The Cute Sophisticate

Part One

By: Talyn Gray

--Tea--

All my life I had been called adorable, cute, sweet, delightful, and endearing. I'd been told I had the body of a pixie (being 4"11' can do that) with the grin of a happy imp, and the personality of a grown-up toddler—if that even makes sense. I had shoulder length smoldering hair, side-swepped bangs, and large greenish-blue eyes. I'm talking the size of fricken' saucers. And it wasn't those eyes that looked like they were constantly afraid or shocked—they were adorable and endearing. It was because of this cuteness that I had that I didn't have many female friends. The guys liked to baby me, and who was I to tell them not to buy me chocolate or take pity on me when I didn't have enough money to eat? Some of my male friends loved me like a little sister, and I found out later that many liked me romantically.

So as dramatic irony would have it, the one guy that I had to fall head over heels in love with, loved sophisticated women. No—Brendon didn't like seventeen year old girls who had a face that would make a pedophile weak in his knees. He had shown me pictures of his last girlfriend and let me tell you, she'd been twenty-two years old while he had been sixteen. Sixteen.

He was one of those few guys that liked me like a little sister and I hated it. HATED IT. Any girl out there who has a guy as a friend that they want to be more than friends with but know they can't because the guy doesn't like the type of girl you are know how I feel. Long sentence to read and comprehend—I know. Just bear with me because right now I'm berating myself with an aluminum spork. And you know what? You can't really hurt yourself with aluminum because it bends. I can't even hurt myself properly.

Well, okay, maybe I'm not physically hurting myself yet, mostly because Brendon in sitting in front of me with this adorable dumbfounded look on his face. As if he didn't know I didn't like him. As if he hadn't known how much I cared about him.

Yeah, that's right.

I had just accidentally said, "I really love you," to him while he was helping me with my homework. And me and my long-term absentmindedness had told him, "No, like, I love you romantically," when he had said, "Love ya too."

I was a genius.

An absolute brilliant genius.

A guy once told me that I was so endearing because I was so simple and mildly stupid. I think he's the only one who was ever that blunt with me. At the time I was mad, but now I see he was one-hundred percent absolutely right.

"I uh…" Brendon fumbled around a little. I was blushing and noticed that he was only about three centimeters away, and if I timed it right, I could kiss him. "I'm sorry Tea… but you know I don't feel that way about you."

"Yeah, I know," I answered, allowing me to deflate onto the desk with a heavy sigh. "Just thought you should know… I was just joking around anyway—was wondering what you were going to do." I flashed an impish grin just as my heart sank while I was trying to keep myself from crying. Of course I knew he didn't like me romantically. He didn't like cute girls. He liked strikingly beautiful.

Maybe if I played it off as something small, he'd think I was joking. Brendon's handsome dark eyebrows drew together in a line—god damn he was so fine—especially when he was concerned about me. Why did he look like that anyway?

I guess it was one of those scenes in the books and movies that you never expect to live through yourself.

He lifted a hand and stroked my cheek with the back of it and for one fleeting moment I thought he would kiss me and say, "Just kidding, I love you, Tea." But when his fingers retreated, my face felt cold and his hand was wet with my tears.

Oh shit.

Realizing that I was damn near bawling, I quickly used my short leg to kick the floor so my chair would swivel. With my back to him, my eyes seemed to unleash and rivers were running down my cheeks.

Sniffle.

Hiccup.

"I'm really sorry about this," I stuttered for him. "I just… well… yeah… I wasn't joking."

"I kind of realized that," he offered with a smile that I didn't see. "Tea, I'm sorry, I really am, but I just like you like a sister…"

"I know," I answered, wiping my cheeks and lifting my knees so I could hide my red face. God, this was embarrassing and downright mortifying. My sniveling continued for a good three minutes before Brendon finally heaved a sigh and got up from his chair. I expected him to walk away, but instead, he walked around my chair and kneeled down before me to put his arms around me. That's what I loved about him—he always seemed to surprise you.

"I'm really sorry…you know that I love you like a sister."

