1. Deep and meaningless

Ok, so here's my situation. I've got a boyfriend, right?

…Well, kind of.

Sort of.


It's kind of difficult. We're the perfect couple, you see. He's great. I'm great. We're really great together. He's the captain of the chess club and the co captain of the science club. Not to mention he's been on University Challenge - twice. Of course, I'm the captain of the maths club, championing our university to victory two years in a row. I'm also currently in line to be valedictorian. Anyhow, it's a match made in heaven. We're dedicated, driven and totally suited. Even our parent's think we're great. My parents love him – who wouldn't? University challenge is awesome (Did I mention he was on there twice?). And, obviously, his family loves me. I mean, his mother is picking out our wedding china, for goodness sakes. I've finally managed to persuade her out of the fancy pink flowers to plain contemporary plates. Finally! Now, if only he'd stop thinking about her.

She's beautiful, nice and completely out of his league. He doesn't see that. To him, she's the girl next door; the one he's had a crush on since he was twelve and actually understood what a girl was. Personally, I blame his hormones. He's only nineteen, and well, we all know that his brain won't take over until he's at least twenty five. If even then. It's a fact that she's the finest thing on campus since, well, ever. I mean, even I'll admit she's hot. And nice. Why do some people get blessed with everything? Huh? All I got was brains, and hell, even I had to work for that. It pains me to admit she's lovely. And gorgeous, with beautiful, perfect blonde hair and a figure to die for. Stunning. And she doesn't even know it. Can you believe she doesn't realise she's got all the males on campus, and many females lusting after her? God, even I wouldn't be that dim witted. I mean, when you get some guys leering at you at all hours of the day, you"d think that you would have cottoned on by now. Nope. Not even one iota.

Ok, so back to my problem. She's perfect. How can I compete with that? This isn't some chemistry experiment where I can write down all my trials and errors, and then work out with my nifty little calculator the solution. Nah, this is real life. Much more complicated.

I remember how we first met. It was back at school, light years ago. We had the same class. He asked to borrow my protractor, I asked for his number. Okay, I lied. More like he asked to borrow my protractor, I went over to give it to him, tripped, feel into his lap and then declared him my hero. Then, asked for his number. Not quite romantic, but still, what do you expect? It was only sixth form. Everything had gone from there. We'd hooked up at a drunken class party, and stayed together. Everyone said how cute we were together, how well we worked as a pair. I was inclined to agree. Being a guy, he'd only shrugged.

It wasn't until six months later I found out. He'd had a humongous crush on her. Victoria. I'd heard of her, sure. It's not like I lived under a rock or something. I knew who she was, even if I was new. Then, three years ago, she had still been beautiful, and seemed to be getting more and more attractive as the years went by. Rumours were that she'd been scouted to be a model, to be an actress, and singer, a presenter, but she'd refused all the offers to lead a normal life. I hadn't been surprised. Unsurprisingly, nothing had happened between them. Sure, she lived next door to him, but then, and hell, even now she'd been way out of his reach. So we'd stayed together, living in perfect parallel to Victoria. Since then, we'd graduated, and gone to the same university. All three of us. Not that, you know, I was bitter or anything.

So, you want to know how I found out? "Say, Vic" (that's what he calls her) he says, tipping his hat respectfully "Tou're lookin' mighty fine today". She smiles and blushes, looking constipated in her freakishly frilly dress complete with a bonnet. Then, she walks away. What about me? I demand, wait no, ask, looking really fine in a designer dress, even if I do say so myself. He barely glances at me.

…Okay, so maybe that's not how it really went. But I swear, it was like that exactly.

Without the clothes. (No, not nude! Dirty you!)
Or the accents.
Or the hats (but that's the best bit, I hear you cry! - Real life, remember? I know, it's a bummer.)

Anyhow, I like thinking that Victoria was like his celebrity crush or something. He liked her, sure, but he loved me. Sure, he'd never actually said it in so many words, but I can tell. Girlfriends always know these things. That always made me smile, as I grinned madly walking into his house. They were used to me there, knowing I hated my campus with the rowdy, dirty occupants. He'd lived close to the university, so he'd stayed at home, not having to give up all the little luxuries I missed so badly. Yeah, I visited often.

"Have you heard the news?" His little sister, cute as a button bounds down the stairs. She's only fifteen, but she's already a little madam. How she knows all the uni gossip before me never fails to stun me, but then again, I don't listen to idle chit chat. "Victoria's broken up with her boyfriend." I'm speechless.

Bugger. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger.

This is not happening, I wheeze, hyperventilating. His sister is used to my amateur dramatics, looking down on me from the stairs coolly, her arms folded. Recovering temporarily, I rasp "Really?"

Hailey looks at me oddly. "Yeah, happened yesterday. Brutally. They had a large row, at the club at about nine? Yeah, nine. He stormed out, she came out looking sorry, but beautiful as ever. Guys were on her in a second. Surprise." Hmm, about the same time Will disappeared. Piecing the information together, my eyes widen. Finally, it clicks in.

"Go on, enlighten me." She sees the light bulb switching on.

I smile weakly, wracking my brain for an excuse. I'm not going to break it to her that her brother's a good for nothing, cheating, arse of a boy. Or so I suspect. I seriously doubt it, but the thought brings bile up to my throat. "Um they broke up, because she's probably allergic to him? Er, I mean his aftershave?" My god, that's good I applaud myself. Her boyfriend, well ex now, I suppose, was notorious for bathing in the smelly stuff. Dogs could smell him across the world, which would explain the numerous bitches he'd hooked up with.

