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Hesitation fell against my tongue. “…Yes…”

“Which in turn means you noticed me.”

I wasn’t amused. “Don’t flatter yourself.”


“Okay what?” I asked.

“Okay, I won’t flatter myself.”

His eyes were filled with such ease and sincerity that I almost lost myself in them.

I blinked. “You’re weird.”

“Weird in a charming way or just…weird-weird?” he asked.

I wasn’t sure which it was yet. Maybe both. “Why were you guys looking at me?”

“Oh. I asked them your name. None of them knew it, though, and for some reason they thought that was comical.” He shrugged his shoulders.

Figures. I knew everyone’s name in our school and they couldn’t take the time to figure out mine.

“Why were you asking about me anyway?”

“I don’t know. I guess I get curious about girls who walk through the woods at six in the morning on Sundays.”


“I’m Levi Myers.” He gestured as if he was going to bow before me when he delivered me his name. Then he went ahead and did it. He fully bowed. He was tipping over into the weird-weird territory.

“You’re Mr. Myers’ kid?” I paused, thinking. “I never knew Mr. Myers had a kid.”

“Yeah well, that’s my dad for ya.” His eyebrows furrowed. A slight look of disappointment passed through Levi’s eyes before he blinked and the softness returned to his stare. “And you are?”


“Really? Aria?”


“Not Becky? Or Casey? Maybe Katie?”

“Nope. Aria.”

He crossed his arms, and my eyes took notice of the eye tattoo on his left hand, resting between his thumb and pointer finger. “I spent all day trying to figure out your name and Aria wasn’t in the top twenty names.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint.”

“No, no. I like it. Aria.” He smiled and placed his thumb between his teeth as he studied my face. “Aria.” His head tilted to the left and right. “Arrriaaa.”

Stop saying my name.

I shifted my body weight around. Now he was swimming in the weird-weird territory, and I had to admit, his weird persona was so far from his hot exterior. He was his own oxymoron.

If there were a list of the top five oxymorons in the world it would look like this:

Great Depression.

Tragic comedy.

Original copy.

Jumbo shrimp.

Levi Myers.

“So do you always walk around those woods at six in the morning?” he questioned. He rubbed the palm of his hand against his somewhat scruffy chin and then brushed his thumb against his top lip.

I lingered a few seconds, trying to take in all of his facial characteristics. My eyes blinked twice. “Sometimes. Do you always feed random deer at six in the morning?” I asked sarcastically.

“Always,” he said with confidence.

I couldn’t stare at his eyes anymore because they were making me lightheaded. Actually the whole hallway was making my head spin. I took a breath and closed my eyes. When I reopened them, his brown eyes were still staring at me. Crap. My stomach flipped. Clearing my throat, I gestured down the hallway. “Room one-twelve is over there. Right past the cafeteria.”



More stomach flips.

His eyes moved past me and he looked in the direction I was pointing. “Thanks, Aria.” He walked away. The farther he disappeared down the hallway, the calmer my heartbeats became, but the nauseous feeling rolling through my stomach didn’t stop as I brushed my hand over my lips.

Moving my feet as quickly as possible, I pushed myself into the closest bathroom and hardly got the stall door shut before throwing up my breakfast and lunch. Sitting back on the heels of my feet, I reached for the toilet paper and wiped my mouth clean.

I hated today.

6 Aria

The only thing I looked forward to during the school day was eighth hour. Eighth hour was my favorite, not only because it was the last period, but also because it was art class with Mr. Harper.

Mr. Harper and I had known each other since I stepped into his Introduction to Art class my freshman year. He was a skinny, pipe smoking, mustache wearing, sixty-two-year-old gay man who always attributed his love for art to a love affair he had with Leonardo da Vinci. Sure, the love affair might have been nothing more than an awesome acid trip that he’d experienced, seeing as how Leonardo da Vinci died four hundred and thirty-three years before Mr. Harper was born, but it was a love story for the ages the way my favorite teacher told it.

The class I was currently taking was an exploration class where the main goal was to discover a new way to look at art as a whole. Our classroom was set up differently than all of the other rooms in the building. Our desks were turned inward in a semicircle and there were at least fifteen extra chairs in the room. At the opening of the circle was a big chalkboard.

Mr. Harper scribbled the words Partner Exploration across the board.

“Shout out what you think of when you think of exploring. Ready? Go!” Mr. Harper said, holding his chalk in his hands.

The class started shouting out random words at the highest volume they could.


“Christopher Columbus!”

“Jet skis!”


Mr. Harper wrote all of the words on the board and placed ‘sex’ in the biggest letters. He was never moved by any teenage antics, only taking them as a learning experience. “Ah! And words that you think of when you hear the word partner? Go!”