What’s wrong?” Milo thought the question. He sat on the sun-faded green leather seat of his school bus. The teenager noticed an uneasy feeling in the back of his mind as soon as he woke; and, it grew more uncomfortable as the morning wore on. By the time he climbed on the bus to school, he realized the anxiousness wasn’t coming from him. Though he considered the voice in his head a friend, he rarely initiated contact. He never needed to, she often chatted up a storm. She told him stories about her day or things that happened at school. Secretly Milo felt proud of his imagination for coming up with such a rich backstory.

How’d you know?” the thought formed in his mind with a girl’s voice. “Duh, nevermind. Sorry, nervous.”

It’ll be alright,” he thought as the bus reached the school. He did not know what would be alright, but it was the only thing he could think to say. The broad platitude served him well over the years when dealing with the voice. He grew up with the voice in his mind. He distinctly remembered the voice talking before he could. It was ever-present and he accepted it as a natural part of life.

Milo walked straight to his first class after disembarking the bus. He did not have any friends to stop and visit with. He was friendly enough to everyone, but never pursued any friendships. The voice in his head ensured he never felt lonely. He was the first student to Biology and sat at the tall, black, two-person lab table. Milo doodled while he waited for class to start. Then other students began filing in. He kept drawing, but as more students found their seats he felt panic growing in his gut.

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” the thought repeated in his mind. The Biology teacher walked in and closed the door behind himself as the bell rang. The high pitched beep was drowned out. “I’M SO LATE!” she yelled in his mind. Like the silence throughout most of the morning, the stress he felt flowing through him was also new. Before he could try and console her with another blanket statement, a girl shoved the door open and rushed to step inside the classroom. The purple-haired girl in jeans and a rock band’s t-shirt stopped when she realized all eyes were on her.

“Sandra Mata?” The teacher asked. The girl nodded slightly.

“Okay, find a seat anywhere,” he told her, then he looked up at the rest of the class. “Today we have a new student. I expect all of you to do your best and be welcoming to her. Now, let’s get started.” The teacher pulled down the projection screen then dimmed the lights. Sandra found the only empty seat, next to Milo, and directed her attention to the video starting.

PHEW! I made it,” the thought came to Milo. “Sorry, there was a lot going on this morning. But now I’m in class, and we’re watching a stupid movie.”

No problem, I’m glad you made it,” Milo thought his reply. He did not bother mentioning the movie. He knew the voice wouldn’t have mentioned the movie if he wasn’t watching one too. After several spooky coincidences over the years, Milo realized that his imagination knew everything he knew.

But I am sitting next to a cute boy,” her thoughts said. Milo chuckled, amused with himself. Obviously, his imagination realized he found the new girl attractive and built a story out of that. It interested Milo enough to find out what he really thought about the girl.

Oh yeah? Tell me about him,” he replied.

What? You never ask me anything,” his mind replied. He felt a smug satisfaction growing in his chest. “You’re jealous!”

No, I’m not jealous, just bored. Tell me about him. Entertain me!” he joked. Milo hoped his mind was in an entertaining mood.

He’s kind of scrawny, but in a cute way,” she replied. Milo cast a side glance at Sandra to double check, but she was definitely not scrawny when she rushed into the classroom. Maybe his mind picked up more detail than he did. “He’s got bright blue glasses and dark brown hair.” Milo definitely did not see any glasses on her, and her hair was a beautiful shade of violet. He began to wonder what his mind was describing when Sandra nudged his elbow with hers.

“Hi, I’m Sandra,” she whispered. Milo barely heard her, but he nodded and smiled.

“I’m Milo,” he said.

And his name’s Milo,” the voice in his mind said. Milo froze. He felt thankful for the movie playing on the screen and the dim lighting in the classroom. As far as anyone knew he was watching the movie, but his mind was racing.

Hey, why were you so nervous this morning anyway?” Milo asked in his head.

I told you like a dozen times. New city, new school. I don’t know anyone here, and I was almost late today. I was late, but not enough that anyone cared,” she explained.

What’s your name?” Milo asked for the first time. He was not sure if he wanted to hear a name or not.

Are you serious right now?” she asked.

About what?”

It took you 14 years to ask for my name!” A happy flutter vibrated in Milo’s stomach. “It’s Sandra. What’s yours?”  she asked. Milo turned to Sandra and said it a bit louder.

“Hi, I’m Milo,” he introduced himself again. “I’m scrawny, but in a cute way,” he smiled.

NO WAY!” she screamed in his mind while her eyes grew in surprise. Milo gave an exaggerated shrug.

I guess, yes way,” he thought.

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