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Clumsy and the Beast
Clumsy Alison. The Graceless Swan. Helpless Hocking. If any other stranger were to hear these names being called, they would sympathize for the poor soul whose name has been buried under the artificial ones. If those names reach my ears, I have no choice but to turn and answer to it's speaker. Because they are talking to me, the clumsiest person alive: Alison Hocking.
"Hey, Alison!" someone calls from the side of the classroom as I step - none too gracefully - through the doorway. The voice belongs to none other than my best friend, Bronwen Lamm, who sits on the far side of the room, enveloped in the golden rays of sun that stream through the window. She leans in her chair, tipping back her head and letting her gorgeous corn silk hair hang free. Let's get one thing straight: my best friend is the most beautiful girl in the school, and everyone knows it. Her green eyes are purer and shinier than emeralds, and she has a laugh that will make every single person within a five-mile radius laugh too, even if they don't understand why they are laughing.
I wave at her and pick my way across the classroom, a fake smile plastered on my face. Don't get me wrong, she is an amazing person, but it sometimes seems that she hates sharing the spotlight, or the perks that come with being in it. Her parents aren't rich, and she doesn't get pampered with the most exorbitant and trendy clothing. She has a job, and she babysits to get her own money. When she goes shopping, she peruses the sale sections, creating her own style. She rarely does anything with her hair, and wears it down most days. Her makeup drawer only contains foundation and mascara, and she barely wears even that.
But, of course, with her good looks and bubbly personality, she manages to snag every guy that looks her way. Any teenage boy is subject to her smile, and will melt if she sees fit to toss a word to him. If she gets dumped, or breaks up with someone, there is a line around the block to be her next lover. She casts shade on everyone else at Mountain High.
Standing in the shadow of Bronwen is her sidekick; her partner in crime; and her best friend. Me. Being the friend of Bronwen Lamm would normally grant me a first-class ticket to the world of popularity, where I would be surrounded by adoring fans, potential suitors, and everything I could want.
But, according to Bronwen, I tripped on the way to the plane and missed my flight. Now I'm stuck wandering in the middle, not overly popular but not a nobody. I have friends and people who would kill to be in my place. I have nice clothes and a good reputation. I am known by everyone who is anyone, always standing with the most popular girl in school.
I take my place next to her, and she begins rattling on about her new fling, some super hot senior guy. There is one thing I want more than anything, the one thing the magic pass doesn't grant me: Ryan King.
The thing is, although Ryan is a linebacker for the football team, he is considered "not as popular, and not acceptable to date." according to Bronwen and the rest of the posse. He's even nicknamed "The Beast" in football, and was the MVP twice. I would think that would gain him some major popularity points, especially over time. Ever since I sat next to him in Spanish in eighth grade, I have been entranced. I love the way his dirty blond hair waves across his forehead, and his eyes shine grey with green and blue undertones, like new mist floating across a grassy-shored pond.
A loud slam! wakes me from my Ryan-induced daydreams. Our teacher, who I haven't bothered to remember the name of, has slammed his textbook on the desk. He is staring at the students, looking deranged with his glasses askew and gray hair disheveled.
"Hey, your receding hairline is more noticeable than your coffee breath today!" calls a voice from the back. The teacher, who I think might be named Mr. Bumble, glares around the room, but fails to locate the perpetrator. Bronwen giggles, sending the whole class into small, silent fits of laughter, jumping from person to person like contagion of a virus. I snicker quietly, though it is difficult to produce when not genuine.
Looks like today will be like any other.
The bell rings right on time, sending everyone into energized frenzies as they attempt to exit the classroom as quickly as possible. I shove books into my backpack, dawdling while I wait for all of the other students to leave a clear path. I've taken to departing last, so I don't trip or fall in front of everyone and make a fool of myself. Bronwen advised it, so I wouldn't embarrass her. I sling my backpack up onto one shoulder and pick my way towards the door.
Right in the doorway, I slam into something abruptly. I stumble backwards, only to have a hand wrap around my waist, preventing me from crashing to the tile. I didn't slam into something; I ran straight into Ryan King.
"Oh. I-I um sorry. I ju- I just... Sorry." I stammer, my face heating up. Surely it is about the color of a tomato thanks to my pale complexion. I can't bring myself to look into his eyes.
"Hey, it's fine. You're Alison, right?" he asks. I can almost hear the smile in his voice. I raise my eyes to meet his gaze. His grin stretches from ear to ear.
"Y-yeah that's me." I stutter, mentally cursing myself. Of all the times to be inarticulate? In front of the Ryan King?
Ryan's hand is still around my waist, the warmth of his skin soaking through my body. My heart is sent on a wild rollercoaster, encouraged by his soft touch.
"You okay? That was a pretty good crash." he says quietly, letting me pass him. I slip out into the hall, and he follows me down to my locker in the lone science wing.
"Yeah. Your abs luckily aren't as rock-hard as they say." I laugh, then immediately regret it. I turn my face away, hoping to hide the rising blush in my cheeks. Had to mention the abs? Seriously Alison? I think, slapping myself inside. His laugh is deep, and resounds from the metal lockers surrounding us.
"Sadly, no they aren't. But they are easily compared to rocks. I'd say sandstone, since it's softer, as far as rocks go. I'm sorry you had to be on the receiving end of my sandstone abs." he jokes. I can't hold it in, and a smile splits my face. Ryan leans against my neighboring locker as I return my books and pencil case.
"Now, what I am wondering is, will the amazing Alison Hocking be willing to join me on a date this Saturday?" he questions, his eyes shining their deep and shifting colors. I process the information slowly, and am taken aback.
"But... Bronwen will kill me. Or disown me." I fret, my heart racing a million miles an hour. I've just admitted what I've feared my whole life: dependence on Bronwen and not being able to break away from her, even when it concerns my own happiness. Ryan merely rolls his eyes.
"Who cares about her? It's just you and me right now. You can break away from her. You are a strong, independent person Alison" he says. He shifts against the locker, and I can see every muscle roll beneath his skin. I shiver.
"I don't know how..." I say, almost pleading, begging him to free me from my chains. From the jail I have created, the bars smelted from lies, and the iron forged from my pain. Emotion swims within the depths of his eyes, and he moves closer, so close that his breath is warm against my face and his chest is centimeters away from mine.
"Let me show you."
Next thing I know, his lips are on mine. Fireworks explode in my mind, scattering sparks across my body. I wrap my arms around his neck and bring him closer, perching on my toes. His muscular arms slide around my back, lifting me off my feet. His lips stretch into a smile beneath mine, and he squeezes me tightly before setting me down. Our eyes connect and we laugh. Hand in hand, we exit the building, feeling as if we were in our own fairytale. A tall, handsome, beast-like prince, and the beautiful yet clumsy princess.
Walking off into the sun, it became the story that we all thought we knew, but different.
It became the loving tale of Clumsy and the Beast.