Even though you’d gotten a good grade on your math test, you still didn’t stop trying hard to do well in all of your classes. You knew that if you were to stop trying, your grades would’ve plummeted back down again, and that was one of the last things you wanted. After all the hard work you’ve been doing over the past few months, you didn’t want to fail again just because you got lazy all of a sudden. And there were still some classes you were having difficulty with, so you couldn’t have completely relaxed just yet.
Before you knew it, a month had passed and it was February 14th.
It was a regular day just like any other for you, so you weren’t expecting anything big or sudden to happen when you arrived in school that morning. The only thing you were confused about is why Arthur had told you the previous day that he was unable to meet with you in the hour or so in the library before school started. This made you befuddled, since the both of you met in the morning almost every day and he usually showed up unless he had a really good excuse not to. But this time he didn’t provide the slightest reason why. He just said that he wasn’t going to be able to meet you in the library the following morning, and that was it.
This upset you a bit, since that meant you were going to have to wait all the way up until lunch to get to properly talk to him for longer than only a few minutes, but you figured that he probably had his reasons.
When you were walking down the hallway towards your locker that morning, you were amazed at how more alert you felt compared to other mornings. You were actually a bit thankful that you hadn’t met Arthur that morning so you were able to get that extra hour or so of sleep.
As you walked to your locker, you were aware of the fact that lots of people seemed to be acting different. Looking around you as you headed down the hallway, you noticed that you saw several people giving each other presents, hugging each other, saying things to each other, smiling, putting things on someone else’s locker.
What is it with everyone today...you thought with a frown. It wasn't like it was some kind of important holiday, and even if it was, you already knew that you probably weren’t going to be getting any presents from anybody in the school. You let out a sigh and dropped your gaze down to your feet as you continued walking. You thought that Christmas was the only time where you would've had to feel upset over not getting any presents or some kind of gifts from anyone in the school, but now you were faced with...this.
As soon as you lifted your gaze to stare in front of you just when you were only a few feet away from your locker, you instantly stopped in your tracks and a horrified expression came across your face as you took in the scene in front of you. There, standing with her back pressed against your locker, was Casey. She had her arms wrapped around the neck of this guy you’ve never even seen before, and he had his arms wrapped around her waist. And that was when you noticed that both of their eyes were closed and their lips were pressed against each other, and they seemed to really be into it.
“Hey!” you said sharply as you walked up to them and tapped Casey's shoulder somewhat roughly, causing them to break away from each other and turn their heads to look at you with aggravated looks on their faces.
“Ugh, _____, what do you want?” Casey asked irritably as she still kept her arms wrapped around the guy. “Can't you see we’re busy?”
Your anger only grew as soon as you realized it didn’t seem like they were planning on moving. However, you tried not to let it show and instead calmly replied. “Um...sorry, but you’re standing in front of my locker. Do you mind moving...somewhere else?”
Casey let out a sigh and rolled her eyes. “No, duh. Like I haven’t noticed that before. And no, I'm not gonna move.”
You dropped your hands down to your sides, clenched them into fists, and gritted your teeth, trying hard to resist the urge to growl. “But I really need to get to my locker, you know. Please?”
“Yeah, I know,” Casey said, throwing you a sideways glance before she turned her gaze back to the boy and leaned forward so that her lips were able to meet his once again.
You felt a new wave of anger rage through you and you felt like you were on the brink of shoving that girl down just like you’d done two months before and trampling her over. “And why are you even doing that?” you asked in disgust as your gaze settled on their connected lips. “Do you even know how many germs you’re spreading just by putting your lips on his?”
At that, the both of them broke away from each other once again to look at you through irritated eyes. “Uh, dude, it’s called kissing,” the boy said in an unfriendly tone.
You put your hands on your hips and glared at them through narrowed eyes. “I don’t care what it’s called, but I would never spread germs like that ever in my life. Don’t be surprised when one of you gets an illness that the other had by putting your lips against each other. Now can you get away from my locker?”
Casey was silent for a few moments before her lips curved upward in a smirk. “Oh, _____, I don’t think your boyfriend’s going to be so happy when he hears about that! Maybe he’s even going to break up with you!”
Absolutely fuming, you growled as you spun sharply away and stormed down the hallway, not even bothering to think much about where you were going. I hate her so much...
When you entered the cafeteria later on that morning, you instantly paused, scanning the lunch tables packed with kids. Your concentrated gaze instantly brightened when you spotted Arthur sitting by himself at a lunch table all the way in the far corner of the large room, several tables away from the nearest group of kids sitting together. Even though you hadn’t brought lunch with you, as usual, a smile made its way to your face as you approached him, eager to finally get to talk to him after almost a full day without doing so.
“Hi, Arthur,” you said happily as you walked up to the lunch table he was sitting at, pausing when you were standing in front of it.
At the sound of your voice, Arthur, who previously had his gaze fixed on the plastic bag he held in his hands that carried his lunch, lifted his head to look up at you, a tiny smile coming to his face. “Hello, _____,” he said as he moved to the side just a bit so that you were able to sit down next to him. He eyed you up and down for a few moments before he frowned. “I see you still haven’t brought any lunch with you...”
You shook your head. “I don’t really prepare lunch in the morning since I don’t really have time...”
Arthur nodded slowly. “Oh. I just thought, you know...since you still had more time to spend at home in the morning....”
You let out a tiny giggle. “Oh, no. I decided to sleep for an extra hour instead.”
“Well...I suppose that’s alright, too.” You watched with your elbows rested on the table and your chin in the palms of your hands as Arthur opened up the plastic bag and revealed two sandwiches, grasping one and extending it out towards you. “Here,” he said as you stared at it a bit confusingly. “You can have this. I don’t really need it.”
