From My Untitled YA.......
“Apple Valley, I think you’ll find is a bit different than any place you’ve ever been before.” Devon didn’t laugh when she said it. In fact her voice was rather serious, and I wasn’t sure how to take it. “How do you like our little slice of America so far?” she asked as she opened a side door and began walking up the few stairs just outside it.
“It’s quiet.” That’s all I could come up with to say, and that did get a giggle out of her. I hadn’t been in town long enough to have much more of an opinion.
We walked across a patch of grass to a large oak and Devon tossed her bag on the ground at the base of the tree. She stretched and then sat crossed legged on the grass. The sun was shining and the tree provided a nice gentle breeze around us.
“Have a seat,” Devon said, and I sat down twisting my legs like a pretzel. “This is my favorite place at school.” She pulled a container of grapes from her pack, opened them, and offered me some. I shook my head and took out my own lunch. “I used to come here after school sometimes when I was a freshman and write. This tree, I swear it sparks my creativity.”
I took an apple from my own bag and bit into it. It made me think of Blake. “What do you write?” I asked Devon to take my mind off him.
“Poetry mostly,” she responded and put the container of grapes down. “Sometimes I dabble in fiction, but I haven’t found my niche with that yet.”
She took a wrap out of her bag and bit into it. The smell of the tuna fish made me realize just how hungry I really was. I dug into my own bag, pulling out my PB&J and savored the first bite.
I nodded, though I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant. “It’s really beautiful here,” I said taking in the view. “I can see why you chose this spot.” I heard footsteps coming up the hill just as Devon’s eyes looked up.
“Hey Blake,” she said, and I saw the spark of something behind her eyes as he approached us. “Have you met Elizabeth?”
He sat his bag on the ground beside me and nodded. “Yeah,” he said meeting my eyes. “How was your morning?”
“Okay,” I replied, suddenly all nerves as he moved his bag over and sat beside me. “Yours?”
“Slow.” He pulled a sandwich out of his bag and took a bite. “What about you, Devon?” he asked. “Have you managed to stay out of trouble?”
“Of course.” She beamed. “You have to remember, I don’t go looking for trouble. It just seems to fall at my feet sometimes.”
He laughed. “So, has Devon asked you to join her antisocial parade?”
Devon picked a grape out of her container and tossed it at him. “Of all people, you have no room to talk about me being antisocial.”
He caught the grape and popped it into his mouth. I sat in silence and continued to eat my sandwich. I could tell from the way they spoke to each other that the two of them had known each other a long time. I felt out of place listening to their banter. I finished my lunch, glanced at my watch, and then stood to gather my bag.
“Where are you going?” Blake rose to stand next to me. He put a hand on my shoulder. “You don’t have to run off.”
I noticed Devon watching us, and I didn’t need to make an enemy out of my new friend. It was obvious to me she had feelings for him that went deeper than friendship. I saw it in the way her eyes lit up when he came to join us, and how her smile widened just a little when he teased her.
“Lunch is over in five minutes,” I responded. “You might know your way around, but I’m still learning, and I’d rather not be late to my next class.”
“I can show you,” he said.
“Thanks, but I’ll find it on my own.” I turned to Devon. “Thanks for sharing your special place with me. I hope you’ll invite me back.” And because Blake still stood looking at me, I said, “I’ll see you in English.”