Blossoms of the Heart


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Chapter One

Beth entered Algebra and took a seat. She didn’t even notice the boy sitting next to her. Charity, her best friend since grade school took the seat next to her and they continued with the conversation they were having when they walked in.

She may not have noticed the boy, but he noticed her. He fell in love with her the first time had seen her. He had been the new kid, shy, awkward and condidered a nerd. Not someone she would ever notice. Still he dreamed that someday she would. He told himself as he had so many other times, love with a girl like her was hopeless. How could he, the youngest of the nerds, stand a chance?

The first few weeks of school passed slowly by.

She often caught him staring at her. She thought it was cute how he would quickly look away or down at his desk. She would smile at him and he would find himself thinking she had the most beautiful smile in the world. He had overheard her tell Charity that she barely got through the first year of Algebra. “I must have been crazy to think I could do this,” she had said. This bothered him. He wanted badly to help her, but how could he? He couldn’t even say hi without stuttering.

The Algebra teacher was adamant about giving pop quizzes. He would grade the papers at night and pass them out the next day. As he was passing them out one afternoon, he paused beside Beth’s desk. “Miss Hairston, you have failed again. I suggest you either get a tutor or drop out.” He looked over at Mark. “Mr. Farmer, how would you like to be Miss Hairston’s tutor?”

“I, I,” he stammered. He couldn’t speak. He felt as if his heart was going to leap right out of his chest and do a happy dance on his desk.

Beth turned and smiled at him. “Will you Mark?”

He smiled shyly back and nodded.

That afternoon when school let out he went straight to the bike rack and found his red 10 speed. He rode it to school every day. Beth usually rode the bus which took a little longer or with her friend when she drove her mother’s car. This usually took even longer as the girls rarely went straight home from school. On this day, she rode the bus.

When she walked up to her house, she found him waiting on the steps to the front porch. His 10 speed parked beside him. Mark,” she said with a smile, “I didn’t expect you to be here waiting on me."

Mark looked up at her and stood. "I, I thought we, uh, could get started." He had never noticed how much taller he was that she. He kind of liked the way she had to lift her eyes to look at his face. He pushed his glasses up on his nose. “I thouhgt it, uh, was, was best just to wait here.”

"Well, come on. We can go in through the garage.” She turned and began walking away.

He quickly got his bike and pushed it toward the garage.

Why didn’t you just knock?” She asked and led him to the back door that entered into the kitchen.

“I don’t know your parents,” he replied nervously. He put his bike on the kick stand at the back of te garage in front of her mother’s mini van.

She laughed. “My mom and siblings are the only ones home. They don’t bite.” She opened the door and invited him in. She found her mother standing at the sink preparing a snack for her younger brothers and little sister. After a brief introduction and the reason Mark was there, they went into the living room to study.

He wasn’t sure how to begin. How much did Beth understand and was he going to be a good teacher. He had never had to teach anyone before. He pulled off his back pack and placed it on the floor He took out his algebra book, a spiral note book and one of his sharpest pencils from his pencil case.

 Eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking glasses of milk her mother had brought to them, They began the process of teaching and learning. He was a bit nervous as was Beth, but soon they were getting along very well.

She liked Mark. He wasn’t constantly making passes at her and trying to get a kiss.  She expected to become quickly bored with the learning process, but Mark began to show a sense of humor she never expected.  “The first thing you should know about Algebra are that the symbols simply mean you don’t know what the hell I am talking about.” He looked at her and smiled. “It seems complicated, but it can be fun."

She giggled, “Okay, strange way of putting it, but okay.”

He began copying equations down on paper and explaining how each symbol had a purpose which wasn’t designed to confuse but to aid in the solving of a problem.

“You must remember that mathematics is a game with no objectives. It’s kind of like love. The idea is simple, but it can get very complicated. Like my feelings for you, he thought.

She thought it odd that he would use love to explain math. “So am I to fall in love with math?”

“Sometimes I think that math is my love.”He looked over at her and smiled shyly. It certainly was the means that had brought them together. He felt he could never really have her as a girlfriend, so he would make the best of this opportunity that had been given him. “Now let’s look at these equations I have written down. They are very simple but I think it will lead you to a better understanding.”

“What is Algebra good for anyway, Mark?”

“May I ask why you chose the subject?”

“Well, I kind of want to go into medicine.”

