Love Beyond OppositesBy: Molly E. Lee
To the Hill boys. Thanks for lending me your names when I needed the coolest ones I could find!
My fingers absently strummed the strings of Cash—my black acoustic guitar—while I sat on my unmade bed, waiting. Black filled the backs of my closed eyes as I allowed myself to sink deeper into the music, into the muscle memory mixing with instinct to create a new sound. Something different. Something just for me.
The bedroom disappeared. Thoughts of the past week—the first week of my freshman year in high school—faded into nothing. I was the sound of the chords, the vibrations against my callused fingertips, the rich intrinsic sound that melted every thought.
Something warm pulsed in the center of my chest. A new sensation I couldn’t quite place, and in an effort to capture that within the chords, I focused. The concentration killed the loose, free-play moment, grounding me back to the present.
In my bedroom.
Where I could now feel I was no longer alone.
I peeled back my eyelids, gathering myself internally to switch back on from decompress mode.
The air knocked from my lungs like I’d been hit with a baseball bat.
The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen stood in my open doorway, wringing her hands, her black-rimmed glasses slightly askew. Her bright pink lips popped open and shut, clearly struggling for something to say.
I trailed my eyes down her body, taking in her Rubik’s Cube T-shirt, her ripped up jeans, and her worn-out Vans. Long strands of blond hair hung around her shoulders, half of it pulled from her face in a super messy knot secured by colored pencils.
That warmth? The thing that pulsed and thrived and begged to be acknowledged?
It was her presence. The mere sight of this girl was enough to trigger something inside me I’d never felt before—something I couldn’t possibly describe but instantly wanted to hold onto forever.
I finally swallowed the rock in my throat and loosened my grip on Cash, only now realizing I’d been clutching it against my chest. A barrier holding me to reality as the sight of her spun me into orbit.
“Hi?” I meant to say something cooler, smoother. But that’s what I came up with. I resisted the urge to punch myself in the face.
Her bright-green eyes widened before blinking several times behind those adorable glasses. “Jade.” She paired the blurted word with an awkward wave.
A full-on smile shaped my lips, totally uncontrollable. “Amethyst.”
“What?” The crinkle that formed in between her eyebrows was almost as cute as the way she took a small step inside the room, like the physical nearness would help her understand what I’d said.
I spun the guitar in my hands and hefted myself off the bed to set it on its stand next to the others gathered in the corner. I took a breath, wondering why the hell it was so shaky when I turned back around to face her.
“You said Jade.” I pointed at her, then pressed my hands against my chest. “I said amethyst.” I shrugged, shoving my hands into my jeans pockets to keep them from doing anything stupid, like trying to shake her hand just to feel her skin. “I thought we were telling each other our birthstones.”
She laughed so hard her nose wrinkled, and my knees damn near buckled. The sound was sweeter than the music I’d been lost in moments ago. She reeled it in, sucking in a sharp breath, but the laugh left those green eyes glistening.
“No,” she said. “I’m Jade.”
“I know.” She fiddled with the ends of her hair.
I arched a brow at her. “Jade?”
“What are you doing in my house?” I asked, flashing her a wolfish grin when she jolted at the question. “Not that I’m not stoked you’re in my room.” And damn if that wasn’t the truth.
She pressed her fingers against her forehead before motioning over her shoulder toward my open door. “I’m… Mr. Pryor is my Mathlete coach. I just made the team.”
That meant she’d be practicing here up to three times a week for as long as she was on the team. I swallowed hard, remembering the discussion my dad and I had had earlier in the week. He’d cleared it with the school board, since our house was centrally located. He, a teacher’s assistant, and the team would practice here.