"That was a lot easier than I thought!" Meimei thought to herself proudly as class started. Guys could be swayed so easily just by the graceful movement of one's body. She had seen how he looked at her legs, and secretly she felt happy. Although, she was surprised how nervous and shy he really was. While Farla and Kila didn't say he was quite like this, she expected him to brush her away quickly. Even if she did flirt with him heavily. She looked down and her cheeks coloured a little. "He's kinda cool actually…" It was hard to focus on class while she was thinking about Jude. She peeked over at him. He was concentrating hard on what he was doing. He moved his hair out of his face, and in that brief moment her breath caught in her throat. She knew he was good-looking, but when he was concentrating… he looked almost angelic. He looked up momentarily and their eyes met. Meimei's eyes got wide, but she couldn't break her gaze. That same chill that had gone up her spine before rocked through her and she shivered. It was a weird sort of cold, almost arousing. When she realized it, she looked away quickly and started writing formulas. Anything to make it look like she was busy. Her face was hot, partly from humiliation and partly from that chilling sensation. She wouldn't look at him anymore today. She had to focus on work. This was absolutely ridiculous. She thought she had captivated him, but in those few seconds she felt like she would bend completely to his will. Meimei shook her head and her hairpin came loose and fell, landing almost right under Jude's feet. What bad luck.
Jude put down his pencil and reached down to get her hairpin. As he brought it into his hand, Meimei noticed he felt over it with his thumb. Why was she noticing every little thing he did? Every single thing he did almost seemed new and magical. He had such nice hands. Jude held the hairpin for a few moments then put out his hand so she could take it. She held out her hand to get it, but then she froze. If they touched she knew that feeling would overwhelm her again. Did she want it? Did she want that feeling of anxiety and longing to fill her again? Before she could make up her mind, Jude placed it on her desk. He hadn't even looked at her the whole time she was deliberating. Apparently the charm she had won him over with had worn off, and in return his charm was enchanting her. School was almost over, and after that she would be alone with her thoughts of him. That made her blush and feel uneasy. She wasn't sure if she wanted to dwell on the absolute alluring nature of Jude. She had only just met him today, yet she found him so incredibly attractive. And while she had never had a boyfriend or anything close, there were certain things she knew she wanted. Her friends had always made fun of her for her supposedly being precocious.
Putting away the thoughts running rampant in her head, she picked up her hairpin and put it back in her hair. She looked at her hands when she brought them down. She was shaking a little. At that moment she realized she was taking things too far too soon. What if behind that cute shy exterior was really some beast of a man who couldn't wait to beguile her? A frown formed on her face and she went back to her work. That's right. Just because he's incredibly hot doesn't mean he's a nice guy! What if he leaves during lunch breaks to go do weird rituals or something? But deep down inside she knew none of her presumptions were true. She felt bad for even thinking them. However, she should get to know him better before she starting thinking about him so much. Just who was Jude? She so badly wanted to find out. But how? When they got together she was sure to find out something, but that was completely Jude's call when they would. She didn't want to be too whiny about it, or he would probably shut her out altogether. She closed her eyes, wishing she could speak to him through her mind. "Oh Jude, tell me just who you are and why you fascinate me so…"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A shiver went through Jude's body. He didn't quite know why, but it was most definitely a chill. He glanced at Meimei quickly to see her eyes were closed. Was she sleeping is class? He was rather stunned at the sight, because she looked even more beautiful with her eyes closed. She had nice long lashes. His gaze softened. She looked so helpless and cute. There was something about this girl that calmed him, but made his feelings tumultuous at the same time. She said she had wanted to get to know him. Was that true? No girl had ever wanted to know him. He wanted to know her too, but he was scared. The feeling that had been embedded in him frightened him. He was afraid that her presence would water it, creating something. But what would be born? A beautiful flower or raging weeds and thorns?
