This is something I wrote in February that I planned to finish. It isn't yet.
I'll just paste it. Shattered Creek
As the sunlight peeked through the window, a boy with tousled brown hair came to it. The familiar hairstyle of “bed-head” screamed at him from the reflection. Quite honestly, he couldn’t care less.
But he still did something about it. It was 6:30 in the morning, and he was getting ready for school. As he turned on the light in his bathroom, he cursed silently under his breath. Why did school have to start so early? The sun was barely over the horizon when he left the house for half of the year, and it wasn’t the most fun thing to deal with.
The boy’s name was Mark, and he wasn’t much of a boy anymore. His 17th birthday had just passed a couple weeks ago. He had complained then, as he still did now, that this year didn’t feel any different than 16 did before it.
Of course, for Mark the time passed by slowly, even though he took no notice. It was only a mark of how little he got the time to sit back and relax. While still managing to keep friends, he was under the weight of four AP classes, in the school play as the lead role, working towards playing basketball come winter, and still trying to play trombone. It was a very difficult life, juggling between homework that kept him up late at night, practicing an instrument, and somehow finding the time to keep in shape for basketball.
His crystal blue eyes gleamed out from under heavy lids in his mirror. Mark was tall, almost 6’5”, and wasn’t quite as skinny as a rail. He weighed almost 225 pounds, and to him it didn’t matter in the slightest. He thought that the only way he could possibly be attractive to any girl was to be skinny or even more muscular. He wasn’t entirely muscle-bound, but kept fit and in shape. He was surprised that he had gotten the lead role at all for his height.
Now that he thought about it, he started thinking of this girl at school. As a nervous, unconscious habit, he started raking his hair with his fingers, trying to straighten it or make it look somewhat better at all. That girl who was very well set in school, played the viola, was in all of Mark’s AP classes, and enjoyed life with an exuberance that radiated out of her hazel eyes; this all pleased Mark a lot.
It had gotten to the point where he considered having a “crush” on her. Of course, he was just as crushed to find she was interested in someone else. But he wasn’t entirely sure himself, because Mark had actually heard that through the grapevine; and those can be terrible for actual messages not to be skewed. Not like Mark could care; he didn’t have time for a girlfriend.
Sure, he was lucky enough to see her every day, and she was in the pit orchestra for the play (surprisingly, it wasn’t a musical). It was Valentines’ Day in a few days, and Mark wasn’t sure on whether to try or not. Of course, opening night was the day after, so he couldn’t stay hung on the day for long.
He just hoped that she liked him too.
Not too far from Mark’s house, in the same neighborhood, Rachel Brinkstadt was getting ready for her day. Her dirty-blond hair made her the target of many jokes, but she dealt with them all the same way, with a certain happiness that she applied to most of the world around her. Of course, she was a junior, involved in four AP classes, playing viola for the play; and seemed to have a slight entourage following her everywhere. Her hazel eyes shone brightly in the bathroom light, and she prepared to get into the shower and get ready for her morning. Her fuzzy purple pajamas slid off her body as she stepped in.
About five minutes later, she came out, wrapped herself in a towel, and cleared her mirror of the steam. She quickly brushed her hair straight, and made a quick decision not to do anything special to it. Rachel didn’t need to do anything with her hair to make people notice her. She was close to 5’6”, and preferred not to disclose her weight to any particular stranger. Glancing at a picture stuck in the corner of her vanity, her heart gushed with some strange feeling.
Rachel had been the object of attraction before, but never had she been attracted to anyone in particular. The picture in her mirror was of some strange celebrity, relatively unknown, and she had an autograph on it. She had gotten the pleasure of traveling to Hollywood and met the celebrity, who signed the photo. His scrawl was unreadable, and looked a bit like chicken-scratch. Rachel threw on some clothes, and in another few minutes was downstairs watching the sun rise with a gentle orange glow. Eating her breakfast as fast as possible, she was headed out the door at around 6:45 a.m.
She liked getting to school early, so she had time to catch up with her actual friends and do things that needed to be done (if there were any). Talking to teachers was reserved to that time. School didn’t start until 7:30, but even that was an oddity in the district, because they preferred to have start times earlier. For the purpose of activities, but since the students complained and the principal was awesome, they alone had gotten it shifted back twenty minutes.
