"Anything is better than Kai Sandora," Carson agreed as he sat back down on the bench. He noticed that she was ignoring what he had said previous, and decided that that was probably better for them. He glanced down at the watch on his wrist, suddenly realizing that he had told the gym coach that he would get to class early to help set up for the activity of the day. "Shit," he cursed, throwing his bag over his shoulder, "I’ve got to go. Told coach that I’d help set up some dumb obstacle course." He stood up, giving her one last smile. "See you tonight, Taci." With that, Carson walked away from the table, feeling happy about the progress made, and the night to come.
After track practice, Taci jetted off toward Carson’s house. Luckily, it wasn’t far from the school- then again, nothing in Beaufort was far from the school. She hadn’t bothered to change out of her running shorts, as she would wear them constantly if she could, but she did switch out of her sweaty shirt and into a fresh, blue t-shirt. Appearance and hygiene weren’t her top priorities when spending time with Carson. They’d known each other long enough for her to feel comfortable looking and smelling like death around him, but Taci never cared much what others thought about how she looked, anyhow. When she arrived at his house, it was just after 6, and she let herself in without hesitation. She dropped her bag by the door and slipped off her shoes, just as she had done routinely for countless trips to his house. Even though she hadn’t been here much since all the drama took place, it still felt like home. Nothing about Carson would ever stop feeling like home. “I’m here!” She called before leaning over and taking her math textbook, notebook, and a pencil from her bag. She walked further into the house, still red in the face and damp due to the warm temperature of the day, but she wasn’t at all out of breath.
"Okay, so around 6 at my place? We’ll order pizza and do math. It’ll be almost as much fun as attending a Kai Sandora party," Carson laughed at his own joke, as he finished up his sandwich. He tried to ignore the part of his mind that was cheering, because Taci was coming over to his house and they would be alone, but he couldn’t help his thoughts. This was his chance to win the girl over. After all that had happened, he needed to find a way to make it up to her, as he knew how much that she had been hurt in the end. "Don’t worry about the math. I’ll have you solving equations like a pro," he winked, just as he got up to throw the trash in the can behind them. In his head, he cursed himself for saying that or winking, but figured that there was nothing he could do about it then.
Involuntarily, Taci rolled her eyes at the mention of Kai Sandora, suppressing the grin that came about due to Carson’s attempt to make fun of the boy. For the second time, she pulled out her sandwich and set it flat on the plastic baggy. This time, however, she picked up a half of it and took a bite. She had a long practice after school, and Taci wasn’t stupid enough to not give herself enough fuel to keep from passing out. When Carson winked after his remark, her eyebrows instantly raised and knitted together as she watched him walk away. At times like this, she really didn’t know what to think about the relationship between her and the boy who had always been her best friend, plain and simple. She could deny her own feelings all she wanted, but it seemed impossible to really ignore the subtle signals he sent her way. Attempting to shrug it off- Taci was never one to read much into feelings and such- she took another large bite of her sandwich, speaking with her mouth full as Carson returned, “Even math is better than Kai Sandora,” she finally replied, ignoring whatever he was suggesting before.
Carson took a bite of his food, watching her as she took out her sandwich then put it back in. He didn’t bother to ask why she did that, as he already knew the answer. “I’m telling you, math isn’t the problem, it’s your teacher,” he shrugged, taking another bite of his sandwich. “He doesn’t teach. Some guys on the swim team had him last year.” Though he was a year older than the girl who sat in front of him, it had never felt that way. Carson didn’t like to think about the years after high school, because it always had seemed so far away. But, with the prospect of a swim scholarship to anywhere he wanted becoming more and more present, it was hard to avoid the thought. “Hey, I could help you if you want,” he distracted himself from his thoughts. Carson was quite good at math, though he always opted out of the higher levels to avoid work that would interrupt his practice.
Taci stuck another carrot stick in her mouth before folding her legs underneath herself in order to get more comfortable. She shrugged at his speculations about her math teacher. In her mind, it was probably her fault she didn’t do too well in math classes. Maybe she just wasn’t smart. She was coming to accept that. She gave Carson a meek smile as her eyes scanned his face. “I guess,” she said in response to his offer. She really didn’t like accepting help, and she didn’t like feeling as though she was ever dependent on Carson- or anyone else, for that matter, but saying no to him seemed a hard task to do at the moment, when she was really looking at him. “Yeah, okay, that’d help. Yeah.” She knew for a fact that Carson had and always would be smarter than her, both book smart and street smart. There’s nothing wrong with getting help from your best friend, she had to remind herself.
Carson was sitting at the table, waiting patiently as he always did during lunch period. Almost all of the time, he beat the girl that he ate with. He looked up to find that who he had been waiting for was approaching him, a classic scowl on her face. Carson couldn’t help the smile the spread across his face as she slid into her spot in the table; seeing her always made his day. “I beat you every day because my class is right by the cafeteria, Tace,” he rolled his eyes, taking his lunch out of his bag. He knew how he felt about her, especially after everything that had happened. In the end, he was just happy that they could sit together and live as though nothing had happened, as awkward as it was. At least she was still speaking to him, and at least there was a chance.
Taci pulled her sandwich out of her bag, laying it out on the plastic bag and staring at it for a moment instead of eating it. It was no secret that Taci was health conscious- especially when it came to calories- and she ate like a bird, but she didn’t see a problem with it. Finally, she looked up at Carson for the first time since she had sat down. A smile crept onto her face as she watched him begin to eat. She didn’t know what it was about him, but everything he did made her feel a bit less cynical, especially now after everything had fallen apart so many times. She glanced away only to stuff her whole sandwich back into it’s baggy and take out her carrot sticks. She bit into one and let her gaze return to her best friend. “So, math is going to make me jump off a cliff one of these days. Probably soon.”
Taci wrapped her arms around herself as she walked through the hallways. She gave out scowls casually as she passed by people, scurrying through the school in a way that made it obvious she had better places to be. Lately, her conversations with Carson had been nothing but surface level, mostly because neither of them were addressing the fact that they were a bit more than friends at this point. Still, they hadn’t broken their habit of meeting in the courtyard after school every day. As she approached him sitting on the picnic table they’d claimed as their own over the years, she shed off her backpack and slid into her spot on the table. “How come you always get here before me? Can I not beat you here at least once?” Her tone was dry, like she was joking but it was just a forced conversation-starter. Was that really what she had resorted to as a method to avoid awkwardness and keep platonic bliss?
Get to know me meme | favourite celebrities: Shailene Woodley
↳ “think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don’t have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?”
“Everything that I own and use are in a carry-on suitcase.” - Shailene Woodley.
AfterThe Descendants, everybody was like, ‘You’ve got to ride the wave!’ And I was like, ‘You ride the wave and it eventually crashes on the shore. That doesn’t work out! I’m going to just sit here and paddleboard.’