That night you lay in your bed, wide awake, finding it unusually hard to fall asleep. It wasn’t normally hard for you to fall asleep, even after going to bed well past midnight, but this time you kept on tossing and turning, your thoughts filled with the events of what happened earlier that day.
Even though you had been sure in your decision before, this time you began to have some doubts on whether or not it had been right for you to yell at Arthur and push him away like you had. You suddenly remembered how he helped you correct your test. You knew that without his assistance, you probably never would’ve gotten anything fixed and probably would’ve continued to stress yourself on it. You remembered how he had helped you get back on your feet and pick up your stuff after you had crashed into him. He had actually taken some of his time to help you, even though it had been your fault and even though he had risked coming to class late just as you had.
You sighed as you lay in your bed, staring up at the ceiling. Even though you felt as if Arthur had been nothing but a nuisance in your life, you just had to go to him and apologize. You didn’t know why you were having these strange thoughts all of a sudden. You rarely apologized to anyone, and the fact that you had yelled at someone wasn’t something that you usually regretted. But now you felt that this time, things were different.
I wonder if he’ll even want to talk to me, you wondered as you turned over onto your side. He’s probably mad that I pushed him away after all I had already done for him.
You woke up early as usual that morning, arriving at school a little before 7 in the morning. If Arthur was going to be in the library, you could’ve apologized to him there. It actually would’ve been better, since you could’ve said what you needed to say without anyone else to interrupt.
But when you arrived at the library and took a look around, you found that the room was empty. Nobody was even occupying the table where both you and Arthur had sat a few days ago.
You walked over to the table and sat down in one of the seats, putting your backpack down on the floor next to you. You put your chin in your hand as you tapped your fingers a bit impatiently against the table, constantly drifting your gaze from your fingers up to the clock and over to the door.
Where was Arthur? Didn’t he usually come here at this time?
And why were you waiting for him, anyway? It wasn’t like you couldn’t have just found him while you were walking towards your next period after history and just apologized to him there. After the way you felt about him before, after the way you found him nothing but a nuisance in your life, it was a bit of a shock to you that you actually wanted to see him.
But he never came. Even as the clock switched from 7:30 to 8, Arthur didn’t come. This frustrated you, since you had spent a whole hour waiting for him instead of spending it on some of your unfinished homework.
Maybe he knew that you were going to be in the library and had decided not to come. Maybe he didn’t want to run into you there because he was still mad at you. For some reason, this thought made a bit of guilt grow inside you. It was your fault he didn’t come, after all. Still, you were determined to find him and apologize to him, even if it took all day.
When your history class ended later that day, you were quick to gather your stuff and leave, becoming one of the first kids in the class to do so. You had hardly been paying attention to what the teacher had been saying, and instead had been focused on whether or not you were going to be seeing Arthur in the hallway like you did all those previous days before.
As soon as you left the room, your backpack over one shoulder and some of your books in one arm, you instantly became much more alert, actively scanning the hallway for any signs of Arthur through the large crowd of kids. Come on, where is he? you thought, frowning in a bit of concern and anxiety. If I've seen him here before, he has to be here now.
You continued walking to your next class while looking out for any signs of Arthur. You were about to give up on the idea that you might've seen him there when you suddenly spotted him off to one side of the hallway, keeping his gaze fixed on the floor, walking in your direction. You felt your heart rate increase at the sight of him, and you slightly quickened your pace. I'm only apologizing to him just so he won't stay mad at me, that’s all.
“Arthur,” you said when you were only a few feet away from him, turning your head slightly to the side so that you were looking directly at him.
At the sound of your voice, Arthur lifted his gaze from the floor and shifted it to the side so that it was able to meet yours. Your eyes locked with his for less than a second, but that didn’t mean you weren’t able to see the coldness that came from them.
You let out a slightly irritated sigh as you turned your gaze away from Arthur and continued walking towards your next class. If you weren’t able to talk to him before school or now, you were going to have to try and say sorry to him during lunch. You didn’t know why you were so determined to apologize to him all of a sudden, but after thinking about how Arthur had helped you, you felt uncomfortable by the fact that he was mad at you for something you had said.
I’ll only tell him I'm sorry so that he won’t be angry at me anymore, and that’s it.
You stood with your back pressed against the wall of the cafeteria, looking around for any signs of Arthur. It was kind of hard to do so, since most of the boys were crowded together on one side of the room and it was difficult to try and find him amount the faces of several unfamiliar people. After a bit of searching, you realized that you were unable to find Arthur sitting with the boys and drifted your gaze off to other parts of the cafeteria. Almost instantly, you spotted him sitting by himself at a lunch table off to one side of the room, away from everyone else, silently eating his lunch.
