I looked around for Kouya again. If she was hunting me, I wanted to find her in the act, just to show her the stealth wouldn't be worth anything as long as she kept sending me that vibe. Brandon broke off to go to his class. I turned a corner as the bell rang again. I had time to walk leazurly to my next class.
I was grabbed by the back of my shirt and pulled into the girls bathroom. Christina held me against the wall and stared at me. Her brown eyes matched her brown hair. But she dressed to make guys drool. Low cut shirt, showing as much cleavage as she could. I had to comment on that when the opening came.
"What do you know about Kouya?" Christina asked strongly.
I pulled her hands off me and straightened my shirt. "I don't know anything about her. Why?"
"You two are a thing. You couldn't keep your eyes off of each other."
I tilted my head, but kept my composure. "Jealous? Are we?"
"No." She crossed her arms. "I want to know why she's changing. A new boyfriend always changes a girl."
"Maybe she wants better quality in her selection of friends," I hinted.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Quality? Like standards?" I directed my whole expression to her cleavage. "Rearrange the letters in lust. See what you get."
She shoved me back into the wall with full force. "I'm a virgin you ass."
"That's likely." I tried to leave and get on to my next class, but she pulled me back and held me to the wall. She was strong for a girl my height.
"I want to know what you know. Tell me what's wrong with Kouya!"
I wanted to push back, but this was already a slippery slope for me. In the girls bathroom having a one on one chat with a female under eighteen. If I even looked at Christina funny, she could get me into the kind of trouble that involves statements, fingerprints and orange jump-suits.
"I don't know anything, Christina! I already told you that. Will you please let me go? I'm late."
She placed her hand over my mouth and stared at me. I rolled my eyes and let her do her thing. "Were you with her over the summer?"
I shook my head cooperatively.
"Why was she looking at you like that, then?"
"I don't know," I mumbled under her hand.
She let me go and backed down. She breathed heavy in frustration and stared me down. "You're going to figure out what's going on."
"Why?" I shot her a look like she was slowly losing her hold on reality.
"Because she likes you."
My look of shock must have been more than she expected because she started to laugh.
"How do you know she likes me?"
"Because she doesn't stare at guys for no reason."
"That's all your evidence?"
Christina shrugged and straightened my shirt and left. I leaned back and watched her walk away, showing off her tramp stamp.
"Classy," I muttered.
I let a few seconds pass before leaving, just to make sure the coast was clear. When I went for the door, I halfway expected Kouya to burst in and attack me. But that didn't happen. I watched my back for the rest of the day, and there wasn't a single encounter with her for the rest of the day. That is, until I took the bus home.
I usually sat towards the front, and she usually sat a few seats behind me. But this time, she didn't come on the bus. All of her friends sat in their usual spot, but she wasn't with them. I took a sigh of relief that she wouldn't be going home until after I was secure in my home. I looked out the window at the other buses leaving. But our doors never closed.
Kouya slowly stepped up into the bus. Her gorgeous red hair moved with the wind that passed through the windows. Her eyes had that soft glow from earlier. She zeroed in on me and approached my seat. I held my breath as she leaned in to whisper to me.
"Do you mind if I sit here? Everywhere else is taken."
I turned around and looked back. There were available seats all over. But I didn't turn her away. I faked a smile and motioned her in.
"By all means," I replied.
She swung her bag around to her lap as she sat.
"I had an encounter with Christina," I told her immediately.
"I heard about that. She may have said some things about me that weren't true."
I didn't look at her. I wanted our conversation to be as civil as possible. That meant I couldn't let loose any looks of surprise. 'Play the part I need to play,' I thought. "So what was that this morning?"
"I'm not a morning person," she replied quickly. "I was grumpy and you were staring at me. I don't like direct attention."
"That's not what I mean," I said trying to be brave. "You seem to have a darker side."
She placed her hand on my chest. I gasped slightly at her touch. It was odd but I knew better than to fight her. "Your heart is racing, Matt. Are you afraid of me?"
I looked down at her hand, then to her eyes. The bright blue shades were brighter. "For someone who doesn't like direct attention, you're giving a lot of it right now."
She curled her cheek up and let me go. Chills shot through me when she looked at me. I turned away and took a deeper breath.
