Hellloooo, everyone :D
So it's been a little while, but I'm back with another not-so-one-shot-one-shot! This one is a little shorter than the rest, so I'm going to post it in two parts. It's already written, so it won't be too long of a wait, but I still have to edit the last part so it may be a couple days.
Anyway, this one is based off of something that really did happen to me. I did lose a bet, and I did have to tell a guy that I liked him. But, of course, it didn't turn out like this. If it did, why would I feel the need to write it? :)
So everything you recognize in this story... yeah, I don't own it.
And here goes.
I stared down at the neon-orange post-it note in my hand. My adrenaline had been pumping for about five minutes straight now, urging me to just take the first step forward and go do it, already. But my feet stayed rooted to the tiled floor in the corner of the school lobby.
This is where he could be found just about every day after the last period bell rang. 2:35; he was here with his friends, forming a large circle as they kicked the hacky sack from one person to the other.
Normally, they'd play out front of the school, right by the base of the flagpole. But lately the autumn months had been particularly harsh. To avoid the cold, rainy weather, he and his friends would play right outside the auditorium doors in the front lobby. They'd gotten kicked out by the school secretary about a dozen times, but she'd just about given up now, knowing they were coming back the next day no matter what.
That's what had originally made him catch my eye. The hacky sack he was always kicking around. He was the best in the group; no doubt about it. He could kick the hack a million times with his foot and knee and ankle, never losing his concentration. He could kick it up so it rested on the brim of his hat, and then in one quick movement, he'd fling it right back into play. He was incredible at it. All the times I'd seen him play, the hack had never fallen to the ground while in his possession.
I had watched him play hacky sack almost every day for the past two months. No; I'm not some deranged stalker chick who follows him around, despite how much it may sound that way. That spot in the auditorium lobby of my high school just so happened to be where I stood and waited for a ride home every day after classes ended. I had my own car, but parking in the hectic school parking lot was more trouble than it was worth. Anyway, that spot in the lobby was where I first noticed him. But I'd never dared to approach him.
As I stood with the post-it in my hand, I still didn't have the guts to approach him, but I had to. That was the deal.
"He drives a Ford Fusion. No doubt about it," Olivia stated, staring at the back of Mr. White's head. He was a few seats ahead of us, directly behind the bus driver's chair.
"I'm telling you, Liv. It's a Toyota; a green SUV Toyota. I saw him pulling out of the school parking lot in one last week."
My friend shook her head. "You're wrong, Brooke," Liv said matter-of-factly.
The bus ride into the city was only supposed to have taken 40 or so minutes. But having left for the field trip at 7:00 AM, we hit rush hour. Countless cars were making their way into the city towards their jobs, heading in the same direction we were.
Olivia and I had been getting more and more restless as the minutes on the bus dragged by. My iPod had run out of batteries half an hour ago, and she had forgotten to take hers. We had played every road-trip game known to man, run out of ideas, and quickly grew bored again. Our conversation lazily drifted from topic to topic until, somehow, we got onto the subject of what car Mr. White (our bio teacher and chaperone for the museum trip) drove.
"Toyota," I muttered, breaking the silence. Which, actually, wasn't all that silent. Kids could be heard yelling and laughing more towards the back of the bus. The bus driver had turned around and told them only ten minutes ago to be quieter, but the noise level was slowly escalating again.
"Brooke; seriously, it's not. He drives a Ford Fusion. He told us once."
I raised an eyebrow and shot her a skeptical glance. "Why would he tell you that, anyway?"
"I dunno…" Liv said. "We got into the topic of cars once when I was making up a quiz at extra help, and… And I dunno. But I'm positive. He drives a Fusion."
"You're wrong," I sang.
Olivia rolled her eyes. "How much do you wanna bet, Brooke?"
"I'd bet just about anything on this," I replied. "I'm positive I'm right."
"Fine, then. Let's settle this. We'll bet on it. If I lose…" Liv paused and thought for a moment, pensively tapping her finger against her chin. "I'll eat an entire jar of peanut butter. One of the 16 ounce jars, too."