You took a deep breath and closed your eyes before you opened them and slowly started to head towards Arthur, telling yourself over and over that you were just going to apologize to him and that was it.
“Hey...Arthur,” you said a bit quietly and uncertainly as you walked up and paused next to him, looking down at him a bit uncertainly as you fiddled with your fingers.
At the sound of your voice, Arthur lifted his gaze from his lunch and shifted it to the side so that it was able to meet yours, a frown and an unwelcoming expression visible on his face. The both of you were silent for the next few moments as your gaze continued to lock with his, and though you had told yourself over and over that you were only going to tell him that you were sorry for yelling at him, all of a sudden you had forgotten how to speak. All you could've done was just stand there, staring down at Arthur, your mouth slightly open as you struggled to find something to say.
After a few moments of silence, Arthur blinked, the frown on his face still prominent. “What do you want?” he asked a bit bitterly, and you were able to tell by the tone in his voice that he wasn't too happy to see you.
Despite the fact that Arthur was annoyed by your presence and nervousness was slowly starting to take over you, you didn’t let that stop you from clearing your throat and quietly replying. “I...I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for yelling at you yesterday.”
Arthur, however, remained silent as he continued to stare at you, that same frown still visible on his face, and though his eyes were still filled with coldness, now they held a bit of confusion. “You're saying that as if you’ve never yelled at me before,” he said as he turned his gaze away from you and dropped it back down to his food.
This was a reply that you hadn’t been expecting. After seeing how nice Arthur had been to you even though you didn’t treat him very well after you had first met him, having him talk to you almost exactly the same way that you had talked to him a few days ago made you feel more uncomfortable than you already were.
“I-I know...” you replied hesitantly after a few awkward seconds of silence, taking your gaze away from Arthur and drifting it off to one side of the cafeteria. “But now I realize that it was wrong for me to have yelled at you after you helped me with all those other things before. It wasn't the right thing to do, especially since you had been pretty nice to me before, and...I’m sorry.” You rubbed the back of your neck with your hand, keeping your gaze fixed on a nearby wall, resisting the urge to run away instead of standing there looking stupid.
Arthur lifted his gaze and turned it to stare at you once again. As soon as you noticed that he was looking at you, you forced yourself to reluctantly shift your eyes away from the wall and to the side so that it was able to meet his. The frown on his face had gone away, and the coldness in his eyes was replaced by forgiveness and a bit of uncertainty.
“That’s alright,” Arthur said, the bitterness in his voice disappearing although you were able to tell that he was still a bit upset for what happened yesterday, but you tried not to pay attention to that. He eyed you up and down for the next few seconds before he looked back up at you, frowning once again. “_____, do you have any lunch with you?”
You shook your head, grimacing a little bit. “I don’t like the school’s lunch, so I usually don’t eat it. And I don’t bring my own, so...”
Arthur stared at you in surprise. “So what do you eat, then?”
You shrugged carelessly before you replied. “I usually take a soda or something, and that usually fills me up until I have dinner later in the evening.”
Your gaze was still locked with Arthur’s, and you felt a bit of irritation grow inside you when the expression on his face changed from surprise to concern. “_____, I hope you know that the things you eat and drink aren’t enough to keep you healthy.”
You sighed and crossed your arms. “I don’t really don’t care. if it doesn’t bother me to go hungry for most of the day, I'm fine.”
“Aren't you hungry now?”
You were silent for a few seconds before you replied a bit uncertainly. “W-Well, kind of. I’ll probably just go get a soda or something and that’ll make my appetite go away.”
“No,” Arthur said firmly, and at that, you stared at him with your mouth slightly open and your eyes widening just a little bit. More than anything, you hated when people told you what to do. Even though he had noticed the change in the expression on your face, he continued. “Soda isn’t good for you. If you’d like, I can give you some of my lunch.”
The expression on your face now changed to one of uncertainty as you shifted your gaze over to Arthur’s lunch. A part of you wanted to turn the offer down and just go get a soda, but you were able to feel the rumbling in your stomach as it demanded food, not a drink. And maybe he was right about saying that having a soda on an empty stomach every day isn’t the best thing. Nobody had ever been this nice to you, and for the first few seconds you were unsure of how to react.
