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“Ok, so we’ve got a list of apartments that look like okay options, should we see if they’ve got tour times this weekend? I mean, we’ve got like two weeks till graduation, and we ought to move before, or right after then.” As he said this, he poured another cup of instant coffee. “Moving into an apartment is, surprisingly, a lot of work.” Angela didn’t seem to hear him as she stood stirring sugar into her 3rd cup of coffee and blearily staring at the wall clock, trying to focus her eyes enough to see the numbers, so he repeated himself. She jolted back to reality.

“Uhhhh, yeah, sure, how ’bout maybe we do that tomorrow. You should really be asleep.” She said nothing of herself, but it was clear that she was on the brink of passing out cold. She pushed her notebooks and phone into her backpack and tried to pick it up. Completely exhausted, she failed, and ended up sitting on the floor next to the desk staring at the wall.

“Okay, I think you should stay here at the library tonight, you’re in no state in which you could put up a tent.” He helped her set out a sleeping bag, and grabbed a couch pillow, which he put on the floor a few shelves away. She stared for a moment and then protested.

“Hey, why aren’t you going back to your dorm? It’s bad for your back, sleepin’ without a mattress, y’know. I’ll be fine, I promise.” She leaned back onto the couch and curled into one of the pillows. “I’ll be fine.”

“We’re on a college campus, and you’re really tired, with no dorm to retreat to if some creep decides to go after you. I’ll just stay here in case if that’s okay?” He hesitated, expecting her to tell him to leave.

“Okay, thanks!” She smiled, and then, as the lights in the library went out and the librarian closed up the doors, closed her eyes, and drifted to sleep. Adri rolled onto his back, staring at the ceiling and turning over the events of the recent month in his head. It was a lot to take in, but somehow, now when he looked back, he could remember things, and they weren’t all negative. Sure, there were some regrettable moments, like the time he spilled coffee on himself while studying with Angela, and the time he had tripped over his own feet while they were out walking to a nearby restaurant, but most of it was good, for the first time he could really remember. He was planning on moving in with his best friend that he kinda maybe sorta liked, which, now that he thought about it, would probably cause some problems. What if she stopped liking you? What if she never liked you? Maybe she’s only agreeing to this because of the guilt that’s been making her do everything! He sighed and threw his pillow down the row of shelves in frustration. Why would she like you at all? What on earth would make her do that? What reasons are there? He rolled over and stared at the rows of book titles, wishing he could sleep as his eyelids burned. It’s all gonna pass, he told himself. You’ll fall asleep, and in the morning, you won’t feel so bad, you won’t be so pathetic.

An hour later, Angela woke up, and, seeing Adri, sitting and staring emptily at the library wall, decided to go sit next to him. “Hey. What’s wrong?”

He shrugged. “Nothing. Just my brain, doing that thing it does, where it talks, and talks, and doesn’t shut up, and…” He trailed off. “I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong, I never do.”

She nodded slowly. “Okay. Okay. Well, I don’t think I can necessarily fix what’s making you sad right now, but if you want, I can sit with you, till you do feel better?” She put a hand on his shoulder. “I’m here for you, whenever you want me to be.”

He shrugged. “I guess that’d be okay.”

She scooted closer and put her arm around him. “It’s okay to not feel good sometimes, just so long as you remember that it’ll get better eventually.”

He leaned against her and closed his eyes. “Thanks.”

She smiled. “No problem.”

Chapter 6: Coffee Times Ten

Adri woke up and glanced over towards the couch. Not seeing Angela, he momentarily panicked, and then suddenly realized she was still asleep next to him. Careful not to wake her, he stood up and went to go make coffee. You don’t deserve her, his brain told him. He sighed and fished around in his bag. Thank goodness anti-depressants were a thing, he thought. He dumped the pills into his mouth and washed them down with watery instant coffee. Then he woke Angela up.

“Heya there sunshine, it’s like 9:30, I think you’ve got class starting up soon.” He poked her shoulder. “Hey. Wakey wakey, it’s morning.”

