A good looking guy asking a pretty girl.
The last thing I want to see at seven on a Monday morning is a glaring, pastel pink poster with a disco ball (complete with sparkles!) and the word "FORMAL" emblazoned across it, but that's what I run straight into as I make my way across the dining hall for breakfast.
I splutter and attempt to push it away. "What the -"
"Look, Annie, look! The formal, the formal is finally happening!" Molly's disembodied voice comes over the poster as she waves it around, pushing it harder against my nose. "Can you believe it?"
"Oh my god, Molly, get that thing out of my face." I manage to push her arms down so that I can see around the pink monstrosity. Her huge brown eyes are shining with excitement.
"Jesus, Mol, contain yourself," Quinn says, rolling her hazel eyes and taking a large bite out of her toast. She speaks with a mouthful; "I don't think Annie's conscious enough to comprehend anything yet. Look at her, she's got her zombie face on. Did you even bother to brush your hair?"
I self-consciously pat the back of my head, and feel a tangle in the dark red strands; mhm, nothing more attractive than bed hair. I look at Quinn's perfectly braided hair and sigh internally. "…Maybe," I lie, sliding onto the bench beside Quinn and squishing up to her as Molly sits on my other side.
"I don't care how tired you are, how can you not be excited for this?" Molly exclaims.
"Oh, it's easy for you to be excited about a dance," I grumble, pouring myself a glass of apple juice. "You don't have to worry about a partner." Quinn pushes her glasses up her nose and nods in agreement.
"I can't wait to go dress shopping," Molly prattles on, oblivious to our complaint. She's practically glowing as she considers all the possible dresses she can wear. "And of course Roger will be colour coordinated -"
Quinn chokes on her toast. "Colour coordinated? Have you got that boy on a leash or what?"
A deep voice replies above our heads, "Not yet, but we might have to take that into consideration." I swivel around to see Erik, his lips twisted into a smirk and his blue eyes trained on the poster spread out on the table in front of us.
"If anyone needs a leash, Erik, it's you," I snap, thoroughly annoyed at the intrusion to my morning routine.
He laughs at my comment, amused but otherwise unaffected, and moves his penetrating gaze to me. "Not a morning person, are we, Annie?" I narrow my eyes into a glare in response. When he sees that I'm not going to speak, he runs a hand through his jet-black hair and leans right over the top of me to grab the poster. "So, the formal. I assume you'll be going with Roger -" he nods at Molly, "but what about you lovely ladies?" He smiles at Quinn and I.
I feel my cheeks going red under his gaze, but Quinn, ever composed, quips, "Oh, we'll have a pile of suitors falling at our feet by mid-morning, just wait. But of course, you'd know all about that, wouldn't you, stud muffin?" She lowers one of her darkly lashed eyelids in a sultry wink.
The corners of Erik's lips twitch into a smile, and he leans down again. "Allow me to be the first," he says, his face hovering right in front of mine. At this distance I can't help but notice that he smells amazing. I lean back but the edge of the table digs into my spine. I can't comprehend why Erik is even here, as we haven't had a civil conversation since we were fourteen; unless he's just come over to deliberately torment me, which is very likely, although normally he at least lets me eat my breakfast in peace. "Annie," he breathes, "Will you come to the formal with me?"
I blink, dumbfounded. "What kind of sick joke is this, Erik?" I snarl.
He blinks once, and for a second I think I see something like panic flicker across the blue of his eyes, but his expression remains unchanged. "No joke. Just a good looking guy asking a pretty girl to a dance. That's how it goes, isn't it?"
"Ha!" Finding that I can't lean back any more, I resort to leaning sideways onto Quinn's shoulder in an attempt to put some space between myself and Erik's disarmingly handsome face. "Not when it's you and me; and who says you're good looking anyway?"
Just when I run out of room to squirm away, I'm saved by a peel of laughter as Sam wanders up to us, still in his pyjamas, and claps Erik on the back. "Just every girl in school," he answers. His hair is worse than mine, sticking up at all angles and falling carelessly in front of his grey eyes. There's a shadow of stubble along his jaw, and the t-shirt he obviously slept in has what looks like a coffee stain on the hem.
"Except me," I counter.
"Except you," he and Erik say in unison. Sam continues, "Of course, Annie. What with you two being mortal enemies and all…"
I offer him a sarcastic smile.
"Is Roger around?" Molly asks, peering around the boys to try and catch a glimpse of her boyfriend.
"Headed to the library, last I saw," Erik answers. "Something about a report due, I don't know."
"You two kept him out again, didn't you?" Molly snaps, her excitement transitioning quickly to anger.
"Out?" I question, slathering jam on a slice of toast.
"You really shouldn't wander around the grounds after lights out," Quinn admonishes, but her tone is laced with equal parts sarcasm and humour. "Who knows what sort of trouble you're getting yourselves into?"
"But there's so much fun to be had after lights out, Quinn," Sam says, grinning at her. "I've found that some of the best experiences can be had in the dark -"
"Is that because the girl can't see your face?" Erik cuts in.
We all burst out laughing, partly because every girl in school would kill for the chance to spend time alone with Sam after dark, and partly because he looks hilariously offended. Erik seems immensely pleased with himself.
"Some friend you are," Sam mutters, elbowing him in the ribs, but his eyes betray his amusement. "Come on then, I'm starving. Lovely to see you ladies." He goes to walk to an empty space down the table, but Erik hangs back.
"Annie, I never got an answer -"
I can't believe he's pushing this. "No, Erik."
"No. Not in a thousand years."
He's staring at me very intently, smiling as though he knows something I don't know. "I must persist -"
"Persist away," I shrug. "But my answer isn't going to change."
"If you insist," he says, and turns to join Sam. Just when I let out a sigh of relief he turns back and grabs my toast from my hand. "Thanks," he winks at me and saunters off, eating my delicious breakfast as he goes.
That bastard! How dare he steal my food?
The girls are smirking at me. "You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into, do you?"
"What? No, of course I have no idea!" I exclaim. "I'm just trying to have a nice, relaxing breakfast, and all of you bombard me with this bloody formal business – What is with Erik asking me, anyway? I thought he hated me."
Molly watches the boys down the table. They're scuffling over the morning paper; Sam has just grabbed it and is whacking Erik over the head with it. "I think he likes you, Annie."
I laugh out loud. "You're mad." I turn to Quinn for support, but she's smirking at me. "Eh, both of you are completely mad. It's probably just some sick prank of theirs. Thank god I didn't fall for it."
"If you insist," Quinn mutters, mimicking Erik's response. I punch her in the arm and grab a new slice of toast.
a.n. I am back from the dead with this, a little brain fluff that won't leave me alone.
It will be an adorable little novella of approximately 7 chapters, all around this length, updated once or twice a week.
Please review and let me know what you think! I'll return the favour.
p.s. Peter Pants has not died. I will update it in about a fortnight, as soon as my exams are over.
I'm really sorry that I let it lie for so long. I'll explain all along with the next chapter.