My hands ran down my sleeves, rubbing off the flakes of snow that brightly contrasted with my black sweater. I tromped through the hallway as I worked my way through the slush and lakes of muddy water, my boots squeaking obnoxiously with every step. Glancing down at my feet I watched two fluffy balls bounce against my dark laces, flying several inches before being snapped back by a thin string.
Lockers lined the hallway, all closed and quiet and watching me walk, eyeing the snow sprinkled in my hair and my close-fitted gloves. My hands felt like they were burning inside the tight itchy wool, and I ripped one off to register my locker combination. I spun the dial, listening to the heat drum inside the radiators, the wind sweeping in from the open door. My finger gripped the small handle and I gently opened the locker, the click echoing throughout what felt like the entire school.
I shrugged off my jacket and stepped out of my boots, slipping them both into my locker, fumbling with my coat as I tried to make it sit in the corner and not spill out. My feet felt uncomfortable against the wet surface of the floor and I quickly opened the plastic bag I'd been carrying, hastily sliding into my sneaker, my hand gripping the locker door as I hopped into the other one. The bag crinkled loudly as I placed it next to my boots. I shut my locker as I struggled to straighten out by binder and books with my right arm.
A door slammed on the other side of the hall and I heard the faint sound of another set of squeaky footsteps making their way toward me. I gripped my books and tried not to slip on the melted snow, squinting my eyes to see the other person. It didn't look like anybody I knew, and I deemed them unimportant as I walked closer and closer. The squeaking accelerated and I caught them spinning their head to each side as they sauntered toward me. They crossed the hall so they would be on the side I was on and I frowned, narrowing my eyes again to try and recognize a face.
Soon enough the face was rushing past me, my left hand jerked and my body twirled around. I clumsily followed the other person, my feet dangerously gliding across the sporadically placed puddles of water. My hand felt limp and cold in the other person's, my gloved hand hanging onto my binder. Baffled, I asked him what he were doing, and I got to witness their face brighten, their mouth stretched into a smile. "Come on, Alex," he beamed. I furrowed my eyebrows and frowned at the boy who had already turned back around.
I wanted to stop sprinting; my cheeks had gone red and my books were going to fly out of my arms any moment. I was about to skid to a halt, but the boy shoved me against the wall before I had a chance to. He pressed two fingers to my lips, glancing from side to side. My head ached from being bounced against the wall so suddenly, and I felt my hand squeezed as the boy silently opened the closet next to us. Dreadfully confused, I opened my mouth to ask again what he thought he was doing, and two words came out before I was shoved inside the closet, knocking over a tin bucket. The loud clang seemed to alarm the kid, and he waited for a moment before stepping in with me and shutting the door. I was a little frightened, and I felt the shelves of the closet digging into my neck as I edged up against them.
I was blind; there was no light spilling in from anywhere, and I could only hear the shuffling of the other boy as he harshly grabbed my arms, and the small gasp that escaped my lips. I was thrust toward him, his mouth jammed against mine, one hand roughly sliding against the back of my head, the other lacing it's finger inside my front belt loop. My lips were involuntarily separated and I felt his tongue slip inside, pressing against my own and running along my teeth. The back of my head was thrown against the wall, his hand grasping my hair as he breathed heavily inside my mouth. My own eyes fluttered closed, and I felt slighted when he backed away. "I love vat you'fe done vid your hair," he remarked, and I felt his finger pull the belt loop toward him, my waist pressed against his. My shirt was climbing up my stomach the more I leaned back against the wall, and his hot hand touched it, his fingertips scorching my clammy skin. I struggled out of his grip and, my own fingertips damp with sweat, twisted the doorknob, almost losing my balance as I stumbled out of the closet.
