Author: judevanderhall PM
Christian likes Melinda; but Melinda isn't so keen. So, Christian enlists Angie to help him woo her. Simple, right? Well, the thing is, people think Angie's kind of crazy, and Christian's beginning to think that perhaps 'crazy' might be exactly his type.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 5 - Words: 15,577 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 59 - Updated: 06-08-09 - Published: 03-16-09 - id: 2647957
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Noa yawned as she priced a stack of new release CDs on the counter; Black Kids was blaring through the speakers of the store's sound system. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and she was doing the closing shift. Mick's Vinyl was empty, and she was counting down the minutes until she could go home. She was tempted to shut early, but knew Mick regularly checked in to make sure she didn't. The store door opened and she looked up with her pricing gun mid-air as a familiar body walked in.
"Are you stalking me?"
Dimitri was taken by surprise. He hadn't expected her to be there. Mick's wasn't his usual haunt, as he preferred to download all his music illegally, but Christian had asked him to pick up their tickets to The Strokes and now he was face-to-face with the chick from Mark's party. He walked to the counter where Noa was looking at him with curious scepticism.
"Actually, I'm here to pick up tickets," he told her bored.
She peered at him through squinted lids. "Right."
"You really have an inflated sense of self-importance if you think I'd go out of my way just to speak to you -- I have Facebook for that. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm not really interested."
She grinned and put down her pricing gun. "Oh really? That's a different tune to the one you were whistling last Saturday, now isn't it."
He opened and closed his mouth a few times, not knowing how to answer because it was true. She was teasing him, he was aware of this, and it frustrated him that it only took her less than five minutes to render him speechless. "I'll blame my lapse in good judgement on the alcohol."
She only snorted and turned to the computer. "What's it under?"
"What's what under?"
Noa looked at him over the monitor and met his eyes with a small grin. "The tickets -- what name did you order the tickets under?"
"Oh -- Pelosi, Christian."
She typed in the details and he pulled his eyes away from her. He propped himself on the counter with his forearm, drumming his fingers on the surface as he busied himself by staring at a poster of the Dropkick Murphys. There really was something undefinably beguiling about her, but he was using every ounce of his determination not to look at her. Truthfully, he had gotten enough of that after stalking her photos on Facebook. She was easy to find; her name was unique, and they had so many mutual friends.
He turned back to face her. She seemed surprised and he answered, "Yeah."
"Are you sure you're not stalking me?"
He rolled his eyes and suppressed a groan. "Let me guess, you're going?"
"That I am; and you can't pick up your tickets anyway."
"I need proof of ID that you're the one who ordered them."
He frowned. "You're kidding me, right?"
"Nope, it's Ticketek's, and Mick's, policy." She leant on the counter with her arms crossed. "It says it when you order them online; the person who's using their bank details has to be the one who picks them up. Them's the rules, sorry dude."
"Right, and you couldn't have just told me this from the get-go?"
"Like you didn't already know that?"
"Come on, you know that I'm mates with Christian. One of those tickets is mine, anyway, I paid for it."
"No proof." She was enjoying watching him squirm. Her lips twitched upwards. "Methinks your excursion here isn't completely business related."
Dimitri cursed Christian for sending him on a fruitless errand, and making him appear to be some desperado. "You know, I hope you and delusion work out, 'cause you're perfect for each other," he said dryly.
She only laughed, positively tickled by his reaction. "My, my, a little touch-y aren't we?"
"Are you purposely being antagonistic?"
"I'm not being antagonistic, just teasing you a little. Didn't know you were made out of glass."
He wasn't, but his ego was. Dimitri didn't want to reply with childish indignation that he wasn't made out of glass, but had no other reply. "I'm not." He hated to admit it, as he really had no reason to be there anymore, but he wanted to stay. "Your mum." He mentally slapped his forehead. Your mum? Lame.
"Your wit: it cuts me like a knife."
"Do you get commission for flirting with your customers, or something?"
Noa bit back her smile, enjoying his company. "It's banter, I like to use it. Is this your first time engaging in some with a chick, or are you more accustomed to ditzy laughs?" She feigned deep consideration and said, "I mean, I can curl a strand of hair around my finger and look at you vacantly, if it makes you feel more comfortable."
"I'd tell you what you could do to make me feel more comfortable," he began; and he leant on the counter so his face was a few inches from hers, before he finished wickedly, "but it's a pretty X rated request." She matched his grin, then he stood back upright and turned around to leave.
"Where are you going?"
He got to the store door and turned over his shoulder. "Well, I don't really need to be here, anymore. I'll get Christian to pick the tickets up."
