Boy Don't Try To Front
I could never keep anything from Ashley for long. Even when 'long' was classified as twenty minutes in her presence as she drove me to school the next day.
'Ok, Michelle,' she suddenly exclaimed as she slammed on the brakes, effectively parking the car into one of the many available spots in the school car park as well as making me jump up in fear. 'Tell me what's bothering you.'
I silently cursed, wondering how to dig myself out of this. It's not every day you say to your friend: 'Oh, by the way, the school's golden boy likes you and he told me to help him get together with you but you didn't hear it from me because I'm not supposed to tell you.' That would work perfectly.
Ashley's eyes continued boring into the side of my face as the silence grew. 'Well?'
Think, Michelle, think, my brain screamed or I screamed at my brain, whichever you like. It was well known to me that when Ashley became suspicious of something she would go to any possible means of smoothing those suspicions out. Take stalking me (her best friend) for a whole day in year 7 when she thought I was stalking Gary Mitchells- a cute boy who I was paired with for an English project.
I wasn't, by the way. I was just trying to find a subtle way of approaching him about his part of the project without his friends around which was hard enough without Ashley tracking me like a hawk thinking that I liked him and wasn't telling her of our secret relationship. Like, yeah right. Why would I like a guy who only ended up writing the title in a 'group' assignment? Please, I have much higher standards.
'Umm…' I started, nervously fidgeting with the threads coming undone from my gnawed bag. And then I got it.
'NIPPER!!!' I shouted, head shooting up to glare at Ashley, eyes fiery. She jumped, surprised. 'That damn beast! Do you know what he did to my bag yesterday? Huh? Do you know? Do you know? NO? WELL, LOOK! LOOK AT THAT! LOOK at that LARGE, GAPING HOLE and all those THREADS hanging off!'
Ashley wrinkled her nose and backed away from the bag I'd shoved fiercely into her face and had begun waving about like a madman.
'Do you know how SPECIAL this bag is to me? How IMPORTANT, it is? And in a few minutes, that dog,' I spat out the word, 'has TORN it down the side. TORN IT! You see? TORN IT! Without a single care to how precious it is to me. Oh, you wait until I get my hands on that thing!He'll wish he was never ever ever EVER-'
I stopped mid-rant and swing, letting out an angry huff just for show.
'Are you telling me that you've been acting strangely all morning because you've been concocting the slowest and most painful way to kill…a Chihuahua?'
I smiled sheepishly, lowering my bag back into my lap.
'I don't believe you.' My smile froze. 'Like, I seriously can't believe anyone would be so moody because of a dog. I thought you kept some huge secret or something from me.'
During that, I believe I'd frozen and unfrozen around three times and I can honestly say that- for the first time ever- I was extremely glad to see Russell's face peering through the car window.
My side of the car, unfortunately.
'Ashley-' he stopped as I stepped out. 'Oh, you.'
'Other side of the car doofus.'
Russell hurried over to the right as Ashley emerged from the car. As they greeted each other (sickeningly so, might I add), I lapsed back into my previous thoughts of the morning before Ashley had interrupted. Truthfully, I was slightly apprehensive of what Haapman was going to do now. Was he going to demand a plan now, start talking to me constantly or ignore me as if nothing had happened?
I hoped for the latter.
'Michelle! Let's-' Ashley's next words were drowned out by the thunderous vroom of a motorbike as it zoomed past. The motor came to a stop as the vehicle's occupant parked some fifteen metres away from us.
And then it happened- I was thrown into a chick flick. You know, the part where the guy the girl falls in love with is introduced at the beginning of the film with plenty of slow-mo action? Yeah, there's even a motorbike.
The figure slowly removed his helmet and shook his head, black hair flying around wildly before settling messily, but somehow, stylishly on top. A pair of dark sunnies were then produced from his shirt pocket and placed over his eyes before he swung a booted jean leg over the side of the motorbike, leaning against it lazily. A roguish smile stretched across his perfectly sculptured face as he crossed his arms across his broad chest, his entire body oozing confidence. He was hot and he knew it.
Then the rest came. Their squeals were heard before they appeared in small groups from around the parking lot. Short skirts, short shirts, long legs, high heels… this was getting way too chick flick- such as the part where all the girls are throwing themselves on the main guy, namely…
Justin Haapman. I gagged.
