“Janie,” Kimberly said tentatively. “Do you remember when I told you to get on with your life and forget about Travis?”
Janie looked shrewdly at her friend--or should she say Travis’ friend? “If you plan on telling me that Travis is currently in love with you, you best take your head start now because I can’t guarantee I won’t want to kill you,” she said jealously.
Kimberly hooted with laughter. “Me and Travis? Don’t be ridiculous! We’re like brother and sister. You know that,” she said dismissively.
“Doesn’t look like that from where I sit. You’re always hugging him and kissing him. You’re lucky I haven’t punched you yet,” Janie replied with a menacing scowl on her face.
“Truly, Janie, we’re just friends. I like...uh, someone else. But anyway, remember I told you to go out with other guys so Travis could get to know the real you and not the one always tongue tied and blushing whenever he came into the room?”
Janie looked at her incredulously and made an impatient “tiff” sound. “I should hope so. I’m not completely brain-dead from all this studying. What of it?” she said returning to her books.
“Well,” Kimberly replied slowly, a tiny smile tugging at the corners of her lips, “I think it worked.”
Janie, looking down at her textbook and adding something to her notes said, “What worked?”
“My plan. I think Travis likes you now,” Kimberly said unable to hide her excitement.
Janie blinked several times before saying, “Don’t tease me, Kimberly. I could very easily break your arm if I get the notion.”
“I know, but I’m not teasing,” she said.
Skeptical, Janie raised an eyebrow and asked, “All of a sudden?”
“Not so suddenly, no. I first noticed it when I casually said something about you and Larry having a fight. He seemed unduly interested and he asked what it was about. When I told him it was because Larry had made fun of him when he pulled a hamstring at the last soccer game and you got all pissy with him after that....”
“Pissy? I am never pissy. I decked him. You should have told Travis that,” Janie said, irritated.
“Whatever, the point is you should have seen the look on his face when I told him. It was like I’d just told him he was gonna be king for the day.”
“You’re exaggerating. It means nothing,” Janie replied, unimpressed.
“I’m not! But I didn’t tell you the rest. He said, “Well, that’s nothing to break up for.” And when I said you weren’t broken up yet, that you were just ticked off, his face fell down to his knees.”
“So! Don’t you see? He was hoping you and Larry had broken up! And when you finally did break up with Larry, Travis was almost skipping when he heard about it. I’m telling you, he likes you now, Janie,” Kimberly said earnestly.
“It means nothing. You’re just getting my hopes up for nothing. He has a new girlfriend every time I blink, each prettier than the last,” Janie said miserably. The frustration at seeing him going from one girl to the next was enough to make her scream. Never, not in all the years they’d known each other did he take a second look at her.
“Janie, ever since I suspected this I’ve been watching him carefully and guess what?” Kimberly said.
“You’ve decided he’s too cute to pass up and now you’re going for him,” she replied wearily.
“Oh, for cripe’s sake! I just told you we’re only ever gonna be friends,” Kimberly said exasperated. “I’ve seen Travis staring at you when he doesn’t know anyone’s watching.”
“What makes you think he’s staring at me?”
“I can tell. He gets this glazed look in his eyes and smiles absently and when you move he follows you with his eyes with such a look of longing. He got hit in the head the other day at practice because he was too busy watching you.”
“It’s soccer, Kim. You’re supposed hit the ball with your head. it’s called heading the ball,” Janie said exasperated. “Truly, you are pathetic when it comes to sports.”
“I very well might be, but when it comes to Travis I can read him like a nursery book. He wasn’t heading the ball. He got hit because you were talking to that really tall guy, what’s his name?”
“Yes, that’s it. He looked mighty jealous to me. Haven’t you noticed how he laughs at your jokes and wants to talk and be with you lately? And don’t you remember what happened last week? He said I should sit up front with Kevin because he was too tired to talk about the game with him. You know how your brother always wants to go over every single play ad nauseum,” she said rolling her eyes.