Rachel normally walked to school by herself, so she was surprised when her friend Amanda Suvano came running up the street to meet her.
“Hey, Rach!” she called out. Rachel stopped, and watched her friend run up the street. Amanda could be very crazy and aloof at times, but under her slightly ditzy exterior, she housed a brilliant and witty mind. She was very clever, and since she was brunette, normally she was making the jokes about Rachel’s hair color.
“How’s it going fitting the stereotype today?” Amanda asked, and Rachel gave a slight chuckle.
“Haven’t really had a chance yet,” she replied. “After all, the day’s only just begun.”
“Yeah,” agreed Amanda. “But where does the excitement come in?” Amanda had the wild look in her cool blue eyes that she always had when talking about a certain thing.
“You mean boys again, don’t you?” Rachel teased. Amanda got this eager look at the mention of the word “boys”.
“You know it, girl,” Amanda said. “Did you know that apparently five different guys have a crush on me? Five!” She said it as if it was impossible to understand.
“You sound surprised,” Rachel baited. Amanda nodded.
“Didn’t think it was possible, quite honestly,” Amanda responded. Rachel laughed at this comment, and surveyed her friend.
She was wearing a white top that had her bra straps slightly hanging out, and was wearing blue jeans that hugged tight to her legs. Her hips were slender still, and her bust size wasn’t terribly large, but was still there.
“You look fine to me,” Rachel said. Amanda gave her the “no way” look, with sarcasm thrown in at the end when she rolled her eyes.
“Since when have I ever been beautiful? You’ve always gotten all the attention,” Amanda complained. Rachel shrugged.
“I guess I’m just a stupid boy magnet.”
“Better than being the only chick in school who can’t manage to get one,” Amanda said. Rachel wasn’t sure about that.
“Speaking of attention-“ Amanda continued, “there’s another boy who’s turning his eye on you.”
“Oh, really,” Rachel said, curiosity piqued. “And who might that be?”
“Now don’t quote me,” Amanda started. “But I think it’s Mark Tollefson!”
“Mark? Why?” Rachel asked.
“Have you ever seen the looks he’s thrown you, girl?”
“Not particularly, must not have been paying attention.”
“Well, as I said, don’t quote me. I heard it from a friend of mine who happens to be his friend.”
“You and your sources,” Rachel joked. Amanda laughed.
Shortly after this discussion, they arrived at the school. Rachel had moved in the middle of last year and had already established a new community for herself. Amanda had gone there since she was a freshman, and thought the place looked and felt like a prison.
The walls around the building were made of gray bricks, laid on top of more gray bricks, until it looked like a monotone gray wall. The school itself was 3 floors, one subterranean. But it was built on a hillside, so the back of the school opened up at the third level. The cafeteria was very well placed for it. And the student parking lot was buried on that back side. The few windows that were on the third floor were all in the cafeteria, and it just so happened that everyone’s favorite period was lunch.
The two walked into the front doors, set up on the first level, and immediately saw someone to talk to. Amanda rushed over to her group of friends, hugging and greeting them with a lot of enthusiasm.
Rachel, on the other hand, walked over to the performing arts hallway, and stashed her stuff in her orchestra locker. On the floor were some of her friends, and she sat down with them for a few minutes. There was oh-so-much to catch up on since yesterday, after all.
Mark left his house at about 7:00, driving to school in his birthday present, a pretty good Nissan Sentra. It was a dark forest green color, and Mark liked it a lot. It didn’t help that green was his favorite color. He got to the light as fast as possible, since he didn’t want to be at the back of the line heading in. So many people were driving these days, and sometimes it got annoying how bad the traffic held up going into the school.
The school itself was buried slightly in on a major throughway, and so the traffic was always zipping by as the day went on. It was far enough back on the hillside so that it wouldn’t be too much of a distraction for the students. Not like they paid attention to that rule.
Going into the school itself, there was a terrible contrast with the outside. His school colors were a vibrant purple, coupled with a very lime green color. The walls were painted rather garishly, and the color was basically an eyesore. Of course, the school didn’t want to change everything, and since that had been done by the first graduating class about a decade ago, it was staying.