I muttered something and felt some part of me feel happy that he was holding me in such an intimate manner. It didn't give me any false hope—and he knew it. So I just took comfort in his arms, taking in the musky male scent that emanated from his body, and the silky cologne he was wearing. He was so warm—so nice. He cradled me like a baby until my hiccups and sniffs died down, and suddenly, I had an idea. Now that the cat was out of the bag, I couldn't see myself above begging. My pride was currently stripped, so I took his broad shoulders and pushed him so that we were a good three inches away.

"There isn't any possible way… that you could ever give me a chance? Not at all...?" I questioned, letting my delicate eyebrows furrow and giving him the doll look. But I quickly realized what I was doing and screwed my face to look serious. Brendon had no idea how to respond, so I continued, "I can change—I can become a girl you could love—"

"—I already love—"

"—romantically?" I finished a little forcefully. "I can be like… like… what's her face, Trisha?" At the mention of his twenty-two (or currently twenty-four) year old ex, Brendon paused.

"Tea, I don't want you to change."

"But I want to change," I informed him. "Please? I love you so much that sometimes it hurts to be with you."

"But what about our friendship?"

It was a lame line. He knew it and so did I.

"I don't want you as a friend," I said forcefully, allowing my fingernails to dig into his shoulders. Brendon winced and let out a nervous smile. "If you won't let me at least give me a decent try… I don't think we could be friends," I admitted truthfully. There it was. I had all my cards on the table. I was all-in and he needed to check. "At least let me fail miserably and give you up, but right now I don't know if I could stand being with you any other way than romantically."

There was a long, quiet pause, and I could literally feel my heart thumping in my ribs. Finally, Brendon ran a hand through his thick messy hair. "You won't take no for an answer, will you?" he asked me with a slightly bitter smile. I grinned again.

"Nope!"

---

He said yes. He said yes. HE SAID YES!

Brendon was going let me show him I could be someone he could love. Three months. I'd promised him after three months I wouldn't bother him anymore if he didn't reciprocate. Things weren't going to be too different—he was just going to keep his eye out for me, and somehow I had made him promise to try and look at me in a romantic way. I knew that I couldn't force him to like me, but I could influence him. Sometimes it was enough to get the idea in a man's brain.

Now my problem was that I needed to become sophisticated. I needed to be sleek, beautiful, mature, and adult-like. I need to be sensuous, sexy, and…

You know that whole thing about the office woman who looks all stuffy, but she has a killer body under that business suit, with the nice slender calves with the thick rimmed glasses and stuffy hair? Then people turn around and she takes out her hair and does that Olympic hair toss and takes off her glasses and all of a sudden she's the sexiest, hottest, most beautiful woman in the room?

That's who I needed to be.

And as I stared into the mirror and saw my short, cute little frame, I realized that maybe this was going to be harder than I thought it would be. Yep…

I'd like to think I had average boobs for someone my age… almost B wasn't too bad for 4'11," right? And my butt….well my butt was pretty much a lost cause, but my legs were longer than my top torso. That was good. A little bit of leg was 'sophisticated,' right? Right?

So tomorrow for school… I could… wear a short skirt? Yeah… then what? A collared shirt? No, too stuffy. I wanted to be that Olympic hair toss girl all the time—the one that would make Brendon sweat and heart flutter like mine did every time I saw him. I wanted him to want and love me every bit as much as I wanted and loved him.

---

As I walked into school the next day, my friend Jared greeted me with a hug—the standard greeting most guys gave me. He was one of the guys I told you about earlier; one of the ones that had a crush on me. He'd confessed to me junior year, and hopefully/supposedly he had gotten over it. We'd pretty much become best friends.

His dark eyes looked me up and down and raised an eyebrow at the short denim mini-skirt and sleeveless top. "You look…different," he commented. "And taller."

I lifted up a foot and showed him my small heel. "I'm officially 5'1" now," I informed. He chuckled and walked with me as I traveled to my locker. My eyes were searching for Brendon, but I didn't see him yet. "I told Brendon how I felt about him," I told Jared as I reached up and wheeled in my combination on the lock.

"Oh?" he questioned serenely, plopping his head on top of mine. "And what did he say?"

I tilted my head so that he would get off and reached for my history binder. "Well… you know that he loves me like a little sister," I muttered, "But after much pleading, he agreed to give me three months to show him that I could be a girl he would like."

"Hence the skirt and heels?"

"Hence the skirt and heels," I affirmed. "He likes womanly women, not cute girls," I continued, slamming the locker shut.