He nodded. “Well in answer to your question, mathematics is in everything; from the simple task of measuring to bake a cake to figuring out the distance between the stars. Algebra helps you find the answer when there doesn’t seem to be a solution. He gazed at her over his glasses and smiled. “It is simple for me. Soon I hope you will enjoy math as much as I do.”

“Just get me through this,” she replied.

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Chapter Two

By the third night she was really catching on to the Algebra equations that had confused her so before. Mark was a whiz it seemed and never faltered at any problem that came up. He was patient with her and explained it in ways that she could understand. She was growing more and more confident. “I don’t think you are going to need me anymore after another night or so.” Mark said. He glanced over at her and quickly looked away. You are so beautiful, but I am too young to ever hope to ask you out,

“I don’t know,” she said and smiled at him. “Maybe you should continue studying with me to be sure.” In truth she liked being with him.

He smiled. He knew she didn’t need him any longer. Was it possible that she liked him. “I’m happy to oblige,” he replied.

Two weeks had past. She and Mark were still studying together. Algebra was no longer a real problem for Beth; it was the friendship that had grown between them that was keeping them together. Beth found him not nerdy at all when she was alone with him. She liked his crooked smile and the dimple that would appear in the left corner of his mouth. They began to do less studying and just hanging out. She knew she was nearly two years older than he was, but it didn’t really matter. She wished her friends could see the side of Mark she had grown to know.

It was a Thursday afternoon she was walking to English class with her friend Charity. They passed Mark in the hallway. “Hi, Mark. You are coming over tonight, right?”

He nodded and smiled. “It’s a date.” Date, why did I say date? It isn’t a date.

“Come and have dinner with my family tonight.” Beth said. “Say be there at about six?”

He nodded and quickly walked away.

“You aren’t getting serious about him, are you?” Charity asked. “You know hes a lot younger than you and one of the geeks in our school.” She looked over her shoulder at Mark and seemed to cringe. “I don’t understand how you can even stand being around him.”

“Charity, Mark is very sweet.” Beth replied. “I kind of like him.” She smiled to herself. I kind of like him a lot.

“You’d better unlike him,” Charity replied and gave Beth a warning gaze. “People are beginning to talk.” She squeezed Beth’s arm. “I mean really talk.”

Beth just shook her head. “When I feel comfortable with my Algebra, I won’t need him anymore.”

Charity let go of her arm and just nodded. “I’m sitting in your desk in Algebra.”

That evening as Mark prepared for his dinner date with Beth and her family, he wondered what it was going to be like. He had met her mother and siblings, but had never met her father. They had always done their studying after school and he was usually gone before five. He wanted her father to like him.

Being only fourteen, he didn’t have his driver’s license. His only means of transportation was his father, walking, and his bike. His father wasn’t in yet, which wasn’t unusual, so he chose the bike. Beth’s house was five blocks from his. He sprayed himself with extra cologne in case he sweat. He arrived promptly at six o'clock and parked his bike on the front porch next to the door. He licked his lips and rang the bell.  

Beth had always seen Mark in his Khaki and blue. When she answered the door, she was surprised to see Mark in a teal colored shirt, blue jeans and a gray parka. He looked so different and not nerdy at all, except of course for the glasses on his nose. She wondered what he would look like without his glasses.

“Come on in, Mark.” She opened the door wider allowing him to enter. “Mom,” she called, “Mark is here.” She led Mark into the den. “Wow, you smell really good.”

He blushed. “Thanks.”

Her  mother stepped out of the kitchen with a wide smile on her face. “Hi, Mark. I’m glad you came to have dinner with us.”She looked at her daughter. “Beth have you set the table?”

“Yes, ma’am,” she answered and smiled at Mark. “You look nice.”

He grinned. “My closet isn’t all Khaki and blue,” he replied. “I actually wear sweats on weekends and work out in my dad’s gym.”

She had wondered about how he seemed to have a body that was worthy of an athletes. Beneath the clothes he wore she had seen the outline of a well toned body.  “You know you’ve never really talked about your parents. All I know about you is that you like games and science fiction.” She sat down on the couch and he sat down beside her. “What are your parents like? What does your dad do for a living?”

“Well, I guess we are a typical family. My mom is a housewife and my dad is a doctor. I think he was a bit nerdy like me when he was younger. He works a lot and we don’t see each other much.” He couldn’t tell her how much he liked being at her house instead of his. The truth was, he was practically alone most of the time. There was a housekeeper that cooked his meals, his mother drank and kept to herself and his father was rarely home.

