Chapter 1: Time Travel
"Go to Prom with me."
I started in surprise, and my books fell down with a mighty bang.
And they didn't fall in any normal way, either — they dropped to the ground in freakin' slow motion. I know, right?
I tried to save Math, but English Lit would cry "Save me!" (spoiled little thing) and naturally, I tried to grab them both. And I missed. They both fell with agonized shrieks and twisted spines, helplessly grabbing on to each other. I was so preoccupied with saving those two (or, umm, powerlessly watching them slip from my fingertips), that I didn't even bother trying to rescue Chemistry — bless his poor, forlorn, difficult-to-understand soul.
Then I looked back at the dull, tiled floor and saw that they were all groaning in pain — a bitter cry over the sounds of dismal music.
Arms slapped at my side, head bowed, I whimpered almost pitifully. Gathering them into the (usually) safe succor of my arms, I apologized to each one individually—fortunately, they were very forgiving.
And then Ryan started talking again. For Pete's sake! Couldn't he see we were trying to have a moment?
"You're sweet, sexy, and umm—you think I'm hot." He cleared his throat. "Wait, uhh, I think you're hot." His eyes widened. "No, you've got the hots for me. Yeah, I think that's right."
So my books and I snickered in complete incredulity.
Chemistry said: Uhh, hello Mister Suave, ge'chur quotes straight before testing 'em on people, ya dimwit!
And then Math said: Uhh...yeah. Dude. Yeah, dude. And I like numbers.
I told them to behave like their (second) cousin on their dad's side. English Lit was sleeping peacefully; he had always been my favorite. No wonder he was so spoiled.
And then Ryan opened his mouth. Again. "Not a big talker, are you?" he quoted. Again. Maybe if he hadn't made me drop my books, creasing their once perfect — okay, not really, they were pretty old — pages, I would've joined in on the movie-quoting fun, but he had, so I wasn't. Hmphhhh.
. . . Blah. I scratched my neck with a sigh, feeling my face scrunch up in displeasure. I stared at my royal blue locker—well, actually the mirror on my royal blue locker door in which I watched my face scrunch up . . . in displeasure—because I didn't want to look at him. I mean, gross, he could not be saying such fatuously icky things.
"Oooh, see that, there. Who needs affection when I have blind hatred?"
. . . Oh, but he was. He had a thing for butchering the most glorious of accents by making his voice all squeaky-like and gross.
No, my sweet, charming Patrick Verona would never be replaced by the dude from Loserland standing before me. Well, actually, the Loserlandite did have a pretty acceptable Aussie accent. He just hid it to bug me.
I reluctantly turned away from my studying of the brownish-greenish-ness that decided to present itself on my formerly unblemished locker. (I covered the offensive mold growth with happy-face stickers. SHH!)
"I'll take you places you've never been before," he tried again, running a hand through his sandy hair with a boyish smirk.
And that was enough for me.
I fixed him with my coldest glare—no, not really. But I tried, I honestly did!
But he just shot me that adorable grin—you know, the Hey-Don't-Kill-The-Heath-Ledger-Quoting-Perv grin that made girls fall at his feet. Except they had different names for it. I think.
He was too cheesy for anyone to even think about being upset with him, and alas, I was only a humble subject to those unwritten rules which guided us all.
So I smothered a laugh and looked at him evenly. And he breathed on his nails, rubbed them against the material of his striped red shirt (he looked like Waldo, the freak), and gave me a haughty sniff. A sniff that said "Hey, I know you're dying to go to the Prom with me, so just tell me already, yeah?"
Oh whatever! He was just lucky I wasn't the type to hold a grudge. Okay, not really, but he was infinitely fortunate in the fact that I was willing to forgive him for sticking gum in one of my braids. And cutting off half of the other (he used that half as a rope to smack other kids with. Ouch, I know).
Okay, so I was in kindergarten when that happened, but he was a freaking . . . a freaking first-grader! My gosh! Maybe the lack of naps was getting to him? Well, worry not, I did get him back for totally destroying my pigtails, which, by the way, were torture to create. Yeah, so my mom did my hair at the time, but honestly. Did he have to use cinnamon-flavored gum?
