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It seemed like we stared at each other forever, although it was probably only a few seconds. Still, the eye contact was long enough for Evan to be weirded out by my flabbergasted expression that was no doubt painting my face. If he was indeed weirded out, though, he didn’t let on because he didn’t break eye contact. Now, you might think it was a ‘romantic moment’ or whatever, but I swear to you it wasn’t. There was no electricity that flowed between us, the thumping of my heart caused by the embarrassment coursing through me rather than the butterflies in my stomach from seeing those beautiful eyes.
“So…was there something you wanted to plan or…” he said, finally breaking the weird staring contest we were supposedly having.
I shook my head, clearing my thoughts. “Um…no. I mean, yes,” I stuttered out, mentally slapping myself about how stupid I was acting.
“Very articulate,” he muttered softly, probably not for me to hear but I did nonetheless. Still, I wasn’t about to confront him about it because he was right of course. If I was in his position, I’d probably be thinking the same thing, and I couldn’t help but kick myself for it. Strike one.
“Um…so…how do you wanna do this?” I asked, trying my best to come up with coherent sentences. He probably already thought I was a weirdo, no need to make him think I was stupid too.
“It’s due in two weeks so, how about we meet a couple times this week and the next?” he suggested, making the plans. I wasn’t complaining however, knowing that I would have made a bigger fool of myself if I tried.
“Yeah, sounds good.”
“We’ll delegate workload when the meeting comes around? If need be, maybe we can have more meetings?” he added. Oh, I would love to have more meetings with you, preferably without the pretense of a school assignment. Of course, I’d first have to get over this…whatever this is. I can’t exactly get to know him better if I can’t even speak in his presence. It didn’t occur to me that during this little internal monolog in my head, I hadn’t really answered Evan until he said, “Is that okay?”
“Oh yeah, it’s good,” I quickly spewed out.
“Are you sure? Because if it’s not, I can—” he started but I cut him off.
“No, it’s perfectly fine.”
“Okay, if you’re sure,” he said, eyeing me as if waiting for me to argue that fact. Instead, I nodded. “Okay um…so…you want my number, right?” he asked, his question surprising me a little. Yeah, I wanted his number, but I didn’t think I was being that obvious that I liked him. Shit, that’s even more embarrassing.
Did he already know about my crush on him? I mean, he basically skipped the part of me asking for it and went straight to offering it to me. Talk about a rookie mistake; I should not be so inexperienced with things like this. You see the things this boy does to me?
“Your number?” I asked, feigning ignorance. I wasn’t about to admit my crush to him just like that. Besides, playing hard to get is a legit flirtation technique…right?
“Yeah, you know so we can make the plans?” He said, his brows furrowing in confusion. “My phone’s dead so you can have my number and text me yours.” I stared at him for a few seconds before realizing he wasn’t offering his number because he thought I wanted it, but purely for the sake of this project. I wanted to slap myself right there for being so stupid.
“Oh…uh…yeah,” I stuttered out, reaching into my pocket to pull out my cell phone. Weak fingers coupled with increasingly sweaty palms made me fumble with it as I took it out, almost dropping it on the floor. That would have been bad. Fortunately, I managed to catch it but unfortunately, I was certainly painting myself as a bumbling idiot to Evan. Strike two.
Evan accepted the phone, an eyebrow raised as he eyed me for the briefest of moments. It was quick, but I managed to catch the puzzled expression before he entered his number into my phone.
“Here, I saved it into your contacts,” he said as he handed the device back to me.
“Cool, you saved it under…Evan?” I asked, only realizing how stupid that question was after it had left my lips.
“Uh…yeah…that is my name after all,” Strike three, you’re out.
“Right, I just…never mind. Um, so…well…see you,” I said before quickly grabbing my bag and high tailing it out of the classroom. I could picture Evan in my mind, looking at my departing form, an eyebrow raised as he pondered the weird behavior the supposedly popular guy in school had. I groaned as I thought about the botched first impression I had just made.
I trudged to my locker, already seeing Brian and Sam there. “Hey,” I said, sounding a lot more dejected than I was intending. It was embarrassing living through the experience, I didn’t want to relive it again.
“Whoa, what crawled up your butt,” Sam said.
“Not a dick, that’s for sure,” Brian replied, to which I responded with a glare.
“It’s not funny,” I muttered, slamming open my locker and carelessly tossing books into the deneme bonusu veren siteler metal cabinet.
