a/n: this is...odd. i warn you. i don't know what was going through my mind, except, "don't worry be happy now, ... " --coughcough-- so, just keep an open mind (waaayyyy open). thanks!!
The Bee and the Wallflower.
Sometimes I got mistaken for a wall. Mostly people tried to hang things on me, or screamed when I suddenly moved, like I was some freaky wall-being. Which, I suppose, I was. It wasn't like I chose to be a wallflower. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, either, like all of a sudden deciding to kick someone in the shin. No, this was a gradual transformation from a normal, albeit slightly obnoxious person, to a one-dimensional creature that, on most occassions, appeared to be non-existent. I really don't know how it happened; I suppose I should have started to worry when my fellow classmates tried to graffitti crude sayings across my back, like:
I had a few friends. Those that had superior sight; or, in actuality, those that were close to being wallflowers themselves. There weren't quite like me, though. If they tried to stand immobile beside a wall, they'd get pushed aside or else ran into or had ham-and-cheese sandwiches thrown at them.
No. I was the wallflower of Bloomsdale High School.
And, isn't it odd that the one person who discovered me, did so by smelling me?
Irony at its best.
It was a day like any other.
I was one with the wall, the wall was one with me. The crowded hallway pulsed and throbbed around me. People skimmed past, talking and laughing and smelling like a herd of African beasts; I can't distinguish a single species, like a herd of elephants or hippopotamuses, considering I had never actually smelt a herd of African beasts. But I figured this was how they smelt like; dirty and sweaty and like they'd decided to have a dip in the local watering hole before coming to school.
No one ever noticed me. With an appearance as bland as the blank grey walls and a name equally as tasteless -- Annie Smith -- it was no surprise I passed as a type of educational architecture. But today, as people pushed and skittered and squawked by, with me standing flat against the wall, staring demurely into nothingness, someone broke from the herd. They came to stand beside me; so close I could smell the strong, stale scent of cigarette smoke that clung to him. I shuffled away, not even lifting my feet as I moved, used to moving in a way that looked as though I wasn't really moving.
Oddly enough, though, he followed me.
Then, I felt him move; his long, mussy hair draped across my shoulder as he dipped his nose into my neck. I heard his long, deep intake of breath, and then his satisfied exhale that went all the way down my shirt, pooling in a disgusting heat across my stomach.
Without turning my head, I asked as sensibly as I could: "Did you just...smell me?"
"Why, yes, I did."
Again, I tried to remain calm and as careless as I could. "Why did you smell me?"
"You smell nice."
"...thank you. But that still doesn't explain why you felt inclined to smell me in the first place."
"I like things that smell nice."
I made the barest of movements away from him. "That's sort of creepy -- and still doesn't explain why --"
"I was walking to class and smelt the best smell -- like roses, with a mix of honey, and something weird like eucalyptus -- "
"I have a cold," I said by way of explanation. "My mum made me shower in eucalyptus this morning."
"That's weird," he said and I could feel him looking at me from the corner of my vision.
I nodded, and then realised I was agreeing with a guy who had just inhaled my scent. Again, I shifted away from him. "Um," I said, then wondered idly just why I had said it. It really didn't make any sense.
"So, like I was saying," he continued, "I was walking past, smelt that good smell, and decided to come over and see if it was you." There was a pause, and he added, "It was."
"I sort fo figured that, what with the smelling and all."
"Yes," I said. When he hadn't moved, I started to feel awkward. I was meant to be a lone wallflower. No one was meant to see me, let along smell me and speak to me. I was weirded out. And a little insulted. Was my wallflowering abilities fading?
After a long pause, during which I thought about all the reason why my abilities were fading, the boy beside me said, "By the way, my name's Benji. You can call me Bee."
"My name's Annie and you can call me Annie."
"Yes," I answered, and felt a suspicious twitch at the corner of my mouth. Was it a smile? Was I about to smile at the neck-smelling, wallflower-seeing fiend? I couldn't believe it. Maybe I truly didn't deserve my abilities. Maybe they should be given to a more grateful subject, like little Trevor, who was as small as a mouse and squeaked and sprinted away whenever someone spoke to him -- even teachers. Perhaps he needed the wallflower powers more than me?
"Well," said Benji. "I'm going now."
And he stepped forward and was immediately collected by the herd of charging students.
I stared ahead. I was the wallflower, unseen ... until now.
I was watching a fight with intrigure. Harry Roberts had apparantly 'banged' his best friend's girl. Violence ensued. They were hard at it, against the lockers and on the floor and once they had even rolled over my feet; without even noticing, of course. Harry had just gotten a good punch in Caleb Moore's stomach when someone appeared beside me, leaning against the wall as if he had been born doing it.
