Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chapter Eight: His First Inquiry

After the night at Outback, Darin and I had a different relationship. It was as if that evening solidified a friendship that we both previously knew had potential, and we felt like the awkward ice had been broken and we were moving on toward getting to know each other better. I wasn’t as paranoid in talking to him, though I was still cautious. I still was very clear in my actions and words that I was not interested in any sort of relationship, and I hoped he got the hint. I did not necessarily think that he liked me, but I just wanted to be sure that he knew where I stood. We talked more in our classes and every hour at our lockers. Sometimes, I got the feeling that he waited for me at the locker…lingering longer than he usually would. He never failed to make me laugh while digging for books, and it was an unusual brightening to my day. Never in my life had I looked forward to each school day, but I was starting to, and I liked it.

Since all of my friends had the same lunch hour, we would occupy the same table and same seats every day. I think it is safe to say it was the highlight of each of our days. Amber and I always seemed to hit the back of the line, while Darin and Russell and a few other friends saved our seats. One day, while we stood back there, I glanced over at our table. Darin was sitting there by himself, waiting for Russell, and he bowed his head to pray. I nudged Amber to look – and she melted. There, amidst a giant cafeteria room with hundreds of students, was one boy at an empty table, praying over his food. I saw other people watching him, staring at him as if he were from another planet, but he didn’t notice. And I doubt he would have even cared. I continued to watch him each day and not once did he forget to bless his meal. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw him do this. He was not ashamed. I was not used to seeing this at school.

In a small town, whenever there was a new kid at school, they were the hot item. This was no different when Darin came to town. He was the talk between most girls my age and surprisingly, he was pretty oblivious to it. Several girls on my squad discussed him during practice; I heard his name whispered several times in different classes and don’t even get me started on the looks and stares he got in the hall. It was pretty amusing. There was this girl, Mallory, who did not try to hide her feelings whatsoever. She flirted with him like it was her job and was trying to climb up the corporate ladder. She flipped her hair, laughed at his jokes and complimented his smile. She even had a coach’s wife try to talk Darin into dating her. It was interesting to watch, to say the least. She was not the only one trying to win his affection and attention, but she was the loudest one.

Mom held Bible studies for Junior and Seniors in her home every Monday night. They started up about a month into school, and she led us in the study, “Someday, A Marriage Without Regrets”. It was such a fun time for everyone to come over, eat, talk, and then discuss the Word together. The evening began at six and ended about nine or nine thirty each Monday night. It was my favorite night of the week. Darin was always, without fail the last one to leave. Once most everyone left, I would help mom clean stuff up and help out with the dishes. One evening, as we were doing this, Darin was in helping us. I sat at the computer and started checking my e-mail. I was hoping one of my camp guy friends e-mailed me so I could nonchalantly bring it up to Darin and pretend like I had guys e-mail me all the time. Ya know, so he would think I was cool. I faced the computer screen, and noticed Darin standing at the counter twirling a pot holder around and around in his hands. He and mom were talking, and then out of nowhere, Darin says, “Whitney, Terry…tell me about Mallory”.

I was kind of shocked of the question and I’m sure you could tell by the look on my face. “What do you want to know?”, I asked.

“Is she a nice girl?” he prodded.

I told him she was a very nice person, a good friend to me, and that if he wanted to know anything else, then he would have to get to know her and find out himself. She was my friend. She was not the “best” of girls as far as her relationships with guys went, but I did not want to voluntarily bring up any dirt on her, nor sway his opinion of her in any way. I also knew, that if he was attracted to the type of girl who threw herself all over him like she did every single day that….again, that he was not the guy for me, so I didn’t have to worry about liking him.

This fact was starting to be confirmed to me.