Chapter 1: My Love Is Like To Ice
People often tell me I'm picky. I'm not really. I just have standards. So I won't eat dirty-water hot dogs at a ball game, big deal. I won't use public restrooms; honestly I don't think that's so unreasonable. And I won't date a guy with anything less than a 3.7 G.P.A. I don't think it's ridiculous to want an intelligent conversation from a date. What can I say? Biceps just don't do it for me. Quantum physics on the other hand, that's enough to send shivers down my spine. So while other girls chase after the football team and blue-eyed bad boys, I'm staring at the next Bill Gates.
Aiden Harrington; President of the Mathematics Honors Society, Secretary of the Science Club, a noted Chess Club member and holder of a 3.94 G.P.A. Need I say more? You may be picturing an unwashed, pimply geek, incapable of making eye contact, as is the stereotype. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Aiden is not your average adolescent nerd at a full six feet tall. Not to mention that he has flawless skin. A little pale perhaps….. and yes, he does wear glasses, but the sleek non-rimmed kind. I actually think they're kind of nice. They accentuate his green eyes, which is what I was trying to explain to Tabitha during lunch.
"Whatever you say Alexis" she said absent mindedly as she flipped through the latest issue of Vogue.
"Oh, why do I even bother?" I asked "You won't even look at a guy unless he has a car and a six-pack."
"You're the one who's always saying a girl has to have standards" she said
"I also say not to judge a book by its cover."
"Yes of course. You're not the type to judge anyone" she said without looking up from her magazine.
"Oh, leave her alone Tabby" Matilda interjected "She's already besotted. Give her a few days at least to enjoy it."
Typical Tilly: passive-aggressive and queen of the backhanded compliment. The more unobservant usually saw the twins as the cliché "fire and ice". In reality there were only a few degrees of separation between them. While Tabby was always direct in her attacks, Tilly preferred subtlety.
"How exactly did you meet this one, again?" Matilda asked as she peeled a clementine
"He's my math tutor." I said sheepishly
At this Tabitha glanced up from her magazine, pursing her lips.
"I can't risk my grade dropping if I want to keep my class rank." I said defensively
"Nobody said anything honey" Matilda noted with a measured, patronizing tone.
At this I reverted to sulking. I always hoped that I might finally be above taking their barbs personally, only to discover that they still got under my skin. You might think it's a strange friendship what with the constant, thinly veiled, fighting and slighting between us, and you'd be right. It's not so much a friendship as a companionship. The Westgate twins are the last people I'd tell my secrets to, but they are at the very least interesting to pass the time with. There's certainly no pact of devotion between the three of us, but we are willing to help each other out; just as long as it's in our best interest. Of course since they're sisters, they're always more likely to stick together than go out on a limb for my sake. Then again, who fights more viciously than sisters? This is what makes me useful. In a pair there can only be a tug-of-war, but two against one are much better odds.
"Lover-boy's here you know" said Tabitha
I looked around the cafeteria fervently and saw him walking to his table, a book and lunch bag in hand. It was impossible to miss his tall, lanky frame.
"Do I look okay?" I asked eagerly
"Uh-huh" said Tilly, while Tabby simply raised an eyebrow.
I couldn't expect much better reviews than that. Neither of the twins had ever been generous with compliments and I'm certainly not a beauty queen. Then again, I don't need to wear a paper bag over my head either. I don't have any unsightly scars or acne. I'm not a leggy Amazon Queen like the twins but I have curves and a high metabolism. My only curse is unruly red hair, but I manage to keep it relatively tamed. I'm not going to win any pageants but still…I'm not half bad.
I gathered my books and made my way over to Aiden's table. He was of course surrounded by his friends; Lou the graphics geek, Jason from the Math Honors Society, Dave from the chess club. They were all busy talking animatedly, and didn't notice me. I tapped his shoulder to get his attention.
"Oh, hi Alexis." He said "What's up?"
"I just wanted to make sure we're still on for tomorrow. 5 o'clock?"
"Yeah the library, 5 o'clock…. Trig right?"
"Yeah, Trig" I said.
As I desperately tried to think of something to talk about, a long awkward pause ensued and I soon realized that Lou, Jason, Dave and Aiden were all staring at me expectantly.
"Is there anything else?" he asked
"No" I said "Not really"
"Ok then" he said with the kind of finality that generally ends pointless conversations.
Then I finally thought of something. "Good luck in the chess tournament" I said
"Thanks" he said
"I'm sure you'll do well"
"Well I've got plenty of time to practice since the tournament is next Wednesday" he said slowly, as if talking to a child, while his friends looked on with barely contained mirth.
