David thought back to the first time he could remember looking at a girl with interest. He couldn’t remember her name or how old she was, only that a few weeks, perhaps even days, earlier he had found her unappealing. It seemed a sudden thing to him to wake up one morning, go to school, and see that she had become some strange creature at which he couldn’t stop gawking.

Or maybe he just hadn’t wanted to stop.

He remembered how soft she looked, how she curved in places that he did not. He had wondered at all their differences; the color of her skin seemed a solid, consistent shade while his was spotted with freckles, her eyelashes seemed twice the length of his, her hands were small, fingers long, and his hands were…normal. Her shoulders, round and sloping, held up such a slender neck that he had often wondered how her head stayed up. When she moved, it was in an awkward manner that was at once fluid and gangly. He watched her gait grow increasingly graceful through the days, weeks, months. He recalled a particular moment when, watching her hips pivot as she walked, he had gotten too close, brushing against her in passing. She smelled clean and there was a hint of something sweet, the scent of something that would be sticky and thick to touch, like honey maybe.

Having come so close to her made him notice that her body was shaped by circular lines that contradicted the angularity of his. Geometric equations still reminded him of their bodies. He remembered how she had smiled when he mumbled an apology for bumping her. A smile that had made his heart speed up even as his legs had carried him away. He had never before been nervous around females.

David remembered how he had begun to take notice of other girls the following year, finding their shapes intriguing and…something else. He noticed that some of the girls had shapes he found more attractive than others, and some moved in a way that pleased, while some moved too jerkily or too fluidly. It wasn’t their mannerisms or their bodies he found most distracting though. It was the laughter.

Especially Ashlynn’s.

Ashlynn, as David could recall, was a small girl with slender arms and legs and narrow hips that only slightly curved in to reveal her waist. Her shoulders were broader than those of the girl whose name he could no longer remember. Ashlynn had seemed so fragile until she parted pillow lips and laughed, spoke, sang, every breath of noise belying the delicacy her body portrayed. When she spoke, he would listen carefully, less to the words than the deep cadence of her voice, the lilt and fall and dance of any and every real or fake emotion she chose to display. He’d wanted to talk to her, to be the reason she was provoked into sonorous speech. To come away from the sideline.

It had taken him a year to build up the courage to speak to her. Who do you have for chemistry, he remembered asking her. He had been close enough to her for her to hear him above the noise of jostling students during registration, though far enough away that he wouldn’t bump her. Would she have smiled if he bumped her? He remembered counting the number of shallow breaths he took, using the breathing to calm his nerves. After she had revealed having the same teacher for the same class period she continued to look at him. He felt as though she were daring him, or maybe challenging him, to speak.

He only knew that he wanted her to speak again, to speak to him, so he had pushed his nervousness aside and refused to give in to his need to flee as she watched him and waited. He remembered hoping that his smile didn’t look as strained as it felt when he asked her about her summer vacation, her class schedule, her interest in dancing, her plans for college. He could hardly recall the conversation, but he did remember that he had made her laugh.

This year marked the end of David’s grade school career. Graduating had meant leaving home, leaving Ashlynn, leaving childhood (though he knew that there were people who would dispute this). His parents had made an agreement with him; they would fit the bill for his tuition if he kept his grades up and got a job sufficient to make him primarily independent.

Once he was settled into his first semester he got a job as Chel’s Bar and Grill, as a dining room attendant. A glorified busboy, he called it, and his roommate had asked him how a busboy’s position at a bar in a college town could be glorified. On more than one occasion, David had to stay later at work than usual. The third time this happened, he met Chelsea, the bar owner’s daughter, and Chelsea’s friend, Anna.

Upon first seeing Chelsea, he thought she was stunning. Her appearance seemed to conform to everything beauty was portrayed as in the late nineties. But it was Anna that interested him. Anna seemed to pull off plain in the most fantastic way. Her strait brown hair was no extraordinary shade, but it was long, thick and, he suspected, soft. Her hazel eyes seemed to him to have a slightly larger ring of gold than should be allowed. She was what he considered to be average height for a female. A blush burned his cheeks when voluptuous rose to mind at the sight of her body. He barely kept his speech from stumbling as he said hello to her. He was unsure of what to say in the way of conversation.

He only knew he wanted to make her laugh.