The Angel,The Devil,The Nerd

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Chapter 3 - He scares me,ok?

A/N: I haven't really pictured anybody as these characters,but just to give you an idea,am trying to come up with a cast. While,looking,I found the perfect bad boy... so... on the side -------------> Eric

CHAPTER 3 - HE SCARES ME, OK?

Alright, now, where is he? I was in front of the school, trying to tell which one was Eric’s car, but my peers seem to have all a passion for the same models, so all the cars around were similar. I kept looking, hoping that people would run off soon, so there would remain only one car, which would be the right one.

"Left."

A male husky voice startled me. I turned around to see Eric looking down at me, literally down, because I’m not short, but he’s frighteningly tall, like … 6’2 at least, while I stop at 5’8, which makes me slightly out of the average, but still enough shorter than him to feel little. Kyle is the same as him anyway, maybe an inch or two shorter, something like that.

"Left. It’s the one on the left."

Eric told me, hinting at a bluish Jeep. I just nodded and he walked past me, his backpack hanging on his toned shoulder.

"Move."

He ordered. Like a lost puppy, I shyly followed him to his car and hopped on when he told me to. I swear, normally I’m not this coward, but he scares me. Really.

" Where is it?"

Eric asked, that harsh hint in his voice that characterizes him and that makes me feel powerless, negatively powerless, like … “oh, my God, he’s going to kill me!”. Sometimes his voice does come out as killer voice actually, but then I’ll admit it’s quite sexy too … ok, stop, Natalie, you’re drooling over the wrong guy. Kyle, yeah, Kyle is better. Oh, his voice is so sweet … lovely. And that smile … here we go again, I let my mind wander in lala land, daydreaming of my marvelous and hot crush, of how would he walk up to me and ask me to be his girlfriend, or even better, we’re working on that project and suddenly he comes closer and …

"Watson!"

Eric yelled, throwing me back to reality, right when Kyle was about to touch my lips … not fair.

"You’ve got some sort of mental problem or what?"

Eric asked, well, implied. I frowned.

"Or you’re partially deaf, because all the times I talk to you, you don’t even hear me."

He continued.

"Maybe I just don’t bother your words."

Oh, my God, what have I just said?? He’s gonna throw me out of the car, I’ll be lucky if I don’t die but certainly I’ll get multiple bones broken and I’ll need physiotherapy sessions till next year and I’ll miss the prom and the graduation and maybe I won’t be able to walk properly again and … ok, I’m speaking nonsense. Eric’s eyes snapped to me for a moment before he turned to the road again.

"I-I’m sorry … I … didn’t … I was …"

I expected him to bark, hiss, huff and puff and tear me apart, because nobody talks to him like that, but, really surprising me and nearly freaking me out, Eric just laughed.

"You’re a tough one, aren’t you?"

He commented. I arched an eyebrow, confused. He admired my nerve? So wasn’t going to make me paralyzed for the rest of my life? Normally one gets beaten up just for looking at him sideways, now I talk back at him and he just laughs? Oh, maybe he sees me as some sort of clown. Yeah, probably.

"Now, which one is it?"

He asked, hinting at the outside. Oh, we’d already reached the place. I pointed at the little café on his side and he nodded then told me, no, ordered me, because everything that comes out of that mouth if it’s not an order certainly sounds like it, to get out and he’d reach me in a minute. I did as he said and walked to the familiar place. Once I entered I was immediately greeted by the soft scent of fresh baked cakes and coffee. Personally I don’t like coffee, but the smell of the beans is one of my favorites, although not even close to the one of fresh cut grass and, especially, books. The smell of books is by far my favorite.

"Hello, sweetie."