She rolled over, grumbling. “What sort of unholy time is it? I’ll kill you for waking me up.”

He smiled. “It’s 9:30.”

She shot up in an instant. “It’s 9:30!? I’ve got class!”

He handed her a cup of coffee and a granola bar and patted her on the back, ushering her to the door and passing her backpack to her. “I made you coffee, and here’s something for breakfast, now go knock em dead! Not literally. I gotta get to my own class, so see you later!” He flashed a grin, she kissed him on the cheek, and then she sprinted out the door, blushing.

As he rushed out the door after her to class, it suddenly fully sunk in what had happened. He struggled to hide a wide smile as he remembered how Angela had sat by his side till his brain stopped its incessant nagging, and he’d fallen asleep. As he combed over every detail, the class ran on, and for the majority of the lesson, he stared at the wall, absentmindedly doodling hearts in his notebook.

He was startled back into reality at the end of the day by the professor dismissing the final class, and the loud clamor of students filing out of their seats. He glanced down at his paper, and immediately upon being confronted by thousands of tiny hearts, tore the page out of the book and tossed it into the trash on his way out. Angela greeted him as he stepped out the door.

“Heyyy! How are ya’?” She handed him a piece of paper. “I did a sketch of you during class, it’s kinda dumb, but I was supposed to pick a subject for my quick portraits section of class, and you were the first person that came to mind.” She blushed slightly. “Anyways, shall we email those apartment viewings? We’ve got legit like a week before we’re going to be kicked off campus. Poor planning, amiright!?”

He nodded and glanced down at the drawing. “Wow, this is…” He searched for a proper adjective. “It’s amazing! You’re planning on being an artist?”

She laughed. “Nah, no way, this is just for fun. I’m just taking the class for extra credits so I don’t have to take a different really boring class.” She pointed at the paper. “That somehow turned out well, but my other drawings are pretty awful, look.” She pulled out a folder and flipped it open. Adri tried desperately to find something positive to say but was left at a loss for words.

Noticing his awkward silence, she shut the folder again. “Don’t worry about insulting me, I really couldn’t care less how good of an artist I am. Anyways, as I have already asked, shall we set up viewings for those apartments?”

“Yeah, sure. To the library!” He spun with a dramatic flair in the direction of the library, and they started walking.

She rushed after him, grabbing his hand as she caught up. “So, how was class?”  She tried to sound casual, as her heart sped up to what she was sure was the speed of light. Adri stuttered for a few seconds, before regaining English. “Uh, pretty boring like always.” Internally, his mind raced at a million miles a minute, trying to figure out what on earth was happening, and if this was a dream or a nightmare, or if reality was all just an illusion and none of anything was ever happening, like in that one episode of Doctor Who he saw once.

“Cool,” she said cheerily. “What subject is that class again?”

His mind blanked. What class was it? Dammit, if only he had actually paid attention, and if only the fact that Angela was holding his hand wasn’t so darn distracting. “Uhhh, I think it was, uh, math? I’m not sure, I wasn’t really paying attention.”

She laughed. Dagnabbit, why did she have such a pretty laugh! Who gave her permission to be so cute! Should be illegal. As these thoughts ran through Adri’s head, they arrived at the library.

“Alrighty, let’s get cracking! Do you have anything planned on Saturday? I’m available for apartment touring then until like 6, cause I’m meeting a friend for coffee then, but any other time that day works.” She pulled up the site and opened the contact form.

Adri shrugged. “Yeah, Saturday works. You seem awfully excited about this apartment thing.” He plopped into the seat next to her and pointed at the list of apartments. “How about we schedule these two in the morning, break for lunch, and then view these other two before you have to go meet your friend?”

Angela nodded, and hurriedly typed out the request. “Okay, so we’ve theoretically got those scheduled for tomorrow!”

Adri froze. “Wait, it’s Friday already? Wow.”

