Coral Wick – Chapter 1 (Preview)

It was late June, and the last day of classes. The halls were filled with students laughing and smiling. Everyone was saying their goodbyes for the two month summer holiday before the new school year started.
Coral on the other hand stared into her now empty locker. It had once been filled with posters of celebrities and her friends at baseball get togethers.
“Hey, Coral what you staring at?” Corals best friend Mai asked.
“My soul,” Coral looked at her friend with confusing eyes, “I think?”
“Oh, come on, cheer up!” Mai gave Corals shoulder a playful shove. “I’m sure it won’t be as bad as mine.
Mai shivered outwardly. “Eighteen hour flight, and a whole summer break at my grandparents in Hokkaido.”
“I suppose, but you haven’t been around my parents lately.” Coral closed her locker for the last time this school semester.
“Oh,” Mai bit her lip and looked away. Her tell sign she wanted to avoid the subject she’d walked into.
“Have you seen Tory?” Coral asked.
Mai instantly perked up. “I think I saw him in the back talking with some of his friends!” A devilish grin crossed her slender face. “Are you going to confess?”
“Shh,” Coral’s face went red as a group of girls stopped talking and looked at her. “I don’t know. I mean I want to, but what if he doesn’t even know who I am?”
Mai shuffled herself between the accusing eyes and her friend. “Listen, there’s a reason for the last day of school is so special.”
“Summer break?” Coral asked.
“No silly!” Mai pulled her along the corridor until they were staring out the back doors of the school. “You can confess, and not be afraid what he says because you won’t see each other the next day.”
“I don’t know Mai.” Coral began twisting her backpack strap in her fingers. “What if he shoots me down?”
“Well,” Mai tilted her head to the side, giving it a thought, “At least you’ll know, and this summer you can find a hot boyfriend at the beach while I’m listening to my cousin play the flute.”
Coral flinched. Last year, Mai’s family had come here, and her cousin kept practicing the flute for a full day once.
“Go get him!” Mai gave Coral a hug. “I’ll see you at the end of the summer!”
“Miss you already!” Coral shouted after her.
Left alone, standing in an almost empty hallway, she took in a deep breath and pushed open the door.
Outside the hot sun blared down her causing her to second guess her actions. It was as if it was judging her. She walked over to the crowd of boys. Most of them were from other classes. Not knowing how to approach she stood off to the side.
Her hands became clammy as she waited. Slowly the boys began to disperse, but the faster her heart began to race.
“Just think of this as the final batter, and three people needed to touch the home base to win.” Coral said to herself.
“Yeah, I think that girl over there is waiting for you.” One of the guys said. “She’s been glancing over here for a while.”
Corals head shot up and turned a violent red. She wanted to run and hide as the embarrassment washed over her, but her feet wouldn’t move.
“I’ll see you later.” Tory said goodbye to the boy who had pointed her out.
Tory walked towards her and gave her a smile. Coral clutched her arm and stood there awkwardly.
“Hey, your Coral?” Tory stopped before her.
He knew her name! Coral’s heart sorrowed high.
“That’s me,” Coral gnawed her lip for something to carry on the conversation, “I like your shirt.”
She wanted to slap her forehead. I like your shirt? Really?
“Thanks, I got it last year from the carnival during the summer.” Tory smiled and put his hand in his pockets. “You going this summer?”
“The carnival?” Coral stuttered.
“Yeah,”
“No,”
“Oh,” His hopeful face fell and he looked down at the ground.
Crap, she’d been so focused on the fact that he was just talking to her that she was running her chance.
“I mean,” He lifted his head. “I don’t have anyone to go with. Mai is leaving for Japan.”
“Perfect,” Tory shook his head. “No, it’s not perfect, I mean good… no… do you want to go with me?”
Coral laughed. She’d never thought that he could be nervous too.
“I’d like that.” She replied.
“Great!” Tory grinned, and Coral’s stomach flipped.

Coral waved goodbye, as Tory road off on his bike. She clutched her phone to her chest, and thanked the heavens over and over.

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