AN: Sometimes inspiration just strikes you. A song plays on your iPod and takes you back to those days in Algebra class where you stared at the untouchable boy who was absolutely not paying attention to the teacher.
The song was Soda Jerk by Buffalo Tom. It brought back memories of the nineties. I eagerly awaited My So-Called Life episodes and wore baby doll dresses paired with flannel shirts. This is my homage of a time between the innocence of childhood and the responsibilities of being an adult.
I really shouldn't be starting something new. I know better. Good news is that I have a few stories that are almost done. Black Butterfly Rising and The Quest for Infinite Impossibilities are on a little break. I've had a lot of sad stuff happen this year and just need to take a step back from those themes for a bit.
This is the longest author's note that will be happening in this story. I hope you enjoy this story. I dedicated it my friends who love Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano as much as I do.
This Girl's Life
He never faces the blackboard. Ever.
Mrs. Molina writes algebraic equations on it with her hands covered in chalk dust and he never once glances at the mess she makes. The rest of our classmates sit chuckling at the frazzled woman. Instead, he stares out the window at the parking lot. That old muscle car of his, the one that looked like something my dad would drive when he was our age, sits right in our view. I wonder if Edward Cullen is sitting there and dreaming of an escape from the talk of number problems that we will never worry about in our adult lives. That he wished to jump out the window and run to his car to gain freedom.
I bet he is. He's chewing his pinky finger where a thick silver ring covered in tribal symbols resides. It makes me stare at his lips that seem to be always in a pout.
Those eyes of his are big and green like the leaves of the forest. I would wander in them and get lost in all the acres of foliage.
God, that sounds stupid.
"Bell," Jessica quietly hissed next to me. "Stop looking at Cullen! Molina keeps looking at you. She'll ask you a question."
I reluctantly turned away. Molina's math questions were the bane of my existence. I knew none of the answers and was barely staying awake. She muttered her words and lost track of what she wrote down for us to copy down in our notebooks. Who could ever learn anything being taught by this woman?
Jess's pen had a large fuchsia pom-pom on the end of it. She would spin it around in circles when she was agitated. The spinning made me dizzy, but the odd assortment of letters and numbers that I had jotted down made everything so much worse. I felt ill from this class and from this place.
"Are you okay, Bell?" She asked in a more sympathetic way. "I can take you to the nurse."
"No," I mouthed. This wasn't food poisoning or anything that was caused by one of those random viruses that would run rampant around the school. Unfortunately, it was partly my best friend that made me feel off today. Jessica Stanley wasn't her usual thoughtful self today. There were dreams of pep rally flips with the cheerleading squad and plastic jewels covering a paper crown being placed on her head when she was named Prom Queen. Overnight, my best friend gained Queen Bee ambitions.
Mrs. Molina started rubbing her head. One of her migraines was coming on. "Class, I'll be heading to the nurse's office. Look over your notes and work on the equations on the board."
Rumor in the halls had it that those migraines were an excuse to take a drink from the flask she had hidden in her car. Working with high school students would do that to a woman, I guess.
"Bell, is Ty looking at me?" Jessica questioned as she puffed out her chest and fluffing her ponytail that was tied tightly with a purple scrunchie.
Tyler was too busy staring at Lauren Malloy. Her tee-shirt was as tight as Jess's. He seemed to have moved on from his ex-girlfriend, but she was still holding some hope to win him back. It was silly. He was a creep.
"Oh yeah. He glanced over here," I lied. It would hurt her if I told the truth. A dream is better than the harsh reality. I knew it better than anybody. My dream boy didn't know I existed. At least, Jess got to kiss hers.
I looked over to the window and his green eyes were on me or at least in my general vicinity. Those lips of his made a little sneer and he turned back to his window daydreams.
The look he gave me was probably at the pimple on my forehead. It was red and angry on my skin like a volcano. The make-up I stole from my mom this morning to put on it did nothing to hide the eruption.
"Ty told me that Mike wanted to invite you to the movies," she said. Jess changed the subject of our conversations in such a fast speed it was hard to keep up.
Mike had blond hair, not red. He had blue eyes, not green. There was nothing of interest for me there.
"He was telling Ty at football practice that you're cute!" Jess squealed. "We could double!"
I wasn't interested but the blush on my cheeks still came out to play.
"Mike seems cool, but—" I began, but something bothered me about her words. "Jess, when did you talk to Tyler? You guys broke up."
"We reconnected under the bleachers." She was practically vibrating with her excitement. She twisted the little gold heart on her necklace and sighed. "The awesome kind of reconnecting if you know what I mean."
Tyler wasn't speaking to her at all in school. They didn't sit next to each other at our regular table in the cafeteria anymore. There was no interaction to show that they were even friends.
I stilled her twisting pom-pom pen. "I don't think you guys are on the same pa—"
"Bell, I think he's the one I can become a woman with!" Her eyes were bright at the thought. "I think I'm ready."
It was a horrible idea.
"I don't think you should." My words were soft. Never make waves was how I tried to survive my high school years. But this was important. This was going to go so badly.
The bell rang to signal our next class. Jessica sharp giggle filled the room as we stood to gather our things. "Saved by the bell, worry wart! We can talk about this later. Which reminds me, did you see last Saturday's episode? Zack Morris is so fucking hot."
"I can't believe you spend the weekend watching Saved the Bell," I teased as she linked her arm with mine.
A semblance of the way we used to be when it was easy being friends. Rainbow Bright and Care Bears were so much easier to handle than boys and impending losses of virginity.
"What else should I do when I eat my cereal, silly?" She smiled at me and it was comforting, until it wasn't. "You trying out for the squad? I need my best cheer buddy."
"I don't do that, Jess. I can barely keep myself upright most days," I pointed out. Even now, my body was like a magnet that found itself almost colliding with my fellow students.
My last name might be Swan, but a graceful bird I was not.
"You'll be fine, Bell! You need to get your face out of the books."
"Hey, can I talk to you?" His back was against a locker as metal doors shut all around him, as our fellow students scurried to get their books. Edward didn't look like he had a care in the world. The various shades of brown on his flannel reminded me of autumn.
This felt like I was reading a page out of one of the novels I lost myself in. This wasn't reality. Edward didn't talk to me. My voice was gone. My fingers were shaking lightly.
I felt a tug on my sleeve and Jessica pointed out, "You're going to be late for class."
"I'll see you after school, Jess." My voice didn't sound like my own. It was older and slightly huskier like I needed to clear my throat.
The look on her face was the opposite of pleased as she left me alone with Edward.
He moved from the locker and came closer. "I have a test."
I loved the sound of his voice. It sounded like music to me.
"Oh. Is it like history or chemistry? Mr. Jenks was pretty tough on the last one he gave. I studied all night, but tI kept messing up all those formulas." I babbled when I was nervous.
He looked at me with confusion. "I need to borrow a pen."
I started searching my bag. "I don't have an extra pen, but would this work?"
Pulling out a random pencil, I handed it to him without really looking at it.
"Its purple," he observed. He rubbed it between his fingers and looked at it curiously. "There's glitter on it."
Glitter from the sparkly pencil coated his fingers. It was one that I borrowed from Jessica months ago. My face flushed. "I think I have another one somewhere."
"Nah. This one works." There was a small smirk on his face. He tugged a lock of my hair. "See you around."
He moved past me as I stood in the empty hallway. I watched him move in an easy stroll toward the gym.
The only sound other than the way his Doc Martins hit the linoleum was my heart beating. Its song was the soundtrack of this moment I would never forget.