Jude rested his hand on his head. He knew deep inside he was afraid of affection. He was afraid she would want to be with him. He didn't want to hurt her. Everyone who got too close got hurt or offended. Jude wasn't very good with people. Either he was too blunt or too quiet. He just couldn't please. They had just met, and yet he felt this sense of yearning to be with her. He shouldn't get too close; he knew that. The way she looked at him when he approached his desk. It was seductive, yet he knew she was just playing with him. His heart sake. What if all she wanted was to use him? His face turned red. Images flashed in his head and he felt ashamed. He needed to occupy his mind. He couldn't think about her like that, especially at school. He tried to calm down his mind and his body. He decided firmly to focus solely on his work. But just as he started, he felt something slide by his foot. He looked down to see Meimei's hairpin on the floor. He couldn't look at her, but the least he could do was help her. He wasn't that much of a loser. As he bent down a little to get it, Jude felt over it. It was a weird feeling material. Since he was determined not to look at her anymore today, he just held out his hand. A few seconds passed and still she had not taken it from his hand. He was a little confused at it. After about a minute he decided just to put it on her desk. Why had she not taken it? Was she annoyed with him? Why was it so hard to concentrate on his work when he thought her name?
Was it because of that moment in time earlier? She looked like she had really wanted him. It had completely taken him aback, but he was able to keep his expression the way he wanted it. Never in his life had a girl looked at him like that. For a brief second he wanted her too, but before his eyes could convey it she had looked away. She was flushed pink. Apparently her mood was contagious because he found himself warming up as well. So many things happening on just their first day of school. What would the future hold for us? Will we always be so shy and stupid around each other?
The teacher was giving his ending speech for class before dismissing them. Never had Jude wanted to get home so desperately. He wanted just wanted to take a hot shower to clear his head, do his homework, and sleep. He was hoping thoughts of Meimei wouldn't fill his head and keep him up. He had to be tip-top for school. He owed his mother that. He would be a good studious son like he had been all these years. All these years his father had been dead… it was then that Jude had to shape up. It was then he lost his innocence and had to take responsibility. His heart ached. He hated reflecting on those memories. Those dreadful, awful memories. He suddenly realized he didn't want to go home. He looked over at Meimei. She looked totally and completely bored with the speech.
When the teacher said his final words of dismissal, Jude had an impulse. It was completely stupid but he didn't care. When he saw Meimei gather up her things and get up, he quickly went around his desk, grasped her hand and pulled her with him. "I know this is silly," he said under his breathe, "But I don't really care right now."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jude was pulling on her hand gently, but firmly, and taking her somewhere. Despite herself, Meimei panicked. What if everything she thought was ridiculous about him was actually true? She was willing herself to calm down, but her head was racing with terrible thoughts. What would she do? They were outside the gates now, and rounding the corner.
"J-Jude!" Meimei almost screamed out. She was out of breathe, because Jude was practically running with her.
"Ah! I'm so sorry!" Jude stopped and let go of her hand. He must have seen the fear in her eyes because he looked suddenly very repentant. "I have no idea what came over me. I promise I've never done this kind of thing before. I mean…!" he was fumbling his words now. Meimei couldn't help but laugh a little, albeit shakily.
"It's alright." She was beginning to get her breath back. "So where are we headed?"
"I… I really don't know. I just wasn't ready to go home yet." He looked away from her guiltily. "I didn't mean to drag you with me, really. I guess I just didn't want to be alone." He put his long-sleeved covered hands in his pockets.
Meimei tilted her head a little. "Why don't you want to go home?"
Jude reddened and furrowed his brow. Bad question.
She quickly backtracked. "Never mind. I told you I wanted to hang out with you remember? Prefect timing! Hey, I'm glad you dragged me along. It's not everyday something like that happens." She was circling him like a little puppy, trying to cheer him up. His anxiety seemed to ease, which made her happy. She looked around and saw the park across from the school.
"Wanna swing?" She said while smiling at him and motioning to the park.
"I… I guess so. But not across from the school." His eyes looked uneasy. "I know a better one anyway." He started walking in the opposite direction.
"Hey!" She called after him. When she reached him she started walking by his side. "Where I come from, you walk side by side if you're going someplace together."
Jude pulled a face. "I'm sorry. I'm not exactly used to this sort of thing. It's been… a very long time."
"I see. Well now you can break that streak! But anyway, what's your story?"
"My story?" He seemed a little thrown at the question.
