Just One Simple Question

High school can be four years of pure, unadulterated torture and mental anguish, or "the best four years of your life." It all depends on your social status and of course, how much you care about said social status. Me? I was cool. Not like the popular cool, but the just-doing-my-own-thing cool, the just-go-with-the-flow cool, or at least that's what I told myself back then. I wasn't disgustingly popular, but I didn't really care either. Or perhaps, it was more that I wasn't popular enough to care. Popularity is one of those things that's kind of addictive; no matter how much you claim to dislike it, once you have had a taste you can't go back cold turkey. You can be more selective in your choice of friends but the majority would still be in that popular crowd. What is so enchanting, so alluring about popularity that people can look past some of the most inhumane actions because, well, they don't want people to think that they're losers? How does standing up for something you know is iniquitous make one a loser? I have never understood the ignorance that seems to come with popularity and perhaps I am being too harsh. But I digress...

It was popularity, or a least a pair of popular people that had drawn a crowd in the main hallways of the intellectually stimulating walls of Madison High that afternoon. It was a few weeks into the first semester and no one seemed to notice the lack of aesthetic appeal of the white hallways and the "sunshine" yellow lockers anymore. Maybe it was just me, but I was still sick of waking up and dragging myself through the doors every morning to find myself face to face with a disgustingly cheerful yellow ensemble. It was so bright that when the light hit the lockers just right, they almost had an eerie effulgence about them. Some found them uplifting, personally, they made me want to hurl.

The crowd had not gathered to stand and contemplate the repulsiveness of our dear school, but to witness the break up of one of our most popular couples, Breigh Parker and Devon Matthews. Breigh and Devon had both been part of the upper crust of the social hierarchy of Madison, but their respective social statures seemed to skyrocket as a result of their going out. Their getting together had happened a year or so ago; there had been many a break up before, but there was always reconciliation and an unnecessary amount of public displays of affection (PDA) afterward. Today's little fight seemed to be a little...well, real. Not to say that their previous tiffs had been staged, but they'd been due to quite a few superficial abettors. Even I couldn't help but to pause in my daily trek to my locker to watch this particular disagreement.

Devon shook his head, chuckling to himself, "You've got to be kidding me."

Breigh looked slightly exasperated with him, "I'm really serious about this, Dev.

"This," she continued. "You and me. It's just not working."

What she was saying didn't seem to be registering, "I can't believe you're doing this."

"What Devon?" She snapped, raising her voice to draw even more spectators. "What is so unbelievable? It's not like you're the only guy on the planet. It's not even as if you're so hot that no one could possibly replace you."

"It's not about that," he replied, at least partially offended by that suggestion.

"I think it is," She said, smirking, cruelly. "I think I hurt your precious little ego is. Well boo- hoo."

He glanced around, finally taking note of those watching, amused, "We don't need to do this here."

"What's the matter?" She asked, raising her voice once again to his displeasure. "Don't want everyone to know that I'm breaking up with you for another guy."

"I just thought that you might not want people to know that you're going from me to a total loser,' He shot back, trying to save face.

She laughed, "You wish."

"I don't know why you think this is so hard on me, Breigh," He said, continuing his attempt to salvage his reputation as a man. "You're not exactly my only option either. There are plenty of girls who would love to go out with me."

"You just keep telling yourself that," She replied not bother to mask the sarcasm in her tone.

"I'm completely serious. I could get a new and better girlfriend than you ever were just like that." He said, snapping his fingers.

"Well then you had better get started." She said haughtily, turning on her heel before he could reply.

Breigh's last comment had signified the end of the argument and the crowd had begun to disperse. I made my way over to my locker, wondering how much time I had wasted standing there like the rest of the spectators. I was quite disappointed to discover a rather defeated looking Devon taking a little rest on my locker. I stood directly in front of him for a moment or so, waiting for him to realize that he was preventing me from entering my little metal realm of personal space. He didn't. It gave me a little bit of time to look at him up close. The seventeen year-old senior had been classified by many as what some might call a "hottie" I could see where they would get the idea, though. He was the perfect image of that high school golden boy, the one everyone still talks about thirty years down the road. The one all the girls wanted to date and all the guys wanted to be. He had the rugged good looks, kinda wild brown hair that on some would be considered disheveled was considered sexy on him and chiseled features. Now normally I wouldn't have minded looking at him a little while longer...but that wasn't was I was there for; I was trying to get to lunch. I cleared my throat, and Devon managed to open his eyes. For a moment I was distracted by the deep blue almost violet color of his eyes, but I quickly returned to my senses. "Hi." I said, waving stupidly.

He sighed, wearily, "I just broke up with my girlfriend. I'm really just not in the mood to be hit on right now." He looked me over, "But, you really wouldn't have much of a chance with me anyway."

I stood there for a second, not realizing what was going on, and when I realized that he was serious, I laughed. I couldn't help myself. He was so incredibly cocky.

"What?" He asked, not realizing what it was that I found so humorous.

I pointed behind him to my locker, "I was just trying to get to my locker."