'Michelle? Hello, Earth to Michelle?'
I snapped out of the flick, looking across the top of the car to where both Ashley and Russell were looking at me strangely.
'Uh, yeah?' I hoped they hadn't noticed that I had lost myself over there for a second.
'Why were you staring at Justin Haapman?'
Or maybe they had.
Ashley's eyebrows were raised high and Russell was sneering. I opened my mouth to reply but was stopped short when my eyes, darting around anxiously, fell on two people. Now, normally, I wouldn't give a damn about either of the two but due to certain circumstances, things had to be noticed. One of them was Haapman. The other was Tracey Chambers who was- oh, just so you know- attached to his lips. She was seated on his motorbike, hands running up and down his back. Though I couldn't see his face, I could bet with absolute certainty, that he was enjoying it.
'Michelle! You're doing it again!'
I turned to face them, placing a look of utter disgust on my face. 'They're kissing.'
Ashley looked at me as if I'd grown another head while Russell stared at Ashley. 'Yeah, well Michelle, welcome to high school and beyond. It's not like it's the first time you've seen people sucking face.' She suddenly went red, probably remembering the number of times I was around when she was with her boyfriends.
'No, but they're-' I broke off, forgetting that Ashley didn't know. She wasn't supposed to know. 'Nevermind.'
Ashley stared at me a while longer before taking Russell's hand. 'Come on, we'll be late to class.'
I followed behind, glancing back once more before I entered the school building. Tracey was nowhere to be seen surprisingly, but Justin was still there, surrounded by the gaggle of girls and a few of his mates as his shielded eyes…
I shuddered. They seemed to be looking right at me.
It didn't take long to find out Justin's locker number- pretty much every girl knew- but it did take more effort to be there when no one else was there, especially the person himself.
I figured there would be fewer people in the hallways after school, such as yesterday, so I stayed back to complete my maths homework. Several problems later, I packed up to go check whether the coast was clear.
The hallways were quiet as I padded along. Justin's locker was on the other end of the school, across the entryway to the sports grounds where, to my disdain, soccer practice was currently being held. His soccer practice.
And why I am I trying to locate his locker?
Oh, it's simple- I just realised I fell head over heels in love with Justin Haapman and he needs to read my perfume signed love letter. Just imagine- the football dorks we could make.
The beige locker came into view and I padded quickly towards it. Ok, the truth was far from my affections for said guy (which are nonexistent, I assure you) but more so steering towards the few words written haphazardly on a crumpled yellow post-it note in my hand- now stuck on locker face.
Mission completed, I fled….
…only to encounter Haapman emerging from the sports locker room ten metres down the corridor. Crap.
We both paused at the sight of each other, my mind immediately flying to our first run in the day before. Except yesterday I had seriously been considering his request and today…well, he'd find out soon enough.
His eyes travelled from my face to down to my legs before coming back up, a questioning look appearing as he took in my fleeing stance. My throat suddenly felt dry as he took a step forward in his soccer boots, the spikes tapping against the tiles. His hair was wet, sweat trickling down his face and soaking into the white jersey. It stuck to his body like a second skin giving a glimpse to the obviously toned chest underneath but there was no time to give my attention to such details whilst being interrogated by his green eyes. For a while, it seemed as if the world had frozen and I humourlessly wondered whether this was how Ashley had felt when her parents had caught her sneaking out at night.
Justin began slowly towards me, eyes still locked with mine. My hands started fidgeting with my bag, its loose threads coiling and uncoiling around my finger. The heavy silence around us was becoming unbearable and I was starting to panic. There was only one solution.
Ordering my legs to move I whipped around and walked back the way I came, my pigtails giving me a good smack in the face. Passing his locker again, I heard a faint 'Hey' before it became clear that he had decided to follow.
I walked faster upon hearing his footsteps becoming louder. He was gaining ground with my more disadvantaged leg length.
'You-' I turned around, seeing him not far off, 'stink!'
I waved my hand in front of my scrunched up nose, seeing him falter in his step at my unexpected outburst which was just my intention cause I couldn't actually smell him from here. His mouth opened slightly as if to say something but his eyes caught the bright yellow post-it note on his left.
I panicked. He wasn't supposed to read it while I was still here. That was not part of the plan.
