By: Chantal Fernando

“Speaking from experience?” I ask, giving up and putting my bag on the ground. I move closer to him, also leaning against the wall.

He shrugs. “I have dreams.”

“I’m Sabina,” I say, offering him my hand. “I’ve seen you around but I’ve never spoken to you before.”

He looks down at my hand for a second before taking it, his large hand making mine look tiny and feminine. “Dean.”

“Great name,” I murmur, looking back over the courtyard. The guy is dreamy and charismatic, and to be honest I’m surprised and proud of myself for being able to string together a sentence without stuttering. Maybe it’s because the reason I’m standing here is Ben, and I know that Dean is just a random guy I happen to be having a random conversation with.


He likes my name?

I bring my attention back to him. “Are you waiting for a ride?”

“Something like that,” he replies, studying me.

Everyone in school is clearing out, and soon no one will be around. I don’t like being in places alone. It’s not that I’m paranoid, but I watch the news. The world isn’t what it used to be, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m glad that Dean is here with me right now so I don’t have to stand alone, even if I only did just officially meet him for the first time.

And where the hell is Ben?

I look around again but can’t see him, just a few random students, and I’ve already missed my bus. I look back at Dean and find his eyes still on me. “Your ride is late too.”

“I drove here,” he says, lip twitching in amusement. “I just saw you standing alone and thought I’d keep you company.”

My eyes narrow slightly. “You always this much of a gentleman?”

“No,” he replies simply, brushing his hair off his forehead. “Do you always ask this many questions?”

“Yes,” I reply honestly, arching my brow. “What’s wrong with questions? Curiosity is a sign of intelligence.”

He looks down at my bag of books. “Yeah, I kinda got that.”

Our eyes connect and hold, and something sizzles between us. Attraction? I don’t know what it is, because I’ve never felt it before. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable if I’m being honest. There’s a strange tension between us and I don’t know if it’s good or bad. Probably bad, considering I’m dating someone. I clear my throat, but can’t seem to tear my gaze away even though I know I should.

Dean seems to consider something, then nods and says, “Listen, there’s something—”

“There you are,” Ben says, walking towards the two of us. I move my gaze from Dean to him, taking in his shaggy blond hair and baby-blue eyes. “Sorry I’m late, I had to stay back for detention.” He looks to Dean and lifts his chin. “What you doing here, cuz?”


Dean pushes off the wall. “Just didn’t want Sabina to stand here alone.” He slaps Ben on his shoulder as he passes, then heads to the car park without so much as a backwards glance.

“He’s your cousin?” I ask, eyes going wide. Great, I was just checking out my boyfriend’s family member.

Ben wraps an arm around my waist and pulls me into his body. “Yeah, you didn’t know that? You look beautiful today, by the way.” He touches my high ponytail of thick dark hair. “I like your hair up.”

“Thank you,” I say, glancing up at him. “And no, I didn’t know that.”

“Let’s go,” he says, nodding towards his car. Hand in hand we walk to it.

Ben opens his car door for me, and I throw in my heavy bag of books first, then slide inside. As we’re driving away, I see Dean standing by his car, eyes on his phone.

I watch him until it would become obvious if I continued, then turn to look at Ben, who reaches out and puts his hand on my thigh. I smile at the familiarity of it, then glance out of the window.

Everything in my life is as it should be.


I shake my head, as if getting rid of that thought, and walk into my bedroom. I brush my hair again and tie it up, then slide my feet into a pair of black leather ankle boots. I don’t bother with make-up. I don’t think anything can save the dark circles under my eyes. Luckily I’ve been blessed with decent skin, so I don’t look so bad without foundation, but I still look a little pale and ghostlike. Shrugging, I grab my handbag and return to Dean. “Ready when you are.”

He nods and stands, putting his empty beer bottle in the recycling bin before heading to the door.

“Why are you drinking beer at 11:00 a.m.?” I ask, tilting my head to the side and studying him. He must have had the same idea as me. Getting drunk doesn’t solve any of life’s problems, but it sure as hell can solve today’s problems.