The cold emotionless doors of the school opened with the hope of tomorrow. You pulled your coat over your shoulders as you rejoiced at the end of the school day, as you walked down the cobblestone path to the bus stop. You waited for a while before the bus arrived; you walked onto the bus as you plugged in your music to escape the world. You watched as strangers loaded onto the bus, a familiar face emerged in the crowd. With anticipation you watched this young man load the bus. He looked around the bus and found a seat a couple of rows ahead of yours. You watched him trying to match his face with a name, for about ten minutes you racked your brain to try and find where he was from. He got up and walked to the door of the bus. You gathered your belongings as you followed him off of the bus. You started walking in the direction of your apartment when you felt a gentle hand on your shoulder.
“Excuse me.” A deep husky voice caught your attention; you slowly turned your head to reveal the strangers face. You looked over his face carefully.
“Eli?” You surprisingly found the name that you had been trying so hard to find.
“Do you know when the next bus will come by? I seemed to have gotten off too early.” He asked in desperation
“Sorry, that was the last bus for the night.” You told him the truth as his face changed from hopeful to desperate.
“Ok, thank you.” Eli’s voice dropped, “Sorry to bother you.” He turned and walked slowly to the nearby benches. You turned to walk away but you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the familiar face that you had seen so many times before in Math class. Over your shoulder, you saw the bent over figure, alone on the bench in the light snowfall that caught the lights of the street. Slowly turning around and cautiously walking over to the desolate person, you sat beside him as he lifted his head to see the movement around him.
“Do you need a place to stay?” You asked as you rubbed your hands together to warm them as you waited for a response.
“Yes, but I don’t want to put you out.” He breathed softly into his red hands that were searching for warmth.
“Would you like a cup of hot chocolate instead?” You asked as a small smile fell upon his quivering lips.
“Sure, I would like that.” He added as you both walked down the few blocks to your small apartment.
The wooden door opened with a slight twist of the key, you walked into the small but quaint structure that you called home. You gently slipped off your shoes and walked in to the kitchen placing your backpack on the floor by the kitchen table.
“Come in and make yourself comfortable, Eli.” You called from the kitchen as you removed your coat and placed it over the back of one of the chairs. Eli moseyed into the kitchen where you were. He pulled out a chair to sit in while you made the hot chocolate. You started to boil the water as you took out two ebony mugs from the cherry cabinets.
“How much chocolate would you like?” You asked him as he stared at his frozen hands
“I like mine chocolaty please.” He said as he looked up at you with a grateful expression. The water began to hiss as the pressure built under the lid, you lifted the pot from the burner and gently poured the water into mugs as you watched the chocolate dissolve with every passing second. Stirring the chocolate in, you put a little dollop of whipping cream on top with a slight drizzle of chocolate sauce that you had in your fridge. You walked over to the table and gingerly placed the ebony cup of hot chocolate in front of him. He tilted his head up in surprise at the presentation of the common drink.
“You don’t have to do all of this for me.” Eli got really quiet and sipped the hot chocolate in satisfaction as you sipped on yours.
“I wanted too.” Sheepishly confessing
He looked up and saw you had a trace of whipped crème on the side of your pink lips. He pushed his thumb gingerly on your lips and gently lifted the crème away. You blushed and looked down at your cup and focused on the dissolving chocolate in the drink and the effortless steam the ascended from the cup that surrounded your face in warmth.
“So where are your parents?” Eli asked as he broke the silence
“They live in the countryside; they wanted to give me a better education so they sent me to the city.” You answered taking another sip allowing, for the soothing warmth to run down your throat.
“So how do you afford this place?” Eli scanned your apartment with his chocolate colored eyes.
“One of my parent’s friends pays for my rent as long as I get higher than a 3.8 GPA.”
“You must be under a lot of stress then.” You slowly nod at Eli’s comment, “That must be why you ask me for my help so often.” Eli silently said quietly that it was barely audible.
“Sorry for annoying you all the time in Math.” You confessed not hearing Eli talking to himself
“Oh, it’s no problem at all. I would rather have you ask for my help then not get a full education and not get into college.” Eli said, feeling he understood you a little bit better now.
You pulled out your Math homework to ask him a couple questions while you had his attention.
“I’d better go now it’s getting late.” Eli stood up and grabbed his things as he headed to the door. You followed him gazing out the window at the sudden storm that had accumulated over the past hour.
“I can’t let you go out there in that weather, especially without any busses on route.” You placed your hand on his upper arm, and turned him gently so you could look into his eyes.
“I don’t want to burden you anymore; you already have enough to deal with you don’t need another.” He said pitiful towards you
“You would burden me more if you were to go outside.” You said causing a small smirk appeared on his face.
“Do you have a place to stay for the night?” You added as his head slightly shook in an up and down fashion
“Where is it?” You sought for more information as you looked at his face as he told you the address.
“That is on the other side of town; here call them so they aren’t expecting you and then you can stay here until the storm lets up.” You handed him your cell phone and you went into the kitchen to clean up. He walked into the kitchen after he was finished with his call.