His hand caught mine. I turned around; his mouth was pouted, and I noticed the freckles spilling across his nose. "Alex," he frowned He paused, his cheeks burning red and his gaze falling to his feet. I wriggled my hand free and jogged down the hall, not looking back. The only squeaking I heard was my own, and I slowed my pace as I reached the stairs. I quickly glanced behind me, the only thing looking back being the dirt sprinkled across the steps and the cold limestone tile. I trudged up the stairs, sliding my hand on the rail, my legs feeling heavy and weak. My stomach felt like it was on fire, and I reached the second floor, hesitant to let go of the railing. Feeling dizzy I collapsed against the wall, waiting for a second pair of footsteps to come squeaking down the corridor.
I didn't hear anything.
Later than I anticipated, I found my first period class.
The ceiling lights shone dimly across my desk as I impatiently tapped my fingers across the wood, my eyes following my teacher to everywhere she stopped, every paper she placed face down. My frown slowly became a thin, straight line. I glanced up at the clock and back at my teacher. I was on time today.
She had just stared me blankly when I strode in yesterday, and I had silently shuffled down the narrow aisles and dropped into my seat, my cheeks flustered and my eyes refusing to make contact. I had already been late to school and my unintentional rendezvous with that strange boy didn't help very much.
At the end of the period my teacher had approached me and asked why I was late for class; she hadn't wanted to disturb the lesson by confronting me about it earlier. I told her I had woken up late, which was true. My brother had hopped on the bus without me, telling me that it was my fault he stole my iPod and my alarm clock wouldn't go off without it. "I won't give you detention this time, Aleksandr," she had warned.
I quickly thought about what else she could have given me detention for. That boy seemed to have it planned, to race by and grab me without a second thought. He may have been stunning, but it was the first time I'd laid eyes on his soft tufts of flaxen hair. I would assume he had me mixed up with somebody else, but he had called me Alex, and that just happened to be my name. And he seemed hurt when I rejected him, although my body ached to let him go on.
His accent surprised me with his inability to pronounce his w's, or the way all his words seem to come from his throat. He must have not spent much of his childhood in America, as most of my own accent had been left behind a long time ago. It was adorable though, to hear him speak English with such a thick accent; I thought about the next time I would speak to him, the next time I would hear him.
I paused. It was inevitable that I would at least lay eyes on him once or twice, now that his hurt expression and wide brown eyes were burned into my memory. I still couldn't fathom how he knew my name, or how in the world he even knew I didn't like women. Only my family and best friend had inkling as to my sexuality because I never dated, even when the nicer, prettier girls asked for my number. I just shied away from them, because the entire situation was completely awkward.
Aleksi was more confident about his sexuality, although he didn't make a show of dating other boys. That foreign kid may have mistaken me for my brother, as we have similar names. I rubbed my forehead in frustration. I didn't want to have been mistaken for my brother, because that boy was beyond adorable, and I honestly wouldn't mind if he forced me into another closet. But I had to get to class, and I was too shocked and embarrassed to even think about staying.
The teacher continued to round the rows of desks, the rhythmic tapping of her shoes echoing against the walls of the small classroom. I turned to my side, my legs falling off my chair and facing Frederik. He tucked a loose strand of dark hair behind his ear and eyed me, his body also rotating to face me. "Do you know his name?" He asked, and I shook my head. I told him that I had run away before he or I had the chance to really talk about anything. He seemed much more concerned with other matters. "I couldn't blame him," he winked, and I flushed.
"Don't do that," I whispered, turning back around. Frederik had also lost his accent, something I admitted missing. We had both emigrated at the same time, small children eager to start their lives in America. I met him on line for my green card, his small, pale hand tightly gripping his mother's. I spoke only few words of English at the time, and I was excited to find another boy my age to socialize with. Racking my brain for words to say, I mustered a hello. Frederik had turned to me, stared, and looked back at his mother and told her something in Dutch. His mother smiled and said something in return, and in return he looked back at me and frowned. I smiled back. I met him in school later that year when it had become much easier to communicate in a language we both knew.
"Frederik," the teacher frowned and slammed his paper upside-down on his desk. "You can do better," she commented, stalking off before Frederik could argue. He turned over his paper and stared at it for a bit before looking back at me. I asked him what grade he received.