Sophie, my employer, greeted me. I smiled at her and nodded lightly. Sophie is an old lady in her sixties, very kind, especially with me. She didn’t even need a waitress, but since I was looking for a job, she offered me it. This place isn’t really big, in fact it’s just me and her, but it’s comfortable, people drop by to relax more than to drink coffee, although Sophie makes an excellent coffee, well, I’ve been told so, I don’t drink it. Anyway, I placed my bag behind the counter, grabbed my apron and had just put it on when Eric walked in. There were a couple of girls in there, sipping their soda at a table near the entrance and I don’t exaggerate when I say they checked him out from the top to the bottom, staring at him shamelessly, like he was some yummy piece of cake and they were really hungry. I didn’t know the girls, but then, I don’t really know many people. Without saying anything, and actually ignoring the girls, Eric went to seat in the booth in the corner. Now that I think about it, I don’t know how am I supposed to work on the project with him when I’m supposed to do my job, but hey, he didn’t give me any chance to object. Like I said, everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like an order.

"You have a new customer, sweetie."

Sophie told me, pointing in Eric’s direction, as I was looking around to scan the room and see how much did I have to work today. As she told me that, I looked at him, who was glancing at the menu.

"Uh … no … he’s actually here for me …"

I replied and, like expected, Sophie looked at me surprised.

" It’s … not what you think …"

I said before she could start with her congratulations on how handsome my new boyfriend was.

"He’s here to work on a school project."

I explained. Sophie smiled and nodded, but something rested in her expression, like she didn’t believe me. Since she went back to her things, I went to Eric, who was currently the favorite movie for those girl sitting near the entrance. I bet they were challenging each other to go talk to him, but his severe look scared them. That’s one reason why our female schoolmates keep staring at him from afar but don’t approach him, well, not the coward ones, those like me to be precise. Cheerleaders and popular chicks do try to talk, sorry, flirt with him quite often. His reaction? It depends on the mood. When he’s in good spirits he does respond to their advances, even flatters them, but when he’s … let’s say cross, he doesn’t hesitate to be rude and send them away. Yet, they keep chasing him. Oh, Eric’s got a certain player reputation obviously, I’ve never seen him with a stable girlfriend, unlike Kyle, who, to my displeasure, had a thing going with one of the cheerleaders back to sophomore year. He’s kind of a player too, maybe, I know, but not like Eric. Anyway, I had managed to gather up enough courage to make a real conversation, but once I was close his icy blue eyes snapped to me and I felt like a little girl caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

"Uh … you want to order something?"

I asked hesitantly. He glanced at the menu for a moment, then placed it down.

"Green tea."

He replied. I blinked my eyes, confused. Green tea? All this bad boy look and attitude and he drinks green tea? I was expecting black coffee or something like that. Not green tea … although I like it too.

"What?"

Eric inquired, noticing my expression. I shook my head, trying hard not to let a single chuckle escape.

"I-I’ll bring you the tea in a minute."

I replied, hurrying away before bursting out laughing at his face, therefore causing my own premature death. One like Eric Rivers, you barely dare talk to him, imagine laugh of him. Eric has a really bad reputation, rumor says he’s been in reformatory but escaped, was to pay his time in jail for robbing a house on his 18th birthday, but since his dad is rich … it is even said that he does drugs and carries a gun. I’m not too sure if I can believe these things, but the part about him beating up whoever dares crossing his road, being aggressive and always angry, that’s true because I’ve seen it myself, I mean, I’ve witnessed a couple of his fights in the hallway. He’s scary when engaged in a fight, I mean, more than usual, because his eyes show really no emotion at all, well, they normally don’t, but when he’s fighting there’s an evil glint in them that makes the blood in your veins freeze. And yet girls like him. Personally I don’t think much of the bad boy type, yes, I do admit he’s really hot, but I prefer the cheerful type, the one always ready to make you smile, always kind, gentle, nice … yes, I know, I’m describing Kyle. Oh … Kyle … who knows where he is now, probably soccer practice … oh, wait, no, he’s got detention now. Poor soul. I realized I was smiling while preparing the tea when I felt someone pinching my cheek and I turned around to see Sophie grinning.

"He must be special if he makes you smile like that."

She told me. For a moment my smile widened, thinking of how actually special Kyle is, but then I realized that she meant Eric, not Kyle, so I violently shook my head.

"No, no, he’s … no …"

"Don’t worry, sweetie, your secret is safe with me."