“What happened?” Sam asked as she laid a hand on my shoulder, her tone now soft, ignoring her snickering boyfriend just behind her.
“We all know it’s not nothing,” Sam said.
I sighed, closing my locker door. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Evan?” Sam asked, me giving her a nod. “Oh, don’t feel bad about it, many people can’t talk to their crush. Granted, most of them aren’t one of the most popular kids in school but you know, to each their own. Believe me, one of these days you’ll get the nerve to talk to him.”
Her words did nothing to comfort me, seeing how it just reminded me of my horrible conversation earlier. I groaned and walked off.
Seconds later, Sam and Brian caught up with me, raised eyebrows on their faces. “Did I say something wrong?” Sam asked.
“No, it’s just…I talked to Evan,” I admitted.
“What? Where? When?” Brian asked, suddenly a lot more interested in something other than teasing me.
“In English lit. We’re working on a project together.”
“Holy shit, you’re joking, right?” Brian asked.
“I wish I was joking.”
“But that’s a good thing…right? I mean, now you can talk to him and stuff,” Sam added, finding it hard to see why I was so down about something like this. If I was in her shoes, I would be wondering the same thing.
“Except that I completely made a fool of myself just now,” I said, arriving at Brian’s car, leaning against it and running a hand down my face.
“You? Made a fool of yourself? I would never have guessed,” Brian said, sarcasm oozing from his tone. I rolled my eyes at him but otherwise kept quiet. “But seriously, though, you’ve chatted up plenty of guys. Why is he any different?”
“That’s the thing. I don’t know why he’s different. He just is,” I sighed, climbing into the back seat as Brian unlocked his car.
“So, give us the scoop. What exactly did you say to him?” Sam asked, probably already thinking about ways in which she can try to salvage the damage that I had done.
“It’s not just what I said, but how I acted as well,” I said, seeing Sam turn in her seat, her unspoken words for me to continue. “I basically stared at him like some creep, after which I promptly decided to show him how much of a bumbling idiot I really was by saying stupid things, all this while fumbling with my things like I’m a klutz.”
“Aww poor thing,” Sam cooed, seemingly genuinely sorry for the plight I had landed myself in. “But on the bright side, now that you’re both partners, maybe something can blossom out of it.”
“Yeah right. After that performance I just gave, I wouldn’t be surprised if he thinks me anything but a weirdo.”
“Some guys like weirdos, just saying.”
“I don’t even know if he’s gay.”
“And when has that ever stopped you?” Brian asked.
“When have I ever pursued a guy, who wasn’t at least interested in men one way or another?”
“Nick Danforth? That ring a bell?” he asked.
“Nick was so not straight…okay maybe he was but he was curious. He wanted to experiment, I didn’t force myself onto him,” I defended.
“Whatever. So, who knows maybe Evan would want to experiment too, if he isn’t already attracted to you at least,” Brian finished.
“Now that you mentioned it, I don’t think anyone at school knows which team Evan plays for,” Sam said, the thought suddenly coming to her.
“You think I don’t know that? I’ve been semi-stalking him for the past three years. If anyone should know anything about him, it would be me,” I said, although unsure if that was a fact that I should be proud or embarrassed about.
“He is a very solitary person, isn’t he,” Brian mentioned as if he didn’t already figure this out long ago. Everyone knew Evan was reclusive. He may be smart and hot but damn did that boy keep to himself. Not even a close friend that I can try to milk for information.
I sighed, looking over to my right to notice that the seat beside me was empty. “Um…was Tim with us?” I asked, wondering where my little brother was seeing that we usually hitched a ride with Brian.
“Dude, you only just realize that he wasn’t here?” Brian asked, incredulous to the fact that I had been clueless about my brother’s absence.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the brother of the year,” Brian mocked.
“He had something on in school. He’s catching a ride with the twins after cheer practice,” Sam filled in.
“Oh…Well in my defense, I had other things on my mind,” I tried, though even I could tell what a lame excuse that was. I was a crappy brother, wasn’t I? As I thought this, I saw Brian pulling into his driveway. Wow, we made it all the way back and only then did I realize Tim wasn’t here. Yep, definitely a crappy brother.
As the three of us exited the car, I didn’t question the fact that we were at Brian’s house instead of mine. After finding out about the little predicament I’ve landed in with Evan, I was no doubt about to be put through some sort of intervention, hence why I was at Brian’s.
