Timothy woke early, before his alarm. He groaned and rubbed his eyes that felt like they were full of sand. He had been up very late texting with his friend Jamie, so waking up early was not welcome. Not at all.
After turning off his alarm and lounging in bed in a fruitless effort to vanquish his grogginess, Timothy went through his morning routine. Once complete, he threw on his jacket and backpack and was out the door, on his way to school. About half a block from his house he saw Jamie, her long dark brown hair streaming behind her, as she jogged towards him. A bright smile lit her face, a wonderfully common occurrence.
Tim's heart beat faster and his mind raced at the sight of her. She was magnificent.
Understand, Jamie wasn't a girl who would ever grace a magazine cover. She was pretty and slender but, to Timothy, it was her personality that enchanted him. That was what set her apart from other girls.
After the brief intense moment of thrill at seeing her, Tim's face broke out in a big smile to match his friend's.
Next came the highlight of Tim's day, almost every day. As Jamie reached him, she threw her arms around him in a brief but enthusiastic hug. Tim returned the affectionate greeting, thrilled that Jamie always seemed so happy to see him.
"Good morning Tim!" Her ever-playful voice warming Tim's heart.
Tim returned the greeting and the pair proceeded to walk side by side to school, deep in animated discussion about anything and everything.
Tim had a miserable morning. He had completely forgotten to do his physics homework the night before, possibly due to his conversation with Jamie, and got a few choice words and a nasty look from his teacher. In chemistry, Tim's lab partner had made a mistake in mixing chemicals and caused a beaker to explode. The glass container had been in directly in front of Tim at the time. Initially he was so worried about making sure he hadn't been hit in the face with flying glass that he didn't realize a small piece had embedded itself in the back of his right hand. Once the instructor saw the blood pouring out of his hand, Tim was hurried off to see the nurse.
Therefore, it was understandable that Tim was in a foul mood when he strode into the lunch room. However, when Jamie spotted him and gave him that big beautiful smile his mood instantly improved.
Sitting across from his friend, Tim pulled out his lunch and for a time they both ate in silence.
Just as she finished her lunch, Jamie's gaze finally zoned in on Tim's bandaged hand. "What happened to your hand?" Her concern evident in her voice.
"Lab accident. Pat messed up the chemical mixture in the beaker and it exploded. It's fine really, the nurse got the glass out of my hand and bandaged it up." Tim was silently pleased at Jamie's concern.
Jamie picked up his hand, placed a slight peck on the clean bandage, and placed it back down on the table. She giggled lightly. "I'm glad you are okay and it was just a small injury. I hope I made it better."
Tim's hand, now completely devoid of pain, tingled pleasantly from Jamie's attention. He decided that now was the time. Time to put into motion what his heart and mind had been insisting for months that he do.
Jamie had an expectant look on her face, somewhat surprised by Tim's serious and hesitant tone.
"You ... you are an awesome friend. My best ... friend..."
At this point Jamie's smile was as bright and happy as any Tim had ever seen from her.
"I want to always be your friend, but it is time to admit that I want mo-"
"TIMMY!" The familiar booming voice carried across the lunch room as Ben dropped into the chair beside him.
Tim managed to stifle his irritation at being interrupted and smiled at Ben, clapping his best male friend on the back.
Ben grinned and greeted Jamie warmly.
Jamie smiled slightly at Ben but looked troubled, distracted.
Tim began to worry at Jamie's distracted look, a knot of anxiety settling in his stomach. He realized there was not much he could do about it at the moment though, aside from giving her a reassuring smile.
Ben then engaged Tim in gaming talk and the rest of their break slipped away in the conversation.
Jamie was silent and continued to look distracted throughout the conversation, quite unusual for her normal bubbly self.
Tim, upset with himself for forgetting to do his homework the previous night, did all of his homework for the weekend immediately when he got home. Jamie had had a spare last period and left school early, so Tim had walked home alone.
Tim, now done with his work, finally let himself be concerned about how Jamie had reacted to his interrupted, but obvious in intent, question. She did not seem pleased.
Despite that, Tim decided he had to get over his worry and finish asking her out. He felt a deep affection for his friend, affection that he knew went well beyond friendship, and felt a stubborn determination to explore it.
After changing into a t-shirt and shorts, he pushed aside his apprehension, and jogged the two blocks between his house and Jamie's.
Tim knocked on the front door and waited patiently. A few long moments later, the door swung open to the smiling face of Jamie's mother. Jamie was almost an exact replica of her mother, just 25 years younger. They shared the pretty features, dark brown hair, blue eyes, and easy, bright smile.
"Tim! Come in. Are you looking for Jamie?" Jamie's mom had always been very welcoming and friendly to him.
"Thanks Ms. Thompson. Yeah, I am."
"She's upstairs in her room dear ... and for the millionth time, call me Helen!"
"Thanks Helen!" I said with a smile before kicking my shoes off and running up the stairs to Jamie's room.
I knocked on the door gently and waited. The door opened slowly to reveal Jamie's smile. Subdued in comparison to her usual but still present.
"Hi." The greeting was shy and quiet but warm.
"Hey Jamie ... can I come in?"
Her head nodded and she stepped aside, opening the door wider to let him in and closed it behind him.
Tim sat on her bed and looked around the room. It was very familiar to him ... he had seen the inside of this room hundreds of times over the years that he had known Jamie. His nerves were kicking into high gear and he was fighting a hard battle internally to stay calm. It disturbed him that the usual outgoing and bubbly girl was so withdrawn. His determination to finish his question from lunch did not waver, however.
Jamie joined him on the bed but sat well away from him, settling down in the middle of the bed with her back against the headboard and her arms around her knees.
Tim knew he had to just ask ... his resolve would only last so long.
"Jamie, I got interrupted at lunch. I need to finish asking this question. Will you go out with me this weekend?"
Jamie sat there, staring at the bedspread with her face partially hidden behind her knees.
Her lack of response deeply worried Tim and he felt the need to break the awkward silence that fell on the room like a wet blanket. "I know it is short notice ... it being Friday already, so if you are busy ... I would be more than happy to make it another day, if you want."
Finally she looked at Tim with a puzzled expression. "Why me?" The question hanging in the air ... almost as if written in smoke.
Tim smiled and collected his thoughts and feelings for a moment.
"You are an awesome friend. You make me happy every time I see you. You are beautiful in every way and I think about you all the time. Jamie, I know you are worried but I am not trying to replace our friendship with something else. I want to build on it. I understand if you don't want to go out with me. I can take it, I will be okay and I will still be your best friend ... but I do want more if you are willing to give it a shot."