What a waste.
Avenging myself was a matter of highest importance. Unfortunately, weapons of mass destruction (water guns included) were not allowed in Miss Simerlink's classroom, so, ah, I settled for hurling a mini Superman action figure at his forehead. Shut up, I know that was hardly punishment enough, but I kind of — umm, misaimed? And hit his, ahem. Please don't make me say it.
And hair was just . . . hair. I never liked it much anyway — not even at the tender age of five. So Ryan's mutilation of my locks only gave me a better reason to cover them with my favorite article of clothing—a sock! Well, I tried that for a day. Then I got a hat.
I remember my brothers pitching in to buy me the Power Puff Girls mesh cap I'd wanted back then . . . and get this, they bought me a new hat of my choice every two years. Double whee.
Of course, that cycle was broken when I fell in love with a comfy newsboy capyears ago —I think I'd been using that one since I was, like, ten or something. So if it weren't for Ryan . . .
Right. Ryan. How to respond. You know, it was times like these in which I wish I could've just hated him. Then we would have had the love-hate cliché that was birthed on that fateful day in kindergarten. Minus the love, of course. Okay. No sense make I. Must respond I now.
"No, I will not go to the Prom with you," I said simply, my voice lilted with a note of nonexistent disdain.
I'd found that if you squared your shoulders and tilted your back just a bit, you could fix your, umm, opponent with the perfect condescending stare, and make them feel shorter than you. So I got the trick from my kid brother. Who cares? You know, it was true when they said that you learned the most important lessons in life from children. And I did see the future leader of America in my brother when he taught me how to fire jellybeans at people through my mouth—it wasn't quite spitting, and it wasn't quite not-spitting. It was just . . . dude, the kid was a genius.
"Why not?" Ryan whined petulantly. Don't be fooled. He knew I'd say no. Ryan was something of a . . . well, he was like a slightly more attractive version of the fungus growing on my locker. He never got the hint, even when I smothered him with happy-face stickers. Except with Ryan, it was "kick me" signs placed, umm, lovingly (?) on his back.
"Because…I…" Crap. I was getting moldy. Err...rusty. "Umm—weeeell," I started, drawing out the word as I fumbled for an excuse.
Actually, that was my favorite part.
Not the stuttering like an idiot, mind you . . . I meant the excuse-making. Because it was really fun. And my brothers enjoyed hearing the things "their girl" told those "loser freaks," even though they wish I had the guts to just "kick 'em where it hurts." Okay. I was a lot of things, but not sadistic. Usually.
I honestly had no idea why they spent so much time helping me make excuses in the first place. I mean, Ryan was pretty much the only one who was silly enough to ask me out, and they pretty much loved him anyways. Apparently, he was a videogaming master, and he was better than me at basketball—though that wasn't saying much.
The world was an unfair poop.
"Umm…I'm sick?" I offered feebly. Double yuck. Was that the worst excuse ever or what? I suddenly imagined my older brothers circling me with rubber clubs.
If Anthony were here, he'd shake his head disappointedly and walk away. Then Michael would come flick my forehead and ask why I hadn't stuck to the material in our Book of Excuses. And Joey, well, he'd grin and say, "That's okay, you'll think of something better next time." And Victor would scoff, "Pfft, no it's not, and no she won't," and then he'd grin and add: "No offense." And that left Ben who would be too young to understand what was happening. Hopefully he'd take their clubs away.
Five brothers, and none of them were here to help me ward the little fungusy mushroom off. Why?! And why could I only think to say "I'm sick," when that particular excuse was so freaking —
"Overused," Ryan yawned, stretching his arms back in exaggerated boredom.
I grinned despite myself.
"Okay — that was a joke. No need to fret about my health. It's because…umm…" I desperately racked my brains for something stupefying. Something...fantasmo. Something...something he had never heard as an excuse in all his seventeen years of lif—
"I need to pee," I confessed with an overly, overly (overly) dramatic sigh. Umm . . . right.
I had no idea where that came from, but whatever it was . . . umm, at least it was staggeringly awe-inspiring. Actually, no, it really wasn't. It was kinda (really, really) unoriginal and stupid. Rats!
