Short Story: One and Only

Three spare seats accompanied Peter at the Art table. His first day in a new school. The vacant chairs summed up his first day – Lonely. No one acknowledged his existence during homeroom. Mr. Dinglebuck mispronounced his name in English class, and the canteen had messed up his order. How could someone get a pie with sauce mixed up with a salad?

       One of the chairs scraped the floor. The screeching sound made his shoulders tense and eyes squint, but when he gazed upon the culprit, he almost fell off his chair. A girl, short, with brown hair, sat on one of the high chairs and settled in at the table.

      It was the first time Peter cursed himself for his uncouth appearance. Subtly he adjusted his fingers to improve his hair. She looked up at him. His heart thumped against his chest while his hand shot from his hair and hid under the table. A magnetic gaze between them initiated momentarily before the flowery of Miss Wisher entered the room. Not even her airy-fairy voice drifted off in the background could break this connection.

     Her gaze reverted to Miss Wisher, then returned to him. He had stared too long. Her suspicious expression said as much. A chunk out of the table was a safe place to direct his focus. His concentration was intense. Faintly, a muffled voice called his name, but he did not register. The voice grew louder. Clearer.

      ‘Peter! Are you with us?

      Peter shook his head a few times. No longer was he sitting in the classroom. Up to sixty people, dressed in suits and dresses stood on the grounds of a picturesque vineyard. Peter turned to the voice, a celebrant, smiling at him. He looked down at a beautiful bride in a stunning white dress. The same eyes that enchanted him so many years ago in the Art room sparkling as they looked upon him.

      ‘Yes,’ he managed to cough out over the sniggers from the crowd. ‘Just cherishing this moment.’

      His bride smiled at him. ‘Me too.’

      Another man, well dressed in a similar blue suit, approached him, a small circular trinket in his hand. Peter smiled as his shaking fingers took possession of the ring. As his clammy hand took hers, the same nervous energy flowed through him as it did the first day he met her.

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