Here’s Part Nine!
It’s a role reversal. Others constantly tried to make me laugh, like it was some sort of game they were going to win. I loved that, but not as much as I love those rare occasions when I’ll say or do something and he will actually laugh out loud. The only problem is that most of the time, when I’m trying to make him laugh, he doesn’t, and when he does laugh, I was being totally serious.
I finish up Sanctuary during lunch, shedding more than a few tears for Temple and even for Lee and Ruby before I close the book.
The rest of the day is torture—I’m bursting to call him, but instead I have to listen to my teachers rambling about things like Byron or the French Revolution (things I’d usually be interested in, but not today). My teachers don’t understand why I don’t raise my hand once.
I race to my phone. I clatter up the stairs and wait while his phone rings. I let my backpack slide off my shoulder, wrestling my book out of the outer pocket.
Listen, I demand, and I have a sharp intake of breath.
“In the pavilion a band in the horizon blue of the army played Massenet and Scriabin, and Berlioz like a thin coating of tortured Tschaikovsky on a slice of stale bread, while the twilight dissolved in wet gleams from the branches on the pavilion and the somber toadstools of umbrellas”—did you ever in your life think you would read a sentence like that?—“Rich and resonant the brasses crashed and died in the thick green twilight, rolling over them in rich sad waves….” I suck in a ragged breath, feeling my cheeks flush with excitement. “And that’s his selling out book!”
One minute, he’s silent, the next he’s laughing harder than I’ve ever heard him. He laughs, and I cannot tear my ear from the phone.
But this is not the reaction I was looking for. I tell him to shut up. Still laughing, he grabs my attention, between gasps, reassuring me that it is beautiful prose and that he’s laughing because I’m so cute and that he thinks it’s hot that I’m that passionate about something like that.
“Can I borrow it?” He asks, and maybe he doesn’t understand why, but I tell him all I want to do is kiss him. I tell him I’ll mail the book.