…There were two gigantic stone fireplaces built at opposite ends of the cafeteria, and wooden panels covering about eight feet of its twenty foot wall. The roof was supported by massive log beams and the floor covered in gleaming wooden flooring. The entire room looked like a massive cabin, and it was elegant and cozy, but I usually avoided it.
Hundreds sat there each late morning to catch up on the latest school gossip; who was dating whom, or who had broken up with whom; who had gotten beaten up, or who had been suspended, and generally, anything that made the school seem more interesting than it really was. It was also a wonderful place to obtain new gossip subjects, mock the old ones or watch them being mocked by others.So essentially the place was a boarding school disaster, where the smell from the disdain and blabber of green-eyed monsters overpowered the scent of the food.
Stilling myself to endure the deafening roar of their chatter, which was more than I was prepared to deal with today, I walked in and stood in a line that was so long that I was assured that I would be there for a while. With a groan, I kept my head down until it was my turn. I ordered the chicken salad sandwich, a cup of coffee- doused with milk but no sugar-, and made my way towards the courtyard.
I had about fifteen minutes left until lunch ended, so I started opening the sandwich pack on my tray as I went through the sliding glass door that led to the courtyard. However, when I looked up to see all the picnic benches already filled, I stopped and let my mouth hang open in astonishment. Although the sun was shining brightly today, it was still cold outside, so I had counted on the fact that very few people would be as crazy as I was to prefer braving the chill, than endure the tumult of being in the cafeteria. Apparently I was wrong, but before I could decide on where else I could head to that would allow me to eat in peace, someone bumped into me.
It all happened very fast, so before I knew what was happening, my tray had flown out of my hand and I was plunging headfirst onto the stone walkway. Thankfully, and through the graces of someone that reasoned that I did not deserve to lose a tooth for just standing in the way, a strong hand slung across my middle, and pulled me back before I could hit the ground. I was saved from the injury and embarrassment that would have accompanied the fall, but as the culprit tried to stable me, all I could see was my lunch, in slices of bread, chicken and lettuce, strewn across the lawn.
The coffee cup had burst open, and now lay separated from its cover and drenching the grass with its creamy contents. My stomach tightened in annoyance, and as I gazed at my ruined lunch, tears rushed to my eyes.
“Let me go!” I said, my teeth clenched to restrain myself from yelling. Jerking my arms away, I whirled around to face the idiot that had just ruined my morning.
“Are you blind? Didn’t you see me standing right there?” I lashed out, but in that second I almost forgot my anger because I was now looking at one of the most beautiful people I’d ever seen. He had the most sultry eyes in a deep blue, and jet black hair that swayed away from his face to fall just below his ears. With a frown as to how someone could look so unreal, I cocked my head to regard him again.
In a deep but quiet voice, he said. “I’m sorry, but you were standing in the way.” And that immediately scratched the disc that was starting to roll in my head at how attractive he was.
“Excuse me?” I said.
He repeated himself, “You were standing in the way.”
I felt like killing him. “And you’re an idiot who can’t see.”
He blinked, but I refused to shut up. “I was standing right in front of you. You could have injured me, and all you can say is that I was standing in the way?”
He was frowning now. “Why are you yelling?” he asked, and it made me feel a flash of shame. Then I became infuriated.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked, my tone now lowered since I realized that people were actually beginning to stare. “Is that how you’re going to apologize?”
Shifting his weight to another leg, he lifted his arms to fold them against his chest, and said. “I’m not apologizing.”
“What is that supposed mean?” I asked, surprised that he was as offended as I was. I was the one who had almost been knocked to the ground!
“It means that I am not going to apologize to you.”
“What is wrong with you?”
He directed the question back to me. “What is wrong with you?”
My mouth fell open, and so standing apart in the walkway, we stared each other down until a gust of cold wind blew my wild hair across my face. Angrily, I shoved it behind my ears, finally accepted the un-repentance in his eyes and chose to let it go.
Shivering from the bite of the cold, I scowled at him as I turned around to retrieve the tray. Then I walked over to the strewn pieces and had started to pick them up when I felt him crouch down beside me. Before I realized what I was doing, I had risen to my feet and was swinging the black tray towards him. It hit the edge of his shoulder with a resounding smack, and let out a terrifying cracking sound.
I gasped, and then froze when I saw the zigzagged split towards the middle of the tray that confirmed that I had just indeed, broken the tray on his back.
My eyes slowly turned to him and I watched, my heart pounding in my chest as he closed his eyes in a bid to control his temper. He then looked away and after a few seconds, rose to his feet. I took a few steps backwards, the tray still stuck to my hands, and only then did I notice that my head barely reached his shoulders.
I took another step back, but the tray suddenly fell from my hands, and clattered noisily on the ground.
He turned to face me, but I refused to meet his eyes…
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