Heading up to the band hallway, Mark hoped to catch a glimpse of Rachel before school started. He wasn’t sure whether to ask her out or not. But on his way up there, Mark got stopped by his friend, Nick Tolesco.
Nick was a character to be sure, and it seemed strange that he was friends with Mark at all. Nick wasn’t the tallest, standing about 5’10”, and in that regard, he was relatively stocky. Nick was a wrestler, and he always bragged of his six-pack. Of course, Mark had seen it, so he knew that Nick wasn’t putting it on. Nick was wearing baggy blue jeans, and a simple white shirt that did nothing to hide his figure. It looked like a wife-beater.
“What’s up, Mark? How goes the courting today?” Nick asked jovially.
“Well, no thanks to you…” Mark trailed off at a wave of Nick’s hand.
“But of course, it’s going splendidly,” Nick supplied.
Mark rolled his eyes. “You took the words right out of my mouth…”
“Good, because that’s what I was hoping you’d say!” Nick gave a big smile, that cheeky grin that made him popular with the girls. His hair stuck up in front in the traditional gel-caused look. He spiked it up, and loved growing his bangs long. Nick enjoyed looking at himself in the mirror.
“You sure know how to have a party.”
“You got that right!” Nick replied. “And trust me, I need every bit of it.” They gave each other their friend handshake and started walking. Luckily for Mark (and probably most of the reason they were friends), Nick was his self-declared “romance counselor”. One time, Mark had asked if you could get a degree for that, and Nick responded with a cheery “I hope so”.
Mark had laughed then too.
“So, how is the ‘relationship’,” Nick held up his fingers in quotation marks. Mark laughed.
“As if one ever existed,” Mark said.
“Ah, well, don’t sell yourself short now, kid!” Nick declared. “After all, you’re my project! I’m sure I’ll get you a girl before the end of junior year…”
“Your project!” Mark said indignantly. “Since when have I become your experiment?”
“Since you always have been, buddy.” And again, Nick flashed the smile. Didn’t work on Mark, though, who glowered at him.
“C’mon, man, you can’t give up on me yet!” Nick cried.
“As if I would. Even with your help, I still have no chance,” Mark said.
“Oh, ye of little faith!” Nick replied.
“Since when did you like Ye Olde English?” Mark asked. Nick picked up on the joke right away, but decided in the better interest to not make a fool of himself.
“I don’t, it’s just a phrase, man! C’mon, be serious here.”
“I’m being perfectly serious,” Mark said with a solemn face. “I didn’t think you were capable of it.” It was Nick’s turn to laugh.
“After all that I’ve already done, and you say I’m not capable?” Nick said in mock outrage. Mark shrugged, all in good measure.
Nick dropped out of his pout, right into a smile, and gave a small chuckle.
“That’s why I like you, Mark. You can make jokes for how strange you seem.”
“You mean it’s not just because I’m your project?” Mark asked in mock surprise. Nick shook his head, and they kept walking. Right above their heads, the bell rang.
“Great, five minutes to talk to you about this.” Nick suddenly turned on him.
“Are you going to ask Rachel out or not?” The question surprised Mark, who knew it was coming, but was unsure when.
“I don’t know, I’ve already told you.” Mark sighed. “I like her a lot, but I think she doesn’t even see me. Like I’m invisible.”
“Hey,” Nick said, “Don’t worry about that right now. If you had the guts and she noticed you, would you do it?”
“Well, I guess so,” Mark stammered. It was really a hard question to answer. Rachel was beautiful to be sure, but Mark had no guts whatsoever. He was a pretty big pushover when it got right down to it. He had never asked a girl to a dance in his life, and he had never even given too much thought to have a girlfriend at all. Of course, in his school, as in all high schools, it was a big issue who you were going out with, had you slept with them, etc.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Nick had been around the block a few times, and he took it in stride. Nobody really knew, but every girl who cared claimed it. They all fashioned him to be some kind of god, and it was this great spectacle of honor to go out with him. Currently, Nick was single, but he did have his eye on a girl. Hadn’t made a move yet, according to rumors.
But Mark knew that he didn’t need it either. Nick could probably get a girl in his sleep, which wouldn’t be surprising knowing that Nick slept in his boxers.
