Pidge Holt sighed, resting her head on her hands. She knew she ought to be paying attention to the teacher, but, in all honesty, she probably knew more about the subject anyway. Besides, something else had her attention.
Sitting three seats up and one to the right was Keith Kogane.
She couldn’t quite place when it was that she started staring at him during their shared classes. Prior to this, the two hadn’t exactly been friends. Keith was almost as smart as she was, and they were constantly butting heads and competing, ever since elementary school.
Things slowed down in middle school, but as soon as they both joined the academic decathlon team for their high school, the rivalry was back on. Only this time, they actually had to try to get along. They were teammates, after all.
Pidge blamed the hormones for her recent change in attitude towards the dark haired boy. It was all a part of puberty, messing with her head and feelings, telling her that she was attracted to him. Sure, he wasn’t a bad guy. Quiet and introverted, yes, but certainly not the punk he tried to look like. Pidge knew he volunteered at the local fire department with his dad. He had a scar on his face from an incident with the firehouse dogs to prove it. He also worked with special needs students as a peer tutor.
That just made everything more infuriating.
How could somebody she’s despised for so long be such a good person?
Keith eyed Pidge carefully. They weren’t friends. Not even close. But for whatever reason, it seemed that since the beginning of Senior Year, the two had been drawn to each other. He started noticing her staring at him from time to time. And, admittedly, he would do the same when he got the chance.
“Dude,” Lance said, taking a bite of his chicken leg and snapping Keith out of is reverie. “You should just talk to her.”
“What, like you do with Allura?”
“Look, Lance, you might be good at talking to girls, or people in general, but you know me, I just…can never get the words to come out, you know? It’s like I get stuck, like a broken record.”
“Well, your little crush just happens to be the biggest tech genius in the school.” Keith glared at him. “Next to you, of course! My point is, maybe she can fix what’s broken?”
“That was way too sappy, even for you.”
“I thought it was sweet! Like me.” Lance struck a pose, and Keith could have sworn he heard somebody swoon a few tables down.
“You’re such a dork.”
“The ladies like dorks, Keith.”
Keith sighed and turned back to Pidge. She was talking animatedly to her friend Hunk, who was good with robotics, but not as great when it came to English and other Language Arts subjects, so he’d chosen to stay off of the Academic Decathlon team. Keith smiled. Pidge had a tendency to flail her arms around as she talked and it was so…so…
“Ugh, you’re disgusting. If you want, I can talk to Hunk about setting you two up. He and I go way back.”
“What??? No. No no no—”
Keith grumbled as he straightened out his button-down shirt for the tenth time in the last five minutes. He couldn’t believe he’d let Lance talk him into this. It’s not like it was that romantic or anything. Lance told him to meet outside their local frozen yogurt joint. He wore a faded red button-down and jeans, taking care to make sure they didn’t have any holes.
Supposedly, Pidge didn’t know that he’d be there That was the plan, anyway. Keith didn’t know how well Hunk could keep a secret, but he seemed like the kind of guy who would crack under incredibly light pressure.
Keith heard footsteps awkwardly making their way towards him and straightened up, pulling his shirt straight again. Pidge walked up to the table, clearly off balance. She was wearing a nice layered lime green blouse and dark blue leggings. The boots she was wearing were evidently not hers and she wasn’t used to walking in something with that much heel. She practically fell into the seat across from him.
“Sorry I took so long to get here. Matt insisted I wear a dress. It’s a miracle I talked him down to this,” she said, looking at her blouse in disgust. “And the shoes are our moms. No matter what I did I couldn’t get him to let me wear sneakers.”
Keith was taken aback by her easy manner, but he slowly smiled. “I know what you mean. Lance wanted me to wear a suit. To a frozen yogurt joint. It was ridiculous.”
Pidge smiled. She’d been dreading this “blind date” ever since she’d gotten it out of Hunk that Keith was the one she was going with. Unfortunately, Matt had overheard that conversation and was determined to get her to that date by any means necessary.
They walked through the glass doors together. Pidge immediately shivered. She always forgot how cold this place was.
“Oh jeez, I should have brought a jacket. Sorry.”
Pidge smiled. He was trying.
She wasn’t supposed to be enjoying this.
She held back a curse and forced herself to ignore the butterflies in her stomach.
Keith, meanwhile, was rubbing his palms against his jeans, convinced that they’d be sweaty no matter what he did. Before this, he thought he hardly knew anything about Pidge. They were never friends. But as Lance interrogated him, he realized that he knew…a lot. It was embarrassing how much he knew about her, like how she wanted to be a pilot for NASA missions and was planning on going to an aerospace school after she graduated. Or how she cut her hair short because she wanted to look less girly, hoping it would get her more respect.
She held wisdom that was well beyond her years. That was what Keith admired most about her. It was like she thought on a completely different plane than everyone else. She was incredibly unique in all the best ways. She did everything her way. She didn’t conform to societal standards. She was always willing to fight for what she wanted.
“Keith? Are…you gonna get some froyo?”
Keith blinked a few times and looked down at Pidge, who had an eyebrow raised and had already filled her bowl. “Come on, doofus, you just take the paper bowl and fill it with whatever flavor you want.”
“I know how frozen yogurt works.”
“Really? Because it sure doesn’t look like it.”
Keith shot her a glare and grabbed a bowl, not even checking the flavor he put in it. He paid for both of their yogurts and they sat on the curb outside.
“So…frozen mango mixed with chocolate cake, huh?” Pidge asked, grinning.
Keith’s eyes widened and he looked down at the strange mixture of orange and brown in his bowl. “…don’t say it.”
“I’m gonna say it.”
“Don’t say it.”
“I’m gonna say it!”
Keith set down his frozen yogurt and looked Pidge in the eyes. “Pidge hold I swear if you say it…”
“I was ri—”
Pidge was…surprised, to say the least, when she was interrupted by his lips on hers. It was definitely an awkward kiss, too. It was evident that neither of them had experience. When Keith pulled away, they just looked at each other and both turned as bright red as Pidge’s strawberry cheesecake yogurt.