I did my best over the next few days to avoid Nikolas at all costs. I didn't feel like engaging in a conversation that I would later beat myself up over, because it seemed almost too friendly and natural. While I'd only had to speak to Nikolas once or twice, I always did my best to use Beverly as an escape route, as Josie was no longer speaking to me. Why I didn't know, but she would get over it eventually. She always did.
She had to, anyways. We were best friends.
But anyways, Monday had gone as planned. Sit through boring classes, finish all my work in class so I didn't have to do any of it at home, and talk to Logan about stupid things we used to do, or that we thought were mildly amusing. For some reason or another, the stress that school used to bring forth had dissipated over the weekend, and I couldn't quite place a reason to it. I knew better then to ask Logan, though. For some reason, I knew exactly what he would say, and I didn't like it.
Tuesday had gone better then Monday. For some reason, I always seemed to do terrible at everything on Tuesday's. They made me tired, knowing that I had at least three days of hell left before I could finally just branch out and do my own things on my own terms. For some reason, where everyone loathed Mondays, I loathed Tuesday. I probably had something very, very wrong in my genetic code, but who knew? It was probably some completely random trait that I picked up from my father.
And then there was Wednesday. Wednesday and I got along quite well. Mostly because I had two spares right after lunch, so after third period, I was free as a bird. But for some reason or another, this particular Wednesday and I weren't getting along. It was plotting against me. My whole supposed-to-be peaceful day was getting flushed down the fucking toilet, and I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit.
It all started in first period.
Have I ever mentioned I'm a firm believer in karma? Oh, yes, I am. For some reason or another, I think I did something to upset the karma gods. Why didn't they just smite me? That would have been better then the day they had planned for me.
Like always, the Foods room was packed; there were too many students, all angry and constantly bitching about someone's totally gay party that was held over the weekend – which I didn't get an invite to. So, the clamber of voices all mashed together was enough to give someone motive for murder – or, better yet; suicide. As soon as I stepped into the room, right behind Logan, I felt like clawing my eyes out. Or yanking my just washed, still wet hair out of my pretty little head.
And that was a lot coming from me. I loved my hair.
Obviously, Logan and I were the last to arrive, and Miss Doherty closed the door, narrowly missing catching someone's fingers between the frame and the solid block of steel. That had happened only once before, and I was glad I wasn't there to witness it. People said you could see where the fingers had broken.
Have I mentioned I'm easily made to gag? Just about anything mildly disgusting caused me to heave with revulsion. Not a pretty sight.
"Class!" Miss Doherty shouted, causing me and everyone else in the room to look up to her, as she had maneuvered her way through the crowds without being stepped on.
Height makes a difference with the authority a person gives off, you know. And unfortunately for Miss Doherty, she's a miniscule 4'10" – I read so on her staff profile card. Most of us didn't have an ounce of respect for the petite woman, mostly because she had such a difficult time controlling us. Perhaps if she learned how to raise her voice in anger, we'd actually get around to listening.
"Today, we will be picking names out of a hat for our partners with our next project."
I heard Logan snicker at my left, only for me to groan. He had a way of getting stuck with the people he liked, where I was always stuck with the nose-picking kids that couldn't spell 'orange'.
"Also, between your pairing, you will be working with another pairing to make a two-course meal. One group will take one course, and the other the same amount." She reached forward, one of her frail looking, pallid hands reaching down into a top hat. "Group A starts with … Logan Jensen. Please come to the front of the room, Logan."
He cast me an impish grin before making his way towards Miss Doherty. "Please pick a name from the hat."
Logan did as he was told, only to retract his hand after fishing around for a few second, a grin spreading out on his features as he unfolded the paper. "I got Nikolas."
Miss Doherty smiled, her yellow cardigan making her yellow teeth look even yellow. "That's good. The beginning of group A has been made. The next pairing will be the end of group A. Because we have twenty-four students, there will be six groups. The next member of group A is …" She pushed her hand into the top hat, before announcing the name. "Elliot Ferguson. Please come join your classmates, Elliot."
From where I was standing, I could see Elliot's pleasantly cut black haired head bob through the crowd, until he emerged at the front, greeting Nikolas and Logan with hoots and a few congratulations. It was widely – and by widely, it meant Josie, Logan, and myself knew – that I had directed my attention to Elliot after Nikolas and I had ended. Somehow, he'd neglected to notice me. I was like the squashed grasshopper on his Mustang's windshield that he couldn't care less about. To me, everything about him was absolutely perfect. Especially his eyes. He had these pair of ice blue eyes that made you feel like he was undressing you.
So, when he announced, loud and clear, to the room whom his partner would be, I nearly wet my pants.
I stood, dumbfounded, as several eyes shifted my way, as if they expected me to grin and tell the guys that I was happy I was working with them. But I just stood there, transfixed, my eyes locked on Elliot.
