Chapter 1 – The Tempest
“In real life, love has to be possible. Even if it is not returned right away, love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire.”
(Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
(Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
….Sam read the lines once again and sighed. She looked up from under her lashes at Alex when she heard the muffled laughter from his direction. He appeared to be engrossed in looking through the books displayed while his friend lounged against one of the shelves. She had seen him looking over a few minutes back and had wondered if it was her, or if it was just his usual casual glance around the room. A second and a sly third glance in her direction had confirmed that it was indeed her who had caught his attention. Though Sam tried to ignore it, her heart seemed to sing from the knowledge that he found her interesting. But then she could not let it show, unless she wanted to make a fool out of herself. Stupid, treacherous Heart!
Samantha continued gazing into the book, attempting to block out the flutter in her heart and the strange feeling she felt in the pit of her stomach. She knew that to anyone who looked from outside, she looked as though she was intently reading her latest pick from library; if only they knew how her heart drummed inside her. She felt she heard the sound of footsteps overpowering the ruffling sound of pages being turned all around. After a while, it stopped. He must have left; Sam thought to herself and sighed, partly out of disappointment and partly out of relief. It was then she sensed the presence of someone standing across her, at the table.
As she looked up, her eyes took in the shoes, muscular, male legs clad in jeans, hands, specked with hair and palms resting in the jeans pockets. Her eyes continued on their way up and saw the grey t shirt which had a pair of earphone wires resting on it, squared jaw, aquiline nose and light blue eyes. Her eyes stopped at the face of the intruder, if she could call him that. Sam’s eyes widened slightly as her brain registered that it was Alex, looking at her, his head cocked sideways. He looked calm enough but his eyes seemed to be shining with something. Amusement? Excitement? She didn't know what her face showed, but whatever it was, he seemed to be enjoying it a little too much; the faint smile he tried to hold back gave it away.
Sam realized that she had been staring at him for a while…and he seemed to be waiting for her to wake up from her reverie…if only he knew that it was rather shock she was trying to recover from…shock that he was at the table which had only one extremely quiet, and inexplicably nerdy looking her sitting with a book she wasn't able to concentrate on. Sam copied him and cocked her head sideways; trying not to let him know that beneath the cockiness was a fountain of happiness that seemed under the danger of bursting and overflowing, any moment now. She’d kill herself before she let him in on how she felt about him. She leaned on to the table and blinked her eyes a couple of times, trying to act unconcerned, her toes curled up all the while, the only sign of her nervousness.
What surprised Sam was Alex’s reaction… a loud chuckle which seemed to turn all heads in the library in their direction. She sat up straight and glared at him. She hated attention of any kind, and here his highness had invited the complete room’s attention to themselves with a single laugh. She felt her ears turning hot and knew instantly that her face would soon turn a dark shade of pink. She had to do something! Sam slammed her book hard and got up from the chair, avoiding looking at anyone. The scraping sound her chair made when pushed back made her wince but she refused to look up. She turned around and walked towards the door, hoping that her actions showed her displeasure at what he had done.
By the time she walked out of the library, Sam was convinced that she had driven him away for good. She brought the book she had picked close to her chest and hugged it, telling herself that she was an idiot to have believed that he was even slightly interested in her. He must have probably come up to her to ask her about some book, or enquire about something trivial. She had made a fool of herself, without even trying. So much for trying to act nonchalant!
She sighed once again, feeling her heart crack into a million minuscule pieces. What was wrong with her anyway? He was THE most popular guy in the school, and probably starred in the dreams of every single girl within the perimeter of the school.
Being popular had some perks and one of them was that you never had to act as though you were interested in the wallflowers. Most of the girls fawned over you and fell over their feet trying to impress you anyway. Wallflowers were reserved for the less fortunate ones, the non handsome, non smart, non athletic ones. For them, these girls presented the opportunity to test their kissing (and drooling) and fondling (and groping) skills.
“Hey!”, a breathless voice called from behind.
Sam turned around and saw him standing right in front her, breathing hard, bent over and hands resting on knees.
“You walk real fast...didn’t you hear me call out?”, he asked in between the pants.
“Uhhh….me? Umm…no, I’m sorry!”….where was this going?
“No worries….you left your phone behind”, and with that Alex straightened up and stretched out his left hand, her phone resting in his palm.
She looked at the phone, and back at him, her brows knit together in a frown.