"Why didn't she just get him to change it then?"

"Uh, she hated the hives it gave her."

She scoffed. "Like hives could even make that girl look the tiniest bit ugly. Knowing her, she'd probably pull it off as a fashion statement." She's right. I frown. I'm being outsmarted by a fifteen year old. I graduated second (a very, incredibly close first) in my whole school. I'm hailed as a genius by many, and I'm currently being outwitted by a fifteen year old. Oh good lord. My brain's rebelling on me. I'm sorry for all the late night studying, please don't leave me, you're all I've got, I plead. Well, you and my very own University Challenge Will. Hee.

The front door opens. It's him. Startled, he looks at me like a deer caught in headlights. He smells. Like flowers. I frown. Why does he smell like a girl? I mean, I know he can be a girl at times, but really, why does he smell like a girl?

"Will and you need to talk" he says. Yes, he does that sometimes, refers himself to himself in the third person. I think it's endearing. Curiously, I follow him into the small, crowded living room, the creases in my forehead becoming more pronounced. My stomach feels heavy, my heart dreading what's about to come, as I shut the door behind me. He's going to confess. Oh god, how should I react?

"It's me, not you" he starts. Damn straight it's you, I think. Moron. That's all he's going to give me? Some overused clichéd line. I gave you the best years of my life, I think dramatically. Thankfully, my mouth has actually disconnected from my brain and that appallingly girlish thought doesn't come out. "I'm sorry. It's us, we...we're just not working." He tries lamely, even though we both know the reason he's doing this is her.

"So what, you're dumping me for her?" I demand. It's not fair. I at least deserve the reason why he's messing with perfection. Us. Only, there is no us, is there?

"What?" he's flabbergasted. Oh yeah, like I don't know about her. Idiot, everyone knows about your humongous crush. It's embarrassingly hard to miss, his stuttering when we see her in the driveway, putting out the rubbish. "Um, no."

I raise an eyebrow.

"Maybe. Possibly." I snort "Ok, fine, yes!"

"Now the truth comes out."

"Excuse me?"

"Well, we all know there's always been three people in this relationship."

"What? What relationship?"

"What relationship?" Oh no, he did not just say that. My voice is all squeaky and somewhere in the ultrasonic region. I'm mad. Furious. Ready to kill. So I slap him.

It echoes. I start beating him up, hitting any part of him I can. I'm trying to channel my inner karate kid. Hey, this is kind of fun! And unbelievingly satisfying. Huh, I totally rock at this. He tries to fend me off with his puny, skinny arms. Ha, shame on you, nerd. I'm stronger than Optimus Prime, more Jedi than Luke, totally cooler than Jack Sparrow. "It wasn't really a relationship." He tries to defend himself, as I intensify the rhythm of my punches. Jab. Jab. Punch! Jab! Jab! "More of a thing. Friends with benefits. Good friends with benefits – more or less." Punch! Man, talk about foot in mouth disease. Even if he doesn't mean that, it smarts. Sure, we've never actually sat down and defined what we were, but still, I think three years constitutes as something more than friend with benefits.

I stop, blinking. "Well, what do you call my father giving us his "blessing" and that god awful, embarrassing birds and bees talk? And your mother, picking out our wedding colours. Pink and green!" I screech. "Pink and green! They bloody well clash!"

"I'm sorry" he tries again, trying to look sympathetic. He's really bad at it. "I never meant to mislead you." Smug bastard.

"You're sorry? Oh, you're sorry!" I stomp around, thinking of ways to exact my revenge. Stopping in front of him, I aim low, bring my knee up sharply. Good, he can stay on the floor I think, somewhat satisfied. He is groaning in agony, curled up in the foetal position. "Sorry? Oh you will be." I promise under my breath, storming out.

I stop outside the door, wondering where to go next. His older brother gives me a strange look in the hallway, his handsome features scrunched up in a look I don't recognise. As if he doesn't see girls storming out of his house everyday. I hate guys.

"Well, that went better than I expected" I hear Will say, his voice strained, to an empty room. Not exactly thinking clearly, I walk back in, throwing anything I can find at him.


…Oh, there goes that pillow


…and that picture frame

Jerk off.

…and the stupid hat that he thinks looks good on him, but frankly, should never be seen, except on Halloween. Or never. Either's good.

He won't let me get close enough for me to take another karate kick at him. That's a shame. It felt really good. For me, not him.

Walking back out, I stalk proudly down their garden path, holding my head up high, forcing my lips into a straight line. I can feel them drooping. I can feel my heart aching with every step. I can feel the eyes of his brother staring at me from the open doorway.

Three years.

Three years, and this is how it all ends. This is how we say goodbye. This is how he breaks my heart, shatters my future. Why? Why would he do that? For a chance with her? He doesn't have one. And, it seems like he's the only person who doesn't know it. What we had? Dismissed as nothing but deep and meaningless. But, it's ok. I will not cry. I'm fine. I'm fine.

I will not cry.

Shit, I can feel tears falling.

I will not cry.

I'm fine.

I will not cry.

I'm fine.

Oh, fuck it. I'm not fine. I want revenge.