"Who's winning?" asked Benji.
Without trying to seem interested, I said blandly, "Harry just won a few pain points. But Caleb is angrier."
"So, who do you think will win?"
"Caleb," I said without preamble, and was rewarded by a cheer of the crowd, as Caleb slammed Benji hard against the drinking fountain. Water spurted up out of the broken tap and all the girls shrieked and ran for cover, all the while rejoicing in the fact that they wore white shirts that day. Boys loped after them, eyes gleaming. "Told you," I added simply.
"You're a psychic." Benji nodded, his unkempt blonde hair bopping along for the ride.
"I have special powers," I intoned.
Benji leaned into my side. "Invisibility," he said.
I leaned away from him, wary of his flaring nostrils. "Wallflowering."
He blinked at me. "Wallflowering?"
I nodded seriously. "Wallflowering."
"Ah..." He scratched his temple, his blue eyes confused. "How long has that been a special power?"
"Since forever. All the side-kicks have it."
"Oh. Right." There was a beat of silence before: "So, you don't smell like eucalyptus today."
"I didn't shower in it today."
Benji nodded thoughtfully. "That would make sense."
"Yes," I answered. "It would." It was at that moment that a slab of my thick fringe flopped in front of my face. I went cross-eyed to stare at it, my full sight centred on the dirt-coloured strands. I gave an irritated huff and prepared my arms to lift and brush it away. But before I could, Benji moved in front of me and blew it out of the way. It settled, askew, across my cheeks, but left my eyes free. I stared at him. I said a sarcastic, "Thanks."
"No problem," he grinned, completely missing the point.
I could not be bothered reacting.
It was not long before he dipped his head in farewell to me, wished me a fabulous day and vanished down the corridor. I looked after him and was shocked when someone tripped over my foot. The girl shot me a hard look. "Move, would you?" she spat before carrying on down the hall.
I started hyperventilating.
"I'm losing my powers!" I wailed.
Prescilla patted my arm awkwardly. "No, you're not."
"You're just saying that to shut me up!"
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, no, you're on to me," she droned.
"I knew it," I muttered, before my morosement caught up to me. Covering my hands with my arms, I moaned. "My wallflowering days are over!"
Prescilla snorted but didn't answer. She was good like that. I didn't even know her very well. She had just transferred to Bloomsdale High last month and had yet to make any friends. Oddly, she had found me standly flat against the wall as people walked by, as if I wasn't really there. She had decided I was worthy of befriending her. I knew now that she secretly regretted that choice, having to put up with my spacey and sometimes completely moronic behaviour. It really wasn't my fault. I was born into a family of hippies, honestly. My mother and father were heavily involved in the Hippy movement of the seventies but had finally put down their protest poles and ditched the tie-dyed shirts to look after me.
My middle name was Harmony-Star. Yes. I was being serious. Annie Harmony-Star Smith. Well, Annabelle Harmony-Star Smith. But I preferred Annie, it being a more wallerflower-ish name. My cousin had been unfortunately blessed with the name Gertrude, Gertrude Rain, which was rather odd. She fought back though by nicknaming herself Rudey. Rudey Rain. Yes. Again, I'm being serious.
But, back to the dilemma at hand, I was in peril of losing my abilities. Even though I hadn't chosen to become a wallflower in the beginning, it had really grown on me. I was never bothered by bullies or the popular kids; they didn't noticed me. And the same went for the teachers; even when I was sitting in my seat in the classroom, their eyes went straight over me.
But since this 'Bee' person had appeared, my abilities were failing me. People were tripping over me and running into me and wondering just who that tall, gangly girl was. Why, it was all rather insulting.
I didn't know what to do to fix the problem, though. I was even wearing my least flattering clothes today, those of a bland grey colour that meshed horribly with my pale, pale skin. And all I had gotten was laughing looks and mocking comments.
It was an outrage. And all this Bee-Benji--whoever's fault.
I didn't know how, but it was.
Prescilla muttered under her breath before walking away. She didn't say goodbye or anything. I grinned. Maybe my abilities weren't failing me, after all.
"I can see you dressed up for me," said Bee.
I almost gave him a glare but remembered, just in time, that wallflowers didn't glare. Instead, I said casually, "It felt like a grey kind of day."
"I feel like that sometimes." He nodded at me, flashing a crooked grin that did strange things to my arm hairs. Why were they raising? Were they...protesting? Were they hippies, too?
"Feel like what?" I asked monotonously.
"I see," I said and edged carefully away.
