted to, but I decided that in a short time he probably wouldn't even be talking to me. Why bother?
These thoughts played through my mind for the rest of the day and into the night. I hoped so badly that he had heard. I guessed that the next day would answer these questions so I went to bed and wished for the best.
The day had been going by slowly, the teasing never letting up, like usual. I just wanted lunch to come, I just wanted to see him.
Lunch finally presented itself to me, thank god. It was both the best and worse time of the day. Good because I was alone and bad because I was alone. I really wished that I had friends, but it wasn't totally horrible that I didn't.
So I sat there, sipping my coke, listening to My Morning Jacket, and fiddling with my Star Wars t-shirt. The damn thing wouldn't lay flat on my chest. Stupid shirt!
In all my fussing I failed to notice that there was a body next to mine.
"Nice shirt," a voice said as the person removed my left headphone.
"What?" I looked in the general direction of the voice. It was him. I wish I knew his name.
"I said 'nice shirt'. I like Star Wars. That shirt looks old. Is it vintage?"
"It was my dads, so yeah, I guess it is. He got it when the movie first came out. It's one of the only things I have left to remember him."
"He left right?" I nodded, "When he found out about your mom?"
"What do you know about my mom?" I was curious and terrified all at once.
"Which one?" he knew. Shoot! He looked at me, "Your real one or her partner?"
"So you do know about my mom. Who told you?" I looked at my hands nervously. Why didn't he care?
"Yeah, I know that your mom is a lesbian. It's not a big deal though. I don't know why everyone in this school assumes that you're gay just because your mom is. That's not fair. I'm sorry that people are assholes."
"It's cool, not your fault. I'm just surprised that you don't care, everyone cares."
"Yeah I know," he looked to the ceiling, "I'm sorry my brother is a jackass around you. He's so fucking mean!"
"Yeah, you know him. Jake McGrath."
I flinched at the name. Jake McGrath was mean, he was horrible! All he ever did was push me around and call me a queer. How could this kid, this nice kid, even be slightly related to him? I looked at the dark haired boy, I could see the resemblance. He glanced my way and I turned, "I didn't know that Jake had a brother."
"Yeah… I'm a freshman and a lot different than him. People don't even recognize how similar we look."
"But you don't look a like. He's got blondish hair and he's a lot stockier."
"Well there is that, but look at me, really look at me. We have the same eyes and the same lips. I have our dad's nose, but otherwise—"
"I know," I smiled, it had been ages since I had smiled like that, smiled sincerely.
"My name is Harvey by the way, I'm sorry that I failed to mention that earlier," he chuckled. His eyes shut and he shook his head, black hair hanging in his face.
"My name is—"
"Asher, I know. Sorry," He covered his face, "That was creepy. I don't mean to know so much about you, it's just, I do. My brother has the habit of talking about people that he's not fond of. You're usually the key aspect of his rants. No offence."
"None taken, as long as you don't join in with him."
"I would never, I'm not that kind of guy. Besides, it's not like anything he says is actually true. He just lets off his steam by picking on people that aren't like him. Originality means nothing to him, he'd rather have everyone be like him."
"That's kind of gross," I said.
"I know. I've told him that there's nothing wrong with you. He was pissed when I told him that I talked to you."
"Yeah. I knew he would be. I didn't care though. He can't choose my friends for me. I hate that he thinks he can."
"I bet," I said, "But why would you tell him if you knew he would be mad?"
"Because—" he paused, "I think you're cool. I like that you don't really need other people, you can get by on your own. I wish I could be as independent as you."
"I'm not really all that independent. I don't hang out alone because I choose to, I do it because I have to."
"But you still do fine. I mean you're not at home crying and slitting your wrists because you don't have friends."
"How do you know?" I cocked an eyebrow. He grabbed wrist and looked at it.
"Well there aren't any scars so I know you don't cut. I can't be sure about the crying."
He traced over my wrist before letting go. It felt so good. I hadn't had any human contact with anyone other than my mothers since the eighth grade.
"I do cry, just not often. You don't need to tell anybody that though."
"I won't," he smiled and stood, "Let's go sit down. I want you to meet my friends."
"Why?" I was confused.
"Because I want you to meet them. I think they'll like you. Please!" he grabbed my hand and pulled me up.
