The clock across the room kept ticking as Sharon stood in the doorway of the study hall. Tarja sat at one of the tables on the other side of the hall, not noticing the pair of eyes that had been studying her for the last few minutes. Sharon could almost smell the leather, just the idea of it already woke the by now known feeling in her stomach and had frozen every muscle in her body. She just wanted to look her, admire her from a distance, but the weight on her back reminded her she’d come here for a reason.
Only when one of the other students packed his things and wanted to leave the room did Sharon move the free the doorway for him. Taking it as a sign she took one deep breath and finally crossed the hall, sitting down at the same table as Tarja. The other girl didn’t seem to notice her and suddenly Sharon wasn’t sure if she should disturb Tarja or not.
‘Just a second.’ Tarja interrupted her without looking up.
Sharon watched how the girls handwriting got smaller towards the end of the page and how she bit her lip in her concentration. Her last sentence ended right before she reached the end of the paper and with a smile she added the point to end the text before looking up.
‘I finished the third book.’ Sharon smiled, mentally slapping herself for the starting the conversation that way.
‘Oh, great! I can’t wait to read it!’
Sharon only smiled as she took the book from her bag and placed it on the table. She bit her lip as she looked at the cover of the book between her fingers, collecting all her courage before looking up at Tarja.
‘Actually, there’s also something I wanted to ask you.’
The words that were waiting on Sharon’s tongue disappeared as Tarja covered Sharon’s hand with her own. Once again Sharon was surprised by the warmth and softness, even though she knew she was probably just imagining it. Softly Tarja stroke her hand with her thumb, the gesture blocking every word that attempted to leave Sharon’s mouth. She tore her eyes off their hands and looked up. The English language slowly came back to her, as if they were written in Tarja’s smile. Oh how badly she wanted to read it with her own lips…
‘Charlotte… She’s doing a movie marathon tonight, Lord Of The Rings. Do you want to join us?’
‘Sure.’ Tarja smiled. ‘I enjoy spending time with you.’
Something in her smile changed. This wasn’t just a friendly smile anymore, the sparkle in her eyes wasn’t just enthusiasm anymore. Sharon pulled back her hand as she saw how Tarja slowly leaned closer towards her, her eyes set on Sharon’s lips.
‘I’ll see you this evening!’
The words sounded fake as she got up and swung her bag on her back again. Without looking back she left the study hall and let out a relieved sigh as she turned around the corner.
This was going to be a very long day, a day in which she discovered that everything was related to Tarja.
The T that was engraved into one of the wooden desks, that was the T of Tarja. The teacher was drinking tea when she entered the classroom, Tarja liked tea. The girl sitting in front of her was wearing a leather jacket, one that was quite similar to Tarja’s. Even when Sharon entered her bedroom she was convinced that she was still able to smell the girl’s scent until the one of Charlotte’s popcorn overpowered it. The smell almost seemed to attack her as Sharon opened the door of her bedroom, just like the pillow that hit her leg.
‘Are you going to help me with the pillow fort or are you just going to stand there?’
From then everything was a routine. Even before the three friends decided to live together for college they had found the most comfortable way to build a pillow fort. While Floor arranged the pillows, Sharon took care of the blankets and Charlotte made the food. It had always been like that and the old habit made Sharon forget about the girl that seemed to be living in her mind. Or, at least until a knock on the door sounded. Sharon’s heart was beating loudly in her chest, her hands shaking as she opened the door and returned the smile that greeted her.
‘I’m not too late, am I?’
‘No, you’re right on time.’ Sharon answered as she closed the door again. ‘The pillow fort is ready and it looks like Charlotte is done with the popcorn. Take a seat, I’ll be there in a second.’
She almost ran towards the switch and turned off the lights before sitting down next to Tarja. She was surprised to see the girls next to her were all holding a bowl with popcorn and she frowned when there was no trace of a fourth one.
‘Where’s my popcorn?’
‘Tarja is your guest.’ Charlotte answered while looking for the right settings on the DVD. ‘You share your food.’
Sharon rolled her eyes but her annoyance was replaced with nervousness once again as a piece of popcorn appeared in front of her face. Tarja looked at her with a smile, waiting for her to take the piece of candy and looking disappointed when she didn’t. Sharon just grabbed a handful from Tarja’s bowl and turned her attention to the movie, trying to ignore Tarja as much as possible.
Luckily she was more interested in this movie than in the previous one Charlotte had chosen. Sharon succeeded in keeping her eyes and attention on the screen instead of the girl next to her, until she wanted to take her fifth hand of popcorn. Instead of popcorn she grabbed a warm hand and the blood rushed to her cheeks as she quickly pulled back her hand from the bowl. She mumbled an apology without taking her eyes off the screen, determined not to look up for Tarja’s reaction.
Even though she didn’t dare to take any popcorn anymore, the bowl was empty halfway through the second movie. In the corner of her eye Sharon saw how Tarja placed the empty bowl on the ground and took a more comfortable position. Sharon’s heart immediately beat faster as Tarja’s knee ended up touching hers and she was sure her jeans would be on fire within a few minutes.
It only took a few minutes before Sharon’s eyes travelled to the clock on the wall. It was almost midnight, there were just a few more minutes left until the torture would be over. With the glance at the clock Tarja had settled herself in Sharon’s mind again, keeping her from focusing on the movie. Her eyes kept wandering from the clock to the girl to the movie and back to the clock. It seemed like the clock was moving in slow motion, the seconds lasted longer than they usually did, but once all the hands hand passed the 12 Sharon’s own hands were unable to stay still.
While one hand supported her body as she pushed herself up, the other cupped Tarja’s face. She pressed her lips on Tarja’s before she got the chance to change her mind, every nerve in her body suddenly more than awake. Her lips where so soft and the Tarja-scent was stronger than ever, but every muscle in the girl’s body seemed frozen. Slowly Sharon pulled back, afraid that she’d just made a terrible mistake. She felt everyone’s eyes on her, the movie played on like nothing had happened but the time seemed to stand still until Tarja spoke.
‘I thought you weren’t into girls?’
‘I’m into you…’
The fear left Sharon’s body as Tarja smiled and cupped her face. She would swear she’d never been happier than in the moment Tarja pulled her closer and kissed her, love written all over their lips. She wasn’t sure if the beating she heard was her own heart or Tarja’s but it had to be louder than the movie that was still playing.
‘I told you, two weeks.’
‘Actually,’ Sharon smiled as she pulled back. ‘it’s past midnight, the two weeks are over.’
Before Floor had the chance to react, Sharon and Tarja’s lips had found each other again. Sharon felt light-headed and Tarja’s lips tasted better than any wine she’d ever had. Her lungs almost hurt as they parted for air, but it gave Floor’s voice the chance to finally reach the two girls.
‘I give it two weeks before they have sex.’