Page 27


I don’t linger to consider the ramifications of erasing Luke from my thoughts. Instead, I switch off the basement lights, hurry back up the stairs, and scoot deep beneath the covers. I think of Luke until I fall asleep.
Sleep comes too quickly tonight.
A hand grips my left elbow just as I’m getting ready to retrieve my Anatomy book from the depths of my locker. The note said I didn’t finish my homework this weekend, so I need to do it in study hall.
I wince at the elbow grip, not because it’s rough but because my arm still hurts from when I managed to fall on it during first-period PE, playing volleyball, of all things. You don’t even move that much in volleyball, yet I dislodged a tiny piece of elbow bone. At least that’s what it feels like. It’s probably just another bruise.
“Ouch,” I say, spinning to face the grabber. I don’t know who I was expecting, but surely it wasn’t him.
The gorgeous boy drops his grip on my arm and recoils like he’s been burned. In his perfect blue eyes, I see confusion, anger, hurt, and even a touch of pleading. I don’t recognize him, but I wish I did.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” he says softly. His voice is smooth and oddly relaxing.
“Oh, no, it’s not your fault,” I say, rubbing my elbow. “I fell on it in gym class. I’m a bit of a klutz.”
The boy smiles a sad smile then, and a hint of a dimple appears on his right cheek. My stomach flips over, and suddenly I’m very aware of myself. I shift awkwardly from one foot to the other.
Realizing that I’m staring, I break my gaze and turn back to my locker to get the book I was after in the first place.
“Can I help you with something?” I ask, still facing the locker in an effort to appear nonchalant.
“I need to talk to you,” the boy says quietly.
I stuff the book, a notepad, and a spare pen from the top shelf into the oversized gray and white striped shoulder bag I found in the hall closet this morning, and slam the locker door shut. The hall is crowded now, and the girl with the locker next to mine exhales loudly as she tries to get to her own belongings. The boy is blocking her way.
“Oh, sorry,” he says to her when he realizes his blunder.
“Whatever.” She shoves her way past him.
The boy has moved to block my way now, and I begin to rethink my desire to remember him. There’s a slightly creepy sense of urgency about him.
“Are you okay?” I ask, wondering whether there’s something wrong with him. Is this kid going to freak out on me? Is that why I don’t remember him?
Gripping my bag like a security blanket, I take a step to the right to try to move around him, but he anticipates my move and blocks me again. He bends slightly and looks directly into my eyes before speaking.
“No, London, I’m not okay. We have one fight and that’s it? You won’t return my calls. You weren’t home yesterday when I came by. We need to talk about this.”
When he finishes, he straightens slightly but doesn’t stop with the eye contact. I don’t know what to do, so I opt for honesty.
“I’m really sorry, but I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t even know you.” I smile weakly as if to console a friend.
It’s like a lightbulb turns on in the boy’s head. He stands completely straight and his eyes narrow. He shakes his head and then looks at me with even more venom.
“Real mature, London. Thanks a lot,” the boy hisses. He turns and strides down the main hall in the direction I need to go.
The girl with the locker next to mine giggles as she passes; she’s heard the whole conversation. “I’ll take him if you don’t want him.”
I wait until there’s no sign of the boy before I weave my way to study hall. As I move, I review what happened and end up just as confused. I open the massive library doors and walk through the metal detectors, happy to have one whole class period to ponder the situation.
And, oh yeah, do my Anatomy homework.
But then, as I approach the bank of tables reserved for study hall, I realize my bad fortune.
The brooding boy sits alone at the only table with any free seats.
Of course he does.
Surprisingly, the gorgeous freak is otherwise engaged all period long, so I manage to finish my homework with time to spare. Even so, I can’t help but notice the huffs and snorts coming from the boy as he writes furiously in his notebook. Angry much?
Now, as I sit packed and ready to leave the moment the bell rings in forty-four… forty-three… forty-two seconds, the boy is still writing. I can’t help but watch the muscles on his toned left forearm flex as he moves the pen across the page. His worn T-shirt looks baby-soft and hangs perfectly across his shoulders and chest. I find myself wanting to touch the waved lock of hair that peeks out from behind his right ear….
“What?” the boy snaps as he looks right at me. Several other clock-watching students turn in our direction.
“Nothing,” I whisper, looking back to the industrial wall-mounted clock that tells me I’ll be free from this uncomfortable situation in twenty… nineteen… eighteen… seconds.
I hear the boy rip the pages he’s been working on from his notebook, which strikes me as odd, since I’d think he’d want to keep them safe until class.
Finally, the bell rings, and I stand so quickly to leave that I practically knock my chair back.
“Wait,” he says in a softer tone. Instead of running, I turn to face him.
“Please read this,” he says, offering me what I realize now is a letter. It’s folded in half, with my name written on the outside.
“Okay,” I say as he brushes past me, leaving me confused and alone in a barren library with a warm and oddly familiar scent lingering behind him.
I skip the trip to my locker before math, opting instead to arrive early and see what on earth this boy could be so mad at me about.
Minutes later, I realize that being early was a good choice.
Dear London,
First off, let me just say that I love you. Keep that in mind as you read on….
My name is Luke Henry and I’ve been your boyfriend since I started at Meridan in October. You don’t remember me in your future for some reason we haven’t sorted out yet, but I’d like the chance to find out why.
You’re really mad at me right now, and rightly so. I never told you that we’d met, but we had. When we were younger, we went to camp together. I was fascinated by you and how, every day, you’d befriend me again even though you didn’t remember me from the day before. You were my first real crush, and now you’re my first real love.
After the Winter Formal on Saturday night, I found the notes that you used to remember me and I told you the truth. You were right when you said that I’d been lying to you for all this time. I’m so sorry, London, and all I want is the chance to redeem myself. I have no idea why I did it. Maybe I thought you’d think I was a stalker. Maybe I just wanted to see if you’d ever wake up and know who I was.
You didn’t.
But, London, we’re good together. I don’t want to lose you. I made a huge mistake, but I hope that you can consider forgiving me. Because like I said in the beginning, I love you, London Lane.