Angela nodded, and pushed her chair away from the computer, sending herself spinning in circles towards the nearest shelf. Adri quickly reached over and grabbed it before she crashed into it. Unfortunately, it was poorly timed, and the two of them ended up on the floor in a tangled heap of limbs and chairs.

“Oops!” Angela pushed the chair off of Adri. “Are you okay?!” She tried not to laugh as he tried to untangle his pants leg from the wheel of the chair.

He laughed and with a final tug, separated the chair from the denim. “I’m fine, I’m fine. Let’s not go flying towards bookshelves on a regular basis though.” He helped her up and pushed the chairs back to the desks. Okay, now’s the time, he told himself. Now or never. “We don’t have any classes for the rest of today, would you maybe like to go get coffee, or a movie, or something, like a date maybe?” He trailed off awkwardly. You blew it, his brain yelled at him. Totally blew it. What if she doesn’t like you? Then your friendship is ruined!

Angela glanced up. “A date? Why?”

Oh crap. Well, might as well be honest for once in your life, here goes nothing! He cleared his throat. “Because I kinda maybe like you a lot and I was really hoping you maybe liked me too?” He covered his face with his hands, his face feeling like it was on fire.

Well, nothing to do now but PANIC, his body decided, as his heart rate shot through the ceiling. I agree, said his lungs, overachieving by breathing approximately a million times faster, and doing exactly 0.3 times the work. His brain was too occupied with analyzing all the ways his life was going to be ruined to provide a comment.

“Oh! Uh, well, um, I,” she blushed and tried to figure out what to say. “I like you too, I guess.” She released a stream of mental curse words. Whether they were celebratory or derogative couldn’t accurately be determined. “Where were you thinking we’d go for the date?” Her voice decided that now was the exact perfect time to totally give up.

“I don’t know, how’s dinner sound?” He scuffed at the floor with his shoe, desperately wishing it would open up and swallow him so he could escape the awkward conversation.

Angela nodded. “Sure, where and when?”

Crap. He hadn’t thought he’d get this far, and thus he had no plan. “There’s a buffet place down the street from campus, and it’s pretty much 6-o-clock now, so we could go now if you don’t mind?”

“Sure, sounds good!” Angela’s voice had gone a noticeable bit higher than normal. “Lemme just go change quick!” She grabbed her backpack and darted into the nearest bathroom, her face cherry red. Inside the bathroom, she frantically rummaged for her barely used makeup bag and a dress that she hoped to everything would still fit.

Outside the bathroom, Adri paced in anxious circles, unsure if he was overwhelmingly happy or insanely, insanely nervous. You’re gonna mess everything up. You’re gonna just mess it all up by tripping and spilling something or saying something stupid, and she’s just gonna never talk to you again, his brain whispered. He stared at the ceiling and told it to shut up. It decided on a different approach. This is just a pity date. She’s only saying yes because she’s worried you’ll get worse if she says no. This argument would have stuck, if not for the fact that at that moment, Angela stepped out of the bathroom, wearing a button-up, jeans, and poorly applied lipstick.

“Sorry, the dress I had didn’t fit very well, this was the next best thing I had.” She swung her backpack over her shoulder. “Shall we go?”

Adri pulled a napkin off the coffee table and handed it to her. “Uh, your lipstick, it’s a bit…” He paused. “Smeared?”

Her blush, which had mostly disappeared, made an encore appearance, and she wiped off the lipstick. “It’s been a while since I’ve actually dressed up for anything, sorry.”

He shrugged. “You look great! You don’t need to wear makeup unless you want you, you look amazing either way. Shall we go? I’ve heard this buffet has really good desserts. Also, I can distract the waiters if you want to smuggle home an extra meal or so in a container.” He grinned, slowly regaining his ability to socially function, and went to put an arm around her shoulder, only to discover that she was slightly too tall for it to be comfortable. “Wait, are you wearing heels?”

She grinned. “Yep! I’m taller than you now!” She poked him in the shoulder playfully. “Feels great finally being tall!”

He laughed and ushered her out the door.