The boy sits across from me, shaking like a leaf and playing nervously with his headphones. He looks at me every so often from beneath his long brown hair, but he hasn’t spoken a word. It amazes me how scared he looks. I sip my water, not sure what to do.
“Hey,” I finally said. He shifts his eyes from his Zune to my face, and I notice that his lip is pierced as he bites it anxiously. I screw the cap back on my water bottle. “You wanna take a walk?”
He nods slowly and watches me as I get up from the lunch table. I motion him to follow me out of the cafeteria, and we begin to wander aimlessly through the yellow hallways. The students are staring at us with open mouths, too focused on what the new girl is doing with this boy than their sandwiches and apples. I pretend not to notice them, but I can tell that he doesn’t like the attention. He twirls his headphones with his long, slender fingers, still shaking.
“How are you?” I ask him, trying to break the ice.
“I’m okay, you?”
I sigh, looking at the girls sitting in hall. “I feel like a praying mantis.”
He laughs a little. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Everyone here is so attractive and then…there’s me. A praying mantis.”
He pulls his headphones out of his ears and wraps them around his Zune. “Are you kidding me?”
“Does it look like I’m kidding?”
He smiles a little and shifts his eyes to his black Converse. “You’re far from a praying mantis.”
“What do you mean?” We stop by the lockers, and he leans against them.
“What I mean,” he clears his throat. “What I mean is that…I think you’re really pretty.” He looks away from me again and I’m startled. No one has ever told me that before, and I didn’t expect someone as shy as him to say that.
I open my mouth to thank him, but the bell interrupts me. He’s still not making eye contact with me, but I can see him smiling.
“I’ll see you later,” I said.
“Where are you going?”
“Class…Where else would I be going?”
He shrugs. “I thought you’d want to go to Jamba Juice with me.”
“Lunch is over,” I said. “Didn’t you hear the bell?”
“I can’t skip class to hang out with you,” I tell him.
“Well,” he puts his earphones back in his ears. “A guy can dream, can’t he?”