"I'm guessing you're not going to give me a choice."
"No, not really," He led me to his table. I sat in the empty seat across from him and stayed totally silent. He looked at me as I sipped my coke.
"What?" I said.
"You're really quiet. I think you should talk more," he smiled and stuffed some chips into his mouth.
"Why? I'm not used to talking to people. Nobody ever talks to me so I never have to talk back."
"Well you better learn," said one of the other boys at the table. He looked straight at me, "I'm Geoff by the way."
"Oh, hi. I'm Asher. Why should I learn to talk back?"
"Because, I'm gonna make you sit here every day. I don't care what you say, I'm not going to let you sit alone anymore."
"Why do you want to give me that much pity? Do you really feel that bad for me?"
"I'm not pitying you. I want to be your friend. You seem really cool."
"You've got some weak arguments, don't you?" I got up.
"Where are you going?" Harvey asked.
"Away," I said and headed back to my usual spot in the rear of the cafeteria.
I sat there a while, trying to fight back tears. Why had I done that? I just threw away a possible friendship.
"I'm sorry," I heard a voice say. I looked up, wiping away my tears. Harvey was standing there, towering over me.
"You didn't do anything."
"I threw too much at you at once. I should have just stayed back here with you. I guess I didn't take into consideration how unused to people you actually are. I'm really sorry," he sat down next to me.
"Don't blame yourself. I'm not a people person. I freaked out."
"You stayed pretty calm for freaking out."
"Yeah, well," I covered my face. I had trouble looking at him. Every time I did I got a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I felt a hand on one of my own that was covering my face. I felt fingers lace with mine, "Don't cover your face. You're too pretty."
"What?" he was gay?
"I can't believe I just said that. Oh god," he let go of my hand and buried his face in his knees.
"I'm not gay," I said.
"Neither am I," he looked at me briefly, "FUCK!"
"I know you're not, don't worry about it," I felt suddenly empty, "Did you mean it? Do you really think I'm pretty?"
"If I did would you still talk to me?"
"Yeah," I smiled, "Of course I will."
"Let's just say that I love blondes. Your hair is gorgeous and, well, you're kind of girly looking. You have beautiful lips and really nice cheekbones."
"You like my cheekbones?"
He chuckled, "Yeah, I do. I know it's weird, but it's true. You have a very nice face."
"Thanks, that means a lot."
"Even though it's coming from a guy?"
"Especially because it's coming from a guy. Girls tell guys that they're cute all the time. Guys don't usually say stuff like that."
"Oh," he paused and ruffled his hair, "I didn't think of it that way. I guess you make a point."
"I try," I said, then the bell rang. I stood up and Harvey followed my lead.
"You're on second floor right?"
"Yeah, you gonna stalk me?"
"Maybe, I'm still contemplating. Why? Do you wand me to stalk you?"
"Not really, I was just wondering if you were going to."
"I figured that was the case. Nobody wants me to stalk them, I'm not pretty enough."
"Whatever," I said and headed up the stairs. I didn't want to tell him that I thought that he was gorgeous. If someone overheard me saying that I would be in an even worse situation than I was already in. People would really make fun of me after that.
"Whatever?" he wrinkled his nose, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Never mind. It's not important."
"Yeah it is!" he said as we reached my class.
"This is my class, I have to go."
"But—" he whined.
"Sorry Harvey," I smiled. I poked his nose then turned on my heel and went to my desk. He stood there a few moments, smiled, and walked away. He was gone.
I sighed deeply after that. How had I gotten so lucky to have him in my life? He had appeared so abruptly, so quickly. I knew that it probably wouldn't be long till he hated me, but I didn't care. I finally had a friend.
After class I headed to my locker, which was only a short distance down the hall from my previous class. Someone bumped into me. I turned around, somewhat angry, and saw Harvey standing in front of me.
"Oh hey," I said.
"You gonna tell me what you meant by 'whatever'?"
"No," I said bluntly.
"Then take this," he said and handed me a piece of folded paper.
"I don't write notes," he said and walked away.
I quickly unfolded the paper and read it. All that was written were his cell number and his screen name. I was somewhat disappointed. I shrugged and went to my forth and final class.
The bell telling me that I could exit prison finally rang and I quickly walked to my car. I was so glad the day was over. Only one day left of hell for that week.