Brian’s house was moderately sized; larger than mine but smaller than the mansion the twins lived in but let’s face it, most houses were smaller than their mansion. The home had a sort of rustic charm to it, an aura of warmth seemingly permeated its walls, something I could never really explain. Probably just because I kinda grew up in this house. The Tanners were a jovial bunch, which kinda explains Brian’s upbeat personality. It was actually Mrs. Tanner who helped my mom out a lot when my dad left, becoming almost like a second mother to me. Hell, Mr. Tanner was as good as a dad to me and I definitely saw Brian as a brother. I guess we were family in our own way.
Walking through the living room full of Ikea furniture, I could smell the aroma of something baking in the oven. “Oh man, I hope your mom’s baking an apple pie,” I commented, hoping that it was one of Mrs. Tanner’s famous pies.
“Right you are Brad,” Mrs. Tanner’s voice rang from the kitchen.
“I swear, that woman has the house bugged or something,” Brian said.
“I hear everything that happens in this house,” his mother replied.
“See, definitely has microphones in the walls or something,” he whispered, hopefully, soft enough that his mother couldn’t hear before shouting, “Mom, we’ll be in my room!”
Bounding up the stairs, we made our way to Brian’s bedroom, or should I say his man-child room. Though captain of the football team, Brian had his inner child geek thing going on, as shown by the plethora of small Pokémon plushies that sat on his computer desk. He was a Pokémon fanatic, or as he puts it, a Pokémon master.
“So, what are you going to do about your Evan problem?” Sam asked, sitting on the edge of Brian’s bed.
“It’s so not a problem. He’s just being a bitch,” Brian added, jumping onto his bed causing Sam to bounce up and down, almost falling off the mattress.
“Can you not, though?” she asked, throwing a frustrated frown at her boyfriend.
“It’s my bed,” he replied, a little offended that Sam was trying to tell him how to behave in his own room.
“Behave, or no sex,” she warned. Typical Sam, always throwing the no sex card. From what I could tell she never actually goes through with her threat, probably because Brian was so afraid of abstinence, he became a saint, as ironic as that sentence is. “So back to your problem,” she said, turning back to face me.
“I don’t know. A part of me is trying to just tell myself that I’m being a pussy and to man up.”
“Which is true,” Brian added.
“But another part of me just wants to hide in a corner every time I see Evan.”
“I still don’t see why you’re so tongue-tied around him,” Sam said. “Sorry to say this but he isn’t that irresistible. I mean, sure he’s good looking, but you’ve hooked up with people way hotter.”
“It’s not just a physical thing with him. Trust me, if it was, I will be all over that ass,” I said, waving my hand dismissively at her. “I don’t know, I like him, as more than just a quick lay.”
“Funny, seeing that you know practically nothing about the guy,” Brian interjected.
“And that’s what I’m trying to change, aren’t I? Execution just hasn’t been as smooth as I would have liked.”
“Do you stammer when you see him?” Sam asked, to which I nodded. “Your palms get sweaty?” Again, I nodded. “Imagining you two settling down years from now?” I didn’t respond to this, unsure if I wanted them to know that I have imagined a family with Evan before, not that it mattered seeing that they could probably tell the answer just from my face. It wasn’t weird picturing someone as your significant other, was it?
“Holy shit, bro, you’re in love with him,” Brian said, matter-of-factly, like it wasn’t the most absurd thing ever.
“What? I’m not in love with Evan,” I said, chuckling at the preposterous idea. I turned to Sam, “Tell him he’s crazy.” At my words, Sam looked from me to Brian before back to me. The expression she gave me showed some sort of sympathy for me. “You can’t possibly believe him.”
“I’m sorry Brad, but I think Brian’s right,” she said.
“Great, my friends are loony,” I said exasperatedly.
“C’mon Brad, you can’t deny that it does sound a lot like you love the guy. I mean, to even think about settling down with someone, you’ve got to be at some level of love. Even I didn’t think about Brian like that until a few months back,” Sam tried, hoping that I would see her deranged perception of my supposed love for Evan.
“Aww baby, you think about our future?” Brian cooed, making kissy faces at his girlfriend.
“Oh, shut it, you know I love you.”
“Love you too babe.”
“Can we stop with the lovey-dovey shit please,” I interrupted, stopping them mid love proclamation.
