the short story project


Shema Rangira

Hold On

Move-in day at Forrest Valley University. Coach has “volunteered” the whole football team to help out, it was my shift and things were slowly wrapping up. As I made my way through the hallways, finally finished my slave work, she glided past me. The walls fell away, time seemed to crash into itself… Instinct took over; I had to approach this force of nature.

“Hold on, um, would you like some help with your belongings?”
“Hey! Yeah, thanks!” She beamed. “Are you one of the football players helping out with the move-in?
“Y-yup.” I stuttered. She was beautiful. “Actually, my shift is over but I saw you and… well, I just couldn’t let you carry all this by yourself.”
“Aw, you’re sweet.” She said as we placed her belongings in her dorm. “My name is Sierra, what’s yours?”
 “Harper, Harper Randi” I blurted. “Are you a football fan?”
“Uh, not really, I think soccer is a much better sport.”  
“Pff!” I scoffed. “And fire is cold!”
She burst out laughing, a laugh so pure I couldn’t help but join in.
“You know, you have to make it out to our homecoming game this weekend against Stone Ridge. Maybe that will change your allegiance” I added.
“Sure! Sounds like fun, go Forrest Valley Firebirds!” she playfully yelled.
“Awesome!” I exclaimed a little too enthusiastically. “Maybe I could get your number so we can keep in touch…”
“Sounds good, I really am looking forward to my first college football game. My boyfriend is a huge football nut, so it won’t be hard to convince him.
My heart seemed to stop a few beats. “Oh… that’s cool.”

Taken… Of course, it was foolish of me to believe such a beauty, as she, could still be single heading into college. Defeated, I raised my solemn eyes to appraise my forbidden fruit. Skin like warm caramel, her hair a long waterfall died obsidian, lips; full and innocent, their only sin to hide her beautiful teeth, buck tooth and all. Her eyes, oh, her eyes. Hazel so deep you can only gasp as you drown in them, perched upon her cheek bones dazzling all those fortunately unfortunate enough to be ensnared by their gleam. Quickly, I averted my gaze.

“You play badminton?” I asked as I spotted a racket among her belongings
“Yup! I’m pretty good too” She added smugly. “Do you play?”
“Ah, well I’ve dabbled, gym class and such. I’m not too bad myself” I proclaimed challengingly.
“Oho, is that a challenge?” she asked, hazel eyes alight with competitive spirit.
 “That depends, are you scared?” I teased.         
“Pff, no chance, I can take you!” She exclaimed as she playfully punched my arm.
Physical contact…
“Haha, we’ll see about that… Anyway, I should probably get going” I said unwillingly.
“Uh, sure, yeah, see you around Harper!”

As I headed towards the door something caught my eye, a book she’d unpacked.

“Wait, no way!” I called out as I lifted this all too familiar book. “You like Twilight?”
“Yeah…” She said sheepishly. “It’s actually pretty good if you just give it a chance!”
“Believe me, I know, I’ve actually read the entire series.” I proclaimed proudly.
“Whaaa, I would’ve never guessed!” she said excitedly. “Sooo, team Edward or team Jacob?”
“Ugh, don’t start this… But team Jacob.” I stated “Gotta root for the underdog, or wolf in this case.”

Minutes passed like seconds, hours as if they were minutes. We delved into a deep conversation about all the books we’ve enjoyed, laughter echoed off the walls I couldn’t see. Eventually her roommates arrived, bringing us back to reality.
“Well, I’ll let you girls become acquainted. Welcome to Forrest Valley!”
She smiled at me infectiously as I left, I couldn’t help but smile back.

I already missed her by the time I got back to my room. It hadn’t even been five minutes and I already missed her… This girl I had just met, this girl who had been a complete stranger until today, a girl who had a boyfriend, a girl I was incurably infatuated with… I was screwed.
The days went on, and not one of them ended without Sierra and I hanging out, our bond grew recklessly stronger. The time to address this tension came in no time. We lay on her bed, both facing the ceiling, nervous breathing our native tongue.

“I really like you Sierra, I know you have a boyfriend, but my feelings for you are stronger than my respect for him…” I blurted, finally breaking the silence.
“Harper…” she said cautiously.
“It was stupid to bring this up, I’m sorry!” I interrupted. Sensing the likely rejection, I cringed.
“No Harper, no.” She quickly said. “Just listen… This isn’t right.”
“I know, I know, I’m sorry, just forget about it, okay?” I quickly said, interrupting her again.
“Listen, Harper!” She yelled as she turned to face me.
I turned to meet her gaze. Her face inches away from mine. Her lips… “Okay, okay, I’m listening.” I said
“The feelings you have for me aren’t right… I have a boyfriend. Harper, I have a boyfriend, but you know what, I like you more than him right now…”

The room rocked back and forth as if possessed by the very waves of an ocean. Yet all was still. She continued to gaze into me. Confused elation began to fill every fiber of my being.

“Hold on… what?”

She smiled.
There was no going back now.

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