“Hey!” A clink at my window.
I looked up from my book. I was sprawled across my bed, red hair strewn across the pillow. I should’ve been getting ready for bed, but I was way too comfortable to get up now, and besides, I was at a good part in The Princess Bride.
It’s one of my favorite books in the universe. The whole thing’s incredible. I could read it over and over again. I find something new to love about it every single time I open it. I think that’s what makes it a truly great book.
More sounds from the window. I dragged myself away from Wesley and Buttercup and off of my bed. I had no idea what this could be. I pulled the curtains aside and recoiled as a pencil hit the glass in front of my nose.
“Autumn! Just the person I wanted to see!” He was leaning out his window, dark hair falling into his eyes, grinning at me.
I rolled my eyes. “Oh shut up Liam. You act as if I was the one throwing pencils at your window.” He just grinned bigger. I guess he had a nice smile. Straight teeth and all. And dimples. Really cute dimples.
“Not just pencils. I started out with throwing paper clips.” he replied, eyes dancing.
“I ran out.”
I laughed. He looked pleased with himself.
“So what’s up?” I asked, leaning out my window to see him better.
“I just need to talk to someone who isn’t related to me for a minute. Is that weird?” He fidgeted with his curtains.
“No, no, I completely understand. I’ve been going insane here.”
“Yeah, me too.” He looked like he wanted to keep talking, but stopped himself.
I looked at him. He looked at me. I discovered just how much I hate awkward silence.
“So,” I said finally, suddenly nervous.
“So.” He replied, raising his eyebrows.
“How have you been?” I asked, “I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”
“I’ve been okay. I mean, considering the fact that I haven’t left the house in three days. I can’t tell you how great it is to be talking to someone I don’t live with face to face.”
Was it just me or did he look nervous too? He couldn’t be getting nervous around me, right? I’m definitely not the kind of girl people get nervous around. I’m not anything near pretty. I’m too short to be called willowy. My skin is far too freckled to be clear. My hair is just a few shades away from being flat out orange. I’m not intimidating in the least.
Liam’s voice snapped me away from my thoughts and back to the present.
“I guess I’m still kind of in denial.” he shrugged, “this feels like some sort of messed up dream.”
“It’s crazy, isn’t it? Like someone just hit the pause button on the whole world.”
We lapsed back into silence, but much more comfortably this time.
“So, are you doing school online?” He asked.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, school is this one thing. Sure, part of it is the actual material and information, but part of it is learning practical skills, like being able to ask questions and work with other people. This isn’t really it, you know?”
“I’d never thought of it like that,” he said thoughtfully. “It’s interesting.”
“I’m gonna take that as a compliment.”
“Good. It is.”
I glanced at him. He was watching me. I looked away.
“How’s school for you?”
“It’s fine. It almost feels like even more work than before, though.”
We were quiet for a while, enjoying each other’s company. I hadn’t realized how much I missed hanging out with people besides my parents. People my age act differently, and no matter how hard they try, the company of parents only goes so far.
I missed my friends. If this stupid pandemic thing could just, I don’t know, evaporate or something, my life could go back to normal.
“You okay?” Liam’s voice startled me out of my reverie. His eyes were filled with concern. I realized I had been biting my lip.
“Are you sure?”
“No.” I sighed and leaned against the windowsill. “It’s just that we’re missing so much this year. It feels like I’m missing out on my entire life.”
He slumped back against the window frame. “Yeah.” It came out as a sigh. “It really sucks, doesn’t it?”
“Ok, but we can take advantage of it. There’s a lot of things I’d like to do that I have way more time for now. I bet you can think of a few things to be happy about.”
“You are most likely the most optimistic person I have ever met.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” He was smiling again.
“Good. It is.”
I smiled back. This time, I held his gaze.
We sat there for a long time. Talking sometimes, but mostly just sitting there quietly. It was nice. To feel comfortable with someone like that.
It really was a beautiful night. The air was that perfect kind of warm, comfortable, but not stifling. The moon hung low, and it was almost as if I could just reach up and pluck it out of the sky.
“I’m glad we can talk sometimes.” He fidgeted with his curtains, “And that I really like you.” He didn’t look at me as he said it, like he wasn’t sure what I was going to say, and was preparing for the worst.
“Yeah?” He looked up.
“I really like you too.”
He beamed. There aren’t many opportunities to use the word beamed, but this was one of them. I beamed back.
I don’t know how long we sat there, grinning like the fools we were. Eventually, somebody called for Liam to go downstairs.
“Can we talk again later?” he asked.
“I would love to.” I answered.