# 9

My eyes begin to linger longer than they should
I Should Go – Levi Kreis


It's not like him to feel this way; so unbelievably distracted just by her walking past. And when he sinks into this fantasy world (a world where she might just see him) it takes a while for him to snap back out of it.

Sometimes he wonders if Sawyer can see right through him. The conman, as of late, has somehow managed to increase the number of smirks and quips he's sent his way. And he wonders whether it'll just be another joke to add to the many; the fat guy still hasn't lost any weight, the fat guy can't keep his mouth shut, the fat guy has a crush on the cute blonde…

He feels like one colossal joke (pun definitely intended). Sometimes it gets him down, to the point where even the ranch dressing doesn't appeal to him. Long walks sometimes help, but he usually ends up running into someone who ends up making him feel worse, although that's probably not their intention. It's a natural assumption to think that the only possible reasons the largest guy in camp is out in the jungle is due to him being lost, or trying to locate more food.

She walks past now, his eyes following her as she wanders over to look through some spare luggage. She picks up a shirt and examines it, the tiniest of satisfied smiles crossing her face as she holds it up against her. Without even realizing it, he mirrors her smile. He's reminded of that scene in the Disney version of Tarzan, the scene where Tarzan and the gorilla mother compare hands. It's the same sense of realization of knowing they are from two different worlds, the same sense of not fitting in yet desperate to try.

His eyes linger on her a little too long because her eyes slowly rise upwards, probably due to the fact she's cottoned on to the not so subtle fact someone is watching her. He turns away a little too quickly, desperate to try and pretend he's doing something else (something of value).

"Excuse me?"

Her quiet voice takes him by surprise; her soft, quiet tones are akin to that of a lullaby, something easily listened to over and over again. And, once again, his delusions of a future that'll never happen have dulled his senses. Somehow, in the space of a few seconds, she managed to cross the space between them, and completely catch him off guard.

"Er…. Hey," he says cautiously, giving her a futile wave. "You're one of those…taily chicks, right?"

"That a cute nickname you guys have given us?" she teases, kneeling beside him, his breath stolen in an instance by her very presence.

"Er….kind of," he admits. "Does it bug you? I can stop calling you it if you like."

She laughs melodiously, taking his hand and giving it a light squeeze.

"Relax," she commands. "I'm not Ana. I don't bite. My name is Libby."

"Libby." He savours the name, memorizes it. "I'm Hurley."

"Hurley." Her smile widens. "Nickname I presume?"

"Yeah, my real name is…" He pauses for thought (as if he has to think about what his real bloody name is!). "It's Hugo. But I prefer Hurley. Long story."

She nods, seeming genuinely interested in what he has to say. His eyes travel to hers, noticing the kindness and sincerity concealed there. His heart thrums like a hummingbird, each beat sending the blood rushing towards his face every time he utters a verbal comment her way.

"You wanna help me sort through some stuff? I figured I'd delve into all the leftover stuff, see if there's anything I can use," she enquired.

He's stunned into silence, afraid the yes that's surfacing on his tongue will explode out of him, effectively shattering whatever little dignity he possesses into the sky. He nods tightly, giving her his best (but shy) smile.

"Sure, sounds great," he mumbles, unable to say much more. It's hard enough trying to formulate complete sentences when she's around anyway, so he sticks to short, clipped sentences.

"Great!"

She looks genuinely pleased, although he can't in all good sense imagine why. Still, he staggers to his feet and she lightly grips his arm, maintaining a stream of chatter along the way, which has its benefits – other than saving him from talking (and making a fool out of himself) it gives him chance to sneak in the odd stare.

It's not often he's allowed himself to feel this way about a girl. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn't have a shot in hell with anyone, and being caught staring would've been considered as bad as leering.

But, for the first time in a long time, he feels lucky.

She's talking to him, and actually touching him without flinching, and even if it evolves into nothing more than friendship, he's actually happy to have someone voluntarily walk up towards him, with no dramatic news to impart, and actually want to give him more than just the time of day.

Around these parts, that kind of interaction is a rarity, at best.