real lj idol | week 14 | 850 words
College was a time for new ideas and new opportunities—and best of all, for love.
When Kevin Stables wound up in the same English class as Julia Mandolini, he knew that last part was completely true.
Julia was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, and so incredibly smart. She had so much insight into the writers they studied that Kevin sometimes wondered if he really belonged in the program himself. But since Julia was majoring in English too, he stayed put. It was a shared passion.
They never saw enough of each other, but at least they were guaranteed those three times a week for lecture sessions.
Wednesday morning, Kevin hurried to class, anxious to see Julia again. He still managed to be almost late, and had to settle for a seat two rows away from her. He glanced over and smiled, and she smiled back in that special way she had. The blue of her eyes was like nothing he'd ever seen before, a soft, vivid color that wasn't sky-blue or cornflower-blue, something more like—
"—which author?" Professor Kirkpatrick asked. "Mr. Stables?"
"Neptune!" Kevin blurted out.
"Hmm. Not in my experience. Anyone else?"
Later that morning, Kevin walked to the ATM with his friend Zachary, to pick up some weekend cash. Kevin tried to explain the whole thing to him, not for the first time.
"Her voice is like music," he said, "sweet, glorious music. I heard her read Beaudelaire out loud in the original French, once. Mon Dieu!"
"Dude," Zachary protested. "Get a grip."
"Seriously, it was incredible." Kevin put his card in the ATM, which beeped at him and spat it back out.
"That's your Student ID card," Zachary said.
"Oh." Kevin tried to swap cards, and wound up dropping the contents of his wallet on the ground. He scrambled through the mess. "Anyway, she's got this hair…"
"She'd better," Zachary snorted. "Bald chicks freak me out."
Afterwards, Zachary went to Organic Chemistry while Kevin found a bench in the Quad and sat down to eat lunch.
The first hints of spring were beginning, and it made him giddy. Trees were in bloom, and flowers were just starting to open. The blossom-scented breeze reminded him of the smell of Julia's shampoo, which was something fresh and floral he'd never encountered before.
So much about Julia was new and amazing. He couldn't keep his mind off of her for a second.
There was squirrel on a nearby tree limb, watching him with shiny, black eyes—a willing audience, if he'd ever seen one.
"It's not just her laugh, or that she's so pretty," he told it. "For instance, she has the most amazing hands."
The squirrel inched closer.
"Such long, beautiful fingers," Kevin went on. "She could be an artist with those hands, a sculptor, maybe, or a musician."
The squirrel leaped right onto the bench and assaulted Kevin's lunch.
Kevin pulled himself together, and stomped over to the student union to buy another sandwich.
"What happened to you?" the cashier said.
"Huh. Looks like you've got egg salad in your hair."
Figures, Kevin thought. Stupid squirrel.
He stopped off at the condiments table, and spent some time trying unsuccessfully to stab a plastic knife through the top of his soda cup before the horrified expression on the face of the woman next to him registered. He switched to a straw, feeling like a complete idiot.
The smell of sunshine hit him as soon as he opened the door and went outside. He lifted up his face, feeling as if the sky itself was smiling on him.
He changed his mind after taking a Wile E. Coyote air-step over the edge of the patio because he'd forgotten about the stairs.
Still, no permanent damage. He shrugged off a twinge of grumpiness. It was spring and the sun was shining, and he was in love. Life's little imperfections couldn't stand in the way of that.
He started walking toward his General Health class, eyes on the sidewalk to monitor treacherous terrain. Love was everywhere—in the sky, on the ground—and he felt swept up and surrounded by it as he moved along.
His thoughts turned to Julia once more. He'd never known anyone like her before, never felt so connected to anyone else. It was as if he could sense her, catch the edge of her perfume or hear the sound of her voice…
Suddenly, he smashed right into someone, his breath catching brutally as he splatted onto the ground like a newborn foal. Ouch!
He blinked and lifted his head, noticing that the shoes in front of him looked familiar. Adorable, even.
His gaze traveled up, up, up, and there was Julia, auburn hair blazing like the sun itself.
Her beauty took him by surprise, just as it always did—even after all this time. He became a fool all over again every time he looked at her, and now his stomach swooned and his head swam as those three all-important little words burst out of him:
"Hi. I'm Kevin."
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