[...] Yet somehow, that joke made her tear up.
Katerina rarely cries. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever remembered her eyes shedding much moisture at all, save for the occasional yawn and such that make your eyes wet naturally. She was also a much better crier at funerals than I was.
Of course, there’s the other exception of the ball.
Things surely have changed over the past few months.
Katerina raced outside, sprinting in the direction of home. Mr. Maulkner looked at me, bewildered, probably a reflection of my own expression right now. “I’ll pay later, Mr. Maulkner!” was all I left him with before I ran down the street, following Katerina.
(Interjection by author: will not be in actual text: Mr. Maulkner is the owner of the restaurant where the last scene had taken place in, and is very friendly towards all his customers, especially towards kids. Our protagonists visit the cafe often.)
I definitely wasn’t prepared for a run after eating snacks and wearing winter clothes. Just moments ago the snow was welcoming and had created some pleasing scenery, but now it was quite the disturbance. The thing was, I was still taller than Kat by a few inches, and crying automatically depletes your energy levels.
She turned a couple of corners, trying to get away from me. Yet I knew the street plans of Manhattan nearly by heart. Given the grid- shaped outlines, it hadn't been hard.
A couple more turns, and I was quickly gaining on her. We had come out to 7th Avenue, and there were loads of people on the street. I had to maneuver between quite a lot of people, all of them giving that incredulous look as if they've never seen a person run before.
Katerina kept running, tears flying from her eyes. We were getting a lot more attention than I wanted.
Maybe she had sensed it too, and she soon turned onto a smaller street, though still a busy one.
She kept running, but a lot slower now, and I finally caught up to her and grabbed her by the shoulder.
She writhed and tried to twist away, but I had quite the iron grip and pulled her towards me. "What's wrong?" I asked, but she only shook her head and tried to run away.
Her face was a mess of tears and snot. I rubbed some of it away, then asked the same question again. I got the same response from her. She only seemed to cry even more.
She wasn't going to talk, so I just pulled her closer in a hug and let her cry on my chest.
Katerina & Luke When the dams break
I couldn't hold it in anymore, and I sobbed all over Luke's jacket. It all spilled out from me like water bursting out of a dam. I told him about the bullying, Jonathan and Kane at home, and how I almost fell in love with Julian.
He listened and stayed silent, rubbing my head once in a while, and hugged me even closer. He kissed me on the top of my head and whispered, "Everything will be okay, Kat. Everything will be okay."
It probably wasn't the best time, but I blushed and dug my face deeper into his jacket. The water had pretty much flowed out by now. I looked up at him, and he grinned back at me. Classic.
I guess grinning wasn't the best course of action, but she smiled too, and the tears stopped coming. I thought about what Alexandra said the other day, how if I liked her, I had to get her before someone else, like this Julian she was talking about, got to her.
And I admit: she is cute. There was barely a flaw to be found on her face, and her body was just the right proportions, tall yet moderately skinny. Her grades were good, and she was talented. Even Mom couldn't have objected if I liked her.
Maybe Alexandra was right.
No way. No way. Luke just asked me if I liked him.
No way. No way. She said yes.
It was almost magnetic. Like something was pulling us together when we kissed.
An unspoken agreement was made, and we both leaned towards each other.
His lips were soft and full to the touch, and his smell reminded me of the wilderness. As the movies always said, we had chemistry.
There were tons of passerby looking at us, and a few cheering us on, but I couldn't care less. Her lips were cold from the crying and running, but I could feel both of our faces burning hot.
We held like that for a long time, and finally pulled apart when we couldn't breathe. He laughed, and then I laughed.
It was my first kiss, and the best one I could have. But it was getting hard to breathe and I remembered I still needed to pay Mr. Maulker, so we stopped and walked back to his cafe. Somewhere along the way, I grabbed her hand, and she held on tight.