It Was Meant To Be

Molly dreams of two things: getting into her first-choice university and finding true love. Music-loving slacker Zayn also dreams of two things:winning the battle of the bands- and winning Molly.He is determined to make her fall in love with him.

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8. The Thought of Him

The Thought of Him

4th September, Drafting

''This sketch is not happening,'' I say.

 Mr Slater watches how I'm struggling with T-square. I can tell he's trying not to laugh. He goes, ''What's up?''

''My brain is on strike. I've had to start over,like, ten times already.'' We're starting the year with mechanical drawings, and each one is a fresh slice of torture.Today we're doing these Escher-type sketches of shapes that have no beginning or end.

''Take it easy,'' Mr Slater says. ''You'll get there.'' Which of course he would say. He's like this mid-life non-crisis hippie dude who never gets upset about anything. He has long black hair with grey streaks that he wears pulled back in a ponytail. This is a drastic fashion statement, considering we live in Bradford where you're not allowed to wear your hair like that. Unless you're a girl. There's actually a magazine called Weird Bradford that did an article on Mr Slater a while ago. Apparently, he was supposed to be like the next Frank Llyod Wright or something. But then his college roommate stole his big design plan and became this totally famous architect in New York. And Mr Slater got stuck with us. Somehow, I don't think his life plan worked out.

''I'm nervous,'' I tell him. I almost rip up my paper in a fit of frantic erasing.

''About what?''

''A guy.'' I tell Mr Slater everything. All of us love him. He's totally supportive and gives great advice. Which is the antithesis of my mum.

''Oh?''

''This guy Andrew.''

''Who's Andrew?'' Mr Slater asks. ''The new kid?''

''Yeah,''I quietly reply.

Mr Slater sits down on the stool next to me.

''Why's he making you nervous? Did something happen?''

''No . . .it's just . . .it's not really him,it's more like . . . the idea of him.''

He waits.

''Like, I want him to be who I imagine he is.'' I reposition my T-square. ''But what if he's not really like that? What if he's just some guy?''

''Is that a bad thing?''

''It's not what I'm looking for.''

Mr Slater scratches his chin. ''Tell me again what happened with your dad?''

I'm used to Mr Slater's non sequiturs by now.

I've had art classes with  him every year. He has this special talent for remembering the most dull details of our lives and then showing them to us when we least expect it in this way that makes us understand our lives better.

''I don't really know,'' I say. ''I think they were too young. My mum was only sixteen when she had me. Remember?'' He nods. ''My dad was a senior, but his parents took him out of school, and they moved away before I was born. I don't really  remember ever seeing him.''

''Do you want to find him?''

''No,''

''Well, the only way to know who Andrew is for sure is to get to know him.''

''True.''

''Mr Slateer!'' a screech errupts from across the room. ''My T-square broke!''

Mr Slater smiles. ''Good luck,'' he tells me.

''Thanks.'' It's not that he said anything astounding. But his chill approach to life always helps me minimixe stress.

But two corroded sketches later, I'm back to felliing nervous. When it was all just a fantasy with Andrew,  I was so impatient and excited. Now that he asked me out for real, it's like I still want it to happen but at the same time I don't. And I have lunch soon. With Andrew.

And I have an actual date this weekend.

With Andrew.

****************************************************************************************************************

By the time Shania and I are walking to lunch, I'm a nervous wreck.

''So,''I say. ''Do you think Andrew's sitting with us again?''

''That boy is completely infatuated with you,'' Shania says. ''Wild horses couldn't keep him away.''

''What?''

''I have no idea what I just said. I think Mr Carver permanently damaged my medulla oblongata.''

''What?''

''Hey,'' Andrew says. He's waiting for me by the door.

''Hey,''I go. But I can't really make eye contact with him. Even though we've talked on the phone the past two nights for a really loong time, talking in person is way different. There's something about him that's like looking at the sun. He just looks so good. It's a miracle I don't spontaneously combust whenever i get within thirty feet of him.

Andrew leans towards me and whispers, ''Can I talk to you?''

''Uh . . . sure.'' I look over at Shania.'' I'll be right in.''

''Take your time,'' she says.

Shania goes in and sits down at our usual table. Elizabeth's there, saving us seats. I love how we already have a usual table.

Andrew says,''I was wondering if you want to sit with my friends today.''

''Um. . .'' I look in at Elizabeth and Shania.

'''Cause last night? We weere all hanging out at the mall, and Caitlin was saying how you seem cool but, like. . . she doesn't really know you and stuff.''

