That monday, Gerome crawled out of bed after silencing his alarm clock. He really didn’t want to go to school. He didn’t want to face George again, he didn’t want to see his teachers, and most of all, he didn’t want to see Henry.
He got dressed and went downstairs to find his mom and dad in the kitchen again, like every morning.
“Good morning, honey. excited for school?” His mom asked. Gerome smiled the slightest of smiles.
“Sure, you could say that.” He answered, and this time, was able to make waffles. After he’d finished his breakfast and made sure he had a jacket since it was supposed to be colder outside than the day before, he set out for the bus stop.
He got there with a few minutes to spare so he would have time to talk to Nora.
“Hey Nora.” He said when he got there. She looked surprised when she saw him approach.
“Hey, why’d you get here so early?” She asked.
“Well, I, uh, wanted to talk to you...about something.” Over and over in his head the night before he had rehearsed what he was going to say.
She looked at him with confusion. “Uhm...okay.”
“Okay,” Gerome started reluctantly, “so, I have a...crush...on this person, and I kind of want to ask them out, but I don’t know if they like me and I don’t know what to do.” He told her.
She thought for a moment, popping out her hip to one side and tapping a finger on her chin. “Hm, that’s a toughy. I’d say wait a while and see if you can figure it out.” She suddenly looked down the road and so did Gerome. They both spotted the yellow school bus driving toward them at a slow, seemingly relaxed pace, as if it were taking a stroll down a sidewalk. It stopped in front of them, and the doors drifted open with a high-pitched squeak. “Well, that’s all I got. You could always ask Kevin though.”
Gerome stuck his tongue out a little. Kevin wasn’t exactly the best person to go to for romantic advice. Gerome remembered a time in 6th grade where he had gone to him for advice about a girl Gerome had thought he liked. She had always been somewhat mean to him, so he hadn’t known what to do.
“Dude,” Kevin had said, “just ask her out, the worst thing she could do is pants you.” Though the girl hadn’t done the pants-ing, her boyfriend, whom Gerome was not informed about, had done well at getting the job done.
Though this time no one would have their boxers showing, there was still a good reason for Gerome to think he was going to be rejected. There was also the matter of family. He probably would never be able to tell them if he did have a boyfriend. Hm, that was a new thought, having a boyfriend. He thought about having Henry as a boyfriend as he sat down in the seat with Nora.
They would be able to go out on dates, spend alone time together, kiss. That was a new thought, too. Gerome thought about sitting next to Henry, and then he would slowly get closer until....Nora cut him out of his thoughts.
“Hey, are you okay, you’ve been quiet.” Gerome blushed at his thoughts as if Nora had heard them.
“Oh, sorry, just...daydreaming.” Gerome came up with a quick excuse.
Nora smiled, “I do that too sometimes. Just zone out on a thought and then someone has to call me back to reality.”
Gerome gathered up his things and quickly stuffed all of them in his book bag, throwing it over his shoulder.
“Remember, class, we’re having a test on friday.” Mr. Thomson said as all the kids rushed to gather their things and get away from the deathtrap the Government called “school”.
“Hey,” Henry said, throwing his book bag over his shoulder, “do you wanna come to the library after school with me? I need to write a paper and I hate going alone.” Gerome smiled.
“Sure, why not? I have nothing better to do.” Henry smiled at him, and Gerome’s heart melted. He could feel his cheeks warm and tried not to look at Henry. They both walked out of class together.
When they got to the library, Henry sat down at one of the computers and Gerome sat at the one next to him. Henry commenced to write his paper and Gerome checked his email, facebook, the works. After all that he had nothing to do, then remembered something.
He had been curious of what the name of the boy that killed himself was. He searched the school website and general internet sites of old article, particularly one dedicated to a dead kid.
It was the third result. Gerome clicked on it and read the old article.
“We honor the memory of Jamie Rousse, may he rest in peace. 1990 - 2004” was written at the end of the article, which was about his life. Gerome got off the computer and walked up to the librarian, who was a stout woman with short blonde hair and reading glasses perched on her birdlike nose.
“Uhm, do you know where the old yearbooks are?” Gerome asked, knowing that the school had all of them since the founding of the school.
“Yes,” she said in a sweet voice, and lead him over to the section of the library containing all the yearbooks. Gerome found the one that said 2003 - 2004 on it and looked through it.
He sat down indian style on the carpeted floor and looked through the 9th grade pictures and soon found Jamie Rousse. The boy had bright blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. He looked happy, but not like he was truly happy, more like he was forcing the smile. Gerome furrowed his brow. Jamie looked sorta like...
“Hey, what’cha looking at?” Gerome Jumped when he heard Henry’s voice behind him. Henry sat down next to him, a little too close for comfort.
“This yearbook,” Gerome answered, not taking his eyes off Jamie. “I know this sounds conceited, but doesn’t this kid kinda look like me?” He asked Henry.
“Let me see it,” Henry said, brushing Gerome’s hands when he took the book. Gerome blushed a little. Henry looked closely at the picture, then looked at Gerome , and then back at the picture. “You know, he actually does look a little like you.”
“Creepy...” Gerome mumbled, half to himself.
“Yeah,” Henry said, handing the book back to Gerome, who took one last glance at the picture, and closed the yearbook, then sat it back on the shelf.
As they walked out of the library, Gerome couldn’t get the image out of his head. The picture of Jamie Rousse, the boy swept away by time.