"You what?" he asked, grinning goofily.
Oh, he was not laughing at me. I swept my tongue across my teeth as I thought. Come on, Michelle! You can do this!
"Well, every…" I paused, thinking. Crud! "What day is the prom?" I asked sheepishly. Yeah, maybe I should plan those sorts of things out.
No, not this Friday, you sillies. Friday, like, a thousand years from now, is what he meant. The prom was usually at the end of the year or something, right? Well, we hadn't even had our Halloween dance yet…I know, talk about planning ahead. What a girl.
"Right. Okay, so, every Friday, I pee," I explained with a flourish. I mentally shot myself through my shirt sleeve (I didn't want to get hurt). The heck kind of excuse was that? I braced myself for Ryan's response.
Meaning I braced myself for an onslaught of indelicate stupidity. Here we go . . .
"You know what? I think I pee on Fridays, too!" His grin widened. "Can't you see? We're destined for each other!" Ryan exclaimed, eyes sparkling.
I fought down my own grin. What a dork. I think my brothers were rubbing off on him.
But I was kind of getting into it. Um, told you excuse-making was fun?
"No, no, no…you don't get it," I heaved a longsuffering sigh. His eyebrow twitched. "On with it!" it screamed.
"Every week, I save up all my pee." I scratched my cheek as his eyes widened in disbelief. "It's really painful, so I don't suggest you try it." I heard him hmm in exaggerated agreement. "Right, so I save up all my pee, and when I wake up on Friday, I go straight to the toilet." I cleared my throat uncomfortably, before continuing slowly. "It usually takes the whole day for me to…umm…relieve myself, not to mention get more fluids into my system. It's quite a taxing occasion, so I don't think I'll be able to make it, the prom being on the same day and all," I finished apologetically, but my cheeks were burning hotly.
Where did those things come from? Well, um...it was thorough. I mentally congratulated myself for creativity (coughstupiditycough) points.
Ryan looked at me for a second, before he tilted his head back and laughed. Loudly. So loudly that passing students turned to look at him in thinly veiled confusion, or not-bothered-to-be-veiled lust. Gross! Umm, yeah, some people thought Ryan grew up (...physically, at least) to be a real "hottie. And we're talking 'hott with a double t'," here. NOT MY WORDS!
I placed cool hands to my flaming cheeks as people turned to stare at me, too. I hid behind my hair and groaned. Oh, the humanity! Shut it up, Ryan!
Fifteen (okay, more like three) minutes later, he ran a hand through his hair and grinned. I decided that meant he was done making a fool of himself, and more importantly, well...me.
"Can I join you? We can see whose pee goes farther," he joked stupidly. Freak.
"No. Three reasons. One: I don't pee on walls. Two: you, unlike me, have not been torturing your bladder, or kidney or whatever, all week long. Three: Dad says not to share bathrooms, or walls, with guys," I said, smiling slightly.
Ryan grinned lopsidedly and shrugged a shoulder in an "I tried" gesture.
Very likeable guy, he was. Funny. And kinda nice.
He was, simply put, a wacky turd who enjoyed hitting on people. And (mis)quoting 10 Things I Hate About You, obviously.
Well, I was a person. And a girl, to boot. Well, boom-bada-bam, there you had it.
So I didn't usually get annoyed at his silly-billy offers because…well, I just couldn't. Maybe that was because I had five brothers and I knew (...sometimes) how to take a joke. Maybe I was just a weirdo-schfeerdo who got the weirdo-schfeerdoness from those same brothers.
At least I wasn't dead because of them. That's always what people asked me when they somehow got me to admit that I had five male siblings: "Oh, my GAH! Are you dead?!"
Um. Really. Some people were just . . . I don't know, but everytime they said something like that, I felt like asking whether or not they knew that even fools could be thought wise if they kept their mouths shut. Then I chided myself for being a meanie (and a hypocrite, because talking about pee wasn't exactly the most brilliant idea in the universe).
I think Anthony was my opposite in that respect, because he usually just talked when he needed to. Quiet most always, but secretly, really funny. Only secretly, so don't tell.
