Evan's and I relationship had always remained the same ever since we were kids, but by the time I entered high school, things changed for the better and the worst. Evan was 3 years older than me and a senior at the time, along with his brother Greg.
The school we attended was much smaller than most, and a lot of our classes where combined among each grade level. Coincidently, I shared most of my periods with Evan, but not Greg. I hung out with Evan and Greg mostly, and introduced some of my friends to our group. We all became buddies, the best of buddies. But you all know how high school is - a total bitch.
Halfway through the last semester, rumors were spread like fire. I was the last to catch wind of the news, and once I heard, I had been devastated. It was about Evan. The speculation was that he had been sleeping with a girl for more than a month - who happened to be my best friend. It was definitely hard to swallow knowing it was true. I'd been back stabbed by two of my most well trusted friends, but I don't regret the reality check it gave the both of us.
I spent the rest of the school year narrowly avoiding Evan at all costs, no matter how hard he'd try to corner me, and living with resentment towards my 'friend', but after he'd graduated, we both eventually drifted apart. It was hard, but looking back, it was probably for the best. Over the next few years, I finally graduated, and was soon prepping to live at the luxury of the Harvard University, and had long forgotten Evan.
or so I thought. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————— It was student orientation and the faculty were introducing themselves as us students sat in the auditorium, completely bored.
I sat in the far back surrounded by strangers while often scanning the faces in the crowd to distract the dull introductions. As far as I knew, nobody I knew attended or was attending Harvard, so I was technically alone. After sitting for another extremely drawn out 30 minutes that felt like forever, we'd been dismissed.
I was silently thanking god himself for answering my prayers before I stood up among the others and headed for the exit. Everything was a little chaotic, as everyone pushed and piled in crowded lines. I was definitely on the side of being shoved, but managed to keep my balance when suddenly, the wind was knocked out of me! I didn't remember what exactly happened, but all I knew was that I was kneeling over, heaving as somebody was by my side profusely apologizing like there was no tomorrow.
I couldn't make out any coherent words at the moment as the stranger finally pulled me up and out of everyones way. I stood against the wall for a few minutes before I regained my composure, able to breath. "Are you okay? I'm so sorry, I'm really stupid-clumsy." The person said.
I pulled myself together, exhaling a long breath before looking up to meet their eyes.
I opened my mouth to recommence a generic phrase of 'oh, I'm fine, thank you,' but my voice was caught in my throat. It wasn't necessarily a terrible feeling. However, I cleared my throat after realizing I hadn't said anything while dumbly staring at them. "Oh, i-it's okay, I'm sure I'll be better soon." I stuttered a bit, my cheeks burning.
Oh god, I was acting like I was in middle school again. They smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of their neck.
"Well, I hope you feel better tomorrow then…?" He said, trailing his words as he raised an eyebrow questioning. I've seen this in movies, where the guy strung along his words, waiting for the other to say their name. The thought made me giggle to myself at how absurd it even was to introduce yourself without the formal introduction. "Naomi." I finished.
He smiled, straightening his posture upright as he ran his fingers through his slightly disheveled hair. "Ah, nice to meet you, I'm Kaden." I nodded.
"Well, I hate to say this, but I think I should get going. It looks like everyones going to check out where they'll have classes, which I don't want to miss." I said, glancing over in the far distance towards the last group of students trudging down the long corridor. Kaden shrugged, flashing a crooked smile. "Me too, but hey! Maybe we might see each other again, y'know, in class." He laughed, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
I honestly am bad at talking to people, so I only nodded and smiled before turning and walking away, but of course not without waving goodbye, cause that'd just be rude. As I awkwardly strutted down the hall, I found myself letting out a breath I'd been holding in. Who knew socializing could be so nerve wracking in college!
For the rest of the day, I followed the enormous pack of students around, making sure to take in every detail of the school environment.
The last thing I wanted to do was get lost and miss a class, which is easier said than done, since the school was huge. When we finally finished, I rushed to my car, ready to head back to my place and the comfort of my soft bed. I was already mentally mapping out a plan once I got back - strip to nothing but my underwear and shirt, order some delivery, and watch as much tv as I could before I passed out. It sounded like sweet heaven, and I couldn't possibly wait. For the next 30 minutes, I drove while listening to my music full blast as I jammed to my favorite playlist.
