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...
Beauty and the Geek - Episode 125:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek - Episode 221:00 min.
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Beauty and the Geek - Episode 417:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek - Episode 517:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek - Episode 616:00 min.
Beauty and the Geek - Episode 723:00 min.

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6. Chapter 6.

I staggered onto the lawn, dressed in mismatched pyjamas. As I scooped up our newspaper I heard the familiar roar of Brett’s truck and considered running straight back inside. Unfortunately, he had already parked and was swinging the door open with an agenda. He marched straight towards me; his impressive abs bulging from under his tank top.

“Did you really think you could avoid me forever?” He asked, quietly.
“Well, I gave it a good shot,” I shrugged in reply. “Do you blame me?”
“No, I was a jerk and I got what was coming to me. This past week has been one of the hardest in my life, I swear. I shouldn’t have laid a hand on you and embarrassed you in front of everyone.”

Brett looked flustered; his cheeks flushed and his eyes showing the creases of several sleepless nights. To say I was surprised he had apologised was an understatement; I expected him to be his usual passive aggressive self and blame me completely for the situation. After avoiding him for a whole week, it seemed he had recognized he had been wrong. If this was any other time, I would have been overjoyed and would have been naïve to think he would never do it again – but why did it feel like it was too late this time?

“I don’t know, Brett,” I sighed, readying my break-up speech.
“Just give me one more chance,” He looked almost tearful now, clinging onto my hand. “I can’t live without you.”
“Don’t be so dramatic.”
“I mean it - you’re the only thing that keeps me alive.”

 

I could tell he was completely serious. The heavy stubble and dark shadows under his eyes told me he hadn’t been taking care of himself for the past week or so; could I really break up with him in this state? Or maybe I was just being a coward and prolonging the inevitable, a devilish voice said in my head. Either way, it didn’t feel right. Stupidly, I found myself back in the arms of Brett...even though my heart was focused on someone else.

---

“Where are we going?” I said, sheepishly, from beneath Will’s hands. “This doesn’t feel like studying…”
“Just trust me,” He replied.

I opened my eyes to see a massive gazebo adorned with lights and a waterfall of flowers trailing down each side. I recognized it immediately; it was a local site for widows to hang memorials for their deceased loved ones. Sometimes, younger couples would sneak in and carve their names on the spiralling wood or hang ribbons on the nearby trees to represent their love. It was illegal to be around at night without permission and there was usually a guard patrolling so nobody made it past without getting a ride home from the cops.

“Are you trying to get us arrested?” I whispered, backing into the nearest shadowed corner.
“Don’t worry,” He smiled, smugly. “My dad knows the groundskeeper. I managed to get us an hour inside in return for some free camera repair.”
“Your talents never cease to amaze me,” I relaxed. “But why are we here?”
“We’re studying Romeo and Juliet. Where else would we go to learn about love?”

He offered me his hand and helped me over a low fence, setting me on my feet as we came face to face and my cheeks turned tomato red. As much as I appreciated Will’s gentlemanly gestures, I was also growing tired of them. I had begun to find it harder to be around him without feeling self-conscious and awkward. I knew it was completely wrong when I had a boyfriend but I was scared Brett would do something really stupid if I pushed him out – maybe to Will, maybe to himself…who knew? I wasn’t going to risk it.

“I figured it might give you some inspiration,” Will pointed out.
“You’re full of great ideas. It’s so cool how people can find one person they want to show off to the world like this,” I said, absentmindedly stroking a pink ribbon on a nearby tree. “I’ve never been here before. Now I can see where Romeo and Juliet were coming from.”
“They really had it figured out, didn’t they?”

I felt Will get closer inch by inch; the warmth from his body on my back didn’t do anything to calm my shaking legs. I was surprised to find myself feeling nervous; I was worried what he would think of me, all the way from simple things like my hair that day to the crazy thoughts inside my head. Will somehow managed to reduce me to an anxious wreck every time he was around.

“Are we just going to pretend that the other night didn’t happen?” I asked without facing him, hair hiding my face.
“I was hoping you’d bring that up,” Will rubbed his face wearily. “I should have apologised sooner for invading your personal space like that when you have a boyfriend. God, I really am sorry.”
“Why are you apologising? I didn’t exactly try to stop you.”
“Well, isn’t that why you’re bringing it up? So, I can apologise for being totally off base?”
“No, actually,” My voice was hoarse and almost soundless. “I just…I wanted to talk about it because…”

Will looked on, his expression puzzled, as I felt all of my thoughts disappear and my mind go blank. What could I say to make things right? He clearly didn’t feel the same or he wouldn’t have assumed he needed to apologise in the first place. He obviously thought it was a stupid mistake, I realised dejectedly.

“Emily?” Will prompted. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I smiled, reassuringly. “Forget I said anything.”

The rain water trickled down my nose as the skies opened up and raindrops began to fall down in sheets. Will quickly wrapped his jacket over our heads as he guided me down the path towards the shelter; puddles forming at our feet and soaking into my ballet pumps uncomfortably.

“Wait,” He brought us both to a standstill, defiantly, leaving us both out in the open to be drenched by rain. “I have something to say and I don’t think I can go on a day longer without saying it.”
“Right now?” I questioned, completely confused. “Don’t you want to go inside first? It’s cold out –”
“You’re popular, Emily. Scarily popular. You have a super cool, handsome Hulk-like boyfriend who could probably kill me with one finger. I’m just some skinny kid who hides out in the library. I don’t exactly have a lot to offer in the social status stakes. I know that.”
“What are you talking about?" I was exasperated at this point. "We’ll get pneumonia – we can talk inside…”
“Shhh. Just hear me out!” He grabbed me by the shoulders and stared me down. “The point is…I don’t care. I can’t offer you much, that’s true – you won’t be popular or cool with me and you’ll have to put up with me, flaws and all. But I can promise you that, with me, you will never doubt yourself and you will never be taken for granted. I’m in this for the long haul, Emily. I don’t regret that night at the show, I only regret that I didn’t do it sooner.”

Suddenly, Will was far too close as rain flooded down and soaked us to the skin. He held my dripping head between his hands and his lips locked on my own; soft and passionate all at the same time. The butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies; they were pterodactyls, rising and falling inside me against the backdrop of a million fairy lights and an old gazebo. 

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