Status: Active (:

The Hollow Days

Chapter Thirteen

Emma looked fantastic. My palms were beginning to sweat, and it didn't help my perspiration when she touched my arm. In fact, it sent shivers through me. I tried to keep my eyes on her own, but I couldn't. Just like I couldn't look at her at her bus stop this morning. My eyes kept going back to my clammy palms.

"Do I really look pretty?" She bites her lip, but I really wish I were doing that job for her. I watched her like the first time I saw her bite her lip. I watched her white teeth pinch the flesh, and then I watched her release it. The skin became full again, the dark pink color returning to where it was white from pressure. My breath got hitched in my throat.

Pretty didn't even cut it. She was gorgeous today. I wonder if she could even get more attractive. If she could, I didn't stand a chance. I search for the words, licking my lips. "You look amazing, Emma." When her name left my lips, it felt natural. "Hey, move in." I nod to her, smiling, and I realize, it's the first time I've really smiled in a long time. She moves in towards the window and I sit next to her. Having her this close drove me crazy.

"Bad move, sweetheart! You might end up dead!" A shout from the back made all the color drain from my face. And just like that my good mood was gone. I returned to my own seat, and grabbed my phone out of my pocket, plugging in my headphones.

"Elliot, please." She had tears in her eyes.

"I don't want you to end up dead." I close my eyes, feeling the relaxing calm from the music wash over me. I laid my head back against the seat, trying to drown out the background noise of Emma's pleas. Finally, she grabs my headphones and rips them out of my phone. I shoot her a look. Not a friendly one.

"You have to listen to me, because," she takes a deep breath, trying to stop whatever was bubbling up inside of her and making her so anxious. Then she continues more softly, "because, after all you've put me through I at least deserve that."

I raise an eyebrow. "Emma I don't owe you anything, don't act like I do." And it felt like we were right back at square one, with me trying to hate her, and her trying to dig her nails right into me and latch herself on for the ride. "You don't even know what you're getting yourself into. You see these people?" I swipe the rest of the bus with my hand, my upper lip twitching in a snarl. "They're ruthless, and that doesn't exclude me."

She shuts up for a moment, and a few moments later, there it was. That goddamned cry face. You know that face people make wihen they're trying so hard not to cry, but that lump in their throat is rising against their will, and it's just too powerful? It's the ugliest face ever, but for her, it was actually sad in this cute way, but it still made me crumble inside. I pulled her in my seat and held her face to my chest, rocking her back and forth.

"Have I really put you through so much?" I murmur, resting my chin on her head.

"I just want to be nice to each other." She wipes underneath her eyes. "My mascara is a mess, isn't it?" And surprisingly, it really wasn't. She looked beautiful, still. I shake my head. "Elliot you have to ignore what those people say. I don't care, so you shouldn't either. Don't push me away, please."

It took me a minute to realize she was holding my hand, stroking my thumb gently with her own. I felt the blush rise to my cheeks, and I couldn't look her in the eye. As the bus came to a stop, I took a deep breath. "I want to show you something."

I grab her hand and lead her through the crowd quickly, shoving people a little harder than I meant to with my shoulders so that she wouldn't get bumped and we had a clear path. Then we made it out to the courtyard. I smile wide, staring up at the sun that seemed to shine down on the leaves and the dew on the grass. I sit down on the bench, looking at her and patting the spot next to me.

"Are we even supposed to be here in the morning?" She says, in awe. She grins at me, then looks back up and looks around at the lilacs and daisies planted around the plastic plaque that was just sitting in front of a tree. I imagine Cyrus leaning up against it, smoking a cigarette, talking about how he couldn't wait to get out of this place. I blink back tears and dust some dirt off of it while Emma reads it. "Nineteen-ninety-six to two-thousand-twelve. Cyrus Harris, rest in peace." She murmurs, running her fingers over it.

I clear my throat, turning away from it. "I made it. I couldn't afford more, I wish I could. He deserves more than this, but the school couldn't waste their money on a trouble child. Said it wouldn't look good." I say with disitaste.

"And the flowers?" She asks softly, her hand on my arm. I didn't look at her as my skin got hot from her touch.

"My mom bought them and her and I planted them." I smile thoughtfully, my mom did love me, and that just proved it. "He used to lean against that tree a lot, we'd hang out here every morning. Nobody knew, or if they did they didn't care." I had no idea why I was evevn telling her this but I couldn't stop, the words were spilling out, falling off the edge of my lips too quick for me to catch them. "You know Cassie?"

"Um..." She thinks for a moment. "Does she have brown hair?"

I nod. "I think she's in your Spanish class, but he used to be totally in love with her."

I hear her lightly gasp, and I think it's cute how she cares so much. "That's terrible."

"Him being in love with her?"

"No!" She hits my arm and I laugh. "You know what I meant."

And I turn around right then, and find myself staring right at her lips. Oh man, they looked soft. I tried to find words, or my own will, because I couldn't make myself move. My eyes scanned all the way up her face, staring into her own big brown eyes. They had so much depth, like I could stare into them forever. I could tell her breath was hitched too as we both desperately searched for our voices. Her hand was still on my arm, and our chests were practically touching.

The bell rings and I take a deep breath, snapping out of the transe and taking a big step back. I follow Emma to her locker, still a little dazed and awkward from what just happened. She got her Chemistry book out, and, regretfully, stupidly, I blurt it out. "Do you want me to carry your books?" It all came out in this desperate jumble, and I closed my eyes so I wouldn't have to see an expression of mockery.

She does laugh. "Are you trying to flirt?"

"Never mind." I mumble, and start to walk on.

"Elliot! Wait." She grabs my hand. "I didn't say it wasn't cute." She leans in, this smile that made my head spin dancing on her lips, and I wondered how she could be so playful. It made my face heat up.

"I'm not very good at this." Even though I was good at this, or I used to be. I must've lost my touch. I take her book and her backpack and walk into class after her, and then hand it back to her with a smile, glad she actually let me carry her things for her. Glad she wasn't ashamed to be seen with me. Just glad.
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Kind of a short, fill-in chapter (: Back to Anna.