My mouth dropped open. Olivia Regan hated peanut butter more than anyone I had ever come in contact with. Just the smell of it was enough to make her sick. Once we went to an ice-cream place, and she ordered a vanilla cup with M&M's on top. They gave her Reeses Pieces instead. She took one bite and threw up. Gross, right?
"Alright… Fine," I agreed. "And if I lose, I'll give up my guitar for a month."
Liv shook her head. "If I've gotta eat an entire jar of peanut butter, your penalty has to be just as bad."
"What's worse than not being able to pick up a guitar for four weeks? Well… for me, anyway." I had been playing for years. It was my favorite hobby, and Liv knew that, but judging by the smirk that was creeping up onto her face, she had a better idea.
"If you lose, you have to tell Ryan."
My eyes went wide. Liv was the only one I had ever told about Ryan. She was, after all, my best friend But if I couldn't even tell my other close friends, why would I be able to tell the guy himself?
She shrugged. "If you're so positive you're going to win, what's there to lose, right?" Liv reasoned.
Right. Mr. White drove a green Toyota SUV. I was sure of it. I had seen it with my own eyes. So I wasn't going to lose. I didn't have to worry.
"Deal," I stated, sticking out my hand. Liv and I shook on it.
The two of us waited for the bus to be stopped at a red light before we got up and stumbled over to the front of the bus.
The seat across the isle from Mr. White was vacant. No one ever liked sitting beside the teacher on school trips. The teacher would always try to make conversation about casual real-life things, and frankly, it was odd to think of teachers having hobbies and interests outside of grading tests and writing on chalkboards.
Liv and I slid into the brown leather seat just as the bus began moving again.
"Hello Olivia… Brooke," Mr. White greeted us.
"Hey, Mr. White," Olivia said casually. "How're you doing?"
"I'm alright… Can't complain. Although, you girls know you're not supposed to stand up and switch seats while the bus is in motion, right?"
Liv and I exchanged glances.
"We know," she confirmed, turning back to our Biology teacher. "We just have to ask you something. It's kind of important."
Mr. White raised his eyebrow, looking somewhat concerned. "What is it?" he questioned.
Olivia must have realized how stupid the question would come out sounding, especially now that she had dubbed it, "important," because her words caught in her throat.
"We… uh… We were just wondering…" She stuttered for a bit before she finally cleared her throat and collected the words. "Well, what kind of car you drive?" Liv asked hesitantly.
"Oh, is that all?" he chuckled. Mr. White looked relieved.
Olivia and I both nodded.
"I drive a Ford Taurus," he told us.
A sudden gleam flashed in my best friend's eyes. Liv stared at me with an "I-told-you-so" smile forming on her face.
"Well, actually," Mr. White continued, "It's in the shop at the moment. Engine just started sputtering one day and I couldn't figure out why, so I've been driving my brother's old Toyota. I've gotta say, I've never driven an SUV until now, but it's sort of nice."
My jaw opened slightly as I stared at the teacher in disbelief. You've got to be kidding me…
"Anyway, girls… Why was that importa—"
Without even waiting for a stoplight this time, Liv grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the seat, cutting Mr. White's words short with a "Thanks, bye."
"What'd I tell you!?" she exclaimed, plopping herself back down in our rightful seat.
I took my seat, too, but sat stiffly on the edge. "You told me Ford Fusion. He said Taurus… So both of us were wrong. Neither of us win."
"Bullshit!" Liv said. "What's the difference? They're both Ford!"
"So!? They're two completely different cars!"
Olivia scoffed and stood up to see above the backrest, glancing around the bus.
"Hey, Craig!" she yelled to a boy in our class. I peeked my head around the side of the seat to see what she was up to.
"What?" he replied, also standing up to see who had called his name.
Liv cupped her hands around her mouth, attempting to make her voice travel farther in the deafening bus. "What's the difference between a Ford Fusion and a Ford Taurus?"
