From Chapter One of Hope Unashamed, a Coming of Age Romance
On this first Friday of my sophomore year, I barely looked up to receive an open bag of cheese puffs from Dennis, who’d been my main sidekick since he and I met each other back in middle school. I wouldn’t have looked up again after the Freshman Day commotion that went tearing in and out of the commons at that moment if the noise hadn’t been accompanied by the muffled sound of a female yelp.
My eyes jumped upward to peer into the crowd of students milling around, some of them apparently laughing about the stampede that had flown past, others just talking and laughing in general. Scanning toward the direction I thought I’d heard the yelp from, it took me a minute to identify who must’ve been its issuer: a girl standing alone, pushing herself away from the wall she’d likely been shoved against. She had an open cup of chocolate pudding in her hand, and some pudding was smeared over her mouth and cheek.
I sucked my teeth. “Idiots,” I muttered, handing the cheese puffs back to Dennis.
“What?” Dennis inquired, adjusting the glasses on his face as he looked up from his own reading.
“They pushed her” was the only explanation I gave as I shut my book, hoisted my backpack by the straps over my shoulders, and made my way through the throng over to the girl in the pudding predicament.
“Good morning. I’m sorry,” I greeted her with an apology to get her attention, and her eyes widened when she turned and realized I was talking to her. “I’m sorry.”
Her eyes whipped up and down over me, perhaps to determine if I’d been a part of the passing commotion or not. “Sorry for what?” she asked.
I recognized her, a girl new to the school who was the only other sophomore in my chemistry class, a class that was otherwise full of juniors. “Sorry they ran into you like that,” I clarified, briefly bending to the floor to pick up the plastic spoon I assumed she’d been about to use. “Folks need to watch where they’re going.”
She held up her cup of pudding with an embarrassed but droll look. “My fault for trying to lick the lid. Wasn’t paying attention,” she declared, the lid in question sticking straight up where it was still partially attached to the cup.
“Here,” I said, stowing my book under my arm and digging into a pocket of my jeans, finding it empty, and then digging into the opposite pocket. I pulled out a folded handkerchief, extending it to her.
She gazed down at the handkerchief before looking back up at me. “Guys really carry those things around?”
One of my shoulders rose and dropped. “I do.”
She appeared skeptical, her eyes narrowing in thought. “I know I’ve seen you somewhere.”
“Third period chemistry. I’m Arthur Simmons. You’ll have to remind me of your name, Miss…?”
Her skepticism clearly deepened. “Miss?”
I nodded. “Certainly not ‘Mrs.’ already,” I answered, then stopped to check, “Are you?”
For every love, there is a season.
And they’ll know it…
When It’s Time