"You're in my seat."
I sighed to myself and glanced up, about to make an irritated remark on how you didn't have assigned seating in the school library, when I stopped. Because this person was a male, a male sixth former and a fit one at that.
I knew who he was – well, vaguely – and he was right, I was in his seat. The sixth formers – the few that actually did come in – occupied a cluster of tables in the far side of the library. I was fully aware of that. But some pesky year nines had stolen my seat and I had nowhere else to sit.
I felt I needed an excuse as he was leaning over my desk – or rather, his desk – eyebrows raised expectantly, a smile playing on his lips.
"Somebody stole my seat," I explained apologetically. But I made no move to indicate I was leaving.
"Tell them it's yours."
"What, you mean, like you're doing now?" I muttered. See, I could tell them to move, like he suggested. But I wasn't the tallest of people and wasn't very intimidating. They'd laugh and I'd be without a seat.
"And if they refuse to move?" I said a little louder.
"There's plenty of other spaces." There hadn't been when I'd come into the library.
"Exactly," I said with a grin. "Off you go." I didn't have an explanation as to why I was being to bold.
He smiled. "I think you'll be the one moving."
I smiled smugly and went back to my work. Next minute he had whisked the pen out of my hand. I forced a smile, not daring to look up at him and pulled out another pen from my pocket. This one was stolen from me too.
Sighing dramatically, I glanced up.
"Move," he ordered. I stood – well, sat – my ground. "No."
"Look, if you're so desperate to sit here – sit next to me." I gestured to the empty chair next to me, for I was sitting at a rectangular desk.
"No, you move along."
It was because I was tired of arguing that I moved, not because he'd won or that I was impressed with his argument. He sat down in his seat but didn't return my pens. I put my hand out.
He grinned and placed them into my waiting hand, our hands briefly touching. Sighing dramatically again, I went back to my work.
And so it began.
The next day my seat was free, but feeling mischievous, I sat next to here he would sit. I got on with my work and tried not to grin when he entered. I hoped he'd to smile but the only gesture I received was him sitting next to me.
"Good morning," he greeted me.
"Mornin'," I replied unenthusiastically. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him smile.
"You know, yesterday you stole my seat and today you sit in the empty chair and I don't even know your name."
I smiled, but didn't reply.
"And you don't know mine."
"Maybe I don't want to."
"And why don't you want to?"
I shrugged, deciding not to grace him with a reply.
We didn't speak for a while but I couldn't stop myself from smiling. Finally the pen was stolen from my hand. I tried not to grin when I turned to him.
"Yes?" I asked with an over-the-top sigh.
"You have to learn some manners," I said, taking my pen back. The next time it was my paper which was stolen from me. I turned slowly towards him, keeping my grin under control.
"So rude," I teased, attempting to grab my work back but failing. He held it high above his head. The librarian saw him and frowned but he took no notice.
"You know," I said, "people come into the library to work."
"I am working," he argued.
I scoffed. "At what?"
"At finding out your name?"
"Fine, it's Rani. Happy?"
"Tough," I said, grabbing my work back and finishing the essay. He didn't speak to me again until the next day.
Over the next few days he came to the library and we talked for a bit but then finished our essays/homework. After three days I had nothing else to do but I went anyway, finally bringing a book. He commented on this and we chatted, but I still didn't know his name. I wanted to know it but wouldn't let on.
And slowly I began to crush on him. He came every morning to the library, before school and I was there too. I asked him about his name once and he told me it was Max. We talked about anything and everything. I had gotten quite used to him being there. I sat in the same place every morning and he did too.
But one morning he didn't appear. I waited, waited until all the sixth formers had felt, waited until the bell rang and the librarian ordered everybody out, waited outside the door, lingering, wondering if he'd come. He didn't, and I felt beyond pathetic. It was stupid because obviously he was ill and yet I was desperate to see him, desperate to talk to him. I blushed when I saw the sixth formers grinning as I slowly made my way to class. They must have known I'd been waiting for him. And they just laughed amongst themselves.
The following morning I was eager and yet unenthusiastic about going to the library. I wanted to see him but I didn't want a repeat of yesterday morning.
I'll see if he's there, I decided, and then if he's not, I'll leave. If he is, I'll go in.
So I cautiously walked up to the library the minute I go into school and peered through the window at the top of the door. My eyes scanned the library for him and eventually settled on our seats. But to my anger and amazement, his friends were sitting there too. One glanced up, saw me, grinned and nudged his mate. Pretty soon the group of five sixth formers were laughing at me. I blushed scarlet and pushed open the doors. I went back to my old seat, which was empty and boring and sat down. I had pulled out my book and began to read. I'd barely read a few pages when I heard chuckling. I knew it concerned me and so sank lower in my seat, pulling the book up to hide my face, but now it was impossible to read. I could sense that someone was coming over to talk to me and tried to ignore their footfalls. But it was extremely hard to ignore that person when they whisked my book out of my hand and then sat next to me.
"Why aren't you in your seat?" Max asked, reading the blurb of my book.
I shrugged. "This is my seat."
"No, it's not." He was still reading the blurb.
"Yes, it is. Don't you remember? Year nines were sitting here and so I stole your seat."
"And then you sat next to me and you've been sitting there for the past two weeks," he finished.
"That was only temporary," I said stiffly.
"Ah," he said, placing the book on the table. I reached out to get it but at the last minute he pushed it away, out of my reach. "But it wasn't," he said.
"But it was," I told him. "I remembered yesterday that I wasn't supposed to sit there."
He finally looked at me and his expression was one of incredulity.
"Because I was absent for one day?"
"And because your friends and now occupying my seat."
"Then why are you here?" I asked rudely, suddenly lunging forward to grab my book back. I didn't open it, though. It had been getting boring anyway.
He shrugged. "I liked talking to you."
I fought off the eruption of butterflies. "Well, isn't that nice?" I said, pleased that I wasn't grinning like a loon. "And I liked talking to you. But you sit over there and I sit over here."
"You were put off because I was off for one morning and because now sixth formers are over there?"
"You should have told them to move."
I rolled my eyes. He just didn't understand.
"Look," he said, "this isn't going anywhere. So I'm just going to say it."
"This business of stealing seats really isn't right. It's immoral, for one thing."
I grinned. "Excuse me?"
"So you know what I've done?" He continued.
"What?" I asked, deciding to humour him.
"I've got us some seats that nobody can steal. In a cinema. Tomorrow night."
I stared at him. Was he having a laugh? Was he joking? He must be. He couldn't be serious. But I really wanted him to be. My heart was dancing and the butterflies were back...but was he serious?
"Um..." I said. "What?" Maybe I had misheard him, I reasoned. Besides, the sentence sound kind of clumsy, like he was nervous, and Max just didn't get nervous.
"I think you heard."
"No," I said, struggling to keep my voice at a normal level.
"I'm trying to ask you out," he said exasperatedly, "don't you get it? Tomorrow night. The cinema. To see a movie. Yes. Or no?"
"Yes," I said, praying and hoping so hard it hurt that this wasn't a sick joke, "OK."
"Great," he said, acting like his normal grinning self (but I knew he was relieved). And I knew it wasn't a joke. "See you there."
First things first, I'm dedicating this story to my best friend Becca, purely because she's awesome!
And secondly, I am soooo sorry I haven't posted anything in ages! I've been sooo busy. I know this isn't great but I hope you like it anyway! I enjoyed writing it so I hope you guys enjoy reading it.
Oh, and I'm really sorry for the bad summary. I'm always rubbish at them! Hope the story makes up for it?
Reviews are welcome!