“Akiiiira, wake up! Akiiiira, wake up!" My alarm clock sang to me in its high-pitched, electronic voice.
With my stunning cat-like reflexes, I reached my arm out to turn off the irritating alarm. A loud noise erupted from the trash can beside my bed, as the alarm clock fell
“Oops,” I muttered into my pillow as I ripped the down covers off of my small body. I reached into the trashcan and pulled the alarm clock out, my hand brushing past a half eaten banana.
“Gross.” I frowned at my hand and disdainfully licked off the banana goo.
“Akira, Seth is waiting! You don't want to be late for school!” Mom called from downstairs.
Seth! The pixie that resided inside my rib cage did a little cartwheel as I opened the door to my walk-in closet to find some sort of attire to wear for the day. I threw on the first thing I found: An old All Time Low t-shirt and some faded skinny jeans. I quickly trotted down the large winding staircase and jammed my feet into some high tops that lay haphazardly in from of the door.
“Bye Mom!” I chimed as I grabbed a Pop Tart from the kitchen table and sped out the door.
I slammed the door and ran.
“Oomph!” I let out a little yelp as I bumped into something. Or someone.
Seth spun around and gave me his signature grin. My legs felt all mushy as I somehow managed to smile back.
“Grab your skateboard.” He pointed at the large tree in my yard, which my skateboard happened to be perched against.
I grabbed the board and dragged it across the damp grass and to the sidewalk. I stepped onto the board and rolled down the hill, trees and telephone poles flying past me in my peripheral vision. I glanced back at the houses on the cul-de-sac. There were only two houses: My house, and Seth’s house. We’d been neighbors for as long as I could remember, which pretty much ensured that we would become best friends.
However, something had changed lately. I’d never noticed before how piercing and vibrant his blue-green eyes were. Or the way his straight strawberry blonde hair flew about his face as he skateboarded next to me. Or the small, adorable heart-shaped birthmark on the side of his neck that I had the strange urge to touch. These thoughts were just thoughts though. Telling him I liked him would be like jumping off the Empire State Building: Both stupid and dangerous. And I was too afraid.
We rolled into the parking lot of Muesli High and flipped the skateboards into the crooks of our arms at the same time.
“Yeah! That was beast!” Seth high-fived me and we walked towards the front gate. A familiar group of girls blocked the doors.
Enter the Pretties: Five of the most cliquey, catty girls in the whole universe. Led by the infamous Ruby Watkins, only the blondest, prettiest, most revered cheerleader at Muesli. The rest of the Prettiest consisted of Ruby’s brainless minions: Sarah, Taylor, Madison, and Brooke. I secretly referred to the Pretties as “Cheery and the Neanderthals.”
“Could you guys please move?” I sighed and leaned on one hip. The books in my arms were becoming heavy, and I needed to get to my locker.
Ruby eyes me like I was a piece of freshly excreted cow feces, but stepped aside long enough for me to swing open the door and step into the warm interior of Muesli. I could see Ruby getting all googly-eyed over Seth from the corner of my eye. She lightly brushed her manicured hand across his arm and twirled her curly blonde hair with her finger. Seth looked down and mumbled something and she laughed and brushed his arm yet again. I muttered some profanities under my breath and made my way to my locker.
I am somewhat of Ruby’s polar opposite. She’s athletic, tall, and elegant. I’m a failure at sports, short, and awkward. Her curly blonde ringlets and tan skin contrasted with my long, straight, dark brown locks and pale face. And her blue irises were bright and welcoming, unlike my confusing green and hazel eyes.
Seth appeared from the bend in the hallway, in a daze.
“What’s up, man?” I nudged him with my elbow.
“Ruby asked me out,” he said quietly.
My heart deflated a little bit, before I cleared my throat and managed a smile.
“Wh-what did you say?”
“I said… that I don’t know.” He sighed. “I said that I’d think about it.”
I narrowed my eyebrows.
“Because I don’t know, okay?!”
I could feel the sudden coldness in his tone, and was taken aback.
“Well excuse me, Mr. Popular,” I scoffed and began to walk away. “Sorry that you don’t have the guts to just say yes or no to someone. You’re never honest. You’re like a freaking chicken. A chicken that doesn’t know anything.”
Seth’s mouth hung open. “ME? I’M the one who doesn’t know anything?!” A bout of irony-coated laughter escaped his throat. “You’re such a hypocrite, Akira.” He shook his head, a smirk dancing about his lips.
“Urghh! I don’t even know what you’re freaking talking about!” I stormed down the hallway and into my first hour classroom.
The trip home was disturbingly quiet.
I had decided to take the bus instead of skateboarding. Seeing Seth wasn’t exactly on my current list of priorities. I stepped off the bus and into my house, threw my bag and books on the carpet, and stomped up the staircase. Plopping down in the office chair in front of my computer, I shook the mouse to rid the screensaver and logged into Google Talk.
I gritted my teeth together and prepared to go offline, when a chat box appeared on the screen.
SethBoard2010: Akira, you’re right. I’m a chicken. And I’m really sorry if I made you angry this morning. The truth is, I’m really not being honest. There’s something I have to tell you.
I let out a tense sigh and typed.
AkiraFox: What is it?
SethBoard2010 is typing…
Suddenly, I went from being online to offline.
Cannot connect to internet at belkin54g. To troubleshoot, press F5.
I smashed my fist against the table and angrily pressed F5.
We detect no errors in your current internet connection. If a problem persists, please contact your system administrator.
I attempted to log onto Google Talk again, but got the same message a second time.
“Stupid Mediacom!” I roared and began bawling. Sobs erupted from my chest as I cupped my face with my hands. “Stupid Seth… That stupid idiot who will always say sweet things to me, but will never know how I truly feel.” Snot dripped out of my cold nostrils.
I turned off the computer and fell onto my bed, burying my tear soaked face in the multitude of pillows. I cried myself to an uncomfortable sleep.
The next morning was a blur.
More than anything, I wanted to know what Seth meant, but at the same time, I wasn’t ready to face Seth. A feeling of pure vulnerability pulsed through my veins when I saw him out of the corner of my eye at Muesli. I ducked into a hallway and walked to my locker. I placed my head against the cool metal and closed my eyes. The ruffling sound of a piece of paper fluttering to the ground caught my ears’ attention. Curious, I quickly spun my lock into the correct combination and opened the door.
"Akira…" The folded up paper read.
It was Seth’s familiar scrawl.
I carefully unfolded the note.
"Akira, since you logged off on me last night, I figured I’d tell you the truth in this little note. I didn’t know how to say this before, but I think I can say it now. For the record, I don’t like girls like Ruby, whose actions are just for the sake of appealing to society. I like girls who aren’t afraid to say how they’re really feeling when it counts. The reason I got angry yesterday and said that you didn’t know anything…is because you didn’t know how I feel about you.
Akira. I love you.
Meet me in the library.
Ah, the irony.
I felt the bridge of my nose tingle as a hot blush creeped onto my face. My heart felt numb from knocking and thumping around so much. My eyes scanned over the note over and over.
What? What’s going on? Is this a dream?
“No. This isn’t a dream. This is real,” I said out loud.
I slowly climbed the stairs and approached the library doors.
Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, and walked in.