He looked behind him as if finally aware that he was leaning on something other than wall. "Sorry," he said, though he looked nothing but.

I shrugged, and began to spin my combination, "No big thing."

He meandered away and I opened my locker, got my books, and went to lunch. We both went our separate ways, neither one of us aware of what we'd just started.

Devon sat on the top of the stairs that led down to one of the main entrances. He held a little, rather crumpled, piece of notebook paper in his hands. He looked up as the paper was ripped out of his hands. He recognized the hands holding his paper as those of his best friend, Ryan Brooks. Ryan sat down lazily next to Devon. "Marla Bennett, Nancy Rogers, Kayla Snyder..." He read, amused. "What is this?"

Devon snatched his paper back, "It was a list of possible candidates for my next girlfriend."

"What happened?"

"None of them worked out," He replied sullenly.

Ryan grinned, "All of them said no, huh?"

"No," Devon said looking a little annoyed. "They all had prior engagements."

"And by prior engagements," Ryan said, stifling another grin. "You mean that your ex-girlfriend, the lovely Breigh Parker, has already gotten to every girl in this school that you would possibly consider asking out and made each one swear not to go out with you with the risk of her social status?"

"You really think she'd do that?" Devon asked, looking over at his best friend in surprise

"Well..." Ryan began tentatively. "She was always a devious little thing."

"I guess."

"So what're you gonna do?" He asked, curiously.

"Get another girlfriend, of course," Devon replied as if it were the obvious answer. "You, know," He continued. "Do the whole I've-got-someone- better-than-you thing to make her jealous."

"Because we all know that that always works on TV." Ryan replied sarcastically.

Devon ignored him, "Now all I have to do is find the right girl. That shouldn't be too hard."

"Well um, are you forgetting that Breigh has influence, menacing influence all over Madison?"

"I'm sure there are nice enough looking people that she hasn't affected yet." Devon replied optimistically.

"Got any in mind?"

He thought for a minute...He remembered the girl he'd seen that morning, the one who's locker he'd abducted. He smiled remembering her laugh; it had sounded so...real. If he hadn't been so caught up with his own problems he would've thought of her before. "There is this one girl that could be a possibility and I know that Breigh wouldn't even bother with her."

"Why not? Who is she?"

"I don't know exactly," He replied rather evasively. "Breigh just wouldn't expect me to go out with someone like her."

"What is she like?"

"I don't really know her." Devon admitted grudgingly.

"Are you gonna try to get to know her before you ask her out?"Ryan asked, though he already knew the answer.

Devon shrugged, "Probably not."

"Just gonna dive right in then?"


"And what if she says no?"

Devon grinned arrogantly, "Trust me she won't."

"No," I said, closing my locker.

Devon stepped in my path as I tried to get away from him. "Are you serious?" He looked shocked.

"Of course I'm serious." I replied, stopping to avoid walking into him.

"Why not?"

I sighed, feeling a little tired. It had been a long weekend. "I'll give you a chance if you can answer one simple question."

"Ask it." He said, grinning, feeling triumphant already.

"What's my name?" Nothing complicated. Quite possibly the easiest thing I could've asked him.

He stood there, stupefied. "Um..."

I smiled, slightly amused by his antics, "Nice try." He didn't stop me as I walked away.

Ryan manifested from a classroom a door or so down after I had left.. "Well that was...less than impressive."

Devon shook his head, "Yeah, I know. I messed that one up."

"You didn't even know her name?" Ryan asked, shocked at his friend's audacity.

He shrugged, as if to say that it wasn't his fault, "Girls are usually just so excited that I talked to them that they just assume that I know their names. No one's ever asked before."

"Maybe I'm just being too picky, but I don't think I'd go out with someone who doesn't know my name either."

"Ok, ok," Devon relented. "So maybe I shouldn't have rushed it."

Ryan scratched his head, trying to find the best way to say what obviously needed to be said, "She, uh, didn't really seem to be too interested in you buddy."

"She just hasn't experienced the full frontal hotness of me." Devon replied confidently.

"Um, sure," Ryan replied. "So has anyone ever told how god damn cocky you are?"

"Perhaps," Devon said, candidly. "I might not have been listening."

Ryan shook his head, "Yeah, you need serious help. You want me to talk to her for you?"

"Do you know her name?"

"Yes." Ryan replied, rolling his eyes.

Devon's eyes widened in surprise, "You do? Why didn't you tell me before I fucked up?"

"I assumed that you weren't stupid enough to try to go out with someone when you don't even know her name."

"Well what is it?" Devon asked, ignoring the jibe at his expense.

"What is what?" Ryan asked, smiling.

"Her name." Devon repeated, he wasn't in the mood for Ryan's games.

"Oh, it's Sophie."

Devon grinned, "Sophie... I like that. Kind of cute sounding."

"So you want me to help you out with this, man?"

"Do you think you could?"

"Well I think I could do a little better than you just did."

"Alright," Devon replied, not remotely disturbed by the need for help. "Then I solicit your services."

Thanks for all who read and/or review. I appreciate it!