"That's really not necessary." She retrieved a plastic box from under the counter and shuffled through the envelopes until she found the right one. "I said I couldn't give you the tickets, but I didn't say I wouldn't." She slid the envelope on the counter.
He walked back to the counter and retrieved the envelope. "You know, you're really such a tease."
Noa only shrugged and held his eye contact. "Takes one to know one."
He rolled his tongue in his mouth and nodded slowly, as he assessed her. She really did intrigue him, and he wondered what she had heard about him, based on what she said. "I'll see you later."
Noa only tipped her head in acknowledgement and she watched Dimitri make his exit. She let go of the breath she hadn't realised she was holding in. That boy did all kinds of crazy shit with her hormones, and it was only the second time they had met. She shook thoughts of the boy out of her head and regained focus. Now, where was she? Her eyes fell on the stack of CDs on the counter. She groaned and picked up the pricing gun.
Angie threaded her pen through her fingers absently as she read over the notes Christian was looking over with her.
"So," she began and looked up to face him, "okay, how do we reconcile a physical journey with an inner one?"
He leant on Angie's coffee table and flicked through his copy of On the Road and pointed to a passage. "See here?" Angie peered over his arm and nodded as he continued, "The character of Sal needs to go through this physical journey in order to find out who he is. The inner journey is the easiest stream in the core module. So long as you can wax poetically about a profound change in their character through their experience, then it's an inner journey. I mean it's better if you can draw upon metaphors. For example, in On the Road it's easy. The road is the best representation of a journey. Do you get me?"
"I know all that, but why do I keep getting shitty marks?"
He shrugged and leant back on the couch behind them. "I looked through some of your past English essays, and I see your problem. Basically, you know what you want to say, and I know what you want to say, but you're not saying it."
"So it's just my expression?"
"No, I mean, it's format as well. Here's a foolproof way to structure your arguments," he told her, shifting in his place so he was facing her, as he counted on his fingers, "1. Introduce your point; 2. Explain your point; 3. Use a scene or quote, or several or both, from the book, that illustrates your point; then, 4. Tie it in to your point and the essay question. Easy. But always remember to KISS."
Angie furrowed her brows and leant on the coffee table. "Kiss?"
"Keep it simple, stupid."
She grinned, "Right, okay, give me an example with the Catcher in the Rye."
He took Angie's copy of the novel and flicked through it, before bending the cover back to show her the page he was on. "Here's a really basic argument: Holden's breakdown comes at a crossroads in his life. He straddles the -- I don't know -- chasm between adulthood and youth. He thinks adulthood is phoney and morally bankrupt, as evidenced in his disdain for all things to do with growing up. You can draw parallels between DB who works in Hollywood, and Allie, his brother, who died in his youth."
Christian took a drink from his glass of Coke before he continued, "Now, the idea of preserving youth, because it's ideal for him, is really apparent in that passage," he pointed to the book in Angie's hands, "-- the one where he's in the museum and he thinks that some things 'ought to stay the same'. So, Holden's inner journey really comes with the realisation that people have to grow up. He can't protect Phoebe from the evils of the world, just as he can't protect himself." Angie nodded and looked over the passage as Christian spoke, "I mean that's a really rough explanation but you get the idea. I think that text is a really good one for this module."
"Yeah, let's just say I have a bit of an affinity with it," Angie said with a small smile. "There's a real existential angle to it too. Some people interpret the novel as being his suicide letter, before he jumps off the cliff, you know, the one from his dream? Yeah, anyway," she placed the novel down to stretch, "that's getting a little morbid," she finished with a yawn.
Christian looked at her a moment, and wondered if that was how she felt sometimes. "Anyway, yeah, do you feel a little confident about the half-yearly coming up?"
"I don't know, I guess."
"Look, just type out an English essay detailing how the texts you've used use Inner Journey, then send it to me. I'll edit it and tighten it up for you. I mean, they usually just ask the same thing every year but they just word it differently. So you can pretty much memorise that and then bullet point your notes."
"Thanks for that."
He looked down at his wrist and frowned. "I have to go, I have to meet up with my band for band prac."
Angie stood up at the same time as him as he stuffed his books in his bag. "You're a busy beaver."
"Yeah, something like that." He slung his bag over his shoulder and looked at her straight on. "If you're not doing anything you should come over."
He nodded and they stood facing each other in silence. "So," Angie began, "how's the band going for you, anyway?"
"Okay, Steve's fucked up his voice and we need a replacement singer."
"Oh, that sucks."
"Yeah," he shrugged, "no big deal. I just have to sing in his stead."
She raised one delicate brow and shoved her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. "You sing?"
