Ok so quite possible second to, "I love you" the most overused phrase in the history of romance novels is, "It's rude to stare."
Then our protagonist turns beat red and internally, the protagonist's love interest thinks, "oh how adorably cute!" Right? Yeah… That doesn't actually happen. Because most of the time, the girl in the story (that's me, by the way) is way too sneaky to be caught staring at a guy.
Even if he is ridiculously good looking and nice and funny and all the rest. Because staring is desperate. Staring is weird. Staring falls under the stalker category next to freak and just plain sad. Staring is an affliction that I can't seem to get rid of. We've had at least one class the same for the past three years. Over the three years, I've perfected the art of staring and not being noticed. I don't actually talk about it or him. The one time I mentioned to my best friend that he was cute she shrugged and said, "Yeah I guess if you're into that." Supportive? I think not.
I ended up telling my big sister that there was this guy in one of my classes who was a total stud (yeah, I didn't actually use the word stud, only my internal monologue is allowed to use such hypocritical vocabulary, why would a guy want to be compared to a horse or even as a provider of seeds, I mean, how people come up with this slang is totally beyond me.) She blinked at me and asked, "Is that the guy who you always write about in your diary?"
I had promptly turned an attractive eggplant color and denied all mention of such a person.
She snorted, rolled her eyes, and said, "You should talk to him though."
I shook my head furiously and said very loudly, "NO WAY JOSE!"
She rolled her eyes again, said, "Use your words, guys aren't smart enough to read amorous ogling," and turned to do the rest of her homework, effectively shutting off the conversation and preventing me from making a retort.
So. The only people who know of my secret infatuation/crush are my diary and my nosy sister who makes light of him. I'm sure if I actually showed him to her, she'd be automatically enamored but I'm definitely not willing to share.
But. If a person continues to eat cookies at midnight everyday, they're bound to get caught, right?
It was Fourth Period. He was talking to his friend who sat next to him. They had fourth and first period together but they only sat together in fourth. His friend's light hair contrasted with his dark hair. Their heads were bent over something and one of them snickered occasionally. I wanted in on the joke.
The teacher had yet to walk in (the fourth period teacher always was at least five minutes late.) I was looking at him out of my peripheral vision. The trick was to sit a little to the right and a little back of him. Then you could face forward but still look at him at the same time.
Students were trickling in (because of the teacher's chronic tardiness, they were usually late too.) I didn't feel the need to be too sneaky because I didn't know anyone in this class. I usually sat in the corner and doodled, occasionally answering some of the teacher's questions but I was one of the quiet loners who contented themselves with being watchers as opposed to class clowns.
Anyways. I was staring quite obviously because no one really looked at the strange girls in the corner of the room with their notebooks open and a bunch of sketches in said notebook. The picture just screamed either seriously deranged or contemplating suicide. It's a common misconception but because it's an accepted conception it's seen as a true conception.
Then his friend looked up, turned his head slightly and stared right at me. I was so surprised that I didn't even look away.
His friend turned back to him and said something to him. He looked up, his eyes meeting mine for a second before I looked down, made my hair curtain forward to cover my steadily blushing face, and start writing furiously in my notebook.
"WAAAH CRAAAP!!!!" is what my scratchy writing said.
I wanted to include some expletives and some nicely shaded exclamation points but the teacher walked in that minute and I spent the rest of the class listening attentively before bolting out of my seat and power walking out the door.
It was break. I locked myself in the bathroom and spent the fifteen minutes banging my head on the heel of my palm.
I'd spend the rest of eternity ignoring him. That was the only solution. Avoid him. Don't stare at him. It was high time I discarded my weird penchant for staring at unattainable guys. It was only normal that I would do so. Infatuations and crushes faded faster than blue shirts in a white load of laundry.
I stared at myself in the mirror, my face still red. I resolved myself and frowning at my reflection in the mirror, wondered exactly what I had seen in him. Shuffling out of the bathroom and moseying my way to my next class was my aim but I was stopped in the hallway by an arm.
My eyes glued onto said arm and trailed up the forearm to the elbow up the bicep and then up the shoulder. The arm was wearing a long sleeved shirt and belonged to a male. I didn't talk to males who owned long sleeved shirts so I came to the conclusion that this was either some random or… him. Because he was wearing a long sleeved shirt today. I didn't go further than the shoulder before I twisted deftly to get out of his arm and looked in full in the face.
I put up my hand before he said anything and noticed belatedly that my nail polish needed redoing. I fixed my eyes on his face, hoped he didn't notice the light sprinkling of acne across my forehead only slightly obscured by my fringe, and said, "You're not allowed to tease me because I'm sure plenty of girls have crushed on you before and it'd be much nice for you to not make fun of me. Especially when I'm in earshot. I'm sure people have lusted after boys for longer than three years so there's really no serious remarkableness in this situation. Ok?"
The corners of his mouth lifted a little. He shrugged and said, "Ok." He turned, shoved his hands in his pockets and walked away.
I rolled my eyes and muttered to myself, "Jerk." Gave me a heart attack and brought back that little longing for him to return the unrequited love thing I had going on. That wish had been swept under the rug a while ago but unfavorable feelings had a habit of popping out at the most inopportune moments. That was the trouble with denial.
On my way to fifth period I realized belatedly that he probably had no idea what I was talking about. Just because he caught me staring at him didn't mean that he knew that I had liked him. Until I told him. Um…
I mentally berated myself the whole way to fifth period. I was so stupid! Gaah!!! What kind of idiot goes and blurts out that she's had a crush on a guy for three years when she could've just waved the whole thing off with a laugh and a smile and a point of little bit of something on his face! I had fantasized enough to form some kind of stupid situation in my head about if and when he ever caught me staring, what I'd say and how he'd react and how in the end we'd agree on a date, fall in love, get married, then have a bunch of little itty bitty kids.
Yeah… No. Fantasy was fantasy. Unless the lawn gnomes on my old lady neighbor's lawn started dancing the Macarena, I would never ever date him. And quite frankly, there was more chance of Mr. Iggledy and Mrs. Piggledy dancing the Macarena than me dating him. That is the hard cold truth. So I might as well save myself from the regret and depression and all that and just give up right now.
I stepped over the threshold of my fifth period classroom with renewed determination. I seated myself in the back (as always) and steeled myself for not staring at him. Even covertly or discreetly. I would not stare. I would not stare.
This mantra repeated in my head, my pen scratched it on my notebook, and I tapped my feet to a tune I had put it on. When he walked through the doors I did not stare. The teacher got up to teach. Very boringly. And I did not stare. So when the girl sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "That guy is staring at you" my eyes snapped up in response. They were somehow pulled towards his. Mine met his.
I was steadily turning red.
He was smirking slightly.
And it was perfect.