You sighed and kept walking after you stole a glance at a flier on a bulletin board.
Here it comes again, you thought miserably. The senior prom.
This year, it was your senior year: the year to make one final impression on the school you had been going to for almost four years now.
But this year was not going to be any different than the others. It didn't matter to you how people thought of you as you left high schoolwhat mattered was how they would think of you when you came back for the reunion.
"Fun" was a drop in the bucket of your life's ambitions. You had been accepted to all of the top universities in addition to winning multiple scholarships and grants, but even with so much potential waiting for you in a few weeks, no one really recognized you for any of itthe staff didn't count.
"Watch it!" a boy said shoving you out of the way to get to class.
You went flying and crashed into the wall. Your books fell all over the floor and papers went flying. You quickly scrambled to get them back before your classmates stepped them on. No one bothered to help you.
You held your breath so you wouldn't make any noises as your face began to grow hot from embarrassment.
Losers, you thought bitterly.
You had just gathered the last of your books when you heard a group of voices laughing down the hall.
It was the Awesome Trio: Alfred, Gilbert, and Mathias. You didn't know what was so "awesome" about them. The only thing they had going for them was that they were all loud and they drank even though they were underage; they liked to go to parties, and they were always seen with a different girl nearly every month or so.
"Hey look!" Gilbert said pointing you out. "There's the little unawesome nerd! Forever unawesome! Forever unawesome!~"
Mathias and Alfred joined along in laughter.
You were used to their taunts by now. In your first year in high school, they had dubbed you "unawesome" in front of the entire school during the freshman orientation; you had accidentally hit Gilbert's pet chick, Gilbird, when trying to throw a ball to your teammate during a cooperative game. None of the Awesome Trio forgave you for that. That was when your path of unpopularity started
and your escape into the world of books and studying began.
The laughter had infected the entire hall of students, and pretty soon, everyone was laughing at you. You quickened your pace and raced to your next class hoping nothing else would add onto your rotten luck.
After your last class in [AP or IB] Biology, you packed up your things and prepared to leave. As you exited the doorway, you heard your teacher calling you to come back.
"____________, do you have a moment?" your teacher asked.
You nodded and went back.
Your teacher smiled. "Look, I know you've been accepted into many universities already, but the school requires that you need to get some community service done before graduation, too."
"I know," you said. You felt stupid thinking that just because you were at the top of the charts in academics meant you could skip out on community service.
"Well, I know that you don't enjoy going out into public so I thought you could perhaps compensate community service for tutoring hours. It'll provide enough hours for you to graduate," your teacher suggested.
You furrowed your eyebrows and hesitated. You hated going out into public so you figured it was better than having to find a facility that conducted community service and working with people you didn't know.
"Sounds good," you said.
You teacher smiled. "That's wonderful to hear, ___________. Now, you'll only have to tutor one person for three weeks after school every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Can you do that?"
You nodded. It wasn't like your grades were going to be jeopardized.
"Perfect!" your teacher beamed. "Okay, here are a few things you need to know about this student's work. I'm sure you've heard of him before."
Your eyes grew wide as the teacher handed you a stack of the student's previous marked up quizzes and tests. Not this guy
How is it even possible for a senior to be in algebra? you thought miserably as you walked into the afterschool tutoring center.
You sighed and plopped down in the seat in front of Alfred. He totally wasn't expecting you by the look on his face.
"Surprise, surprise," you said monotonously. "I'm your tutor."
You began to grumble under your breath. Gilbert and Mathias may do stupid things, but they're in most of my classes, you thought. No wonder Alfred was never in the same classes! He's an idiot!
"Wow," Alfred said smacking his hand to his forehead. "I didn't think I'd get to be tutored by the valedictorian."
"Whatever," you said unenthusiastically. "I bet you have somewhere more 'awesome' to be at, right?"
Alfred scratched his head sheepishly. "Actually, I can't go anywhere because if I fail Algebra, I can't graduate. My coaches have already suspended me from my teams until I can pull a C or better."
You sighed. "And if I don't tutor you, I can't graduate, either."
The jock stared at you with his sky blue eyes. "You mean you? _____________? As in the best student this school's had for all fifty years? And you might not graduate?"
"It's not going to be a big deal as long as I'm here," you said dismissively. "I don't even have to help you if I wanted. After all of the shit you guys put me through, I think it'd be fun to watch you get held back while your 'awesome' friends graduate."
To your surprise, instead of making a comeback or laughing in your face, Alfred hunched in his seat and ran his fingers through his sandy blonde hair.
"I really need to pass, ___________," he said looking down in the dumps. "If I don't, then my scholarship will go up in smoke."
You've always told yourself that despite everything the Awesome Trio threw at you, you would never bring yourself to hate them. But for some out-of-the-blue rare reason, you didn't have to remind yourself. Alfred was really serious.
"Hey," you said poking him disregarding his "awesome" personal space. "Let's get to work on your partial fractions."
Alfred brought his head up wearing a goofy smile.