Beth’s interest was aroused at hearing his father was a doctor. She wanted to know more. “What field is your dad in?” She gazed keenly at Mark.

“Oncology,” Mark answered. “You know he treats cancer patients.” He looked over at Beth. “He’s with the Bingham and Young Oncology Group.”

Beth had heard of them. It was one of the largest practices in the area. “It must be kind of a depressing job. So many people die from cancer.”

Mark hadn’t thought of it that way. He knew only that his father made a lot of money and provided very well for him. “He saves a lot of lives too.” Mark said. “I think there is a cure though and no one is using it.”

She thought that a very odd thing to say. She looked at him curiously. “Why would you think that?”

Mark had never voiced his views on the subject with anyone before. He shrugged his shoulders. “I know that might sound kind of negative of me,” he said, “but my dad and all other parties concerned with the disease make a lot of money. You cure it and they are out of work.”

She was almost horrified by his statement. How could someone, whose on father worked to save people’s lives think that he was in it merely for the money. “Mark, that’s a horrible thing to say.”

He pushed his glasses up a little on his nose.  “It’s true.” He had seen his father’s bank statements. He knew how much his father was worth and that was just the money in the bank. “I’m going into biochemistry. I want to know all about the human cells. I want observe them and how they work.” There was a passion in his voice that Beth picked up on. “Science is my real love.”

She smiled at him. “Maybe you will find a cure for cancer.” She nudged him with her elbow. “Do biochemist make a lot of money?”

He gazed at her for a moment as if he couldn’t believe she would ask such a question. “Does it matter?” He scratched his head nervously. “They do okay, I guess, but it’s not the money that draws me to the work. It’s the discoveries to be made. I want to delve into the whys and why nots of the human cell. I want to uncover the mysteries.”

She could hear the zeal that rose in his voice and see it in his dark eyes. She was beginning to admire this boy sitting next to her in ways she never had before. She could do nothing more than smile at him with a near pride that she was allowed to even know him.

He felt her gaze and looked over at her. Her eyes seemed to have grown in color and had a sparkle to them that he liked. He wanted to kiss her, but knew he couldn’t. He smiled and said, “Maybe I’ll find cures for other diseases.” He looked down at his lap. He wanted to change the subject. “Did you know that Saturday is my birthday. I’ll be fifteen.”

“Are you going to celebrate?” she smiled. She thought perhaps he would have a party, but then she realized she would never be able to attend. Her friends would turn on her.

He shrugged in his nerdy kind of way. “Nah,” he said and rubbed his hands on his thighs. “I don’t have any plans. I only have a few friends, but well, my parents have never made a big deal out of my birthdays. My sister has sent me a card with a gaming card inside. I like to play games. My dad will probably give me some money or something.“ He shrugged his shoulders. “My housekeeper will make me a little cake and sing happy birthday to me. It will but just for me.”

She leaned toward him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “That’s a little early birthday present.”She smiled at him. “I’m going to get you something nice.”

He grinned shyly. “You don’t have to.”  It would be nice to get a card from her, he thought. He looked down at his lap. He would save it forever.

“Dinner’s ready.” Mrs. Hairston called. “Hope you like lamb, Mark.”

He smiled. He loved lamb. Lamb was kind of expensive and he wondered if they had it often or was it because they had asked him for dinner. He followed Beth into the dining room.

They didn't usually eat dinner in the dining room, but Beth had requested it and her mother agreed. She even allowed Beth to use the good china. Her younger siblings, twins John and Ben; and her little sister Rebecca sat on left. Her parents were seated at either end and she and Mark sat on the right. Mark pulled out her chair before taking his seat.

Before anyone started dinner, Mr. Hairston said grace. “Father we thank you for this meal that you have provided for us. We thank you for bringing Mark into our home and our daughter’s life. He has been a blessing to her and we pray that their friendship grows. May his life be blessed through us and ours through him. Bless this food, May it bring nourishment to our bodies as your Holy Spirit does to our souls. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”

Mark glanced around the table as the family began to pass the food around and talk. His family was not close knit like Beth’s. His sister lived in Nashville and he only saw her occasionally. He couldn't remember the last time they sat together for any meal. There was never any mention of God in his house. He could remember when he was a younger attending church with his family, but they never even prayed anymore. Now every Sunday his dad usually played golf and his mother stayed in her room. Mark would have the whole house to himself, but he normally spent the day, as he did every day, in his room studying, playing video games or watching science fiction movies.