She told me, winking, and left before I could reply. I sighed and turned around to glance at Eric, who was scrolling through his phone. Me and him together. Please … we’re opposites. Sun and moon have more in common. Ok, it’s not like Kyle and I have that much in common anyway, but he’s different. At least he doesn’t scare the hell out of me every time I see him, yes, around him I’m nervous and look like a perfect idiot, but that’s because when I see him my brain just shuts down so I’m not able to think straight. In any case Eric isn’t my type, hot and sexy how you want, but not my type. While normally girls, especially the goody-two-shoes like me go for the bad boy, I prefer the good one, and Kyle is as sweet and perfect as an angel … imagine me with my head tilted to the side, romantically sighing while thinking of Kyle … oh, if only he knew how much he is in my mind … maybe now that he actually talks to me I can … try … oh, who am I kidding? I’m not his type. He’s dated cheerleaders, beautiful and sexy skinny girls, me, I’m not only nerd but also overweight. Yeah, I know, my doctor and everybody says curvy, but still … maybe I should go on a diet. The timer ringing to tell me the tea was ready took me off my thoughts and I went back to Eric.

"Took you long enough."

He grumbled as I placed the cup in front of him. I arched an eyebrow.

"You’re welcome."

I replied sarcastically and he half smiled, not totally, like he wanted to smile but kept it. Who knows why. Looking around the shop, I saw nobody needed the waitress, so I sat down in front of him. Eric gazed at me from above the cup of tea. The white porcelain barely touched his full pink lips and yet the sight was enough to make any girl faint, I swear. In fact I could hear the girls near the front door squeal and mumble something I didn’t catch. How comes that this aggressive bad boy likes such a calm beverage as tea? Even green tea! I like it myself, but it’s normally good to calm down nerves and for some diets (yes, I’ve checked). Honestly, I’d picture him with beer or even vodka in one hand, cigarette in the other, certainly not a cup of tea. Maybe he needs it to calm down or he’d smash everything he encounters. I wonder if he actually sees a psychiatrist for his anger issues … mmh, no, he’d probably flip off and verbally abuse the guy. Those like Eric are too proud to seek help if they need it. Wait, why do I suppose he needs help? Maybe he’s just a natural jerk. No, the cute blonde boy I remember was too sweet to be jerk. But people change. I have myself changed and certainly he has too. Sometimes I wonder, what if Eric and I had actually been friends when we were kids? Would he be less … aggressive? Or would I be a bad girl, following his path? I’m not incline to peer pressure, but you know, when your closest friend is some way, you get some habits from him/her. I got the tendency to touch my hair every two seconds from Jamie. Oh, I miss Jamie. Maybe I should call her. Last time I talked to her was a week ago. She answers to my Facebook messages but after hours, since she’s busy with school and everything. She’ll probably freak out if she knows I’m to spend my afternoons alternatively with the hottest guys in school. Now that I think about it, I’m gonna have my week busy doing the “link” for them, as Kyle would say, so this week I’m actually gonna spend time with my crush! Oh, my God, I can’t think about it … a whole afternoon with Kyle! Alone with Kyle! Oh, God … I’m not gonna survive, no, no … and tomorrow I don’t work! I’m gonna be all alone with Kyle at my or his place! Wait, he said nothing about us meeting somewhere and at any time specific … but he did say I’d work with them separately, so if I’m seeing Eric today, I’ll see Kyle tomorrow! OH, MY GOD!

"Why are you smiling?"

Eric asked me curiously, leaning out on the table. I blinked my eyes.

"M-me? N-no … I’m not smiling …"

He smirked.

"Yes, you are. And quite happily too. Why?"

His tone was demanding. I blushed, lowering my glance.

"N-no reason …"

He leaned back on his seat, that smug smirk still plastered on his face. He’s not thinking I’m smiling because of him, right? He can’t be. Well, I’m here in front of him smiling like an idiot, of course he thinks …

"I-I was thinking of a joke."

I lied. Eric’s smirk got more cocky.

"Sure …"

He commented, leaning back. Oh, great, Mr. Bad Boy now thinks I have a crush on him … I don’t think he cares much, but that’s only gonna engorge his already huge ego and I don’t want that responsibility. I was thinking of a good comeback to avoid him thinking I was head over heels for him, but we were interrupted.

