Before you hate me for flirting with Eve and ignoring Sarah, you have to know that Eve is more than just some hot girl. She is exotic.
There are two middle schools that feed into the high school we all currently go to. Part of the reason high school is so crazy is because you get used to going to school with the same people, then all of a sudden your class size doubles. Not to mention you go from being the oldest in the school to the youngest in just a matter of weeks. It's a very tumultuous time.
Anyway, Eve is from the other middle school, meaning she is from a completely different world. We met on the first day of classes because we have 1st period and 7th period optional together. We were the only two who used our optional period to go to the library. I went there because I like reading books. She went there because she likes looking at the pictures in magazines. I know those aren't perfectly compatible reasons, but it was enough for us to at least be in the same place at the same time.
I guess you could say we hit it off from there, which is a phrase I've never used to describe any interaction with a girl apart from Sarah. It's a weird phrase if you think about it. "We hit it off." It doesn't make any sense at all, but that's what happened. I was reading The Chronicles of Narnia and she asked me if I thought I was a little too old to be reading children's stories. I asked her if she thought she was a little too young to be reading Seventeen Magazine. She laughed and my heart beat faster.
Love at first sight is a nice idea, but I think love at first laugh is a lot more realistic. Although, if I've learned anything about love recently it's that I have no idea what I'm talking about when I talk about love.
After Lit class, Eve and I walked to our second period classes being all flirty and stuff. We had known each other a full week at this point, so we were still kinda awkward together but in a cute likeable way. At least, I think it's likeable. I don't know. It's pretty stupid looking back on it. All I did during those walks was try to make as many jokes as I could without saying anything inappropriate or offensive. That's probably not the best way to approach humor, but it worked for me. She laughed at most of the things I said and I grew an inch taller every time she did.
I told her I'd see her later as I walked into my Spanish class and she continued down the hall to her class. Had I been paying more attention to my surroundings and less attention to Eve's legs as they walked away, I probably wouldn't have turned directly into my Spanish teacher, Señora Hayes. This wouldn't have been a terrible collision except she was carrying a large stack of our graded homework assignments, which she then dropped all over the floor. What made it worse was that when I knocked all of the papers out of her hands, the one with my name landed on top of the pile where I saw a now familiar red F. What made it even worse was that it was Señora Hayes.
With any other teacher I could've apologized profusely and everything would've been fine, but that wasn't going to fly with Señora Diablo (her lesser known pseudonym). Partly because she hates me and partly because I don't know how to apologize profusely in Spanish. I actually don't know how to say anything profusely in Spanish, which may be why she hates me. The problem about not being a fluent Spanish speaker is that Señora Hayes doesn't allow anyone to speak English when in her class room. Yeah, I know. She's insane. I managed to mumble "lo siento" a few times while I helped her pick up everything, but I didn't dare try to say anything more and I could feel her glare on the back of my neck as I stumbled towards my desk.
I'm almost certain I'm going to end up failing this class, but the silver lining is that I sit next to Joe in the back. Joe is a year older than me, and he's taking Spanish for the second time. I barely know the guy, but we've gotten along pretty well since I noticed he was reading Ender's Game (one of my favorites) before the first day of class. I'm not the outgoing type, but I sat next to him and asked him how he was liking the book. We talked about Ender's Game until Señora Hayes made us aware of her Spanish only classroom, and we've been friends ever since I guess.
We're not best friends of course. I mean, I've only known the guy for a week, but we share an equal appreciation for each other. Having close friends would be great, but to be honest it's not too bad to have someone who you know likes you the same amount as you like them. That's Joe for me. Also, he's older and a lot cooler than me, and those are two good characteristics I think. He does this thing where he spins his pen around on his thumb in the back of class over and over again without dropping it. You'd have to see it to understand, but it's pretty cool.
Anyway, he was the one who was laughing at me when I finally made it back to my seat after helping Señora Hayes pick up all our homework.
"Are you always that smooth?" he whispered. You had to whisper at all times because even though class hadn't started yet, Señora Hayes would still yell at you for speaking English.
"Shut up," I replied, too loudly.
"Timoteo! Que conoce las reglas," she said from across the room. "No Inglés."
"Lo siento," I said.
"How did she hear you?" Joe asked. I looked up to see if she had heard him whisper, but she didn't seem to have noticed. Joe just sat there spinning his pen.
"No sé," I said. There are three phrases I know in Spanish: I'm sorry (lo siento), can I go to the bathroom? (puedo ir al baño), and I don't know (no sé). I use the three of them often and without hesitation.
"So you and Eve..." Joe said.
"Why does everyone keep asking me about her?"
Joe looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. "People wouldn't ask if there wasn't something to ask about."
I didn't respond because I knew Señora Hayes would hear me and because I didn't know what to say. The truth is I didn't know what was going on between me and Eve. I had zero experience with this sort of thing. Eve was only the third girl I had ever held multiple full length conversations with (Sarah and my mother being the other two), and I didn't exactly know what that meant.
The rest of Spanish class passed with Señora Hayes lecturing on the present subjunctive tense. Six students said "no sé" when called on, two said "puedo ir al baño" also when called on, and three girls said "lo siento" when they were overheard whispering in the back. Other than that, no one made a sound. Joe and I walked out of class together and that's when we had one of the most enlightening conversations I've ever been a part of.
"Seriously though, what's going on with you and Eve? I see you guys together every day before class."
"I legitimately don't know."
"Well what phase are you in?"
"What does that mean?" I was worried that Joe would realize how completely oblivious I was in the ways of women, but I knew I could only fake competence for so long. Plus, I was worried that if I didn't get help soon, I was going to ruin whatever it was I had going for me. "We might be in the honeymoon phase I guess."
"Ha! You wish."
"I didn't know there were any other phases to be honest."
"Oh there's way more. I don't know why everyone always talks about the honeymoon phase like that's where all relationships start. There's so much more. See, you really start with the 'second introduction' phase. This is where you may have met before, you probably follow each other on social media, but you're nothing more than acquaintances who wouldn't know what to talk about if it was just the two of you in a room together. I've found that the second time you formally meet someone usually clears up the confusion and makes you more than acquaintances but less than friends."
"I didn't know there was a middle ground between acquaintances and friends," I said.
"Oh yeah," responded Joe. "Then, after you get past the second introduction there's the "you're pretty but I don't know how to tell you that without seeming aggressive and/or creepy" phase. I've been there more times than I can count. It's a terrible place to get stuck."
"How do you not get stuck there?"
"It's actually pretty simple. You just have to force yourself to the next phase. The "make her laugh and don't let her find out how weird you are" phase."
"Oh. Yeah, that's probably where I am." I tried to sound aloof during this conversation, but I was feverishly taking notes in my head.
"Well that's good then. The make her laugh phase is the last phase before you can ask her out on a date. After the first date, there's a bunch of other phases before the honeymoon phase, but the worst will be behind you."
"So I should ask her out then?"
"Do you make her laugh?"
"Do you like it when she laughs around you? Don't answer that. Of course you do. Does she know you're weird?"
"I don't think so."
"Then yeah, you should ask her out."
"Cool, asking her out doesn't sound too hard."
I'm not sure if my cavalier voice fooled Joe, but I knew I was lying before the words even came out of my mouth. Well, I guess I was only partially lying. The truth is that asking Eve out didn't sound hard. It sounded terrifying.