From the corner of his eye, Micah could see his siblings, carrying on with the baseball game as if he hadn’t even left. That was how things worked in his house. “Serenading? I can’t say I haven’t thought about it,” he laughed. “I have a voice like a dead horse, though, so I don’t think you would have liked it.” Lightly, he placed his own hand over hers.
The heat rushed to Hazel’s cheeks as she felt his larger hand against hers. Shaking away the blush, she smiled up at him. “Yeah, I beg to differ.” Hazel said, taking her fingers and intertwining them with his. “Even if you did sound like a dead horse, I’m pretty sure I would love it just the same.”
The contact when her hand touched his arm maybe everything seem to stop for a second. Micah was suddenly overcome with an urge to kiss her. To touch their foreheads together, and tell her he’d try to always keep her on her toes. Unfortunately, Micah was not a bold kind of person and would never be able to muster up the courage to do that sort of thing. Rather, he just laughed and sat back down in the chair she had placed for him.
Hazel turned and pulled her bedroom window closed before she sat back down. Her mother was cooking dinner and would be slaving over the stove for hours, but Hazel did it just in case. The last thing she wanted was her mother eavesdropping on the two. “So, you play the guitar?” she asked, bringing up the previous subject. “You should play something for me sometime. You could do one of those cheesy things that they do in romance movies where you stand under my balcony and serenade me with a love song.” she joked, pulling her knees to her chest.
As he watched her cheeks grow red, he felt heat rising in his own. At least they were blushing together, Micah thought with a smile. He placed his hand over his heart in mock offense. “Ridiculous? How could you? That’s it, I’m out.” Starting to stand up, he raised his eyebrows at her expectantly, indicating that she should beg him not to go.
Hazel playfully rolled her eyes as Micah stood. There were a million different ways that she could react to this situation. She could let him go and hope to see him again, or she could do something to prevent just that. Hazel stood to her feet and grabbed his arm, pulling him back to her. “Who said that I didn’t like ridiculous?” she asked him, raising an eyebrow. “It keeps me on my toes.” she looked into his brown eyes, something she would have been afraid to do moments before. “And I think ridiculous people are the best people.”
Laughing, Micah shook his head in response. Crazy, truly, that the most beautiful girls in life often had such low self-esteem. He suddenly felt a strong desire to kiss her, right then and there, as kisses often said a thousand things that words never could. Just as soon as the the thought came to mind, he shook it away. Kisses could also ruin things. Instead, he grabbed her hand in his and looked into her eyes. “I’m a guy like me, and I’m liking a girl like you. Deal with it.” He grinned, letting her know he was joking.
Hazel couldn’t help but blush. Here she was, sitting face to face with a boy whom she’d wanted to know about for years and he was telling her that he liked her. Maybe he didn’t mean it romantically, maybe he just meant it because he was being a friend but either way it didn’t matter. Hazel still felt like she was on cloud nine. “Okay,” she nodded. “Despite the fact that I think you’re totally ridiculous, I’m flattered.” she laughed. It was ridiculous for him to like her — Hazel was the textbook definition of a loser — but she wasn’t going to argue.
Micah shrugged, watching her facial expressions. “That’s me. The guitar playing, book reading, basketball playing architect who likes Chinese food. I should get a theme song,” he joked. Contently, he looked at her, waiting to here about her life story. Many times in his life, Micah had been told he was a good listener. Maybe it had something to do with the fact he had a bunch of super interesting siblings that he just wanted to listen to. Once she was done, a large smile came across Micah’s face. “Hazel, I like you,” he admitted. “You are the kind of person that everyone needs in their life.”
Hazel smiled, wrapping herself up tighter within Micah’s sweatshirt. Due to the height and size difference between the two, the thing practically swallowed Hazel. She turned her head to the side and eyed him for a moment. “Me?” she shook her head. Hazel had realized that there was no hiding the blush that was constantly reappearing on her cheeks, so she stopped trying to. She just hoped Micah wouldn’t notice. “Guys like you don’t like girls like me, silly. The only thing I have to offer is that I’ll do your homework free of charge.” she laughed. It was hard for her to picture people actually needing her in their lives.
Biting his lip, he watched as she shivered slightly with the cold. Micah had always considered himself to be a gentleman, so without a second thought he removed his own zip-up sweatshirt and placed it around Hazel’s shoulders. “About myself, hmm. I’m 17, I have three older siblings and three younger ones, I love Chipotle and Chinese food, and I want to be an architect when I grow up. For college, I’m considering University of Arizona, and my hobbies include basketball, reading, and playing guitar. Your turn,” he rambled slightly, hoping she didn’t detect his nervousness.
