Nobody Knows It (But Me)

Summary: Matt Braddock notices a lot about his friends.
Genre: Cutesy fluff to make you smile. And yet, I'll call it angst, too.
Rating: G

As I approach, I see they're laughing about something. It must have been hysterical. Margo is doubled-over, and her body shakes. Charlotte's mouth is hanging open, half smiling and half gaping. She covers her mouth with her hands and laughs more politely than Margo. I gather that Nicky is the one who they must be laughing AT since he is scowling fiercly. His arms cross in front of his body, and I look closely. Is he?... Oh, yes he is, he's pouting. For Nicky, this can only mean that his pride is hurt.

Nicky has an awful lot of that -- pride. I notice because of the way his shoulders stand straight up, his chest goes out, and his nose is in the air when we talk about football. Becoming the starting quarterback of the team his senior year, something none of his older triplet brothers even accomplished, sure did something for Nicky. He made a name for himself, and now when someone is talking about Nicky Pike, you don't think of the skinny kid who used to get teased by his older brothers and their friends. You think of the star quarterback.

Nicky is confident. Being recognized for his athletic talent has made him a new man. That's good for him, I guess. But his shoulders stand up awfully high, his chest is puffed up so much that I wonder if he can breathe, and I also wonder if he'll drown when it rains. Maybe it isn't so good for him.

Charlotte pats Nicky on the back, apologetically. She never likes to hurt someone's pride (even though Nicky could spare some.) Margo rolls her eyes, probably thinking along the same lines as me.

Sweet, little Charlotte. She's slightly older than I am, but I call her little because she really is a pixie of a girl. And beautiful. I would argue that she is the most beautiful girl in the entire school. Her auburn hair has always been long and straight. She doesn't bother getting trendy haircuts, perms or color treatments. Charlotte is as Charlotte comes. Appearances never did concern Char much. So why then does she suddenly toss that hair over her shoulder when Nicky's eyes meet hers. Why do her cheeks turn pink, and why does she avert her eyes to the ground?

Nicky's shoulders are up, and his chest is out. A few seconds pass, and Charlotte still hasn't looked him in the eye. Sparks are flying between Nicky and Charlotte, and I'm the only one who knows it. (Or at least, I'm the only one who would admit it.)

Nicky would never admit to being drawn to Charlotte. Not when the girls he thinks he's supposed to fawn over are only the ones who make the "current top five" list that the other guys and Nicky discuss each week while we eat lunch. Supposively, its a joke, but when a few girls found out about it and the news spread all over school, it didn't seem so funny to me.

Why wouldn't Charlotte make that list? Take one look at her, and you've got your answer. She's too real. One look and you can't help but notice. Guys don't know what to think about a girl who doesn't play games.

Hi guys, I say as I approach.

Margo says hello, and I ask what's going on.

We're laughing at Nicky, Margo answers. For being dumb, she says.

What did he do this time? I ask. They inform me that Nicky's latest pick-up line was,"Hey, did you hear you're number three this week?" The receiver of this 'extremely lame line' (as Margo puts it) was Connie Mason. I cannot help making a disgusted face as a mental image of Connie pops into my mind -- Too much makeup, fussy blonde highlights, and revealing clothes.

No, Nicky. Not her.

My eyes meet Charlotte's, and I can pratically hear her thinking the very same thing as I watch her surface smile fading. She casts her eyes down to her hands and contemplates her fingernails. Inwardly, I know she sighs.