I push through the crowded hallway, trying to reach my locker in one piece. The halls are buzzing with students who are excited to leave school for their summer break. For some, like myself, it's their last year of high school.

Adulthood doesn't sound fun but high school wasn't that much fun either.

"Are you meeting Alejandro today?" Yasmeen asks as she leans against the locker beside mine.

I nod, "He asked me to meet him at the coffee shop across the school."

"He seemed a bit distant in class today. Barely spoke to me," she mumbles.

It's not unusual for Alejandro to not converse with people but he can hold a conversation with Yasmeen and me pretty well.

"Maybe our senior year finally made him crack," Yasmeen jokes.

"With his grades, I wouldn't care if I cracked because at least my report card would be glowing," I sigh.

"Ugh, don't remind me. If my parents realize my average is 89% this year and not 95%, they might actually disown me," she groans.

"I swear, if I hear you complain about your 89% average one more time, I'll backhand slap you," I make a pouty-angry face.

"Back to Alejandro..." She quickly changes the topic. "I forgot to mention, he said to let you know that he'll be in a hurry after school."

"He did seem a little anxious in the last few days... I wonder why," I say.

"Do you plan on ever confessing your undying love for him that you've been holding onto for the last three years?" Yasmeen suddenly asks.

"Do you ever plan on letting me live peacefully without bringing this up every 30 seconds?" I frown.

"I don't bring this up every 30 seconds, I bring it up every 15 seconds," she clarifies, as if that makes a difference. "Come on, Zara! You two obviously like each other! Just let it off of your chest!"

"It's not that easy, Yaz. It could ruin our friendship. Besides, he's not even Muslim. Where would this confession lead?" I try to state.

"Oh, I thought you'd convince him to revert and get hitched," she says casually.

"It's so weird... sometimes I think about it. I think about how I should just confess, whether it leads to anything or not. The feeling has been weighing me down recently," I groan.

"Try today! It's the last day of senior year, make it memorable!" Yasmeen has too much enthusiasm.

"I might just..." I think out loud.

"That's my girl!" She pats my back. "Remember when everyone found Alejandro to be extremely intimidating?"

"You're acting like they don't find him intimidating anymore," I laugh.

"You're right, let me rephrase that," she says.

"Remember when we found Alejandro to be extremely intimidating? Ah, the good ol' days."

"Yes, I remember. I almost cried the first time he spoke to me because he sounded so... domineering," I think back.

"To be honest, he still scares me sometimes. Something about him is... permanently frightening," she says.

"Come to think of it, it's been three years since we've known him, right? He's been here since sophomore year, yet we barely know anything about him besides the basic things," I start to wonder.

"Those basic things were enough for you to fall madly in love with him. Plus, it didn't hurt that he looks like he jumped straight out of a Vogue magazine cover," she smirks.

"Yasmeen!" I frown.

"What? Did I lie?" Her smirk widens.

I start to get flustered as Yasmeen begins to giggle.

"I know I shouldn't encourage it but you two would be the cutest! You're so adorable and he's so edgy; a perfect match," she squeals.

"Okay, that's enough. My heart doesn't appreciate the encouragement that will only lead to disappointment," I sigh.

"You're such a Negative Nancy," she frowns. "Anyways, I'll drop you off at the coffee shop and wait for you outside."

"Are you sure? I could bus home," I suggest.

"Yes, I'm sure," she nods. "Besides, I want to hear the tea while it's still fresh and hot, which means I'll hear it the second you leave the coffee shop while I'm driving you home!"

"You're so nosey, I love you!" I smile.

"You act like you won't be this nosey if this was happening to me," she squints her eyes at me.

"I'd be even more nosey," I admit.

"Exactly," she laughs.

• • •

"I'm nervous," I say as I rub the palm of my hand.

"You'll be fine. It's our last day of senior year. Make it memorable! That was our plan!" Yasmeen says encouragingly.

"You're always telling me to confess but you never confessed," I raise a brow.

"You want me to confess to who? A tree? You know I don't have a crush currently. Especially, not one that I've had for over three years," she states.

"Okay, okay. I'm going!" I say as I quickly get out of the car. "I'll be back in about 10-15 minutes!"

"Don't worry! Take your time, lovebird!" Yasmeen giggles.

Once I enter the coffee shop, I see Alejandro sitting by the window dressed in a black hoodie and sweatpants. He always dressed very low-key, never bringing too much attention to himself. Little did he know, his face brought enough attention. Though everyone is intimated by him, there's no doubting that he's gorgeous. His chiseled features compliment his sharp, cold grey eyes. His cheekbones are a gift from God and his jawline is as sharp as a new knife.

Even though he hides under large hoodies, it's obvious that he's extremely well-built underneath. Even at a glance, his hands are just as intimidating. The size of them alone can make someone uneasy, along with the long, slender fingers adding to the shape. The prominent veins running along his arm also add to some of the attractiveness of his arms alone. Am I drooling over a man's limbs? Yes, I am. Give me a break, I've been eyeing this man for three whole years.

He even looks a little older for his age. When he enrolled in sophomore year, he looked like a senior. He was about 6'1 or 6'2, which is extremely tall for his age. My 5'4 self looked like a small figurine beside him. For a while, many of us thought either he was re-doing high school because he failed or because he never completed it in the first place. But turns out, he was our age. Still, it was hard to believe, however, everyone got used to it pretty quickly.

"Alejandro! Hey!" I wave at him while walking toward his table. He looks up at me and his gaze alone stops me in my tracks for just a split second. Something about him today seems darker... the aura around him is almost... unsettling. He doesn't smile back, neither does he wave. I take a seat in front of him, trying to not lose my composure.