He glanced over at her brothers. They were fraternal twins. They began talking at the same time and gave each other a dirty look. He glanced over at her father. Mr. Hairston passed him the green peas. He had never been a fan, but he put a small portion on his plate to be polite. The lamb chops were passed to him next. He wished he could have two, but he took only one. As he passed them to Beth, he was passed a bowl of  mashed potatoes. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to eat. He was much too nervous.

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He had never had a girlfriend before. That’s how he felt about Beth, even if she didn’t feel that way about him. He glanced over at her. She looked a lot like her mother, except for the hair. Her dad had the black hair. He looked across the table at her siblings.  One of the boys favored the mother and had her blonde hair and blue eyes. The other boy looked like the father, with brown eyes that were staring back at him. The youngest, was the image of her mother.

“So, Mark, what does your father do?” Mr. Hairston asked. 

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Chapter Three

Friday morning, Beth found a note in her locker. She opened it and it read. “Stay away from Mark. We are going to teach him a lesson.” She recognized Charity’s hand writing and since her friend was the only one that knew the combination to her locker, she knew it had to have been from her. She folded the note and put it in her purse. She wasn’t sure why she wanted to save it, but she did. She met with her friends at the table in the lunch room where they always sat. They talked of the game that night that would be a home game and the their gossip began. She found herself looking around for Mark and was hoping to see him in Algebra class. Suddenly all of Beth's friends were staring at her. She glanced around at them wondering what was wrong. “What?”

“Mark was over at your house kind of late last night, wasn’t he?” Mary Anne said with an acidic tone to her voice.

“Yeah, so?” Beth said defensively and gave a shrug. “We were studying. He’s my tutor, remember?”

“You’re passing Algebra now.” Mary Anne said.

“Yeah,” said Charity. “Remember, you said he helped you catch on and you didn’t need him anymore.”

“I said nothing of the kind. I said I would quit studying with him when I felt comfortable with the subject. I am still unsure I could pass without him.”

“What did I tell you the other day about him?” Charity continued. “He’s a geek. We don’t make friends with geeks.”

“Mark is sweet and really cute.” Beth looked from one girl to the other. “Don’t you think he’s cute?”

“I don’t care how cute he is.” Mary Anne replied. “He's a geek.”

“Drop him or lose us.” Charity said.

“Oh, it’s like that, huh?” Beth said looking at Charity with anger. “You and I have known each other since first grade, Charity. We have always been best friends.”

There was a loud crash and the sound of a tray hitting the floor at the lunch counter, followed by laughter. Beth turned to see Mark standing with spaghetti all over the front of his clothes. Noodles were sliding down his chest and onto the floor. Two of the boys from the football team were standing in front of him and making remarks. “Oh, man, did we ruin your clothes?” asked one boy. “Sorry, dude,” said the other, “guess you will have to go home to your nerd closet and pick out more Khaki and blue.”

Mark glared at them. He could take them, he knew he could, but he didn’t dare. He never stood up for himself or tried to fight. What good would it do? They had too many friends and he knew he would be no match for more than two. He looked around the room with embarrassment on his face. He saw Beth and for a moment their eyes met. Beth turned her head . She didn’t want to see Mark like this. Her friends were right. He was a geek, a nerd and every other thing boys like him were called. She hated herself for feeling the way she did, but she knew she had to break off all contact with him. She just didn’t know how she was going to do it. She felt it was her fault Mark had been humilated in front fo everyone. It all centered around her and their relationship. She had wanted to jump up and run after him as he left the lunch room., but she couldn’t. She couldn’t lose her friends, could she?

He wasn’t in Algebra class that afternoon. She hadn’t expected he would be. She found herself glancing over at his empty desk and wishing he was there. The words break it off kept flashing through her mind. She couldn’t even concentrate on wht the teacher was saying. Mark, how can I tell you goodbye when I don’t want to.

Mark had gotten permission to leave school for the rest of the day. He went out to the bike stand and found both tires on his bike had been slit. He walked the three miles to his home pushing his bike in complete humilation. Parking it in the garage, he noticed his fathers Jaguar was there parked in its place near his mother’s Lexus that she rarely drove anymore. He entered the kitchen and could hear his father’s voice. He was saying things to Mark’s mother that Mark had heard before, but this time his father’s voice sounded more adamant in tone and Mark knew it was a serious fight. Mark had to cross through living room where his parents were to get to the stairs. When his father saw him, he rolled his eyes and made a comment to his wife about it being her fault. Mark went straight up stairs to his room, showered, put on his pajamas and went to bed. Now he lay there with the covers pulled over his head. He was too depressed to do anything else. He thought about Beth and the look he had seen on her face. She was ashamed to even know him. She had even looked away. Then on top of everything else he entered his home to hear his parents arguing.

