Road Trip (500Words Round 2, Week 2, Day 4, 1/25/18)
“Seriously, I’m as harmless as a baby hippo. You have nothing to worry about.” Mark wrapped his fingers together and put his hands under his chin as he blinked slowly over his toothy grin.
“Oh my gosh, stop it. You look like a creeper when you do that!” Amanda pushed her chair back from the table. “I don’t think you’re risky – I just don’t want to drive cross-country with you.” She turned away and walked off briskly towards the doors leaving her tray of lunch debris on the table.
Scrambling up from his spot in the cafeteria, Mark followed Amanda outside after clearing her tray and his. When he caught up to her he said, “I thought you wanted to see the East coast! You’d be done with me once we got there. I’m not coming back, right, so you’d only have my company one way.” He stayed a step behind her, talking to her left shoulder as she continued across campus. He could feel his chest tightening from the exertion the fast-paced walk was requiring. She was an athlete. He was used to sitting at a desk, not sprinting from building to building. He needed to dig deep and find some stamina. Stopping now would erase all the work he’d done. It seemed like he was finally getting somewhere with Amanda and he didn’t want to give up yet.
Her pony tail swooshed back and forth just brushing the top of the school mascot printed on the back of her jacket. It seemed to be moving in time with her steps, accenting her words. “Wanting to see the East coast and wanting to go on a road trip with you are two very different things, Mark.”
“Well, yes. They are two different things. They can go well together, though, like peanut butter and chocolate. Both different,” he struggled to take a breath in, “good together. Almost better together.”
Mark almost stumbled over Amanda when she stopped and whipped herself around to face him. Her cheeks were a bit pink and her eyes were sparkling. Mark wasn’t sure if her look was caused by the weather or her frustration in him for doggedly pursuing her. She adjusted her book bag on her shoulder before saying anything to him, and he waited quietly hoping she’d say what he wanted to hear.
“Mark.” Amanda paused. “Look. You’re a nice enough guy when you’re not being a creeper. I don’t mean to hurt your feelings or upset you or anything. Really. I don’t want to drive to Rhode Island with you over spring break. I honestly don’t understand why you’re even asking me. We literally don’t know each other that well.” She stopped talking and looked around. Mark wondered if she was looking for someone who could come break up this awkward moment for her so she wouldn’t have to finish it herself. She turned back to him, squinted her eyes and tilted her head, and said, “actually, wait. Why ARE you asking me?”
* All 500Words are fiction. Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *