He wasn't stupid. Andy knew that most girls, most of the school in fact, laughed about him when he wasn't around. A lot of people just saw him as the idiot that ran around the school in dorky shirts, looking desperately for some people who would actually call him their friend. His mommy told him that the girls were secretly upset that they'd never have a chance with him and the boys were just jealous. But for once, his mommy was wrong. To survive high school, you had to be one of two things; beautiful or forgettable. Sadly, Andy wasn't really what was considered beautiful to most teenage girls; he'd often been told he looked like a ten year-old with a dust-bunny on his head. Also, Andy was kinda hard to forget once you met him; his boisterous innocence was somewhat infectious. Therefore, Andy fell into neither category.
Zander Robbins had a clear group; beautiful. Andy saw the way nearly all of the girls at Brewster High stared after him longingly. Those girls included Stevie Baskara. Sure, Zander brushed off most of the girls, but never Stevie. Zander would always be sat right up against Stevie, his arm over her shoulder or his hand resting on her thigh and he would whisper in her ear whilst the rest of Gravity 5 carried on as if it was nothing new. And Stevie let him do it. And that made Andy jealous.
Andy didn't like to be jealous. His grandma told him off one Christmas for getting jealous of his cousin's presents and since that day; he tried his best to hide the nasty green monster that rumbled in his chest. However, the day Zander Robbins swaggered into school with his stupid tiny guitar strapped to his back was the day Andy started fighting a losing battle. Apparently, Stevie liked that Zander could play the mini guitar and had charm to go with it. Personally, Andy thought Zander was arrogant but Stevie, for some strange reason, laughed at his jokes and called him her best friend. Not that Andy wanted Stevie to be his friend, of course, but he would have liked it if Stevie were that comfortable around him.
He'd heard people whisper in the packed hallways that Zander and Stevie were made for each other. Heck, he'd even heard Kacey and the other boys talk about their band members that way.
"Have you seen the way he looks at her? It's adorable!"
"The way she smiles at him; it's totes obvious that she loves him."
"I suppose if he doesn't wanna marry me, she's a good second option."
"I bet you my copy of Furious Pigeons: Rainforest Frenzy that they'll be dating before summer break."
Nearly everyone thought Zander and Stevie were meant to be together and Andy hated it. He couldn't escape it; if he went to one of Gravity 5's concerts, he had to watch as people told Stevie that hers and Zander's duet was the most romantic thing they'd seen in a few years. If he was given the chance to be around Stevie more often, Andy thought that they would say that he and Stevie belonged together. Zander may have been able to make Stevie laugh so much that she'd make a cute snorting noise, but Andy knew that if he told her some of his knock-knock jokes she'd keel over in laughter. Sometimes Zander bought Stevie random gifts; clothes, jewellery, music books. Andy, though, would be sure to shower her in presents nearly everyday; he wanted her to be treated like a princess. But sometimes princess' presents were hard to buy with just an allowance.
There was no denying that Andy wanted to be in Zander's position. He couldn't imagine how awesome it must be to hang out with Stevie so often, to have her come closer than five feet away and to have her look at you with adoration. But Andy knew that if he was gonna make that happen, he was gonna have to step up his game and beat Zander Robbins to the top. But, like his mommy says, all's fair in love and war.
'Zander Robbins doesn't get jealous,' that's what he always said when he lived back home in New York. But then he moved to California and started at Brewster High School where he met Stevie Baskara. Now he says, 'Zander Robbins shouldn't get jealous.' She was his best friend; he shouldn't feel this way. He shouldn't want to punch the nearest wall whenever a guy lets their eyes linger on Stevie for too long. He shouldn't shoot glares at guys when Stevie wasn't looking. And he almost certainly shouldn't be jealous of the likes of Justin Cole and Andy Bartlett.
It was obvious why any guy would see Justin as a threat; handsome, charming and rich were some of his alluring characteristics. Justin would prance around on his high horse, both physically and metaphorically, and flash girls his best grin, instantly making them putty in his hands. Unfortunately, Stevie wasn't immune to this. Stevie was a girl (hours of innocently observing her had led him to this knowledge), so an attractive guy pulling all his moves on her would obviously have some effect on her. Zander didn't like what Justin was doing to Stevie as he knew for a fact that he acted exactly the same with numerous other girls on campus. Having admitted his feelings for Stevie to himself a few weeks ago, Zander felt that he needed to have a…quiet word with Justin.
"Justin, can we talk for a sec?" Zander asked as he jogged to catch up with the boy as students filed out of their Trigonometry classroom at the end of another long school day.
"Sure, what's up?" the blond asked nonchalantly, leaning back against the poster-covered wall.
"I don't really know how to say this," Zander sighed and nervously scratched behind his neck. "But I've noticed your uh…advances towards Stevie aren't exactly exclusive, if you know what I mean?"
"My advances?" Justin laughed. "Since when were you a nineteenth-century English-gent?"
"I mean it, Justin; Stevie's a great girl and she doesn't deserve to get messed around."
"Oh I get it," Justin smirked knowingly. "You've already got dibs. I totally get it, dude."
Zander frowned, "Stevie is a person, not an object; nobody gets 'dibs' on her."
"Whatever, man. Good luck with that one though; she's tough to crack," Justin shrugged as he started to walk away.
"Yeah, I know. But if you had an ounce of brain cells, you'd see that she's worth it."
That comment had earned him a week's worth of revenge pranks from Justin's cronies but Zander didn't mind one bit seeing as Stevie was always the one helping to clean him up. It also helped in making sure that Stevie was no longer hung up on Justin Cole. One down, one to go.
The last person you'd expect Zander to be jealous of was Andy Bartlett; he wasn't a conventional threat by any means. However, that didn't stop Zander's gut from clenching into choking knots whenever Stevie was fawning over Andy to protect him from whatever idiot was bullying him that day. Although it was something Zander loved about Stevie, her selflessness was something that drove him insane. It wasn't only Andy that Mother-Bear Stevie felt the need to protect; they'd been enjoying a relaxing day in the park a few weekends ago when they came across a cat that limped painfully towards them. A sucker for anything that needed caring, Stevie immediately scooped the animal in her arms and held it closely to her chest as she made Zander drive her to the nearest animal shelter. Zander wouldn't admit to anyone that he was jealous of a random cat of all things.
The cat was out of the picture soon enough, however. But Andy was always floating in and out of their daily lives and as soon as he was approached by someone looking to make him do something stupid, Stevie was straight out of her seat and beginning a rant at the enemy. Initially, Zander watched in admiration when Stevie was in action. However, after a few weeks of witnessing it and harbouring growing feelings for the fiery brunette, Zander started to get irritated at how Andy was clearly revelling in the attention. The controlling green monster inside him demanded that he tell Stevie to stop defending Andy, insisting that he needed to learn to look after himself. When he did confront Stevie, she immediately told him to grow up; she was just being a decent human being and he had no reason to be jealous. She then promptly stormed out of the courtyard. Zander felt awful about it until he saw Andy smirking not-so-innocently close by. Point one, Bartlett.
Next chapter: Propositions.