“Thank you” He handed your phone back to you and took off his coat. He got out a notebook and pen from the small backpack that he had from school. He sat on your couch as you finished cleaning up. You went and grabbed some extra blankets for the couch.
“You can sleep in the bedroom.” You said as you placed the extra blankets beside him.
“What about you?” Eli asked in concern
“I will sleep out here, I also have some homework to finish as well and I would hate to wake you.” He stood up from the couch and bowed to you and went into the bedroom.
The sun’s rays cascaded down onto the cityscape as darkness receded on the city that never sleeps; the sun worked its magic to change the night to day. Eli emerged from the bedroom to get a drink because he couldn’t sleep. He glanced over at the couch where light music played from the TV and papers were littered all over the small coffee table. You slept on the couch with your hair all in your face. He walked over and sat in the open cushion beside your head. He gently removed the hair that was covering your beautiful facial features. He rubbed your cheek lightly with his thumb as he looked outside at the new blanket of pure white snow that the city had received while he was asleep. He grabbed a nearby notebook and wrote a small note inside; he assembled his things, turned off the TV and wrapped a blanket around you. He walked over to the door and gently closed it behind him so that he wouldn’t wake you up.
Your eyes fluttered open as your phone vibrated. Slowly sitting up you read your text properly. You replied to the text, you stood up from your couch and walked over to the kitchen to find something that you could have for breakfast. You headed back to the couch with an orange in your hand. You attempted to clean up the notes that you had used the night before; the open notebook caught your eye as did the different handwriting on the page. Eli had written:
Thank you for the place to stay and the gourmet hot chocolate, I just couldn’t stay. I will see you in Math class.
You finished cleaning up your papers, and finished getting ready for school. You hoped on the bus to find the familiar face in one of the empty rows. You walked up to Eli; he moved his bag for you to sit down.
“Did you sleep well?” He asked as he handed you his warm muffin.
“I slept fine but I cannot accept this.” You refused his gesture; he took your hands in his and placed the warm muffin in your hands.
“Please it is the least I could do.” Eli turned and looked back out the window as you took a bite of the flavorful feast that he had given you.
The bus stopped at the school and you both exited and headed your separate ways. You walked through your day, your mind heavy with the thought of last night and what he meant by the note. You walked into your Math class and sat by the window like you always did. The teacher babbled in the front of the class as you drew small sketches in your notebook.
“Now you may work on your homework.” The teacher announced as the class dispersed into small chatter that filled the room within seconds. The boys on the other side of the room chatted about the various girls in the class and the girls did the same about the boys.
“Yeah did you hear about, ___________?” One of the boys asked
“What happened? I heard she went home with a guy last night or something - .” Another boy commented, the chatter dwindled as the teacher stood up and walked out of the room. The talking began to get clearer and louder with every passing moment of the teachers absence.
“Yeah she did and I guess he wasn’t that pleased with her cause he left.” The boys commented, as you found Eli in the crowd of outcasts with his hand rubbing the back of his neck. The boys made some other comments that pierced you to your core. You stood up and ran out of the classroom with your face in your hands and your hair flowing out from behind.
The class froze when you left, but no one cared enough to run after you. You ran down the hall with your heart pounding in your chest. You found a small corner and slid down the wall.
Keeping yourself company you wrapped yourself in your arms, trying to calm yourself down.
You heard some heavy steps pounding down the hall, you looked up with your tear soaked face, but you couldn’t see who was coming due to the tears lingering in your eyes. Someone’s arms wrapped around you and rocked you back and forth. You slowly lifted your head to see who was hugging you. The sturdy arms, heaving chest, and the blond hair that you could recognize as only one person: Eli.
“Y-You didn’t have to c-come after me E-Eli.” You whimpered as you wiped the tears from
“I wanted too. I needed too you were crying… what else am I supposed to do? You were always so kind to me, but I was too blind to see it. I never realized, until last night, how kind you could be to a complete stranger. With all you did for me last night, how could I not want to hug you? You are always so kind and considerate of others and I thought everything was perfect in your life until last night. I realized that no body’s life is perfect and that we all have our flaws. When I saw you run out of the room I felt devastated because it wasn’t just some girl that was emotionally unstable, it was my friend. A friend that I want to protect from any more disappointment or anguish, because she has already seen far too much.” Eli finished and pulled himself away from you. He placed his thumb on your cheek and wiped the remaining tears away. He held out his hand and you cupped your hands so that he could place it in your hands.
“This is the only thing I can give you to make up for last night.” He let the object fall in between his fingers and land in your palm, you looked at the small pennant with a heart in it, and there was a saying that bordered the silver necklace.
Sometimes someone’s path isn’t measured by the rocks in the road but by the beautiful vistas that surround it.
You placed it around your neck and Eli took your hand and helped you up from the small ball that you had wound yourself into. You walked into his chest and wrapped your arms around his torso; he gently wrapped his arms around you and rubbed his hands up and down your back.
“I am glad someone noticed.” You whispered
“Someone is always looking out for you.”