"Oh, well that's lucky" I said, laughing nervously "Okay…So 5 o'clock. See you then."
As I walked back to my own table I could hear the boy's soft laughter behind me as the crimson blush of humiliation crept onto my face.
"That seemed to go well" Tabitha said with a small smirk.
I simply scowled in return.
It just didn't make any sense. He was perfect for me; smart, ambitious, attractive. Fireworks should be going off when we're together…..Unless I'm not his type. But that couldn't be possible. No, there had to be some other reason. Maybe he already had a girlfriend. No he doesn't, I would have heard about it. Perhaps I just hadn't been direct enough-
Laughter and the familiar sounds of taunting and teasing broke my train of thought. The cafeteria was already loud enough considering that there were over two-hundred people crammed into the room. Just like any other High School, kids broke into cliques once they got the chance; a small group of Goths and tortured artists in one corner, pot-heads and academic failures in another. The jocks spread out among several tables, divided by age and sports. A few even managed to join the Poppies; a special breed of popular kids with the ability to put you to sleep in a matter of minutes with their narcissism and low intellect. A table of would-be bad boys and "rebels" hung out by the side door so they could easily slip out for cigarettes. All the usual clichés.
I turned around looking for the source of the din and found myself staring at two all too familiar faces.
"Ok, ok, I know. Name the 97th decimal of pie and you can have your lunch back" Val said as he laughed.
"Just give me my god damn sandwich!" Aiden growled
"Language, language. Tut, Tut. Didn't your mommy ever teach you your manners? She obviously made your lunch."
It was really quite the spectacle watching Aiden lunge and swipe at Val in vain. Under usual circumstances Aiden probably would have been able to retrieve his lunch relatively quickly due to his height, but Valentine being the attention-whore he was had no qualms about dancing about on top of a table in order to dangle the lunch bag over Aiden's head.
Val threw the bag to his friend Morgan, who immediately started to rifle through it.
"PB&J, yogurt…. Where's your juice box? Don't tell me you drank it already!" Morgan said with a completely straight face.
Just as Morgan was about to throw the bag back to Val, a security guard finally showed up.
"Mr. Bishop, could you please get off the table" he said with slight weariness.
"Yes Sir" Valentine said with a salute.
Aiden took this chance to snatch his lunch back from Morgan. Morgan simply smiled and raised his hands in mock surrender. The guard settled for giving them a warning glare and then walked away.
By then Val had already made his way to our table.
"What's new pussy-cat, whoa-whoa-ooo" he crooned.
"Hello Valentine" Tabby said, still absorbed in her magazine.
"Hey there my sexy Lexi" he said with a wink to me as he sat down.
I seethed in return.
"Ah! Don't look her in the eye" he said with a dramatic gesture to shield his eyes "She'll turn you to stone! Honestly Lexi my love, stop it. You're giving me chills. You'll warm me up, won't you my darling Tilly?"
She blew him kiss and smiled.
Tilly always found him amusing and never failed to encourage his antics. I on the other hand simply found him irritating. Always loud and obnoxious; downright histrionic in my opinion. He thought he could just charm everyone with a smile and do whatever he pleased. Asshole.
"Lexi really, you're breaking my heart here. Come on, just gimme a smile. A little, tiny, bitty smile. Please?"
"Oh fuck off Val."
"Temper, temper. Then again, that's what I love about red-heads. Always so feisty" he said
"So I suggest you don't provoke me" I said, clearly enunciating each word.
"Provoke you to do what? Scold me? Slap my wrists? Oh, is that what you're into? Yeah, I could see you as the dominatrix type. Kinky."
"Oh you don't know the half of it" I said "Sometimes I'll just get so carried away I end up pulling a Lorraine Bobbit."
"Don't tease me you vixen."
"Not in your wildest dreams."
"What if I ask real nice?
"Tempting, but no."
"Oh you say that now. I can wait."
"Please, hold your breath" I said, delighting at the image of him turning shades of violet.
"Oh that's cold" he said as I got up and walked away, not entirely missing or hearing him quote softly "My love is like to ice…"
Yes, I'm back and this is just the beginning! Two important notes: I'd like to thank unlikely.story for inspiring me with her story "I Only Date Nerds" and allowing me to springboard off her idea. EDIT: The original title of this story was "My Love Is Like To Ice" after the poem by Edmund Spencer. My apologies if I've confused any of the original readers. Despite the quote's demotion I still recommend reading the poem to anyone who enjoys this story. Not only is the poem beautiful but I think it also applies to this story quite well. As always please review, comments of any kind are appreciated.