Hazel listened intently as the boy spoke. She nodded when she felt it was appropriate but the smile on her face was permanent. “So a guitar playing, book reading, basketball playing, architect who likes Chinese food? I like it.” Hazel was being sincere. He was interesting, unlike her, who only attended private school and did her homework. She sighed and paused for a moment before speaking. “I’m seventeen as well. I’m an only child, which is absolutely awful. My idea of a fun Saturday night is sitting in my bed with takeout and watching really bad eighties movies. My mother wants me to go to an Ivy League for college but I want to go to New York because I wanna be a writer. I wish I could play the guitar but I can’t, so I just pretend that I’m musically talented in some way and sing at the top of my lungs when I’m actually shit at it.”
Laughing, he climbed into the chair she had placed for him. Micah was in no hurry to go anywhere. One of the most beautiful girls he’d ever seen was talking to him, why on earth would he want to leave? “I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. Although, I do appreciate the chair,” he thanked her, the smile on his face nearly starting to hurt. “It is quite strange, yes. What would you like to talk about?” he asked, not wanting to break contact from her lovely blue eyes.
"It’s no problem." Hazel smiled, accepting his thanks. The cool summer breeze blew as she crossed her arms tighter over her chest. She thought about his question for a minute. There were an infinite number of things the two could discuss — the weather, school, the newest movie coming out — but that all seemed too boring. Hazel shrugged, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "Tell me about yourself. I mean, for all I know, you could be some creepy ax murderer neighbor who just came up here to kill me." she joked.
Laughing, the boy shook his head. His grin had shrunk into a smaller smile, but that was more out of fear of looking stupid than a lack of happiness. Really, he couldn’t be happier. His entire life, he had wondered about the brunette girl next door. All his mother would tell him was her name, Hazel Moreno. Of course, school was no help either. While he was enrolled in the local public school, first Sunset Elementary then Pine Hills Middle School and currently Lockhart High School, she went to some private school. “It’s not too forward. It’s cute,” he replied.
Hazel ran a hand through her long hair and looked at her lap to hide the inevitable blush that was sure to appear on her cheeks. “Cute? More like embarrassing and… weird.” she laughed lightly. The years of private school attendance and literally being cut off from the rest of the world had sheltered Hazel quite a bit — talking to boys, or anyone for that matter, wasn’t exactly her forte. “Wait, hold on. Don’t move for a second.” Hazel uncrossed her legs and climbed back through her bedroom window. She scanned her room for a moment before her eyes landed on her a small chair sat by her window. “Here,” she said as she sat it down on her balcony and climbed back out. “You should stay for awhile. I think it’s a bit ridiculous that you’ve been there my entire life and we don’t know a thing about each other.”
A slight flush came to his face as he realized how strange it was that she didn’t even know his name, after all these years. Of course, he knew her name. Many nights had been spent on his roof, looking out to her window. For the most part, he wondered why she never came outside. He obviously couldn’t let her know that, so instead he smiled. “Hazel. That’s pretty.” Shaking her hand, he replied, “The pleasure is all mine.
Hazel looked down at her lap, blushing slightly. He’d only said that her name was pretty, but 'pretty' was a flattering word nonetheless. “I feel pretty awful about this being the first time we’ve ever spoken.” she smiled. “I mean, you’ve lived next door for my entire life. Makes me look a bit shallow, yeah?” She fiddled with the zipper on her boots as she looked at him. “If you haven’t noticed, my mother is pretty uptight about… well, everything.” Hazel laughed lightly as she looked back down into her lap. The subject of her mother was rather depressing. “She’d probably kill me if she knew I was outside right now instead of doing my homework.” she stopped herself before she told Micah, who was practically still a stranger, her entire life story. “Sorry, that was probably a bit forward.”
The girl’s face burned in his mind. She was gorgeous, no question about it. Obviously, he had seen her before. Many times in fact. They’d live next to each other for years. However, for whatever reason, the two had never spoken. A huge smile appeared on his face. “Spiderman? The greatest superhero ever? I’m honored. My real name is Micah. but you can stick with Spiderman.”
"Oh my gosh," Hazel enthused. She mentally cursed herself for not putting a name to the face. She knew the boy. They’d been neighbors since Hazel was a child. They had never spoken, she assumed, because her mother had always steered her away from them. 'Hazel, don't go outside… help with dinner,' and 'Hazel, you need to finish your homework,' were two of her mother’s favorites. “You’re Micah. I should’ve known that. I mean, we’ve been neighbors for how long?” she shook her head in attempt to remember, but came up with nothing. “I like Micah better than Spiderman if I’m being honest. It’s a bit more… personal.” She extended her hand and smiled sweetly. “I’m Hazel. It’s nice to officially meet you, Micah.”