Miss Doherty finally pulled me from my reverie. "April," she said loudly, and I looked to her, "please come join your group members."
I nodded my head slowly, making my way towards the front of the room, arms still at my side. Logan was snickering at me – that was twice in a day, which was a record. Nikolas looked as if he'd been slapped across the face, and Elliot … well, I didn't look at Elliot. I was sure he was musing over what a loser he was stuck with.
So when he offered me a hug when I slipped into my spot next to Logan, I felt like wetting myself – again. For some reason, my bladder had been sent me weird vibes whenever I was within five feet of Elliot.
And now I was working with him. I made mental note to go buy some of those Poise underwear things at Shopper's once I got out of school.
But, while I was silently kissing Elliot everywhere that was covered with clothing – in my head, of course – I was hit with reality; this set-up had a downside. And, as I slowly pulled away from Elliot's hug, I looked it straight in the eye.
Even after Logan's little speech about Nikolas and I trying to be friends, I had been avoiding him all week. It was obvious that he wanted to speak with me, as he was always lingering near the doors of my classes right before they ended. I always found a reason to blow him off and pretend like he didn't exist, or I couldn't hear him.
And up until now, it had been working.
I smiled briefly at Nikolas, before directing my attention back to Miss Doherty. By the time I'd snapped back to reality, she'd already finished making the rest of the groups, and assigned them to stations. By the looks of it, we were the only group still standing at the front, probably all looking like idiots with poles shoved up their asses, me being the biggest poled-up-the-ass idiot of them all.
Instead of keeping my spot where we were all standing in a sloppy semi-circle, I made my way forward, before taking a seat on the far side at the only vacant bench, my group members following obediently after me. Nikolas took the seat across from me, Logan the seat diagonal from me, and Elliot the seat next to me. From where I was sitting, I could smell him.
He smelled so good.
It might have been Logan that had the after-shave commercial appeal, but it was definitely Elliot that had the smell.
Propping my elbows up on the black plastic topping, I resting my forehead in my hands, silently screaming at myself that I'd gotten myself in too deep. Besides, I was still angry with Logan, Nikolas made me want to hit something, and Elliot made me feel like I needed to leak protecting under garments.
Trust me, I didn't feel like I was in a good situation. I had never feel such a dizzied spell in my whole life, and I felt like it was from repressed emotion.
My hatred for Nikolas.
My annoyance with Logan.
And my non-platonic like for Elliot.
What was a girl to do?
"I think April and I should take dessert," Elliot said, breaking the awkward silence that had shifted over the group, "mostly because I can't cook and Logan's second in this class."
Apparently, I was supposed to sit and listen, nod occasionally, and pretend like I knew what was going on.
Sounded a lot like lunch hour with the goon squad at our stupid table.
I thought not.
I looked to Elliot, only to notice that he was looking at me, and so was the rest of our group. "Yeah, sure," I finally stammered, sounding oddly retarded and unintelligent. "Dessert would be perfect, since I can't really cook either."
Elliot flashed me a smile (which made me want to melt and disappear, along with wet my pants), before starting to discuss technicalities with Nikolas and Logan. They seemed to be having a good time with it, as it left me to putting my head back in my hands and just … thinking.
This sometimes led to me thinking up diabolical plans that would eventually lead to ruining Nikolas' life.
But surprisingly enough, that didn't happen. Not this time.
I told you Wednesday was plotting against me!
The rest of that class didn't go as badly as I had initially expected. Nikolas and I ended up bickering over something that was too stupid to even mention (I think it was the definitive color of Elliot's eyes, but I can't remember), and I made plans with said gorgeous boy to start trials on our dessert platter.
That was going down on today, after school. So much for buying protective underwear.
And I know I tried to act nonchalant, but inside, I was bursting with joy – about spending time with Elliot, not buying the Poise things. I know it seemed completely weird and entirely non-April for me to be so in lust with someone when I hardly knew him, but every teenage girl went through it.
So, first period was the beginning of my semi-bad day. The only bad part about it was Nikolas and his never-ending pursuit of my attentions (which I was slowly beginning to realize he did want) and Logan the Betrayer. Elliot, in all of his sexy perfection, made up for the two scum buckets that made the room stink of stupidity. After first period, though, I was thoroughly convinced that someone was screwing with my head. Everything that could have gone wrong in PE went wrong.
First, I walked into the door going into the gymnasium. I've done that before, so it didn't really strike me as odd. Everyone around me found it to be mildly hilarious, so I just laughed it off and went through the class. Wheeler ditched the idea of gymnastics (I like to think I had something to do with her choice), and we started on Track and Field, which was stupid because it was only the end of September.