Nick claimed that he was waiting for Mark to at least ask Rachel before he made a move on anyone else. Nick had always wanted to go on a double date with someone. However big and tough he seemed, Nick was very insecure with his life. After facing tragedy as a boy, Nick made a name for himself, changing himself radically to make his life good.
The whole history of Nick Tolesco was a secret, even to Mark, but the little that Mark knew made him sorry for how Nick was. Nick didn’t appreciate the pity, though. He always said it this way:
“With everything I’ve done, I don’t have the time to care or dwell on what happened. I live for now, because now is the best thing I’ve got.” No one in the school would guess, and Mark planned to keep it that way.
Nick, per usual, was impatient again. “Will you hurry up already? I need to figure out.”
“What for?” Mark asked, curiosity tingeing his tone.
“For my own reasons,” Nick replied, at which Mark gave him a very weird look. “It’s not what you think, I assure you.”
“What was I thinking?” Mark asked offhandedly.
“Or, the better question is, were you thinking at all?” Nick supplied.
“Well…” Mark trailed off, not caring about it.
“Trust me, it’s not about Rachel,” Nick said. And he left off for first period.
Mark headed the other way, working his way slowly towards his first class, which was AP Chemistry. He liked Chemistry, it was a fun class and he got to blow stuff up! What could be better? Or so he thought.
Sure enough, as he walked in, Rachel was sitting patiently, waiting for the class to begin. Mark almost muttered a “hello” as he walked back to his seat near the back of the room. The class was all in, except for one poor student who Mark didn’t even know who was tardy.
“Well, class,” Mr. Hofbrincl said. “Today we are re-examining the gas laws. Especially because the unit test didn’t go so well, which I’m worried about.” Quite honestly, Mark couldn’t care less. It was nothing personal that stopped him from listening; in fact, he rather enjoyed Mr. Hofbrincl (who pronounced his name hoff-brink, and hated it when anyone got it wrong unless they were in their first day of class) and his lessons. The rather eccentric chemistry teacher, who Mark liked, pretended to be a serious stickler, but was really rather lenient and carefree. It was the kind of personality that Mark wished he could emulate someday if he ended up teaching.
Mark zoned out for the rest of the period, thinking about Rachel again. He said her name over and over in his head, mixing in his own name for somewhat comedic results:
“Rachel Brinkstadt, Rachel Brinkstadt, Rachel Tollefson, Mark Brinkstadt, Rachel Brinkstadt, Rachel Tollefson…”
At the end of the period, which was an hour later, Mr. Hofbrincl called Mark up to his desk.
“Mark, I noticed you weren’t paying attention in class today.”
“Sorry, Mr. Hofbrincl, I was busy thinking.”
“More correctly, daydreaming,” Mr. Hofbrincl corrected. Just as Mark was about to interject, he stopped him. “Look, I know you like Rachel, and you would be surprised how much goes on when you’re not in your own little world…” he trailed off, and Mark looked down at his feet ashamed.
“But, sir,” Mark said, “I got the best score on that test. Almost aced the thing, didn’t I?”
“Does that give you a right to zone out when we talk about gas laws again?” Mark shook his head, embarrassed. Mr. Hofbrincl nodded, knowing that Mark got the point.
“I’ll let you off the hook this time, kid. But don’t come back crying to me when you didn’t listen well in class.” Mark smiled with gratitude, and reached for the teacher’s hand. He didn’t offer it, and Mark was left with a quickly fading smile.
“I also happen to know that chemistry isn’t just used in the classroom context…” Mr. Hofbrincl trailed off as Mark groaned.
“Does everybody have to bug me about that today?” Mark asked, exasperated. Mr. Hofbrincl chuckled.
“Trust me, it’s always like that your first time out. But you just have to step up to the plate, stand in for your pitch, and belt it out of the park.” Mr. Hofbrincl loved using sports analogies.
“But I’m not sure how to start.”
“Well, it starts with picking up a basketball.”
“Literally or figuratively?”
“Figuratively, what did you think I meant?”
“Well, maybe that I should shoot some hoops…” Mark danced out of Mr. Hofbrincl’s reach as the teacher shooed him away. Mark walked out with a smile, and almost reached the door when the teacher called him back.
“Three questions. One, do you have the homework that you forgot to turn in from dreamland?”