"You're moving away from me," he pointed out with a grin.
I stopped moving away. "No I'm not."
"You're not now, but you were, like -- now! Why are you moving away?"
Feeling honesty was always best, I replied, "You weird me out."
"You smelt me."
"I already explained that."
"I don't know you."
"I told you. My name's Bee."
"And I'm seventeen years old, born on the first of April, my favourite colour is yellow, my parents are happily married, my bed cover is of superman and I'm a passive smoker."
"I know," I said.
"I can smell it."
"Oh!" Bee wiggled his eyebrows at me, which I unfortunately saw. "So you smelt me, did you?"
I cringed internally. "Not intentionally, no."
"How can you unintentionally smell someone?"
"Quite easily," I answered.
"You just breathe and smell whatever's there. In this case, it was your smokey clothes."
"Well," said Bee, "in that case I 'unintentionally' smelt you when I was walking down the hallway."
"But you didn't," I said, finally looking at him. "You told me I smelt nice and you liked things that smell nice."
Bee shifted and gave me a sheepish smile. "Well, maybe it was an intentional smelling moment when we first met."
"An intentional smelling moment?"
"Yeah, just like your wallflowering abilities."
"How are they alike?"
Bee flashed me a brilliant grin and said, "They're both bullshit."
Indignation swelled within me. "It is not!"
"How isn't it?"
"It's, it's, it's just not!"
"See," he said with grin. "You can't even explain it."
"I could explain it given proper time! I can't work under pressure!"
"You mean you can't lie under pressure."
"What? No!" I spluttered nonsensically for a few moments but stopped suddenly when I realised I was gathering attention. And any attention to a wallflower is bad attention. "I don't lie."
"That's a lie in itself," laughed Bee. He suddenly tweaked my nose and I was stilled into shock. I stared crosseyed at my nose. It tickled. "But, I don't care. You're cute."
I gave him a Look. "I'm a wallflower," I said by explanation.
"Yes," he said, "you're a cute wallflower."
"If I was 'cute'--" I gave the word bunny-ears, rolling my eyes as I did so. How juvenile of me, I thought. "--I wouldn't be a wallflower."
Bee was giving me a strange look. He scratched his ear and tilted his head, immitating a curious puppy. "How so?"
"Well," I drew the word out dramatically. "By definition, wallflowers are people who are so boring and, not unattractive, but so ordinary looking, they fade into the background. Now, if I was 'cute', I would be noticed, and therefore not a wallflower." I clicked my tongue smugly, giving him a satisfied look.
"Well," he started, frowning lightly beneath his unkempt fringe, "maybe your 'wallflowering abilities'--" He mimicked my bunny-ears, shooting me a tilted grin. I scowled. "--hide your cuteness."
"Um. Maybe not."
"Because, because it's just not possible," I scrambled to find reasoning, but was horrified to find none.
Bee was grinning broadly, biting his lower lip to keep from laughing out loud. "Oh, it's ok, Annie," he said, rubbing my shoulder tenderly. His dark eyes twinkled. "You'll always be my cute wallflower."
I scowled and crossed my arms, accidentally elbowing a girl as she walked past. She shot me a filthy look. My scowl deepened. "And you'll always just be an annoying Bee."
"Aw, you know you like me." He stepped in front of me and wiggled his fair eyebrows. I tried to look away, but he moved his face wherever I looked, until, finally, I had to concede defeat and stare back at him. "You do," he repeated, "beneath all those scowls and grey clothes and wallflowering-ness--" He made a face at the word. "--you're a normal sort of girl."
"Wow, gee, thanks a lot," I spat sarcastically.
"A special normal sort of girl," he reiterated and tweaked my nose once again.
"I don't want to be a 'special normal sort of girl'," I almost whined. "I just want to be a wallflower!"
"Fine then," said Bee and he laughed. "Be a wallflower."
I quirked my eyebrows in question.
"But I'll still annoy you," he finished.
"You know why." He met my eyes and suddenly I did know why. It was odd and confusing but just a little exciting. And nauseating. I couldn't forget nauseating. "Anyways," added Bee airily, "I'll always see you, wallflower or not."
"And smell me," I muttered under my breath.
"And smell you," Bee repeated loudly, smiling.
"Why?" I asked curiously, narrowing my eyes.
Bee shrugged. "It's just what I do. I'll see you later." This time he didn't tweak my nose, he kissed it, and his laughter disappeared down the hallway.
I stared after him, my skin tingling and my traitor stomach flopping (un)pleasantly. And all I could think was that people who got mistaken for walls, should not be kissed by people who smelt the people who got mistaken for walls.
It just wasn't natural.