Navy Thunder 4 Blue Water

Authors note: Told from Tori's point of view, during an English class. Invisible brownie points to whoever spots the reference to Rocky and Aisha!

Navy Thunder 4 Blue Water

There it is. I'm staring at it. And it's like this massive sink hole that I can't haul my eyes away from, despite the fact that there are about a billion other things in this class room, on this desk, that I could be looking at. About three hundred of them I should be looking at, in the form of the words on the page of 'To Kill a Mocking Bird', open in front of me. The class is supposed to be reading it. Well, the class is reading it. Just, I'm not. I'm still staring at it.

It's a little piece of graffiti, scratched into the right hand corner of my desk. Done with a compass needle, probably. What else could he have done it with? It doesn't stand out especially. There are a hundred other love hearts on this desk. It's an old desk. Board kids from ages past have sat with their compass needles and scratched everything from 'Sk8erz rock!' to 'the truth is out there.' into this surface. And there are initials all over it. Hearts with 'J4C' scratched into them, and one with 'the Ape loves the bear', which always made me wonder…

No, the heart I'm staring at, have been staring at for the past quarter hour or so, is not unusual. It doesn't stand out, and, for some reason, I'm glad it doesn't. Not that anyone would know that what's been etched into this piece of furniture for ever and ever, to face many, many more generations of bored kids and their books, is about me.

But I'm sure glad Dustin, Shane, Hunter and Cam don't have this classroom for English.

I still can't bring myself to look away from it. It's like this blazing red neon sign that's screaming 'look at me!' from the corner of my desk. Experimentally, I scrunch my eyes closed, blacking everything out, screwing up my eyelids until I see fireworks exploding in front of me. Then I open my eyes again.

Once the stars are gone, and my vision is no longer fizzing dangerously, I blink. But it's still there, still a glowing, screaming neon sign that make's my breath get all catchy and my heart speed up and my face get real hot.

Navy Thunder

4

Blue Water

To the untrained eye, this message, though cryptic, is harmless. But not to me. Not to any thunder, wind or samurai power ranger who happens to know what exactly is meant by 'navy thunder' and 'blue water', or rather, who.

I know it was Blake. He sat here last period, in this seat, at this desk. I know for a fact he had a compass in his pocket, and that he find's 'The Collin's guide the English Grammar System', as intensely boring as I do. And when you're bored, under these circumstances, well… it can be kinda fatal. He probably didn't realise what he had done before it was too late. It was probably an accident. He didn't mean to write it. He was just bored and scratched out the first thing to come into his mind.

But then, why did he go to the trouble of putting in our ranger colours, instead of  our initials?

And does he mean it, I wonder? I mean… I knew he kinda liked me. I may keep my own council about these things, but I'm not blind. What I mean, though, is does he really like me? In a strong kind of way? In the kind of way that makes his heart stop beating for a few seconds whenever I'm around? Because that's what he does to me…

Just on the off chance, I turn round slightly, and peek over my shoulder, where he's sat across the isle and behind me. He's not reading either. He's doodling around the edge of his page with a biro, his head wresting on his arms, folded over the edge of the desk. But he looks up, and catches my eye. This little grin splits his face, this knowing smile. He knows I've seen it. Which means he knew that I would see it, straight away. Which means he deliberately wrote it there so I would see it…

Oh man, that boyish grin of his is starting to make my heart do that nasty flippy thing in my chest.

Look away, Tori, I tell myself, firmly.

I remember when I was about thirteen. We, (Shane, Dustin and I,) always ended up hanging out around Storm Chargers, even before they got jobs there. Kelly wasn't even the manager back then, she was just working in the actual store, talking to customers and stuff. It was her dad who was running the place. She was something of a mentor to me. Not in the way Sensei was, still is, but a mentor of the big sister type. I have a little sister, but no older one, and I've never really gone to my mom for advice on 'being a girl'. So I went to Kelly for stuff like that. Anyway, I got a crush on this boy in my year…. Justin, I think his name was…. whatever, it was my first real crush and I really hadn't a clue what to do to get his attention. So I asked Kelly. Her advice still comes in handy today. I just used one of her tactics.

Pretend you don't see him, even if you know he knows you've seen him, and if you start to get all flustered or your face gets hot, look away.

So I do. Saving myself the embarrassment, and not giving him the satisfaction of seeing me blush, I turn away and pretend not to notice him. I toy with a strand of hair, deliberately ignoring him for a few minuets, taking a few deep breaths until I know all that extra blood has drained out of my face. Then I take the risk and peep round again.

He's still watching, waiting for me to look at him, looking rather pathetically hopeful. He looks like a puppy waiting to be thrown a bone.

My heart is melting…

I tap my finger to my lips, like I'm thinking, then wrinkle my nose at him, just slightly, because I know that drives him nuts. Ah, got him! Now he's looking away, head back down on the desk, hiding behind his book. I can just see the colour rising in his cheeks.

When he reappears, he actually straightens up slightly, and grins at me again, imitating my nose wrinkling act. I have to stifle a giggle. He looks completely ridiculous.

"Miss Hanson, there is a time and a place for flirting and this is neither!"

Oh god… the voice belongs to Miss Presley, our teacher, and if she said it any louder I think the kids down the hall would hear it too…

A scattering of giggles and sniggers can be heard across the class, and I don't need a mirror to know what shade my skin has just turned. Blake has buried himself in his arms again.

"You and your boyfriend can make eyes at each other during another class," Miss Presley continues, oblivious to the spiralling pit of hideous embarrassment she has just plunged me into, "but this one happens to be important! Now get back to work!"

Boyfriend?

I barely have time to nod before I duck back safely behind my book, wondering how I'll ever live this one down.

As I do so, it catches my eye again. That piece of graffiti which he scratched into my desk. It's still like a neon sign on the edge of my vision. I reach out and run a finger round the heart circling the two names. Strange, I never thought hearts were really Blake's style. Smiling, I take my pen and fill in the letters, colouring them pale blue and dark blue alternatively.

But, of course, it wasn't the heart and the letters that really made my heart stop and my breath catch when I first sat down at my desk today, although that was what I saw first. It was what Blake had etched underneath the heart that made me feel like I was about hyperventilate.

4EVER

The next day, as Blake sat down at his desk for English something in the corner of his desk caught his eye.

Looking closer, he realised with a dizzying spell to the heart, that what he was looking at was another love heart. He glanced up to see Tori sitting down at her desk with a satisfied smile on her face, pocketing what was most definitely a compass as the teacher came striding into the room.

Blue Water

4

Navy Thunder

ALWAYS