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Hawaiian Shirts

They all laughed. I didn't really find it to be too funny. I mean what's really funny about a Brian's haircut or Brandon's shirt. If they like it, it shouldn't be mocked, it should be appreciated. But they were laughing, and when they realized I wasn't, I pretended to chuckle. I thought what's the worse thing that could happen if I just chuckled along. I guess I feel like I don't fit in and, they all find me to be quite different from them because I don't laugh at someone's choice of hairstyle, words, actions or Hawaiian shirt that caught their eye sitting on racks of clothes at Target. I didn't speak as they all spoke about the teachers and classes they shared. I just looked around. I mostly was trying to find a secret door or an open window so whenever I felt down, I had an escape. Or at least a fantasy of an escape that I persuaded myself was realistic. My eyes met Brandon's bright orange Hawaiian shirt, and I found beauty in each color used and every form of contrast I could find. And I understood why he picked it out out of all the lonesome shirts waiting to be worn. My thoughts were interrupted. "What the fuck are the red and gray countries? I hate this fucking book." Amy was talking about the book that was assigned to us from our AP Literature class. It was 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck. And I found it quite odd to hear her talking badly about a book, because I was used to hearing her talking badly about other girls; the way they dressed or spoke. She was too quiet, she hung out with too many guys, she brags too much. I quoted the book aloud, "The dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes." I went on with my opinion. "It's beautiful." As I got up to walk away, I looked back at them and quickly looked down because for a second I swore I was wearing Brandon's brightly colored Hawaiian shirt, because they all spoke, looked at me with squinty satanic eyes and laughed. They laugh at my ideas and the way my mind works. Maybe someone finds the contrast in my words.

The Steadfast Blade

On Chasing Serendipity

Jared sat in an armchair, set at angle to the flickering fireplace. As Jamie rose from the sofa that created the rest of the angle, he glanced up, hazel eyes framed by a bare hint of gray in his dark hair. She smiled softly at his inquisitive glance, and shook her head. His lips twitched back, and she moved through the hallway, into the kitchen.

When Jamie returned, Jared had gone back to staring at the crackling fire. She set down a glass of wine onto the table to the right of the armchair, and he looked up at the sound of glass meeting wood.

"You only ever stare at the fire and be silent like that when something's on your mind." Jamie laid a hand on his shoulder for a moment, then raised it to caress his cheek. Jared leaned into the touch, closing his eyes, and they remained there for a silent moment. Then she continued, "What is it, babe?"

The endearment always brought a smile to Jared's face, and it did not fail this time. One side of Jared's mouth lifted. "I don't really know, Jamie."

She glanced at the piece of thick paper he grasped in the gap between two fingers. Jared had not once released it the whole evening, Jamie noticed. He caught her glance, and he gave another crooked expression, one shoulder rising and falling. "You know I never keep anything more serious than planned gifts or vacations a secret from you. This came today."

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