No one knew how bad things were between his mom and dad. She drank and his dad seemed to hate her for it. His seventeen year old sister had moved out of the house because of it. She was living with his dad’s sister in Nashville. He rarely saw her, but talked to her as often as he could on the phone.  It was just him and his parents. When he wasn’t locked in his room studying or playing games, he was in his bed sleeping.

Now they were talking of divorce and moves and he was caught up in the middle of their battle. There was no one he could go to. He thought of running away. He could go to Nashville and find his sister. Maybe his aunt would take him in too.

He heard a knock on his door.

“Go away,” he said loudly. “Just leave me alone.”

“Mark,” he heard his father’s voice, “open up. We need to talk.”

“I don’t want to talk,” Mark said and wished he could just disappear.

“Mark, open up, son.”

He reluctantly got out of bed and walked across the room. “What is it Dad,” he said opening the door.

Dr. Farmer stepped in the room and looked around as if it had been the first time he had ever been in his son’s room. He walked over to the bed, sat down and patted it. “Come over here and sit down Mark.”

Mark walked over and sat down next to him. “I know you and Mom are getting a divorce. I heard you say you wanted one.” He stared down at his bare feet. He couldn’t begin to describe to his father what this meant to him.

“Yes, we are. Your mother is moving in with her sister and we putting the house on the market.” Dr. Farmer said. “You and I are moving to Boston after Christmas.”

Mark looked at him with alarm. “Boston? Why Boston?”

“I have accepted a teaching position at Harvard and I am looking at a good school to enrol you in.”

“But I don’t want to move to Boston. I want to stay here in this house.”

“I can’t allow that Mark. I can’t trust your mother to take care of you.”

“But I got Rose,” Mark said in protest.

“I’m letting Rose go,” Dr. Farmer said. “That’s the way it is going to be. You want be going back to school. I’m sick and tired of the way you are treated and well, things will be better in Boston. You’ll see.”


“Mark I have made my decision.” He stood. “I’m sorry things truned out the way they did, but sometimes life gives you a few raw deals. We have to pick things up and make a new life for ourselves.” He reached down and ruffled Mark’s hair. “I love you son. I know I don’t say that enough. I want what’s best for you. I’m doing this for you.” He walked to the door. “With this new job we will have more time with each other.” He smiled. “I want to get to know you.” He looked toward the game systems. “Heck I might learn a few of your games.” He stepped out of the room and closed the door.

Mark sat staring at the closed door. “I don’t want to move. I don’t want to go to Boston.” He lay back down in bed and pulled the covers over his head. “I hate the world.”

 Their housekeeper, Rose, had overheard everything that Dr. Farmer had told his wife. It saddened her to think of the decision that had been made by her employers. She was even sadder for Mark. She loved that boy and had always tried to let him know how much he meant to her. She felt without her he would never know real parental love. She wished she could have heard the conversation between father and son. She hated it had been carried on in Mark’s room and not where she could have easily listened. She knew it had to do with the doctor’s move to Boston and that Mark would be going with him. The divorce didn’t surprise her, but the sudden move did.

At the end of the day Beth discovered another note. This one was in Charity’s hand writing as well and this time she had signed it. “This is just a warning Beth. What happened today will only get worse if you don’t break it off with Mark. The others are really nasty. I don’t want to see you hurt.” She placed the note in her purse.

She decided to ride the bus home instead of catching a ride with Charity and Mary Anne. She didn’t feel much like being with either one of them. She knew her bus stop wasn’t too far from Mark’s house and instead of walking home when she got off, she headed toward his street. She knew which one it was for he had told where he lived. She wasn’t sure about the address but she knew it was a large Tudor with a manicured lawn and driveway that wound around the back. She stood in front for a moment and hoped she was doing the right thing. Giving a sigh she started up the stone walkway to the front door.

 Dr. Farmer had left and Mrs. Farmer was in her room. Rose was working quietly in the kitchen when she heard the front door bell. She wondered if there was some delivery for the doctor or Mark. She went to the door and opened it. She was surprised to see a girl about Mark’s age standing on the porch. The girl was wearing a soft pale blue sweater and jeans. Her long black hair cascaded over her shoulders. She was smiling shyly. Rose couldn’t help but think the girl had the wrong house. “May I help you?”