"Hi."

A pretty brunette greeted, appearing in front of our table from nowhere. I didn’t even bother replying since her eyes were obviously stuck on Mr. Bad Boy, who barely spared a glance at her.

"I’m Sharon."

Quite direct, I couldn’t help thinking as she stretched her hand to him, who obviously didn’t even bother to shake it. I rolled my eyes and stood up, not wanting to witness the rude dismissal or his cocky flirting.

"Hey, where are you going?"

Eric asked me.

"To … work?"

I replied, turning around, only to see Sharon glaring at me.

"We have a project to work on, Watson. Where do you think you’re going?"

Eric shot back, completely ignoring the girl. I sighed and went back to my seat, also since he hinted at it with his eyes, giving me that ‘you better do what I tell you’ look that normally I see on my mom. For some reason Sharon decided it was a good idea to sit beside me, so I scooped down and she was in front of him.

"You go to Washington’s High? Me too!"

You don’t say? I thought as she said that excitedly. Eric ignored her.

"You write."

He told me as he gave me his notebook, which I hadn’t even notice he had with him. I just nodded and took it without saying anything while Sharon looked in between us. She looked actually younger than us, most probably she was a sophomore, but if she was, didn’t she know Eric’s reputation? All school knows him. Everybody knows better than to just approach him so directly.

"Uh … ok … where do we start?"

I asked hesitantly.

"Does it look like I reads fairy tales to you?"

Eric retorted, causing the girl to stupidly giggle.

"We’ve chosen it already. Just need to …"

"Natalie, please come here for a moment."

Sophie interrupted me and I excused myself to Sharon so she moved to let me stand up. Once I cleaned the mess some girl had made in front of the cashier, as Sophie requested me, I went back to Eric.

"Where’s the girl?"

I couldn’t help but ask, since he was sitting there alone.

"What girl?"

He asked in response. I arched an eyebrow at him.

"The girl that was … never mind."

Most probably he’d dismissed her in the most rude way. Eric just shrugged and scooped his notebook and a pen towards me again.

"Ok, so … where do we start?"

I asked, opening it and writing the words Beauty and the Beast According to Us as title of the first page. When I looked up at him I noticed he was actually gazing at my calligraphy.

"Eric?"

I called, taking him back to reality. Oh, what do you know, even Mr. Bad Boy loses himself in time now and then. I wonder what was he thinking about. Whatever it was, it softened his normally stern countenance.

***

Oh, boy, was it exhausting today! I sighed, opening the front door. I’ve split myself between serving customers and working on the fairy tale with Eric. We’ve managed to write half a page in four hours. So very productive, weren’t we? We’ve only sketched a possible plot and a beginning. In my defense, it wasn’t easy to come up with ideas while having to go to and fro every five minutes. I’m totally worn out. I even walked home since I didn’t have the nerve to ask Eric for a ride and he didn’t offer either. Such a gentleman, I know. Oh, well, my home is just ten minutes from Sophie’s so it wasn’t too bad.

"Hi, mom."

I greeted once I stepped in the kitchen. Mom was obviously stuffing among stoves. Cooking relaxes her, she says. You want me fat, I reply jokingly. Sometimes she gets it, sometimes she doesn’t … guess that’s one reason why I see my doctor so often. Not that I complain actually, I mean, Dr. Green is something less than forty and quite handsome with his chocolate brown hair that matches his eyes. I think he’s eyed mom, but she won’t budge, she’s too proud and I’m sure she thinks she needs to be careful before letting a man in our lives, which is fair, yes, but I can’t see her waste her life only because she’s worried about me. Having raised me all alone, she obviously gave up on her social life, although there is a friend of hers that keeps trying to set her up with this or that man, but mom always refuses.

" Hello, Doodles."

She greeted me with a warm smile. My mother has my same brown hair and hazel eyes, I resemble her much, people say, which is perfect for me because I wouldn’t want anything from that bastard that abandoned her in the worst moment. Although mom is way more beautiful than me, I know that. By the way, she calls me Doodles because, apparently, when I used to always draw doodles. Quite banal, yes.