“Kevin’s very annoying that way. Even Travis can’t stand it. So what?” Janie said shrugging.
“But if he was so tired that he couldn’t talk to Kevin then why did he spend all that time talking with you? Huh? Tell me that! I heard it, Janie....well, heard some of it. I was desperately trying to keep Kevin talking to me so he wouldn’t interrupt you two in the back. You two were having yourselves a nice little chat, from what I heard, weren’t you? Laughing and joking,” Kimberly said smugly.
Janie recalled it quite well. She would never forget it in fact. It had her floating for days afterward but she didn’t think much of it until now.
The game had ended spectacularly when Kevin took a corner kick that went right over the goal keeper’s head winning the game just as the buzzer sounded. Kevin was exuberant with his single-handed win and just wouldn’t shut up about it.
“Did you see how the ball curved right in? It was as if it knew where I wanted it to go!” he shouted gleefully.
“You were wonderful, Kevin” Kimberly gushed. “Everybody said so, but that wasn’t the only thing you did the whole game. You were amazing throughout.”
Janie rolled her eyes. “Laying it on a bit thick, isn’t she?” she muttered to Travis who laughed.
“That’s cuz she likes him. Has since kindergarten. Don’t tell her I said so or she’ll kill me,” he whispered to her.
Then he whispered something to Kimberly and she nodded. Next thing Janie knew they switched places and he slipped into the backseat with her and Kimberly sat next to Kevin still praising him endlessly.
Janie couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed how he smiled at her, how close he sat next to her and how often he leaned toward her to speak as if to block out the others up front. “We did, I guess,” she slowly said, astonished. Could Kimberly be right? Did Travis like her now? It was too good to be true. But surely he was merely being friendly, wasn’t he?
Janie stared unseeingly at her book daring herself not to hope. It had been five very frustrating years. Why would Travis suddenly like her now? It didn’t seem possible.
“Oh, hi, Travis,” Kimberly said brightly, kicking Janie under the table.
Janie’s heart did a back flip. She chanced a glance up and saw him smiling and coming towards them. He dropped into the seat next to Kimberly but he was looking at Janie.
“Hi. What you girls up to?” he asked.
“I’ve been doing research for the project due next week and Janie has a massive amount of studying to do or she won’t pass mid-terms,” Kimberly said dramatically.
“Of course she will,” Travis said dismissively, “She’s smarter than anyone here.” He then smiled at her making her cheeks glow with joy.
Kimberly gave her a look that said, “Didn’t I tell you?”
“Thank you, Travis, but...but I’m not so sure Kimberly’s not got it right. This stuff’s making me crazy. The more I read it the more confusing it becomes,” Janie said breathlessly.
“Then maybe you need some time off studying. Travis, why don’t you take her for a bit of a break? Walk around the building for a few minutes. Better yet, get some ice cream. It’ll clear your head. Go on! Come on, Travis, get her out of here before her brain explodes!” Kimberly said eagerly. She actually pushed Travis out of the chair and forced Janie’s hand into his. Then she pushed them both out the door.
She stared after them as they walked down the hall still holding hands talking softly. She sighed happily, shook her head and muttered, “The things I do for love.”
“You talking to yourself?” Kevin said in her ear.
Unknown to her, he had come silently behind her and caught her by surprise. She shrieked and jumped a mile into the air making him howl with laughter. Big mistake on their part. The librarian, indignant at the interruption of her quiet, threw them both out of the library.
“Well, that was uncalled for. She didn’t have to throw me out. It was your fault I screamed.You scared me,” Kimberly whined.
“Sorry, but I was bored. Want to go somewhere with me?” Kevin said casually.
“Uh...like where?” she asked, astounded.
He grinned slowly, took the books out of her hands, put his arm around her waist and said, “Let’s wing it, shall we? Could be fun.”
Kimberly gulped. Had he finally figured out she was desperately in love with him? And more importantly, did he finally like her too? Had her frustration with love just ended as Janie’s had? Would miracles ever cease?