"Okay, I'll go first." Meimei was going to take her time with him. If what Farla and Kila said was true, he hasn't had any friends. He doesn't really know how to relate. "Let's see. My name is Meimei. I'm seventeen years old. My parents move around a lot because of my dad's job. I'm an only child…" She had a habit of ticking things off with her fingers, and she found it rather annoying. She realized she was doing it so she stopped. "My birthday is January 29th. I love to collect rare things and hate jerks." She paused to look up at his reaction. He seemed to be soaking it up like a sponge. "So what about you?"
Jude appeared to take a deep breath. "My name is Jude. I'm also seventeen…" He bit his lip for a second. "I live with my mother. I am an only child as well. My birthday is February 10th." He looked away bashfully. "I… I love to write. It's the only thing I do besides study."
His overall response was endearing to her. She felt like she was watching a butterfly hatch from its cocoon. "See, that wasn't so bad was it?"
Jude turned the corner and made sure she was still with them. They walked across the street and Jude took her arm gently and said "The park is this way." A shock went up her arm. Why did he give her this feeling? Another thing she couldn't put her finger on; another mystery. Jude was so full of mysteries. She was hoping she could discover them all.
He led her across the street and around one more corner. Meimei gave a small gasp. He was right. This park was much better. This park was fenced it; it almost seemed like a private park. It had several swings and pathways, and ivy growing on the fence walls. It seemed very well kempt.
"Wow…" Meimei was practically speechless. It had been awhile since she had seen such beauty in one spot. "This is gorgeous!"
Jude blushed. "You think so? No one ever comes here. It's a private park but even the residents hardly use it."
Meimei made her way over to the swings and sat down on the first one she saw. She waved Jude over. "Over here!"
He took his place on the swing beside her and looked down. He still seemed a bit uncomfortable.
"Jude, it's okay. I won't bite." she giggled. "All we're doing is just getting to know each other. Are you okay with that?"
Jude nodded slowly. His hair covered his face so she could barely see his face. "Like I said, it's just been a… very long time. Years. It's amazing how the time flies."
"Tell me about it." Meimei agreed. "It seems like it was just yesterday I was just a little girl, but since my family travels a lot the years seemed to have passed like days." She started swaying in her swing a little. Jude looked over at her.
"It… must be hard."
Meimei coloured slightly. She couldn't get over his face. "It's not too bad, I guess. You learn not to get attached to anything too quickly. The hardest thing is having to leave friends behind. But even that after awhile gets easier with time."
The wind picked up ever so faintly, and Meimei's hair flowed over her face. She tried to brush it back, but the wind was begging to play with it. She looked up at the sky to see clouds forming above them. "I love clouds…" she said quietly. Then closing her eyes she breathed in the wind's sweet flavor. When she opened her eyes she saw Jude looking at her. He looked astonished, and it made her blush fiercely. It also made her stutter.
"Wh-what?" she pulled her hair back again from her face.
"N-nothing." he looked away quickly. The time passed by as the both of them just barely swung side by side. An enveloping silence took over them, but in this case it was rather refreshing.
"Well," Meimei said as she got out of her swing, "I should probably head home. Who knows what my parents are thinking as I'm not home yet."
Jude looked a little disappointed. "Oh, okay. Do you need help home? After all I'm the one who dragged you here."
Meimei shook her head. "I think I can manage, but thank you, Jude." She gave a sweet smile. "But what about you? Will you be okay?"
"I'll be fine. I live in this neighborhood."
Meimei looked around. It was a somewhat expensive-looking neighborhood. Despite herself, she was a little taken aback. He really was a mystery. He contradicted himself in every way. If he appeared to live such a nice life, she wondered why he was so secluded and unhappy.
She walked over to his swing and placed her hands on the chains. She was right in front of him, and she looked once again deeply into his eyes. Her action had made his eyes grow large, and a hint of fear filled his eyes. Meimei wanted to see deep inside his soul like she had felt him do to her, but there was a wall. He had put up his defenses. There was no way she could see into his depths now. She felt a little disappointed, but she understood. Someone who had shut themselves off for so long could never let someone in so quickly. She wanted to see him completely defenseless someday.
Then she did something she never thought she'd do. She moved his hair from his face and kissed his cheek. She wrapped her arms around him and held him close. She didn't know why she did it; she just felt the need. Time stood still. Her heart was racing, but she didn't care.
And then, the spell was broken.