We usually studied in the innermost part of the library, where it was more than once quite secluded. We sat across from each other, close enough to share notes and opinions easily, but far enough to not have to constantly acknowledge each other’s presence.

Seth and I, we didn’t get along as much as others surrounding would expect. We only spent time together by sole obligation.

And the reason we studied together, nearly every evening after school - not including the several hours we sometimes studied during the weekends - was because of the unasked for opportunity of having to compete against the best male and female students from each school in the district.

Unfortunately for Seth and I, we were both top students in our grades, and had been selected to represent our school.

Seth was a quiet type of study buddy (if we could be considered buddies, for that very matter.) But I, on the other hand, was the type of student - better yet, person, that needed good, selective music to focus and sway upon.

I sometimes heard Seth past my earphones, how he would snort or comment whenever I began to sway or softly hum to the song playing.

Often, I ignored it. Other days, when my mood was on edge, I’d glare at him and possibly say something rude in return.

One Wednesday evening, I could see him waving with his arms, the way he usually did whenever trying to get my attention in a certain school matter. But this time, when I lifted my head from the English book I was scrutinizing, it wasn’t to bring up a certain fact that popped up to him in American History.

Seth pushed up his glasses when I faced him, my lips twitching to smile in how well the library’s lighting fit him.

Instead, I frowned at my sudden thoughts, and tried not to press into why I had found such a positive thing to say about Seth.

“Ximena?” Seth prompted, when I had evidently not heard or replied to whatever he had said.

“Sorry,” I started. “What did you say?”

“I asked if you could drive me home after finishing up here,”

I felt my nose scrunch. “Don’t you have a car?” I answered, my tone unintentionally suspicious.

“I do, but it’s getting fixed,” Seth nodded nervously. “And the friend I had asked for a ride today had to bail.”

I rolled my eyes, feigning to be annoyed by the fact that he asked such a favor from me when he surely could have called anyone other of his friends. But I was, surprisingly, a tad thrilled he had dared to ask me, of all people, for the favor.

Seth noticed the exaggerated annoyance, and his forehead crinkled in worry. “My house won’t deviate you from the way to your own,” he reminded me, knowing that our addresses weren’t that far from one another. His eyes were soft, and pleading, and I almost bristled at the appearance.

Seth had never played this side of him with me. With others, yes, where he appeared as innocent as a kitten, and as convincing as a child asking for a mere piece of candy.

It loosened a thread within me. One, I was afraid wouldn’t come to tighten anytime soon.

“All right,” I sighed, as if still annoyed. But more than anything, I was perturbed by the fact at how I instinctively wanted to react to Seth’s tactics of sweetness.

Seth beamed. “Thank you, Xime,”

I frowned when I felt my chest expand with pooling warmth. I forced my eyes to drift back into my book and notes. “You’re welcome, Seth.” I said curtly.

And as I attempted to resume studying that evening, I promptly realized that somehow, I had become attracted to Seth Walkins.

Seth Walkins, whom had always been my rival since sixth grade, had just become the boy I stiffened and softened with just a smile.

The remaining half hour of our study sessions, I stared at my book with horrified realization.

// Thank you so much for the love you guys gave to my last two articles! I was floored that you guys loved it so much! //