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Physics, Physical Pain, and an Asian Fail
There are three great ways to get a girl to notice you: one, demonstrate your vast knowledge of K-pop dance moves, two, casually mention that you have a Ferrari (basically lie), and three, tell her to stock up on weapons to prepare for the impending zombie takeover.
Accidentally hitting the girl you’ve fantasized about for five years with your physics textbook is definitely not the way to go.
I cringe as Holly rubs the back of her head, wincing slightly as her fingers trail over the rising bump. The textbook mussed her dark hair, and I wonder if she will let me smooth it out for her. Mission Ask Holly Out seems to have hit a little speed bump—not that it had ever gathered enough gas to start in the first place. Several failed conversation-starters resulted in…absolutely nothing.
A few stragglers still litter the hallways even though the bell is about to ring, and no one seems to care that two people have suddenly decided to stop hurrying toward their next class.
“That’s one heavy textbook,” says Holly, avoiding my eyes.
“I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” I try to help her, but she backs away almost imperceptibly. She eyes me warily, as if she is afraid that I will magically conjure up another textbook to bonk her in the head with.
“Er, I think I’m good, Daniel,” she mumbles awkwardly.
”I didn’t mean to! I was just ranting about these problems and you were in the way and…” I trail off and look at her hopefully, wondering if she has decided to forgive me. It isn’t my fault that I got a B on my latest physics test—an Asian fail if there ever was one. I lose my head when these things happen—and surely waving a textbook around to emphasize my hatred for the subject while she is standing in front of me is sign of a mind that is not functioning properly.
Holly shakes her head and cuts me off, “Nah, it’s okay. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.”
I give her an apologetic look and tuck my textbook under my arm. I don’t want to risk hitting anyone else. “At least you didn’t start bleeding this time,” I point out sheepishly, trying to lighten the mood.
She raises her eyebrows in that what-did-you-just-say-to-me way she has, and I mentally slap myself. I may be socially awkward at best (and headed for a good beating from the people I manage to infuriate at worst), but I do know that bringing up traumatic experiences in our combined past may just be a bad, bad idea. Every school year since the fifth grade, I have managed to bring physical pain to Holly Avery in some way or another. In fifth grade, I accidentally dropped a globe on her head when doing my geography report. Sixth grade was the year of the dangerous playground tag games, I accidentally knocked her down the stairs in seventh grade, and eighth grade is unmentionable. Compared with those incidents, hitting her with a large textbook is tame.
I choose my next words carefully.
“Is this a good time to apologize to you for any past indiscretions? And while we’re at it, can I just do a collective apology for any pain I’m going to inflict on you in the future too?”
“After all this, I’m beginning to think that you have something against me,” she remarks dryly. I begin to feel worried until I see the small but amused smile on her face. As much as I’d rather have her suddenly declare her unbridled passion for me, I’ll just have to settle for her not being mad at me.
“The textbook made me hit you,” I say feebly. I try to smile, to make my excuse seem more viable, but I know I was a goner from the moment the blasted thing connected with her head. Scratch that. I know I was screwed the moment I first made eye contact with her in kindergarten (the moment was ruined when I dropped the potted plant I was holding, but still). I prepare to slink away slowly and spend the rest of my life in a lonely pit of despair, but her mouth twitches, like she’s trying to hold back a laugh. I stop moving.
“Nice try.” She chuckles. The bell rings, and we both swear. “I better get to class…” she trails off, looking at me expectantly. She makes no move to actually go to her third-period pre-calc class (I’m not a stalker).
“Uh…should we be going now?” I say, but we still stand there. I feel like we are in a country-western standoff (minus the guns and ugly cowboy hats).
“Did you want to say something to me?” she prompts as she begins tapping her foot impatiently.
I don’t actually know what she is talking about. The only thing that she can possible be talking about is the date thing—perhaps she had picked up on my desperate vibe? Before I can stop myself, I blurt, “Will you go out with me?”
It is interesting to see who is more surprised to hear those words come out of my mouth—Holly or me.
I didn’t mean to actually say that, not at all. The words left my mouth before I could think about the consequences, probably a result of years of pent-up goddamn emotions that I can get my Man License revoked for. Seeing how surprised she is, I try to backtrack. Unfortunately, this time, I can’t even say that the textbook made me do it.
“Uh, Holly.” My arms flail, an unfortunate habit of mine when I am nervous. I almost hit her head—she is so much shorter than me. “I didn’t mean to say that.”
“The answer’s yes.”
I don’t hear her over my crazy ramblings. “...unicorns. And it’s not like I’m in love with you or anything.” I pause after I realize that she has said something. It takes me a minute to process it. “Wha—”
Holly has never shown diva tendencies before, but I swear, in that moment, she looks like she is about to stamp her foot huffily. “I’m tired of you trying to ask me out and failing.” I look surprised, and she pokes my chest to emphasize her point. “I won’t pretend I haven’t noticed. You are about the least subtle person ever.”
Way to destroy my dreams of being a ninja, Holly.
“If you knew I liked you, why didn’t you just tell me that?” It seems that I’m beginning to remember how to speak. “And if you were just going to say yes anyway, why didn’t you just ask me out yourself? It would have saved me the time I spent drafting my plan on how I was going to ask you out.” My tone turns accusatory.
“You’re adorable when you’re nervous,” she says with a shrug.
I gape. “You made me suffer because you thought I was adorable?” I ask in disbelief.
“It sounds bad when you say it like that.” She crinkles her nose. “Besides, you still get your date in the end, right?”
I’m reluctant to answer. “Well…yeah.” I’m still in too much shock to say much more than that.
“Pick me up at seven on Friday?” she suggests.
Suddenly, she reaches out a hand to slip my textbook out from under my arm. Of course, I’m still in too much shock to actually respond to this action.
“I forgot mine. Do you mind if I take yours?” she asks hopefully. Then, she makes a face. “And I better take this away from you before you hurt anyone else.”
“Wait…” I reply.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” She begins walking—no, sashaying—away. There’s almost a little bounce in her step. “You might want to go to class. McDonnell’s going to kill you!” she calls out to me. Some unfortunate freshman bumps into me as she rushes to class, but I still stand in the hallway with my jaw agape, wondering what has just happened. Two thoughts run through my mind.
First: I think an Asian fail and a physics textbook just got me a date.
Second: How the heck am I supposed to do my homework tonight?