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I enjoy intellectual pursuits. Whether it’s reading bestselling novellas, practicing my strategies in chess or solving tricky algorithms this is what I do when I get bored. It seems a little strange that someone would do such things for fun but I’ve always been just a little strange when compared to most people.

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I’ve been told I’m a genius. The school tested me when I started high school and my test scores indicated that I had a genius level IQ. My teachers were impressed and so were my parents. My classmates saw me as a threat. Someone like myself who can easily get A’s without studying simply because my level of understanding and aptitude for learning was so far above theirs would obviously be a threat to them. I raised the bar. I would ace every exam, every project and top every class. Of course, they hate me! I’m making it tough for them to succeed. I’m making them feel insecure about their intelligence.  So to return the favour they’ve decided to make me feel insecure about my body.

I’ve figured it out finally! That’s the reason. How petty of them, huh? But I won’t let them win. I ignore every harsh comment they spit at me and I try my best to pretend it does not hurt because I refuse to continue to give them the satisfaction of getting to me. So I’m fat, big deal! I can lose weight and no longer be fat but they’ll still be stupid.

Mum does not understand. She thinks I’m pushing myself too much by exercising every day but maybe she should try it sometime. I know, I know that was a bit mean but she did not lose the baby weight she gained when she had us. And yet she’s so confident… I don’t get it. It’s like her appearance doesn’t even matter at all. Adrienne’s the same way too. I’m a bit envious of not being as self-assured as they are. I wish I could naturally be comfortable in my skin but it’s hard. That’s why I’ve decided to fix it. And fixing things is what I’m good at.

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Give me any puzzle and I’ll figure it out. Give me any broken item and I’ll tinker away until it works better than before. I can fix the way I look too. I can look as attractive as my big sister and all the other girls at school. I can finally make him notice me.

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Who is he? He’s a guy from school I’ve been tutoring. His name is Sebastian Thomson and I get the butterflies in the stomach, light-headed, excited feeling you get when you’re around your crush. He’s so handsome and a really sweet guy. And those green eyes! But I try to play it cool because I don’t want to ruin our friendship the way I ruined my friendship with Westley. It was never the same between us once I learned he liked Adrienne and I wasn’t even a blip on his radar. I allowed myself to fall for Westley thinking the feeling was mutual when it wasn’t. It crushed me more than I’d like to admit so I promised myself I won’t get my hopes up over another guy again. I can just admire Sebastian…for now at least. When I lose weight he’ll be the one chasing me down, I’m sure of it.

He surprised me when he came over. Our tutoring sessions ended the day before. “You sure I’m ready for the history exam tomorrow? I’m not so sure…”

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“Don’t worry Sebastian. Just study the cliff notes I gave you and memorize the dates on the back and you’ll be fine. Mr. Whitman always gives us the same questions from the end of the chapters for every midterm. I’m surprised no one else figured it out.”

He sighed in relief. “Oh good, I already did them like you told me to so I feel more prepared. Thanks Bree.”

“You’re welcome.”

“So…” he began, “What do you like to do for fun?”

“What…? Um…” I say confused. I wonder why he’s trying to have small talk. We’ve never talked about anything other than history before. “I don’t know. I’m pretty boring.”

“You sure are pretty…”

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What?! Did he just say that or am I imagining things?!

“I…uh…I mean. You know. You’re pretty and smart so you can’t possibly be boring.”

I hope I’m not blushing too much that it looks obvious. His compliment took me by surprise and now I’m at a loss for words. He senses my awkward silence and I can kill myself for not speaking up!

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“Well I’m going to head on home before it gets too dark. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He says.

“Oh okay bye…” I’m cut off when he pulls me into a hug. A hug! Why is this super cute guy of my dreams hugging me right now?! What else could I do but hug him back. He smells so good too, like an ocean breeze. It must be his cologne. The hug itself lasted no more than five seconds but it seemed much longer to me.

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I wanted to tell Adrienne all about it but unfortunately she went out with her loser boyfriend Carmelo and didn’t come back until after I went to bed. But I couldn’t sleep properly at all. I was up all night thinking about Sebastian and what took place that afternoon.

The next day was the exam. I aced it and so did he. He came over that afternoon to share his good news.

“I couldn’t have done it without you Bree.” He said.

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“You’re welcome.”

The awkward silence ensues. I don’t really know how to do this – be all flirty and girly. I have no idea what to talk to him about since we don’t have much in common. He likes art and music and I don’t follow those things.

“Let’s take a picture together to celebrate our A’s?” he asked.

“Okay.” We lean in closer for the picture and I try to relax my face to make my smile look effortless.

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He shows the picture afterwards and I can’t help but laugh a little at the face he made. “You look like such a dork Sebastian.”

“We can’t all be as photogenic as you Bree.”

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“Stop, I’m not photogenic at all! Look at how chubby my cheeks look, and my smile could’ve been better…”

“You look beautiful. I don’t know how else to say it subtly but… I think you’re great, I like you.”

“You do?” I say in disbelief. He likes me!

“Yes I do. I was going to ask, if you’d like to go out with me tomorrow night? I know you like astronomy and there’s this spot downtown where you can really see the stars. So what do you say?”

“Why do you like me Sebastian?” I ask bluntly. I really need to know his answer.

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“You’re the smartest girl I know and I like a beauty with brains. I like that you like stuff that not many other girls in school like. It makes you interesting.”

“You keep telling me I’m beautiful. Doesn’t my size bother you? Are you a chubby chaser or something?”

He laughs a little a little before saying, “I’m not a chubby chaser or whatever you call it. I’m just not superficial. You may not believe me but I really do think you’re attractive, I do.”

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“So you think I’m beautiful and not boring at all?” I ask, just trying to make sure I heard him right. My family members keep telling me those same things but I don’t believe them because, well, they’re my family. What else are they gonna say?

“Yep, I do. So will you go out with me?”

I take a deep breath still shocked that this handsome guy that I like so much, a popular boy from school even, likes me. “Ok, I’ll go out with you.”

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