But finally, you gave a tiny nod and sat down next to Arthur, making sure to put at least a foot of space between the both of you. You watched intently as he took out a sandwich that he had packed and split it, giving you the piece that was slightly bigger than the other.
“Th-Thank you,” you muttered quietly as you grasped the sandwich and stared down at it uncertainly. It looked delicious enough, far more than the food served in the cafeteria. You hesitantly took a bite and almost instantly smiled in delight.
“This is delicious!” you said, your voice slightly muffled. Turning your head to look at Arthur, you asked, “Did you make this?”
He nodded, and you asked once again, “Do you know how to cook?”
Arthur let out something of an irritated sigh as he kept his gaze fixed on his food. “I do, but every time I try to prepare something for my parents or my brother, they claim every time that it tastes terrible and they absolutely refuse to eat it.”
You felt a tiny bit of pity form inside you as you continued to stare at him. “Oh, I'm sorry.”
Arthur shook his head. “You don’t have to be. They just don’t know what real food tastes like, that’s all.”
You smiled before you took another bite of your sandwich, thankful that you were actually able to have something to eat. After you finished it, you shifted your gaze to once again look at Arthur. “You have a brother?”
“Yes, I do,” he replied as he turned his head to gaze at you. “His name is—”
“Oh, _____, I never knew you had a boyfriend!”
At the sound of a slightly familiar voice, you immediately whipped your head around to look at who was standing behind you and Arthur. You lifted your gaze and instantly felt anger form inside you when you met the eyes of the exact same girl who had snatched your test away from you and shouted out your failure to the whole history class a few days ago. And this time, she had one hand on her hip and the other twirling a strand of her hair, that familiar smirk prominent on her face.
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier, _____?” the girl sneered, her eyes glimmering with amusement. “I could've totally given you some fabulous dating tips!”
You instantly shifted your head to look at Arthur, and saw that he was staring up at the girl in pure anger, a deeper than normal blush prominent on his face. You turned your gaze back up to the girl and gritted your teeth, feeling a growl start to form in your throat.
“Hey, everyone, look!” the girl yelled as she pointed to you and Arthur, shifting her gaze from you over to the rest of the kids in the room, many of which were staring in your direction. “_____ has a boyfr—”
She never got the chance to finish her sentence before you sprang out of your seat and gave her a harsh shove, anger and irritation pouring out of you so fiercely that you were unable to keep it in any longer. “He’s not my friend!” you yelled at her, watching her expression change from amusement to a bit of uncertainty. “How can you say that when we’ve met only a few times and we barely know each other!? Why don’t you just stay out of my business and leave me alone for once?”
The whole room was unusually silent for a few moments, until finally, the expression on the girl’s face changed back to one of amusement and she let out an abnormally loud laugh. “Oh, _____, I never said that he was your friend! I said that he was your boyfriend.”
“W-Well, aren’t those almost the same thing?” you asked, your eyes filling with confusion. You shifted your gaze to briefly look at Arthur, who was giving the both of you a confused, angry, slightly embarrassed stare, before you turned it back to the girl. “Obviously he’s a boy, but he isn’t my friend.”
The girl let out another laugh and put both of her hands on her hips. “_____, are you telling me that you don’t even know what a boyfriend is?”
At that, almost everyone in the room burst into a fit of laughter, and you felt your face heat up in embarrassment and infuriation. Even though you wanted nothing more than to scream endless profanities at the girl and punch her in the face, somehow, you had forgotten what to say. “W-Well...I...I-I, uh...” you stammered, searching desperately for something to say. But you were too confused and humiliated to give her a valid response.
The girl giggled before she gave you a pat on the shoulder, causing you to stiffen. “_____, you have a lot to learn if you want any kind of romance in your life.” With that, she flipped her hair and walked back over to her friends, all of them staring at her in amusement.
You continued to stand there, staring ahead of you, no longer paying attention to the sound of the kids as they stopped laughing and once again resumed whatever they had been doing before the interruption. You just couldn’t believe that that girl thought she had the right to walk up to you and diss you in front of the whole school like that.
Your thoughts were interrupted when you felt a hand place itself firmly on your shoulder. You instantly shifted your gaze so that you were looking at Arthur, who stared at you seriously. You flinched at the sudden contact he was making with you, but made no attempt to take his hand off of you.
“We need to talk,” he said urgently, his voice low and hard.
“T-Talk?” you stammered, your voice slightly worn out from your yelling. “About what? When? Where?”
“After school, outside the front doors,” Arthur said before he took his hand off of your shoulder and drifted his gaze away from you. “You’ll find out what.”