"That's what I like to see." Mr. Daimler sings, drumming his fingers on my desk as he walks down the aisle collecting homework. "A big smile, it's such a beautiful day-"
"It's susposed to rain later." Jack Barakat interupts, chuckling to himself when Mr. Daimler pauses and the class erupts into laughter.
"It's Cupid's day and love is in the air." Mr. Daimler continues, glancing at me quickly before returning to collecting Josh Farro's homework from the back of the classroom.
"Just for you Mr. Daimler," I say.making my voice sicky sweet. More giggles and even a snort erupt from the class but when I turn around to look at Josh, his head is down while his hand is frantically dancing across the cover of his notebook.
Mr. Daimler just laughs and says," And here I thought it was because we are learning about differential equations."
The rest of the class goes like this, a smile firmly planted on my lips, even when I recieve my four roses from the Cupids. After class I gather my stuff up and go out into the hall, pausing for a second to check over my shoulder. Sure enough, Josh is following after me, grey beanie on his head and silver lip ring shining under the bright lights in the hallway. Today I looked more carefully at his note on the rose he gave me: the tree is sketched in black ink, each dip and shadow in the bark shaded perfectly. The leaves are tiny and diamond shaped. The whole thing must have taken him hours and this time I tucked it between two pages in my math book so that it wouldn't be damaged.
"Did you get my note?" Josh asked me once he was standing right in front of me, his brown eyes staring directly into mine.
"Don't drink and love? What is that susposed to mean?" I tease, a small smiling forming on the corners of my lips.
"Whatever you think it means." Josh smirks, raising an eyebrow at me with a small glint in his eye.
Looking at Josh, a thought flashes across my mind, that if he was able to remember what happened last night that he wouldn't be talking to me right now, but I push this aside. This is Joshua Farro.
"I'm not sure if I do." I shrug, adjusting the bag on my shoulder as Josh chuckles at me.
"I think you do." Josh whispers in my ear before pulling back and rolling his eyes at me. "Why do you flirt with our math teacher? He's such a perv."
"He's not a perv." I gasp, shocked that Josh brought this up in the first place.
"Trust me, he is."
"I don't flirt with him."
"Sure you don't." Josh laughed, rolling his eyes at me once more.
"Why do you care?" I groaned, getting frustrated with how much Josh actually cares about me when no one else seems to.
"I don't." Josh replies, fixing the beanie on his head with a slight shrug. My stomach dips a little bit, and I realize a part of me was hoping that his answer would be different- more personal.
"Listen, I'm having this party tonight and I was wondering if you were going to come." Josh smiles, adjusting the strap of his backpack on his shoulder as he grins down at me.
Glancing over my shoulder, I see John scan the crowd in the cafeteria for me. I really can't handle talking to John right now so instead of leaving Josh, I turn to face him completely and block myself from view of the lunchroom.
"Where do you live again?" I ask, even though I know exactly where he lives.
"Off Route Nine. You don't remember?" Josh laughs, his brown eyes narrowing at me slightly. "I mean, I guess you wouldn't really. You were only there a few times. We moved just before middle school from Terrace Place and I know for a fact that you remember my old house." And right there Josh's smile is back, his true smile that makes my knees weak. "You used to hangout in the kitchen and steal all the good cookies. And I chased you around those huge maple trees in the front yard."
As soon as Josh mentions the maple trees, a memory rises up, expanding like something breaking out of the water and rippling outward. We were sitting in this little space in between two enormous roots that curved out of the ground like animal spines. I remember how he split two maple-wing seeds and stuck one on his nose and one on mine, telling me that this way everyone would know that we were in love.
And when the tears started to burn the back of my eyes, I shook my head to push back the memories of a time where I had glasses and when Josh was the only boy that would even think of looking at me like the way he is now.
"You know that trees all look the same to me." I laugh, choking on a sob that is threating to escape my lips.
Josh laughs, even though I wasn't trying to be funny. "So do you think that you'll come tonight?"
"I don't think so Josh." I whisper, wanting nothing to do with the party that trapped me in this time loop. I turn away and start to walk away from Josh but before I could even enter the lunchrrom, Josh's voice fills the empty hallway.
"You'll come. I know you will."
"Not this time." I whisper, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath.
It's better this way.