repeat by parenthesized

5 Apr

Her laughter broke the silence.  The laugh was sharp, a staccato sound that sounded too alive for the classroom full of dozing graduate students and a snoring teacher’s assistant.  Those in the class who still had some semblance of energy let their bleary gazes wander to back of the room where the girl was sitting.  She seemed mildly interesting, a welcome distraction to the muted, subtitled documentary.

She ducked her head, and her brown curls hid her face.  Her friend next to her grinned, elbowed her in the arm.  The girl blushed, but returned the friendly jab with one of her own.  There was a distinct thump and another brief staccato chuckle.  Her hands flew into the air, making wild gestures undirected at the rest of the class who slowly returned to staring blankly at the screen.

Jon watched the couple for a moment longer.  The girl was pretty, beautiful even.  Too bad.  He settled his head back onto the table. Twenty minutes later, the lights came on.  Jon put on his wire-frame glasses and leaned back.  Rustles filled the room as students shoved blank notebooks and handouts into their bags.  Jon checked his watch and joined the line of students desperate to escape the classroom.  He quickly weaved through the crowd, rushing to get to his next class.

“Wait!  Hey, you in the red shirt!” He turned around to see that girl from class waving at him.  Whoever she had been sitting next to had disappeared.

“You left your laptop in class.”  She handed it over to him, a small grin on her face.  She was definitely very pretty.

“Oh, thanks.  I definitely would have missed that.”  He smiled at her and walked a few steps before he swiveled back.  “Do I know you from somewhere?  I mean, besides class?”

She looked surprised.  “I don’t know…probably just around campus.”  Her cheeks had the slightest hint of a blush.

“No, I know you from somewhere.”  He struck a pose of deep thought, which drew another one of those staccato laughs from her.  “Don’t you study at the coffee shop on Sixth?  Oh, you definitely do.”

She nodded, a strange look on her face.  He offered his hand.  “I’m Jon, by the way.”

“Oh, that’s my bo—Oh, um…nevermind.  It’s Julie.  Well, I guess I’ll see you around.”  She headed off in the opposite direction, her hair swaying with the breeze.

He realized he was late and cursed.  He started running toward his class, but then stopped and switched direction and caught up to her.  “Hey Julie, do you have plans?”

“Right now?”

He nodded a little too eagerly.  “No, I’m just meeting…someone at the park later.”

“Great.  Let me buy you some coffee.”

***

Link to related stories: Clarity and Him & Her

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3 Responses to “repeat by parenthesized”

  1. jadamthwaite April 5, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    I really like the link between these stories, and it makes me want to know even more about them… it feels like there’s a bigger plot unravelling. I love the way she is drawn to him even though she already has someone.

  2. ingridfnl April 5, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    I loved the link too… there is a really beautiful gentleness in this story that draws me in…

  3. jmforceton April 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    For me, this story is about all the times we are too busy or preoccupied to do something different, particularly something outside our immediate comfort zone.

    Well done.

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