Aggravated, I tear at the brown mass of curls on my head that's supposed to be hair. Its seven am on Monday morning and getting ready for school is always the worst time of the day for me. Let's just say I'm not a morning person, and everybody hates Mondays, so that kind of speaks for itself.
In the end, I stick a purple headband in my hair and I'm done with it. Stupid lousy frizz. I stare at myself in the mirror for a few minutes. I don't do this often, though and I don't consider myself to be vain either. I'm contemplating putting on some make up, but then what's the point? Nobody's going to be looking at me. Well, not anyone important anyway, just the odd teacher and my friends. But then, there is someone else…
Tyler. You're average jock. I don't swoon over him and his perfect blonde hair and blue eyes like my best friends and the rest of the female population of the school do, yet he seems to take an uncanny interest in me and my every move during English class, and has asked me out countless times already. He can't seem to take no as an answer, probably because he's used to being so damn spoiled. I hate rich kids. My friends are always bugging me about him, and I resent him so much for that. I bet he's doing it on purpose.
"But you don't even like him!" my best friend Megan moans after English, then sighs wistfully. I gag.
"I know, I'd rather keep my dignity thank you very much," I snort. Tyler walks past with a couple of his mates and smiles his most charming boyish smile at me. I roll my eyes and stare blankly at him but he isn't put off, and even winks at me, so briefly I almost don't catch it. Megan freezes and I have to pull on her arm to get her moving again before anyone behind us crashes into her. I'm just glad that he didn't try asking me out again today. Megan may have fainted.
"It's so unfair…" she wails.
"Yes, Meg, life is unfair," I say, rolling my eyes to high heaven at my friend's naivety. "Get used to it." I swear if that girl's dark hair fell over her face instead of being up in a pony tail, she'd be an Emo if I ever saw one. All she needs is eyeliner.
The rest of the morning drags on and by lunch time it feels like the end of the day.
"So I heard Tyler was staring at you again today," my other friend, Laura says at lunch. I sigh inwardly.
"Yeah, nothing new there," I reply nonchalantly. Behind Laura a boy walks up to us, holding two trays of food. I frown. "Erm, Laura," I point behind her and she turns around and smiles at the boy.
"Thanks," she sings, taking one of the trays and fluttering her eyelashes. The boy smiles back and walks off happily, almost skipping. I sigh, this time outwardly, and shake my head. Yep, that's Laura for you. "Did he ask you out again?" Laura asks me, flicking her long honey blonde hair over her shoulder. A group of boys stand behind her staring at her. I'm not the only one who gets stared at, it just so happens that the person staring at me is (apparently) the hottest guy in school. Great. I guess the saying you always want what you can't have applies to my school. In fact, it's scarily accurate.
"No, and if he had, I'd answer like I always do," I reply, repeating what I tell them every time they ask me that question. I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I had said that… I'd be almost as rich as Tyler.
"But why?" Megan asks me, unable to fathom how I could say no to Tyler about anything.
"Because, he'd have to change almost everything about himself for me to even consider dating him," I explain.
"There's an idea," Laura smiles and I recognise it as her scheming/idea smile. And that is never good.
"No, whatever it is you're thinking," I say, shaking my head vigorously. "I won't do it."
"Just listen! You will write a list of everything he'd need to do," Laura explains, and we all lean in and hang on her every word. "Then we'll see how much he really likes you, if he does it."
Laura's eyes glint with malice and I can't help but think, what have I got myself into?
That whole evening I sit in my room and work on The List. I actually surprise myself by how bothered I am about it. It's like creating my perfect guy, only it has to be modelled on Tyler, unfortunately. Once I've perfected my creation, I sleep, content that Laura will approve of it tomorrow.
"No, you're not giving it to me or Tyler; you're going to tell him yourself!" Laura explains to me as if I'm mad. I blanch.
"What? No, no, no," I laugh nervously. "That wasn't part of the plan."
"I added it in, but I've got to go now, I'm late for Chemistry," Laura says, pulling me into a hug. I hug her back until I realise that if she has Chemistry next, and that means I have… English. Oh no. "Do it after English, ok?" Laura says, winking at me, and then running off before I can scream at her.
All throughout English, which is supposed to be my favourite subject, I can't concentrate. Tyler's staring doesn't help. Neither does the note I get halfway through the lesson. It reads:
You free Friday night?
Instead of throwing the note on the floor and stomping on it with my foot like I usually do, I take a different approach this time, scribbling underneath his writing and sending it back. I watch as a smile breaks out on his face as the note is passed back, but his angel-face expression changes somewhat when he reads what I wrote:
Meet me outside after class
He smiles at me and then continues with his work, not looking at me again for the second half of the lesson. If I had known sending him back the note would do that I'd have done it long ago.
