It's been a week since Bryce and Clay last spoke. Bryce constantly looked at his phone, impatiently waiting for a text. But there never was one.
As Monday morning hits, Bryce has decided it's time to cut the loss and move on. He'll get back to normal and forget everything, Clay Jensen.
He walks into school with a confident demeanor and multiple friends surrounding him, laughing, and smiling like everything is perfect.
That is until his eyes catch Clay standing at his locker, with cast and crutches.
"Hey. Gotta handle some project stuff. See ya in class." He says to his friends.
"Boo! Nerd!" Monty shouts as they continue walking and Bryce stops at Clay.
"Hey." Bryce feels his confidence shatter, nervous to say anything.
"Hey. Sorry I didn't text."
"Oh! No. It's fine. I didn't even realize."
"Oh ok. I was just going to say that my parents took my phone from me 'cause they wanted me to focus on 'healing and not on the internet', as they said. But I guess you don't care.
" Clay closes his locker and starts turning the other direction.
"Hey." Clay turns back. "I'm sorry." It physically hurts Bryce to say that. "I was being stupid." That hurt even more. "I just thought you didn't want to talk to me."
"I still haven't decided yet."
"Oh... okay... okay."
"Maybe... just maybe you can drive me home after school today. We do still need to work on our project."
"Yeah. Yeah." Bryce is getting excited, but quickly calms down and tries to act cool. "I guess that's fine."
"You're weird," Clay says before turning the other direction. "I'll meet you out front after school. Don't make me wait.
" Clay walks away with adrenaline rushing through his veins, he feels so confident and cool.
Bryce quickly snaps out of his daze and heads to class.
The second Clay steps out of the school doors he sees Bryce in his car waiting. He tries hard not to smile too much, doesn't want to let Bryce know how happy he is to see him.
He gets in the car without either of them saying a word. They drive off. They continue in silence for a while.
"Wanna stop and get some food? Something to drink?" Bryce breaks the silence.
"No. We should just finish the project."
"Okay. Sounds like a plan." Bryce has never felt this awkward and uncomfortable and has no idea why.
They arrive at Clay's house. Bryce grabs his and Clay's backpack.
"You don't need to carry my bag." Clay remarks as he gets out of the car.
"I know." They walk into the house.
"Is that you Clay?" Clay's mom yells from the other room.
"Yeah!" She walks in.
"Hey." Bryce is weirdly nervous. "Nice to meet you, Mrs. Jensen. I'm Bryce"
"Nice to meet you as well Bryce."
"We have a project we need to work on." Clay jumps in. "And it's going to take a while... so we should get started." Clay heads to the stairs.
"Oh. Yeah. Let me know if you guys need anything."
"Thank you," Bryce says as he follows Clay up the stairs.
"That was weird," Clay comments as they both enter his room and close the door. "What's wrong with you?" Clay laughs.
"Honestly... I have no idea." They both laugh together. "I swear. Ever since I saw you this morning I've felt so weird."
"Some people call that being nervous."
"I don't get nervous about anything." Bryce takes a seat on Clay's bed.
"Really?" Clay sits down next to Bryce on the bed, very close.
"I'm... I'm..." Bryce stammers.
"You're what?" Clay puts his hand on Bryce's leg.
"That's not funny." Bryce licks his lips.
"It is." Clay laughs and stands up, moving over to his desk chair.
"Let's get to work." Bryce chimes in, opening his backpack.
For the next two hours Bryce and Clay work on their project. They work on it in sync, with only a few times stopping to make intense eye contact.
"You're smarter than you let on, you know," Clay says randomly.
"I mean it in a good way. You always just act like a privileged jock who doesn't need to be smart. But you are."
"I feel like I was just complimented and insulted at the same time."
"You are smart." They both laugh.
"You're not as awkward and weird as you let on either."
"Really?" Clay is intrigued.
"Yeah. You're actually pretty confident once you open up. And you're kinda cool."
"That's high praise coming from the Bryce Walker."
" The Bryce Walker?"
"You know what I mean. You're the it kid at school. You basically run it."
"I guess... but it's not exactly what people think it is."
"How do you mean?" Clay drops his pencil, getting intrigued.
"Everyone's always looking at me. They always expect me to be one way. They expect me to do certain things and say certain things. They expect me to be the exact same every day. And some days...
some days I want to be different. I want to be someone other than the Bryce Walker."
"Wow. That's deep." They both laugh a little. "But seriously. You can be whoever you want. You shouldn't care what everyone at school thinks."
"It's not just the kids at school. It's my parents."
"Jensen!" Bryce is shocked by Clay.
"I just mean that..." Clay stops, thinking of what to say. "Think about it this way... When you turn 18 you are officially an adult and can do whatever you want.
You're on your own for the rest of your life. They're only in charge of you for 18 years of your entire life. And you've got a long life to live.
Why care about what they think about you? Do you think they care what you think about them?"
"Wow. Very wise Clay Jensen."
"I try." They laugh and then right then Bryce moves over and kisses Clay.
They continue kissing for a minute, their lips connecting like puzzle pieces, meant to be connected. Everything in this moment is perfect. Both of them are happy. Both of them are comfortable.
Both of them want this to last forever. Then Clay's bedroom door opens and the two separate as quickly as they possibly can.
"How's the project going?" Clay's mom appears.
"Great!" Clay smiles a ridiculously large smile.
"Great." His mom looks a little confused. "Did you want to stay for dinner Bryce? I'm making lasagna."
"That would be great. Thank you."
"Great. Good luck you guys." She closes the door, leaving.
"Did she see anything?" Clay whispers after hearing his mom walk down the stairs.
"I don't know."
"Oh my god!" Clay slams his head down to the desk.
"What happened to not caring what your parents think of you?" Clay looks up at Bryce and they both begin to laugh.
"Don't make me slap you." Clay sits up.
"Please do," Bryce smirks and they both begin to laugh.