"Aw, yeah! I knew you'd help me!" he said.
You rolled your eyes. It was going to be a long two hours.
Two week had passed, and much to your surprise, Alfred was starting to learn.
"I don't know why I didn't see any of this before!" Alfred exclaimed after he successfully solved three equations for the point-slope formula.
"Maybe because you were always busy thinking about how awesome you were or when you were going to get your next sex or buzz fix," you said flipping through the textbook looking for good practice problems.
Alfred looked down avoiding eye contact. "You know, ____________," he said, "you're a really good tutor. In all three years of retaking this class, I've never been able to understand it until now." He moved his gaze just enough to see your (e/c) eyes.
"Thank you, _____________," he said.
Your chest began to hurt and your lips trembled after Alfred thanked you.
Keep it together, ____________, you told yourself. You've held on this long. You can hold on for a few more weeks.
Suddenly, the door burst open and a girl standing followed by Gilbert and Mathias were standing in the doorway.
"Alfie! There you are!" she said walking over and pushing you out of the way (even though you weren't even in the way).
"K-Kaitie!" Alfred cried as the girl grabbed him by his uniform.
"So this is where you've been hiding all this time, Alfred?" Mathias asked raising an eyebrow. "I thought you knew better than to hang out with a nerd like ____________."
"She's my tutor!" Alfred protested. "It's because if I don't bring my grades up, I won't be able to graduate!"
"Ksesese~Since when were you so unawesome?" Gilbert laughed. "If you really needed help, you could've just asked us."
"Guys, get out," you said in a stern voice. "I need to tutor Alfred just as much as he needs to be tutored, and you're interrupting us."
The girl Alfred called "Kaitie" stomped right over to you and delivered a hard slap to your face. Now you knew why most men would shut up when their women slapped them. It stung like hell.
"Don't give me this shit about you two 'tutoring' each other!" she screeched into your ears. "You think you can fool me?!"
What the hell is there to lie about? you held your tongue to say.
You remembered this one. Her real name was Kaitlynn. You had seen her come back to Alfred multiple times like a regular client to his constant girlfriend-switching. She had done a few rounds with Gilbert and Mathias, but she always came back to Alfred.
In short, she was a bitch. No. Make that a slut.
Since you didn't say anything, Alfred jumped in.
"Kaitie,"he began, "I've been telling you: if I don't pass algebra, I won't be able to do any sports, and that also means I won't be able to go to any events. You wanted to go to prom, right?"
Kaitlynn hesitated and gave a slow nod.
Alfred shut his eyes like it was hard for him to speak. "I'm doing this for you," he subtly strained to say. "______________ is the valedictorian. There's no way I can't pass if she helps me. So, babe, please don't be mad."
Alfred's girlfriend tried to stay angry, but she didn't last long.
"Okay, Alfie," she said giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Good luck!"
Before she left with the other members of the Awesome Trio, she threw you a death glare. You remained stoic after the door slammed and the plastic fluorescent lights rattled from the shockwave.
"Damn, ___________, I'm really sorry about that," Alfred groaned apologetically. "I didn't think she'd slap you." He leaned over the table to look at your face.
"Are you okay?" he asked concerned.
You rubbed your cheek where Kaitlynn had slapped you. It still hurt like hell.
"Do I look like I'm okay?"
"Alfred hissed as he leaned closer. "I'm going to have to talk to Kaitie."
You began to feel your face growing hot so you looked down and decided to continue tutoring Alfred.
When the tutoring session was over, you were packing up your things when Alfred stopped you on your way out.
"______________," he started.
You didn't turn around, but you answered him. "What?"
There was a pause.
"Do you want to maybe grab a bite to eat? All that math has made me hungry, and I feel bad for what Kaitie did to you."
You eyed the American suspiciously, but you had to admit, you were pretty hungry.
"Sure thing, Alfred," you said.
You should've known Alfred was going to treat you to hamburgers. Hamburgers were convenient foods, but they lacked refinement, yet according to Alfred and any other typical jock, food was fuel, and he could eat plenty of it.
"Want your fries, ____________?" Alfred asked as he gobbled up his seventh burger.
"No thanks. I'm full," you said pushing your basket of half-eaten fries over to him.
"Thanks, ___________!" He took a slurp of his soft drink and started to finish your fries.
"Alfred, why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?" you asked as the American finished munching on some fries.
"Hmm? What do you mean?" Alfred asked ignorantly.
"Like, why aren't you throwing stupid remarks at me like how I'm a nerd or how I'm 'totally unawesome?' Do you know 'unawesome' isn't even a word?"
"It isn't?" Alfred asked dumbfounded.
"No," you replied.
"Oh." He took a moment to think of a way to answer your previous question.
"You know how Gilbert and Mark are," he said. "They can act like cocky guys, but together, we're really popular, don't you think?"
"Too popular for your own good if it means having a whore for a girlfriend and failing the easiest math class almost four times in a row," you said dryly.
"Ouch," Alfred winced. "That's cold."