And Joey was a lot more extroverted than I was. He cared about lots of people, and lots of people cared about him. Michael played pattycake with me, and he went to the gym to work out and get stinky. It was a past-time of his to bug people, so he made things interesting. Sometimes. Victor was a full-time drama kin—oh, who was I kidding? Victor was a full time drama queen and a total loser...but a likeable one with lots of amused friends (thanks to him), including the school's basketball team for which he was going to be point-guard this year, I know it. Ben...was the cutest almost-five-year-old kid in the whole wide world. Not even biased here.
And then there was me, Michelle, the coolest member of the Watson 6... and umm...yeah. I had two middle names, I thought Twinkies-and-Pizza was a more logical combination than bacon and eggs, and I brushed my teeth religiously...when I remembered to. HA, jokes! Kind of.
Yup. We were way more awesome than the Jackson 5 because while we couldn't sing...or dance...or capture the musical attention of millions of Americans...or dance...or... dance, we could cook! And, yes, Ben touched little kiddies, but those were his friends, and Tag was a very popular game among kindergarteners.
Right. Back to Ryan. The world revolved around him, after all.
The reason I tolerated his loser-McBoozer-ness? I think I was just a (teensie wheensie bit) flattered that he took time off from his other (-hacking cough-) female companions to hang out with me. Don't get me wrong, he was a great guy — just a bit of a…umm…ladies' man?
Not that I cared, anyways.
Nope, not me. Here's to Michelle, the non-carer!
Oh yeah! Class time - bring it on, teach! Yes, reader . . . now the real torture begins. At least I'll have someone to accompany me throughout my boring day, right? Right?! You're not going to leave me just because sometimes my life gets a little…unentertaining…right? Tell me I'm right, dagnabbit!
"Miss Watson." No, my name is not MJ, you Peter Parker lovers. But I love Spiderman. I mean, honestly. That shouldn't even be questioned in this day and age.
"Miss Watson." Yeah, I liked getting Spidey toys in my cereal boxes, too. And NO, I did not watch the movies just to ogle James Franco. What about you?
"Miss Watson." No? That's cool. Wait...is someone calling me? Who's calling me? Stop calling me that, you — person who's calling me that.
"Yeah, yeah, love you too," I finally replied; it gets a little annoying hearing your own last name 523,980,716 times. Or even just three and a half.
I heard choked laughter from behind me. Crud. I hated when that happened. It meant, you newbs, that I missed something, and probably did something sickeningly embarrassing. Oh, poop on a corndog stick. With icky, icky expired mustard. And...boogers.
"Excuse me?" a stern voice asked. I looked up hesitantly. Oh, would you look at that. We've got a substitute, guys!
Okay, I didn't use my "pee" excuse on her. Instead, I opened my mouth to reply, "I said…errmm…the answer is two?" You don't have to tell me that was dumb. I said don't tell me!
"No," Ms. Substitute said. "The answer is not two. The correct response would be 'here,' or 'present,' or just a simple hand raise. I'm taking roll," she finished somewhat kindly…or maybe it was patronizingly. Same difference.
I nodded meekly, feeling my face burn. And then I was hit by a meteorite!
. . .Or a piece of paper, but more specifically a note. I staged a loud gasp for Rachel, who I knew was right behind me, who I knew was laughing at me, who I knew threw that piece of paper at me.
I know, note passing in class?!
I ignored the crumpled up sheet of Hello Kitty stationery (even though my fingers were itching to open it), and drew my attention to the whiteboard.
And then I was bombarded by a full-on meteor shower! But thanks to my trusty cap (and my two messy braids), none of these (pretty and pink) paper wads got stuck in my hair the whole English Literature period. Oh yeah, I rocked hard. After class, I went out to the hallway to meet —
"Oh! Guess who I am! Umm…the answer is two," I heard a goofy voice say. "The amazingly dorky, the stupendously loser-y Michelle Wats—,"
"Shut up, Rachel," I said, covering my face. "And why did you make your voice like that? You sounded like Scooby Doo."
"Whatever," she dismissed my insult with a flip of her (shiny, glossy, gloriously beautiful) hair (which I obviously envied).
