The first time I saw her was in English, my first class of the day. She was standing at the teacher’s desk in the front of the room, with long dark hair covering her face and books hugged to her chest. I remember so clearly what she was wearing; a light gray T-shirt with a darker gray bow around the empire waist and dark blue skinny jeans, shop-faded on the thighs and calves.
She was, without a doubt in my mind, beautiful.
I must have been staring like an idiot, because Olivia, the girl across from me poked me hard in the arm. “Stop staring!” she scolded, most likely because girls who like you don’t want you staring at another girl, especially if she’s new and pretty like this one was.
Miss Logans clapped her hands twice sharply. “Everyone, this is Desdemona. Her name is especially beautiful because it comes from Shakespeare, Othello. Now, Desdemona, where did you move from?”
She stayed looking down at the ground, but said in a clear voice, “Maryland. Near Annapolis.”
“Oh, that’s not too far. I’m afraid Florida is a bit warmer than the Chesapeake Bay, though.” Miss Logans laughed a bit.
“No. My grandparents live here, which is why we moved. Grandad just had surgery.” Desdemona brushed her hair out of her eyes for a second, then let her fringe fall back down to cover them.
She kept her head down and her hair over her eyes for the rest of the lesson, the rest of the day, and the rest of the week. But as I was walking to the library, I spotted her for once with her hair not obstructing her gorgeous face.
She had her head up, eyes searching the sky as they followed two dark, wheeling shapes through the clouds. The wind was whipping her hair around, but as I reached her, it blew it back, so that I could see clearly into her eyes.
Dark chocolate, with the slightest flecks of green. As our eyes met, she blushed a dark pink and dropped her gaze, moving her books from her hip, like the Statue of Liberty’s pose, back to in front of her.
“Sorry,” she mumbled, still red. “I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“It’s okay,” I answered easily. “Desdemona, right? I’m Jacob.”
“I prefer Dezzie, but yeah. My parents are total Shakespeare freaks,” she laughed. Her voice was high and clear, and her laugh was the same.
“Mine were just normal. Sort of. My last name is Thyime, and my brother’s name is Justin.” I shook my head sadly as Dezzie burst into laughter.
“Unfortunately not.” I sighed. “Where were you headed? Library?” I glanced over at the stout brick building across the road.
“No, I was heading to the coffee shop,” Dezzie answered, gesturing at the coffee shop/grocery store/craft store near us.
“Could I come with? A donut sounds really good right now,” I told her.
She laughed again and linked her arm through mine, dragging me towards the shop.
We entered the room, full of patrons and the smell of coffee. The barista behind the counter was busy filling cups and passing food along the counter, laughing with the customers.
We chose a tall table at the back, sitting on the high chairs with it. Dezzie kept up a continual chatter about school, and drinks, until the line thinned out and we went up to place our orders.
“Hot chocolate please!” Dezzie piped up. “And Jacob wants a donut. Chocolate, right?”
“Yup, chocolate will work,” I agreed. I pulled out my wallet as the server filled a cup with cocoa and slid a donut onto a plate. Grabbing a five, I slid it across the counter before Dezzie could object.
“Nope, I’m paying,” I announced when she opened her mouth. “Shhh.”
She smiled and accepted her hot chocolate.
“So, am I allowed to call you Cocoa?” I asked, cutting my donut into pieces and offering Dezzie one.
“Cocoa?” she smiled, as if already knowing why that nickname.
“Everything about you is chocolate. Your hair is semi-sweet, your eyes are dark chocolate, and you like hot chocolate.” I grinned as Dezzie laughed again.
“Because it’s past time for you to go home,” she giggled, pointing at the clock behind my head.
Glancing at it, my eyes bugged out; way past time for me to be home. “Darn!”
I gathered up my things and waved at Dezzie. “See you tomorrow!”
“You too.” She gave me that sweet smile of hers and took another sip of her hot cocoa.