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Luck Of The Draw

This is so stupid. I’m standing here, at his door, and I feel so stupid. I’m really mad at Mrs. Brevinson for throwing me into this whole mess. It’s all her fault, I knew is shouldn’t have taken AP Chemistry. Randall told me not to, but I just didn’t listen.
So while I’m standing here, waiting for him to answer the door, I guess I’ll let you catch up.
I was just sitting in class last Tuesday, balancing a mechanical pencil between two fingers, completely aware that we had a group project coming up. But Mrs. Brevinson still caught me off guard when she brought it up.
“Alright class,” her nasally screech broke my concentration and the pencil I’d been balancing fell to the ground with a clanking noise. “It’s blind date time.”
She grabbed a tattered top hat from her desk, full of folded pieces with each of our names encased in one. This was her ridiculous way of pairing us up for projects, she thought she was clever for making it out like they were blind dates, but we all thought it was annoying.
“You know the rules, no complaining, and no trading.” She said as she held the hat in front of Matty Lilowatz, sitting in the dreaded seat right next to her desk. She switched up the seating chart every week, so we all got stuck there at least once, and that day, well, it was poor little Matty.
With a harsh huff of exasperated breath, Matty dipped his hand into the hat and pulled out a name.
“Now, Mr. Lilowatz.” She missed the ‘Z’ when she said his name. “Declare the name of your secret lover unto the classroom.” We all cringed simultaneously because she said lover, ugh, she wasn’t good at being funny or hip. I sound lame for saying hip, but there is no synonym for that in my SAT prep book.
Matty unfolded the paper, and his shoulders bounced with relief. “Ay yo, my man Pete.” He turned around and air high fived Pete Wilkinson, equally as thrilled in the back row. To any naïve onlooker, they’d say he’d probably just woken up from a nap, but we all know that’s not why his eyes were slumped in a semi-alarming manner.
Mrs. Brevinson moved onto the next, saying. “Isn’t that lovely. But I assure you class, from personal experience. Every blind date is not as pleasant.”
She stopped at Alison, who snatched a paper out of the hat before Mrs. Brevinson could make a weird comment. “Marcus,” she huffed, clearly not happy.
Marcus wasn’t amused either, sliding down into his seat, without saying word.
This little charade continued, as per usual. To be honest I zoned out, until I heard my name, called out in a husky but sweet voice. “Sicily.”
I flicked my head up to see who I’d be partnered with, even though I knew the odds were I’d end up doing all the work anyway. It was Henry, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t, but I swear I saw him smile when he said my name. Which was huge for a nerd like me.
His letterman wrinkled when he twisted around to make eye contact with me, I was immediately self-conscious about my entire physical appearance. The blue in his eyes hit me like a baseball in the stomach, I struggled not to let it show on my face, but I probably failed despite my valiant efforts.
“Fantastic Henry. I’m smiling, as is your GPA.” Mrs. Brevinson said, which was rude as ever, but she couldn’t have cared any less.
He scoffed at that, but didn’t dish her back anything. The bell chimed, and we moved like an ocean wave, out the door and into the hallway.
So that was that, and I’m standing here on his cobblestone door step on the north side of town, you know, the part where all the engineers and doctors live. But you’re probably thinking, hey, why so glum Sicily, that’s not a bad gig. Projects with the popular kids, (Note to self: If you ever become a successful musician, make that the title of your first song.)
I’ll tell you why it is the opposite of a good thing, in fact, it may be classified as a bit tragic.
Here’s why, brace yourself, because it’s a stunner.
I got my hopes up, and now, as I ring his doorbell for the second time, I realized something important. People like Henry Quill, don’t even think about people like me. I even put on lip gloss before I got out of my car, and it wasn’t even mine, because girls like me don’t wear lip gloss, it was my 11 year old little sister’s Smackers.
I furiously wiped the shiny, watermelon scented gloss from my lips. I heard the all too familiar thud of L.L. Bean boots tread across his probably freshly waxed wood floors, leading up to the door, the one I was standing behind.
