He looked at me with a halfhearted smile. “I’m Adrian,” he said. His eyes were droopy and he slumped into the chair.
I smiled back and tried to make eye contact. “I’m Jessie.”
“You’re a sophomore right?” He drummed his fingers on the blue arms of his chair. His voice was mellow and soft for a guy.
“Yeah,” I replied. I ran my thumb on the side of Nick’s index finger. It was rough, but soothing.
“You live on Cook/Douglass?” Adrian asked.
I licked my lips with a forced grin. “Yes.”
“With three guys?”
I let out a small sigh. “Uh-huh”
I shifted in my seat as I continued eye contact. He was friendly and seemed upbeat, but the conversation felt like an interrogation. He may not have meant it that way, but my shoulders were tense and straight. I gulped. It was like he saw right through my nice girl façade.
He complimented me on my glasses. I tried to play along, but my hands were sweating and they felt out of place with Nick’s.
We were talking when the door swung open. A chubby girl wearing all black waltzed through the door. She had olive skin and short black hair. She waved at Nick and Adrian, taking a seat in a chair on the other side of Nick and I. She made herself comfortable as if she had lived here. Her smile was nonchalant and she opened her mouth to speak.
“It’s freezing outside,” she said. Her voice was loud and echoed off the cinder block walls. She took off her jacket and draped it over herself. I winced and gaped at her. Her confidence was both admirable and off putting.
Her attention was focused on Adrian and N...
... middle of paper ...
...en I was inconsolable after he touched me. He left me because of it. This was the second time I had a flashback while intimate, but this time I couldn’t cry.
“Who did it?” he asked.
“My mother’s boyfriend,” I replied.
“Did your mom know?”
“Yeah and she kicked me out because of it,” I said and paused. “I live with my aunt and uncle.”
I left out the part that I didn’t live with my brothers because I didn’t want to overwhelm him.
“Oh,” he replied. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. He wasn’t blinking and his face was stoic. “I don’t know what to say.”
“I told you because I care about you,” I said.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said again.
“I’m scared you’ll leave me,” I whispered.
“Don’t be crazy,” he said. “I’ll never do that.” He smiled and seemed sincere.
I believed him and the uneasy feelings evaporated.
“Do you feel safe with me?” he asked.
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