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Annabelle Radford

By , Houston, TX
Annabelle Radford. Ann-a-belle Rad-ford, looking as painfully gorgeous as usual.
I stare at her out of the left corner of my eye as she scribbles down answers to her history test, light spilling out of the window behind her, softly illuminating her beautiful dark waves. If only I could tell her how pretty she is. But I know that’s impossible.
Drew punches me, hard, on my shoulder, and Mrs. Folger glances at us for a millisecond from wedged behind her desk, then turns her gaze back to her computer. My hefty, football-playing idiot of a best friend motions to his exam, obviously wanting me to slide mine over just enough so he can see the answers. I’m the brains in our duo, and he is the brawn. He keeps me on varsity despite my actual lack of athletic ability, I keep him out of after school tutoring so he can still knock guys over out on the feild.
I glance at Annabelle Radford as I nudge my paper the slightest bit closer to Drew and he begins to covertly copy. Guilt painfully pierces my heart, like it does every time. I told Drew once about how awful I always feel when we cheat. Apparently he never has that problem.
I look forward to this class every day, just so I can stare at the back of Annabelle Radford’s head and pine after her motionlessly. An added bonus to 5th period history with Mrs. Folger is that Elizabeth isn’t in it. Elizabeth, the head cheerleader. Elizabeth, my girlfriend. Elizabeth is pretty in a perfectly cookie-cutter, vanilla sort of way. Perfect toned body, perfect blonde hair, perfect sweet demeanor…on the outside. I am one of the few who know what a b**** she really is. And yet I stay with her for the social status of “cutest couple”. Me, John, the walking cliché.
But sometimes I want to color outside the lines. If I had any balls I would quit football, dump Elizabeth, and ask Annabelle Radford to Winter Formal. But that would never happen. Not in a million years.
Not if my extraordinarily controlling father had anything to do with it. He, captain of the football team when he went to Hudson High, was already disappointed when I didn’t live up to his sports legacy. He was doubly upset when I breached the subject of trying out for the school musical last August. I have a feeling that if I ended things with Elizabeth to date some artsy, dark-haired, free-thinking braniac he would go over the edge.
I sigh, returning from my thoughtful reverie as Drew nudges me to turn the page. I look over at Annabelle Radford again. There is so much I wish I knew about her. I want to explore her life and talk to this girl for hours and find out what really makes her tick. Obviously she will not stay in Hudson. Obviously her kids will not go to Hudson High. Obviously she is destined for great things.
“John, turn the frickin’ page!” Drew whispers in his deep voice, “I need to get number 23!”
As I comply, guilt pushing my head low, I feel a hand on my shoulder. Turning around timidly, I see Mrs. Folger. And somewhere in my head, it all clicks into place.
“Drew, John…you are in big trouble,” she growls in a low voice.
I stand up, pushing her hand off, catching a glance of Drew’s shocked face, panning over the tableau of my classmates, visualizing my father’s gleaming State Championship trophy, hearing Elizabeth’s voice in my head, but finally settling on Annabelle Radford, gazing deeply, slowly, into her warm brown eyes. I know what I need to do.
“Yes, Mrs. Folger. I am in trouble”.





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