"Moderately well, actually, or so I've been told."
"I never knew."
He looked at her with an arch smile, "Do you want to know more?" He was met with her face knotted in confusion and he continued, "Just come to band prac with me. Come on, you're not doing anything else are you?"
It was a listless Saturday afternoon, and she would have gladly taken him up on the offer but she had another engagement to attend to. "I've got therapy in an hour."
Way to kill the mood Angie. "But, if your next band prac isn't on a Saturday, I'd love to come. Maybe I'll even bring Noa with me."
"I'm sure Dimitri would enjoy that."
She laughed and looked up at him from under her bangs, "Did you hear about how he went to Mick's the other afternoon?"
Christian grinned and nodded, "I believe his exact words to me were, 'she thinks I'm fucking stalking her'."
"Is he actually interested?"
"I don't know. Dimitri's too proud to admit he might be interested in someone who isn't falling over their feet at the sound of his voice." He shrugged. "It's still early days anyway."
"He is a veritable model of masculinity."
"Something like that."
They stood in silence as they avoided eye contact by casually looking around the living room. What else was there to talk about? Angie was determined that future conversations wouldn't be littered with large voids.
She turned to face him. "Yeah?"
"It was good to hang out with you again, even if it was because of English work."
He nodded as they shared a comfortable smile. "I should go."
They stood facing each other a moment longer. "Same time next week?"
"If it works for you."
"I'll make it work," he said, making his way to the front door. As he opened it he turned to her over his shoulder for a final look and wave; Angie smiled and returned the wave, before the door fell shut behind him. With a lightness in her step, she gathered her books on the coffee table and walked up the stairs to her room.
Noa and Dean stood outside the Hordern Pavilion smoking, leaning on the wall, waiting for their friends to arrive. She blew a smoke circle in the air and sighed.
"So, what's the deal, then, tonight?" Dean asked.
Noa shrugged. "As far as I know, Angie's hitching a ride with Christian here."
The Korean girl turned to her companion and quirked a brow upwards. "Oh?"
"You jealous or something?"
Dean frowned and flicked the butt of his cigarette away. "No, why would I be jealous?"
"Like, I don't know, you're still banking in on getting back together with Ange." Noa leant back on the wall and exhaled. "It's not some pipedream, you know. She just wants to reconnect with her childhood best friend. It's nothing romantic-like, or whatever."
"I know, I know. But I didn't think we'd all have to start hanging out with each other."
"I don't see what the big deal is."
Dean threw her a sidelong glance and smirked. "You're into that manwhore, Dimitri, aren't you?"
She scoffed and turned to him. "I'm not, sheesh. You guys don't let up. I've met the guy like twice. And, okay, I don't find him offensive to look at. I'm sorry that's such a crime."
"A little defensive, aren't we?"
"Shut up," she said, nudging him playfully.
"So, what does Harry have to say about this?"
Noa grinned and dropped her cigarette butt to step on it. "Like he gives a shit. The whole reason he's not coming tonight is 'cause he's going on some pseudo-date with Allie Montgomery."
"He's missing The Strokes for some skirt?"
"And that doesn't bother you?"
She shook her head and yawned, "Not in the slightest."
"Who's getting Harry's ticket?"
"Dunno, Angie said she was all over it."
Just as Dean was going to enquire further he caught sight of Angie walking out of the car-park with Christian and Dimitri flanking her. Raj, Lucy and Julian emerged from around the corner of the queue. The two groups were unaware of each other as they weaved through the crowd towards them.
"And here come the cavalry."
Noa looked up to see the two sets of threesomes approaching them. She made eye contact with Dimitri and she mouthed, "stalker" as he came closer, which only peeved him.
"Hey," Angie greeted the duo.
"Hey," Dean replied, and nodded towards his two classmates. Raj, Lucy and Julian joined the group soon after and they all made their round of hellos.
They stood there a moment, as Dean, Raj and Julian eyed Christian and Dimitri sceptically. Noa was chewing her gum, pretending not to notice Dimitri watching her, and Angie just felt helpless as the awkward levels of her current social situation rose with each passing second.
Lucy cleared her throat and said, "You guys think we should head inside?"
They all murmured their agreement and went to move but Angie stopped them. "Um, we're waiting for one more person."
"Oh yeah -- who'd you end up giving Harry's ticket to?" Noa asked.
Angie was about to answer but was interrupted by a voice behind them: "Um, hi guys."
They all turned around, only to be a little surprised with who the newcomer was. Her name seemed to stumble off Christian's tongue with disbelief, "Melinda."
Involuntarily, Noa's eyebrows raised when she assessed the dynamics of the group she was with. How curious.