The Low Notes

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Authors: Kate Roth
asleep down the hall. With butterflies filling her stomach, she looked at it again.
    The most difficult part was deciding whether to believe it was real or not. Had Kevin actually hit send? Did he expect a response? If she didn’t respond, what would class be like the next day? There were so many complications. She was angry their romance had been stolen from her before it even began. The thought that it was all her fault and Kevin somehow hated her were eating her up inside. Still, seeing his face in class, in the halls, in her dreams even, gave her a thrill. The idea of waiting until her first period class cleared out, leaving the two of them alone in the room, gave way to fantasies she was too embarrassed to even write in a journal.
    His rough hands gripping her waist, the click of the door handle as she pushed in the lock. Each time she saw him, her mind went straight to thoughts of him clearing his desk with one swift sweep of his arm and laying her down upon it. Nina shook away the thoughts; her head spinning when the phone hummed in her hand, another chime ringing out.
    This is a terrible idea. But...conversation started.
    Her hand was trembling and her heart was beating loud in her ears. She no longer cared about it being a terrible idea. She didn't care about the consequences or the complications. So she started tapping away on the screen.

Chapter Fifteen
     
    The walk from Kevin’s kitchen to the living room was roughly fifteen steps. He’d been counting as he walked into the kitchen to get a beer then back to the living room to see if Nina had replied to his text yet. He’d already taken three trips and cracked open three beers, his mind reeling from the notion of what he'd just done. He knew it might’ve been the biggest mistake of his life but he didn’t care. Her words earlier gave him the strangest feeling. As if her apology made it all okay again. It wasn't true; he still wrestled with the right and wrong of the whole mess. But when he got home and reached into his pocket pulling out the pale blue card he'd been daydreaming over hours before, it dawned on him fate might have a hand in all of this.
    He tried to think of the reasons not to follow his heart. The job wasn’t that important to him. He might not even get hired on full time. It was a temporary thing. He was waiting on responses from three publishers who had his manuscript and though he knew he couldn’t get rich off of a book deal, it could end up being comparable to his salary for half a year. In fact, subconsciously, he was getting up and going to work each day not for the money but for Nina.
    Seeing her smile as she walked to her car with her friends in the afternoon, that’s what he wanted. Did she know he waited for her in the parking lot? Had she seen him passing by the lunchroom nonchalantly, peering in through the smudged glass walls at her? Did Nina know when they passed each other in the hallway he was strongly compelled to whisk her into the nearest empty classroom and put his hands on her?
    The refrigerator had been standing open for several minutes and he starred into it as if it were a black hole. He wasn’t hungry. He was anxious. He closed the stainless steel door and leaned back against the island that stood in the middle of the kitchen, staring at the gleaming appliance. Glancing down to his feet, he saw Sasha asleep on the hardwood floor next to her food dish. He smiled, watching her lips and whiskers twitch as she dreamed.
    From the living room came a quiet noise Kevin recognized immediately--the glorious ding of a text message. His stomach fluttered as he slowly took the fifteen steps.
    He bounced toward the coffee table in two giant leaps and clicked to open the message. Shutting his eyes for a moment, he breathed in and prepared himself for the possible outcomes. She could hate him, think he was creep, or she could really want to have the conversation she mentioned earlier. Oddly, he didn’t know which of the three

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