"How’s it going?"

She asked me once she’d checked the oven.

"Fine. What are we eating tonight?"

I replying, plopping on a seat at the island.

"Pizza."

My eyes widened in delight. I love pizza.

"You're the best mom in the world!"

I exclaimed happily, lunging for the oven, and she smiled.

"Not so fast, girl. Tell me everything."

She said, interposing between me and my paradise.

"Everything what?"

"Everything."

"It was a normal Tuesday, nothing …"

She arched an eyebrow at me.

" About that project?"

Obviously I recount all my day to her, not because I want to, but because she presses me, so I can’t say no. My mother and I, as cliché as it sounds, have a great relationship, not like Lorelai and Rory in Gilmore Girls, but close, I mean, I do talk to mom but she doesn’t exactly know everything that goes through my mind. Especially, she doesn’t know about my crush on Kyle. Mom was 19 when she had me, so it’s easy to relate, but for her I was one hell of a burden at first and I know that, even if she keeps telling me I’m the best gift like could give her. She did have her family on her back, which is why she managed to both take care of me and graduate in college, but still … single mom, you know, it’s tough. We’ve actually moved here when I was five because she found a good job in this town and because she thought the quietness of a little city was better for me to grow up than the chaos of New York. Anyway, we came to a compromise when we slumped on the couch with pizza in front of us and I started talking. Mom obviously frowned when I mentioned me having to spend at least a couple of afternoons with Eric.

"Keep the meetings at Sophie’s."

She told me, well, kind of ordered. I half smiled.

" I’m serious, Natalie. I don’t want you alone with that boy."

I nodded. Normally I’d argue that we shouldn’t judge the book by its cover, that maybe Eric is not totally bad, also because, like I said, I remember a lovely him, but … don’t judge me, but he scares me, so I wouldn’t be really glad to remain alone with him. I know many girls would say the opposite, but …

"Neither with that other boy."

Mom interrupted my thoughts. I frowned.

"What? Kyle? He’s …"

"He might be an angel, as you say, but he’s still a boy."

"So what? It’s not like …"

"Do I need to retell you about how boys and girls make mistakes?"

I blushed, deep crimson. She was implying Kyle and I could … oh, no … he doesn’t even consider me. He’s barely noticed me and just because he was forced to. We’ve been in the same high school since the beginning and he never even acknowledged my presence, well, not enough to actually talk to me. If now he does see me, is because he needs me for the project. Pretty sure he’ll forget me after this two weeks.

"Mom, Kyle and I could never … I mean … we …"

" It’s not a matter of could or couldn’t, sweetie. A boy and a girl are tempted to make such mistake."

Now I knew she was talking about her and my biological father. Even if she keeps telling me she doesn’t regret it because I was born, I know that maybe if she could go back in time she wouldn't do it again. Mom wanted to travel. I practically cut off her wings. I often feel guilty for this, but then she tells me I’m the light of her life and … you know, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s nice to hear that. I want her to live her life too, though. She doesn’t have to think of me only, she has for 18 years … it’s enough. Despite her friend’s pleads, she rarely goes out because she works her butt off every day at work and then is tired, but also because she doesn’t want to leave me alone. The rare times Paula and I were able to make her go out, mom came home before midnight anyway. Oh, I know she’s had at least a couple of men over these 18 years, if anything, for … physiological needs, as Paula told me, but nothing serious.

"Mom, I can assure I won’t do those things with Kyle."

"How can you be sure?"

"Because he’s not interested in me."

She sighed.

"We’ve gone through this, Natalie. Boys don’t always think with their brain."

" I know, but believe me, it’s …"

"You can’t be so sure, Natalie."

I sighed.

"Ok, I’ll see to be a mile away from him when we work at the project, ok?"

I replied chuckling and she gave me a reprimanding look, but half smiling, so we went back to normal. Me with Kyle … that’d be a dream. And I mean both romantically and physically. Hey, he’s hot. I do think of …

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