Craig shrugged. "Who cares?" he stated, sitting back down.
"Hah! See?!" Liv slid back down into the chair again. "They're basically the same thing. I win."
I sighed. I may have been a lot of things, but a sore-loser definitely wasn't one of them.
"Alright," I agreed. "You win. I'll do it, but you at least have to tone down the penalty a bit. You weren't exactly on the money either, so technically I didn't completely lose."
Liv looked pensive. "Okay," she said finally. "How about this? You don't have to tell Ryan you like him. All you have to do is get the point across. Imply it, get one of his friends to spill the beans to him… But either way, he has to get the message."
So that's how it happened. I lost the bet, and now he had to know. The guy I had never ever talked to a day in my life had to find out that I liked him. This was bound to be awkward.
I took one more glance at the post-it. In my slanted handwriting, only two words were scribbled across the note. "You're cute."
So the message wasn't exactly "deep," nor was it romantic in the least. It was short and to the point. I wanted to get this over and done with as quickly as I could, all while still saving an ounce of my dignity. Olivia had said he just needed to get the point. However "elementary" the note might have been, it would work all the same.
I drew in one last deep breath as I pushed off the wall before I could stop myself. If I waited any longer, I was bound to give up and walk away. And that wouldn't have been fair. I lost, so I had to do it.
My brain wasn't working as I made my way confidently across the lobby, although confidence was the last thing I felt.
The students that were hanging around the lobby didn't pay any attention to me at all. They leaned against the walls or sat in circles on the floor, talking and laughing with their friends. All of a sudden, the noise in the room seemed deafening.
Reaching Ryan, I stood right behind him. My arm was raised to tap him on the shoulder, but I couldn't make myself do it.
Just do it, Brooke, I told myself. Tap him on the shoulder, and when he turns around, hand him the note.
My breath caught in my throat and I felt like my knees were about to collapse.
His friends opposite the circle were starting to give me weird glances, probably wondering why the hell I was lurking around, breathing down their friend's neck.
It was useless.
Before I could even think about it, I had stuck the post-it on the back of his shirt, whirled around, and headed straight for the entrance to the school. I didn't dare look over my shoulder; I just walked as fast as I could, feeling my face burn up with embarrassment.
I hadn't bothered calling anyone for a ride that day, knowing that I had to take care of my end of the deal that afternoon. As I reached the sidewalk, I turned right and went in the direction of my house. I didn't feel like calling my parents to pick me up now. The adrenaline was still pumping through my body, giving me the need to move. I planned on walking home.
The more steps I took, the more my body relaxed a little and the more my brain started to work correctly again. Now that I thought about it, the situation wasn't really all that bad. I barely knew the guy, so it wasn't as if I had majorly creeped out a close friend and destroyed a friendship. I might have majorly creeped him out, but it wasn't as if I was going to see any less of him.
Besides; I doubt Ryan had gotten any more than a quick glance at my face. Even if he did, I bet he didn't even have a clue who I was, anyway.
Just as I had made it halfway down the block of food places and candy shops near the high school, I thought I heard a voice against the sound of traffic.
I stopped and strained my ears to hear it again, but all I heard was the sound of car horns and tires rolling against the street. I decided I had imagined it. Shrugging it off, I picked up my pace again and continued walking.
A hand suddenly rested lightly on my shoulder, stopping me from going any further.
"Hey… Wait up a second."
I turned my head and found Ryan standing behind me, slightly out of breath. My heart jumped up into the back of my throat.
"Man; you made it here in record time. You walk really fast, you know that?"
I must've been staring at him like he was nuts, because he raised his eyebrow at my expression. I couldn't wipe the shock off my face, though; just like I couldn't get myself to say anything.
"…Brooke?" he asked.
Since when did Ryan know my name? He wasn't supposed to have any idea that I existed.
"What?" I squeaked, forcing the word out.