Does Mark live here?” Beth asked as she adjusted her back pack and smiled.

“Mark? Yes he does. You are here to see him?” A smile came to Rose’s face. “You must be Beth, the one he has been tutoring.”

“Yes, ma’am, uh, Mrs. Farmer,” she answered and looked down at her feet as a shyness seemed to engulf her whole being.

Rose laughed. “Oh, honey, I’m not Mrs. Farmer. I’m Rose, their housekeeper. Mark is up in his room.” She motioned for Beth to enter. “I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you. He doesn’t get many visitors.”

Beth stepped into the house and found herself in a beautiful foyer. She looked around as she waited for the housekeeper to close the door. The floor was hardwood and she was standing on an area rug with earth tones in a blocked design. A crystal chandelier hung above them. She imagined it was beautiful when it was on. “You sure it’s okay if I go up to his room?”

“Of course it is. Go on up and take a right at the stairs. His room is at the very end of the hall.”

Beth thanked her again and started up the stairs as Rose walked away. She wondered where Mark's mother was and how she might feel about Mark having a girl in his room. She was half way up when she heard Rose call her name. 

“Oh, Beth,” Rose called after her, “are you here about what happened at school today?"

Beth paused and looked down at her. "I was there when it happened."

"Mark came home very upset.” She didn’t mention the argument she had overheard her employers having. Rose could see a deep remorse on the girls face.

“The boys were friends of mine and I feel really bad about it.” She sighed. "I wanted to do or say something, I really did."

Rose nodded. “Mark’s a good boy. Be nice to him.” She turned and was gone.

She reached Mark’s bedroom door and tried it. It was locked. She knocked lightly. There was no answer. She knocked again a little harder.

“Who is it?” Mark called out.

“It’s Beth.” She answered. “I need to talk to you.”

A couple of minutes passed and she heard the door lock click. “Come on in.”

 She hesitated. “Are you decent?”  She placed her hand on the door knob.

“Yeah,” he replied.

She entered the room not sure what to expect. She had never been in a boy’s room before. Well, she had been her brother’s rooms, but they didn’t count. She looked around. The room was much larger than she expected. There were no paintings, posters or anything else on the walls. A desk with his computer was in the corner at the end. There was a TV stand with a 60 inch flat screen television against one wall. On either side of it were book cases filled with books, plaques and awards for academic achievements. Beneath the television on several built in shelves were three game consoles, an X box, a Play Station, and a Nintendo. There was an array of games for each. In front of the TV stand was a large comfortable chair and a bean bag chair.

Her eyes moved about the room. A large window spread across the end of the room facing the front of the house. It was covered with blinds that were closed and there were no drapes. Two chairs and a table with a lamp were placed there. A full size bed was positioned length wise on the wall to the left. There were no head or foot posts, only a mattress and box springs on a frame. It was covered in a Star Wars comforter and matching sheets. Beneath the comforter she could see the curled up shape of Mark’s body.

“Mark?” She walked toward the bed. “Will you talk to me?”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” His voice sounded muffled beneath the comforter.

“Can I sit on the bed?” She dropped her purse and back pack near the entertainment center and walked over and sat down anyway. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have anything to be sorry about.” He mumbled. “Things like that have happened before.”

“I missed you in Algebra.” She wanted to place a hand on his back, but resisted. “I guess I was hoping you would have gone home, changed and come back.” She gave a heavy sigh. “I guess that was stupid of me to even think.”

“I had to walk all the way home.” He said. “I had to walk all the way home with spaghetti sauce all over the front of my pants.”

“Why did you walk?” She had always seen him riding his bike.

“Somebody flattened both tires on my bike.” He gave a moan. “I’m tired, just go away.”

“No,” she said. “Turn around and talk to me.”

“No,” and he pulled the covers closer around him “Just go away. I have a lot to think about and I want to be alone.”

“No, I’m not leaving.” She crawled over him and lay on the bed facing him “Let me see your face.”


“Mark,” she pulled at the covers over his head, “please? I want to see your face.”

He pulled the blankets down and stared at her. “There, happy?”

She smiled. “Yes, now I can see your eyes. You look different without your glasses.”

He smiled a little. “Thanks, I guess.” He blushed. “I’ve never had a girl in bed with me.”

She laughed nervously. “I’ve never been in bed with a boy before.”

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