You stared at the sandwich for a few seconds before you looked up at him in a bit of surprise. Usually when you sat next to him and you didn’t have lunch—which was almost all the time—he usually gave you a small portion of his, which was typically enough for you until you got home. He never gave you a whole entire sandwich before. “Oh...u-um...” You were stuck for a few minutes, unsure of how to reply. “N-No thank you. It’s not really necessary for me to have this much. I—”
“No, just take it,” Arthur said as he shifted his gaze off to one side, a frown coming to his face. “I want you to have it.”
You continued to stare at him in silence for a few moments before a tiny smile came to your face. “Oh, alright. Thank you, Arthur.” You reached out and took the sandwich from his hands, unaware of how your index finger brushed his for only a fraction of a second, before you brought it to your mouth and began eating it happily. “This is delicious,” you said, your voice muffled through the food. You were totally unaware of how flustered Arthur had gotten, and instead focused your attention on getting rid of the hunger that nagged at you.
“So...So how was your morning, _____?” he asked after a few minutes in an attempt to get rid of the awkward silence that passed between the both of you.
You had already finished your sandwich by then, no longer feeling famished, and you let out an irritated sigh as the memories of earlier that morning came back to you. “Not very well,” you said. “I ran into...a problem.”
“Oh, really?” When you turned your head to the side to meet Arthur’s gaze, you found that it showed a bit of concern. “What kind of problem?
You turned your gaze down to your hands, which were rested on the table. “Well...when I was walking to my locker, I saw Casey standing there with some guy, and her lips were on his. I asked them to move, but they treated me like I was nothing. I asked them nicely to leave and all, but they still stood there, and by the time they left, I was in a rush to gather all my morning things but I was still nearly 10 minutes late for my next class.”
“Oh...” Arthur murmured. “Well, you can't expect everybody to listen to you...”
“I know,” you said irritably. “But it’s just that...they disgusted me, and I tried to give them advice, but they wouldn’t listen.”
“What did you try to tell them?”
You stared down at your hands with a small pout slowly forming on your face. “I tried to tell them that they were spreading germs by putting their lips on the other’s and that they had a chance of getting an illness, but they just ignored me.” You closed your eyes and rested your forehead in your hands. “I don’t get why they have to put their lips against each other’s like that. They’re only endangering themselves, in my view.”
An abnormally long stretch of silence passed between the both of you, and when you lifted your head and shifted it to the side to look at Arthur, you found that he was staring at you with a surprised, confused, flustered, and slightly longing expression on his face. “_____, there's a completely different reason why people do that.” When a few more seconds passed and you continued to stare up at him confusingly, he let out a sigh before he broke his gaze away from you and dropped it down to his lap. “People kiss because...it’s their way of...showing affection.”
“Showing affection?” Your eyes only filled with even more confusion as you continued to look up at Arthur.
A tiny blush made its way to his face as he nodded. “Y-Yes. It’s their way of showing each other that they really care about and cherish one another...a-and that they're important to each other....”
You stared at him in silence for a few moments before you scoffed and rolled your eyes. “Well, I don’t care what it means, but I'm never going to do something like that in my life. It’s disgusting, it’s obscene, and it’s rude to others, especially when it happens in front of me.”
Arthur was silent for a few moments, staring at you with a look of confusion, before his gaze filled with disappointment. “Oh...really?”
You looked at him irritably, unaware of the sudden change in the expression on his face. “Of course!”
“Oh...I-I understand...” he murmured quietly and once again dropped his gaze down to his lap. “It really is a shame...” he whispered softly, too quietly for you to hear.
After the lunch period ended, you walked out of the cafeteria and instantly began to head to your locker a little faster than usual to minimize the chance of encountering any kind of problems like you had earlier that morning. When you arrived, a wave of relief swept through you when you saw that nobody was standing in front of your locker looking for trouble and you would've been able to gather your afternoon books without an issue.
When you paused in front of your locker and opened it, it took a brief scan through it for you to notice a folded up piece of paper sitting on top of a pile of your books. You stared at it for a few moments in confusion before you hesitantly reached out and grasped it, unfolding it and bringing it towards you so that it would've been easier for you to read what was written on it.
I was able to have a bit more time to search for a more appropriate gift for you than before Christmas. You might say it wasn't necessary for me to get this for you, but I wanted to show what an amazing friend you’ve been to me for the past three and a half months since we’ve met. Happy Valentine’s Day, _____.
You stared down at the letter in confusion for a few moments before you lifted your gaze so that you were able to look back into your locker. You felt surprise fill your entire body and your eyes widened when you saw a small, rectangular-shaped, transparent case sitting on top of the same pile of books as the letter had been. Almost frozen with shock, somehow you found the ability to extend your hand and grasp the case, removing it from the dimness in your locker and bringing it toward you into the light. You looked down at it, feeling your throat tighten when you saw that inside it was a golden necklace with a glossy, shiny emerald heart attached to it. It was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, and even though you weren’t really that fond of jewelry like some other girls, you couldn't have helped the amount of emotion that coursed through your body.
“Oh...” you murmured softly as you continued to stare down at the necklace, suddenly losing the ability to speak. Arthur was just so sweet and considerate toward you; it almost brought tears to your eyes. You suddenly felt a new emotion flow through you, one that you’ve never experienced before. It made you feel warm inside, made you feel like you were no longer alone, like you had someone you were able to confide in, someone to go to whenever you were upset, someone who you were now able to consider a very close friend.
Letting out a tiny smile, you grasped the lid of the case and removed it, taking out the necklace and putting it around your neck. Safely tucking it inside your shirt, you took out all the necessary books you needed for the afternoon before you closed your locker and began to head towards your next class.
Thank you, Arthur...