“Somebody’s just grumpy that he doesn’t have what we have,” Brian said to Sam, making me roll my eyes at them. Honestly, though, I did envy my friends. You didn’t need to be a psychic to tell that Brian and Sam were gonna last, one day get married and have a truckload of kids. They just oozed that aura.
“Back on topic. I’m not in love with Evan. I can’t be in love with someone I hardly know. That’s the most fucking clichéd plot in the world.”
“You’re the one who’s always complaining that you want a little cliché in your life,” Sam pointed out.
“Yeah but that doesn’t mean I’m in love with the guy.”
“Okay so let’s say we believe that you’re not in love with Evan—”
“I’m not!” I interrupted, but Sam carried on like I hadn’t said a thing.
“—what are you going to do to make him fall in love with you?”
“What’s with all this talk of love? Aren’t we jumping the gun a little bit here? Life isn’t some fairy tale where people just spontaneously fall in love with each other. Heck, even you two didn’t admit that you loved each other until after dating for over two years,” I argued.
I didn’t like to use the word love. Call me a hopeless romantic or whatever but I always felt that the word should only be used when you truly believed it. In this day and age, love is thrown around so carelessly that it sometimes dilutes the real essence of the word. Getting sweating palms and a palpitating heart was attraction, maybe affection, but love was more complex than that. I’ll admit that I was probably too young to even really know what love meant. Hell, I didn’t even say I loved my friends, even though I do in some platonic way or another. To me, that word meant something.
“Quit stalling and answer the question, what are you going to do?” Brian asked.
“I don’t know…call him maybe? Text?” I said, a little unsure myself.
“So, you have his number right now?” Sam asked, suddenly sitting upright in her seat.
“Yeah. His phone was dead so he gave it to me. I’m supposed to text him mine.”
“Perfect!” Sam shouted, causing both Brian and me to jump a little. “That’s the ice breaker. It gives you an excuse to text him without being creepy, plus you get to try and start a conversation.”
“Right, and what do I say after he has my number, ‘Hey Evan, here’s my number. By the way, I like you a lot, wanna hang out sometime?’. And before you say yes, I am not going to be confessing anything anytime soon,” I ranted.
“You make things so difficult sometimes,” Sam said, shaking her head. “Just give him your number. You’re working on a project together, right? So, use that as a conversation starter.”
“Yeah well, planning is the easy part. Putting it in motion is a little more difficult because in case you forgot, I’m basically a spaz around him.”
“Just text him,” Sam said. I looked at her, seeing her looking back at me expectantly.
“No, in a hundred years. Of course, now. Seriously, you really are a spaz,” Brian insulted.
I glared at him but reached into my pocket to retrieve my phone. I scrolled through my contacts until I saw Evan’s name. Clicking on it, I started a new chat, staring at the screen as if waiting for it to write itself. I probably stared at my phone for half a minute before Sam broke the silence.
“Oh, for the love of god, give it here,” she said, snatching the phone from my fingers and immediately began typing on the screen. I went over, peering over her left shoulder while Brian looked over her right.
“Hey Evan, this is Brad and here’s my number.”
That was all that was written before she hit send. “That’s it?” I asked, half expecting her to type out a long ass message.
“What were you expecting? We’re trying to make you look like you’re not an idiot, remember? Short, sweet and to the point is what we’re going for,” Sam replied.
Sam rolled her eyes before replying, “We wait for his reply, duh.” Just as she said this, my phone dinged. “That was quick,” She added as we read the message, all three pairs of eyes darting down to see the reply from Evan.
“Cool, so wanna meet tomorrow after school to start on this report?”
Sam glanced at me, wordlessly asking me if that was alright and I nodded, her turning back to the phone and formulating a reply.
“Sounds good. Where do you wanna meet?”
“How about the school library?”
Again, I nodded my approval for Sam to respond.
“Cool, see you tomorrow then.”
With that, Sam handed the phone back to me. “See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” She asked. “We’re not going to be there all the time to help you out, so you better get your shit together Brad, especially for tomorrow.”
“So, I’m guessing you won’t be hiding between the shelves, listening in on my meeting then,” I said sarcastically.
“Don’t tempt me, Brad, you know I would totally do it, but alas, this idiot and I have a date tomorrow…maybe” she said, motioning her head to Brian.
“So, you’re leaving me to go have fun?” I asked, still mostly playing. Hell, I didn’t even want them sneaking and eavesdropping on me and Evan, considering that I’ll probably make a fool of myself again and I’d rather not have any eyewitnesses.
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