"You guys did this to me," you said bitterly. "If you hadn't kept making fun of me, I would've been a much better person, I'm sure. But it's also thanks to you guys that I became the smartest person in the school."
"Huh," Alfred mused. "I never saw it that way." He paused. "_____________, I've got something I need to tell you."
"Say it," you ordered bluntly.
Alfred swallowed some fries before speaking.
"All I heard was 'Kaitlynn,'" you said scrunching your face.
The jock tried to slow down. "I said I don't want to go to senior prom with Kaitlynn."
You scoffed. "Big surprise there," you said sarcastically. "After cycling through you and your friends so much, I'd be surprised if she was still a virgin."
"It's not about her, _____________," Alfred said. "It's about you."
You blinked. "What about me?"
Alfred let out a heavy sigh and took off his glasses to clean them. When he put them back on, he began to speak again.
"Even after freshman orientation, you were so strongeh, not in a physical way." You rolled your eyes and urged him to continue. "Like, even after everything we threw at you, you were still able to get to the top of the class even without friends or help. That's pretty awesome."
You raised an eyebrow. "Since when does the Awesome Trio think I'm awesome?"
Alfred shook his head. "This isn't coming from the Awesome Trio; this is coming from me."
You tried not to falter as he stared into your (e/c) eyes. Now you knew why girls went crazy for him: he was what normal people would call a "stud." You hadn't noticed before because you had always avoided eye contact with the Awesome Trio in the past.
"I was thinking about it, ____________," Alfred continued, "and I think I'm going to break up with Kaitlynn. Not like the rebound sort of break-up, but I'm going to do it permanently this time."
"Why the sudden change of heart?" you asked.
"It's because for these past two weeks, I've been interested in someone else," he confessed.
"Wise of you to tell me," you said dryly. "No one will ask me because no one knows me. So who caught your eye this time? Let me guess
[random girl's name]?"
"No," Alfred shook his head. He looked up from the booth to see if anyone was listening. Then, he leaned close and whispered, "You."
The diners turned heads when they heard a table in the back rattle and the plates clinked. They saw you get up from your seat and stomp out of the diner. Alfred threw down some money and went after you. "This isn't a bar!" a waitress yelled.
"_____________!" Alfred called you to stop. You arrived at his car before turning around. He was shocked when he saw tears falling from your eyes. He'd made girls cry before, but knowing he did it to someone like you was just
"You!" you cried giving him a hard shove. "You have no right to tell me something like that after the hell you guys and the school gave me! What is this? Is this something you're saying so you can maybe pass algebra with flying colors? Are you going to play a sick prank on me?" You looked around. "Is someone recording this so they can display it on the big screen at graduation or something?"
"No, ___________. I'm not after your brains, and no one's recording you," Alfred said trying to calm you down. You struck him away when he tried to touch you. "It's not a prank, either. It's real. It's been real since freshmen year."
"Then why the hell?!" you screamed. "Why the hell would you tell me this now?!"
Alfred winced. "It's because I didn't know what else to do, ___________!" His sudden change in volume made you jump slightly. "After all of the freshmen made fun of you, I was afraid that if I showed my true feelings, everyone would hate me, too. So I did the opposite: I became popular. I played sports, I went to parties, I followed the latest talk, I hung out with the 'happening' guys all so that you might notice me!"
"Well, it worked," you snapped scathingly. "I've noticed you, and you are now the most hated person I know. That's right Alfred F. Jones! I hate you! I told myself that I would never hate the 'Unawesome Trio,' and I don't! Because I hate only you!"
After the lashing you gave Alfred, he was at a loss for words. He dug his heel into the pavement and began to curse under his breath.
"Take me home, Alfred. Now," you ordered the broken-spirited jock. You'd walk home, but your house was far away from the diner, and you missed the city bus that you normally took. It would be dark by the time you reached your house.
The ride home wasn't quiet because you had to tell Alfred where to go. You didn't even look at him. You only spoke like an automated GPS unit.
When the car pulled up to your home, Alfred bent over to get a closer look. You heard the engine turn off making you frown.
"This is your home?" he asked looking at it with his eyes wide open.
"Yep," you said.
Your house was huge, but it was usually empty. Your parents travelled a lot so they weren't aware of the suffering you endured at school, and they weren't even aware that you were valedictorian; you just never bothered to tell them.
"You're alone?" Alfred asked.
"What's it to you?" you scornfully replied. Bad move. An answer like that meant "yes."
"No wonder you're so independent," Alfred said. "You really do everything on your own, huh?"
"Shut up, Alfred," you snapped. "I thanked you, so we're done. Don't forget to study those linear equations."
You walked towards your front door and pulled your keys out from your pocket. You quickly unlocked the door and began to slip inside when the door stopped midway.
"Dammit! What now?!" you shouted whipping around and
You don't know when he got there or how he got there, but suddenly, you found Alfred over you, his eyes closed, his hand on the door, his other hand around your waist, and his lips pressed firmly against yours.