Outside of Mr.
McKlellin’s room we stopped. I stared down at the floor as the boy’s hand dropped
to his side. “I don’t really know your name,” I admitted, embarrassed. A
beautiful, crooked smile flashed across his face.
“My bad,” he said, eyes twinkling.
“I should have introduced myself sooner. But I’m going to be mean, Hazel,” he
paused, the twinkle in his eye looking slightly wicked. “I’m going to make you
guess my name.”
“What?” I replied, caught off guard.
“I want to see what you’ll come up with,” he laughed, leaning against the door frame casually. “What kind of a person do I look like to you? Am I a Toby? Or a Clarence? Stanley? Because if you guess any of those names, I’ll know you’re not into guys like me and I’ll leave you alone.”
My cheeks flushed crimson.
“Are you flirting with me?” I
blurted out, mentally cursing my lack of feminine wiles.
“Not if you think my name is Toby,”
he replied with a wink.
A wink? Seriously?
“Well, I guess I can rule out Toby,
Clarence, and Stanley…” I said, ruefully engaging in the game as my carefully
built wall crumbled slightly under the intensity of Alek’s vivid gaze.
Where had that come from?
I felt the same, eerie sense of
familiarity that had washed over me when I had first laid eyes on the boy; a
tingling through my veins that both excited and terrified me.
“You look like you’ve picked a
name,” the boy said, his grin teasing. “What’ll it be, Hazel Anderson? Take a
I hesitated, tasting the name in my
I looked the boy up and down, from
his slightly scuffed jeans to his messy, ebony hair.
“Your name is Alek,” I said, my
voice surprisingly confident. The grin on the boy’s face faltered slightly, his
shoulder slipping down the doorframe in shock.
“Oh shoot, I’ve offended you,” I
muttered, running my hands through my hair in chagrin.
“No, that’s not it at all!” he
replied, a crooked grin slowly spreading across his face. “You must either be a
psychic, or really, really lucky.”
“No way…” I breathed, my heart
pounding like I had just won the lottery. “I actually guessed it? Your name
really is Alek?”
“Unless you hate it, of course,” he
grinned, “in which case I’ll gladly change it. ‘Call me but love, and I’ll be
new baptiz’d,’ and all that.”
“Did you just quote Romeo and Juliet?” I asked, my eyes
“It’s not a problem, is it?” he
answered with another wink.
“I’ll let you know,” I said with a
tentative smile, pushing the classroom door open as the bell sounded loudly