“What homework?” Mark asked, but remembered. He pulled it out of his backpack.
“B, do you want to ask Rachel out?” This was a common thing for the teacher, to mix up the things that were in sequence (ie. B for two, 2 for secondly, etc.) Again Mark was surprised with the question that was inevitable. “There’s nothing wrong with taking a shot, placing your bid on a bluff.”
“But it’s not a bluff!” Mark responded.
“It might be,” Mr. Hofbrincl said with a twinkle in his eye. “And three, do you want a pass?” Mark nodded, and Mr. Hofbrincl quickly scrawled out a sticky note to act as a pass to the next class.
Mark left the room feeling strange. It was a mix of foolishness, bravery, and fear. Fear because he was scared to ask Rachel out, foolishness because he hadn’t done it a long time ago (and because he was embarrassed by Hofbrincl), and bravery because deep down he thought it was the time.
Mark spent all of the next class working on a note to give Rachel in their next class together. The teacher, who wasn’t as nice as Mr. Hofbrincl, assigned him extra problems for that night.
Lucky for Mark, it was easy to pass the time off. His very next class, third period AP U.S. History, which was easily one of the most boring of his AP classes; had Rachel in it. He passed her the note as she walked out the door. Amanda was also in the class.
“Well, girl, I told you it was Mark Tollefson!”
“I’m not terribly surprised,” Rachel said dully. At the same time as she said this, she knew it wasn’t true. Mark was often stolid, strong and silent. Rachel sort of liked him. He was rather modest, and incredibly sullen. Whenever he got something wrong, he begged over and over again to figure out how to do it right.
Mark was an excellent guy, but Rachel wasn’t sure what to do with herself. She opened the note Mark had given her.
“Meet me at Shattered Creek. There’s something I’d like to discuss with you. Thanks in advance, Mark Tollefson.” It also had his signature scrawled at the bottom. Amanda, who was reading over Rachel’s shoulder, gave a quiet scream of excitement.
“That’s awesome, Rach! It’s finally gonna happen for you…” she trailed off, and Rachel swerved around to see Nick Tolesco greeting Mark. Suddenly, she knew what it was about.
Nick was very cute, and Amanda couldn’t get over him. Even with all the rumors, and all the crap circulating about with him taking a woman every night, she thought he was amazing.
And to think the two of them were friends! Suddenly, Rachel realized that Amanda would make a relationship with Mark interesting, very interesting indeed.
The two boys walked away, and Nick was positive he had the usual stares behind him. As soon as Rachel was out of sight, he turned on Mark.
“Who’s Rachel’s friend?” Nick asked, with a slight hint of hope in his voice.
“It’s Amanda Suvano. She’s Rachel’s best friend in the world, or so she says.”
“When did you hear that?”
“From Amanda, freshman year. She and I have been going to school together since 5th grade. And to think that my crush is her best friend…”
“Well, I’ll tell you one thing I’m crushing on,” Nick said, mouth still open.
“No way, Amanda is the one?”
“What do you mean?” Nick was confused. Then Mark realized why. Of course he hadn’t heard the rumors!
“The grapevine says you were looking at one girl, and one girl only.”
“Well, the only truth in that is now…” Nick said dreamily. Mark thought it was a little ridiculous.
When he said this, however, Nick was furious. “Of course it’s not ridiculous! How could it be? She’s the only woman to ever have my love before she makes love with me!” That also confirmed the other rumors, but Mark didn’t say anything.
“So how do you plan to ask her out?”
“Are you crazy?” Nick yelled, somewhat louder than necessary. “If I ever asked her out, she’d be sure to say no!”
“Relax, Nick, it can’t be that bad,” Mark said consolingly.
“Yes, it can!” Nick complained. Mark shook his head at Nick; he was rather surprised at Nick’s reaction.
“I haven’t ever seen you this worked up about a girl before,” Mark admitted. Nick nodded fervently. Of course he could agree with that. How had he managed to keep his cool under the gaze of such perfection in the first place?
Amanda pulled Rachel to her lips as Mark left with his friend.
“Who’s that cute friend of his?” she hissed. Rachel almost laughed.
“That’s Nick Tolesco, and he’s the envy of every girl in the school. Well, almost every one.”