It didn't take long to arrive to my place as I resided in an apartment complex in the vicinity of the university. I parked my car in the underground parking lot, making sure not to take the stairs on my way up, and instead hopped into the elevator like any other lazy person. I leaned against the side wall, pushing for the 4th level. While I waited for the doors to close ever so slowly, I decided to take this time to dig through my excruciatingly painfully messy bag in search for my key.
Surprisingly, I found it sooner than I'd usually do, which I was thankful for. I grasped the key like my life depended on it, and lifted my head up, not noticing the doors had already shut, and slowly the numbers rose. "Oh hey, I didn't know you lived here too." I jumped at the sudden voice to my left, letting out a small gasp while dropping my bag, spilling my belongings everywhere onto the elevator floor.
"Oh, shoot." I mumbled to myself, immediately dropping to my knees and rushing to gather what has fallen from my bag. I didn't bother to look at the person, nor answer, but felt as they knelt by my side and joined me in my frantic attempt to pick up my mess. "I'm so sorry, I'm really stupid-clumsy." They said. My hands came to a slow stop, and I glanced over to meet the familiar hazel-green eyes.
My jaw opened slightly, but was soon covered with a surprised smile of my own. I couldn't help but feel giddy inside while looking back at them. "Kaden!" I said, nearly shouting.
He smiled with closed eyes before casting his eyes back down towards my bag, his expression completely serious. "I'd love to chat, but it seems we've got a crime scene here." He said, picking up an exploded ketchup packet, covering the floor and my bag. I felt so embarrassed, gosh, I should've cleared my bag, and maybe this wouldn't have been such a bigger mess than it originally was.
I smiled shyly, trying my best conceal my slight shame and humiliation as I reached over, taking the empty package from his hands. "Ah, I'm sorry about this, I made a mess, didn't I?" I said. Mentally, I was screaming, and banging my head against the wall, wanting to just run away and hide at how mortified I was. Kaden seemed so nice, and I was are he wouldn't want anything to do with a slob like myself anymore. "You're sorry? I was the one who scared you, I should be bowing for your forgiveness." He laughed while putting the remains of my items into my sauce stained bag.
I only smiled, my cheeks burning.
I had no idea how he could make light of this situation, but of course he wasn't the one to spill his bag. "Well, thank you for helping me with.this." I pulled my bag up, swinging it up and pulling it against my body. Kaden nodded, standing up beside me. Before anymore words could be exchanged, the elevator doors opened at the ding. We arrived to the 4th floor. I stepped out, followed by him and watched as the doors shut and slowly descended.
"I live at the end of this hallways, what about you?" Kaden asked, while pointing to the opposite direction we both stood at. I glanced down the hallway, before turning to point towards the opposite direction.
"I live right at this end, directly across from yours it seems.'' We both shared a laugh, oh how convenient. "Well, if you need anything, since we live on the same floor, just give me knock and I can help with whatever!" He said as I stood there biting my lip, deep in thought. "I think it'd be better if I'd just give you my number, don't you think?" I asked.
Honestly, I didn't mind knocking, but the hallway was pretty long and I wasn't sure I'd even make it halfway cause, well, I'm lazy. "Really? I mean, yeah, sure, that's way better than knocking." He said, his face lightening up. He reached to his pocket, pulling out his phone, unlocking it and handing it to me. I opened a new contact and entered my number and name before handing it back. "There, I'll give you a call if an axe murder tries to kill me." "And I'll give you a call when I can't put any Ikea furniture together." We both burst into uncontrollable laughter as we both set off for our apartments, waving back at each other before entering out rooms.
"Wow." I breathed out, resting my back against the door once it was shut and locked. I dropped my bag onto the small table, along with my keys and jacket, and proceeded to kick off my shoes to the side. I couldn't help but smile the more I thought back at our conversation. I sighed, flopping onto my couch as I flipped on the tv, switching channels as I picked up my phone, ready to dial some Chinese takeout.
I continued to smile and silently laugh to myself, thinking that this school year was going to be a good one, especially with my friend, Kaden.
I could call him my friend at this point, right? I nodded to myself, assuring that we were in fact friends at this point now. Why else would we exchange numbers?
Oh, but only if I had known.