I. When Harry Met Sally (Not)
Frank was my tutor. After my physics and maths grades started suffering, my father decided it was time to hire a tutor. Our neighbor had a son who went to one of London's universities. A university guy, studying engineering, with good grades. Being tutored by him sounds like a recipe for romance, right?
Not when it's Frank.
I had expectations at first of a handsome guy. What sixteen year old female wouldn't? It would be like a romance straight out of a Hollywood movie, and I've watched one too many romances to not have these daydreams. Unfortunately, he was just another nerdy looking guy, with unfashionable glasses and unkempt blonde hair. Even worse, he had no confidence, so he was always slouching and mumbling. He barely said a word apart from what he was teaching me, and was strict about making me do my homework. I held no interest for him apart from this one time, admittedly, that I thought his green eyes were beautiful. But that's it. The fact that he was an awkward, uncoordinated nerd, has not changed. And I was definitely not attracted to him as a man.
He was the last person I'd expect to come to my rescue. But there he was, soaked to the bones in the thinning out rain, getting off of his motorcycle. He gave me a sheepish grin and wiped the vapour from his glasses in vain. I mean, come on. You're wiping with a wet shirt, Frank.
"What are you doing?" I asked in disbelief. I texted him to say that I would be late for tutoring because my afterschool club was going to end late. It was 6 PM when the rain started to pour heavily. As I lived quite faraway from my school, I was used to having no one to go home with, and the bus that I had to take always came much later when it was raining. I had resigned myself to waiting for it when his motorcycle came roaring down the street.
For a moment before I realized who it was, I felt something stir in my heart at the gesture. Then I remembered it was just Frank.
Funnily enough, the rain stopped at around the same time that he arrived. He glanced up to the sky and muttered aloud, "If I knew it was gonna be a short one, I would've waited before coming here."
I fought back a grin at how stupid he looked, and said, "Seriously, what are you doing?" Then I corrected myself in a hurry, "I mean, I'm grateful. But you've never picked me up after school before."
"I wasn't sure if you knew, but the only bus route to our street was diverted because of the Tube accident."
He shrugged. "Yeah. I don't really know the details. But that's why I came.
"In the rain?" I raised a brow as he stood in front of me. It was awkward having to look at him so I patted the seat next to me. He took the hint, fortunately.
"Yeah." He let out a short laugh and ran a hand through his hair.
"You must be freezing. November's pretty windy." I shrugged off my coat and draped it on his shoulder. Somehow it made me feel masculine. A tinge of red colored his cheeks.
He took it off and pushed it on my lap. "You'll get cold."
"Come on, Frank. Just accept the goddamn coat before you catch pneumonia." I chuckled as I forcefully pushed it onto his lap. "I'm stronger than I look, okay?"
Righting his glasses, he nodded in defeat. "Okay. Thanks."
In another situation with another guy, he would probably have smoothly offered to drape the coat over the both of us. But this was Frank we're talking about. He meekly put my oversized coat on.
Sometimes I thought that if I were a guy, I'd be a total hit with the ladies.
"Hey, actually, I just remembered I skipped lunch and now I'm kinda hungry. Whaddya say we get some food?" I nodded my head in the direction of the fish and chips shop across us.
A beat passed as he just stared at me. I felt a slight chill at his stare. "Sure," he said.
I bounded up and went inside, needing to escape the discomfort I felt just then. Frank dutifully followed me. Immediately the warmth from the radiator enveloped me and I sighed with happiness.
Glancing at him, I offered, "Do you want one? My treat."
I held up a hand sternly. "None of that chivalrous or whatever bullshit. I'm just treating the person who helped my grades improve and who picked me up from school in the rain, even though he should've just waited until the sky cleared up."
His cheeks turned pinker and he mumbled, "Whatever you want."
Grinning at him, I turned to the man behind the counter and said, "Two greasy fish and chips please! Extra chips!" I paid him for the food.
"Coming right up."
"Okay let's sit there." I pointed at the stools and counter facing the bus stop and made my way there. "You know, we've never actually met outside of my house," I said thoughtfully as we sat side by side.
"Is college really busy?"
He gazed out of the window as he answered, "I guess so. But it's.. more fun. Not like secondary."
"Why wasn't secondary any fun? Personally, I think that it's pretty fun. You don't have to think about what you want to do after you graduate other than what college you want to go to. Still, Dad won't stop ragging on me for not deciding what major I want to do in the future."
"He just loves you. At least he cares enough to ask." His smile was warm but tinged with sadness. The light mood suddenly became serious, and I giggled awkwardly, fiddling with the charm bracelet on my wrist.
Feeling like I stepped on a landmine, I switched the subject to one that I thought people liked to talk about. "Uhm.. so.. you have a girlfriend or maybe someone you like in uni?"
He froze. Like he was moving but then suddenly someone cast a petrification spell over him. I forgot this was Frank I was talking to. How could a guy as socially inept as this have a girlfriend?
Airily, I tried to brush it off. "Sorry, sorry! I shouldn't have asked. Some of my friends said I can be too nosy, and I guess this was just one of those times. It's fine if you don't want to answer."
"No, I don't have a girlfriend," he said, looking away. After a moment of silence, he asked, "What about you?"
"Eh? Um.. Actually I don't know."
"What do you mean?"
Then I found myself spilling out my emotions to someone who's practically a stranger to me. "I'm dating this guy, Adam. It's been a couple of months now. He's kinda popular, and a lot of girls like him, so I couldn't believe it myself when he confessed to me. He was really sweet and nice. But as you've experienced yourself, I'm kinda … manly, I guess. For a girl."
I paused. "And I get really embarrassed whenever he wants to do romantic things in public."
Frank listened to me quietly. Somehow encouraged by the expression on his face, I continued, "But he was still really sweet, and I grew to care a lot for him. I never experienced it before, but it was good to feel so loved."
I smiled a little fondly at the memories. "After I went out with him, he rejected all of the other girls who asked him to hang out. He would find excuses to hold my hand in secret, under the desk and that sort of thing. For my birthday, he got me a pretty bracelet. This one, actually." I held up my wrist to show him. "He even told me he loved me. But then I think.. I messed it up. Even though he told me he changed for me."
"When he said he loved me, I couldn't say it back. I kept pushing him away in public, even though I could treat guys or girls that are my friends in a close way, like hugging or holding hands. Isn't that weird?"
"So he got angry and got back at me by going out to a house party with this pretty girl from another school. He said they were just friends, but somehow I can't believe it. I promised that I'd try harder to be a better girlfriend to him, but he already changed. Like, he became really cold. He doesn't text me back like he used to, and sometimes he refused to meet up. He always tells me he's busy. It's been like two weeks since I last hung out with him, and he hasn't tried to talk to me at school either. So I don't know. I don't know if we're still dating."
To my shock, tears slid down his cheeks. He seemed just as stunned as I was and quickly wiped it off. "Sorry." I didn't comment because I didn't want him to be embarrassed, and I smiled at him, somehow touched.
My own tears began to well up in the corner of my eyes. "But.. I feel like it's too late. He doesn't love me anymore. As we speak, he's probably with that girl he brought to that party."
Frank carefully said, "You should.. talk to him. Tell him what you're going through, what you told me. I don't really have much experience.." He cleared his throat. "But, uh. I know that guys can show their affection in weird ways."
He passed me a tissue. I dabbed the corner of my eyes and thanked him. Then I remembered the food we ordered. "Ah, sorry. Let me go and get the fish and chips!"
He stood and pressed gently on my shoulder. "No, sit. I'll get it."
I watched him, somehow feeling for the first time that he was somehow reliable. Even though he was just a stupid nerd.
Crazy, I couldn't be attracted to Frank, could I? Just because he's a little nice to me. Get a grip. This is just my heart being fickle and lonely. I took a deep breath, trying to recall all the reasons why this is simply a misguided feeling. When he returned, he sat down and took off his glasses.
He glanced at me quizzically, then pointed at the glasses on the counter. "This?"
"If I eat something hot while wearing glasses, the steam fogs up my glasses. It's annoying."
"How far can you see?"
He pondered the question and then leaned closer to me, his intense green eyes seeming to hold me in place. I swallowed. "Right, I can see you clearly at this distance. Otherwise it's just blurry." He pulled back and took a bite out of the fish.
I played off my nerves by chuckling and said, "Well that's good. You shouldn't do anything to make it worse."
"Yeah, I won't." Then he smiled. "But maybe if a certain student of mine keeps writing so terribly.."
"My writing's not that bad, it's just small!"
He laughed. And for a second, I thought he looked cute.
No! This is unacceptable! This is only the Clark Kent-Superman effect. When guys with glasses take their glasses off and they somewhat seem more attractive. Frank is not cute. I calmed myself down and repeated to myself that he was just being nice and he didn't even do anything special. Even though he was really sensitive and attentive...
No! I can't seriously be attracted to Frank the giant nerd. Frank the tutor. Frank the literal nobody. I refuse. I'm not going to fall for him.
Not ever. Not Frank. I can't go back to liking that kind of guy.
A/n: So there'll be another chapter on her relationship with Adam, and hopefully, the ending chapter with the conclusion. If you liked it, please review or follow. Your support will definitely help me in finishing this story! I really like their relationship and really want to try finishing a multi-chaptered story, but sometimes writer's block gets in the way...