"She almost failed me," he whined, and I snatched his paper from him. He didn't bother to steal it back. The paper seemed to be written by a seventh grader, not one word from a senior's vocabulary. The sentences were so simplistic I almost laughed. Frederik glared at me, but let me keep the paper. I gave it back to him anyway, telling him that he should start learning a couple big boy words. "It's not my fault I have a mild case of hippopoto...monstroses?" He paused for a moment, raising his eyebrows at the ceiling. "...quippedalia... phobia," he huffed at last, with slight difficulty.
I stared at him quizzically for a couple of moments before replying. "All I heard was hippo-phobia, and I'm right there with you, Freddi," I smiled, patting his knee. He attempted to explain the long word, but I ignored him and changed the subject. "Do you think he actually knew me from somewhere?" I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders, glancing up now that the teacher was scrawling across the blackboard in white chalk. "He may have just given into his passion, Alex," he breathed mockingly, looking back at me. "You're just so sexy, he probably just thought, 'Fuck it, I'm going to slam this bitch and he's going to like it.'"
I flushed and told him to shut up under my breath, and he winked at me. I hid myself under my hood and focused on the blackboard. I watched Frederik from inside the darkness of my sweater, watching him pout his lips and crease his brow in concentration. My eyes wandered down from his face to his throat, and the loosely fit sweater that lazily hung off his small frame. His black hair crawled down his neck and he scratched the back of his head nonchalantly. His eyes slid over and met mine, and he grinned.
Ever since we were small I have told Frederik everything. He consistently tells me I grew up to be gorgeous, and I would just as consistently redden and tell him to be quiet. As I started to mature he started to become cuter, and I became much more attracted to him. But I gave up the moment he began to date his first girlfriend; he was now just my good-looking best friend that makes me blush when I really shouldn't be blushing.
My mind wandered back to the foreign boy. I hadn't seen him for the rest of the day yesterday, even though I made sure to keep an eye out. I didn't want to tell Aleksi about it because I was sort of afraid they knew each other and the entire situation would turn out terribly. I propped my elbows on my desk and buried my face between them. My head ached. He said he had liked what he'd done with my hair, an obvious sign that I wasn't who'd he had wanted since my hair hasn't changed. My brother's hair was longer and styled differently, and I was certain he had mistaken me for him.
I didn't want to confront the boy about it, seeing how it would just create unnecessary stress. But it wasn't a good feeling knowing that Aleksi had been hiding something from me, and I wanted to know more about their little relationship. If he would have been comfortable with just throwing my brother into a closet and macking with him, what else was he comfortable with? I felt like I had been left in the dark, and the world around me was moving much too fast for me to understand anything.
The bell rang and I jerked my head up, dropping my arms and turning to Frederik instinctively. He was already scooping up his bag and gathering his notes. "You totally fell asleep, Sasha," he remarked, and I blinked. Did I? "Half the class was whispering obscenities in your ear. You were just like," he made a face, sticking his tongue out and half-closing his eyes. I laughed and he grinned, grabbing my own bag as I wiped the drool off my papers. "Dreaming of that pervert?"
I frowned and told him no. "I was dreaming of you, beautiful," I said sarcastically, wrapping my arm around his waist, gently tugging him in my direction. He stumbled sideways and I pressed him against me, whispering, "Who else is worth dreaming about?" His entire face flared up and I let go of him, snatching my bag as he briskly walked up our row of desks, staring intently at the floor. He waited for me at the door and I caught up to him. I licked my lips to mock him. His ears were still bright red.
I used to think there was a small ray of hope for Frederik and me whenever I joked around with him like this, but his next girlfriend, usually a nice classmate of mine whom he would explicitly have serious relations with, always subsequently crushed my hopes. And even if I did catch him making eyes at a boy, I wouldn't give it a second thought. There were others boys out there besides my best friend.
He was following me.