"Like Trisha?" Trisha was the name of Brendon's ex I was telling you about earlier. "You want be like Trisha?"

I pursed my lips, "I don't want to be like Trisha Steele," I said a little sourly. "I just want to be a more adult version of myself." I pulled on my skirt a little bit just as a breeze came by. How could girls wear skirts like this and not feel uncomfortable? Ugh.

"Tea, you're almost eighteen, how much adult are you gonna get?" I snorted at him and then gave him a swift punch in the shoulder. Instead of wincing, he laughed. "You know girls stop growing around eighteen."

"Oh shut-up," I answered crossly, throwing my binder at him. The papers littered the floor and I looked down at them before looking back at Jared, who looked like the world had just split his side. "This is not funny!"

"Sorry," he replied, taking a hand and covering his mouth. I blew a piece of hair out of my face and glared at him. "S-sorry." He was having a hard time not laughing. Finally, he took a deep breath and looked down at me with some amount of seriousness. "You just seem too young to be… I dunno, a womanly woman."

"I'm older than you," I spat at him, "Plus, I'm seventeen, I can be as womanly as I want!"

With that said and done, I picked up my binder from the floor, looked at the papers before deciding I didn't need them and walked away holding my skirt down.

---

Have you ever noticed that if you turn the second 'E' into an 'L' in the word 'HEEL,' it would spell HELL? It's like how the first three letters in the word 'diet' spell DIE.

But I'm not talking about diets, I'm talking about heels. By the time I hobbled into first period to face Brendon, I had nearly broken my ankles three times, and tripped five times. Do you know how many steps it takes to get from my locker to my history class? Ten. Ten lousy steps, and eight out of those ten I'd almost fallen flat on my face and embarrassed myself to death.

Brendon was late to class—he'd walked in three minutes after the tardy bell, and Mrs. Walker gave him a big fat red mark on the attendance sheet. He took his seat next to me and gave me the standard half-hug before offering that charming smile of his. God, he is so hot.

--Brendon--

The first thing I noticed about her when I walked into class was that she was wearing makeup. Most guys won't usually notice, but I did. You want to know why? Because it was black eyeliner with dark shadow. It was a big change considering she usually went completely natural…I think…

I greeted Tea as all the guys did when I sat down, a hug and a smile. I'd been late today because I'd spent all night trying to sort through all that had happened last night. I had had some inclination that Tea had had a crush on me, but to tell me that she loved me?

To tell the truth, I'm not sure whether or not she means it because Tea tends to say whatever what's on her mind and fly with what she thinks she feels. I guess that's why the other guys find her so cute and attractive. Don't get me wrong, Tea is very nice and attractive. I just never thought of her as my type. My last girlfriend, Trisha, had been a good deal older than me and my girlfriend before that—when I was a little freshman—was a girl named Ashley. She had been a senior.

So I guess you could say that I like mature girls. Tea wasn't one I would call mature, but I wouldn't really call her immature either. She was just a little different. I'd promised her that I would try and look at her in a romantic way—I would treat her more as an interest instead of a sister, but I don't know how I'm supposed to do that. Envision her as Ashley and Trisha?

I suppose you'd want to know how I got to meet Trisha—since she'd been in the middle of college when we'd gotten together and there was not real reason for us to meet other than circumstances that were out of our control. Guess what those circumstances were. Just guess. Got it?

My parents.

Now before your mind goes through all those wacky stages where you think my parents are some old weird perverted people who wanted to see their son hook up with a twenty-two year old, let me tell you the truth.

Trisha had been my math tutor for a year before anything had happened. She was the daughter of one of my dad's colleagues and was studying to be a genetic engineer who needed some kind of cash income before she was kicked out of school. So my parents employed her to help my failing grade and she proved to be a great tutor.

I told her that I loved her the moment that I knew what I felt for her—and to my utter surprise, she felt the same way. Well… not exactly the same way, but the first phase of love, also known as lust. And at the time I'd met her I was no virgin. There was no way you could expect me to be one after my relationship with Ashley. But she was a lot better than Ashley.

Trisha left me when I was in junior year, but as older women go, I discovered with Ashley that that's what they do. They use you and then leave you. Nevertheless, my memories of her are still fond, however bitter they can become at times. Do I still love her? No. That saying really does make sense: Out of sight, out of mind.

