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Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

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"Mariah!"

"Huh? What?" I was shaken out of my light snooze by my English teacher, Miss Terri.

With a slight smile, Miss Terri said, "Is my class boring enough to have a nap in, Miss Felt?"

Oh no. I knew where this was going. "Of course not! I just had a bit of trouble sleeping last night because--"

"Well," the young teacher interrupted. "I better sprinkle a bit of excitement in it then. Who thinks Mariah should be the for this year's Quizball?" Miss T. ran a hand through her glossy, black bob and looked around at her class, most students of which had been staring blankly at a wall.

The students who were awake, however, let out a relieved whoop. No one wanted to be the adjudicator. The responsibility entailed way too much work: researching, gathering questions, writing them down... Not exactly your average senior's cup of tea.

Just then, the bell rang. Well, more like the class-is-over siren sounded.

"Remember, everyone. The Quizball is on Friday," Miss T. tried to shout over the cacophony of the masses.

I groaned and contemplated hitting my head on my desk, but decided against it. I had Drama up next, and the spotlights definately wouldn't flatter a huge bump.

I packed my things back into my neon-green rucksack and started to stand up, grumbling all the while.

"And that, children, is why you should never fall asleep in class!" My best friend Sierra swept her arm in my direction dramatically. She danced over to me and plopped down on my desk, her buttery blonde hair bouncing in its ponytail.

"Not in the mood, See."

"Everyone is always in the mood for me and my undeniable fabulousness!" she sang.

"Go die," I growled. Sierra giggled and grabbed my hand. She yanked me toward the door, not caring that my bag was still open. I desperately tried to keep all my books from falling out and onto the ground as we raced through the busy halls.

I brushed swept my caramel fringe out of my eyes before yanking on Sierra's ponytail.

"Ouch!" My friend screeched. "What was that for, you psycho-sadist?"

I shook my hand free of hers. "I have class." I stuck my nose into the air and pivoted, striding off in the opposite direction.

Sierra called after me, "Okay, fine, Riah. Have it your way. I was just going to use my new assistant-secretary all-day pass to help you do your research for tomorrow."

I stopped abruptly. Tomorrow? I slapped my head, realizing that it was not, in fact, Tuesday, but Thursday. I glanced over my shoulder to see a smirking Sierra. I glowered at her as I reluctantly turned and marched over to her.

Flaunting her victory, my friend said, "You're so uptight sometimes. Learn to have a little fun!"

"I do have fun! I go to the mall, I... I..." I scowled and began walking briskly toward the library, head down.

"Uh, Riah..." Sierra started. I ignored her and carried on walking. Until I walked straight in to something hard.

I stumbled back and looked up to see who I had walked in to, gearing up to tell them to watch where they were going. My eyes widened and my cheeks flushed red.

Matt Banks looked down at me with an amused grin quirking his lips. I couldn't help but notice that his shaggy blonde hair was longer. Long enough that the tips of Matt's floppy locks fell in his sky-blue eyes.

"S-sorry. I didn't see you. I mean, not like you're hard to notice. Not that I notice you. I mean--"

"'T's okay, pixie," Matt ruffled my hair and stepped around me. He nodded at a reddening Sierra, before jogging to meet his friends. Sierra looked over her shoulder. She turned back to me and started laughing so hard that she bent over.

I waited for her to catch up with me before moaning, "It's not funny. He called me a pixie!" I thought of something terrible. "Okay, I know Matt is tall, but am I really pixie-short?" I glanced worriedly at Sierra.

My friend hooked her arm through mine and pretended to be drunk by singing, "Always look on the briiiiiiight side of... life!" at the top of her voice.

I shook my head as we walked into the library. We sat down in the chairs of two computers next to each other and started to work.




























*

"Last question of the day: number thirty-five. What is the square root of three?" I faked enthusiasm as I leaned against the wooden podium.

A buzzer sounded. "One point seven-three-two-nought-five-nought-eight-nought-seven," the nerdy boy paused, before crying triumphantly, "Five-seven!"

Resisting the urge to roll my eyes at his excitement over a square root, I said, "Correct! We have a winner! The 'Mathletics' take the $30 first prize. Congratulations, and goodnight!"

I spun around and thudded off the stage, eager to end the night. I pushed open the door to the hall and breathed in the crisp air. As I jogged over to my red Audi, someone called my name.

"Hey, pixie-- I mean Mariah." Matt Banks was racing over to me. His cheeks and nose were slightly reddened from the cold.

"Hi," I said squeaked softly, trying to keep my thoughts in order. Why was Matt calling me out?

He stopped in front of me and clasped his hands behind his back. "I just wanted to say that, um, you were really great tonight."

"Thanks!" I grinned, then bit my tongue. I had to try to not seem too eager.

"Do you maybe want to go out some time?" Matt asked sheepishly as he scuffed the tarmac with the toe of his sneaker.

My mouth dropped open, and I had to fake a cough. "Okay, sure." This time I allowed a small smile.

"Okay, cool. I'll call you later." Matt grinned at me and walked backwards to his car before unlocking, jumping in and driving away.

A thrilled squeal ripped through the air. Sierra hugged me from behind. I turned around to see my friend doing a nutty happy-dance. "Maybe the Quizball wasn't a curse, after all!" she twirled around and grabbed my hands, including me in her dance.

I laughed. "Maybe!"



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