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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8. Chapter 8.

The countdown to prom had begun. Neon streamers and posters lined the corridors as teenage girls excitedly buzzed about their dress choices. Boyfriends looked on in boredom; it was clear from their faces that the only thing they connected with prom was getting back to the hotel room and what followed afterwards if they were lucky.

“So, I ended up picking silk instead – it’s in this season,” Lauren chirped in my ear. “Are you even listening to me?”
“Yeah, of course,” I lied, my mind off in a million different places. “Silk is in this season.”
“Good,” She smiled, dumbly. “Hey, can I ask you something? It’s kinda personal.”
“Go ahead.”
“I think I’m ready…you know, to do…it,” She whispered from behind her hand. “Evan booked a penthouse suite for prom night. I guess I’m nervous. Is that weird?”
“No. But I think if you’re nervous, you should really think about it first,” I replied, treading carefully. “I mean, shouldn’t you be excited to take a big step like that with someone?”
“You tell me! How was your first time with Brett?”
My first time?” I laughed. “Oh, that hasn’t happened –“
“Why not?! Brett is gorgeous and you’re totally in love with him, right?”
“I don’t know…”
“What do you mean ‘you don’t know’?” She was horrified. “You don’t love Brett? Are you crazy? He’s the whole package.”
“Yeah, I guess,” I said, blankly, feeling numbness spread through every artery in my body. “Maybe he’s the whole package...for somebody else.”
“What is up with you lately?” Lauren said, incredulously. “Any girl would be lucky to have somebody like Brett. And you just act like he's...no big deal."

My knuckles turned white as I clenched all of my anger in my balled hand tightly. Brett was borderline insane; sure, he was completely Abercrombie and Fitch material but the only thing stopping me from breaking up with him right now was that I was scared he would do something completely irrational. Of course, Lauren could never know that; she was too busy immersed in silk dresses and penthouse suites.

“Look, I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” I slammed my locker door shut. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just seeing things differently lately.”
“What does that mean?” Her eyes narrowed.
“It’s not important – I have tutoring, I’ll see you around…”

I turned my back on Lauren as she squeaked angrily behind me. I was doing her a favour by walking away before I punched her right in her perfect, prissy face.

“Don’t expect a ride to prom – you and Brett can rent your own limo since you’re so in love,” Lauren called cattily after me, the sound of her heels stomping away penetrating the quiet school corridor. 

---

Will’s porch door swung open as I climbed the old, wooden steps to his house. Coincidentally, his driveway seemed to be empty. I wasn’t stupid enough to think that it wasn’t all part of Will’s clever ploy to get me alone and convince me to pick him over Brett and run away into the sunset together. Sadly, happy endings didn't always happen that easy.

“Hey,” He smiled, as I stalked inside. “Why the long face?”
“Just something Lauren said earlier,” I replied, looking around. “Nice place. No parents around?”
“They’re on vacation,” He looked guilty, confirming my suspicion that it had all been a detailed plan from the beginning.
“Ah…convenient. I guess I underestimated your devious nature.”
“Me? Devious? It’s just good timing. Anyway, follow me to the kitchen and we can get started.”
“Great,” I gritted my teeth, following him and dragging my heavy books and conscience with me.

I found it hard enough to resist Will when there were tons of people around in the library, so how the hell was I supposed to stay away in a house containing just two people?

I had never expected to be crushing on someone like Will, but something that Lauren said earlier had rung true with me. I had found someone who was a 'big deal'; Will was whole heartedly gorgeous and the fact he was so unknowing made him even better. I was obsessed with everything about him; from the way he wrinkled his nose to the way his eyes turned almost green in the sunlight. He was kind and funny and all of the qualities you wished you could find in a boy but thought didn't exist. Yet, he did exist and had been here all along hiding in the back of the library. How could I never have noticed and dated a jerk like Brett instead? I guess, I really was crazy - crazy about Will.

---

“Astronomy is a big passion of mine,” Will spoke quietly, piercing through the dim sound of crickets chirping in the distance. “I love how the sky is always consistent and nothing changes. Even when life is crazy you can come out here and look at the stars and it stops you feeling so…overwhelmed, I guess.”

Will and I lay side by side on the grass as I secretly enjoyed the feeling of his body pressed against my own. We were supposed to be on a study break but, instead, we had ended up in his back yard surveying stars.

“This one is my favourite – it’s called Orion’s belt,” He leaned closer to point over me as I breathed in that magnificent soapy scent again.

I was completely paralysed, apart from my eyes which flickered back and forth manically. How did I keep finding myself in this position? I was a horrible human being and a horrible excuse for a girlfriend.

I sat up nervously, brushing grass clippings off my jeans, and backed away from Will hurriedly. As I approached the swimming pool in his yard, I noticed my hair sticking up in a million different directions in the reflection of the water. I frantically patted each strand down as Will got to his feet and rubbed his hands together to get rid of stray dirt.

“So, uhhh, ever have pool parties?” I circled around the edges trying desperately to get away from him.
“No, funnily enough,” He laughed. “I didn’t know you were so enthusiastic about swimming.”
 “Yeah. Yep. Best thing ever. I love it...”

I glanced around and noticed there was nowhere else to go – I was trapped. He approached me carefully, one foot at a time, wearing a mischievous expression.

“Really?” Will raised an eyebrow, his nose suddenly inches from mine. “Well, I guess if you love swimming so much…”

His arms slid under my legs, hoisting me into the swimming pool. The coldness of the water shocked me first and my legs felt useless as I kicked like a child learning to swim for the first time. I reached the surface, wiping my stinging eyes, and gasped air into my starved lungs. Well, that certainly hadn't been the romantic kiss I had hoped for, I thought.

Will stood idly by the side of the pool, laughing heartily, as I looked on in annoyance. Grabbing the bottom of his pants, I tugged harshly and he tumbled into the pool after me. I felt the impact of his body hitting the water and the subsequent echo of loud splash back throughout the night.

“GOD!” Will emerged from the depths of the swimming pool, a sodden wreck. “It’s FREEZING!”
“Ha-ha!” I laughed loudly. “Now who’s laughing? If I go under, you go under.”

Will’s eyes were molten in the light, hidden only by his dripping fringe. Although it was dark, I could make out the frown lines appearing on his forehead. His hand reached out, moving a stray, soaked hair from my face as I felt my pulse quicken. 
He kissed me gently, then all at once; his hands round my waist pulling me towards him as we floated dangerously in the deep water; keeping each other afloat but sinking each other simultaneously. If I go under, you go under.

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