As soon as the bell rings, I rush out of class and stand by the wall opposite the door, waiting for Tyler. My heart is beating in my stomach and I try to act cool, calm and collected. I actually manage it as well, but then Tyler emerges from the classroom and walks over to me, his icy blue eyes burning holes in me.
"Hey," he says nonchalantly. I suddenly feel really small, and not just because Tyler is huge compared to me. In his presence, most people feel inferior.
"Hi," I breathe back. I see Megan behind him, standing by the door to the classroom, a sad look in her eyes, but when she looks at me she smiles and gives me a thumbs up. I smile back at her, but then my view is block as Tyler stands in front of me with his arms folded, an annoyingly amused expression on his face. Anyone passing by in the hallway wouldn't be able to see me.
"So, what did you want to tell me?" he asks, smiling cheekily. I brace myself.
"I wanted to tell you," I begin, feeling my palms sweat, "that I'll go out with you." I pause for dramatic effect.
"Really?" he says, raising his eyebrows. Now he's practically got me trapped against the wall. "Great."
"On one condition," I say, before he can walk away.
"What would that be?"
"Well, ok, a few conditions," I ramble. Now my forehead is getting hot.
"I'm listening," he says, his presence unnerves me, and I take a deep breath to clear my head. All I can smell is expensive cologne, deodorant and a new car smell, probably that of Tyler's new red sports car.
"You have to… dye your hair brown," I start, watching his expression with difficulty; I have to crane my neck. He raises one eyebrow. I continue. "Join the chess club, quit the football team, sell your car, ride a bike instead, become a vegetarian, volunteer to work at the animal shelter…" I'm surprised I can remember most of the things on The List.
"Is that all?" he asks, still amused. Darn it, I didn't even faze him.
"Oh, and become the nicest guy in school," I remember.
"Aren't I already?" I ask, beaming at me with perfectly straight, white, sharp, meat-eating teeth. I hope to change that, though.
"And stop being so arrogant," I add, pointing accusingly at him.
Tyler sighs, shaking his head at me. "Can we come to some sort of agreement?" he offers. I ponder this for a moment, but he isn't finished talking. "I'll do everything you ask, but I won't quit the team. And can I just keep the car at home?"
"Sure," I sigh. I knew he'd never agree to those anyway. The other things would still make me laugh, though.
"We have a deal then," he says in a business like manner, holding his hand out. I almost giggle, but instead, I subtly wipe my sweaty palms on my trousers, and then shake his hand. I don't want him to think he has an effect on me. "I'll pick you up Friday night," Tyler adds confidently as he walks off.
"You do know that only gives you four days?" I call after him, receiving glares from many of my fellow female students.
"That's three and a half more than I need," he calls back, winking at me. The glares turn into whispers.
I smile as I walk off in the opposite direction.
The next day when I walk into the school parking lot with my bike, I see a huge crowd around the popular kids' cars. Naturally, I rush over.
"What's going on?" I ask a red haired boy standing on the fringes of the crowd, looking like he had just been pushed out of the fray.
"Tyler has a bike!" he exclaims, as if they had found a passage in the bible stating Jesus had a motorbike.
"And?" I reply, though inside I'm smiling. Phase one is complete.
"What do you mean 'and?' Tyler rode a bike to school! Not his awesome new car!" the red head stalks off, muttering to himself. But at that moment, one of the popular-girls bursts out of the crowd in a huff, her cronies behind her. I get into school before anyone else.
Thankfully, I don't have English on Wednesdays, but at lunch, I'm pestered. Figures.
"He gave up his car for you!" Megan sighs. "That is so romantic!"
"It's just sitting at home in his garage; he'll probably sleep in it tonight. It's not romantic at all," I convince her. Or rather, try to. "Plus, who knows if he'll hold out, and there's plenty more things he has to do yet."
"Still…" Megan says, pouting. I'll let her stay in her dream world a little longer.
"The car thing was pretty big, Haley," Laura says. Megan nods enthusiastically.
But I don't have to answer her, because a photograph is placed on my table by the red haired boy I met earlier.
"From him," he says, pointing to Tyler's table. Then he walks off. Needless to say, I'm a bit confused.
"What is it?" Megan asks. I pick up the photo and examine it. It's a picture of Tyler "working" at the animal shelter. I pass it around.
"It doesn't prove anything," I say finally. "He didn't even come and give it me himself."
"Yes it does, he's volunteered there," Laura says, not letting me be cynical this time. "And he's kind of busy now." She has a point; he's being swamped by people. I sit there and grumble for the rest of lunch, and the whole day.