"Did you want to talk about something important?" I ask.

He nods, "I'm leaving."

My eyes widen. "Leaving? Leaving where?"

"Just... leaving," he answers vaguely, just as he always does as if he's hiding some big secret.

"Are you coming back?" I ask.

"I don't know. Chances are that we'll never see each other again," his words are always so short and abrupt.

"Oh," my heart stings at his words. "Is that what you wanted to tell me?"

He looks out the window for a bit, "I have something I want to give you."

He pulls out a dark, almost black ring with a medium-sized red gemstone placed right in the center. He gently grabs my left hand, hesitating at his actions for a second, and slips it onto my ring finger. My heart begins to hammer against my chest at the smallest touch of his skin. Once I look down at the ring at a closer angle, the band of it is a dragon that hooks onto the gem from the left side, while its tail hooks onto the other side of the gem, creating the circle.

"It's... beautiful," and looks expensive. "I couldn't possibly accept this."

"I would appreciate it if you did accept it," he asserts.

Again, there's no real explanation as to why he's giving me this or what's on his mind.

"I have to go," he says suddenly.

"Right now?" We've barely exchanged a sentence.

He nods, quickly standing up to walk around our booth.

"Wait," I grab the end of his sleeve.

It's now or literally never.

"I have something to say before you go," my voice is a whisper. He looks right into my eyes, making my heart skip too many beats. I look away as my cheeks begin to turn pink.

"I—I like you!" I blurt out. "I've had a crush on you for years but honestly, I never intended on acting on it. Sometimes it feels like it's more than a crush but it doesn't matter anymore. I just wanted to get it off my chest."

He stands there, frozen like a statue.

I quickly wave my hands in the air, while shaking my head. "There's no need to answer! I promise it was just to make myself feel better. There's nothing we can do about it now, right?"

"I..." He starts but doesn't continue.

I can feel my cheeks heating up from the silence. "So, this is a goodbye, huh? No texts or calls either?"

He looks down, avoiding my gaze and that answers the question. Maybe I made him uncomfortable by confessing but it won't matter, according to him, we'll never see each other again.

"Alright, then, I guess this is a goodbye,"

my voice is quiet.

Why is this so much more painful than I thought? Is it because of the rejection mixed in with the fact I'll never see him again? Suddenly, I very much impulsively stand on the ends of my toes, reaching up as close to his height as I can, while placing a soft kiss on the tip of his nose.

"Good luck, Alejandro," And I bolt out of there before I could even get a look at his face.

When I say bolt, I literally mean I Usain Bolt'd out of that coffee shop as if I was going to die if I didn't.

I jump inside Yasmeen's car, slamming the door shut.

"Holy shit, Zara!" She jumps out of her seat. "You scared the living crap out of me!"

"Drive, Yasmeen! Drive!" I say aggressively.

"What?" She asks in her concerned mom tone.

"What's wrong?"

"Just drive!" I say a bit too loudly, making her reverse out of that parking spot a bit too unsafely.

"Do you plan to tell me what happened in there?" She asks.

"He's leaving," I answer.

"Alejandro? So, what? We're all leaving," she says in a confused tone.

I shake my head, "He's leaving for good. He said we'll never see each other again." A few tears roll down my cheek, "I told him I like him but he went dead silent after. It was so awkward, I wanted to pass away."

"Awe, my little cinnamon roll," she pats my arm while trying to stay focused on the road. "It's okay, but now your heart feels a lot lighter, no?"

"And... and I... I kissed him!" My voice sounded like a weird mix between screech and squeal.

"You WHAT?!" Yasmeen slammed on her brakes at the red light that changed color at the perfect time.

We almost flew across and hit the windshield.

"I don't know what happened... I just got on my toes and kissed the tip of his nose and ran out of there like a madman," I say as I slide down the seat.

"Oh my God... I shouldn't encourage it, nor should I praise it but you've got balls. Since when? You can't even talk on the phone without having to rehearse it a few times," there's a clear surprise on Yasmeen's face and she's trying really hard not to overreact for my sake.

"I wish I could tell you how or why it happened but I don't know myself... I really don't. It just... happened. I might as well take this hijab off for disrespecting it like that," I pout.

Yasmeen frowns, "Girl, if you feel this bad, then you deserve to keep it on. It means you feel extremely guilty for your actions and feel like you've done a lot of disrespect. Ask Allah for forgiveness until your heart is full again, He is All-Merciful."

"Tell me how you're a crackhead with half a brain cell one second and an intellectual scholar the next," I laugh while sniffling a little.

"It's my hidden talent," she smiles proudly.

"Honestly, an amazing talent it is," I say.

"So... you really kissed him, huh? On his nose? That's so freaking cute—don't get me wrong, I don't approve, like at all but I can't help but think about how cute that must've looked!"

I groan, "I hate to admit it, but I got intense butterflies when it happened. I thought I was going to pass out from the intensity. But please, let's not mention this ever again or at least try to mention it as less as possible."

"You know me, I'll probably mention it every minute until I can move on but I will try to respect your wishes," she winks.

And that was that. That is how I ended my last day of senior year, with a bang! Just kidding...

It ended in a platter of heartbreak and tears while adding some haram as a side dish.

But even so, I hope I get to see Alejandro again someday. Even if it is just a glimpse from afar, just to know that he's doing well.

- - -

Please vote and comment and let me know how y'all feel!!

Comments (7)
goodnovel comment avatar
Stephanie Hyde
Loving it so far. thank you
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Tiffany Bourke
love it. hopefully it is as good as I think it will be
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blessing ukoh
nice one hi love it

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