“You’re the exception again?” Amanda asked. Rachel nodded.
“As for me, I’m not one. He’s gorgeous,” she lamented. Rachel shook her head at her friend’s statement.
She saw Mark again two more times that day during school, and all the time during play rehearsal. He was very awkward after they met in the hall afterwards.
“How are you, Rachel?” Mark stammered.
“Well, fine, what about you.”
“To be honest, life hasn’t changed much since 6th period,” Mark admitted. He gave a slight chuckle, but looked down at his feet, and shuffled them. He was nervous, Rachel could tell.
“So, Mark, what did you want to talk about, anyway?” Rachel said. She looked, and could tell that sweat was starting to bead on his forehead. He was nervous, and she had never seen him so worked up before.
He was normally a very complacent person, not really average, but easy in temperament. Now he was almost quivering where he leaned on the wall.
“Can we talk about it later?” Mark asked weakly. Rachel wasn’t sure, and bit her lip in thought. She wasn’t sure what to say. Mark seemed like a nice person, and he would be a great boyfriend, she knew that.
Certainly, he didn’t have much spare time, but neither did she, so it worked out pretty well. They didn’t have to be focused on each other 24-7.
Rachel stayed silent for a while, and Mark was worried that she didn’t like him at all, not even as a friend. But, suddenly Rachel spoke.
“When do you want to meet at Shattered Creek?”
“Then you will,” Mark choked out excitedly.
“Sure. What time?”
“How about tonight, about 7:30?”
“Sounds good to me,” Rachel conceded. Both walked away, feeling strange. Rachel felt a strange welling in the pit of her stomach. Mark could feel excitement bubbling in his veins.
Mark was just excited because she had agreed to come. He hoped that he could pull off a good impression on the first time. He had waited for so long…
Could today be his red letter day? Would he finally get what he had longed for all these years, had needed. Had Mark spent those sleepless nights over Rachel all in vain, or would it finally pay off for him?
Rachel paced down the hallway, somewhat dreading, somewhat anticipating the night before her. What could he have to say that was so important?
Was it so important that he needed all his composure, which he probably wouldn’t have then either? Mark was a sensible person, with a good brain on his head, and a good heart. Maybe it would be worth hearing him out…she was contemplating not going at all.
But that would make him feel terrible. He was obviously very nervous about this meeting. If she didn’t bother to show up, he’d hate her forever for it. And did she really want that? After all, if nothing else, he was in all of her AP classes. What was he going to ask? It was driving Rachel to worry of her own.
As for Mark, as soon as he was out of sight, he jumped up, pumping his right fist in the air in excitement. He was going to do it tonight!
The night came on fast for Mark Tollefson. He was too antsy, but still wouldn’t tell his mother what it was about. But he wanted to be good for the night, and early just in case. So, without worrying about homework for the while, Mark wet his hair slightly, slicking it down in a fancy sleek style. He put on a slightly-more-than-casual shirt, and headed down to his car.
“What, are you going out on a date?” his mom asked, slightly perturbed by Mark’s brisk manner. Mark just smiled, and walked out to his Sentra.
After driving for ten minutes, he reached the place that was referred to as Shattered Creek. In all meanings of the term, the place wasn’t actually a creek anyway. It was a rather pretty clearing, with regulated trees fringing the area, and a small white gazebo off to the northeast side. The thing that gave its name to the area was on the east wall.
Shattered Creek, or at least this part of it, was actually a waterfall. At this time of year, especially, it was cool, because the waterfall was frozen over. A real creek ran above it, running down through the waterfall into a little pond, which let a small trickle down the slope towards the lake. Mark was excited, because not only did the place look serene, but the little decorations around made it beautiful. There was a little footbridge over the small trickle that was quaint. There was a rock border surrounding the tree area all around the clearing. And the trees, some evergreen, stretched their limbs up, encompassing the area in a natural beauty. The best time to see the place was in spring, because all the trees had leaves, and the waterfall was gushing strongly, adding to the beauty of the scene.
Mark sat on a bench near the waterfall, on the opposite side of the pond from the gazebo. Not like Rachel and Mark were getting married or anything.
“At least not yet,” Mark thought to himself.
