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Confessions of a Sophomore Slump
There are some people who life favors. They are the hierarchy, the alphas, the CEO’s. They are people like Tyler Hanson; my first love spawned purely out of naivety. They are beautiful, loved by all, and successful. Then, there are people like me. People who gain weight just by looking at a candy bar, and constantly break out from the makeup they use to hide their preexisting zits. We, as a people, wash cars or deliver mail for a living. We are not the hierarchy, the alphas or the CEO’s. But that never stopped me from falling for Tyler Hanson. It should’ve, but it didn’t. Like I said: naivety.
Corrie punches my shoulder. “Hottie twelve o’clock.”
As if I didn’t already know.
“Tyler Hanson.” The principal says, seeming to recognize the power of the name as she says it. The applause is really loud for Tyler. Of course, why wouldn’t it be? Tyler is the star quarterback, the honor student, and one of the friendliest boys in school. Not to mention, he totally has the whole “jock-guy-popular-dude” look going for him; shaggy brown hair, bright green eyes, tan, even skin, and really bright teeth. I mean Crest-Whitestrip model bright. Yeah, he’s that great.
Tyler walks across the stage seemingly nonchalant about the whole graduation thing. Whatever, right? He’s the only person who manages to pull off the ugly green drab that were South High’s graduation gowns. He grabs his diploma and shakes the principal’s hand. I pick habitually at my thumbnail.
The rest of the names pass by in a blur. Who cares about the rest of them? My stomach tightens as Michael Zaff makes his walk across the stage. They’re going to make me do it.
The graduating class throws their caps into the air. Congratulations Class of 2010. Woo…
Ten minutes later the graduates are mingling and Pandora is giggling, “He’s like ten feet behind you Everleigh.”
I glance over my shoulder, hoping to look casual. He’s more like eight feet away. My palms start sweating.
“Go girl!” Corrie gasps delightedly. “Go get your man!”
I feel like throwing up. She wants me to talk to Tyler? That blatantly violates my “admire from afar” policy! Tyler and I… we belong to two totally separate social classes. He’s the popular senior who has girls throwing themselves at him everywhere he walks. He gets straight A’s without any effort and is friends with everyone. I’m the sophomore slump. The one in the sweat pants with the sloppy ponytail. The one who boys look at and say, “Weren’t you the girl who always fell asleep and drooled in my physics class?”
Hot, I know.
Lucy grasps my forearms and twists me around to look down at her. She is about five feet tall and I’m well… taller. About five nine to be exact. She still frightens me though with her ferocious glare, “Hun, how long have you been swooning over Tyler?”
“Since freshman year,” I begin quickly, “But in my defense every other girl in the school has been doing the same thing.”
“Yes, very true. Still you are completely in love with him and if you don’t tell him now you’ll never get another chance. He’s leaving for Penn State, remember?”
“Okay, too bad for me. Oh look, punch!” I stumble towards the refreshment table, but Lucy keeps her grip sharp.
“Yes?” I wince, terrified of her overdramatic speeches. She may be tiny but she can control anyone. Never defy Lucy.
“You’re wearing a dress for the first time in who knows how long and you curled your hair. Subconsciously you were getting ready for this moment. Go over there right now!”
I bite my lip. “I can’t.”
“Whatever,” Corrie sighs, “Screw this.” She snatches my shoulder and shoves me sharply towards Tyler, where he is chatting with his history teacher. I had uncharacteristically strapped on heels this morning, to go with the purple dress I’m apparently wearing, and so I trip. And I fall. On Tyler Hanson’s back.
Kill me now.
“Whoa, you okay?” He asks politely and helps me balance myself. He’s actually making contact with my skin. It tingles.
Don’t throw up. “Yeah, I’m so sorry.”
“Oh, it’s fine. Just glad no injuries were sustained,” He grins and then returns to his conversation. I spin back towards my friends who all start gesturing wildly that I turn back around and talk to Tyler.
“Uh, sorry,” I begin, “But can I talk to you for a minute, Tyler?”
Tyler looks over his shoulder at me, very confused obviously. Who is this crazy girl wanting to talk to me? Oh, hi, sorry I’m just the freak who is head over heels for you. You know, like every other girl here.
“Yeah, just hang on a sec.” He finishes his conversation with the history teacher.
“So what’s up, uh…?”
“Right, Everleigh. Cool name.”
“Thanks.” Am I blushing? Oh, God. “Uh, I kind of just needed to tell you something.” Butterflies erupt in me. My stomach is in knots. The sweat glands in my palms are on overdrive and my lip is protesting the sharp pain my teeth are providing it with.
“Go ahead, shoot.” Still confused.
“I’m kind of in love with you.”
Silence. Don’t black out, whatever you do, do not black out.
“I’m sorry; I know you don’t even know me but- I just had to tell you.” Why is everyone looking at me? Oh wait, they probably aren’t. It’s probably Tyler they’re looking at. Duh.
More silence. After awhile he runs his hands through his hair and mumbles, “Wow, I’m uh, flattered.”
“It’s okay if you’re totally freaked out. You don’t know me. I just had to tell you.” I repeat.
“I have a girlfriend.” Well, duh. Who didn’t know?
“Yeah, I know. Sierra. Ms. Teen Pennsylvania.”
“Yeah,” he nods.
“Well it’s not like I was wanting or expecting you to be with me or something,” I lie. I want him to be with me. I want him to dump little Ms. Teen Pennsylvania for Ms. Sophomore Slump. But I’d never say that.
“Yeah,” He grins. How is he not freaking out? Is he truly that incredible? No, probably just used to girls confessing their love for him.
“I don’t have a title,” I joke in spite of myself. The knots are loosening; he hadn’t embarrassed me yet. I’d done all the embarrassing things to myself.
He laughs just enough to prevent my humiliation. “I have to go,” I follow his gaze to Ms. Teen I Have the Best Boyfriend in the World who seems to be chatting up the majority of the basketball team; smacking bubblegum and twirling her pageant winning hair. “I’ll see you around.”
“Don’t you feel better?” Lucy asks when I return. I just look over her shoulder and out the window. I do feel a bit light.
“How did it go?” Pandora pushes.
“Fine.” I lie. It was perfect and horrible. Perfect because I was talking to Tyler. Horrible because, well, everything.
“Oh. My. God.” Pandora is now looking over my shoulder. “Tyler Hall is walking this way.”
Don’t black out. The butterflies flood back into my abdomen. Curse Tyler Hanson for having this kind of control over me and not even knowing it.
No, don’t curse him. He’s fantastic, it’s my fault for being such a loser.
“Hey, uh, Everleigh?”
I spin around and trip on my heels yet again. Luckily, I manage to balance myself instead of needing his help. “Yeah?”
Nice. Original. No one ever expects a Yeah? from the sophomore slump.
“I was just curious if you were going to the graduation party at Jared’s tonight?”
As if. Jared is the second most amazing boy in school. My friends and I don’t get invited to his parties. I look back at Corrie who is nodding fervently.
“No,” I say much to Corrie’s frustration.
“That’s too bad, I was kind of hoping to see you there,” Tyler shrugs, he swapped his gown for jeans and a Hollister tee after the ceremony. I hadn’t noticed before. Why does he insist on doing this to me?
“You were?” I blurt.
“Yeah, think about it,” He smiles to himself, “See you there?”
Sophomore slump or comeback of the year?