Alas, it only got worse. I'll tell you, I'm usually really good with Track and Field, but then … I was horrid. I got a terribly slow time for 400 meter running, and I ran until the bar when we were high jumping.
I told you the karma gods were working against me.
"Come on, April, we have to get going."
Apparently, I'd nodded off while leaning against my locker, as the events of the day had worn me down to nothingness. PE had been hell, Foods had been … decent, and Geography was stupid. To say I was in need of a rest, though, would be an understatement. I'd never felt so tired in my entire life.
Looking up to the voice that had caused me to stir, I was surprised to find Elliot leaning against the locker next to mine. I'd shamelessly forgotten about the whole setup whilst cursing misery for loving company, and I was sure Elliot could tell.
"Whose house are we going to?" I asked, forcing a dainty smile at Elliot. Truth be told, I wanted to spend time with Elliot, away from school, but it still made me feel like there was something completely wrong with me. Elliot and I were from two completely different classes of human. He was the heir to some enormously large fortune built by his parents – whom owned the biggest hotel in out pleasant little town – and he got everything he wanted.
And here was I was, just completely … plain. I was no heiress; hell, I didn't even get allowance!
A girl could dream, right?
Oh, the glorious thought of getting five dollars a week for doing slave labor. Just the thought made me want to salivate all over myself.
… Can't you recognize sarcasm?
Elliot cast me a skeptical look before smiling coolly, adjusting the strap of his bag on his shoulder. "How about your house? That way, if Nikolas or Logan wants to come over, they can. You all live on the same street, don't you?"
I bobbed my head, silently disappointed with the thought of Nikolas and Logan invading my half-date with Elliot. Last time I'd made anything resembling desert when Logan was around, he had destroyed it and I got in trouble for the cake splashed across the kitchen. And I had to clean it up.
Trust me, it sucked.
"Logan doesn't do well with baked goods," I said shortly, sounding almost angry. As soon as I said it, I wanted to smack myself hard across the head.
But instead of asking me what was wrong, Elliot just chuckled as I stepped back, quickly locking my locker. This, to say the least, surprised me. I thought I knew Elliot, evening the slightest. He was the kind of high school kid that everyone wanted to love, just like Nikolas – but he wasn't an asshole. He actually had a sense of humor.
God, I was in heaven.
"Oh, for foods last year, I had to make this delicious type of cake, and I had just finished when Logan decided he wanted to come over and pay me a visit. I was just about to finish putting on the icing, and Logan struts into my kitchen, grabs the whole cake in his arms, and throws it around the room."
Elliot snorted, finding my old predicament to be amusing. "He actually did that? Didn't know Logan had it in him."
I chuckled softly, shifting awkwardly in my spot, my eyes averting to my feet. "Logan can destroy anything," I murmured, causing Elliot to chuckle once again.
Was I really funny, or was he just doing it to be polite? I'd been told a million times before that I said the worst things in the best situations, and the things that left my mouth were often humorous, but I'd never found myself to be funny. Everything I thought was amusing was always so … dry, and hardly anyone else got it.
Finally looking back up to Elliot, I could tell that the halls were beginning to empty out; some of the seniors didn't have classes after lunch, and the other ones were just driving to McDonald's to get food.
Personally, I was craving a Double Big Mac, but there was no way in hell I would going to gouge myself on caloric foods in front of Elliot. No way in hell.
Besides, I'd probably end up eating some of the stuff we made today.
Anyways, before I had time to ask Elliot what the hell he was doing, he'd wrapped his arm around me and started to guide me out of the school, and into the parking lot. Now, I wasn't going to argue with this – half of the people I passed looked enviously at me, and all I could do was offer a sheepish smile. I felt like I was on TV, and I'd just won a million dollars on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Trust me, such a feeling only comes around once and awhile. Once a year, maybe?
The last time I'd felt to blissfully happy was … well, I preferred not to dwell on the past.
Or that was what I was telling myself.
"Feel like walking?"
I was pulled out of my reverie by Elliot's voice, and a small squeeze to my shoulder. It wasn't very far to my house – six or seven blocks at the most. Besides, I'd been inside almost all day. The fresh air would do me some good.
Besides, walking would take us longer, and I'd have more time to actually get to know Elliot.
"Yeah, sure. Why not?" I answered, giving my head a prompt nod as Elliot's arms slid away from my shoulders, and his hands slipped into his pockets.
For some reason or another, I knew this Wednesday was going to get a hell of a lot better.
A/N:Yay! Another chapter is up. I'm so happy for myself. I would have posted it sooner, but I've been way busy preparing for school - which starts tomorrow. Anyways, I wrote this whilst getting my hair cut. My hairdresser loves me, so he let me click away on the laptop while he was cutting it. How awesome, right?
Thanks to people who reviewed.