In any case, I haven't seen her since then and I could care less.

But I have to say that I've been in a lot of different awkward positions with women, and the situation I'm currently in with Tea must be by far the strangest. It was some kind of a deal, I'd give her three months for her to show me that she could be someone that I could love.

I want to like her, but something in my brain just isn't clicking. Part of me wants to see her as the girlfriend type, but at the same time, the other parts of me are telling me that she's not my type, that this would never work out if I were to love her. But the other part kept saying that it was worth a try and that I would never know if I didn't at least give it a shot. I agreed with that part so far, but I didn't know how I could try and start liking Tea.

Anyway, enough about me and my funny mind-ramblings. Tea was asking me why I'd been late and I told her that I'd slept in. It was kind of funny how she was trying to annunciate her words, her face kept making these funny expressions as she talked, and I don't think she was aware of the fact that it only made her look more adorable.

I chuckled and patted her on the head, just as Mrs. Walker told us to shut up and pay attention to the lesson.

---

I volunteered to walk her to her locker, which was only a few feet away—maybe ten or eleven steps from the classroom. Then I walked her to the next class. I'd thought about it while Mrs. Walker had rattled on and on about history, and I had come upon the conclusion that maybe if I physically treated Tea like a romantic interest, my mind would see her as a girl instead of a sister.

So when we parted ways I gave her a hug and a light peck on the cheek. She hadn't expected it and blushed prettily and gave me that impish grin of hers before hopping into class holding her skirt down. I smiled fondly after her before shaking my head and heading to my English class.

Robert met up with me halfway and we talked about the things that guys normally talked about. Last night I'd called him up and told him of my predicament with Tea and he had promptly laughed for three minutes without breathing.

"So what's up with Tea?" he questioned, nudging me in the ribs. I moved to the side to get out of the path of his elbow.

"Nothing much," I answered as we walked into class.

"Did you see how she was dressed today?" Robert asked with another gentle nudge. I cast him an annoyed glance. He was my best friend, but he could get annoying.

"I have her in my first period, remember?" I responded.

"Oh yeah, huh?" he commented stupidly. "Anyway, did you see her legs? Damn, I never knew someone so short could have such nice legs."

I nodded my head in agreement, but didn't allow myself to think about it.

We walked into English—Robert still talking and showing no disgruntled-ness towards my not responding to anything he said. Our English teacher's name was Mrs. Caroline, and yes, Caroline was her last name. It's actually kind of funny because her first name is Carol. Carol Caroline. She was probably the youngest teacher I had, about twenty-five with wavy black hair and crystal blue eyes. She had most of the male class mesmerized, and needless to say it was Robert's favorite class.

I met up with Tea a little after English and walked her to her next class. You could see my acquaintances (they really weren't what you'd call friends…) and some of the girls and guys look at us speculatively as we walked together. It was actually kind of funny that people were looking at us coyly as if we'd gotten together. I also noticed that a lot of the guys were looking at Tea's legs.

We made small talk, and it was cute how she tried to annunciate properly (again)—like my last girlfriends had talked naturally. She failed, but it made me laugh anyway, and I ruffled her hair with my hands. "You're so cute," I told her, but she immediately frowned. I raised an eyebrow. That was right. Tea didn't want to be cute—she wanted to be my type.

The school day ended soon enough, I'd spent lunch with her like always along with Jared and Robert and a few of the other guys that created our circle. It was actually kind of funny, some of the other guys other than me, Jared, and Robert had nicknamed her Princess because she was the only girl. Not that we didn't have girls in our group, but they weren't always at lunch, and Tea was constant—not to mention all the guys seemed to love her.

It was pretty obvious to me how Jared felt about her. He had confessed to her…the previous year? I can't remember, but I do know that now they're best friends. Anyway, I spent most of my time near her as the guys discussed what guys talked about best: sports and boobs. I always kind of wondered how Tea could ignore or stand this many guys every single day. Sometimes I wondered if she was just oblivious.

--End Part One—

A/N: This was originally going to be one 'chapter' and a short story… but I realized it's going to be too long so I'm shortening it into separate parts. I'm not sure how many parts there are going to be. At MOST 5. At LEAST 2.

Review Please!