It was 7:59 AM and I was running down the hallway of my high school. I only had a minute left to make it to class. I frantically looked around at the emptiness around me. Where was everyone? The faster I ran the longer the hallways became. There was only one second left on the clock. My breath grew heavier and heavier. I made it to my class just in time. As I was stepping in the bell rang. My teacher shut the door on my face and I began to cry hysterically. I pulled my hair as the bell rang louder and louder almost as if it were mocking me.
I shook my head back and forth until I finally woke up. Realizing the sound of the school bell was actually my alarm clock.
It was Wednesday morning and the last thing I wanted to do, despite my dream, was go to class. I had a long night. From Connor kicking me out of his apartment, to my therapy session with Jaime, to coming home and crying about Kadie leaving. I was exhausted and I just needed a moment to myself.
“Lynn!” Kadie knocked at my door. “Your alarm has been going off for the last half hour!” She slowly opened the door to see me holding my hands over my eyes. “Let me guess, mental health day?”
“Ugh, I wish. I have an essay to turn in today.” I croaked.
Kadie walked over to my bed and turned my alarm off. She signaled me to scoot over and laid in the bed next to me. We both stared up at the ceiling, quietly, lost in our own thoughts.
“Do you remember when we would skip lunch period and go to the barn yard behind school?”
I giggled at the memory. “That old farmer hated us!” I put my hands under my pillow and turned towards Kadie. She was still staring up at the ceiling, smiling.
“We'd always set his cows free and sit up in the barn's attic watching him chase after them.” The grin on our faces grew. “And when it was time to go back to school we'd run across the field, zig zagging, hoping he wouldn't catch us?”
“But some how he'd always get Jimmy!” I added
Kadie turned towards me and gave me a look, “Bless his little heart!” we both roared with laughter.
“Those were the days.” Kadie sighed.
“Those were the days, indeed.” I whispered back. “Hey, so what do you think Jimmy's been up to since then?”
“Last I heard he went to Alabama for undergrad.” Kadie shrugged. She turned around to look at the time.“I need to get ready or I'm never going to make it to work on time!” She jumped out of bed and stopped at the my bedroom door. “Hey, let's stay in tonight. Just the two of us?”
“Sounds good to me” I sang back to Kadie.
I took a quick shower and headed over to class. I was surprised when I found Sarah and Henry waiting for me outside of the 6 on Lexington.
“Hey, guys! What's going on?” They both seemed slightly irritated.
“Rhodes canceled class. There's some doctor's meeting going on today.” Sarah said while tapping away on her phone. “I tried texting you to not come.” She finally looked up at me.
“There's no service down there.” I pointed towards the subway. Henry shuddered as he looked over.
“Sure, but I have to turn in my paper first.”
“Okay, Henry and I will meet you at Le Pain Quotidien.” Our favorite French breakfast spot near school. “Good luck trying to get through the lobby.” Sarah waved as she and Henry walked away.
I shuffled through the street until I made it inside the building. Sarah was right. The place was packed. Everyone was nicely dressed in business clothes and neatly styled hair. I pushed through the crowd towards the stairs. I was able to over look the crowd once I started climbing up. I almost did a double take when I saw Connor across the way. He was standing on the first floor looking up at the stairs making eye contact with me. I angrily huffed and continued on. Of course Connor was here. When was he not involved in something?
I ran down the empty hallway towards my professor's office. His door was closed, but there was a drop box outside to submit papers. I pulled my book bag off my shoulder and crouched down to go through my folders.
“What are you doing here?” Connor's voice startled me. I jumped up and quickly turned around. When I saw it was just him I turned back around and continued to take my papers out of my bag.
“Don't be stupid.” I snarled. As I was placing my essay into the drop box I felt Connor's hands at my waist. “Connor!” I tried pushing his hands off of me.
“Shh” He whispered in my ear as he pulled my hair to my other shoulder “If you don't like it, you can tell me to stop.” His lips softly nibbled my ear and gently began kissing my neck. I felt Connor's body press up against mine from behind. His hands moved up from my waist. There was a sudden calm that took over my body. I had almost forgotten how much I hated him and I really didn't want him to stop.
I was brought back to reality when I heard the sound of shoes clicking against the floor. I pushed Connor off of me and quickly grabbed my bag from the floor. Just as I turned around to face Connor, a group of doctors walked past us. They were immersed in their own conversation and hardly noticed the two of us standing there.
Connor and I stood smiling at each other until the coast was clear. My face immediately grew serious and I pushed Connor once again. “Don't do that again! Especially here!”
I began walking away when Connor grabbed my arm. “Wait!” He loudly whispered. I pulled my arm away from him as I turned around and Connor held up his hands accusingly. “I'm sorry.”
“What?” I wasn't sure what he was apologizing for.
“Lynn, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have kicked you out last night.” He laced his fingers behind his neck.
“I don't understand you Connor I really don't.” I shook my head taking a step away from him.
“Yesterday wasn't exactly the best of days for me. When I told you to come over I just needed a distraction. But you didn't really help with that.” He sighed as he dropped his hands down to his sides and into his pant pockets.
“Spending time outside of the bedroom isn't a distraction?” I furrowed my brows as I questioned Connor.
“I can't mix personal with pleasure. I'm sorry, Lynn. One night was enough. We had an agreement.” He said authoritatively
I rolled my eyes, annoyed by Connor, and walked away.
“I saw the Times magazine in your bag.” I stopped and stood still listening to Connor without actually turning around to look at him. “It was peeking out of your bag. I figured you read it already by the way you were suddenly acting nice to me.”
I slowly let out a breath as I turned around. “Why is there such a disconnect between you, and the guy in that magazine? Why do you have to be so mean?”
He stared at me for a minute before he whispered to himself, “Fuck” He covered his forehead with his hand, debating whether to tell me the truth or not.
I shrugged my shoulders waiting for a response. Nothing. I took a step backwards getting ready to turn around and leave when suddenly he spoke.
“I...” He paused for a second, choosing his words wisely. “I liked you, as a person, the first night we met. And when we made plans for dinner? I was ecstatic! I really thought we could be friends, and maybe one day it would go somewhere else.”
I was suddenly intrigued by Connor's reasoning, “But...”
He continued, “But then you blatantly lied to me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I stepped out of our room to ask the wait staff a question and when I did, I saw you at another table with another man. I figured you ran into a friend, but then you two kissed.” Connor forced a half-smile from embarrassment.
“Connor” I said in an apologetic tone. I was completely unaware that he'd seen Jonah that night. This whole time I thought he'd fallen for my lie. That my friend had an emergency and I was going to go help her. “I'm so sorry. Things were...complicated that night.”
“It's fine. I'm over it.” He turned half way around before he turned back and added, “I was mean, because I felt for the other guy. I wouldn't want you to do to me what you did to him. I can't help the attraction between the two of us, Lynn. So, I knew if we continued to do what we were doing, we'd have to do it without getting attached. I can't be involved with someone who lies to me.”
I was paralyzed by his words. Connor looked up at me before he tuned around and walked down the hall. I watched him as he turned the corner to go back towards the stairs. I was embarrassed that I'd made such a fool of myself. I was upset that I'd put myself in that situation, but relieved that Connor finally set me straight.
My phone started vibrating in my pocket. I pulled it out to see a text from Sarah asking what was taking so long. I shook myself to clear my head before I went back down to the lobby.
I headed to the bakery. Sarah and Henry had already ordered my favorite, avocado and tomato omelet. I didn't tell them how I ran into Connor. On the way over I decided that it was my opinion that matters and no one elses. I had to make things right. I texted Kadie to cancel our plans for the night. I needed to do some major Connor recon.