Without checking out his reaction, I hightailed thinking it ironic how my brush with the school's golden boy had started and ended in exactly 24 hours because my answer to his demand would be absolutely patent to him after he read my message. I mean, did he honestly believe I was going to stoop that low to lend him a hand in hooking him up with a girl (my best friend, especially) while he goes and swaps spit with another?
In the words of Britney Spears- Womanizer.
Though she might not be on his music playlist, I'm sure he could figure out what (or who) that was referring to.
The mirror reflected the strain I had gone through today. It was the day after the post-it note incident and I could feel someone watching me- and they weren't scared of being obvious. Ladies and gentlemen, I think it was safe to say that Mr Haapman has realised the path I'd chosen and he was not happy. Not one bit.
Splashing cold water on my face, I turned off the tap and exited the ladies toilet where I had been hiding for the most of the lunch break. With fifteen more minutes to spare, I had almost made it to a Haapman free classroom (I only shared compulsory PDHPE with him- oh, the horrors) before my stomach decided to unleash its protests about the unsatisfactory five ham and cheese crackers residing in its depths.
Although there was a high risk of bumping into the one-who-must-be-evaded, I (my stomach) was desperate for food. As they say, an empty stomach is an empty brain- in other words, my education for the rest of the day was in peril.
I didn't have to go far before I found food. Oh, I didn't have to go far at all. Food found me in the form of a large mouth watering chicken kebab-
-lying in the hand of Justin Haapman.
'Why are you here?' burst out of my mouth before I could stop myself. Hardly anyone came to this side of the school unless they had Music rehearsals or were hiding in the toilet…like me.
He seemed equally surprised at seeing me but quickly regained composure. Yeah right, I bet he was searching for me.
'You've been avoiding me.' It was a statement, not a question.
'Yes, you have.'
I narrowed my eyes at him and his certainty. 'So, we have nothing to do with each other.'
'I think you know very well what I want to talk to you about.'
I stared at him wide-eyed. 'I really don't get you. What are you on-' The words died in my throat as Justin's free hand dug into the pocket of his tattered jeans and produced a crumpled yellow paper.
'Britney Spears. Womanizer. Good song.' he read and paused, thinking. 'Now that wouldn't happen to be referring to…say…me, would it?'
I gulped. 'I'm…really hungry.'
He looked annoyed. 'Oh really?'
'Yeah, I haven't eaten lunch yet.' I eyed the kebab with its dripping mayonnaise greedily. It looked so good.
'Well, then, that's too bad. Canteen's going to close soon.' And then he raised the kebab to his mouth and took a large bite, his eyes closing and a look of contentment passing over his face. 'Mmmm….itsh good.'
Oh, that son of a-
I turned to leave but was abruptly pulled back and pinned against the wall, Justin pressed lightly against me with one arm next to my head as he finished off his bite.
'What are you doing? You don't just push-'
'Listen Michelle,' he whispered, breath tickling my cheeks. His eyes were dark and they stared down at me, making me squirm. 'You don't just refuse to help me, call me names and then expect to come out unscathed. It just doesn't flow that way, understand?'
I didn't nod. I didn't shake my head either. His close proximity was making me feel light headed and I didn't like it.
'From now on, darling, you better keep a closer eye on your best friend cause she's not going to be around you for much longer. She's going to fall hard for me,' he bent down to my ear, 'and you're not going to stop it.'
Lingering there for a moment longer he pulled back and smirked, green eyes dancing mockingly. Taking another painstakingly slow bite of his kebab, he spun around to leave just as I found my voice.
'Ashley won't fall for a pompous ass-wipe jerk like you who only gives a damn about how many girls he can get in his bed!'
He paused in his step but didn't look back. 'Oh, you just wait Lenzy. You just wait.'
I stared poisoned daggers into his disappearing back wanting to just run up to him and karate kick that kebab out of his hand and maybe into that haughty face of his, but another thought was forming in my head.
Contrary to what he said, I was going to stop him and stop him good.
Because Michelle Lenzy never fails.
I am SO SO sorry! It has been a year (almost exactly, I'm watching the tennis again) since I last updated and really, I should have done better. School's going to start next week and I hope I'll get in another chapter before then.
Anyways, THANK YOU to everyone for their criticism, corrections and encouragement! They are ALL appreciated! Keep reviewing!
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