Author's Note: Not my favorite work.
I have nothing against the classics, I promise.
Again, criticism is very much welcome, and I predict I'll get a shitload for this; like I said, I'm not happy on how it turned out.
If you get a kick in beta-ing crap and helping it to be less crappy I'll be glad to talk to you. :)
Unconventional things, though very rare, happen all the time; it's a bit of an odd statement since when you say something is unconventional, well, it's something you don't see everyday, like a meteor made up of cheese hits earth or a boy you hate suddenly embarrasses himself in front of you, to your amazement. But they do happen all the time, I swear (but wouldn't that make it conventional?). Anyway, I'll obsess about that later; I often make outlandish statements out of the blue and without any validation, so I screw up my English essays just fine.
Anyway, a quick rundown about me is in order.
Name: Lydia Pearson, also known as Lyd
Age: Wouldn't you like to know?
Appearance: See above
Special Talents: Hypocrite; obsessive thinker; Outlandish-statement-maker-without-any-solid-evidence; can make a perfectly passable chicken lasagna
My cousin Nat appeared beside me, a can of Silly String in one hand and a Rick Astley CD in another. She's also wearing a yellow shirt that says I RICKROLL 24/7, bright red pants and Keds with all sorts of black swirls she drew herself. Kooky girl, that Nat.
"Lyd!" she said loudly even though we were only distanced at arm's length. "We're going to salsa in the living room to good old Ricky! Coming?" By 'we' Nat meant her and Mitchell Ashen, her significant other since the French Revolution. Mitch might be Nat's complete opposite, with his serious face and silent-but-deadly persona, but Nat loves him as much as she loves her beat-up car Sasha, which is pretty much undying.
"No, thanks," I said, busy looking for a good book on eBay for a report using Nat's computer. Some of the intellectual individuals at my school suggested I try Austen or Bronte, but my brain gave up on those after the first five chapters. Yes, they're classics, but that doesn't mean I have the obligation to love them. Pissed, one of the Honours Kids actually called those books 'beyond my mental capacity' and told me to 'just leave them the hell alone'.
I wasn't sure if he said I should clear out from them (the Honours kids) or the classics, but I was already too offended to have coherent thoughts about it. Sure, they were smart and all, but do they really have to say that?
Nat made a move to leave but faced me again, a grim expression on her face. "Lyd, you busy later?"
Uh-oh. "I…don't know," I replied vaguely. I made sure I didn't make any eye contact. "What's up?"
"Well, see… Alex's school has this thing where they raise money and stuff—"
I already knew where this was going, so I spoke before she finished. "Sorry, Nat. Mom wants me home early so I can take Nana Red, uh… wig shopping. You know how that is." The truth was I wasn't in the mood to go anywhere today, since I just had my IQ insulted and I 'm currently on the brink of being scarred.
"Nana doesn't need anymore wigs, smarty-pants. Mom just brought her one last day and she made her swear it's going to be her last one." Nat grabbed both of my wrists and dragged me downstairs to the living room, where I saw Mitch concentrating on one of Alex's Archie comics.
"You better not let Nat's little brother see you reading that," I told him while I waited for Nat to get Sasha started. Mitch just shrugged, his favourite gesture. World ending? Shrug, shrug. Nat cheating? Shrug, even though Nat would rather burn her RICKROLL 24/7 shirt than cheat on him. But Mitch did put down the comic, brushing the brunette bangs away from his eyes. Smart kid. Even at nine, Alex can pack a real mean punch, so it's easier to just stay away from his stuff or else risk getting your face rearranged.
"Come on, Lydia!" I heard Nat yell. It's kind of strange why she enjoys events like school fundraisers, but then again she could easily win a Most Easygoing Award, so I guess I shouldn't wonder. I went outside the front door and Mitch followed suit. I sat beside Nat, which would've irked any sane boyfriend, but Mitch isn't really what you call sane, so it's okay with him to ride out back while his girlfriend and girlfriend's cousin are in front, no complaints whatsoever.
I saw Greenfield Elementary after listening to 'Never Gonna Give You Up' replayed God knows how many times, so you can imagine my relief when I got out to the afternoon sun and the Rick Astley-free outdoors. The three of us marched to the field, where booths of odds and ends sat, waiting to get the ten bucks residing in the back pocket of my jeans.
"Isn't this fun?" Nat gushed.
Mitch shrugged. So did I. It was the only reply I could think of.
Nat suddenly pointed to my right. A tall kid was standing in front of one of the booths from the other end. "Don't I know him from somewhere?"
"Zach Benjamin," Mitch and I said in unison. I instantly thought of the word 'unconventional' at moments like these; it's not every day you get to see the person that just insulted you and your mental capacity at your little cousin's fundraiser. I wonder why Mitch knew him; his social circle was just basically his girlfriend, said girlfriend's cousin and Liam from the football team.
"He wrote a paper for me once," Mitch said, as if he sensed the question mark on my face. "Guy really saves your hide when it comes to stuff like that. He should be sainted or something."
"I think canonized is what you mean," Nat said.
Mitch scratched his chin. "Sure."
Zach Benjamin, Essay Hero? Yeah, and I'm a classics lover."Are we thinking about the same Zach Benjamin?" Zach was moving closer to where we were standing now, although I think he hasn't seen us yet. To my horror, Nat began yelling, "Zach! Hey, ZACH!" Her voice was echoing all over the place, earning her a hard stare from the mom in the balloon animals' booth. It didn't help that Zach heard and was now making his way towards us.
Boy, those unconventional things are on a roll today, and I don't like it one bit.
"Hey," he said. He gave Nat and Mitch a grin, and even had the nerve to give me one. Of course he feels no guilt over saying those things to me; he'll probably party like it's 1997 after he insulted everything from my cooking to the zit I sensed was growing near my forehead. "Funny seeing you guys here."
