Bright minds think Alike
I sat on my padded velvet stool, brushing my waist-length blonde hair and counting the freckles on my nose. They were scattered across, but only on my nose. I could live with that, I supposed. I sighed. The teachers at school were really firm about long hair being tied back. I thought of my best friend Summer’s tawny bouncy bunch. I wanted a new style. But I had too much hair for a simple bunch. It wasn’t just long...it was awfully thick for straight hair. My Mum had been trying to persuade me
to get a hair- cut for ages, seriously, since the dawn of time. Imagine if she really had been saying it since the dawn of time: this dinosaur would be about to gobble her up and she’d say: ‘If you’ll just let me postpone this for a bit...I have to get my daughter a hair-cut, pronto! Honestly, no consideration at all...’ But that would be ridiculous, right? Dinosaurs meant no humans and humans meant no dinosaurs, besides, there was no way my Mum could live that long (sorry to disappoint, Mum). What was the record, again? I had my old Guinness book of Records stashed somewhere... Anyway, what the hell was I doing droning on about dinosaurs and age records? I had lip gloss to slick on, mascara to dilute the light brown lashes that framed my chocolate eyes. I’d just have to plait my hair like always; still, at least my face wouldn’t appear quite as little-girly as my hairstyle. I knew all this effort was daft because my secret crush Steve was...well, the thing was...Steve was my best friend’s boyfriend. There, I’d said it. That’s why it was a secret. Still, most crushes were secret, weren’t they? It was so...so jade green to see them all...all mushy together every day of my school life...and aside from my crush on Steve was my annoyance. Not because he was dating my best friend instead of me but because I felt like he was trying to steal her from me. She was mine. She was my best friend. He was hers. He was her boyfriend. When we were alone together all she did was gush on about how lush Steve was...like I didn’t already know. But I was very careful not to sigh ‘yes, he is...’ too enthusiastically or dreamily in case she put two and two together. There can only be two in a relationship, and I should have just dropped my crush right there and then...I could have prevented the whole fiasco. But well...I was naive and stupid to think I could carry on watching him from a distance...craving for him while my best friend had the wool pulled over her eyes. When I was in their presence I’d lock eyes with Steve and then blush, glance down at my boring black school shoes like they had a hope in hell of coming close to my interest in Steve. I hadn’t told anybody about my crush at home, either. My Dad...no way. My brother Craig, who was sixteen, would tease me mercilessly and drop in tantalising hints whenever Summer was round. Not even my Mum, who I was close to. I was far too embarrassed and guilty. My Mum was quirky, fun, cool, but she’d only tell me to be open and honest about my true feelings like her. I thought I might even try meditating. My Mum had meditated a lot when she was giving up smoking, said really calmed down her nerves like the ciggies used to...mind you, she still did. I didn’t want to be hung up forever. Imagine a frail old lady staying in the mirror and looking at her grey figure; she had never known the luxuries of a man...she sat at home with her pension and her Cadbury’s milk tray...whenever she spoke, all she seemed to say was ‘Steve...’. No. I shuddered. That wouldn’t happen to me. My Mum said that meditating was just a long term hobby, just in case. But I had hobbies, didn’t I? Fancying Steve...rollerblading with Summer (sigh...)...fancying Steve, my scrapbook, and, er, fancying Steve. My scrapbook was bursting with bits and bobs stashed over the years. My mini photo album condensing of a red and purple newborn me to a blonde teenage with aspirations and dreams and crushes (just one), my random, poor illustrations, my family, friends and my profiles, and my story about the golden-haired Princess who sat waiting at home for her lost Prince that never came. Oh, bummer. The Prince was going out with the Princess’s best friend, ouch, right? They say love is blind, but my eyes were wide open. It was Steve’s that wasn’t. The school bus arrived at eight twenty on the dot and it took ten minutes, leaving ten minutes of chatter before the bell rang for form.
‘I hope Steve isn’t late again; that’ll mean detention and we have a date tonight...’ Summer was saying.
‘Date?’ I raised my eyebrow.