It was fifth period and my stomach was aching. I felt like eating. What I didn't feel like was ducking my head and trying to take an alternate route to see if I he was actually tailing me, but that's what I ended up doing. And he did indeed end up following me into a deserted hallway.
The bell rang and I clutched my side. The cafeteria was so few yards away, and I could smell the food. But the scent of cheese and meat soon wafted up through my nostrils, and my appetite was instantly distinguished. I swung the plastic bag trapped between my fingers, which teemed with only the loveliest fruits, vegetables and nuts.
I watched warily as the blonde boy rounded the hallway as if he was planning to go this way the entire time. I sat in one spot and folded my arms. He wasn't going anywhere. "Hey," My voice echoed throughout the hallway, and the boy reluctantly stops walking. He gazes up at me like I'm some strange animal that's going to eat his heart.
"Hey," he responded. I approach him hesitantly; I'm acting much bolder than I actually am. His eyes followed my feet as they squish through the leftover trails of dirt and snow, and when I was only several inches away he met my eyes. "Look, about yesterday Aleksi, I didn't know what I was thinking. I suppose I wasn't thinking at all."
He almost didn't have an accent at all. Maybe he let it out before because of all the passion… for my brother. "My name is Aleksandr," this is so horribly awkward. "Aleksi and I are identical," I chose my words carefully. I didn't want to rub in his face that he totally tried to feel up the wrong kid. I would think whoever this boy was would know that his boyfriend had a twin, but the expression on his face clearly told otherwise.
The freckles seemed to turn pink when he flushed, and his hand flew up to his mouth, his fingers sinking into his cheeks. "I… I…" He swallowed, and I glanced up at the ceiling as I waited for him to recover. The bag crinkled as I continue to swing it. How could dirt possibly have gotten on the ceiling? Did somebody somehow take a gravity-defying stroll?
"Aleksi has been ignoring me lately," he's talking. Of course he's talking. Who else would be talking? I turned back to the boy as he spoke. "I… I was following you, which you obviously knew about, because I wanted to see if there was somebody else, you know, because… he has been, you know, avoiding me." The fact that my twin brother was a sleaze was not news to me.
"Oh," was my invaluable feedback. The kid looked uncomfortable standing there in front of me. I wondered what he had then, because he seemed completely unbothered by not going to class. He did seemed bothered however by my mindless stare. I blinked. I'm back. Questions. Ask a question, Aleksandr. "What's your name?"
He dug his hands into his pockets and bit his lip. Wow, he didn't have to tell me his name if he didn't want to. "Kaspar," he replied, and I nodded like I cared. "I'm sorry Aleksandr for, you know, grabbing you yesterday and so on…" I refrained from licking my lips. I was being so silly; I couldn't have possibly given a shit about what Kaspar had to say, but I was genuinely interested. Which doesn't make sense. Life is odd. Or maybe I'm odd. He was still talking and I missed half of what he said. "… wanted to reassure myself, to know whether or not he still liked me." I frowned.
"Aleksi hasn't said anything about you, which is unusual," I said, and it is. Aleksi would always rant about his sexual endeavors with and without my consent, but Kaspar had yet to be mentioned. Either he really liked the kid or he was ashamed of him, and I looked him up and down briefly. His worn dark jeans dragged along the floor, falling off his waist with his underwear peeking out. The black shirt clung to his frail arms, random pieces of thread visible against the bland gray wall he was leaning against. My eyes wandered back to his face, pale and spotted with pink freckles. My lower lip jutted out instinctively. Why did Aleksi have to find him first?
Kaspar's gaze dropped to the floor, and he dipped his oversized black shoe in some dirty water. "Okay," he said, and I furrowed my eyebrows. Aleksi sucks, you're cute and I kind of like you. "Thanks Alex," he pauses. "Aleksandr," I watched his fingernails graze his clean blonde hair, nonchalantly brushing it in a preferred direction. Would you like a hug? I can give hugs. I give good hugs. "See you," he forced a small smile, and I smiled back. He spun around and quietly walked away. Fuck.