"You really are afraid," she whispered.
"There's no point in denying it. You already know. And if you don't, you'll find out anyway."
She gave me a discerning look. "And you're wise? I knew you were smart, but this is profound, even for a young adult."
I turned back to her with a grimace. "How old are you again?"
She gave a clumsy smile and answered, "wanna guess?"
I slowly shook my head. "I don't like to guess." In my head, I wanted to say 16.
"I'm older than you," she replied softly.
I looked out the window as we left school grounds. "How old is your boyfriend?"
"Also older than you," she replied plainly.
"Not that it's any of my business, but how much older?"
She paused and replied very precisely, "early twenties."
I turned and gave her a look. "You like 'em young, huh?"
"Cute. I like playing twenty questions, but when am I going to get a turn?"
The bus jumped over a bump in the road and I heard Brandon shout "look at dem titties bouncin".
I stared out the window and rolled my eyes.
"Are you homosexual?" she asked.
I gave her another look. "No."
"You just don't like looking at breasts?"
My look shifted to confused. "I do on occasion."
"So you just don't find me attractive?"
"I think you've hit your question cap. May I have a turn?"
"Answer my last question and you can."
"Why do you want to know?"
"You have a boyfriend."
"I have a few."
I paused at that. I didn't know how to reply.
"That makes you uncomfortable?"
"It's not my business."
"But you're curious."
"Force of habit."
"I have an appetite. Call me a sinner."
"Again, not my business."
She kept staring at me. She didn't reply. She didn't move. She just looked me over. I turned to her with a slightly annoyed look and said, "please stop doing that."
"Staring at me."
"I like you."
Once again, I couldn't respond to that.
"And I think you like me, too," Kouya whispered.
"What makes you think that?"
She gave a sarcastic smile. "Call it a hunch. I can't quite put my finger on it. You're the only one I feel like I know without having known you on a personal level."
"This is our first conversation. Ever."
"Like I said, call it a hunch. The point is, I would like to get to know you. But only if you want to know me, too."
I didn't know how to reply or even what to think. I had never heard of this approach on a friendship. It was new and different, and I was tired of walking through the motions day by day. I had already decided, before she even sat next to me, that I wanted to get to know her. The question was, would I tell Christina what I found out?
"Christina is trying to find something that isn't there," Kouya said out of nowhere. "If you want to act as her agent, that's your choice. But you won't find anything unusual."
I leaned in close to her and whispered, "staring at me the way you did was unusual. Teeth like an animal and glowing blue eyes is unusual. Telling me you're older than me and then saying you like me and a few others and expecting me to go for it is unusual. But what I find extraordinary is that you trust me even when you seem to know everything about this is out to get you."
"Who said I trust you?" she replied getting closer to my ear. "You saw something today. Something you shouldn't have. I only have two options. Let you in on the secret, or keep you from spilling what you think you know."
I smelled her hair. I had never known intoxicating until that moment. Damn, I wanted her. "Then you already know, I'm not saying a word to anyone."
"So you're more than curious," she replied.
"You bet I am. And I can take anything you can dish out."
"Don't be so sure. I have a horrible eating habit. You don't want to be around me for that."
"Is that the worst you've got?"
"An out of control diet is very unattractive."
"By appetite, I thought you meant dating. I didn't realize the girl can eat." I backed up and looked into her eyes. "I don't think I can back down now."
"Competition, more like."
"I guess you'll just have to beat the odds."
"Freaks don't normally beat the odds." I motioned my head to the back of the bus. "Jocks and beautiful people get everything they want. And, from what I see, you're pure desire."
Her eyes flared again. I stopped questioning that. "I am a freak," she replied. "Skip the foreplay, tell me you want me."
I answered without hesitation, "I want you. Now what?"
"Be a man and make a move."
It was an invitation and I wasn't ever going to let it pass. I closed my eyes and leaned in to kiss her. It was completely euphoric. Everything about that kiss was natural and unique. I didn't want it to stop. When I sucked in her bottom lip, it was like sucking a sweet and beautiful venom. I knew this girl wanted to hurt me, and for whatever reason, I wanted her to hurt me.
She pulled away with a happy grin. "You give me urges, Matt."
"Likewise, ma'am. Very seriously weird urges."