I knew his door was what paid for my prom dress, it was hand crafted by my mother. A stained glass artist, and a darn good one too. That door took her almost 2 months, the Quill’s loved it, their pocketbooks probably didn’t though, not that it really mattered to people like them.
It swung open and revealed a 6 foot 3, blond haired boy, standing in basketball shorts and a t-shirt with his last name on the back.
“Hey partner, come on in.” He said through a mouthful of whatever he’d been eating before he answered the door.
Reluctantly, I stepped over the threshold and into his mansion of a house.
“So, I figured since our project requires power tools, the garage would be the best work space.” Henry turned and led me through the house, to their garage.
“You know,” he started as he opened the door to the garage for me. “I was kinda stoked that I picked your name out of Mrs. B’s dumb hat.”
“Really?” S***, I was too excited. I’d blown my cover, but I couldn’t abort this mission. Ughhh.
He turned and smiled at me, flipping on a light switch, illuminating the spacious cement garage and a spotless Camaro in the corner.
“Yeah,” he laughed a bit. “I’ve had my eye on you for some time Sicily.”
I grew scared, it sounded like a compliment, but I was still iffy.
“You have the highest GPA in the class, and it’s no news to you I’m sure, but I certainly do not.” He wasn’t embarrassed, it was nothing new for him.
“Oh,” I said as I touched the grill of the car in the corner. “Happy to help.”
“So,” he clapped both of his huge hands together and the sound echoed through the garage. “Let’s get started.”
I sat down on the cold garage floor as we pieced together pipes and boards, binding them with zip ties and Gorilla Glue. It took us four hours, three Monsters, and way too many zip ties to finish. But when we were done, I was sure we had an A+ worthy masterpiece.
“Okay, I’ll stick this sucker in the back of my truck and drive it to school tomorrow morning so you don’t have to worry about that.” Henry’s voice was smooth and sweet as he lifted me off the concrete floor with his hand. “But what you do have to worry about,” he smiled dazzlingly at me. “Is what flavor of celebratory ice cream you’re going to let me buy you after we get an A on this bad boy.”
I giggled and rubbed at my upper arm, “I’m a strawberry kind of girl.”
“Sweet,” he said with a laugh.
My stomach dropped when I looked at my watch, it was thirty minutes past my curfew. “I’d better get going,” I said embarrassed.
“No worries,” he opened the garage door for me. “I’ll walk you out to your car.”
I let him guide me through the grand house, out the front door and to my sloppily parked car. I jabbed at my keys, hopping to zoom out of there. But Henry caught my arm with a loose grip.
“Hey,” he crooned.
I turned from my car door to face him, with hopeful and pathetic eyes gleaming up at him.
“You know,” Henry rubbed his neck nervously. “You being smart wasn’t the only reason I was happy to get you as my partner.”
“No?” My voice cracked a little, I tried to swallow it but failed.
He shifted his weight to all rest on his left leg, kicking his other leg back. “I think you’re really pretty Sicily,” his eyes flicked up to meet mine, swimming with all the emotions in the world.
“Yeah,” he whispered. His hand was still resting on my arm, and he moved his other one to grip my waist adamantly. “Would you like to go out with me sometime?”
I was absolutely floored and almost started nodding, but I contained myself enough to answer verbally like a cordial human being. “Yes, I would like that.”
“Alright,” he smiled. “How about this Friday at eight, I’ll pick you up and we can go get strawberry ice cream.”
My lips curved into a smile, my cheeks blushing furiously. “Okay. Friday at eight.”
His grip loosened on all the parts of my body he was clutching and I slinked down into my car seat. He walked backwards as I backed out and drove down his driveway, standing in a t-shirt, basketball shorts, and a glorious smile on his front porch.
We ended up getting an A-, why I don’t know. But we didn’t care. He took me out for ice cream Friday at eight, and we took up a four person booth in the back of a chain dinner with really crappy service but really good lighting. And we laughed together and we shined together in that booth, all night long.
And all I could think after he dropped me off at my house, my lips still stung from his kiss, was man, Mrs. Brevinson sure does know how to pick ‘em doesn’t she?

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