The halls were beginning to thin out as people headed towards their classroom, and I decided I should do the same. After all, I had spent enough time lingering by my locker with the fake excuse of needing one of my books. I closed it shut and slowly headed towards the end of the junior hallway. I had my gaze down on my feet, with my biology book pressed tightly against my chest and feeling the quickened and unsteady pulse of my heart thudding against my ribcage. There was a tug at my stomach, accompanied with a sudden lump in my throat that I couldn't get rid of, no matter how many times I swallowed.
I avoided making eye contact with anyone directly, even if they called after me to say a quick 'hey.' Unfortunately, I made the mistake of lifting my head up when I heard a particular voice say my name, one that caused my stomach do all sorts of summersaults and daring flips.
It was Noah, the person I had been trying to avoid all morning. He was standing in my only way out to the Ag. building, and I had no choice but to keep walking in his direction. I couldn't tear my eyes away from his despite the constant commands my brain was giving me, and as I drew nearer, and I was only feet from him, I couldn't help it.
I let my book slide from my hands and with a last foot towards him I threw my arms around his neck, and buried my face against his shoulder. I wasn't too sure what his reaction would be, but when I felt his arms snaking around my thin waist, a smile grew to my lips.
The world around me seemed to disappear for a moment. All the voices and the people they belonged to diminished into a mute buzz, and the only voice my brain registered to was Noah's, especially with his next comment.
"I can't stop thinking about you," he whispered into my ear.
I pulled back slightly to look at him, and his pale green eyes with the golden specks scattered around his pupils showed a sign of weakness, one that he only let show when he was around me. I recognized it from two nights ago, when we were laying in bed, entwined in each other.
"I was just about to tell you the same thing. You've corrupted my mind, Noah," I told him in a soft giggle.
"I didn't know that could have a positive effect on anyone."
A genuine smile began to spread across his lips, but it vanished in the next instance as his gaze focused past me, and I turned around to see Travis Carter and Sean Yates looking in our direction. They were smirking and they had their heads tilted up in a way led them to believe that Noah was on his way of 'getting some.'
Noah dropped his arms from around me, and covered it up by bending down to pick up the book I had dropped.
"Noah," I began, a frown starting to form on my face, but I stopped myself as he handed me my book and headed towards the guys without another look at me.
I bit down on my lip as I watched him leave me, joining a group in the commons area made up of mostly junior and senior guys. They greeted him with the typical knuckle-to-knuckle motion, grinning at each other as they glanced in my direction, and I knew for an instant that their conversation would revolve around Noah and me.
That was the reason why I had wanted to avoid Noah all morning. I was afraid that something like this would happen. Even though there were only a few instances I had heard of that dealt with him messing around with another girl, he wasn't the guy to dedicate himself to someone else, let alone someone like me.
I ran my fingers through my hair slowly, feeling for a moment the way my heart suddenly thudded painfully. My eyes started to sting with unshed tears and my chest tightened, but I wouldn't let myself break down here and now. Turning around on my heel, I pushed through the doors rather forcefully and stepped outside.
A chilly wind blew against me, and I did whatever I could to shield myself from it. I shivered. I had given Noah everything—for this? I knew I shouldn't have gone against my better judgment, but no, I had to be naïve in my situation and think that things wouldn't be like this in the aftermath.
I lifted my head up and saw that Nicole was a few yards ahead of me. Her body was half-turned in my direction, waiting for me. I drew in a discreet breath and caught up to her, forcing a smile on my face.
"Hey," I told her, hating how horribly my voice faltered.
Of course, she noticed.
"What's wrong?" she asked, pressing her hand against my arm as she locked her eyes with my own.
"Nothing," I lied, trying to continue towards the Ag. building. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Noah and Sean pushing through the doors. I hurried my pace.
Nicole's hand curled around my arm and stopped me from going any further than a few feet.
"No, tell me," she pressed, standing directly in front of me.
I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. "I'll tell you inside," I told her desperately, knowing that Noah wasn't too far from where we were standing.
I continued to walk past her, and she let me.
"Lacey! Lacey, wait!"
I ignored Noah and kept walking.
"Lacey! Damn it, turn the fuck around."
I crossed the road, and was about to push through the double doors, but I felt someone grab onto my wrist and twirl me around to face them.
"Noah, you better let go —" I began, but he cut me off.
"We need to talk," he hissed, pinning me against a pillar made of bricks, "now."
"What is there to talk about?" I asked in response. I turned my head away form him, refusing to look at him. Nicole and Sean were practically walking side-by-side, bearing the same confused expressions, but they didn't say a word when they passed by and went inside the building.
I could feel Noah's stare boring down on me, and after a moment he released my wrist. It was throbbing from how tightly he had been holding it, but I didn't show it. I began to move towards the door, but he caught my waist and before I could make another movement, his mouth was a dangerous inch away from mine. It took the breath out of me. I stared into his eyes, his green orbs that had the effect of making me vulnerable to him, like I suddenly was now, and I couldn't help it.
I enclosed the tiny space and captured his lips within my own. All the anger and hurt and rejection that had filled me only momentarily were disappearing into nothingness as a hungry eagerness replaced it. I brought my hands up into his hair, bringing him closer to me, forgetting about the bitter cold that surrounded us. His hands gripped my waist and then slipped underneath my long-sleeved shirt. He didn't get far, but it made me tremble at the thought of what he could do to me.
I only concentrated on the movement of his lips, and it was enough to tell me what he was trying to form in words. I don't care what they think. I don't regret anything that happened Saturday night. You're mine and I adore you.
When I pulled away, we didn't have to say anything to each other. We just knew we had something for the other, a strong connection, one that no one could break too easily. We would have each other, through everything, and that was enough to fill me with the hope that maybe, maybe our undeveloped love can hold out.
Noah wrapped his arm around my neck and pulled me close to him. He kissed the side of my face, whispering, "We'll make it."