Ryan stared at me quizzically for a few more seconds until he broke into a grin. "What do you mean, 'what'? Didn't you just stick a post-it note to my back?"
Stiffly, I nodded. Then I turned around and, nervously hugging my books to my chest, continued walking home.
"Hey… Where are you going?" Ryan asked casually. He caught up to me and began walking at the same pace.
"Home," I muttered. What was with the one-word answers? I couldn't make myself form anything more complex than one syllable. This guy probably thought I was a complete freak.
He shoved his hands into his pockets, staring at the ground pensively as he walked. "Oh… Okay. But before you do... Um… What was with the whole 'you're cute' thing?"
My mind quickly starting searching for an excuse before I realized something. I didn't need an excuse. No where in the rules had Olivia stated that I couldn't tell Ryan about the bet. Sure; it probably wasn't one of the most strategic things to do. But it would definitely make the situation a little less awkward. At least then Ryan would know that I had to tell him; that I didn't just go around sticking stalkerish complements on people's backs.
I gulped down my doubt and turned to look him in the eye. "Don't be creeped out, alright?" Incredible! Six syllables!
Ryan nodded hesitantly. "Alright. I wont… I'm not."
I bit my lip, wondering how I could word this so that I didn't completely embarrass myself . "I lost a bet with my friend, and, well… The rules were that if I lost, I had to get the point across to you that I…" My voice suddenly faded out as I turned my gaze away. It was much easier said than… Well, said.
"That you think I'm cute?" he asked, smirking slightly. As adorable as he was when he smirked, I didn't very well appreciate it at the moment.
"Well, it's kind of a little more than that," I mumbled. My voice was almost lost in the sound of cars rocketing by. "I was hoping you'd figure that out by the note."
His smile dropped. Ryan's face suddenly went serious. "Oh." His voice was filled with realization now. "So you mean… you like me?" he muttered.
I lowered my gaze to the ground. "You said you wouldn't be creeped out," I murmured. Then I turned away from him and continued towards my house.
Again, he put his hand gently on my shoulder to stop me.
"I'm not!" Ryan assured me. "I'm just…" He paused as his lips turned upward into a smile. He shrugged his shoulder. "I'm just shocked you had the guts to actually do it. Hell, I would've just chickened out and lied about it; I would've just told my friend I did."
I laughed. "Yeah, well. When I say I'll do something, I usually do. And since when is sticking a post-it note to someone's back considered, 'having guts?' It's just about the most cowardly thing you can do besides having someone tell them for you."
Ryan laughed, too. He had one of those lighthearted and relaxed laughs. My legs almost gave in on me for the second time that day.
The smile on my face faded until I was solemn again. "But, you're not like… Weirded out or anything?"
Ryan shook his head and shot me a crooked boyish smile. It made butterflies rise up in my stomach. "No… I'm kind of flattered, actually."
Feeling myself start to blush, I tilted my head downward and let my bangs fall in front of my face. I played it off like I was absentmindedly kicking a rock with the toe of my shoe rather than hiding my embarrassment. Still, I couldn't do anything to suppress a slight smile.
I looked up.
"You wanna go across the street with me and get something to drink? At the bagel store or something?"
"That sounds really nice," I said, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. "But, um… I really should get home. I'm already running kind of late, you know?"
The truth was, I had nothing to be late for. But I could barely form words now as we stood on the sidewalk of a busy street. How was I supposed to think of something to say when we sitting at a table in a quiet bagel shop?
"Aw… C'mon, Brooke. We don't have to stay long. Just a couple minutes." Ryan furrowed his eyebrows, silently asking me to say yes. From far away, I had always thought that his eyes were a hazel color. But when we stood this close, I realized that they were actually a dark shade of blue; so dark that they were almost grey. "Please?" he asked, breaking me out of my thoughts.
After a moment, I took a deep breath and found myself nodding. "Alright. Why not."
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I should have the last part out in a few days.
I'd really appreciate a little feedback on this one, so reviews would be great if you guys get the chance :)