I had five seconds of absolute exhilaration while flying through the air, before I crashed and slid along the grimy subway underpass. I finally stopped in a puddle of “who knows what” and lay stunned.
The boys followed me down. None of them missed the turn. I sat up, knowing what was coming. Bobby didn’t disappoint as he taunted, “You totally biffed that turn, Jules. Just proves girls will never beat us dudes at BMX.” Bobby tried to be cool, but wasn’t.
I ignored him. Instead, my eyes found Steve. Taller and lankier than the others, he was new to the bike group, but rode the same school bus as me. I had really liked him. Well, up until now, when he looked away from me.
Eventually, they tired of teasing me and left. Still shaky, I stood and leaned against the wall, closing my eyes. A squeak of brakes made me open them. Steve had returned.
I glared. “Did you come back to gloat?” I tried to sound tough, but my voice wavered.
“No, Jules, I wanted to be sure you were okay. That was some crazy thing you did.” There was admiration in his voice, but I wasn’t ready to forgive him, yet.
He leaned his bike against the wall and slowly walked over to me, studying my face. He got so close; I could see the yellow flecks in his hazel eyes and the soft blond fuzz on his face. I wanted to touch the golden-brown hair escaping his helmet, but clinched my hands instead.
“What do you want, Steve?” I tried to move forward, but he didn’t give me space.
Instead, he gently touched my cheek. It hurt and I flinched, but he didn’t notice. Still staring into my eyes, his voice was low, almost a whisper. “You’ve got the prettiest eyes, Jules. They remind me of flowers growing in my mother’s garden. I don’t know their name, but your eyes are the same color of blue.” His eyes drifted down to my mouth and my stomach flip-flopped.
He leaned closer. His lips almost touched mine. A car horn made us both jump.
Steve shook his head and stepped back. His face turned bright red as he said, “You’re lucky your face is just bruised, given the air you took.”
Reeling from the almost kiss, I was silent. He lifted my bike, checking it. “Well, the front wheel is bent.”
I looked at it and groaned. “Mom is going to kill me.”
“Don’t tell her. My dad can fix this in a few days.” Steve smiled, showing a dimple in his cheek I’d never noticed before. I desperately wanted him to finish the promise of his kiss.
Steve gave me his bike to push. He carried mine. As we walked, he said, “Come to the bike park this Saturday, okay? I promise to teach you some tricks that will make Bobby jealous.”
I smiled. I planned on making him keep that promise and the other one, too.
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Written for the Light and Shade Challenge, Monday 7 July 2014