"My brother goes at this school," Nat said brightly, ever the amiable Disney character. "Funny seeing you here."
"Oh, so your Alex Pearson's sister? My sister's in the same class as him…" Not really interested in making small talk with the likes of Zach Benjamin, I explored around and came to one booth. This one had a small shallow tub filled with water to the brim, and tiny plastic fishes swimming inside it.
"What am I supposed to do?" I asked to the girl in charge for the booth.
"Catch 'em with poles, duh," she replied testily, cracking her gum every ten seconds. I was about to ask her how on Earth is that plausible since the fish weren't real, but I spied the magnets on the fishes' mouth. I paid Rude Girl and got handed by a plastic pole which also had a magnet where the bait was supposed to be.
"Wow, you suck," the girl said after a few minutes without success. "I thought you big kids can do anything."
"My hands are kind of wobbly, but I apologize if that bothers you."
Rude Girl scoffed at my words. "Whatever. I still get your money." She held out a palm. Grudgingly, I placed a five-dollar bill on it, turned around and bumped straight into Zach Benjamin's chest.
"Easy," he said. I just grunted and went off to search for Nat and Mitch, at the same time wondering why I let Nat drag me into this in the first place.
"Lydia!" Zach Benjamin came up to me. "You can't avoid me forever, you know."
"Who says I was?"
"You didn't even acknowledge me earlier when I was talking to Natalie and Mitch, and now here you are running from me like I'm some kind of disease. What am I supposed to think?"
"That you're a smug bastard that can't really afford to be nice to save his life?"
He rolled his eyes. "I merely made a suggestion. Why don't you try to read them? Once you get your brain wrapped around them, you'll actually learn to like it."
Here we go. "How many times do I have to tell you? I. DON'T. LIKE. THE. CLASSICS. I don't! Sue me if you want to, but I just don't! That doesn't make me stupid, it means I have an opinion."
Zach didn't seem fazed by my yelling. "I see."
"Thank you! Now, if it's not too much trouble, I'd like for you to leave me the hell alone so I can find my cousin."
I turned back to him. "What?"
"Natalie found her brother at the cotton candy stand; apparently he's been eating there since this started. Poor guy was too woozy to stand up, so Mitch carried him."
Nat was gone, which meant Sasha was gone, too. I weighed my options: either I walk the twenty blocks back to Nat's, or sell my soul to the devil to get a ride.
Out of nowhere, Zach said, "I'll take you home."
"No, thanks," I said automatically. "I'm fine."
"Don't be an idiot. C'mon." He marched towards the parking lot and came back aboard a small red Toyota before I made a ran for it. "Get in."
"No. I know you, Benjamin. You don't do favours unless there's something for you in exchange. See my ass? Yeah, you can watch it walking away from you." I was already by the school gates when the Toyota came bounding behind me with an irate Zach at the wheel.
"Are you crazy, Pearson?! It's going to be dark soon! You got a death wish or something?"
I kept moving. Before I made a turn into the next street, Zach stopped his car and got out. "You really are insane, you know that?!"
I pushed him on the chest, which caused him to back up a little. He looked surprised at my violence, but I couldn't stop it. When I explode, my limitations go kaput. "Why do you care so much, anyway?"
"I don't know if you noticed, but this isn't exactly the safest part of town. So it's your blood on my conscience!"
"Ha! As if you have a conscience. You flat out told me I was stupid, you jerk! I don't see you getting guilty over it!" I felt all my energy drain after my shouting, but I was still feeling all sorts of emotions. This must be what Alex felt like after all the cotton candy. I hugged my knees and stared at the ground.
"You don't take insults very well, do you?"
The glare I gave him seemed to satisfy his question, but Zach didn't say anything. Instead, he sat down beside me, looking earnest. He must've been thinking that I'll do something about this good boy act, but I was too engrossed to notice the thing scuttling on top of his head.
"I said spider."
Zach huffed. "Okay, Lydia. My name's Zach, remember? As in Zach, your enemy-slash-friend or whatever?"
"Well, Zach my enemy-slash-friend or whatever, you have a spider on your head," I replied calmly.
I don't know the right word to describe the noise Zach made after what I said, but truth be told, it was kind of a girl's high-pitched scream, except it came out of a boy's mouth. He dipped his head down and began brushing his hair furiously with his fingers. On top of that, he was making all sorts of rowdy movements with his body, making him look like a dancer on crack.
"Is it gone? Is it gone?" he said, looking wildly on the ground.
I checked his head and pronounced, "Yep, it's gone."
He breathed a sigh of relief and arranged his hair to its usual spiked state. "Oh, man."
"You don't like spiders very much, do you?" I said, stifling my laughter. You have to admit that was funny. This was a side of Zach I haven't seen, and it was also prime blackmail material. Who wouldn't want dirt on one of the most envied kids at school? That's kind of unconventional, not to mention lucky for me. The Honours Kids were considered spotless, but I was going to change that.
Then again, when Zach Benjamin kisses you under a streetlight in an unsafe part of the neighborhood counts as unconventional, too. Pretty damn unconventional.
He ended it fast. "That's for hating the classics."
He did take me home after that, and I forgot all about my little blackmail scheme. It wasn't until the next day that I realized that Zach Benjamin accomplished what he had to do, but I was too busy obsessing about what just happened to rather than have a confrontation about it. Zach did confess about flaring up my anger on purpose to bug me and giving Alex money so he'll eat a lot of cotton candy and Nat had to take care of him and Zach will then have a clear-shot to talk to me.
He really was a sneaky bastard, but I still didn't crack not one classics book. I mean, who wants to get bored to death, anyway? No one.