Devon spotted Madeleine right away. He broke into a sprightly jog across the school front yard. He was oblivious to the people lounging on the grass. He skipped over them with ease and made a bee line to Madeleine. She didn’t see, nor hear him approaching. Madeleine wore huge pink and white headphones that sat on top of her head with a cord that ran into the side pocket of her contrasting red and black plaid backpack. Devon reached Madeleine quickly and tapped on the arm nearest him firmly, with enthusiasm. “Ow!” Madeleine immediately jumped back and instinctively slapped Devon on his arm. “What the…what is wrong with you?” She rubbed her aching arm and grimaced.
“Oh man. Mads I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…Shoot. I was just so excited to see you.” Madeleine glared at Devon. Her expression was frozen in displeasure.
“Is that how you greet someone you’re excited to see? Geez! I’m sure I’m bruised.” Madeleine’s face scrunched up even more from the pain. Devon drew close to her and attempted to examine her arm. “Don’t touch me!” Madeleine hopped backwards, one step away from Devon. His lips formed a frown and his forehead wrinkled. Devon dropped his hands to his sides in defeat.
“Mads, I’m really sorry. I just…I just…Well, what’s being going on with you? Why have you been avoiding me? A silly grin took shape on Devon’s face. “You know it’s just plain rude to ignore texts and not return phone calls, right?” Madeleine looked into Devon’s face. There she found a sweet smile and immediately became entranced by the soft pool of big bright brown eyes. After a long five seconds Madeleine shaked her head quickly and returned to the here and now.
“I…um…I have…I have been busy.” Madeleine found her voice, straightened her crooked posture and adjusted her headphones to fit firmly on her head again. “Look, I have to go.” Madeleine put one foot forward . She attempted to get away. Devon carefully touched her arm.
“Wait. You’re doing it again. You’re running off…” Devon leaped forward and stood in front of Madeleine, facing her. He searched her face quickly, sighed and dropped his shoulders. “Madeleine, what’s really going on?” Madeleine looked past Devon. She gazed at students going in and out the building.
“Devon, I have to go. I have a meeting with my counselor now.” She forced herself to be free of emotion and appear matter-of-fact but her body trembled a little from the effort. Devon slid over slightly to his left blocking Madeleine’s line of vision. He began to form a stooping position and looked up into her face. Madeleine felt Devon’s breath on her face. He’s so close. She looked down at him. Her face appeared stern but only barely camouflaged a smile, struggling to stay hidden. “I do…I do really have to go.” Her tone was soft and a smile began to peek out from behind her tough exterior.
“There it is! I see the Mads I know. I knew my pal was still in there.” Devon flashed a wide grin. Madeleine’s stomach flipped at the sight of it. She advanced forward again. Devon quickly grabbed her wrist, but with the utmost careful dexterity so not to hurt her again. “Can we talk…please. Can we settle this Mads? Whatever it is.” Madeleine sighed loudly as she dropped her head. She knew this day would come, but was she ready for it? Was she ready to confront the person who was responsible for so many frightening and unexplained emotions that were at war within her? She slowly raised her head again.
“Okay Devon. Okay. Let’s settle this.”