''Oh.'' I'm trying to look like it's no big deal.But everyone knows when the boy you like wants you to meet his friends, it's a big freaking deal. Particulary if it's Caitlin, who is normally oblivious to the fact that I exist. SO of course I want to sit with him! But then I remind myself of the first rule of sisterhood: best friends before boyfriends. I can't just bail on Shania and Elizabeth like that. I decide to compromise. ''What about next week? I promised Elizabeth and Shania--''

''No problem,'' Andrew replies. ''Are you buying?''

I wave my lunch bag in his face.

''That would be your lunch.'' He smiles. His dirty-blond hair falls over his eyes. He flips it back up in a sexy way.

''That would be, yeah.'' My mouth is all dry.

''I'll be right back.'' He goes to get in line.

I sit down across from Elizabeth.

''Watch out, guys,'' Elizabeth says. ''It looks like octopus today.''

''What is that stuff?''Shania examines her tray.

''I told you,'' Elizabeth says. ''Octopus.''

''Is it noodles?''I ask.

''You guys aren't  listening! Oc-to-pus!'' Elizabeth screams. ''It's octopus!''

''Appetizing,'' I say

Shania  goes, ''Could Mr Perry be a bigger arsehole?''

''I know!''; He actually gave us a test today in calc, and it's only the third day of school. Who does that? ''And then he acts all shocked when no one's ready? Please.''

''We really have to watch out for that guy,''

Shania says. ''I have a feeling he may be even more sadistic than Mr Carver.''

''Like that's even possible,'' I say. ''Wait. Let me tell you how--''

''Molly?''

I look up to see that Caitlin has graced me with her presence and that would be the royal plural, since the two most popular guys are with her. Even though Andrew told me what she said, it's still hard to believe she's not here on some twisted mission to humiliate me.

I glance over at Elizabeth. She's looking at them like she's my bodyguard and they've just threatened to kill me.

''Yeah?'' I cautiously say to Caitlin.

She goes, ''You're talking to Andrew, right?''

The way she smiles at me seems so legit you would think she's being nice. I want to believe what Andrew said, but any second now she'll probably tell me to lay off him because he's already reserved for a gorgeous girl who actually deserves him. Instead of a nobody nerd like me.

''Yeah?'' I say. Alex, who's captain of the basketball team, and Caitlin's boyfriend, Matt, smile down at me.

''Totally,'' Matt adds. ''Just, you know, shy.''

Did the most popular guys in school just call cool?

Caitlin is still smiling at me like she's seeing me for the first time. Maybe she doesn't even realize how she usually ignores me. ''You should come sit with us,'' she says.

Is the most popular girl in school really asking me to hang with her? This can't be real. But I say, ''Yeah,'' anyway. It appears to be the only word I know.

Andrew comes back with his lunch. He puts his hand on my shoulder and sits down next to me. While he's talking to Alex and Matt, I look over at Shania. She gives me this disapproving glare. I don't even look at Elizabeth. I'm sure I already know what she's thinking.

''SO I was about to tell Molly that we should hang out sometime,'' Caitlin says to Andrew.

''Sure,'' he says.

''Cool.'' Caitlin smiles. ''We'll talk.''

''Later, dude,'' Matt says to Andrew.

''Later.''

Caitlin grabs Matt's hand. ''Let's go,Pooky.''

I'm like, Pooky?

They drift off with an air of importance.

Shania looks over at Andrew. ''Well, Pooky,'' she says, ''you better start eating. Your octopus is getting cold.''

Andrew gives Shania a strange look. Like he's annoyed or something. It's only for a second, but it's like he's mad at her for making fun of his friends.

He takes a huge bite of whatever it is and gags.

''Uh! What is this stuff?''

''I thought octopus was your favourite,'' I say.

''Yeah, but this is something else. Ostrich strips, maybe.''

''No, no,'' Shania says. She samples another bite.

''Eel skins. Definitely eel skins.''

''You guys are weird,'' Elizabeth says.

''I'll go,'' I say. ''I need a new sandwhich. The jelly totally leaked through on mine.''

''Get me one? Here.'' Andrew takes out a twenty and hands it to me. @@My treat.''

As I'm walking to the line, I have to pass a table of jocks. I hold my breath, speed up, and watch the floor. But then I glance over at them anyway. One of the girls grabs another girl's arm and points to me. Then she whispers something, and the smile at me. One of them even says, ''Hey, Molly,'' as I walk by.

I know Shania and Elizabeth aren't feeling me right now. Snobs who ignore you for ever and then suddenly start acting like they've been your friends all along don't interest them.And somwhere deep down, I know they shouldn't interest me, either.

But after being a nobody for so long, it feels awesome to be a somebody. A girl could get addicted to being treated like she matters.

Alex goes, ''Sweet. I always thought you were cool.''

 

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