The next day, there is no crowd in the parking lot, just a lonely bike amongst a few really expensive cars. So he kept it up for another day.
Instead, the crowd is situated inside. I can't even get into the building, and the red haired boy is nowhere to be seen. What is it this time?
"How could you!" I hear a girl scream. Murmurs of agreement vibrate through the crowd. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is another of Tyler's assignments, but I want to know which one.
"What's he done?" I ask the first person I can grab on the outside of the crowd.
"I don't know! I'm trying to get in and see!" they snap. I apologise and push myself into the throng of bodies. When I get to the front, I almost don't recognise Tyler… with brown hair. It looks awesome, makes him look more human in fact. I'm scared by how much it suits him, but then again, he could be wearing a bikini and somehow, Tyler would make it look good. Nobody else seems to like it, though.
Thankfully, Tyler doesn't rat me out. If he had, I probably wouldn't have survived until first period.
"So… three out of five, eh?" Laura nudges me in the hallway just before English, her usual admirers trailing behind her.
"Yes, but he still has to join the chess club," I say, and just as the words leave my mouth, a procession parades through the hallway of Tyler and the chess team trying to hold him up on their skinny shoulders. I drag my hands down my face.
"Make that four," Laura laughs, and leaves me fuming outside my English room. She's right though, he only has to become a vegetarian now. I'm beginning to wish I had made that damn list harder.
Tyler keeps his distance in English, and I rush out of class as soon as the bell rings. I don't want to hear that he's become a vegetarian. If I do, I'll just crawl into a hole and die.
When the school finds out about The List and all the things I made him do, I'll be hung drawn and quartered. I pay way too much attention in History.
Megan finds me in the girl's toilets.
"Hey, why'd you rush off?" she asks, panting.
"I needed to go to the bathroom," I lie. Megan understands and we creep slowly to the cafeteria. I don't look at Tyler or his tray of food, just in case there's no meat there.
"Hey," Laura greets us as we arrive and sigh a huge breath of relief. "Where were you? Running a marathon?" she asks. We laugh.
"No, just avoiding Tyler," I say cheerfully, biting into my sandwich. Laura rolls her eyes and goes back to reading her magazine.
I manage to go the whole day without bumping into Tyler, but the next day as I walk into school, I look frantically around for him. My nerves are working overtime.
Unfortunately, Tyler finds me.
"Hey," he says behind me as I'm buried in my locker.
"Hi," I say into my locker. It echoes.
"Look at me?" he asks, and I turn around reluctantly. He smiles at me, and I still can't take in his brown hair, it looks too good. He doesn't stand out anymore as an angel among humans; he just looks like an ordinary guy. There are no girls swooning nearby, from behind, Tyler looks the same as every other guy. Wow, he's really sacrificed a lot, I think. No, I can't think that. It's too wrong. He can't have done this all for me. I refuse to believe that. Maybe Laura bribed him, or maybe his friends made a bet with him. No, I can't think that either. "I'm a vegetarian now," he says and I groan. He smiles.
"Prove it," I tell him.
"I can't, you have to trust me," he says, and I know he's right.
"But what if you're secretly eating meat?" I say accusingly. He sighs.
"Haley," he says, his voice deepening. "Trust me."
"I do!" I exclaim, but we both know it's a lie.
"Why won't you go out with me?" he asks outright, the exact thing I was hoping he wouldn't do.
"Because…" I rack my brains for a good enough reason. Then I spot Megan and Laura staring at me with confused expressions. "Megan likes you, and she's my best friend, I can't betray her."
"Haley, half of the school likes me!" he says, dumbfounded at my reason.
"I thought I told you to stop being arrogant," I say, smiling up at him.
"It's not being arrogant, it's a fact," he smiles back. I stop smiling.
"But that's exactly why I can't date you, I'll be stoned to death," I say solemnly. Tyler laughs and I realise he has retained some of his previous beauty.
"Don't worry, I'll protect you," he chuckles.
"Why wont you take no as an answer?" I ask.
"Because I always get what I want," he says determinedly.
"I think I need to add another thing to the list then," I say, staring him down.
"What would that be?" he asks, stepping closer to me so my back is against the locker.
"Stop being a spoiled brat," I say. There are a few girls crying in the hallway behind Tyler but I can't see anything.
"Hmm," he muses, tapping his chin. "Ok then, starting tomorrow," he whispers, and then his lips come down on mine.
I'm not very good at doing present tense, but it just seemed to fit with this oneshot. Please point out any places that I lapse into the past tense, if you spot any.
And please review!