Beauty and the Geek

Emily has everything she has ever wanted; popularity, a handsome, all-star athlete boyfriend and a top spot on the cheerleading squad. So why does it feel like she has nothing at all?
When her grades slip and she is forced to find a tutor, Emily finds comfort in shy, bookworm Will and discovers that the things you need most in life often come in the most unlikely of packages...

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12. Chapter 12.

The sound of my IM bleeping uncontrollably woke me from a horrendous nightmare, only for me to realise it had been real earlier that night. My pillow was a mess of running mascara and the result of a night from hell. After Brett’s mom had kindly given me a ride home, I had practically cried myself to sleep. The night had really shaken me up – to the point I could barely walk upstairs by the time I got home. My legs seemed to move in a different sync to my body; unsteady from the fear I had felt to my core earlier. It had made me realise what Brett was capable of and his aggression had surprised me even though I knew what he was like usually.

I knew I had to keep Will a secret. If Brett could lay a hand on a woman, what would he do to another man?

 

Noticing a message from Zeke, I felt my day get slightly worse.

Zeke says:
I hope you haven’t forgotten about me. I’m keeping up my end of the bargain.

How could I have forgotten my promise to Zeke? Life had been so non-stop lately I had failed in clinching Lauren as his date to prom and now that she wasn’t even speaking to me anymore, the whole thing didn’t look promising. I would have to try; there was no other option if I wanted to keep Will a secret and in one piece, especially after Brett's outburst the night before. I groaned as I realised I only had one option - making up with Lauren Price.

---

Spotting Lauren across the lunch hall, I cringed inwardly. I never thought the day would come where I would have to grovel to someone like her. She glanced at me, pulling an expression like there was a bad taste in her mouth. Fortunately, she was alone for once which would make the job a whole lot easier. The last thing I needed was Erin and her cronies looking on as I completely embarrassed myself for the sake of a creep like Zeke.

“Lauren,” I said, sweetly, as she attempted to ignore me. “Can we talk?”
“You can talk but I probably won’t listen,” She looked at me, raising an eyebrow.
“I’ll take that chance,” I said, sliding into the seat next to her, as she moved two inches to her right. She was acting like I had some incurable disease and if she made slight contact with me she would be infected too.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” She flicked through tabloid fodder, the only thing she could read and understand.
“I’m…sorry,” I managed to choke out. “You’re right – I have been weird lately. I’ve been stressed about getting kicked out of the cheer squad. I need better grades.”
“Well, that’s not my problem.”
“You’re right – I took it out on you. Can we be friends again? I hate it being like this between us.”

She looked at me suspiciously; a thoughtful expression forming on her face. I knew she would forgive me; she didn’t have anybody else who would stick around long enough to listen to her opinions on the new line of lattes at Starbucks.

“Of course, silly!” She flapped around like an excited bird. “Wanna help me practise make-up for prom?"
“I can’t think of anything better,” I gritted my teeth as she hugged me joyously and I fought down the suffocating tightness in my lungs.

---

I pretended to flick through a stray magazine but I couldn’t have been less interested if I had tried. Lately, all of the things I used to be interested in meant nothing to me. I couldn’t believe I had cared about the latest goings on of Kim and Kanye previously. It was ridiculous. Cheerleading was ridiculous. Jocks were ridiculous. My life was ridiculous. Why had I never noticed this before? It was like waking up from a deep sleep and suddenly seeing the world in a completely new light. I was certain that the most important things in life did not come wrapped in a copy of Seventeen magazine.

“What do you think of this?” She turned, her eyes expertly lined in too much make-up.
“It's perfect,” I lied, smiling.
“Great,” She grinned, jumping onto the bed. “So, are you and Brett gonna colour co-ordinate?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” I felt awkward since Lauren had no idea Brett had forced himself on me and we definitely wouldn’t be attending prom together. “What about you and Evan?”
“Oh…Evan,” She looked as if she had completely forgotten about her own prom date’s name. “I don’t know yet.”
“Actually...I have something to tell you but you have to promise you won’t freak out.”
“What is it?" She coated her nails in bright pink varnish, absentmindedly.
“I’m pretty sure I saw Evan talking to Sadie Miller yesterday. He was totally asking her for her number.”
“No way! Really?" She paused for a minute. "You really think he would do that?”

She looked almost sad and I looked on guiltily, patting her back for comfort. Naturally, I had completely lied about Evan; how else would I get her to give up her perfect prom date for someone like Zeke? Evan was probably using her shamelessly for her looks - I had done her a favour. Or, at least, that's what I said to convince myself I was still a decent person.

“Well, screw him,” Her eyes were full of the fiery flames of revenge. “I’ll go alone. I can be an independent woman…”

Her eyes glazed over for a moment; completely lost. Lauren Price couldn’t be an independent woman if she tried with every bone in her body; she was built for a rich, good-looking guy to take care of her and she knew it. Going to prom alone would be the ultimate social suicide.

“But I have some good news too!” I added. “I found this in my locker earlier – it’s for you. Weird, huh?”

I handed her my forged note; a genius plan in my mind. The fact she didn’t even question why a note for her would be in my locker instead of her own made her putty in my hands. Taking it in her hands, a perplexed expression on her face, she began to read:

“Dear Lauren,
I think you’re the hottest girl in school but whenever I’m around you I can’t find the words to tell you. I will be waiting for you in the middle of the dance floor on prom night holding a red rose. I’ll be worth your wait.
- Your secret admirer”

“Wow,” I grinned excitedly, clapping my hands. “That’s so romantic!”
“Yeah…” She echoed. “But, isn’t it a little creepy too?”
“No!” I said fiercely, secretly annoyed she had called my note creepy. “It’s totally Hilary Duff in Cinderella Story.”
“Oh my god – you’re right,” Her eyes widened. “What if Chad Michael Murray shows up?”
“Maybe he will,” I nodded along, in disbelief that she still didn’t know his character was fictional. “This guy is better than Chad – he just has to be.”
“What am I gonna wear? I totally have to restart my dress plans…”

She excitedly buzzed in my ear as I leaned back with a smile on my face. My plan had worked! At least I could relax about something for the next few weeks – even if the rest of my life was in turmoil.

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