"Why didn't you reply to any of my stealthily-passed notes? Well, actually, I think the sub saw me throwing them. And only the first two wads of my expensive Hello Kitty paper which you didn't even bother to look at had anything written in them—," she paused for breath. I rolled my eyes. "The rest were launched partly to annoy you, and partly because I was annoyed with you," she finished, grinning.
I nodded my head and looked outside, sighing wistfully. It was so pretty out there. Golds, coppers, greens, and browns swirled naturally in an artful whirlwind of honey-colored autumn beauty. It almost reminded me of Ryan's eyes. . .which were the only part I liked about him. The rest sucked! Well, not his hair. Or shoes. He had the coolest shoes. . .told you he was a girl!
"First of all," I started. "You're not supposed to pass notes in class, and second of all, I wasn't annoyed. I was gloating because none of your pink meteorites got stuck in my hair. So, what did those extraterrestrial kitties of doom and destruction have to say, anyway?" I asked.
"Well, if you bothered to listen to them. Or read them, whatever," she rolled her eyes, "you would see that I was, much like I am now, mercilessly mocking your conversation with Mrs. Dawson," she answered, and before I could even ask—
"Mrs. Dawson is the lady who you've no doubt named 'Ms. Substitute' in your mind."
Yes, Rachel was a pretty cool cat, if I did say so myself. And I did say so. Because I had to. She was my best friend of...umm, since sixth grade—I know, that was a long time to put up with me, but sheesh, do you have to rub it in?
She was one of those gorgeous biracial chicks — half Korean, half Irish. She had wavy darkish brown hair and beautiful, slightly slanted, hazel eyes. She was just about the nicest person ever, and the most fun person to laugh with. And now that I'm done making myself sound like I'm auctioning her off to e-Harmony, I'll skip to lunchtime — the best part of any sane person's school day. And I happen to think I'm sane, so shut your mouth (please) if you disagree.
I wish I could say there was an impromptu carnival, or at least a food fight or something (I've always wanted to be in one since I saw Lizzie McGuire start one at her school), but lunch was the usual relaxingly uneventful time that it almost invariably was. Well, that wasn't entirely true. Today, I stepped foot into the school's cafeteria for the first time. I know, right?
See, I'm a junior. ...Ha, not to brag or anything, but I have been told I have the mentality of a twenty-six year old. Or maybe it was a six year old. Sixteen, maybe?
...Yes, you're right, that wouldn't make much sense. I am sixteen. ...I think.
The cafeteria was like, a whole new world (a dazzling place I never knew, but when we're way up here, it's cryst—oh, umm...yeah.). Rachel was right next to me (moral support and all that jazz), as I gazed in wonder at the exhilaratingly foreign universe. Because my mom packed Rachel's lunch also, she'd never been there either. You know what was unfair about that? Rachel got chips, and sometimes even cookies, while I get cucumber slices, or carrots, or celery sticks. Oh well, they tasted surprisingly good with Ranch. Uhh…yeah, right. That was why I switched lunches with her. Please don't tell my mom.
The place looked so clique-ified. Outside, everyone got along with everyone else. But in here, I could already label all the table groups by glancing around. Weeeirdnesss.
"Let's just pay for our lunches and go outside. Fast. It feels creepy in here," Rachel voiced my thoughts in a whisper.
"Agreed," I nodded, and paid for a chicken sandwich and some carrot sticks (what can I say? Mom rubbed off on me...at times).
"Hey, Michelle! Over here!" a voice called somewhere from my right.
I turned to a smirking Ryan.
"Never seen you 'round these parts."
Oh, my dear Heath Ledger, don't feel bad. His Southern accent is worse than his imitation of your Aussie deliciousness.
author's note. (6.o6.o7) AAHH! i think i exported my one-shot over here by accident...so the story started off...all weird and stuff. sorry to anyone who read this mess-up thinger. (-cries-) please...forgive...me! oh, and i will get around to editing this. i know i switch tenses a lot and this was probably really boring and info-dumpy. but don't stop reading unless you get past chapter six! please? (-clasps hands under chin and adopts Puss 'n Boots look-)
you know you want to review. (-waggles eyebrows-) honestly, don't even kid yourself. you know it's fun and awesome and your fingers are itching to do it!