High up on the ledge, Nick Tolesco happened to be meditating, as part of his evening routine. He was a creature of habit. He broke concentration for a minute when he heard a car crunching gravel. He saw a very familiar green Nissan Sentra. When he saw Mark step out, he decided in the better course of action to not call out.
He hoped that it would go well. But rather than listen in, Nick decided to go back into meditation.
A couple minutes later, at 7:25, another car showed up, and Rachel got out of the passenger side.
Mark greeted her with a smile, and Rachel looked surprised at how fancy he looked.
“You can’t drive yet, Rach?” He asked. Rachel shook her head.
“I can, but I’d rather not. I don’t have enough practice.”
“Well, you could get practice with me,” Mark said slyly, winking at her. She let out a small chuckle. Rachel looked up at Mark, slowly brushing her hair behind her ear.
Her eyes looked so pretty, and the sky was perfect. The setting was capped off by perfect weather.
Her hazel eyes were alight with curiosity, and Mark was hoping to satisfy that curiosity tonight. Rachel sat down next to Mark, who casually leaned his arm out, but didn’t put it around her shoulder. He wanted her to be comfortable, relaxed for the evening.
Rachel looked at him, brow furrowed.
“So, now that we’re in such an intimate setting,” Rachel started. “What did you drag me here for in the first place?”
Mark started losing his composure. After all the rehearsal, all the work on what he would say, now he was losing it! He couldn’t lose it now, not when it was so crucial.
Rachel wasn’t sure what to do. Should she break the silence? She didn’t like seeing him like this. When Mark looked nervous, and she noticed, the world felt really uncomfortable.
Not that she knew Mark terribly well either, but he was an amazing person. Did she like him?
“Well, I wanted to tell you a few things…” Mark stammered.
“Like what?” Rachel asked gently.
“Well, firstly, how’s life?” Mark’s voice was speeding up, obviously from nerves, because he was sweating too.
“Not bad, and you?”
“Alright, really nervous,” Mark blurted out.
“Why?” Rachel asked calmly, trying to keep the situation from being too awkward. Mark looked into her beautiful eyes, found comfort in the greenish color, and the sleek dirty-blond hair. This gave him courage.
“I was wondering, if you would like to go somewhere sometime…”
“Can you be any less specific?” Rachel chuckled. Mark gave a wan smile, then plunged on.
“..with me?” Those words were such a struggle. Rachel smiled a little bit broader, trying to keep Mark comfortable. She looked straight into his crystal-blue eyes, and saw in there a worry, but an icy passion that surprised Rachel. So the rumors were true!
“That would be nice, maybe when we have a night off,” Rachel laughed after this only because she knew how impossible that was.
“You would?” Mark asked, breathing a small sigh of relief.
“Are you asking me on a date?” Rachel asked, eyes twinkling at the nervous boy who was slowly making an impression on her. His brown hair was so smooth, his eyes so radiant, and gentle. They invited her in, and she found herself staring into his eyes as she never had before.
Suddenly, an image sprang into her mind that she had never had before. She was kissing Mark, holding him in an embrace, and with the image came an interesting feeling. It didn’t feel right, but looked, and seemed so right…
Before she knew what she was doing, Mark’s arm was around her, and she was leaning into him.
“Basically,” Mark said, in a sultry tone. The voice drew her in, until she found herself kissing him full on the mouth. Rachel was so surprised, she drew back almost immediately.
Rachel could see the hope draining from Mark’s eyes. And suddenly, she felt guilty. Not only for kissing him, but also for making him feel bad.
“What do you say?” Mark asked weakly. “I don’t have much time, you see. You know how that goes. With people like us, I mean.” Rachel nodded with no conviction.
“I guess,” she said slowly, “I guess I can.”
Mark’s eyes surged with hope again, and he kissed her on the cheek. “Great! When should we do it?”
Rachel was still shocked, and had no straight answer. She wouldn’t have thought it possible to fall into a relationship with Mark Tollefson, but maybe it would work after all…
Mark fiercely hugged her, and Rachel sat with her head on his strong shoulder, dumbfounded.
When she finally realized what she did, she saw that same mental image as earlier. And this time, she took pleasure in it. She was sure that Mark would be an awesome boyfriend.
She just hoped she would be ready…
Remember that this isn't