‘Well, OK, it’s just down KFC but still,’ Summer whined.
‘Don’t worry, Sum, I’m sure he won’t be late,’ I reassured her mechanically. Summer had expressed doubts about Steve not getting detention almost every day since the start of the term after Easter. However, she got lucky today. Just as the shrill bell sounded he raced in, catching up with us as we made for the stairs to our form.
‘Alright, babe? Alright, Fliss?’ Steve greeted us casually.
‘Hi, Steve,’ We chorused together.
My name was short for Felicity – and I couldn’t stop a flutter of butterflies in my stomach when Steve used my nickname. God, I was lame. Only the teachers and my parents called me by my full name, for God’s sake. Steve narrowly missed detention for a different reason than punctuation – he had his tongue down Summer’s throat. I had looked away, feeling sick and worthless. I’d never had a gorgeous and cheeky boyfriend like Steve before and nothing was changing. I had kissed Kevin Parker last year at a party but as soon as I had realized he was a lout and a prat who only wanted me for one use I was well shot of him. Pig.
I couldn’t concentrate in History or Maths or P.E. Steve’s face kept popping into my mind at regular intervals – and in between. Steve had carefully gelled black hair had slicked onto his forehead, wavy at the ends. He had spiky hair at the back to complete the look, slanting hazel eyes, a button nose, plump lips and beautiful gold-brown skin. The image of his face had flashed up in my mind when the rounder’s ball was swung and hit me hard on the forehead, so I toppled onto the muddy grass, my vision slightly blurred and doubled. I was vaguely aware of shrieks and Summer and Steve running over and speaking anxiously.
‘Fliss, Fliss...are you alright? Oh my God, Fliss, you have to answer me...’ Summer was actually sobbing.
Through narrowed eyes I viewed the scene above me: a hysterical Summer and an apprehensive Steve was staring down at me. I focused on Steve’s face, and then shook my head. I wasn’t being fair on Summer.
I opened my eyes fully. ‘I’m fine, Summer.’
‘How do you feel?’ Summer and Stevie demanded in unison.
I felt my forehead. ‘Like I’ve just been smacked on the head by a hard ball...’
Summer snorted with laughter and looked relieved to see I was alright enough to joke. Just then the P.E. teacher ran over; she had been fetching another bat when the incident had happened. Moira, the one who had hit the ball at me and Summer and my deadly enemy, was with her. She had carefully arranged her face into a concerned mask, but her eyes, full of malice, gave her away.
‘Fliss, I am sooo sorry! I guess I didn’t see you, there,’ She shrugged.
‘Felicity, how do you feel?’ The P.E. teacher asked.
I sat up unsteadily and got to my feet. ‘My head’s a little sore, but I feel alright...I mean, I can remember everything so I’m pretty sure I don’t have concussion...’
I sounded so stupid I flushed, and Moira’s mouth curled up into a sneer worthy of first place any day.
‘You’d better go to the school nurse for an ice-pack and a check up, just in case. Summer, would you be a dear and accompany her?’
Summer bit her lip. ‘I do have a guitar test but friends are more important. Sure, I’ll take her.’
But I could see how glum she looked. She had practised for weeks for this opportunity, and here was I ruining it for because I had been dreaming about her boyfriend. That just wasn’t on. She was too nice for her own good. After loads of persuasion Summer started coming round to the idea, though she looked extremely guilty once she’d tottered off. Steve ended up taking me. Moira had volunteered, no doubt hoping for any chance to taunt me. But the lovely Steve, who knew all about our little feuds, was very firm and insisted on taking me. Probably because he got to miss ten or fifteen minutes of Science. There would be absolutely no other reason for his offer – no, escape from Science. He nattered on all the way there, talking about football and computer games and Summer, commenting on the fact he thought she was too nice for her own good, too –
Bright minds think alike.
Steve held the ice pack on my forehead for me and our eyes met. Electricity jolted through my body and I wasn’t totally sure but Steve was staring at me like he was experiencing the exact same thing.